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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. The market is flooded with inexpensive true wireless options that provide better performance than their MSRP suggests. 

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 Soundcore, and Soul Electronics, 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?

Finding the best cheap wireless earbuds involves more than just looking for the lowest price. You also want to consider the sound quality and how easy it is to control your earbuds.

Given that criteria, we'd recommend the JLab JBuds Air Wireless Earphones, which 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 Mobvoi TicPods Free, should you want great-sounding wireless earbuds that share the same silhouette as the AirPods. 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 Enacfire E18 Plus offers long rated battery life, Tranya's T1 Sports Wireless Earbuds has reliable Bluetooth connectivity, and the Helm Audio's True Wireless Headphones sound just as good as they look.

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
Calls in only one ear

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.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Mobvoi TicPods Free

(Image credit: Mobvoi)

2. Mobvoi TicPods Free

The best AirPods clone for the price

Size: 1.6 x 0.5 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 0.6 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4 hours;18 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Lengthy battery life
Water-resistant design
Solid sound with noise isolation
Vibrant color options
No companion app
Limited gesture controls

Coming in second on our list of the best cheap wireless earbuds is the Mobvoi TicPods Free – an AirPods clone that packs plenty of functionality into a minimalist, dangling design. The buds offer up to 18 hours of playtime with its bundled case, and their intuitive gesture controls make for responsive for seamless playback and call management. They also produce loud, clean audio, and are compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, which makes them more useful to Android users. The unique shape and multiple ear tips allow for a more customized fit as well.

Thanks to a recent markdown, the TicPods can be had for almost half the price of Apple’s signature buds, with minimal trade-offs. Unlike the AirPods with their monotone white color scheme, TicPods come in three shades, including our favorite, Lava. Lastly, the TicPods are a better alternative than any of the best fake AirPods, too.

Read our full TicPods Free review.

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
Frustrating setup
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
Size isn’t customizable
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: Soul ST-XX

(Image credit: Soul Electornics)

5. Soul ST-XX

A winning balance of form, function and fashion

Size: 0.94 x 0.55 x 0.79 inches | Weight: 0.14 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 20 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Weatherproof
Convenient charging case
Strong bass
Range of colors
Battery life shorter than advertised
Ambient-listening mode hinders sound quality

An effective blend of form, function, and fashion means the Soul ST-XX snags a spot in our ranking of the best cheap wireless earbuds. Bass is tight to give lows and mids more transparency. IPX5 certification means the buds have weatherproof protection, making them ideal for outdoor activities and excessive sweating. The ST-XX is also available in several bold colors to accessorize with your outfits.

A Transparency Mode was programmed into the buds to let listeners hear their surroundings better, but you’ll want to keep it disabled since it compromises the sound quality. While battery life is rated at 5 hours on a full charge, it’s realistically about 3.5 hours when factoring in calls and high volume. Thankfully, the charging case carries up to 4 charges for around 15 hours of additional playback.  

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Enacfire E18 Plus

(Image credit: Enacfire)

6. Enacfire E18 Plus

Reliable sound and even better wireless features

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

Powerful, super-light charging case
Built-in virtual assistant
Long battery life
Sleek design
Sound quality not always good on lows
Poor call quality

The Enacfire E18 Plus is an attractive option for cheap earbuds, thanks to reliable sound and even better wireless features. Mids and highs are bright, whereas lows are a mixed bag depending on the music genre. The earbuds come digital assistant-ready with the built-in microphone picking up vocals clearly to execute basic Google Assistant and Siri commands. We're also a fan of the stylish, super-light charging case that provides up to 15 extra hours of music time, greatly supplementing the E18's 8 hours of charge.

Call quality isn’t the greatest and it’s a bummer that you can only hear in mono through one earbud when screening calls. Still, the pros and cons balance out performance overall to make this one of the best cheap wireless earbuds around right now.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Helm Audio True Wireless Headphones

(Image credit: Helm Audio)

7. Helm Audio True Wireless Headphones

Fancy-looking buds with fancier sound

Size: 1.00 x 0.75 x 1.25 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 3.5 hours, 15 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 80 feet (24 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Solid range of sound
Chic bud design
Strong Bluetooth performance
Multiple pairs of tips included
Weak battery life
Cheap charging case

This true wireless solution has more going for it than just a distinctive design. Helm Audio’s bass-forward sound signature is energetic and produces impactful reverberation that enlivens hip-hop and rock songs. Highs are present, although they lack detail on orchestral-heavy productions. Call quality is also decent for phone calls and Facetime sessions. 

Design and sound can only warrant a brand so many cool points and Helm Audio loses a few due to some notable shortcomings. The bulky charging case with plastic lid takes away from the buds’ contemporary look, and it is frustrating to open. The integrated ear fins feel stiff and provide a terrible fit for small ears. While this version operates on Bluetooth 4.1, which performs well, it suffers from pairing issues with MacOS and automatically disconnects from devices within 2 minutes of inactivity.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

(Image credit: Anker Soundcore)

8. 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: Tranya T1 Sports Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: Tranya)

9. Tranya T1 Sports Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds heavy on bass

Size: 0.8 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours, 48 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 35 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Good Bluetooth connection
Virtual assistant built-in
Bass-forward profile
Bass dominates sound balance
Mediocre battery life

Wireless earbuds are an acquired taste, but the T1 delivers enough flavor to make ordering them a savory gamble. The soundstage is dominated by deep, rumbling bass, which is cool for those who favor hard-hitting lows, but it can also silence distinct sounds meant to be heard the way they were recorded. Each earpiece is powered by Bluetooth 5.0 and stabilizes connection even when slightly out of range.

These headphones do come digital-assistant-ready, with instant access to Google Assistant and Siri. The built-in mic does a nice job of picking up vocal commands, but we experienced some random dropout on the left earpiece, and being able to screen calls only in mono through one earbud was disappointing. 

Battery life was mediocre, at 3 hours, which is common for most wireless earbuds, but the charging case promises up to four extra charges, giving listeners an estimated 15 hours of battery life.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Altec Lansing True Evo Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: Altec Lansing)

10. Altec Lansing True Evo Wireless Earbuds

Water-resistant buds with serious bass

Size: 1.7 x 1 x 1 inches | Weight: 0.16 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4 hours, 20 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Well-balanced audio with powerful lows
Water-resistant protection
Supports wireless charging
Limited on-ear controls
Generic design

Look beyond the generic aesthetics of cheap audio gear, and you’ll discover a pair of truly wireless earbuds with some serious sound. The True Evo brings on the bass and makes no apologies for its thunderous low-end response. Mids and highs also blend well to produce a warm sound signature. Battery life is rated at 4 hours, but the included charging case provides 4 extra charges and works with Qi wireless charging pads.  

More could have been done with the design to give the True Evo some pop. The same can be said about the limited on-ear controls, which forces users to rely more on their audio devices to manage common tasks like track navigation and volume. There is also some latency present when streaming videos online. 

Still, if these are drawbacks you can live with, you’ll find these earbuds are worth the price in audio performance alone.

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.