You can go out and grab a pair of wireless earbuds for several hundred dollars if you want to. However, if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to spend a small fortune on those tiny little devices for your ears, there are plenty of cheap, quality options. Buying a more affordable pair of earbuds is also great for those prone to losing them or looking for a pair to leave in your car or bag as a spare.
You aren’t losing much by saving a lot. These budget wireless earbuds still ditch all the wires, offering Bluetooth instead. Some even tote the aptX codec for your high-quality audio files. If you want to block out the world around you, we’ve included several options with noise cancellation. Battery life is always important, and all of our picks offer a decent amount of juice to rival their more expensive counterparts.
There is an insane amount of wireless earbuds on the market, so we were sure to only include the best you can get for your money. All of our picks come in under $100 and offer a stable wireless connection. Check out our favorites below, you’re bound to find the ideal budget wireless earbuds for you.
TL;DR – These are the Best Budget Wireless Earbuds:
- OnePlus Nord Buds
- SoundPEATS Mini Pro
- JLab Go Air Pop
- Anker Soundcore Life P3
- Tranya T40
- EarFun Air Pro 2
- Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+
1. OnePlus Nord Buds
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds
Impressive sound, solid battery life, and an affordable price – the OnePlus Nord Buds tote all of this and more, making them a hard-to-beat pair of earbuds. With Dolby Atmos support on 12.4mm drivers, you’re in for a crisp, detailed soundscape to immerse yourself in. Three different sound profiles enhance anything from rap to classical, so your favorite music genre is bound to be covered. And you’ll be listening for a while, too, thanks to the seven-hour battery life. There’s even a fast-charging feature, giving you five hours of juice in just 10 minutes.
Somehow for under $40, OnePlus has managed to design sleek, premium-looking earbuds with an ergonomic shape that remain comfortable no matter how long your listening session may be. To amp them up further, an IP55 rating means you can take them on a rainy run or to a sweaty gym session. The Bluetooth 5.2 support makes for a simple and stable connection to all of your devices. And if you plan on giving a friend a call while out on a walk or doing some grocery shopping, you’ll come across nice and clear because of the four-mic design with noise reduction.
2. SoundPEATS Mini Pro
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds Under $50
The SoundPeats Mini Pro may be small, but they’re mighty. For just $30, you get lightweight, comfortable earbuds packing some of the latest technology around, including AI noise cancellation. Now, you’re probably thinking how great can this be in these little headphones, but it might surprise you. They manage to filter out most background noise from the engine of an airplane to the coffee shop chatter. If you need to quickly hear the world around you, there’s an easy-to-activate transparency mode. Speaking of controls, you can also activate smart assistants, switch tracks, adjust volume, and answer calls, all without picking up your phone.
It’s simple to get listening on the SoundPeats Mini Pro. The Bluetooth 5.2 support makes for a seamless and stable connection to your devices. Both AAC and AptX Adaptive codecs are on offer, so you can even rock out to your premium audio files. And the sound on these tiny earbuds is pretty great. You get crisp vocals, a booming bass, and solid tonal balance. If you plan on bursting your eardrums by cranking up the volume to the max, the audio can get a bit distorted.
3. JLab Go Air Pop
Best Wireless Earbuds Under $20
Are you looking for a pair of insanely affordable earbuds with all the basics? Look no further than the JLab Go Air Pop. First off, the battery life will impress with the 8+ hours of playtime and over 24 additional hours available in the compact case, so you can enjoy listening all day at the office or during a long travel day. They’re a good workout companion too with a sweat-resistant IPX4 rating and snug fit.
The JLab Go Air Pop totes a solid audio performance, especially when you consider the price. There are three different EQ presets to choose from while listening, including a mode that pumps up the bass for a bit of heart-thumping or a more balanced sound option. And, you control those settings on-ear, without the need for a companion app. It’s also simple to connect them via Bluetooth to all of your devices. These earbuds lack loads of additional features, and the call quality isn’t the best, but for under $20, they’re hard to beat.
4. Anker Soundcore Life P3
Best Noise-Cancelling Budget Wireless Earbuds
If you’re ready to *discreetly* tune out the rest of the world, you don’t need to snag a pair of noise-canceling headphones. The Anker Soundcore Life P3 earbuds are a perfect option for doing just that, and it helps they’re super affordable, too. These little devices offer up three different ANC levels — transport, indoor, and outdoor. And each one does a solid job at blocking out sound, whether it be the pesky dog barking across the street or the screeching train wheels on the way to work. Also, you can use one of the two transparency modes to quickly hear what’s going on around you. One even focuses solely on vocals, so you can make sure those behind you aren't plotting something against you.
You came for the ANC, but you’ll stay for the superb audio quality and special features. The Anker Soundcore Life P3 earbuds offer up a warm sound with powerful bass. However, it’s easy to further customize your audio with the Soundcore app. On it, you’ll find 22 EQ presets as well as the ability to create your own sound profiles. You can really tune these earbuds to what you’re listening to. And if you’re into mobile gaming, there’s a low latency gaming mode packed in.
5. Tranya T40
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds for Working Out
Sweating it out at the gym or on a run means you need earbuds that stay in place, so you can focus on your form and not finicking around with your headphones for the right fit. The Tranya T40 make this a nonissue. A flexible ear hook along with three sizes of silicone ear caps ensures everyone finds a snug fit. Once on, your ears won’t feel fatigued even after hours of use, which is a good thing since you get 8 hours of playtime with just a single charge. The IPX5 rating also means you can take them on a bike ride in the rain or along on your most intense of leg days. These can handle some drips of water and sweat.
Thanks to the Bluetooth support, the Tranya T40 earbuds are easy to use. And, unlike most earbuds that use touch controls, which are often too sensitive or not sensitive enough, these are fitted with physical buttons. Therefore, it’s simple to adjust volume, control playback, and answer phone calls. Of course, we can’t forget the sound quality, and these offer a punchy bass and crisp treble from the 13mm drivers. Not bad for headphones that will only set you back $40.
6. EarFun Air Pro 2
Best Budget Airpods Pro Alternative
Let’s say you want Airpods Pro but don’t want to drop $200 to get them. Maybe you should snag a much more affordable alternative, and our favorite happens to be the EarFun Air Pro 2. Coming in under $80, you still get noise-cancellation, in-ear detection, and touch controls. However, the EarFun earbuds manage to beat out the Airpods in battery life, toting six hours of playtime with ANC on — you get an additional hour when it’s off. The case can recharge them almost four times, and when it needs a charge itself, you can do so wirelessly.
Now, the EarFun Air Pro 2 can’t beat out Apple in everything. You don’t get spatial audio, which places sounds around you, and the Airpods’ H1 chip makes for a seamless connection to your Apple devices. Although, the Air Pro’s Bluetooth 5.2 support should still provide a stable and simple connection to all your devices. And, they even offer up a more neutral sound profile, if that’s something you prefer. Beyond that, the most obvious difference between the two is their looks.
7. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds for Audiophiles
- See it on Best Buy
- See it on Walmart
- See it on Newegg
- See it on OnePlus
If you’re ready to dabble in a Hi-Fi audio experience, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ earbuds are a great place to start. Most high-end headphones set you back several hundred dollars, but with these, you get a solid sonic experience for just $80. The 5.8mm dynamic drivers deliver an impactful, detailed soundstage with a High Performance Audio Mode to push it further. Meanwhile, app support lets you change presets or customize your own EQ settings. This makes it simple to tune the settings for whatever you’re listening to, whether it be Miles Davis or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And along with Bluetooth for an easy connection, you get support for three different codecs — SBC, AAC, and aptX. So, these earbuds are ready for your high-res audio files.
Beyond their audio prowess, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ earbuds have a great design as well. The lightweight, bullet-shaped earpiece comes with memory foam ear tip options to ensure a snug, comfortable fit. If you decide to bring them along on a hike, the IPX5 rating means a little rain or sweat won’t hurt them. Even though the earbuds are compact, they still manage seriously impressive battery life. We’re talking nine hours of playtime with an additional 45 hours from the case. That’s the best battery life out of all our picks.
Before You Buy: What to Look for in Wireless Earbuds
Before you go out and grab a new pair of earbuds, there are a few important factors to consider when making a purchase. You don’t want to just get whatever is cheapest or looks the coolest, as this could end up costing you more in the long run. Instead, think about what you’re using them for. Do you want a pair with enough battery life to last a cross-country flight and then some? How about something that stays in place during a run? Below we go over what to look for in wireless earbuds before making that final purchase.
It’s hard to have wireless earbuds without Bluetooth support. The Bluetooth of yesteryear is long gone, and with each iteration comes more stable and reliable connections. All of your devices should support Bluetooth, so it’s super easy to get connected. If you ever find the wireless connection cutting out, just move your source (tablet, laptop, phone, ect.) closer to the earbuds, and your problem should be solved.
Also, with Bluetooth comes the support of different codecs. Certain codecs support higher resolution audio, making your music sound a whole lot more nuanced. SBC is the most common, but it only plays more compressed audio files. AAC is similar, and that along with SBC are your only codec options available for Apple products. However, if you’re an Android user, more codecs are supported including aptX and LDAC for a less compressed and stellar sound experience.
Battery life may be one of the biggest determiners of the earbuds to purchase. When you go wireless, you lose the wired convenience of never worrying about a charge. Luckily, even though they’re tiny, earbuds still offer a decent amount of playtime. Of our options, the longest battery life is an impressive nine hours, so they’re perfect to use during a workday or on a long flight. The lowest is five hours (with ANC on), and that’s still plenty for most. Some even tote a fast charging feature to ensure you don’t miss out on too much listening time. And of course, you always get several extra charges from the case.
Size and Fit
If you decide to buy some new earbuds, you want to make sure they fit. Nothing’s worse than opening everything up and putting them in, only to find they’re too big (or too small) to fit in your ears. To ensure this doesn’t happen, grab earbuds that offer different ear tip size options. This way, you get a snug fit that helps with sound isolation, too. Some even offer a hook or flap to ensure your headphones stay in place. This is most helpful to those looking to use them during high-intensity activities, like trail runs or bike rides.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a rainy drizzle or dripping a bit of sweat during an intense gym session. If that’s the case, you want earbuds that can handle the occasional splash. An IPX4 rating or above should have you covered in most cases. The majority of earbuds are only rated for water resistance and not dust. Therefore, the last number in the IPX rating is the one that really matters.
There are so many wireless earbuds to choose from, so we hope these top picks and buying advice can help you narrow down the best cheap wireless earbuds for you.
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.
Source: IGN.com Best Budget Wireless Earbuds 2022