Top five best cheap headphones for 2021
Top-end headphones can be very expensive, but there are plenty of pairs for less than £50 that do the job just as well. Below, we list the top-scoring headphones that are available for less than £50 – regardless of whether they are in-ear, on-ear or over-ear models.
They may not all be Best Buys, but they certainly give some of the premium models a run for their money. Importantly, all these headphones deliver good sound quality – the cheaper cost usually reflects a lack of features, such as wireless Bluetooth connection, noise cancelling and microphones.
Best headphones under £50
Pricing and recommendations correct as of June 2021.
Cheap headphones to avoid
A bad pair of headphones aren't really worth having at all. They'll be so uncomfortable for your ears that you won't want to listen for long and your music will sound terrible, with a lack of detail and boomy bass. To help you avoid making a costly mistake on your next purchase, we've rounded up three of the worst models we've seen in our testing.
Cheap and cheerful headphones
A low-cost pair of headphones doesn't have to be rubbish. In fact, while more money will get you fancy features, such as noise cancelling or wireless Bluetooth connection, it often won't get you better sound quality.
The ingredients for a good-sounding pair of headphones are actually very simple. One of our Best Buy on-ear pairs uses a design that's essentially been unchanged for 50 years, but for around £30 you can get your hands on a product that will sound as good as many that cost hundreds.
Having said that, there are some things that you should watch out for with cheaper pairs. The main thing is build quality. Flimsy plastic and thin cables will be more likely to break when you accidentally yank the cable out or drop your headphones.
We rate the durability of all the headphones we test, so you can be sure you're getting a pair that are built to last, rather than a cheap rush job.