Buying the cheapest wireless earbuds that combine great performance and price is the most important consideration during these tough economic times.
However, considering that some of these models cost less than $50, it’s not surprising that compromises may have been made to keep costs down, and some of them may have an impact on sound quality. Just because these models are cheap doesn’t mean they skimp on features. In some cases, you might get active noise cancellation (ANC) models, but you don’t always need the extra features to get one of the cheapest wireless earbuds.
Read on for our pick of the best cheap wireless earbuds available right now.
1. Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW
Cubist, cool, and refreshing, these Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW headphones are a testament to what Audio-Technica does well. The 60-year hi-fi tradition is nothing to scoff at (yes, it’s mostly analog audio and not the little stuff, but what the hell is that?) and Audio-Technica has earned the right to go its own way.
AT doesn’t try to imitate other earbuds from competing brands here, so we like the Tokyo Audio set. These buds come in no fewer than six pleasing colors (caramel, popsicle, cupcake, blueberry, licorice, and popcorn — try this size, ice white AirPods only), and you get Bluetooth 5.0, a 20-hour battery, and cute A product that sits comfortably, has well-functioning in-ear controls (including volume), plus a low-latency mode, direct-listen functionality, and sound that’s wider, clearer, and often better than anything else money can buy.
They don’t have a companion app, and there’s no active noise cancellation here, but they’re not deal breakers. These cheap earbuds should be on your list—and not just for looks; $80 sound very, very good.
2. Sony WF-C500
We know Sony can make excellent premium wireless earbuds (check out the WF-1000XM4). But can it replicate that success with an inexpensive pair?
The WF-C500 has Bluetooth 5.0 and can handle SBC and AAC codecs, while the earphones have a battery life of 10 hours with the carrying case at 10 hours. So far, so good.
Even better, they also have 2022 What Hi-Fi? forgive.
Like Sony’s more expensive headphones, they work with the company’s Headphones Connect app to give you more control over your headphones without overloading them with buttons. They can upscale audio to near high-resolution quality.
Don’t want to hack your phone? no problem. Voice control is provided by Google Assistant and Siri, while the IPX4 rating means they can withstand spray – handy if you’re caught in a downpour.
Of course, all of this will be for naught if what they’re doing doesn’t sound good enough. The bass is rich, but never at the expense of other frequencies. It offers a lot of what makes Sony’s high-end headphones a great value, but without the price. That makes them another great option on this list.
3. Earfun Air
The Earfun Air is one of the first pair of cheap wireless earbuds at this price point that we give five stars. That’s not the case, despite the fact that we’ve tested models from all the well-known and more established audio brands.
The Earfun Air are well-made earbuds that are comfortable to wear and perform well. They have wireless charging. They create a spatial sound. They’re IPX7 rated, meaning they’re fully submersible, making them perfect for working out in the rain (or even in the pool).
The 35 hours of total battery life (including the charging case) is also impressive. They even have features usually reserved for more expensive models, like in-ear detection that pauses playback when you take them out of your ears. If you want some of the cheapest earbuds money can buy, the Earfun Air is one of the best options.
4. JLab Go Air Pop
Let’s get down to business. What’s exciting about the JLab Go Air Pop is that from February 2022, people can buy this new set of true wireless earbuds from the reputable brand for $20/£20, an unimaginable fee just three years ago. They’re actually pretty good.
Regular readers will know that TechRadar had its first thoughts on the very affordable new JLab Go Air Pop shortly after launch, but even so, we’re still not sure if the price-conscious earbuds will actually work. Well, we’re sure now.
All you need to know is that the JLab Go Air Pop is pretty good overall – and definitely not for the money. Although it’s worth noting that there’s very little to challenge them at this level. If you’re on a budget for non-essentials like true wireless earbuds, here’s a solid one.
During our testing, we did find that these earbuds belie their low price point. You are not trash. They sound much better than reasonable. In our review of the JLab Go Air Pop, we concluded: “In terms of build, battery life, and feature set, the JLab is unarguably worth the money — but remember, it’s small. ”
While they certainly can’t be beat for sound, like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus buds above, you’ll obviously be paying more.
5. Sony WI-C310 Wireless
The best-sounding budget earbuds we’ve tested are the Sony WI-C310 Wireless. Although the sound has more punch and warmth, these neckband headphones are still neutral, making them a versatile choice for most audio types. Unlike the KZ ZSN, their mids are very flat and even, so vocals and lead instruments sound precise and clear. Their treble range is smooth, ensuring your mixes have plenty of brightness. They are so comfortable that they can even be worn around your neck when not in use. The long cord is a bit flimsy to the touch and could snag on something if you’re not careful.
While they’re not designed to block out commuter noise like the roar of buses and plane engines, they can help reduce ambient noise and the high-pitched hum of your air conditioner, which can be great when working in a noisy office. They also last about 17 hours of continuous use, but lack power-saving features to extend battery life when you’re not using them.