When it comes to cheap wireless headphones, people like to assume that cost equals quality. It's an unfair assumption, especially since there is a wide variety of budget models capable of delivering across multiple verticals: including battery life, comfort and, most importantly, sound quality.
Back in the days, options in this price range were limited to in-ear and on-ear headphones. How the times have changed. Perform a quick Google search for cheap wireless headphones under $100 and you’ll be met with hundreds of results across several categories. We’re talking everything from noise-canceling headphones to sports headphones to even true wireless earbuds. And not just from unknown brands based out in China. You’ll also stumble upon headphones from several major audio brands including Sennheiser, Jaybird, and Samsung, just to name a few.
You’ve done enough online shopping to know that browsing through this price point can be a nightmare. Hence why you’ve come here to help narrow down your choices and seek out top expert recommendations. And we have some amazing, underrated selections that will encourage you to add a few of these to your virtual shopping cart.
From Amazon best sellers to critical darlings, we snatched up some of the most popular offerings that fall under $100 and tested each one to find the best cheap wireless headphones for you.
What are the best cheap wireless headphones?
Number 1 on our list of the best cheap wireless headphones is the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT for its great overall performance. The model grants listeners Sennheiser sound in a clean, comfortable design at a super-cheap price, something the company is not usually known for. We’re very high on its superior bass response and user-friendly controls.
A close second is the recently reduced Samsung Galaxy Buds, which remains one of the finest pairs of true wireless earbuds and the best in class at its current price point. The buds feature a roomy soundstage that fills your ears with warm bass and clear-sounding vocals; the AirPods airy quality doesn’t compare. They also hold a charge longer than any AirPods model. Something else that stood out to us was how well the Galaxy Buds worked on iOS and Android devices.
Fitness fanatics who want affordable workout earbuds can look at the Jaybird Tarah and Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100, two models praised for their energetic sound and sporty aesthetics. And for those who prefer to enjoy their music in silence, there’s the Anker Life Q20 that has some of the most impressive active noise cancellation for under $100.
There are some other exciting wireless headphones on the way in 2020, including the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, which is rumored to have 20 hours of battery life and supports the company’s Warp Charge fast charging technology. We’re also keeping tabs on all of the latest headphone deals to see which popular models have received generous markdowns and are worth including in our roundup.
That being said, let’s breakdown the top cheap wireless headphones in every major category.
The best cheap wireless headphones you can buy today
1. Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Headphones
Best wireless headphones overall under $100
Size: 7.1 x 3.9 x 10.2 inches | Weight: 7.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 25 hours | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
A pair of Sennheiser headphones for under $100 sounds like one of those killer Black Friday deals you missed out during the holidays. It’s not. The HD 4.40 BT is available at a surprisingly low price, combining great functionality with Sennheiser sound to deliver an exceptional wireless listening experience. Frequencies are well balanced, feeding your ears dynamic bass that doesn’t distort at max volume, while allowing mids and highs to shine on most tracks. The cans also hold a charge for 25 hours, which is sufficient for more than a week’s worth of moderate listening (3 to 4 hours daily).
The lack of inline controls on the aux cable does make the accessory seem somewhat impractical, but thankfully, it’s unnecessary since the HD 4.40 BT maintains the same sound quality in wired mode. You certainly get more than your money’s worth with these cheap wireless headphones.
2. Samsung Galaxy Buds (2019)
Best cheap truly wireless earbuds
Size: 0.9. x 0.8 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 0.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 15 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Thanks to a recent price drop, Samsung's last-gen Galaxy Buds are available for under $100. Whether you’re an Android or iPhone user, these buds work equally well across both mobile platforms and have a host of features that make them more advanced than the AirPods. In addition to providing near-instant pairing, they also have wireless charging capability – all you need is one of Samsung's S10 phones (or any other recently launched Galaxy smartphone) and you can share power between devices.
The Galaxy Buds deliver great sound in a lightweight, sweatproof casing with up to 6 hours of battery life. An update brings some other great features, such as hands-free access to the Bixby assistant and the ability to tweak equalizer settings with your voice. And a new gesture enables ambient sound mode by holding down the touchpad on the earbud.
See our full Samsung Galxaxy Buds (2019) review.
3. Jaybird Tarah Wireless Sports Headphones
Best wireless fitness earbuds under $100
Size: 20.78 x 0.52 x 0.93 inches | Weight: 0.48 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Jaybird’s budget alternative to the flagship X4 wireless earphones shares similar performance hallmarks, at $30 less. The Tarah boasts a lively soundstage that can be personalized through different EQ settings and music profiles on the Jaybird MySound app (Android, iOS). Bass-heavy records knock on your eardrums to maximize adrenaline. Bluetooth range is also in the same ballpark as most other models, maintaining connectivity up to 30 feet.
Whatever flaws exist on the Tarah are trite when taking overall performance into account. Battery life hovers around 6 hours, which is 2 hours less than what’s offered on the X4. However, quick-charge technology has you covered by juicing up these suckers in a matter of minutes for an hour of playtime. The cinch system could also be more user-friendly, but it’s nothing to cry over. We also love that they come IPX7-certified, so they’re built to withstand excessive sweat and full splashdown.
4. Anker Life Q20 Wireless ANC Headphones
Best noise cancelation under $100
Size: 7.7 x 7.1 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 9.3 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 40 hours (ANC on); 60 hours (Standard Mode) | Bluetooth range: 50 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Expensive doesn't always mean good. For instance, Anker sells plenty of cheap wireless headphones and earbuds with solid audio quality and a fair number of features. At $60, you would be remiss to overlook Anker’s latest noise-cancelling headphones, and that’s just based on sound quality alone. The Life Q20 distributes some hard-hitting lows that don’t drown out the midrange, depending on your music of choice; you’ll hear distinct instruments in the background of orchestral-centric recordings.
You’ll want to leave the aux cable at home since it hinders audio performance. Active noise cancellation isn’t Anker’s specialty, but at least these over-ears do a decent job of filtering out external noises. Up to 40 hours of playtime on a full charge (60 hours with ANC off) and strong connectivity via Bluetooth 5.0 are two other premiums that justify the purchase.
5. Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Total Wireless Earphones
Versatile sound in true wireless form
Size: 1.14 x 0.63 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 3.1 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 8 hours; 32 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The Liberty 2 looks identical to the Pro version and offers nearly the same features, making it more valuable than its suggested MSRP. Anker employs a different set of drivers here that emphasize the low end to create impactful sound for devoted bass heads. It can be a bit overpowering on EDM and hip-hop songs, but nothing the Soundcore app can’t fix, programmed with several presets to give mids and highs more presence. Having the HearID feature available is also helpful since it maps personal hearing sensitivity to help tailor the sound to your ear.
The buds are IPX5-certified, so they’re fully sweatproof if you want to take them for a jog. You’ll want to make it a short one though, as they cause discomfort after an hour of use. Also, the plastic charging case feels cheap, but we can overlook that since it stores 32 hours of portable power.
6. Status Audio BT One
Great wireless performance for cheap
Size: 7.00 x 5.50 x 2.00 inches | Weight: 5.5 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours | Bluetooth range: 82 feet (25 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Status One has made a name for itself in the budget audio space, even impressing us with the resolute-sounding Status Audio CB-1 Studio Monitor Headphones. The BT One is just as impressive, featuring dynamic audio and even better call quality in a much sleeker design. Instruments sound lively and lows are handled extremely well; drums have a thunderous presence on the soundstage. The mics produce great clarity to speak clearly on phone calls or when employing voice commands via Google Assistant.
Some people find on-ear headphones to be uncomfortable, but the BT One stands out as one of the comfiest in the category. The memory foam on each pad feels soothing on the ears and provides an excellent fit. Where some people might be bothered is the control scheme, as the multifunctional buttons can be both confusing and frustrating at times; the volume and track navigation functions are assigned to the same buttons.
7. Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100
Best true wireless fitness earbuds under $100
Size: 1.9 x 1.4 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 0.7 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 15 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Avid exercisers wanting a sporty, truly wireless experience can rely on the BackBeat Fit 3100 to fuel their workouts. Plantronics reinforced these buds with IP57 certification, meaning they’re strong enough to withstand high-pressure water blasts. The flexible silicone ear hooks offer enough comfort and stability to remain locked on the ears, while the company’s Always Aware ear tips open up the soundstage and allow you to hear your surroundings better when training outdoors.
Mids and highs don't exactly shine here, but bass does and provides playlists' extra oomph. Using the BackBeat app allows users to personalize the controls for convenience; you can enable Google Assistant, Spotify or even start a timer with a simple tap. Battery life is steady at 5 hours, plus the accompanying charging case, which is pretty heavy, provides you up to 15 hours of total playtime.
Read our full Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review.
8. House of Marley Positive Vibration XL
Boisterous sound in a classy, eco-friendly package
Size: 7.28 x 3.62 x 7.01 inches | Weight: 8.96 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 24 hours | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
House of Marley is a reputable brand that has built some nice-looking audio products over the years. The Positive Vibration XL is one of the company’s finest creations, thanks to its sleek craftsmanship and solid performance. These are capable wireless headphones that present great sound in an eco-friendly and stylish design. They feel sturdy and the wooden accents on the center of each ear cup make them distinguishable. Audio is loud and clear, giving songs a fullness that not many other models in its price range can deliver. The bundled aux cable gives bass a nice boost too.
As cool as the headphones look, I wouldn’t recommend them for making calls. In addition, they aren’t the most comfortable, as the padding applies unwanted pressure on the ears and skull after an hour of wear. Still, should you want something that looks as good as it sounds, these are the cans you want on your head.
9. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
An AirPods clone with more functionality
Size: 2 x 2.2 x 1 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 7 hours; 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 35 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Despite sharing the same unattractive design as the AirPods, the Liberty Air 2 has a lot more under the hood that makes it an enticing and affordable alternative. It’s great for making calls; Anker’s four-mic system does a solid job with noise reduction and voice recognition. Bass has more boom than the AirPods, which is something hip-hop and rock fans will appreciate from these tiny danglers. Anker’s companion app also lets you tweak the sound profile to appease your ear. It’s pretty cool to see Anker include wireless charging as well.
Design-wise, they definitely feel more premium than Apple’s buds, and the bundled tips provide a more secure fit; the more expensive AirPods Pro comes with tips (regular AirPods don’t). My only complaints here are that the charging case feels very flimsy and the touch controls could use some work.
10. Status Audio BT Structure
Wireless workout buds with deep sound
Size: 7.2 x 5.5 x 2.4 inches | Weight: 0.77 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 12 hours | Bluetooth range: 50 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
If you want affordable wireless fitness buds that won’t pop out during intense workouts and help keep your energy levels up, these should do the trick. The BT Structure is a notable addition to Status Audio’s wireless catalog that delivers balanced sound and personalized fit. Its dual-driver system pumps out deep, detailed bass to help you push through that last mile on 10K runs. Several ear and wing tips come bundled and work well with the integrated hooks to keep the buds in place. You get some lengthy battery life as well with a full charge offering up to 12 hours of playtime.
The casing is chunkier than we would like for Bluetooth sports earbuds and the no-frills design doesn’t match the attractiveness of industry staples like the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless. However, these drawbacks do little to hurt their full value.
How to choose the best cheap wireless headphones for you
The market for cheap wireless headphones is massive, so to help narrow down the search, you’ll want to take several things into consideration. Let’s start with fit. Since there are several different types, including in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear, base your decision on what will feel comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Going wireless means restricted playtimes, as Bluetooth products consume a lot of power and require recharging every few days. Get a pair of wireless headphones with at least 12 hours of battery life. If you're going with truly wireless earbuds, 5 hours should be the minimum.
Build quality is also huge, especially when investing in sports headphones. Those who are big on fitness will want a pair that offers sweat- or water-resistant protection. Otherwise, look for models with durable aesthetics (e.g. strong plastic, stainless steel).
Keep in mind that modern wireless headphones and earbuds are taking on more advanced features. Look around and you’ll find some that have active noise cancellation, wireless charging, and even sound customization via mobile apps.
How we test the best wireless cheap headphones
Tom’s Guide tests all headphones on the following criteria: design, comfort, features, performance, and value. Our staff employs a rigorous review process that compares products with similar fit, features, and price to determine the best option for you.
Every pair of cheap wireless headphones we test is worn over the course of a week for 2 hours at a time. Comfort, ease of use, and sound quality are three main categories we assess. In terms of audio performance, we test each model across a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while also evaluating volume, clarity, and fullness.
When it comes to features, we test the effectiveness of active noise cancelling, Bluetooth range and battery life. For sports headphones, we put them through intense workouts to determine how securely they fit during exercises and how well they handle ambient noise. We test every feature for app-enabled headphones too.
Once testing is completed, Tom’s Guide rates headphones on a five-star system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product is truly exemplary, it is awarded an Editors' Choice.
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