Skip to main content

The best cheap wireless earbuds in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best cheap wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Plantronics)

The best cheap wireless earbuds are a rare breed. While it’s becoming increasingly easy to find true wireless buds for under $100, and sometimes even a lot less than that, they’re not always…well, good.

That’s why we take care to fully test every pair of headphones, cheap or premium, that comes our way. Just like the best wireless earbuds overall, you can count that the buds in this list will satisfy your standards in spite of their affordable pricing. In some cases you may even get fancy features like active noise cancellation (ANC), though as our picks below will show, you don’t need extra tricks to become one of the best cheap wireless earbuds.

What are the best cheap wireless earbuds?

Currently, we recommend the Jabra Elite 65t as the best cheap wireless earbuds. It’s not every day you can score one of the best-reviewed models in the category for under $50. Know that your money will be put towards excellent call quality, superb audio performance, industry-standard battery life, and a chicer, more discrete design than the AirPods.

In second place is the JLab Go Air Pop. This water-resistant set of wireless earbuds is one of the cheapest we've ever seen, and that hasn't stopped it from nailing the lightweight design or pumping bass-rich sound out of its speakers. We’re also fans of the JLab JBuds Air, buds 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.

Coming in a close third is the EarFun Air. Fine-tuned sound with decent call quality and solid connectivity are a given. EarFun didn’t compromise on construction either, reinforcing these buds with solid plastic casing that comes IPX7-rated for waterproof protection. The recent price drop should have them on your radar if sound takes priority over all other categories.

The best cheap wireless earbuds you can buy today

The Editor's Choice Jabra Elite 65t

(Image credit: Future)

1. Jabra Elite 65t

The best cheap wireless earbuds overall

Size: 0.3 x 1.2 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces
Battery life (rated): 5 hours, 15 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Ambient listening mode, activity tracking, customizable sound
Reasons to buy
+Amazing call quality+Stylish and durable+Standard battery life+Companion app with sound customization
Reasons to avoid
-Controls aren't convenient

Right now, Best Buy has the Jabra Elite 65t for as low as $49. We emphasize this because it’s incredibly rare to see such a critically acclaimed product available at such an affordable price. But even without the generous discount, the Elite 65t remains one of the best wireless earbuds ever created, and now it claims the title of best cheap wireless earbuds. 

Superior call quality, dynamic sound that can be customized via companion app, and a discrete, sleek design that screams business class 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 clutch 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.

The JLab Go Air Pop held in hand

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

2. JLab Go Air Pop

The best cheap wireless earbuds for $20 or less

Size: 0.9 x 1 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.1 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 8 hours, 32 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Special features: Built-in USB cable in charging case, programmed EQ settings, water resistance
Reasons to buy
+Versatile audio+IPX4-rated water resistance+Ample battery life+Custom EQ settings
Reasons to avoid
-Poor call quality-Controls don't always work

The Go Air Pop is 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 is 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 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.

The EarFun Air connected to a smartphone

(Image credit: EarFun)

3. EarFun Air

A winning balance of form, function and fashion

Size: 2.1 inches x 2 inches x 1.3 inches (charging case)
Weight: 1.8 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (rated): 7 hours, 35 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 50 feet (15 meters)
Special features: Digital assistant support, noise-cancelling mics, wireless charging
Reasons to buy
+Good sound quality+Wireless charging+Noise-cancelling mics+Lengthy wireless range
Reasons to avoid
-Unreliable fit-Tricky touch controls

Another pair of wireless earbuds that has received a notable price drop, the EarFun Air might look like some of the better fake AirPods that are out there, but it offers much more performance. Music sounds top-notch with the sound signature having powerful bass that lays a strong foundation for bright, clear vocals and other 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 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, while the fit accommodates specific ear shapes, but don’t let these shortcomings convince you that the EarFun Air isn’t worth a closer look. 

Read our full EarFun Air review.

The Skullcandy Dime displayed on a brick floor

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

4. Skullcandy Dime

Another top set of cheap wireless earbuds below $30

Size: 1 x 1 x 0.4 inches
Weight: Not stated
Battery life (rated): 3.5 hours; 12 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Special features: IPX4 water resistance
Reasons to buy
+Superb sound for the price+Water resistance+Compact, trendy charging case+Secure fit
Reasons to avoid
-No app-Impractical controls-Short battery life

Cheap even by the standards of this list, the Skullcandy Dime wields far better sound quality than even the most optimistic bargain-hunter might expect. Combine that with IPX4-rated water resistance, the same as what you get on the premium AirPods Pro, and the Dime is an instant low-cost champion.

Granted, there are still some imperfections, like the fiddly touch controls and the short battery life: expect only about 3 hours of playtime per charge. But if you want the biggest sonic bang from the smallest pile of bucks, look no further.

Read our full Skullcandy Dime review.

The JLab JBuds Air True wireless earbuds taken out of their charging case

(Image credit: JLab)

5. JLab JBuds Air

The best cheap wireless earbuds overall

Size: 1.8 x 3 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 0.1 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 4 hours, 14 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Built-in USB cable in charging case, programmed EQ settings, water resistance
Reasons to buy
+Bass-forward sound +3 EQ settings to choose from+Water-resistant protection+Auto Connect feature
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly bulky design

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) so that you can 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.

If you’re someone who values color variety, then you have plenty to choose from, including Black, White, Green, and awesome-looking Navy Blue.

The Tribit FlyBuds 3 being taken out of their charging case

(Image credit: Tribit)

6. Tribit FlyBuds 3

Workout-friendly buds with a ridiculously powerful charging case

Size: 3.4 x 2 x 1.2 inches
Weight: Not stated
Battery life (rated): 5 hours; 100 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special features: 100-hour charging case, Bluetooth 5.0, waterproof
Reasons to buy
+Category-leading cycle playtime+Dynamic audio performance+Bundled with multiple tips and fins+Charging case acts as a portable power bank
Reasons to avoid
-Finicky touch controls

Those who want great-sounding buds and extended playtime for at least a month’s worth of use before recharging will want to put the FlyBuds 3 on their radar. Audio is clean and impactful, keeping bass levels energetic and balanced for vocals to shine. They also serve as workout headphones with IPX7 waterproof coating and multiple fins and tips to accommodate different ear shapes. The charging case can even be used as a portable charger, allowing you to juice up any USB-C devices on the go, something Android fans will appreciate.

Our only complaint is that the touch controls are not the most reliable; you’ll have to perform tap gestures multiple times for commands to register. The charging case is a hefty sucker too, but that’s a small compromise you can live with, especially since it holds up to 100 hours of playtime. And no, that's not a typo.

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 in their charging case

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

The best cheap wireless earbuds for fitness

Size: 4.4 x 6.4 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 0.8 ounces
Battery life (rated): 5 hours; 15 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Companion app, charging case doubles as portable charger, waterproof
Reasons to buy
+Extremely secure fit+Loud, boomy sound+Waterproof and sweat-resistant+Stylish charging case
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life is shorter than competition

If you want something similar to the Beats Powerbeats Pro in terms of fit and sound, then this is the model that you’ll want to gift yourself in the New Year. The BackBeat Fit 3100 is considered by many to be the best cheap wireless earbuds for runners under $60, thanks to its waterproof and sweat-resistant protection, booming bass levels, and extended functionality via BackBeat app. You can personalize the controls for convenience, simplifying tasks like enabling different programs (e.g. Spotify, Google Assistant) or starting a timer with a simple tap.

Battery life is nothing special, at 5 hours. 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.

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel in its charging case

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

8. Skullcandy Grind Fuel

Skullcandy buds with high intelligence

Size: 0.98 x 0.94 x 0.94 inches
Weight: 0.35 ounces
Battery life (rated): 9 hours, 40 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Skull-IQ technology, EQ with presets, built-in Tile tracking
Reasons to buy
+Wide, customizable sound+Companion app with awesome features+Impressive voice controls+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Weak connectivity-Google Assistant is buggy

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel is the brand’s introduction to truly smart wireless earbuds. It broadens intelligibility through the Skull-IQ platform, a technology that lets users go completely hands-free via voice commands triggered by the "Hey Skullcandy” wake words. While we give credit to any brand bold enough to compete with the market's more intuitive AI bots (Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri), Skullcandy is well-deserving of their props. Voice commands are recognized and executed accurately, while other unique features tied to Skull-IQ, such as built-in Tile support and voice-activated Spotify Tap, are cool bonuses. Sound quality and battery life are also serviceable for the price.

Connectivity and Google Assistant support require some polishing, but the Grind Fuel is a promising start for where Skullcandy is headed next.

Read our full Skullcandy Grind Fuel review.

The Anker Soundcore Life P3 rested on a log

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

9. Anker Soundcore Life P3

The best cheap earbuds with active noise cancellation

Size: 1.5 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces
Battery life (rated): 6 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC off), 30 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 35 hours (with charging case and ANC off)
Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, ambient mode, EQ adjustment, IPX5 water resistance, gaming mode, soundscapes mode, LÜM music service access
Reasons to buy
+Affordable ANC+Lots of features+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Touch controls don't always work-Mixed call quality

The Soundcore Life P3 is the most expensive pair of earbuds on this list. But that's really just saying it's the least cheap, and considering Anker has equipped it with full active noise cancellation, it's still an affordable set of buds you should seriously consider for commutes, studying, or working use.

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.

The Lypertek SoundFree S20 wireless earbuds outside of their charging case

(Image credit: Future)

10. Lypertek SoundFree S20

Cheap but long-lasting wireless earbuds

Size: 1 x 1.1. 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces
Battery life (rated): 8 hours; 48 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 49 feet (15 meters)
Special features: Waterproof, wireless charging, work in mono or stereo mode
Reasons to buy
+Decent sound quality+Great battery life+Physical control buttons
Reasons to avoid
-So-so build quality, especially on the charging case

It's rare that a pair of wireless earbuds, much less a cheap pair like the SoundFree S20, manages to exceed its own official battery estimates. Lypertek says these buds are rated for "8+" of usage per charge, but we got 9.5 hours of non-stop music playback before they ran dry. That's a great showing at any price point.

The charging case also refills quickly over USB-C, though both it and the buds are a bit plasticky. Still, on design, the SoundFree S20's strengths outweigh its weaknesses. Each earbud is comfortable to wear for extended periods, and the little onboard control buttons provide a nicely tactile alternative to the usual touch sensors. Crucially, we could use them without the buds slipping out of place.

The Earfun Free displayed on the ground

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

11. Earfun Free

Highly functional waterproof buds

Size: 1.5 x 1.1. 0.7 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces
Battery life (rated): 6 hours; 30 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 49 feet (15 meters)
Special features: Waterproof, wireless charging, work in mono or stereo mode
Reasons to buy
+Lively audio+Fully waterproof+Awesome charging solutions+Excellent isolation
Reasons to avoid
-Stiff buttons

Earfun is one of the few brands that has managed to program tons of functionality into its promising lineup of cheap wireless earbuds. The Free is arguably its greatest creation. Songs are given plump bass and detail, and the gel tips create a tight seal to take in fuller sound, while minimizing leakage. The buds also come IPX7-rated for waterproof protection. A full charge gets you 6 hours, which is above average, plus you can get 2 hours of playtime on a 10-minute charge via quick charging. Oh yes, the case supports wireless charging too.

The minimalist design may be hit or miss for some, but the flush buttons on the front are the biggest issue. They are pretty stiff, don’t produce the best tactility, and pressing them creates discomfort since it requires pushing the buds further into your ears. Besides that, the Earfun Free hits mostly every other mark, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. 

The OnePlus Buds held in hand

(Image credit: Future)

12. OnePlus Buds

The best cheap wireless earbuds for Android users

Size: 1.49 x 0.74 x 0.63 inches
Weight: 0.16 ounces
Battery life (rated): 7 hours (earbuds); 28 hours (case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Dolby Atmos support, Fast Pair, Pro Game Mode
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Easy pairing and connectivity +Good call quality
Reasons to avoid
-Overly bassy sound-Limited controls

While OnePlus’ first-ever truly-wireless earbuds were designed to complement the company’s premium smartphones, they also serve well for budget Android users who want reliable battery life, call quality, and connectivity. To get 7 hours on a single charge and 30 hours in total via charging case are blessings, especially when factoring in the low price. Even better is OnePlus’ quick-charging technology, which is engineered to get you 10 hours (both earbuds and charging case) on a 10-minute charge. Ambient noise reduction helps produce loud and clear sound during phone calls. Pairing is smooth too, no matter the device, though OnePlus users can expedite the process with one-touch Fast Pair.

Bass can be exaggerated at times, depending on the music selection, and only those with a OnePlus phone receive Dolby Atmos audio support for a more dynamic listening experience. The limited number of controls available right out of the box might be a turnoff for some as well.

Read our full OnePlus Buds review.

How to choose the best cheap wireless earbuds for you


Want something more premium? Look over Tom’s Guide’s comprehensive guides for the best headphones and earbuds you can buy, per every category, style, and price point.

·      Best Wireless Earbuds

·      Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones

·      Best Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

·      Best Headphones

·      Best Fake AirPods

·      Best Running Headphones

·      Best Wireless Headphones

·      Best Cheap Running Headphones

·      Best Cheap Wireless Headphones 

·      Best Cheap Noise-Cancelling Headphones

·      Best Cheap Headphones

·      Best Cheap Earbuds

·      Best Headphones with a Mic for Voice and Video Calls

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 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 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. 

James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.