Amazon's Bestsellers, Ranked
Not all cheap headphones are created equal. That's why we purchased 10 of Amazon's best-selling headphones under $30 and listened ... and listened ... and listened, all while testing for comfort and useful features. One thing we learned, cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad. From wireless to over-ear and everything in between, here are our rankings from best to worst. But if you're looking for something a bit more premium, check out our other roundups including best headphones, best active noise cancelling and best cheap earbuds.
Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones (4 stars)
The Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones deftly deliver light, airy vocals with sparkling strings, crisp percussion and booming lows, depending on the song. We found that on very-bass-heavy tracks, the low end could get a bit muddy, which overshadowed the rest of the instrumentals. Despite the bulky design, the headphones are surprisingly light and come with a 1/4-mm jack in case you want to plug them into a stereo system, mixing console or guitar amp.
OneOdio Studio Monitor Headphones (4 stars)
Powered by 50mm neodymium drivers, the OneOdio Studio serves up hi-def audio and great comfort at a killer price. Lows, mids, and highs are well-balanced, offering precise sound reproduction. The design is sleek and solid as well. Noise isolation is another area of strength for these cans, as the over-ear cups create a tight seal to block out high-frequency noises. At 10.6 ounces, they aren’t light, but make up for the extra heft with remarkable sonics.
JVC HAS160B Flats (3.5 stars)
Named for their ability to fold flat, the JVC HAS160B Flats are glossy and easy to stow in an awaiting bag. However, I worry about the skinny frame snapping. The cans still managed to produce sharp percussion and clear strings. However, on some songs, the vocals sounded distant, with boomy, diffused bass.
Jarv Joggerz Pro (3 stars)
Made for fitness-focused listeners, the Jarv Joggerz Pro's band wraps around the back of your neck for comfortable, unobtrusive usage when you're exercising. To adjust the volume or pause or skip a track, you just press the controls built into the right ear cup. The headphones were no worse for wear after our workout, and delivered clean highs and mids throughout. However, the bass on some songs was a bit boomy, which overwhelmed the detail.
MPOW H7 Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones (3 stars)
Bass heads that want some punch to their sound, along with extended battery life (13 hours on a single charge), will find plenty of value in the MPOW H7. These over-ear cans come equipped with 40mm drivers that cater most to bass-heavy genres like EDM and Hip Hop, producing powerful lows that will rattle your skull. The comfy earpads also create a strong seal to prevent sound from bleeding. Unfortunately, distortion becomes a problem when listening at max volume. And while big on audio, the H7 isn’t big on build quality, as the cheap plastic construction feels too flimsy for large headphones.
Koss KTXPRO1 (2.5 stars)
Because they use an open-ear design, the Koss KTXPRO1 headphones should probably be reserved for listening at home or in a quiet area. Despite a cramped soundstage on certain tracks, the Koss consistently produced clear mids and highs with warm, full bass and solid detail. Despite their rather cheap-looking appearance, I found the headphones quite comfortable, especially the stretchy silicone headband.
LilGadgets Connect+ (2.5 stars)
The LilGadgets Connect+ are made for kids, but they can pass as adult headphones in a pinch. Thanks to dual cable jacks, you can share your jams with a friend. Limited to a kid-friendly 93 decibels, audio on the headphones is congested, particularly on the bass. The mids and highs are also a bit cooler than I'd like, but they'll do in a pinch.
Panasonic RP-HT21 (2 stars)
The ear cups on the Panasonic RP-HT21 are so small, they barely fit on my freakishly tiny ears. Even worse, I had to remove my relatively thin phone case to plug the cans into my headphone jack. They're also so frail, I worry about placing them in a purse or bag. Despite the design's shortcomings, the headphones produce clear highs, warm bass and clean vocals across genres.
Koss KPH7G (1.5 stars)
Available in several colors, the Koss KPH7G headphones work as both headphones and a fashion statement. Just like a runway model, the cans are thin, and we were constantly worried about inadvertently breaking them. Despite their frail frame, the KPH7G headphones managed to deliver loud, though rather hollow, audio.
iJoy Logo Wireless Headphones (1.5 stars)
At the bottom we have the iJoy Logo – decent-sounding cans with unreliable features and a dull design. Depending on the music genres (hip-hop and rock, for example), they’re capable of producing quality mids and lows. The bundled auxiliary cable also improves clarity, but not by much. Just don’t expect great comfort or battery life, nor the built-in EQ and FM modes to function properly, if at all.