Best Cheap Headphones 2024

Head towards any online retailer and you’ll find plenty of affordable headphones with very high ratings, but can you trust that these pairs are the best cheap headphones available?

That’s where we come into the equation. We’ve tested plenty of affordable headphones, and to help make the search easier for the best cheap headphones, we’ve highlighted several pairs we think are worth of consideration from on-ears, to over-ears and true wireless models.

When we review headphones we look at many factors: comfort, portability, wireless connectivity, features, and sound quality and give our honest opinion of how good they are. The headphones on this list are we efforts we found scored consistently well.

And as these are the best cheap headphones, we’ve ensured to only pick efforts below £100. That means some of our favourites miss out, but we’ve highlighted alternatives for those who can spend a more on a new pair of headphones.

If you’re looking for more options, we have a variety lists that cover the best wireless earbuds and best noise cancelling earbuds, to best running headphones and the overall best headphones.

Best cheap headphones at a glance

How we test

How we test headphones

Not just anybody can review a pair of headphones. You don’t need superhuman hearing to tell what’s good, but you do need to know what to listen out for.

Our headphone tests are done by some of the best and most prolific reviewers in the industry, with years of experience listening to everything from the plasticky freebie earbuds that come with your smartphone, to five-figure beasts of glass and marble. We love music and we want your tunes to sound good, too.

So we listen every pair of headphones we can get on or in our ears. We use a variety of sources, from basic MP3s playing on a laptop to high-quality tracks on dedicated hi-res audio players.

Our test tracks are wide-ranging to give headphones a thorough challenge. They’re also familiar, so we know every track backwards, and we know which bits might trouble the lesser performers.

We listen again and again, and we do that for weeks in case the sound changes – because it usually does. Then we’ll listen to similarly priced rivals and come up with a verdict that reflects the performance and features for the money.

SoundMagic P23BT

Best budget on-ears


  • Refined and detailed sound
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Long battery life
  • Cheap


  • Can pinch on the ears
  • Not what you’d call stylish

In the past SoundMagic have been specialists with affordable wired earphones, but they’ve been making inroads with wireless headphones, and at £49.99, the P23BT are another pair that offer excellent value.

These are on-ear design, which comes with a few inescapable issues. One we experienced is the headphones can pinch around the ear, resulting in a little bit of discomfort after prolonged use. Another is that noise from the outside world leaks through, but some may actually like awareness of what’s around them.

However, their compact, lightweight and foldable frame makes them, in our opinion, easy to wear and even easier to stow away when not in use. They integrate physical and touch controls, which work surprisingly well in terms of their responsiveness. They headphones also have a 3.5mm jack in case you want to connect to a wired source.

They are short of features but what is provided is very good, especially for the price. Battery life is claimed to be around 54-60 hours, which is long though not as extensive as the Marshall Major IV‘s 80+ hours. They also feature aptX-HD Bluetooth for playback of wireless Hi-res audio streams from the likes of Tidal and Qobuz. By comparison, the Sony WH-CH520 have Bluetooth multipoint, though they don’t support higher quality Bluetooth streaming.

It’s the sound quality that impressed us most when reviewing the P23BT. It’s well balanced, with a detailed midrange, a big soundstage, and a clear, bright high frequency playback, plus bass that offers a decent amount of depth. They sound clearer and more detailed than the WH-CH520, and more balanced the the Major IV, though if you like plenty of bass with your music, you might want to give the Marshall pair a closer look.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: SoundMagic P23BT

Sony WH-CH720N

Best budget noise-cancelling headphones


  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Affordable price
  • Solid noise-cancelling
  • Fun, punchy audio
  • Long battery life


  • Sound profile is a bit bassy
  • Could benefit from extra lashings of detail and clarity
  • Average call quality

The WH-CH720N are part of Sony’s refresh of its affordable budget range of headphones, and we feel they offer a strong overall performance for the asking price.

Build quality is decent even though the headphones’ frame and earcups have been made from recycled plastic, with no noticeable creaks or groans when we bent the frame. The use of plastic also keeps the headphones lightweight at 192g. We didn’t experience periods of discomfort wearing the headphones, thanks to the use of padding on the headband and earcups.

Battery life can go as far as 40 hours from our tests with noise-cancelling on, less than the SoundMagic P23BT, but it does boast more convenient features. They include active noise-cancellation and transparency mode, as well as Bluetooth multipoint, app support (which provides more customisation) and voice assistants in the form of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The noise-cancellation is solid for the price, focusing on culling low frequency sounds and clearing away ambient noise so it’s less of a bother. We wouldn’t say that these headphones clear away every noise they come across, but they’ll make the daily commutes and journeys in cities feel less chaotic and disruptive.

The sound quality is similar to the WH-CH520 on-ears in that it takes on a smooth and bassy tone. Bass is punchy, the midrange is clear and detailed, and the upper frequencies and bright and clear enough to have some impact. The Final UX300 offer a more insightful performance (at least with its noise-cancelling off), but they aren’t as affordable, nor do they boast as many features for day-to-day use either.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Sony WH-CH720N

Earfun Air Pro 3

Best budget ANC true wireless


  • Strong noise-cancellation
  • Solid call quality
  • Robust wireless connection
  • Enjoyable audio
  • Snug, comfortable fit


  • Battery life doesn’t quite reach claimed levels
  • Audio lacks dynamism, not the most detailed performance

We’ve seen more and more true wireless adopt noise-cancelling for less than £100, and the EarFun Air Pro 3 are one of the best examples we’ve tested in terms of performance and price.

They are stacked with an impressive number of features for their £89.99 RRP. There’s support for the Bluetooth 5.3 and aptX Adaptive, which aids the EarFun’s impressive wireless connection in busy signal areas. Call quality is solid with decent voice pick-up (though it could be better by being a bit louder), and battery life is good although not as long as EarFun claims in our tests (five hours compared to the claimed seven).

We were very impressed by the noise-cancellation, better than the award-winning Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, and one of the strongest we’ve tested below £100. The design helps with its snug fit, with the hybrid ANC thinning out people’s voices and dealing well with public transport and larger gatherings of people. It won’t clear out every noise, and we did find on the Underground it struggled with loud noises, but upping the volume helps in reducing the intensity of external sounds.

Like the Sony WH-CH720N the the EarFun Air Pro 3 have a bassy register that gives them a richer presentation. It’s not the sharpest, clearest or most detailed audio performance we’ve heard at this price.

Nonetheless, in terms of features and the value the Air Pro 3 offer, they’re an impressive pair of budget ANC wireless earbuds. There are similarly priced/cheaper options in the Urbanears Juno and Ugreen HiTune T3 but we feel the EarFun offer better noise-cancellation and better sound than either pair.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: EarFun Air Pro 3

Jabra Elite 3

Best budget true wireless for comfort

If there’s one complain we’ve heard many times about true wireless, is that they don’t always fit in the ear. With the Jabra Elite 3, we don’t think you’ll have as much difficulty trying to fit them in or staying in the ear.

Jabra has developed a reputation of developing headphones that not only fit in the ear but are comfortable to wear as well, and that’s what the Elite 3 offer. They’re a lightweight, unobtrusive true wireless that offer a fantastic seal thanks to their shape. A range of ear-tips can help make the fit and seal better for your ear, and with an IP55 rating they’re resistant to water and dust. Physical buttons also mean a tacile, responsive feedback from your button pushes.

Through our testing, we found battery life to best Jabra’s own claims with over eight hours of battery possible on a single charge. With 28 hours in the charging case, there’s plenty of life in these earbuds.

Convenience is provided in Google Fast Pair (for Android users), Spotify Tap, and Alexa support for those who use the voice assistant. There is the HearThrough mode for those in need of more awareness of their surroundings, and we found thta this feature was reasonably effect in distinguishing between various sounds and hearing what was around us.

The sound quality is warm in tone but maintains a good balance across the frequency range, with treble that sparkles, bass that pounds (with the right track), and encouragig levels of clarity and detail. There’s also good levels of dynamism, providing energy to tracks where needed. There’s no support for noise-cancellation, but in terms of audio, we’d put these above the less dynamic EarFun Air Pro 3.

Reviewer: Hannah Davies
Full Review: Jabra Elite 3


What’s the difference between earbuds and earphones?

Technically speaking, earbuds present a one-size fits all body that sits on your ear canal, while earphones come with ear-tips to burrow further into the ear for a better fit.







IP rating

Battery Hours

Wireless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)



Release Date

Model Number

Audio Resolution

Driver (s)

Noise Cancellation?



Frequency Range

Headphone Type

Voice Assistant

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