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Best headphones for under $50 (pictures)

Looking for a pair of inexpensive headphones that sounds decent for the money? Here are CNET's top bargain picks among the products we've reviewed.

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David Carnoy
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1 of 22 Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica ATH-M30

Audio-Technica's ATH-M30 headphones aren't on par with the step-up ATH-M50s, but they deliver very good sound for a low price.
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2 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Id America Spark

Id America's spark-plug-inspired earphones come in multiple colors and are available for less than $40.
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3 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Incipio f38

A knock-off of the $70 Fischer Audio FA-004 headphones, Incipio's respectable-sounding f38 model is a relative bargain.
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4 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

JLab Epic

JLab's Epic isn't quite epic, but it is quite decent.
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5 of 22 Sarah Tew CNET

JVC Flats

While the JVC Flats may not be terribly durable, you'll be hard pressed to find better sounding on-ear headphones for $13.
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6 of 22 CNET

Koss PortaPro

The Koss PortaPro is a longtime favorite of CNET's Justin Yu.
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7 of 22 LG

LG Tone HBS-700 stereo Bluetooth headset

LG's Tone HBS-700 stereo Bluetooth headset is among the most comfortable we've tried, and it offers good audio quality. You can also get the newer LG Tone+ HBS-730 for less than $50.
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8 of 22 MEElectronics

MEElectronics A151

The MEElectronics A151 balanced armature headphones are one of the best earphones out there for around $50.

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9 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

MEElectronics Hi-Fi Sound-Isolating In-Ear Headphones

MEElectronics' Hi-Fi earphones aren't as good as the A151s (see previous slide), but they've got a very budget-friendly price.
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10 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

MEElectronics HT-21

If you're looking for a really inexpensive pair of headphones that sounds decent, the MEElectronics HT-21 certainly fits the bill at less than $25.
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11 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET

MEElectronics M6 earphones

The M6 earphones have been around for a few years and are ostensibly more of a sports headphone. MEElectronics also makes the newer Sport Fi S6 earphones, which come in a red/black finish and include a sports armband for your iPhone or iPod Touch.
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12 of 22 Monoprice

Monoprice 8323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphones

CNET contributor and audio guru Steve Guttenberg said the $21.59 Monoprice 8323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphones are the best full-size, over-the-ear headphones you can buy on the cheap. According to Guttenberg, the headphones' bass-midrange-treble balance is nice and smooth, which makes it suitable for those with audiophile tastes. He added, "The design is closed-back, and while most really inexpensive closed-back headphones can sound canned or hollow, these suffer no such problems." You can read his full assessment of the headphones here. Note: Monoprice sells other inexpensive headphones that we haven't reviewed yet. But based on our looks at these headphones and some of their speakers, most tend to be very good values in terms of performance for the price. While they tend to be fairly well built, their designs are usually pretty plain (that's a polite way of saying generic).
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13 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Moshi Mythro

Named for mithril, the fictional element found in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (it's stronger than steel but "much lighter in weight"), the Moshi Mythro is an attractively designed lightweight earphone that features excellent sound for the money, as well as an integrated microphone. It's a relative bargain at its price point of $30.
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14 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

NuForce NE770X

The NuForce NE770X comes in several different colors and can be had for less than $30, with the ICE version going for less than $20 on Amazon.
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15 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120

If you're looking for a replacement for your Apple earbuds, Panasonic's ErgoFit RP-HJE120 in-ear headphones, which come in multiple colors and retail for less than $10, are a better-sounding and more comfortable option.
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16 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic RP-HTX7

Panasonic's RP-HTX7 headphones have been around for a while but offer excellent value. They come in multiple colors.
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17 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic RP-HT21

The RP-HT21s really belong in the best headphones for under $10 category, but I haven't created it yet.
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18 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic RP HJE355

The step-up model to Panasonic's ErgoFit RP-HJE120, the $16 RP HJE355 looks swankier and its cord doesn't tangle as easily. Available in multiple colors.
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19 of 22

Plantronics BackBeat 903+

While not everybody will love the design of the BackBeat 903+, this Bluetooth stereo headset is sweat-resistant and is now well discounted online.
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20 of 22 Sarah Tew/CNET

Philips O'Neill The Stretch headphones

The Philips O'Neill The Stretch headphones may not have great sound, but they're well designed, very comfortable, and cost less than $50. They also come in white, and there's a step-up model, the Stretch Headband Headset SHO9567BK/28 (or SHO9567WT/28), that features an inline microphone for $10 more.
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21 of 22

Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125

They don't sound quite as good as the cheaper ErgoFit RP-HJE120, but they have an integrated one-button remote/microphone and cost a mere $11.
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22 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET

Yamaha EPH-30

The Yamaha EPH-30 Inner Ear Headphones sound great for their price. And users seem to like the step-down EPH-20, which retails for $10 less (around $20).

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