Best Earbuds Under $30 of 2016

It can be hard to find good quality headphones that do not cost a fortune, but every music lover knows and expects to be replacing the headphones that come with their phone or device. The problem with planning to replace the factory standard earbuds is the vast number of choices for inexpensive replacements. What is the difference between frequency, impedance, and sensitivity – and why do I need to know what these are?

You have come to the right place to get your questions answered quickly and easily. The buyer’s guide below gives you the information you need in order to find a good pair of earbuds that are still affordable. These are the top six choices on the market today for the best earbuds under 30 dollars.

Things to Consider

  • Volume. The best pair of earbuds does not necessarily mean the set with the highest volume ranges. See sensitivity below for more information on what to look for to determine volume capabilities.
  • Driver Size. The larger the drivers, the richer the sound you will get. Take a good look at the drivers section for detailed information.
  • Audio Quality. Keep in mind that audio quality is different for every person depending on the type of music that you most listen to, and what you look for most in listening quality. Check out the detailed information in the specs category to get a better understanding of what specs are most important to you.

Guide to the Best Earbuds Under 30 Bucks

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1. Panasonic RP-HJE120 ErgoFit In-Ear Headphones Stereo Earbuds (2-Pack, Black)9 mm4.5
2. Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 Never Tangle Earbuds Featuring ComfortFit2 Technology, Glow in the Dark10 mm4.3
3. Sennheiser CX200 Twist-to-Fit Earbuds9 mm4.3
4. New Original Gold Xiaomi 2nd Piston Earphone Ii Headphone Headset Earbud with Remote & Mic for SmartphoneStandard4.2
5. MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones with Memory Wire (Black)9 mm3.9
6. Alpatronix EX100 High Performance In-Ear Headphones with Built-in Mic / Tangle-Free Wired Headset Earbuds8 mm3.8

What Do the Specs Mean?

  • Frequency. Sound is measured in a frequency called hertz. Speakers will deliver the best bass to the lowest hertz, so that means that you will get a lot deeper bass from a pair of earbuds that start out at 20hz compared to earbuds that have a minimum range of 60hz. Conversely, for treble, higher hertz means more treble. The human ear can only hear up to about 20khz, though, so any pair with a higher kilohertz range will not make much of a difference in what you can hear.
  • Impedance. Headphones run on electricity, and electricity creates a hiss like sound. This is due to the vibration from the frequency of the electricity. To counteract this sound so you only hear music through the headphones, resistance is necessary. Impedance is the amount of resistance measured in ohms. The rule of thumb is the higher the impedance, the better sound you will get out of the headphones.
  • Sensitivity. You will find that sensitivity is measured in decibels and sound pressure levels. The lowest measure of sound that is still audible is 0 decibels. When looking for a good pair of earbuds, anything above 85 decibels can be dangerous and cause hearing loss. This is a good case where more is not always better, so if you choose a pair of earbuds that have a higher sensitivity than 85 decibels, be sure to monitor the volume level and do not use them at their max volume continuously.
  • Driver Unit. If you are looking to boost bass, drivers will be important in your search for great earbuds since they give a richer sound and really boost bass. The drivers on this guide range from 8mm to 10mm, with the exception of the Xiaomi Pistons, which use a different type of driver made of beryllium alloy. If you’re looking for the pair of earbuds under $30 with the biggest drivers, then the Zipbuds are the best choice with their larger 10mm drivers.
  • Audio Quality. Audio quality is a combination of frequency, impedance, sensitivity, and driver size. To get the absolute best audio quality for less than $30, our top pick is the Panasonic PR-HJE120.

Top 3 Contenders Reviews

1. Panasonic RP-HJE120

The best bang for your buck with the highest audio quality is definitely going to be the Panasonic PR-HJE120 earbuds. This is our top pick for the best earbuds under 30 bucks.

If it is color you crave, these headphones have a lot to offer as well. These earbuds come with three pairs of soft earpads to customize fit and comfort for each individual.

With a drive unit of 9mm, and impedance of 16 ohms, and a frequency response ranging from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, these earbuds will perform with the best highs and lows of dynamic listening. Whether the type of music you want to listen to is mostly dubstep or mainly classical, the specs on these headphones have everything you need for the best listening experience available in your price range.

2. Zipbuds JUICED 2.0

If comfort and design are your top concerns, then take a look at Zipbuds. The patented zipper cabling never tangles, and looks really cool, too.

These earbuds are angled to help them stay in your ears without sacrificing comfort or audio quality. Have you ever been looking for your headphones in the dark? You will never have another problem locating your headphones at a dark campsite or in a room with no lights on, because these glow in the dark!

They come with three sets of custom ear tip sizes to fit your specific needs. These earbuds have the largest drivers in this list at 10mm, with a frequency between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz, an impedance of 16 ohms, and a sensitivity of 100 decibels. The level of sensitivity requires you to use these with a little more caution, since you get an additional 15 decibels above the 85 decibel range that is widely accepted as save.

3. Sennheiser CX200

The Sennheiser earbuds are one of our top three choices for earbuds under $30.

This pair has the highest sensitivity at 110 decibels, a standard impedance of 16 ohms, a frequency range between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz, and a modest driver size of 9mm. For this price range users have given good reviews, however, these earbuds are lacking just a little bit of what the above pairs have in sound quality.

This pair of in-ear headphones do come with three pairs of ear adaptors as well, making comfort and fit a lot easier to customize. These earbuds do very well concerning passive noise isolation. The bass you will find with this pair of headphones is not as dynamic or pounding as some other pairs, so if you are looking for a music listening experience that does not require a pounding bass sound, these will work great for the price.

Comments (1)
  1. Bruce November 23, 2015

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