Best cheap wireless earbuds 2022

best cheap wireless earbuds 2022
(Image credit: Future)

Hunting down the best cheap wireless earbuds is like finding a needle in a haystack. You’ll search through hundreds of low-priced selections until stumbling upon that one inexpensive gem that pairs perfectly with your devices. 

We’re seeing models from popular brands like Anker, Jabra, JBL, and Samsung that have received significant price drops over the past few months. In addition, there is an influx of new brands like OnePlus and Nothing releasing super-affordable buds that are undercutting some of the market’s best wireless earbuds. You hear that, Apple? The competition is catching up.

In assembling a list of the best cheap wireless earbuds, lots of testing was performed and numerous variables were taken into account, including design, battery life, sound, and special features. Most importantly, we capped this list at $100, which we feel is a reasonable and attainable price point for many consumers.

What are the best cheap wireless earbuds to pair with your smartphone, tablet or laptop? Keep reading to find out.

What are the best cheap wireless earbuds?

Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Topping our list of the best cheap wireless earbuds is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. These buds have recently dropped down in price, going for as low as $99. Expect strong audio and access to several features tied to Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem, along with a variety of cool features. The different color options are enticing as well.

A close runner-up is the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. This affordable take on the company’s flagship buds packs several franchise staples (e.g., Google Assistant integration, Fast Pair) into a chic and comfy design. More attractive is the pebble-shaped charging case, which is conveniently portable and one of the coolest-looking cases ever made. Keep in mind that Google continues to push out software updates that add new features to the buds.

The $79 Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro fills the No. 3 spot with great all-around performance. Its strong feature set is also something you won’t find on many sub-$100 rivals. Not too far behind is the Creative Outlier Pro ANC, a model that surpasses expectations with hi-fi sound quality and strong noise cancellation at a low price.

Check out our full rankings of the best cheap wireless earbuds you can purchase right now!

The best cheap wireless earbuds you can buy today

best cheap wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

(Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Best cheap wireless earbuds overall

Specifications

Size: 0.7 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (Rated): 5 hours with ANC on (20 hours with charging case), 7.5 hours with ANC off (29 hours with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening mode, Wireless Power Share charging

Reasons to buy

+
Strong ANC and ambient modes
+
Great audio performance
+
Extremely comfortable
+
Competitively priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as water resistant as competitors
-
Middling battery life

The small but mighty Galaxy Buds 2 is a fantastic value for Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners that require portable audio companionship. Powerful ANC and ambient modes give you full control of how much external sound you want to hear, while the dynamic two-way speaker pumps out crisp highs and deep lows. Those who own a Galaxy smartphone get special perks like the low-latency Gaming Mode and Samsung’s Scalable Codec support, which enhances audio quality over the SBC codec. The Galaxy Wearable app also extends functionality with an Accessibility mode to let you assign ANC to one earbud, plus an EQ that has six well-engineered presets.

The weaker IPX2 durability means these buds aren’t as water-resistant as other competitors, and the less premium design makes the high-end Galaxy Buds Pro more enticing. Nonetheless, it’s an affordably suitable pickup for anyone invested in Samsung’s mobile ecosystem.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Google Pixel Buds A-Series

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2. Google Pixel Buds A-Series

Best cheap wireless earbuds for Android users

Specifications

Size: 0.8 x 1.2 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 0.18 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (Rated): 5 hours 25 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Adaptive sound technology, Google Translate, Find My Buds

Reasons to buy

+
The most attractive charging case in its class
+
Clear, detailed sound
+
Super comfortable and lightweight
+
Excellent voice command integration

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks active noise cancellation
-
Weak volume

Google’s first attempt at wireless earbuds wasn’t well received, and though the second-gen Pixel Buds were a notable upgrade, it’s the Pixel Buds A-Series that has saved the franchise from obscurity. These $99 earbuds have lots of smarts and a stylish design that complements the brand’s popular Pixel smartphones. No other buds can match the A-Series Google Assistant integration, which lets you fire off hundreds of voice commands with ease. Comfort is another strength, allowing you to wear the buds for hours on end without experiencing soreness. Then there is Google’s Adaptive Sound technology that enhances audio quality by adjusting the volume according to your environment for optimal listening. 

Outside of wireless charging, the Pixel A-Series offers nearly the same performance as its higher-priced sibling. That makes it the better purchase for all Android users.

Read our full Google Pixel Buds A-Series review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

3. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

A great AirPods Pro alternative at a generous price

Specifications

Size: 1.5 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.4 ounces
Battery life (Rated): 6 hours (with ANC on), 6.5 hours (with Transparency Mode on), 7 hours (all modes off), 26 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, customizable EQ, wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+
Rich, customizable sound
+
Adequate ANC and ambient listening modes
+
Stable battery life
+
Excellent connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Finicky controls
-
High end doesn’t shine

The original Liberty Air 2 was considered a Laptop Magazine favorite for its great audio quality, excellent connectivity, and serviceable listening modes. Anker upped the ante with its successor, the Liberty Air 2 Pro, adding new features (e.g., Tip Fit Test, LÜM music service) into the mix, along with adaptive noise cancellation that is not only engineered to block out ambient noise in different environments, but can also be adjusted at the user’s discretion. Battery life on the buds and the redesigned wireless charging case are both rated higher than the AirPods Pro.

Sound is rich and punchy, though audiophiles might take issue with the lacking highs these buds produce. Luckily, there’s the EQ with 22 presets and a custom profile to tweak sound to your hearing. Besides the high end, the only real issue these buds have are the touch controls, which have limited gesture input and operate on a delay.

Read our full Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Creative Outlier Pro ANC

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

4. Creative Outlier Pro ANC

Inexpensive ANC buds with 3D sound capabilities

Specifications

Size: 0.98 x 0.79 x 1.04 inches (per bud); 3.23 x 1.81 x 1.21inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.24 ounces (per bud); 2.57 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (Rated): 10 hours (ANC on); 15 hours (ANC off); 40 hours (charging case with ANC on); 60 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)
Special features: 3D audio, active noise cancellation, Equalizer with numerous presets

Reasons to buy

+
Bold audio with 3D sound capabilities
+
Impressive ANC
+
Long battery life
+
Powerful mics

Reasons to avoid

-
Uncomfortable, loose fit
-
Shoddy touch controls

Creative has put out numerous cheap wireless earbuds, but none can hold a candle to the Outlier Pro ANC. On top of delivering some of the longest battery life in the category, these buds are loaded with high-powered audio specs, including a 10mm graphene-coated driver, limitless EQ presets, and Super X-Fi compatibility to upscale music for 3D sound. There are caveats such as Super X-Fi only working in the SXFi app and with music files stored on your mobile device. However, the feature is effective and gives music a more natural presence. Hybrid ANC is also part of the package and blocks out noise at a higher level than most sub-luxury wireless earbuds.  

The controls aren’t the most reliable and the large design makes for an uncomfortable wear at times, but these are compromises you can live with for the price.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Sony WF-C500

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

5. Sony WF-C500

Sony sound for under $70

Specifications

Size: 1.2 x 1.1 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 10 hours, 20 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 80 feet (24 meters)
Special features: 360 Reality Audio, custom EQ, Digital Sound Enhancement Engine support

Reasons to buy

+
Dynamic, bass-forward sound
+
Long battery life (on the buds)
+
360 Reality Audio and DSEE support
+
Fun-looking charging case

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited control scheme
-
Short battery life (on the case)

Originally launched for $100, the WF-C500 has been seen on sale for as low as $69 (opens in new tab), making it one of the best true wireless deals out there. Sony managed to stuff several of their proprietary technologies into these buds, including 360 Reality Audio and Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), both of which bring a more immersive, natural-sounding experience to music. Access to the Sony Headphones Connect app lets users personalize the buds in multiple ways (we recommend playing with the customizable EQ). Getting 10 hours on a single charge is something you won’t find in many rivals at any price point.

To accommodate the low MSRP, Sony had to limit battery life on the charging case; 20 hours falls short of the industry standard (24 hours). On the plus side, it looks much cooler than the AirPods case and is conveniently portable.

Read our full Sony WF-C500 review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Edifier W240TN

(Image credit: Future)
Budget bangers with quality ANC

Specifications

Size and Weight: 0.9 x 0.6 x 1 inches (per bud); 2.3 x 1.7 x 1.1 inches (charging case); 0.2 ounces (per bud); 1.4 ounces (charging case)
Battery Life (Rated): 7 hours (ANC on); 8.5 hours (ANC off); 21 hours (charging case with ANC on); 25.5 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special Features: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, low-latency mode

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive sound quality
+
Long battery life
+
Durable, premium design
+
Strong ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
Bass is lacking a times
-
Middling call quality

Edifier has put out several inexpensive wireless earbuds throughout the year. We’re most fond of the W240TN. Sound is far better than what you would expect for the price, thanks to dual dynamic drivers that present great frequency response. You’ll get a nice mix of lows, mids, and highs, granted the bass doesn’t hit as hard as other options in this category. ANC is legit for eliminating most daily distractions. Transparency mode is even more reliable for increasing awareness of surroundings. A full charge can generate up to 8.5 hours, which is fine for 4 days of moderate use (2 hours daily)

Had the call quality been more reliable, the W240TN could have earned an Editor’s Choice badge.

Read our full Edifier W240TN review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite 3

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

7. Jabra Elite 3

Great overall performance for the price

Specifications

Size: 0.79 x 0.82 x 1.07 inches
Weight: 0.16 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 7 hours, 28 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Ambient listening mode, equalizer, Call Experience for enhanced vocal clarity

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful, customizable sound
+
Superb call quality
+
Enviable battery life
+
Bluetooth 5.2 and Google Fast Pair

Reasons to avoid

-
Several Jabra features remain exclusive to premium models
-
No wireless charging or multipoint technology

On sale for $68, the Jabra Elite 3 grants you signature Jabra performance for nearly half the price of the brand’s premium models, as well as the AirPods. Music sounds loud and lively, thanks to powerful, yet tiny 6mm speakers, which produce warm, rich audio. Want a little bass or more emphasis on highs? The Jabra Sound+ app gives you that through a group of well-engineered presets. You’ll find some other unique software perks in the app such as HearThrough for dependable ambient listening and Call Experience to optimize what’s already excellent call quality by boosting your vocals on calls. Bluetooth 5.2 guarantees strong and fast connections, while Google Fast Pair provides one-touch pairing with Android devices.

Do we miss some of Jabra’s more enticing features such as ANC, multipoint technology, and MySound to create a sound profile that’s tailored to your hearing? Of course. At the same time, the Elite 3 is giving you much more in functionality and performance than numerous other models at its price point.

Read our full Jabra Elite 3 review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: 1More PistonBuds Pro

(Image credit: Future)

8. 1More PistonBuds Pro

Premium performance from a bargain brand

Specifications

Size: 0.6 x 0.7 x 0.8 inches (per bud); 2.2 x 0.9 x 1.4 inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.15 ounces (per bud); 1.07 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (Rated): Up to 7.5 hours (ANC off); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Bluetooth range: 60 feet (18 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening, low latency mode

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp, detailed sound
+
Stylish, comfortable design
+
Strong battery life
+
Decent ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak call quality
-
Could be louder

1More has released numerous cheap wireless earbuds over the past year, but only a few have proven to be of quality. Add the PistonBuds Pro to that list. These $59 buds have an impressive feature set, which consists of an EQ with multiple well-engineered presets, effective ANC, and a low latency mode designed to improve audio synchronization when gaming. A 10mm dynamic driver with an aero titanium membrane dishes out clear, balanced sound with strong bass at the forefront. Battery life is sufficient at 7.5 hours per charge. Connectivity is also strong and extends up to 60 feet.

Call quality has never been great on 1More wireless earbuds, and the PistonBuds Pro is no different. In addition, the volume levels could have been raised a little higher.

Read our full 1More PistonBuds Pro review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Nothing Ear (1)

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9. Nothing Ear (1)

Bargain buds with premium performance

Specifications

Size: 1.1 x 0.8 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (Rated): 4 hours (ANC on), 27 hours (ANC on with charging case); 5.7 hours (ANC off), 38 hours (ANC off with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, equalizer

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sound quality
+
Great ANC
+
Crystal-clear call quality
+
Responsive touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
Limited EQ customizability

For under a Benjamin, the Nothing Ear (1) might be the most highly functioning, feature-heavy wireless earbuds in its price class. The company stuffed 11.6mm drivers underneath its see-through cover, which are bigger than what Master & Dynamic uses, and produce well-balanced frequencies. You’ll feel the warmth of lows and identify every instrument in the mids and highs. The noise cancellation on these buds hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, outperforming popular rivals like the Soundcore’s Liberty Air 2 Pro and even the AirPods Pro with stronger wind resistance. The transparent design won’t be for everyone, but there’s no denying that it is innovative.

Nothing doesn’t hit every mark, which shows in the weak battery life (4 hours of ANC playback) and limited sound customization. However, these are trivial complaints when looking at the bigger picture.

Read our full Nothing Ear (1) review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: OnePlus Buds Z2

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

10. OnePlus Buds Z2

Impressive sound and ANC for under $100

Specifications

Size: 1.2 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.15 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC off), 27 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 38 hours (with charging case and ANC off)
Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, Dolby Atmos Support, Pro Gaming Mode

Reasons to buy

+
Energetic sound
+
Accurate controls
+
Effective ANC
+
Fast connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features remain exclusive to OnePlus users
-
Weak call quality

Need some new buds to pair with your OnePlus 9? While the more powerful Buds Pro is a quality option, it’s hard to pass up a deal like the Buds Z2. You’re getting impressive noise cancellation that blocks out a large amount of low and mid-frequency sounds, along with dynamic sound and strong connectivity for under $100. Warp Charging isn’t available on this model, but OnePlus did include Fast Charge technology as an alternative to power up the buds in a timely manner: 10 minutes nets you 2 hours of listening time.

Those with a newer OnePlus device receive access to special features like Dolby Atmos support and Pro Gaming Mode for lower latency when playing video games. Sadly, other Android and iOS users lose out on these goodies.

Read our full OnePlus Buds Z2 review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)
Great-sounding buds with noise cancellation

Specifications

Size and Weight: 0.58 x 0.96 x 0.52 inches; 0.19 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours/21 hours with case (ANC + Bixby); 5.5 hours/20 hours (ANC); 8 hours/29 hours (ANC + Bixby off)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special Features: Active noise cancellation, multiple EQs, reverse wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate, lively sound
+
Solid battery life
+
Plenty of customization via companion app
+
Fun, eye-catching design

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak ANC
-
Design can be uncomfortable on smaller ears

Samsung’s first-ever ANC wireless earbuds are a notable entry in the company’s line of popular mobile accessories and delivers top-tier sound in a unique, stylish design. You can expect crisp treble, clear vocals, and impactful bass when indulging in Spotify playlists, which you can instantly pull up on the buds with the touch of a button by customizing the controls in the Galaxy Wear app. There’s also the option to fine-tune sound to your liking by selecting from six different presets. One of the bigger perks of owning these buds over the AirPods Pro is longer battery life; the Galaxy Buds Live offers an hour more playtime with ANC on and three hours more when turned off.

However, the device’s killer feature, active noise cancellation, does not live up to expectations. It’s decent enough to eliminate small ambient noises, but don’t expect silence when walking down a busy street. We feel the touch controls could be better as well.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Laptop Magazine)

12. Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2

$20 buds with amazing sound

Specifications

Size: 1.00 x 0.74 x 0.96 inches
Weight: 0.23 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (Rated): 5.5 hours, 21 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10.5 meters)
Special features: BassUp technology, digital assistance, quick charging

Reasons to buy

+
Punchy bass
+
Tight, secure fit
+
Sweat- and waterproof

Reasons to avoid

-
Still has some bugs in the system
-
Unreliable controls

The Spirit Dot 2 stands out as one of the best wireless earbuds under $100, thanks to its sporty aesthetics and high-tech functionality. Anker designed these buds to be sweatproof and waterproof, draping the exterior with IPX7 coating, which is one of the highest ratings in the category. Comfort and fit are guaranteed with Anker bundling a host of ear tips and wings to accommodate different ear shapes. Where you really get your money’s worth is in bass response, as the buds pump out powerful lows that don’t compromise the sound with unwanted distortion.

With a lower price comes compromises. In the case of the Spirit Dot 2, it’s zero access to the Soundcore app, which means you’re missing out on popular features (e.g. customizable EQ, HearID) that could enhance audio quality. Criticism aside, you’re afforded much more performance than the cost-friendly MSRP would suggest; $80 for these buds is a steal.

Read our full Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review.

How to choose the best cheap wireless earbuds for you

The best wireless earbuds should check several boxes, starting with battery life. Apple set the industry standard by giving the AirPods 5 hours on a full charge, though we’ve seen numerous models surpass this rate over the years. You’ll want to aim for something that offers 5 hours or more per charge, as well as a charging case that stores a minimum of 20 to 24 hours. Look around and you may discover some charging cases that offer up to 40 hours of additional use.

Audio is just as crucial to the selection process. All media formats (e.g., music, videos, games) and phones calls should be audible at a high level. Explore models with powerful drivers and customization settings to tweak sound profiles to your liking.

Next up is design. Ideally, you want a pair of buds that offer personalized fit and comfort, along with multiple ear tips to accommodate different ear shapes. Durability and water-resistant protection shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Wireless functionality is another major component. Most modern wireless earbuds come with Bluetooth 5.0 to give users faster connectivity, increased range (est. 120 meters max), longer battery life, and multipoint pairing to connect to two audio sources simultaneously. Newer models are adopting Bluetooth 5.1 and 5.2, which increases performance across the board. Digital assistant support (Siri, Google, and Alexa) falls under this section as well.

Lastly, consider wireless earbuds that come with advanced features like active noise cancellation, ambient listening, customizable EQ, and enhanced codec support (e.g., aptX, LDAC/LHDC). While the majority of these are often reserved for higher-priced models, the odds of finding one or two of these on some of the best cheap wireless earbuds are high.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

How we test the best cheap wireless earbuds

In determining the best cheap wireless earbuds, Laptop Magazine takes several factors into account, including design, sound, and value, just to name a few. Our reviewers also compare models to similar products in the same category, and at different price points.

Each pair of wireless earbuds is tested over the course of a week for 2 to 3 hours at a time. We assess ease of use, comfort, and audio quality. Reviewers listen to several sample tracks across multiple music genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, and classical, while analyzing clarity, depth, and volume. Audiobooks, games, podcasts, and videos are also accounted for.

We also test battery life, Bluetooth range, digital assistant support, ease of setup, and any app-enabled features compatible with laptops, desktops, and all portable devices like smartphones and tablets.

Furthermore, we test streaming music services that offer hi-res audio. To learn more about how these services can improve the sound quality on your laptops and mobile devices, here is an expert audio codec FAQ on everything you should know about FLAC files, MP3s and all other audio file codecs.

When testing is completed, all models are rated based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that are truly exemplary receive an Editor’s Choice badge.