The best cheap wireless earbuds in 2020

Save your pennies with our pick of the best cheap wireless earbuds right now.

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. 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, and Sol Republic, 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.

  1. JLabJBuds 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) | Special features: Built-in USB cable in charging case, programmed EQ settings, water resistance

  • Bass-forward sound
  • 3 EQ settings to choose from
  • Water-resistant protection
  • Auto Connect feature

The best cheap wireless earbuds right now are the JLabJBuds. 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.

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

  1. TribitFlyBuds 3

Workout-friendly buds with a ridiculously powerful charging case

Size: 3.40 x 2.00 x 1.20 inches | Weight: TBD | 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

  • Category-leading cycle playtime
  • Dynamic audio performance
  • Bundled with multiple tips and fins
  • Charging case acts as a portable power bank

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 sport 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.

  1. TaotronicsSoundLiberty 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) | Special features: Smart noise reduction, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging

  • Boomy sound
  • Stable battery life
  • Relatively comfortable
  • Strong Bluetooth

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.

  1. Enacfire E60

Sports earbuds with plenty of boom and portable power

Size: 3.23 x 1.54 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 0.18 ounces | Battery life (rated): 8 hours; 48 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Special features: apt-X codec, Qualcomm processor, waterproof

  • Bass-forward signature
  • Intuitive touch controls
  • Personalized fit and waterproof protection
  • Tiny and powerful charging case
  • Very generic design

Unless you’re shopping regularly in the Amazon budget headphones section, Enacfire isn’t a name you’ll recognize, but the E60 is a surprise hit that deserves your full, undivided attention. Lots of high-powered specs were stuffed into these sporty wireless earbuds, from Bluetooth 5.0 to a Qualcomm chip for advanced sound. Expect some steady bass thump when playing your workout playlists, along with functional smart controls that let you manage playback, volume, and virtual assistant support. Battery life is lengthy with a single charge generating 8 hours of playtime, while the compact charging case houses an extra 40 hours. It’s also cool that the company gives owners a 2-year warranty with the purchase.

We won’t lie though; these are very unattractive buds. Not only does the plastic build feel cheap, but other elements of the design just scream generic, such as the left/right indicators poorly labeled on the front of each bud.

  1. Aukey EP-N5

A great-sounding AirPods Pro alternative

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.5 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery life (rated): 4.5 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 35 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters) | Special features: Active noise cancellation, quick charging, water resistance

  • Energetic sound
  • ANC is surprisingly good for the price
  • Charging case is lighter and holds more juice than AirPods Pro case
  • Responsive touch controls

The Aukey EP-N5 is the closest thing you can get to the AirPods Pro for under $50. To call these buds impressive would be an understatement. They deliver punchy bass and separate vocals to produce full, vibrant sound. The low end is amplified when enabling active noise cancellation, which is great for hip-hop and rock songs, but what’s most surprising is how well the feature works. You’ll be able to drown out proximate sounds like chatty neighbors, keyboard clatter, and the humming noise from your AC. The technology won’t silence high-frequency noises like crying babies or police sirens, but for the price, it minimizes a sufficient amount of ambient sound. We’re also pleased with the charging case, which is lighter and holds more power (35 hours) than the AirPods Pro case (24 hours).

The one issue we encountered during testing was the weak wireless performance. Bluetooth range was shorter than advertised, with dropout occurring 25 feet away from our paired device.

 

  1. 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) | Special features: Companion app, charging case doubles as portable charger, waterproof

  • Extremely secure fit
  • Loud, boomy sound
  • Waterproof and sweat-resistant
  • Stylish charging case

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.

  1. Edifier X3

Super-tiny earbuds with great audio performance

Size: Weight: 0.16 ounces | Battery life (rated): 6 hours; 12 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 32 feet (10 meters) | Special features: apt X codec, Bluetooth 5.0, waterproof

  • Well-balanced sound
  • Responsive controls
  • Most portable charging case out there
  • Battery life shorter than advertised
  • Pairing process is annoying

Edifier has a reputable audio track record, but what the company has managed to achieve with the X3 is nothing short of noteworthy. These buds stabilize frequency range to achieve clean and impactful sound. Bass hits hard and mids are given priority. With such small real estate to work with, one would expect the touch panels not to operate well, but that’s far from the truth; they are highly responsive to multi-tap gestures. The charging case also complements the earbuds small-scale design and is nearly the size of a Tic Tac case to safely store the buds and hold up to 18 hours of total playtime.

But not everything goes according to plan on the X3. Battery life doesn’t hold up strong, giving you about 4.5 hours instead of the advertised 6 hours per charge. We also found the setup process frustrating since the left earbud requires several tries to pair with your device.

  1. Treblab X5

Top-notch sound with user-friendly controls

Size: 1.06 x 0.47 x 1.65 inches | Weight: 0.52 ounces | Battery life (rated): 7 hours; 35 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Special features: Passive noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.0, water resistance

  • Loud, crisp audio
  • Great control scheme
  • Stylish and powerful charging case
  • Finicky connection

Treblab has played innovator in the cheap wireless earbuds space for a while, creating unique models like the widely popular X2 Bluetooth headphones. The X5 doesn’t break the creative mold, but its biggest selling point, usability, is one at which it excels. Even without touch controls, these buds are simple and easy to operate, thanks to responsive physical buttons, which are smartly placed along the back of the slanted stem. The extremely slim charging case looks nice and holds a generous amount of playtime. But what you’ll really enjoy most is the clean, emphatic sound these buds produce.

With wireless earbuds becoming more modernized, you have to question Treblab’s design choices on the X5. Micro-USB charging is being phased out much more quickly these days and doesn’t offer the same fast charging as USB-C. Also, we’re not too fond of the old-school Bluetooth headset design that makes the earbuds look like a model out of 2010. Bluetooth can act up now and then as well, so just be mindful to stay close to your audio device to achieve a stable connection

  1. Anker Soundcore Life P2

High-powered earbuds at a great value

Size: 3.15 x 2.05 x 1.18 inches | Weight: 2.08 ounces | Battery life (rated): 7 hours, 40 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 50 feet (15.24 meters) | Special features: Passive noise reduction, Bluetooth 5.0, waterproof

  • Long battery life
  • Versatile sound performance
  • IPX7 water-resistance
  • Mics don’t work well

Anker’s wireless earbuds catalog is massive, and you really can’t go wrong with any of its affordable options. However, we find the Soundcore Life P2 to be the brand’s top choice under $60. Even without the Anker Soundcore app, these buds deliver well-balanced sound. Support of multiple codecs (e.g. aptX, AAC, and SBC) enhances the listening experience, especially on Android devices. Playtime is on point with a full charge getting you around 6.5 to 7 hours of use. It’s cool to see these buds come IPX7-certified, granting the user water-resistant protection.

I would avoid making calls on the Life P2, mainly because the 4-mic system doesn’t provide the best voice clarity; those on the other end will have difficulty hearing you clearly. In addition, the control scheme is problematic for those with sensitive ears, as pressing the buttons means pushing the buds deeper into your ears and applying unwanted pressure.

  1. Sol Republic Amps Air 2.0

Dynamic sound for an unbeatable price

Size: 3.67 x 1.89 x 1.39 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery life (rated): 3 hours; 45 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 45 feet (13 meters) | Special features: Charging case doubles as portable charger, mono and stereo support, water resistance

  • Warm sound profile
  • One of the most powerful charging cases out there
  • Sweat- and rain-resistant protection

As should be clear by now, great sound doesn’t always come at a steep price. Sol Republic has proven this time after time, and the Amps Air 2.0 is the latest example of wireless buds that deliver good audio without a corresponding hike in price.  Despite bass dominating the sound profile, the Amps Air 2.0 drivers are tuned to produce clearer mids and highs for well-balanced audio. The earbuds do retain the rubberized matte finish of the original, but also lack navigation controls.

Those looking to enjoy long listening sessions won’t be thrilled with the 3-hour playtime, but the bundled charging case supports up to 15 extra charges, which definitely comes in handy when commuting to work. The case also doubles as an external battery to charge some of your portable devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad).

Link: https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-cheap-wireless-earbuds

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