Whether it’s to listen to music, play games, attend a few calls or just watch videos and shows on your phone, a pair of earbuds are pretty much a necessity nowadays. With the advent of cheap manufacturing and ease of access to technology, it has become increasingly common for inexpensive tech to be readily available in the market. Even though they’re cheap and readily available, they provide a lot of value for money and produce a decent sound output. That is precisely why we can find a plethora of inexpensive earbuds available online.
These earbuds come with a wide array of features and specs, which need to be compared with one another to reach a purchase decision for most users. Considering how there’s a ton of these earbuds available, we have decided to make a list of the best earbuds under $20, and selected 5 of these pairs to best suit the needs of most users. Reading through this list will help users make a smart, informed decision and buy a great pair of earbuds at an extremely affordable price.
We start off this list with one of the best sounding earbuds under $20, the KLIM Fusion Earbuds. These earbuds come at an affordable price but have good features and great performance, considering what they’re worth. The memory foam earbuds come with noise cancellation which provides a superior audio experience for users.
The company offers a 5 year warranty, but still the durability of these earbuds is questionable and some users may not remain satisfied with the earbuds after a few months of usage. The Fusion Earbuds produce fantastic sound quality, so much so that if you were an audiophile and heard a few songs on these earbuds you’d expect them to be worth about twice the price they retail for.
However, their bass reproduction could be better and doesn’t mirror the bass of high-end earbuds. It can get muddy and overpowering at times, depending on the extent of the precision of how the earbuds fit in your ear. The overall sound signature is v-shaped and amplifies the highs and the lows, making it a dynamic listening experience, which some audiophiles might want to avoid if they prefer natural sound.
The earbuds come with 4 replacement earbuds which you can change and adjust according to whichever suits the size of your ear the best. Moreover, the earbuds also have a microphone built-in to the wire, which is great in this price range. Not only do the memory foam earbuds improve noise isolation, they are super comfortable even after long periods of use. The company offers 5 years of limited warranty, but some users complain about the durability of the earbuds and it is a valid concern. The variance in the build quality can lead to a disappointing purchase at times.
Overall, the KLIM Fusion earbuds are a fantastic pair of earbuds and are well worth their price tag. The audio quality is great and it has a few good features which make it worth every buck. However, its build quality varies from piece to piece, and if you find yourself with a bad pair, yours might not last more than a few months, which will have you going through the arduous process of claiming warranty. If you do get a good pair and they do last, these earbuds are a steal for the price and we strongly recommend you give them a shot.
The second pair of earbuds on this list is the KZ ES4. These earbuds are uniquely designed and are unlike most earbuds you’ll come across in the sub-$20 range The sound quality of these earbuds is fantastic considering its price range, owing to its dual drivers which help generate a well balanced, dynamic sound stage with good separation and powerful bass.
The highs can be slightly tinny, but that only happens when the earbuds don’t fit perfectly into your ear, in which case you should consider using the memory foam tips instead of the silicone ones to enhance your audio experience with these earbuds.
They have a dual driver setup, with one dynamic and one balanced armature hybrid driver, which allows the dynamic to produce powerful bass which is not muddy or overwhelming, and also produces good mids and highs with decent instrument separation. These earbuds do not, however, come with a built-in microphone, which may be an issue for those who want to use these as their daily drivers since they won’t be able to talk on call, or to communicate with their teammates when gaming.
The build of these earbuds is quite different. They feature a clear shell case. Under the transparent cover, there is a resin designed logo with the name of the earbuds on it, which makes it aesthetically pleasing. These earbuds fit in an unconventional way, but this helps create a good fit with your ear and reduces the chances of the earbuds falling out or loosening their fit when performing an activity.
The cable is detachable and in case it gets damaged, can easily be replaced separately without needing to buy another pair of earbuds altogether. The build quality is durable enough for the sub $20 range and since the company offers a one year limited warranty, durability shouldn’t be a concern when buying these earbuds.
Overall, the KZ ES4 earbuds come with a unique design which is aesthetically pleasing and generates an impressive audio experience. The dual driver setup produces high quality sound with a powerful bass and well balanced soundstage. The sound signature and experience depend highly on the fit of the tips, therefore the user should use the tips that suit their ears perfectly. Memory foam tips are recommended with these earbuds if the silicone ones don’t fit well. All in all, it’s a great choice for an inexpensive pair of earbuds.
The third product in our list is the JBL Endurance RUN earbuds. These wired earbuds are perfect for sports and gym usage. Whether it’s a morning run, an evening workout or a couple of exercises in the gym, the Endurance RUN earbuds are perfect for the job.
The Endurance RUN earbuds feature the signature JBL sound, which is to say that they’re simply very good in what they do. The audio signature is dynamic but doesn’t veer far from a natural sound signature. Its bass reproduction is powerful but not overwhelming or muddy. The mids and highs are represented well and do not sound tinny or flat in any way.
The RUN earbuds don’t offer the best sound but they do offer a reliable, comfortable and durable experience. They come with a decent built-in mic, but do not offer many control options. In fact, there’s only one button which can be used to attend/decline calls or play/pause music. It lacks volume control buttons on the earbud itself which can be slightly bothersome but it isn’t a big deal in any way whatsoever.
This comfort and durability is signified by its high quality build. The RUN features TwistLock and FlexSoft technologies. TwistLock keeps the earbuds in place for greater noise isolation, while FlexSoft enables users to wear the earbuds in-ear or behind the ear, whichever provides more comfort.
The soft silicon body and the metallic frame are durable and sustain a lot of wear and tear, easily lasting months, if not years. The earbuds also feature metallic locking between the earbuds so they stick together when not in use, eliminating the entanglement of the wire and keeping the earbuds safe. Since these earbuds are IPX5, sweat proof, there’s no concern about them shorting out after getting slightly soaked in sweat post-workout.
All in all, the JBL Endurance RUN are a fantastic pair of wired sports earbuds that provide good sound quality, amazing comfort and reliable durability. They’re an easy recommendation for anyone who needs a pair of inexpensive earbuds to listen to music, podcasts or simply attend calls during a workout session, while running or even cycling.
Our fourth product in this list is for those who want wireless earbuds at an affordable price. The LETSCOM U8I Bluetooth Headphones offer to do exactly that. They are Bluetooth wireless earbuds which have a range of about 10 meters. They can be used anywhere, anytime, regardless of weather and what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or you’re soaked in sweat while working out, these earbuds are waterproof and won’t malfunction even when submerged in water a meter deep.
The U8I are a great pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds. Their range extends about 33 feet and on average it’s quite reliable. The Bluetooth 4.1 is power efficient, so there’s minimal loss in power when using the earbuds, which results in good battery timing. The earbuds can play music and listen to calls for about six to eight hours, which is great considering the price tag of these earbuds.
These earbuds support high res audio, the sound quality is decent and has no distortions in any way, but the bass is slightly muted and underwhelming, which won’t sound too well when listening to music for most people, but it’s more than acceptable.
In regard to build quality and features, the U8I is surprisingly good. These wireless earbuds are IPX7 waterproof, which means they’re not only splash proof like the JBL Endurance RUN earbuds, they’re waterproof, which basically means they’re safe even when submerged one meter deep under water. The in-built microphone is more than decent, it’s above average. It features active noise cancellation which makes these earbuds one of the best for attending calls.
Overall, the LETSCOM U8I Bluetooth Headphones are the perfect pair for users who want to attend calls on the go without any fuss whatsoever. They’re quite durable but don’t provide the greatest fit or sound quality. They do, however, have great build quality and functionality. The microphone is great for this price tag and so is the overall value for money, making it one of the highly recommended, sub-$20 earbuds for those who want wireless earbuds.
The last product in our list is the Skullcandy Ink’d Plus. If you’re an audiophile or even if you’ve been buying headphones or earbuds for a few years, you’ll be familiar with Skullcandy. The Ink’d Plus are a good pair of earbuds from Skullcandy that are aesthetically pleasing, surprisingly cheap and comfortable.
The Ink’d Plus come in a few flashy colors, all of which are minimalistic but aesthetically pleasing in their design and outlook. The design is a classic for earbuds with their round tips and simple wire with a triple button control setup, as well as a mic built in the wire.
The audio quality is good and slightly dynamic. The sound signal isn’t flat or natural but it isn’t overly amplified either, so it strikes a good balance. Its bass is deep but isn’t overpowering, while the mids and highs are well represented, as you’d expect from a Skullcandy product. The company provides two replacement gel tips for added comfort and a good fit to improve its noise isolation, which enhances the audio experience for users.
Its build quality is a bit dodgy, with the housing and cable built from plastic and rubber. You wouldn’t be surprised if it wore down and ran into issues after a month or two of use, but, considering the sound quality it offers and the features it has, at this price point, even if you use these earbuds as disposable earbuds for a couple of months, they’re pretty great for their quality and value.
In conclusion, the Skullcandy Ink’d Plus earbuds are a great choice for high quality earbuds which sound great and have good features but don’t exactly have the best durability. If you wish to use these earbuds for a few months and then get a new pair, they’re a great choice and can be the perfect choice for you.