The best budget wireless earbuds are far better than their low prices suggest, boasting features you'd expect to find from much pricier earphones.
The best earbuds of 2021 are a selection of the top earphones you can buy that have the most high-end audio tech built-in. But what if your budget doesn't stretch to the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Apple AirPods Pro, which rarely drop to wallet-friendly prices?
Sometimes you'll be lucky enough to find earbuds from one of the big audio tech brands, like Bose or Sennheiser, that have been discounted in the sales.
However, there are also plenty of lesser-known brands that promise to bring you a decent audio performance in the same compact, wireless earbuds package for a fraction of the price. But are a pair of wireless earbuds that cost you under $100 / £100 / AU$130 worth it? What about buying from a brand you've never heard of before?
- Looking for over-ears? Check out the best cheap headphones
It pays to be wary about budget wireless earbuds. There are countless brands available on Amazon and other online retailers that offer headphones for incredibly low prices – which drop down even lower in Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day sales.
But, there are some hidden gems that offer decent sound quality and style for a price that can seem too good to be true. That's why we've created this guide. Rather than having to trawl through the many cheap wireless earbuds available to buy, and the many brands you might not have come across before, we've done the hard work for you.
Below you'll find a list of the best cheap wireless earbuds that we've tested ourselves. There's no point comparing these to some of the high-end headphones currently on offer, but we've ensured you'll get reasonable sound quality, a comfy fit and some style points for all of the buds we've recommended below.
Our top picks
When we first reviewed the original Lypertek PurePlay Z3 true wireless earbuds (then known as the Lypertek Tevi), we were blown away. The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 true wireless earbuds are their successors. They’re very similar to the originals, with a few key improvements, and yet still come in at the same affordable price point the originals did – $99 / £99.
This gets you everything we loved about the original PurePlay Z3 (detailed balanced sound, a whopping 80 hours total battery life from its petite USB-C charging case, and a comfortably fitting bud with physical buttons), and adds wireless charging, a powerful new LDX Audio mode, improved app functionality and a hear through ambient mode.
Our own issue is that app connectivity is patchy at best, and the ambient hear through mode is pretty much useless in comparison to the competition from the likes of Sony’s noise cancelling WF-1000XM4.
Yet, with the price still so low, and nothing to detract from the quality standard the originals set out, with a few notable improvements, they remain must-have earbuds, more than a match for headphones two or three times the price.
Read more: Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review
If the most important aspect of in-ear headphones for you is the audio quality, these budget wireless earbuds from Sennheiser could be a fantastic choice.
With a lively, bass-heavy presentation, and a comfortable fit, the Sennheiser CX Sport Bluetooth earbuds can really bolster your workout through sound quality alone.
With runners in mind, the CX Sports have an IPX4 splash-proof rating. This means they should be able to withstand a sweaty workout session (but you probably shouldn't take them into the shower with you post-workout).
They have a battery life of six hours, which means they'll last you all day, whether you're wearing them on your commute or taking them out for a jog – and their budget-friendly price won't break the bank.
Cambridge Audio may be best known for its high-end audio equipment, but the past couple of years has seen the British company branch out into the world of true wireless earbuds.
Its first offering, the Melomania 1, are among the best wireless earbuds you can buy, thanks to their stellar sound quality, However, the new Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are a worthy upgrade, putting many other earbuds in the shade for audio performance, battery life, and ease-of-use.
While the design of the Melomania 1 Plus hasn’t deviated too far from its predecessors, there’s a clear step up in terms of audio performance, with levels of detail and clarity that could rival some of the best over-ear headphones.
A helpful app, easy controls, and excellent connectivity just makes us love them even more. The only downside is that there’s no active noise cancellation. However, when these earbuds sound this good, we doubt you’ll miss it much.
Read more: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review
[Update: The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus have been given a permanent price cut.
They cost $139.95 / £119.95 at launch, but the audiophile-friendly earbuds have now been reduced to $99.95 / £99.95 – a fixed discount of $40 / £20.]
If you’re looking for budget-friendly wireless earbuds, the Lypertek SoundFree S20 are a great choice. Their intuitive controls and excellent connectivity makes using them a breeze, while a long battery life ensures you won’t be stranded without tunes during a workout or commute. The audio quality, while not perfect, is very good for the price, too.
The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 are still the superior earbuds, and if you can find them at a discount, we’d recommend picking them up over the SoundFree S20. That being said, the Lypertek SoundFree S20 are still easy for us to recommend, and offer a cheap yet capable alternative to the likes of Apple AirPods.
Read more: Lypertek SoundFree S20 review
Enacfire is a name that crops up regularly on Amazon, and we’ve often felt tempted to take the plunge and buy a pair – so we promptly added the Enacfire E90 Wireless Earbuds to our cart and hit ‘Buy Now’.
Despite their low price, these high-spec earbuds boast cVc noise cancellation for phone calls, Qualcomm aptX support, and a long battery life.
In terms of audio quality, the Enacfire E90 can be a touch heavy on the bass with some tracks (which some users will love), though generally the sound is pretty well-balanced.
The EarFun Air true wireless earbuds took us by surprise, with excellent sound quality, design, and connectivity for the price. The overall presentation makes these earbuds seem far more expensive than they are, with plenty of attention to detail.
Pairing the EarFun Air with our MacBook Pro was incredibly easy, and it took just a few seconds for us to get going. We also found that the touch controls worked really well, allowing you to play, pause, and skip tracks as well as adjust the volume of your music.
The sound quality is very good for the price, with smooth mids and an extended bass response, though the trebles can be a little sibilant. Add to this Bluetooth 5 connectivity, auto-pausing when you remove the buds from your ears, and a seven-hour battery life (35 hours with the charging case included), and the EarFun Air are the best super-cheap true wireless earbuds we’ve ever tested.
On their own merits, the Earfun Air Pro buds are accomplished, but against the competition at this price point they shine. Amid a sea of similarly priced efforts on Amazon, they stand out thanks to their superior design and excellent audio chops, and show a high level of competence in almost all other areas. If it weren’t for slightly fiddly gesture controls and – in our experience at least – a slightly uncomfortable fit, these would immediately earn our wholehearted recommendation.
As it stands, these wireless earbuds are an excellent choice for most, offering a blend of useful features and strong performance that should make them popular with commuters in particular.
Read more: Earfun Air Pro review
The SoundMagic E11BTs are an extremely capable pair of wireless in-ear earphones, and given their low price, it really is difficult to fault them – the audio quality is fantastic and they look very elegant.
They're comfortable to wear thanks to ergonomically designed eartips and a flat neckband that won’t irritate you while running or working out – and with an IPX4 rating, they should withstand sweaty sessions.
Read more: SoundMAGIC E11BT review
The JLab Go Air don't sound great, and they feel cheap – but their ridiculously low price makes them an ideal pair of backup wireless earbuds, or a good first pair of buds for your kid.
Just to reiterate: the audio quality isn't good. Even the ability to cycle through different EQ presets in the app doesn’t do much to enhance the sound quality, with muddy bass frequencies and sibilant trebles.
Saying that, the JLab Go Air do have some redeeming qualities. For one, Bluetooth 5 connectivity means pairing is quick and efficient, and once you've paired the Go Air with your device initially, they’ll connect automatically when you remove them from their case.
Another cool feature that belies the JLab Go Airs' cheap price is the two earbuds’ ability to connect independently of each other; that means you can listen with one earbud while the other remains in the charging case, which could effectively double you battery life (if you don’t mind only listening with one ear).
You really do get what you pay for with the JLab Go Air, and at this price they could make a good pair of spare earbuds or a neat gift for your kids. For anything approaching analytical music listening however, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Read more: JLab Go Air review
Budget wireless earbuds deals
- Big budget? Then check out our guide to the best headphones of 2021 instead