Skip to main content

Best cheap wireless headphones in 2020

best cheap wireless headphones
(Image credit: Anker/Soundcore)

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

Best cheap wireless headphones: Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Headphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

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

Clear, natural sound
Sophisticated design
Long battery life
Simple controls
Very comfortable
Limited Bluetooth range
Aux cable has no controls

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Samsung Galaxy Buds (2019)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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

Sleek, comfortable design
Great battery life
Strong audio
Intuitive companion app
Muffled call quality
Ambient Sound feature doesn’t work well in drafty environments

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Jaybird Tarah Wireless Sports Headphones

(Image credit: Jaybird)

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

Impactful bass response
Comfy, secure fit
Personalized sound via companion app
IPX7 water resistance
Fast-charging capabilities
Battery life could be longer
Cable adjustment is frustrating

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Anker Life Q20 Wireless ANC Headphones

(Image credit: Anker/Soundcore)

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

More battery life than most luxury ANC headphones
Strong sonics
Clean, minimalist design
Reliable noise cancelation
Aux cable muddles sound
Lets in high-frequency noises

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Status Audio BT One

(Image credit: Status Audio)

5. 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

Extremely comfortable
Well-balanced sound
Stable battery life
Great call quality
On-ear design is not for everyone
Confusing controls

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. 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

Damage-proof design
Bass-forward signature
Can tweak sound via mobile app
Stylish charging case
Bud-to-bud connection is finicky
Heavy charging case

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: House of Marley Positive Vibration XL

(Image credit: House of Marley)

7. 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

Bold soundstage
Made from sustainable and recycled materials
Great battery life
Stable wireless performance
Uncomfortable to wear after an hour
Mediocre call quality

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

(Image credit: Anker)

8. 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

Better sound than the AirPods II
Adaptive listening features
Wireless charging
Surprisingly good call quality
Charging case feels cheap
Finicky touch controls

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.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Adidas FWD-01 Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: Future)

9. Adidas FWD-01 Wireless Earbuds

Unbreakable sports earbuds with deep sound

Size: 22.13 x 1.02 x 1.14 inches | Weight: 0.88 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 16 hours | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Construction is tough as nails
Meaty bass response
Urban, contemporary design
Great battery life
Finicky connectivity
Loose fit

If you’re looking for a Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless alternative with better audio and battery life, then the Adidas FWD-01 is well worth the look. These sporty in-ear headphones are durable as hell with a ruggedly stylish and well-built design that complements the footwear brand’s popular running shoes; the sneaker-lacing cable is pretty cool. Both buds are covered in IPX4 coating for sweat, splash, and water resistance. Adding to the FWD-01’s brawny appeal is the deep sound profile that feeds your ears loud, energetic sonics for up to 15 hours. Adidas also developed a useful app for you to customize the controls, toggle different EQs, and instantly connect to your Spotify account

What keeps this model from being ranked higher are the loose fit and unreliable Bluetooth performance. The extra weight these buds carry results in slippage, which becomes common when running outdoors, while the buds have an issue with dropout and reconnecting to previous devices.

Best cheap wireless headphones: Sony WF-SP700N

(Image credit: Sony)

10. Sony WF-SP700N

Great-sounding sports earbuds with noise cancelation

Size: 4.96 x 2.36 x 6.01 inches | Weight: 0.27 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 3 hours; 9 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Noise-cancelling capabilities
Dynamic sound profile
Customization through Sony Headphones app
Waterproof design
Short battery life
Noticeable lag with video content

While in a category of its own, the SP700N stands out for several reasons other than being true wireless sport earbuds with noise cancelation. For one, the model delivers plenty of boom to work up some adrenaline, backed by Sony’s powerful bass signature and a companion app (Sony Headphones Connect) to toggle through various EQs for personalized sound. The sweatproof casing and securely fitting sports fins prevent perspiration from interfering with your HIIT training as well.

As for noise cancelation, these buds won’t match the superior ANC performance of their luxe brethren, the WF-1000xM3, but they block out enough ambient sound to enjoy a peaceful workout at the gym. Where they disappointment most is in battery life, as the 3 hours of playtime they manage on a full charge is incredibly low compared to some of other best sport headphones out there.

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.

Now that streaming music services are offering hi-res resolution audio, we advise reading our audio codec FAQ  for everything you need to know about FLAC files, MP3s and all other major coding formats.