The best wireless earbuds under $100 deliver strong performance for less than you'd think. With the big names all launching wireless earbuds in the $200 to $300 price range, it's easy to think that you need deep pockets to get the best performance. Thankfully, there are plenty of budget earbuds to give upmarket models a run for their money, and we've listed our favorites here.
We literally test dozens of earbuds a year, which means we have plenty of insight into the latest market trends, and huge experience in assessing sound quality and weighing up the most important features for you. 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.
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 discover which are the best sub-$100 earbuds to buy right now.
The best wireless earbuds under $100 you can buy right now
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Best overall wireless earbuds under $100
Sony's WF-C500 earbuds may not wow you with their looks, but arguably these are the best wireless earbuds under $100 (and they can regularly be found discounted for considerably less). 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 value wireless earbuds under $100
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.
Best ANC wireless earbuds under $100
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.
Best OnePlus wireless earbuds under $100
At $39 on the OnePlus website, 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.
Best wireless earbuds under $50
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 wireless earbuds under $100 for style
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 to choose the best wireless earbuds under $100
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 to choose
With so many wireless earbuds to choose from, you may find it difficult to settle on one design. There are several factors to weigh up, and which one is most important depends on personal preference. Follow out list of considerations to factor in when choosing the best wireless earbuds for you.
1. Design: When buying a new pair of wireless earbuds, it can be helpful to think about where you want to wear them. If you're going to use them on a run, for example, you may want a pair that offers the most secure fit and a high water resistance rating like all the models in our best sports headphones.
Whatever type you choose, make sure the earbuds are well built and comfy to wear for about 1 to 2 hours daily.
2. Sound quality: Different models offer different sound, and since you’re buying a pair to enjoy music individually, it’s important to find headphones that match your sound preference, be it heavy bass or distinctively clear to where you can hear the littlest nuances in recordings. Some models offer personalized sound via companion app, which allows the user to create their own profiles and tweak EQ levels to their hearing.
3. Battery life: The most important thing to look for in the best wireless earbuds is battery life. Most devices have an expected battery life, or the number of hours the company says the device can last on a charge. Most wireless earbuds are rated for 5 to 8 hours.
4. Accessories: It's disappointing spending money on a new pair of headphones only to find that you need to buy the accessories separately. Any models that come with a carrying case, charging cable, user guide, and extra eartips are solid purchases.
5. Pricing considerations: Obviously, price is a big consideration when looking for the best headphones. Although there are always exceptions, big-name brands will typically command a bit extra, but generally speaking, the less you spend on a pair of headphones the greater the chance that sound and features will be compromised. Going for a budget option isn't always the best choice, as any money you save on your purchase won't do you much good if you're constantly needing to recharge your audio gear, or the sound quality is poor.
As the saying goes: timing is everything; and right now many of our favorite models are discounted at online retailers, meaning you can bag a bargain for even less. Bookmark our best headphone deals page to keep track of the latest discounts.
How we test and rate the best wireless earbuds
With more than 30 years experience in testing and reviewing consumer audio products for all kinds of media outlets and big-name brands around the world, the Tom's Guide audio team follows a rigorous test regime when it comes to determining the best products for recommendation in our buying guides.
In determining the best wireless earbuds, we consider fit, battery life, sound quality, design and value (are they worth the price?). We also factor in features like how well the controls work and how easily the earbuds pair with our playback devices.
In terms of sound quality, 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.
To discover more information on what we listen for during our testing and reviewing process, take a look at our companion page on how to get the best headphone sound for you.
During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for several hours at a time throughout the course of a week. Reviewers will make a note of the battery life performance in real world use, and assess how well this matches the rated battery life provided by earbud makers.
Star ratings explained:
We evaluate 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.
Contributions from: Alex Bracetti