Any recs for decent in-ear headphones (preferably under 50 bucks)?

My cat chewed through my headphones. They are dead and gone. My fault, I left them out, etc. etc., but AAAAAAAAARRRRRGH! :mad:

So anyway, I specified in-ear headphones because I’m fairly headache-prone and I don’t want something pressing into the side of my head. And under 50 dollars because, well, I can’t really justify spending so much on headphones right now.

Any ideas, Dopers?

You should be able to find decent in-ear headphones for under 10 bucks, if I understand correctly what you’re looking for—though there are also some really crappy cheap headphones out there too. I haven’t done a lot of comparing myself, but these and these have a lot of good reviews.

Oh, that looks promising. Actually, the Panasonic ones look familiar to me, I feel like I’ve come across them before.


The easy answer to this USED to be JVC Marshmallows. They were $15-20, really comfy, and had very good sound. Unfortunately, they redesigned them a few years back and, while still comfy, the sound is mediocre.

I really, really like the Skullcandy Titans; they’re pretty close to $50 but have a nicer build quality than most other inexpensive in-ears (since they’re metal) and I really like the sound quality on them.

Another possibility would be Koss PortaPros. These ARE on-ear phones, but instead of pressing against your ears, they have a soft temple pad above your ear and actual pressure against your ears is adjustable. They’re the most comfortable on-ears I’ve ever tried, and the sound quality is phenomenal for ~$40.

I have about 5 pair of the:


They’re about 10 bucks and I stow a pair in my carry-on luggage, my car, my gym bag and other places. They have totally adequate sound and they fit my ears perfectly. I run with them all the time and sweat a ton and they almost never slip out.

I have had very good experience with Skill Candy as far as performance although the construction of the plug wasn’t as robust as I would have liked, one channel went out. I currently use V Moda headphones. They include a mic to use as a headset for phones (except iPhones). I got them at Best Buy for around $30. Performance is great and the cable sheath is braided rather than plastic coating.

I did a little searching and now I see why you specify under $50. I am quite astonished that people are buying in-ear headphones for over $300. If you call something “audiophile quality” can you automatically charge that much more?

I found some that I really like near the checkout counter at TJ Maxx, for $3.99.

I bought a pair of the Panasonic ones a few months ago and I’ve been quite happy with them. They’re comfortable and the cord doesn’t tangle easily like the last pair of ear buds I had.

I mainly listen to podcasts, but when I’ve listened to music it sounds decent. Probably wouldn’t satisfy a die-hard audiophile, but hey, 6 bucks.

I like Tweaked Audio, myself. Small mail-order company but ship super-fast and have a limited lifetime warranty. (Dunno if that covers annoying cat sabotage.) I ordered their “Parkour” model for $25 a few months back and love them.

There are big differences in sound quality between different headphones and in-ear phones. (Although the more expensive ones aren’t always better.) I’m not familiar with that Sony model so I can’t say if it’s worth it. Most of the headphones you hear recommendations for on the Internet are made by companies that specialize in headphones and sometimes make microphones as well.

With full-size headphones there are increases in quality at least to the point of a few hundred dollars (assuming you buy the best at each given price point.) Maybe higher than that but that’s out of my price range. With in-ear headphones I’ve never heard any models that sell more than about $100. My favorites are the Apple In-Ear headphones that cost $80 from Apple but I got a pair unused on Craigslist for $35. In some respects their measured performance matches others that cost hundreds of dollars.

Love the Panasonic ones. They seem to be indestructible. I bought two pairs from Amazon because they were so cheap and so I would have a spare when one fell apart. I generally keep one on my nightstand and one in my purse. Both sets are going strong.

Thanks, folks! Just bought myself two pairs of the Panasonic ones (since the ones the cat chewed were technically my boyfriend’s, so he needs a new pair), but I’ll definitely keep this thread bookmarked for the future.

I’ve liked and used the Sony MDR-828 for years. Cheap, good sound, and fit my ears well. The case that they come with is useless, but who cares about that?

For anyone that wants a higher-priced, higher-quality option, these Logitechs sound fantastic for $80. From reading the reviews they may be a bit delicate though, I haven’t had any issues.