The best value in-ear headphones: AKG Y20U
If you need to replace old headphones with earbuds in the same price range, you should get the AKG Y20U. After looking at many headphones in this price range, considering 244, and testing 108 with our panel of audio experts, I am confident that the AKG Y20U is the best product for this range. You will find the headphone comfortable. They provide a one-button remote and mic. Also, they sound better than the price tag and might lead you to believe.
- This round of testing may be more difficult than in years past, but that is a great thing. You may find plenty of terrible cheap headphones, but the decent-sounding in-ears surprised us. The AKG Y20U came out on top because it hit the sweet spots. It sounds great even better than my previous picks. It fit every one of the panelists and cost only $30 at the time of writing. Also, that’s an alternative of Apple EarPods since their sound quality is superior.
- The Y20U provides more depth to its sound than other picks in this category to date. It has boosted bass. But the result is pleasant and does not overwhelm the highs or muddy up the mids. You need notice oomph to an intense bass line. However, do not lose detail in the vocals or guitars as the highs are also elevated. Unlike with other headphones, their highs are not sizzling or piercing. Also, they do not make voices sibilant. Many competitors in the tests struggled with that issue. The Y20U headphones serve pop, hip-hop and rock well, but I jammed out to some Strauss and they held up just fine.
- The fit is low-profile and secure. Whereas other designs stick straight out from your ear, the Y20U set curve and tuck in against your outer ear. So, the tips may not bear the brunt of stabilization. And you do not need to adjust the Y20U in your ears in the frequent way when you walk.
- The Y20U provides a single-button mic or remote. This spec comes with a small coin-purse-style case. It often has fun colors (teal, yellow, and gray).
The best-sounding option with an iOS-compatible remote/mic: Brainwavz Delta
- If you need a cheap in-ear pair with an iOS-compatible mic, or the absence of volume control is a dealbreaker for you, Brainwavz Delta is the best option. The panelist Brent Butterworth is the only headphones under $25 that do not sound like cheap headphones. The bass with a slight bump in the right area adds a lively kick to the beat. The highs are detailed and clear and the mids are not tiny. Most kind of music sounds well on the items.
- Finding a right fit may be easier, as the Delta comes with a pair of Comply foam tips and three sizes of silicone tips as well. Brainwavz has isolated iOS- and Android- compatible three-button remote options. So, make sure to choose the right format when you check out.
- What made this ear set lose out to the AKG pair this time? It is the sound. The AKG set provides you with a more three-dimensional sense of sonic space and depth. It does not mean the Brainwavz headphones are not good. It’s that because they were released and the overall competition has improved. While you never ran into breakage issues, Brainwavz is good at replacing headphones that have ended up crapping out. You should hear the readers who have experienced problems. Then you may understand how frustrating that is.
- In this price range, manufacturers often compete to squeeze more performance out of cheaper components. So, controlling the build quality may be a daunting challenge. I’ll talk more about this topic later, but any cheap set of headphones may break. As you know, it’s the nature of cheap electronics. If the Delta set dies, you should get an alternative pair from Brainwavz. But it may take about a week from the first email to when you buy your new one. You should remember that when wondering if you need a volume control on cheap headphones’ remote.
The best sound for the least money: Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit
- If you want to spend the least amount and get quality sound, you cannot take the Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit. These headphones hold up well, so you should put them in the budget choice. For panelists, this earset was the favorite in the $13-and-under category. The RP-TCM125 offer a nice overall balance with mellow, airy highs, but not dominating bass. It may sound as good listening to acoustic guitar as it does with rock and hip-hop. Unlike with most designs in this price range, nothing muddies, nothing pieces: each frequency works well with the others. This set does not give the bass quality of the AKG or the depth of field, but it is great for $13 price range. The ErgoFit headphones have a single-button mic and remote. And they come in different colors as well!