With all buzz following recent earbuds launches from the likes of Google, Samsung, Bose, and Apple, you'd think all wireless earbuds are priced in the $200 to $300 sector. Thankfully, you don't need to hunt around too much to uncover plenty of budget earbuds that give upmarket models a run for their money.
We literally test hundreds of earbuds a year, which means we have plenty of knowledge about the latest market trends, and huge experience in assessing sound quality and weighing up the most important features for buyers. Just like the best wireless earbuds overall, you can count on the models listed here to deliver on sound quality despite their budget price tag. They don't skimp on features either, and two of our sub-$100 choices also include active noise cancellation (ANC), which makes them even better value.
Read on to discover our favorite sub-$100 earbud buys right now.
Top 3 best wireless earbuds under $100
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Best overall: Sony WF-C500
As some of the best wireless earbuds under $100, this non-ANC model can regularly be found discounted, which makes them even better value. Music sounds punchy and although they might not be as depth-filled as other Sony models, you can expect powerful lows and crisp highs. Battery life runs to 10 hours, with 20 hours from the charging case.
Best value with ANC: 1More PistonBuds Pro
At $69, these are the best value wireless earbuds with ANC. Even better news for is that they're currently discounted to $59 on the 1More website (opens in new tab) as well as through online retailer Newegg (opens in new tab). ANC performance is effective at the price, and the 'buds are a win for budget-conscious consumers looking for great performance in a stylish and affordable package.
Best value cheap earbuds: OnePlus Nord Buds
At $39, the Nord Buds are too good to pass up, 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 wireless earbuds under $100 you can buy right now
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.
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.
At $39 on the OnePlus website (opens in new tab), the Nord Buds are too good to pass up, especially 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 customize 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.
Giving the 1More PistonBuds Pro (above) a run for their money, the Donner DoBuds One are one of the most affordable ANC models we've seen. The Donner DoBuds One are a fantastic addition to the 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. Playtimes drop by 1 hour when factoring in high volume and Game Mode. 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 Jabra Elite 65t is one of the best earbuds ever created, and continues to be available through several online retailers at a great price.
Superior call quality, dynamic sound that can be customized via the companion app, and a discreet, sleek design are hallmarks that speak for themselves. Battery life won’t wow you, but the fact that it offers as much as the regular AirPods should be sufficient for most users. Having a compact charging case that holds two extra charges is also a boon for travel. The three color options — titanium black, copper black, and gold beige — are all enticing as well.
Read our full Jabra Elite 65t 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.
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.
How we select the best wireless earbuds for $100 or less
In selecting the best models around a particular price we take into consideration several key factors, including build quality, features, and sound quality. We also look closely at rated battery life and carry out tests to see how that translates to real-world use. We also consider sound quality while listening to music as well as fielding phone calls. And lastly, how well the earbuds fit and the comfort level they are likely to offer.
How we test and rate the best wireless earbuds
When rating any 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 of sound quality assessments, 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 several hours at a time throughout the course of a week to assess performance and comfort. 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.
Contributions from: Alex Bracetti
More: If you're undecided about what style of headphone is right for you, then take a look at our guide to the best cheap headphones overall, which rounds up some over-ear models too. Or if you've decided that you definitely want noise cancelling then you need to take a look at the best noise-cancelling headphones to get the complete picture of the top models that deliver the best ANC performance around.
Next: Find out how to get the best headphone sound for you. Also, if you're seeking AirPods styling for your earbuds without the price, don't forget to check out our full Oppo Enco Free2 review — ANC and AirPods styling for £89 / AU$199.