We literally test hundreds of earbuds a year. This gives us heaps of knowledge about the market, and huge experience in assessing sound quality and weighing up the most important features for buyers, so you can rest assured that the models covered in this list deliver on sound quality despite their affordable price tag.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide
In these financially challenging times, shopping for the best cheap wireless earbuds in Australia that balance great performance and price is the most important criteria.
But what constitutes 'cheap' in Australia? For us, it hovers around the AU$150 mark, at the absolute maximum. Anything less is a steal. Fortunately, when it comes to delivering sweet music into your ears, you actually have a fair amount of choice around this price point.
You do have to remember you're still going to need to make some compromises to keep the costs low and that some of these may have an influence on sound quality. Just because these models are cheap, though, it doesn't mean that they skimp on features. In some cases you may get models with active noise cancelling (ANC), but you don’t always need extra features to become one of the best cheap wireless earbuds around.
Read on to find the pick of the best cheap wireless earbuds available to buy right now.
Top 3 best cheap wireless earbuds
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Best overall performance: Sony WF-C500
Sony's WF-C500 earbuds may not wow you with their looks, but arguably these are the best wireless earbuds under AU$150 (most Australian retailers have them marked up for AU$149, but you can find them for around AU$100 in some instances).
Music sounds punchy but should you want to tweak the sound, there’s the Equalizer feature in the Sony Headphones Connect app. These don't have ANC, but battery life is respectable and they come with 360 Reality Audio and DSEE support.
Best value basic earbuds: OnePlus Nord Buds
The OnePlus Nord Buds make for excellent value over in the US, and while they may cost a tad more than a direct currency conversion here in Australia at AU$79, they're still an attractive proposition, especially for OnePlus conformists and commuters who desire quality true wireless performance for less. Sound is dynamic and bass heavy at times, but the EQ customization helps balance things out. The controls work without a hitch and Fast Charging is a bonus.
The best cheap wireless earbuds to buy right now
The PistonBuds Pro are a win for budget-conscious consumers who desire outstanding ANC and sound in a stylish, affordable package. Are they going to have the AirPods Pro 2 quaking in their boots? No, but they are easily one of the best AirPods alternatives that can be had for a third of the price.
The downside? Battery life isn’t anything to write home about, nor is call quality. But these shortcomings are forgivable when factoring in the audio and noise cancellation these buds deliver, which is what you're most likely going to be buying them for, right? In fact, they do more than enough to satisfy (especially at the AU$90 price) giving the Piston Buds Pro mass appeal.
Read our full 1More PistonBuds Pro review.
At AU$79, the Nord Buds serve up a performance that belies their price, and they'd make a great purchase for OnePlus conformists and commuters who desire quality true wireless performance for less. These buds have a 4-mic array with AI noise reduction, 12.4mm titanium drivers, mobile app compatibility with personalization tools, and proprietary Flash Charge technology. OnePlus mobile users may receive special software perks, but the solid controls, strong audio performance, and sufficient battery life remain consistent across all platforms.
Sound is dynamic and bass heavy at times, but the ability to customise frequencies helps balance things out. The controls work without a hitch, comfort is pleasant, and Fast Charging is clutch for recharging in short time spans. The noise reduction on calls could be better, but the Nord Buds' pros outweigh any cons to make it a must-own for budget-conscious earbud users everywhere.
Read our full OnePlus Nord Buds review.
Sony's WF-C500 earbuds may not wow you with their looks, but arguably these are the best wireless earbuds under AU$150. Music sounds punchy and although their profile might not be as depth-filled as Sony’s WF-1000XM4 (which should be expected given the price difference), you can expect powerful lows and crisp highs, along with under-emphasised mids. Should you want to tweak the sound, there’s an Equalizer feature in the Sony Headphones Connect app that allows you to manually adjust frequencies or select from nine presets that prioritise different sonic elements, depending on the music genre or content.
The WF-C500 isn’t perfect, though, with slightly impractical controls that can inflict some discomfort when attempting to activate, and mediocre capacity from the charging case. However, these are trivial complaints when factoring in the level of sound Sony has managed to engineer into these tiny buds, and they're a bargain-priced model that really shouldn't be overlooked.
Read our full Sony WF-C500 review.
The Edifier W240TN are a fine-looking and sounding pair of wireless earbuds. They're pretty well featured, although not everything works quite as well as we'd like. For an ANC model at the price of AU$100, though, performance is strong and you get detailed sonics thanks to the dual dynamic drivers that deliver a wide and compelling sound, and effective noise cancellation.
We weren't sold on call quality or wind resistance when on the move, but these sorts of compromises are to be expected for wireless earbuds this affordable. Battery life is very respectable as is connectivity, and the overall comfort and craftsmanship make them well worth their asking price.
Read the full Edifier W240TN review.
The Go Air Pop is one of the most affordable pair of true wireless earbuds you're going to find, especially when you factor in the list of features on offer. These include water resistance, a choice of EQ settings and even a case with a built-in charging cable. To put into comparison just how affordable they are, when we tested the cheapest headphones on Amazon, even the no-name brands didn't produce true wireless models that were this affordable.
Even so, this is much better than bargain bin fare. While you can tweak the EQ, the default sound has plenty of bass, and the lightweight design actually avoids some of the comfort issues we had with the JBuds Air. Battery life is good too, although while JLab claims 8+ hours per earbud, we achieved closer to 7 hours of normal use per charge. But, for AU$50, this is perfectly acceptable.
Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review.
The EarFun Air might look like some of the better fake AirPods out there, but they offer much more performance, so much so our colleagues at What Hi-Fi? bestowed a prestigious Award upon them in 2020.
Music sounds top-notch with the sound signature having powerful bass that lays a strong foundation for clear vocals and instruments to shine. Bluetooth 5.0 ensures that your connection with devices remains stable within a 50-foot radius. IPX7 certification and Sweatshield technology also protect the buds from sweat and can handle submersion in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. You even get the added benefit of wireless charging as part of the package as well.
The controls can act up at times and the fit can be a bit fussy with some ear shapes, but don’t let these shortcomings put you off as the EarFun Air earbuds really are worth a closer look.
Read our full EarFun Air review.
The Anker Liberty Air 2 earbuds can fluctuate in price between retailers, but you'll rarely need to part with more than AU$100 to nab them. And you should definitely consider them, as they share a similar eye-catching design to the AirPods, and are an enticing and affordable alternative.
Anker's four-mic system does a solid job with noise reduction and voice recognition and makes them a great buy for use on calls. Bass has more boom than the AirPods, which is something hip-hop and rock fans will appreciate, while the companion app also lets you tweak the sound profile to suit your preference. It’s pretty cool to see Anker include wireless charging as well.
Design-wise, the Liberty Air 2 definitely feels more premium than Apple’s buds, and the bundled tips provide a satisfyingly secure fit; the more expensive AirPods Pro comes with tips (regular AirPods don’t). Our only complaints here are that the charging case feels flimsy and the touch controls could be more responsive.
Read our full review of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2.
They're not the outright cheapest pair of true wireless earbuds on this list, but the Skullcandy Dime wields far better sound quality than even the most optimistic bargain-hunter might expect. Combine that with IPX4-rated water resistance, the same as what you get on the premium AirPods Pro, and the Dime is an instant low-cost champion.
Granted, there are still some imperfections, like the fiddly touch controls and the short battery life: expect only about 3 hours of playtime per charge. But if you want the biggest sonic bang from the smallest pile of bucks, look no further.
Read our full Skullcandy Dime review.
The Soundcore Life P3 is one of the more costly pairs of earbuds on this list at around AU$130, but in return you do get full active noise cancellation. Anker doesn't just use this as a buzzword term, either, as the ANC actually works reasonably well; there's no sense that it was thrown in with a bunch of cut corners.
In fact, the Soundcore Life P3 is a commendably feature-rich set of buds in general, offering a customisable EQ, Gaming Mode, and even a "Superior Sleep" mode to listen to as you drift off. Battery life is pretty good too, especially if you switch off ANC to maximize efficiency.
Read our full Anker Soundcore Life P3 review.
How to choose the best cheap wireless earbuds for you
Obviously, price is a big consideration when looking for the best cheap wireless earbuds. Many cheap models have listed prices of less than AU$150, but with sales and discounts at online retailers, you can easily bag a bargain for even less. You may even find more expensive earbuds have their prices significantly discounted, too, but because these aren't guaranteed, we haven't listed them in this article.
Any money you save on your earbuds purchase won't do you much good if you're constantly needing to recharge your audio gear. So pay attention to rated battery life and whether any carrying case comes with the earbuds to provide additional power. You'll also want to see what reviews from both professional testers and people who bought the earbuds have to say about sound quality. That goes for both listening to music via the earbuds as well as fielding phone calls.
How well wireless earbuds fit your ears can vary from person to person. But some models come with additional tips and fins to offer something approaching a customised fit. Without the right fit, you're not going to be able to take full advantage of your earbuds' audio capabilities.
How we test the best cheap wireless earbuds
When rating the best cheap wireless earbuds, we look not only at price but also design, sound quality and battery life. We also consider how easy it is to pair earbuds with a smartphone and what kind of controls are accessible through the device.
In terms of audio, we listen to many sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical, R&B, and electronic, while assessing volume levels and how easy the earbuds are to drive. Movies, podcasts and video games are also used where necessary. We also make phone calls to assess both call quality and microphone performance.
Find out what we listen for during our testing process and how to get the best headphone sound for you.
During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for hours at a time throughout the course of a week. Reviewers will make note of battery life and how well it matches the rated battery life provided by earbud makers.
As with the best wireless headphones, we evaluate earbuds based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded an Editor's Choice badge.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.
Contributions from: Alex Bracetti
Next: Have more to spend? Check out the best wireless earbuds.
If you're undecided about what headphone style is right for you, then take a look at our guide to the best cheap headphones overall, which includes over-ear models. Or if you've decided that you definitely want active noise cancelling then you need to take a look at the best noise-cancelling headphones to get a complete picture of the all the top-rated ANC models we've tested.
More: Find out why Tom's Guide audio editor says I'd still choose wired headphones over wireless.