Best cheap running headphones in 2020

The best cheap running headphones are usually the ones that offer a great fitness experience at an unbeatable price. Affordable Bluetooth options abound, and wired earbuds are still available if you still own a smartphone that has a headphone jack (we don’t discriminate at Tom’s Guide). But which ones are actually worth more than what their markdown price suggests?

Since you’re going to work up a sweat with these headphones, it’s highly recommended you own a pair with sweat and water resistance. Energetic sound is a given as well. You may even stumble upon models with cool features like programmed presets to enhance audio, digital assistant support for hands-free operation, and built-in virtual trainers that log your fitness activity.

After many months of testing, we’ve discovered some awesome headphones and earbuds from a variety of manufacturers, including Jabra, Anker, JLAB, Sol Republic, Sony, and heritage brands like Koss.

From everlasting danglers to waterproof IEMs, if you’re looking for a reliable audio workout companion at a bargain price, we advise you start here. Let’s get you warmed up with a quick look at the best cheap running headphones.

What are the best cheap running headphones?

For every Beats Powerbeats Pro, there is a JLab JBuds Air True Wireless, superb true wireless sport buds that squeeze lots of functionality and warm sound into a tiny, sporty package. They also happen to sit atop our best cheap running headphones list. We love the fast setup process and how quick they automatically pair when enabling Bluetooth mode, and the cleverly designed charging case with integrated USB cable, which spares you from having to carry around any extra wires.

Our runner up is the Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro, fitness-centric Bluetooth earphones praised for their practicality and sturdiness. We consider them the best cheap wireless running headphones for their stellar comfort and fit, as well as their impressive sound profile, which is bass-forward, but also leaves room for mids and highs to shine. The 10-hour battery is also fantastic for exercisers who need extra playtime to get through two-a-days. 

For standard wired running headphones, we’re fond of the Koss FitClips KSC32i, a super-affordable choice that is priced under $20 and delivers solid overall performance. Another standout pair that gets the job done is the Sony MDR-AS200 Active Sports Headphones, which features a unique design for stable fitting and sounds way too good for their asking price; it’s as low as $7.49 on Amazon. And there are several more models available for cheap to meet your fitness needs.

These are the ones we selected to represent our expert picks, each one designed specifically for running, and to save you money. Gear up, as we break down the best cheap running headphones under $50.

The best cheap running headphones under $50 now

JLab JBuds Air True (Image credit: JLAB)

1. JLab JBuds Air True Wireless

Best cheap running headphones overall

Size: 1.8 x 3 x 1.6 inches | Weight: 0.17 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours (18 hours with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Water Resistant: Yes