A headset — earphones or earbuds (or even a single earbud) with a microphone and controls — is a different beast than a set of earbuds or headphones without a mic. For starters, not every set will work with Android when you need to answer calls and adjust the volume. Plus. when products are cheap, there are thousands of choices to wade through — some not all that great. So we chose the best ones.
Monoprice Hi-Fi Reflective Sound Earbuds
They handle calls just fine, fit better than average, and aren't terrible to wear. Best of all, they sound awesome. Their "reflective" design points the drivers away from the ears so the sound reflects back. This keeps your ears from ringing or hurting, even with the enhanced bass response these buds deliver. You need to hear it to believe it.
For the gym
MEE Audio M6B Bluetooth Headphones
These Bluetooth sports headphones check the right boxes if you need a set under $20 with a microphone. Boasting nine-hour battery life and an IPX5 water-resistance rating, these headphones are perfect for someone who is frugal, needs to be wire-free, and likes a good workout.
HTC USonic Adaptic Audio Earphones
Seeing a pair of USB-C earbuds with a mic and a price under $20 is a surprise, but seeing a pair as nifty and versatile as the HTC Usonic is even more of a surprise. These headphones offer a high-resolution DAC to convert standard audio to lossless in a lightweight package. Plus, the audio coming in will be optimized for your ears and outside noise levels.
JLab Audio Metal
JLab's Audio Metal earbuds have a universal mic and music controls, are sweat-resistant, and include seven different pairs of gel comfort cushions to fit almost everyone. Combined with their ergonomic profile, these are some of the best-fitting earbuds you'll find under 20 bucks. They're also tough with a kevlar cable and flex attachment joints.
Awesome for calls
1MORE Piston Fit In-ear Earphones
The 1MORE Piston Earphones are a fantastic choice thanks to the 45-degree angled design, which allows the earbuds to sit better in your ear canal. The in-line mic makes it easy to chat on the phone without much background noise and includes playback controls if you're listening to some tunes.
Want cheap earbuds that you can wear all day? The Panasonic ErgoFit earbuds are great! The sound is decent for music or phone calls, and they aren't the prettiest things to look at. Luckily, whatever the tips are made of is awesome because they fit inside your ear without bugging you along the way.
Skullcandy Ink'd Plus
Although these don't sport a 45-degree angle, the Skullcandy Ink'd Plus promise a noise-isolating fit in part due to the earbud tips themselves. These come in seven different colors to choose from, and you get two extra sets of earbud tips to find your best fit. Skullcandy also offers a two-year warranty if something goes awry.
Samsung Active InEar Headphones
Samsung's Active InEar Headphones used to be included with certain Samsung smartphones, but now you can get them alone. The headphones come with four different interchangeable ear tips, which include a wing-tip to help fit better in your ears. Additionally, the in-line microphone has three buttons, allows you to control phone calls, and is attached to a tangle-free cable.
Durable and reliable
Edifier P210 In-Ear Headphones
Edifier prides itself on providing a great audio experience on a budget and that is further proven by the Edifier P210 headphones. They offer Hi-Fi sound without breaking the bank, along with an inline microphone and music controller, and a one-year warranty in case you need to replace them.
No wires here
Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless
Skullcandy's Jib Plus Wireless earbuds remove the need for any additional wires, along with six hours of battery life and a splash-resistant coating. The headphones also have gel tips that fit into your ear to help keep the earbuds in place and come in three different colors.
Great headphones on a budget
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a set of earbuds that work just the way you want them to work. We've got a selection here that covers all the basics and you'll be sure to find something you like. I like the Monoprice Hi-Fi buds because I dig the sound that comes out of the tiny little things. At just $13 a pair, you don't have to worry too much if you leave them in a cab or airplane.
For those looking for a superb wireless earbud experience, you can't go wrong with the MEE Audio M6B Bluetooth Headphones. Not only do these headphones offer up to nine hours of talk time and 8.5 hours of music playback but also sport a water-resistance rating of IPX5. This makes the M6B Headphones the perfect choice for those looking to get rid of the wires and hit the gym.
Looking for something in a higher price range? Are you looking for something specifically wireless? Headphones and earbuds come in all shapes and sizes, so check out our round-up of the best wireless headphones with microphones.