1. The list in brief
2. Best overall
3. Best value
4. Best battery life
5. Best for style
6. Best under $25
7. Best for sports
8. How we test
The best cheap wireless earbuds crush their more upmarket counterparts with a balance of solid performance, features, and great value for money. The Tom's Guide team test dozens of low-cost wireless earbuds a year, which means we have plenty of insight in weighing up which are the best value models on the market for budget pockets.
Just like the best wireless earbuds overall, you can count on the models listed here to deliver on sound quality regardless of their budget price tag. All cost less than $99, but despite the budget price tag they don't skimp on features. Several of our best cheap wireless earbuds choices also include active noise cancellation (ANC), making them even better value for anyone wanting to reduce distractions from the outside world for less.
Don't forget, you'll find lots more info in our in-depth standalone reviews, covering design and comfort, features, ANC performance (where applicable), battery life, and sound quality across all kinds of media, as well as how well they handle calls. Read on to find the pick of the best cheap wireless earbuds available to buy right now.
The quick list
If you want outstanding ANC and sound in a stylish, affordable package then look no further. These have strong performance for a third of the price of the AirPods Pro.
Undoubtedly the best value for OnePlus owners who get access to full elite sound features, these are also an enticing purchase for budget-conscious iOS and Android users.
Best battery life
Best battery life
Arguably the best wireless earbuds under $100, these budget Sonys bring the company's big-brand experience for a fraction of the price. There's no ANC, but strong playback times and high-level sound make them a top buy.
Best for style
Best for style
These earbuds have an AirPods-like drop stem design and are one of the most attractive noise-cancelling earbuds at the price. They rival several mid-market models with effective ANC, superb sound, and better-than-AirPods battery life.
Best under $25
Best under $25
These are so much better than the majority of bargain bin fare out there. The lack of features might turn some buyers off, but look past these and you’ll find these are best $25 pair of wireless earbuds around right now.
Best for sports
Best for sports
The JBuds Air Pro are a great purchase with a durable, water-resistant design and their secure fit held up well in our active lifestyle tests. Although there's no ANC, useful features like ambient listening, and long(ish) battery life make them a worthwhile option.
The best cheap wireless earbuds you can buy right now
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The best cheap wireless earbuds overall
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 replace your AirPods Pro? No, but they are easily one of the best AirPods alternatives that can be had for a third of the price.
Okay, 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, and are enough to satisfy (especially at the $69 price) and give the Piston Buds Pro mass appeal.
Read our full 1More PistonBuds Pro review.
The best value for OnePlus smartphone owners
The original OnePlus Nord Buds surpassed expectations at $39, but this next generation version adds active noise cancellation (ANC) and sound-enhancing features (Dolby Atmos, Dirac Tuner) into the mix for just $20 more. Although they're mostly agnostic about platform and an enticing purchase for both budget-conscious iOS and Android consumers, the extra feature support when connected to OnePlus devices makes them very attractive to OnePlus owners.
In terms of performance, the Nord Buds 2 deliver a warm presence and bass-centric tracks sound energetic. Though some mids and most highs were subdued in the audio balance during our tests, it's not a major compromise. ANC performance is solid but doesn't rival the 1More PistonBuds Pro (above). And while it's true that to unleash Dolby Atmos and spatial audio support you'll need to partner these 'buds with a OnePlus smartphone, what's perhaps more impressive is that fast charging generates 5 hours of listening time on a 10-minute charge. At $59, these buds are remarkable value and a must-own for budget-conscious earbud users everywhere.
Read our full OnePlus Nord Buds 2 review.
The best battery life and big-brand experience
Sony's WF-C500 earbuds may not wow you with their looks, but arguably these are the best wireless earbuds under $100. Music sounds punchy and although their profile might not be as depth-filled as Sony’s WF-1000XM4, you can expect powerful lows and crisp highs, along with under-emphasized mids. Should you want to tweak the sound, there’s the Equalizer feature in the Sony Headphones Connect app to manually adjust frequencies or select from nine presets that prioritize 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.
Best for style
The Donner DoBuds One are one of the most affordable ANC models we've seen and a fantastic fake AirPods-style design and one of the most competitive cheap noise-cancelling earbuds market.
Any noise-cancelling earbuds that come with more playtime than the AirPods Pro (4.5 to 5 hours) are a win in our book, and the DoBuds One give up to 6.5 hours of play with ANC on, and 8 hours with ANC off. They undercut several mid-range models by delivering superb sound and surprisingly good ANC in an affordable package. Not everything hits its mark, such as app connectivity, comfort, and the EQ, but you’re still getting an incredible deal for the price.
Read our full Donner DoBuds One 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, 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.
Best cheap wireless earbuds under $25
The Go Air Pop are a pretty similar set of cheap wireless earbuds to the JBuds Air, with water resistance, a choice of EQ settings and even a case with a built-in charging cable. Except the Go Air Pop are even cheaper, launching with a nigh-unbelievable MSRP of $20. 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: expect about 7 hours of normal use per charge.
Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review.
Another pair of wireless earbuds that have received a notable price drop, the EarFun Air might look like some of the better fake AirPods out there, but they offer much more performance. 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 three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Wireless charging comes 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.
Best cheap wireless earbuds for sports
The JLab JBuds Air Pro offer durable construction, instant auto-connect capabilities, and a tiny charging case with integrated USB cable. They also come with useful features like ambient listening mode, long(ish) battery life, and multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously), which gives them enough distinction to stand out at the price.
There are three EQ modes (Balanced, Bass Boost, JLab Signature), which can be directly enabled on the buds for those who wish to tinker. With their bold sound, responsive controls, stable connectivity, and respectable playtime in a water-resistant design, the JBuds Air Pro are an appealing purchase for brand enthusiasts and budget-conscious buyers everywhere.
Read the full JLab JBuds Air Pro review.
The Anker Liberty Air 2 earbuds 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.
The Soundcore Life P3 is one of the more costly pairs of earbuds on this list, but offers full active noise cancellation. Crucially, 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 customizable 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.
Best cheap wireless earbuds: Specs compared
|Header Cell - Column 0||ANC||Battery life (rated)||Water resistance|
|1More PistonBuds Pro||Yes||Up to 7.5 hours; 30 hours (charging case)||IPX5|
|OnePlus Nord Buds 2||Yes||5 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 27 hours (charging case with ANC on); 36 hours (charging case with ANC off)||IP55|
|Sony WF-C500||No||10 hours; 20 hours (charging case)||IPX4|
|Donner DoBuds One||Yes||6.5 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 26 hours (charging case with ANC on); 32 hours (charging case with ANC off)||IPX4|
|Edifier 240TN||Yes||Up to 8.5 hours; 25.5 hours (charging case with ANC off)||IP55|
|JLab Go Air Pop||No||8 hours; 32 hours (with charging case)||IPX4|
|EarFun Air||No||7 hours, 35 hours (with charging case)||IPX7|
|JLab JBuds Air Pro||No||9 hours; 36 hours (charging case)||IP55|
|Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2||No||7 hours; 28 hours (with charging case)||IPX5|
|Anker Soundcore Life P3||Yes||7 hours (ANC off); 35 hours (with charging case and ANC off)||IPX5|
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 easily bag a bargain for even less.
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 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.
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.
Star ratings explained: As with all our reviews, we evaluate the best cheap earbuds based on a five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded a coveted Recommended badge, while our Best Value award speaks for itself. Only products with truly exceptional performance across the board are awarded an Editor's Choice badge.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.
Contributions from: Alex Bracetti