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Best cheap wireless earbuds 2022

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus - best cheap wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Regan Coule)

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, JBL, House of Marley, and Samsung that have received significant price drops over the past few months. In addition, there is an influx of new brands like JLab, 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?

Topping our list of the best cheap wireless earbuds is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. While Samsung sells it for $119, the buds can be had for almost $50 less at select retailers, placing it below the $100 mark. Expect strong audio and access to several features tied to Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem, along with some of the lengthiest playtimes in the category. The variety of color options is 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 that 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 $59 Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 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 Edifier NeoBuds Pro, 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

the best cheap wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

1. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Best cheap wireless earbuds overall

Specifications

Size: 0.7 x 0.75 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.22 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (Rated): 11 hours, 22 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 120 feet (36 meters)
Special features: Equalizer with presets, Spotify Tap, Wireless Powershare

Reasons to buy

+
High battery life
+
Crisp, balanced sound powered by AKG-tuned drivers
+
Handy companion app
+
Multi-purpose wireless charging
+
Spotify Tap integration

Reasons to avoid

-
Touch controls can be unresponsive at times

The best cheap wireless earbuds are a smooth operator across all mobile platforms. Currently on sale for as low as $79 on Walmart (Black only), the Galaxy Buds Plus offers more battery life, better sound, and cooler wireless features (e.g., reverse charging with any compatible Samsung Galaxy phone) than the AirPods Pro. Having 11 hours of playtime on a single charge is such a huge deal, giving users lengthier playtimes in between charges. The pill-shaped charging case doubles that number and supports faster quick charging to get you 1 hour of use on a 3-minute charge.

AKG’s dual-tuned speakers pump out clean and lively audio. The buds also have their own iOS and Android apps, which lets you personalize the sound and touch controls, though the latter blesses you with more perks such as Spotify integration and a Gaming mode with dedicated EQ.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus 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

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

3. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Best cheap wireless earbuds value

Specifications

Size: 2 x 2.2 x 1 inches
Weight: 0.18 per bud
Battery life (Rated): 7 hours, 28 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special features: EQ with presets, HearID Personalized Sound, wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+
Sound better than all AirPods models
+
Adaptive listening features
+
Impressive call quality
+
Solid battery life across the board with wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Touch controls are wonky
-
Same unattractive long-stem design as the AirPods

Many view the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 as an AirPods clone. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the product grants better audio, battery life, and more color options (White AND Black) for a much lower price. Anker went all out stuffing the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 with as many powerful specs as possible: including 4 mics with noise reduction technology, diamond-coated drivers, personalized sound features, and 7-hour battery life.

You’ll experience some nice clarity and depth when listening to music, which also carries over to phone calls. It’s also cool that you can use the buds in stereo or mono mode.

The Soundcore app extends functionality to customize the controls and sound; you can choose from multiple presets or select the HearID feature to have the buds create a sound profile based on your hearing sensibility. How many models do you know in the same price range that can pull that off?

Read our full Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Edifier NeoBuds Pro

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4. Edifier NeoBuds Pro

Flagship performance at a low price

Specifications

Size: 2.6 x 1.9 x 1 inches
Weight: 1.4 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (Rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 6 hours (ANC off), 15 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 18 hours (wit charging case and ANC off)
Bluetooth range: 65.6 feet (20 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening, customizable EQ

Reasons to buy

+
Top-notch sound quality
+
Stylish, comfortable design
+
Great ANC
+
Good call quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited controls
-
Some Bluetooth breakup issues

The NeoBuds Pro was arguably the most impressive wireless earbuds to launch last year. How Edifier managed to squeeze high-end specs into such a relatively affordable package is surprising. Underneath its stylish construction are a 10mm driver and Knowles balanced moving iron coil, each designed to handle separate sonic duties, plus a manual EQ and hi-res streaming codec support (LDAC, LHDC). These are features usually found in luxury models. The goodies don’t stop there either. ANC is included and is highly effective at neutralizing different frequencies. These buds also act as a reliable calling headset for clear-sounding voice and video calls. 

We’re not fond of the limited controls and the finicky connectivity, but when factoring in overall performance, there’s no denying that the NeoBuds Pro is a hell of a bargain.

Read our full Edifier NeoBuds Pro review.

Best cheap wireless earbuds: Creative Outlier Pro ANC

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

5. 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)

6. 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, 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: 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: OnePlus Buds Z2

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

8. 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: JBL Reflect Mini NC

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

9. JBL Reflect Mini NC

Workout buds with balanced audio and noise cancellation

Specifications

Size: TBD
Weight: 0.4 ounces
Battery life (Rated): 6 hours (with ANC on), 7 hours (with ANC off), 21 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth range: 37 feet (11 meters)
Special features: Active noise cancellation, customizable EQ, multipoint technology

Reasons to buy

+
Energetic and well-balanced sound
+
Stable battery life
+
Effective noise cancellation
+
Sturdy design

Reasons to avoid

-
Unreliable controls
-
Not very comfortable

Noise cancellation does exist on some wireless sports earbuds – it just hasn’t been engineered well on most of them. The Sony WF-SP800N was one exception, and now the JBL Reflect Mini NC is another. These damage-proof buds come with IPX7 sweat and waterproofing, along with a warm sound profile that kicks out emphatic lows to energize your workouts. Audio can also be personalized through the JBL Headphones app, which has a customizable EQ and three presets (Jazz, Vocal, Bass) to choose from. What you really want to know is how well ANC performs on these buds? Answer: Surprisingly well. The Reflect Mini NC will drown out everyday distractions like noisy commuters or the excruciating music playlist blasting at the gym. Smart Ambient is also available for runners to hear what’s happening around them when jogging outdoors.

The durable construction does affect comfort, as the hard-plastic material doesn’t feel pleasant on the concha after about an hour of use. JBL could have done a better job with the touch controls as well.

Read our full JBL Reflect Mini NC review.

best cheap wireless earbuds: Nothing Ear (1)

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

10. 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.

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.