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The best cheap wireless earbuds in 2020

Best cheap wireless earbuds: JLab JBuds
(Image credit: JLab)

Looking for the best cheap wireless earbuds? You've come to the right place. While you can certainly pay big bucks for wireless audio, you don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy sweet sounds. We've tested several truly wireless earphones that promise to deliver the freedom you desire for much less than some of the pricier earbuds — looking at you, Apple AirPods Pro — that dominate the market. This includes models from popular brands such as JLAB, Plantronics, Anker, and Sol Republic, along with standout newcomers like Mobvoi and Amazon darlings like TaoTronics.

With so many models available to buy right now, we’ve decided to base this list on the top-sellers from around the web, as well as recent releases you might be shocked to see in the bargain bin section. Tom’s Guide has evaluated each set of wireless earbuds based on their design, ease of use and pairing, sound quality, controls and battery life. Let’s get right to it, as we rank the best cheap wireless earbuds you can buy right now.

What are the best cheap wireless earbuds?

Given the criteria (e.g. price, sound quality, ease of use), we recommend the JLab JBuds Air as the best cheap wireless earbuds. These buds boast the kind of features you'd typically expect to see in much more expensive buds. We're impressed by the bass-forward sound and portable-friendly charging case with charging cable built into it.

A great alternative to JLab's wireless earbuds is the Tribit FlyBuds 3, should you want great-sounding wireless earbuds with up to 100 hours of playtime (via charging case). If, on the other hand, you're shopping for the lowest price without sacrificing too much in the way of quality, the TaoTronics Liberty 79 impressed us by still managing to provide solid sound without costing big bucks. Fitness buffs looking for the best cheap wireless running headphones under $60 need look no further than the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100, which offers great sound and stability in a waterproof design.

Other entries on this list running down options of the best cheap wireless earbuds come with compromises — usually in the area of sound quality, but some of these buds may not fit as well as they could, or they're plagued by middling battery life. Still, some of these models carry a few specialized features that make them worth looking at.

The best cheap wireless earbuds you can buy today

best cheap wireless earbuds: JLab JBuds Air

(Image credit: JLAB)

1. JLab JBuds Air

The best cheap wireless earbuds overall

Size: 1.8 x 3 x 1.6 inches | Weight: 0.13 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4 hours, 14 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Bass-forward sound 
3 EQ settings to choose from
Water-resistant protection
Auto Connect feature
Slightly bulky design

The best cheap wireless earbuds right now are the JLab JBuds. JLab’s fitness earbuds have bass-forward sound and modern features that should warrant a higher price tag. The JBuds Air comes programmed with three EQ settings (Balanced, Bass Boost, and Signature) that customize the audio output. Bass Boost is most ideal for workouts and packs punchy lows, while Signature makes minor adjustments to frequency response for better midrange. 

Battery life is rated at 4 hours, which is slightly below standard, but the accompanying charging case gets you an extra 10 hours of use. An IPX55 certification means these earbuds are built to withstand sweat and splashing as well.

The design is a bit bulky and can create some discomfort when worn for long stretches, but it’s sufficient for workouts. You’re only able to take calls on one earpiece as well.

If you’re someone who values color variety, then you have plenty to choose from, including Black, White, Green, and awesome-looking Navy Blue.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Tribit FlyBuds 3

(Image credit: Tribit)

2. Tribit FlyBuds 3

Workout-friendly buds with a ridiculously powerful charging case

Size: 3.40 x 2.00 x 1.20 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 100 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Category-leading cycle playtime
Dynamic audio performance
Bundled with multiple tips and fins
Charging case acts as a portable power bank
Finicky touch controls

Those who want great-sounding buds and extended playtime for at least a month’s worth of use before recharging will want to put the FlyBuds 3 on their radar. Audio is clean and impactful, keeping bass levels energetic and balanced for vocals to shine. They also serve as sport headphones with IPX7 waterproof coating and multiple fins and tips to accommodate different ear shapes. The charging case can even be used as a portable charger, allowing you to juice up any USB-C devices on the go, something Android fans will appreciate.

Our only complaint is that the touch controls are not the most reliable; you’ll have to perform tap gestures multiple times for commands to register. The charging case is a hefty sucker too, but that’s a small compromise you can live with, especially since it holds up to 100 hours of playtime. 

Note: If you’re thinking of using these for exercise, feel comforted knowing that Tribit offers an 18-month replacement warranty for the product.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Taotronics SoundLiberty 79

(Image credit: TaoTronics)

3. Taotronics SoundLiberty 79

Best cheap wireless earbuds value

Size: TBD | Weight: 0.17 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 8 hours; 40 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 98 feet (30 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Boomy sound
Stable battery life
Relatively comfortable
Strong Bluetooth
Not good for outdoor phone calls

For their price, these true wireless earbuds from TaoTronics offer better sound and battery life than you might expect. Mids are crisp and bass reproduction is more impactful than the AirPods Pro. TaoTronics claims to offer 8 hours of playtime on a single charge, although, in reality, it’s closer to 7 hours. That’s still more generous than other models on this list of best cheap wireless earbuds, not including the 32 hours provided by the charging case. Bluetooth holds up strong too, and grants users close to 100 feet of wireless listening.

The biggest knock we have against these buds is the setup, which is frustrating right out of the box. TaoTronics’ instructions aren’t very clear, so you’ll have to apply your troubleshooting skills to connect them to an audio source. Once established, the SoundLiberty 79 overachieves, solidifying its place on our best cheap wireless earbuds list.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

The best cheap wireless earbuds for fitness

Size: 4.41 x 6.38 x 1.81 inches | Weight: 0.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 15 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Extremely secure fit
Loud, boomy sound
Waterproof and sweat-resistant
Stylish charging case
Battery life is shorter than competition

The Beats Powerbeats Pro may have popularized around-the-ear true wireless earbuds, but the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 sparked the trend. Fitness buffs looking for the best cheap wireless running headphones under $60 need look no further. Plantronics designed these buds to be waterproof and sweat-resistant, meaning they’ll survive excessive sweat and heavy splashes. Mids and highs don’t exactly shine here, but bass does and provides playlists extra oomph. Functionality is extended through the BackBeat app, which lets users personalize the controls for convenience; you can enable Google Assistant, Spotify, or even start a timer with a simple tap.

Battery life is subpar at 5 hours, the same amount of playtime as the AirPods. However, the accompanying charging case increases it to 15 hours total and has enough interior space to stash several small EDC items such as cash, credit cards, and gym membership key fobs.

Read our full Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Life P2

(Image credit: Anker Soundcore)

5. Anker Soundcore Life P2

High-powered earbuds at a great value

Size: 3.15 x 2.05 x 1.18 inches | Weight: 2.08 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 7 hours, 40 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 50 feet (15.24 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Long battery life
Versatile sound performance
IPX7 water-resistance
Stabilized fit
Mics don’t work well

Anker’s wireless earbuds catalog is massive, and you really can’t go wrong with any of its affordable options. However, we find the Soundcore Life P2 to be the brand’s top choice under $60. Even without the Anker Soundcore app, these buds deliver well-balanced sound. Support of multiple codecs (e.g. aptX, AAC, and SBC) enhances the listening experience, especially on Android devices. Playtime is on point with a full charge getting you around 6.5 to 7 hours of use. It’s cool to see these buds come IPX7-certified, granting the user water-resistant protection.

I would avoid making calls on the Life P2, mainly because the 4-mic system doesn’t provide the best voice clarity; those on the other end will have difficulty hearing you clearly. In addition, the control scheme is problematic for those with sensitive ears, as pressing the buttons means pushing the buds deeper into your ears and applying unwanted pressure.

best cheap wireless earbuds: AUKEY EP-T21

(Image credit: Aukey)

6. AUKEY EP-T21

Surprisingly great performance for $30

Size: 4.2 x 3.2 x 1.6 inches | Weight: 0.32 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 25 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 35 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Sleek, matte design
Quality sound for the price
IPX4 water-resistant
Same battery life as the AirPods
Touch controls need work

Aukey has become a staple for high-performance portable gadgets at a super-duper cheap price, and the EP-T21 is no exception. These all-black danglers offer slightly better sound than the original AirPods, highlighted by clear treble, deep bass, and loud volume to enjoy music and videos on the go. The clean matte design might lead you to believe these are fragile buds, but they’re quite durable, covered in IPX4 coating for water-resistant protection. Wireless performance is another positive, maintaining strong connectivity between mobile devices and pairing instantly when removed from the charging case, which holds 20 hours of playtime. 

This is vital considering the buds only come with 5 hours on a single charge, a number that’s considered below average these days. We also wish the capacitive touch controls weren’t so finicky; double-tapping to play/pause music often lagged or required me to perform the same gesture again to execute the command.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Sol Republic Amps Air 2.0

(Image credit: Sol Republic)

7. Sol Republic Amps Air 2.0

Dynamic sound for an unbeatable price

Size: 3.67 x 1.89 x 1.39 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 3 hours; 45 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 45 feet (13 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Warm sound profile
One of the most powerful charging cases out there
Sweat- and rain-resistant protection
Limited controls
Poor battery life

As should be clear by now, great sound doesn't always come at a steep price. Sol Republic has proven this time after time, and the Amps Air 2.0 is the latest example of wireless buds that deliver good audio without a corresponding hike in price.  Despite bass dominating the sound profile, the Amps Air 2.0 drivers are tuned to produce clearer mids and highs for well-balanced audio. The earbuds do retain the rubberized matte finish of the original, but also lack navigation controls.

Those looking to enjoy long listening sessions won't be thrilled with the 3-hour playtime, but the bundled charging case supports up to 15 extra charges, which definitely comes in handy when commuting to work. The case also doubles as an external battery to charge some of your portable devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad).

best cheap wireless earbuds: TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92

(Image credit: TaoTronics)

8. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92

Better performance than most sub-$50 buds

Size: 3.23 x 1.54 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 1.9 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 40 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Decent sound for music and calls
Responsive touch controls
One of the hottest-looking charging cases out there
Uncomfortable and ugly design
Sound horrible on macOS

Another one of the many in-ear models released by TaoTronics this year, the SoundLiberty 92 is a capable model with intuitive controls and acceptable sound for the price. You’ll notice a tiny oval touch panel at the top to execute tap gestures, which works a lot better than we expected for such small real estate. We’re fans of the charging case as well, which bears the look and feel of a Zippo lighter, only lighter and slimmer. It fits conveniently in any pocket.  

As cool as the charging case is, the same can’t be said about the actual design of the earbuds. In short, they’re unflattering with very long stems and a glossy plastic finish that is a fingerprint magnet. We also experienced some audio issues when connected to MacBooks, as Siri struggled to recognize commands, and songs sounded bloated.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

(Image credit: Anker Soundcore)

9. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

Great sound quality, but not the best fit

Size: TBD | Weight: 0.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 20 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Great sound quality for the price
Moderate battery life
Sweat- and water-resistant
Uncomfortable for long periods
Don't feel that secure

Next up on our best cheap wireless earbuds list is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo. Very similar in performance to the Soundcore Liberty Air, these buds possess impressive battery life and sound quality that should place them in a higher price bracket. 

Dynamic bass and treble will fuel fitness freaks at the gym. An IPX5 rating makes them sweat/water-resistant as well. Many earbuds in its category advertise 3.5 hours of playtime on a single charge and fail to deliver, but the Liberty Neo is one of the few that hits that mark. The accompanying charging case stores 9 additional hours.

Comfort is where the Liberty Neo struggles, as the sturdiness of the buds makes them unpleasant to sport for long stretches. We wouldn’t recommend them for at-home listening or travel. The accompanying ear wings also don’t provide a secure fit and left us worried that the buds would fall out during outdoor runs.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Urbanista Stockholm

(Image credit: Urbanista)

10. Urbanista Stockholm

AirPods lookalikes with strong wireless performance

Size: 0.8 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 0.16 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 8 hours, 40 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Decent audio
Reliable connectivity
Slightly more attractive than the AirPods
Subpar battery life
Poor noise isolation

This pair of earbuds may share the same silhouette as the AirPods, but the Stockholm is a more fashion-forward option, thanks to a matte finish that comes in multiple colors. Bluetooth 5.0 holds up strong, so you’ll be able stream music and take calls several feet away from your audio source without experiencing any dropout. The buds also connect instantly to devices when removed from the charging case. Sound is crisp, but don’t expect much bass or highs when listening to music; you’ll want to stick to vocal-driven recordings to enjoy audio performance. We recommend the buds more for podcasts and videos. 

Where the Stockholm loses points is in battery life, which is below standard at 3.5 hours on a single charge, and in noise isolation. The latter affects listening by allowing a high amount of ambient noise to enter the soundstage.

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 $100, but with sales and discounts at online retailers, you can find even lower prices. You should be able to find a decent pair of wireless earbuds for around $50 to $65, some even as low as $29.

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 customized fit.

How we test 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 and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. We also make phone calls to assess both call quality and microphone performance.

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 Editors' Choice badge.