The best budget wireless earbuds 2024: top buds from Sony, EarFun, JLab and more

BEST BUDGET WIRELESS EARBUDS: QUICK MENU

The best budget wireless earbuds are fantastic value for money. Many of these top earbuds boast great features, good sound and nice-looking designs that can even rival some of the highest-performing earbuds you can buy today.

Often you do need to sacrifice something for the budget price. Maybe that's a basic design, a lack of ANC or sound that isn't as rich or detailed as the devices in our best earbuds and best wireless earbuds guides. However, if you’re on a strict budget, there are many wireless earbuds you can buy that deliver all of the essentials in a cheap and cheerful package.

The problem with budget earbuds – these are earbuds under $100 / £100 / AU$130 in our book – is it can be challenging to work out which are the best value for money and which are simply so cheap because they’re rubbish. Luckily for you, we've reviewed hundreds of earbuds, so we know how to discern the high-performing but low-priced gems from the ones you don't need to waste your time with. 

There are fantastic options to choose from made by big audio tech names, like Audio-Technica, Cambridge Audio and Sony. But there are also earbuds from new tech brands that are breaking into the space. To make sure you're getting the best, we've tested all of the recommendations below. 

Senior audio staff writer Becky Scarrott, in a field
Becky Scarrott

Becky is a senior TechRadar writer (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team in early 2022, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage.

The quick list

Are you keen to cut straight to the best bit – ie. which budget earbuds are the best? We get you. Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices. You can also jump to a more detailed review of every top pick, plus our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

The best budget wireless earbuds of 2024

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The best budget wireless earbuds overall

Sony WF-C700N earbuds and case on grey background

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget wireless earbuds for most people

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 4.6g per earbud
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Drivers: 5mm
Battery life (on-board): 7.5 hours (buds) 15 hours total (with case) with ANC on

Reasons to buy

+
The most immersive and nuanced audio in budget buds
+
Supremely secure and comfortable
+
Great app and 360 Reality Audio support

Reasons to avoid

-
No on-ear volume support
-
No LDAC 
BUY THEM IF

✅ You have a smaller ear: They're some of the most secure and comfortable we've tested in this category for the bijou-eared.
✅ You want the best in budget sound-per-pound value: you're getting effective ANC alongside the most zealous and fun audio at this level.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ You want the track to switch off when you remove them: It isn't a feature of the WF-C700N. Small gripe for some, potential game-changer for others. 

❌ Your ears are on the large side: There's a chance these lovely little driver housings might even be too small for you.

Simply put, the Sony WF-C700N earbuds are our go-to if you're looking for budget buds that tick all of the boxes. You'll find better noise-cancelling earbuds out there, but none will be as affordable as these.

Before we get too excited, the audio here doesn't approach class-leading territory, but what the Sony WF-C700N can offer above the competition is effective ANC alongside the most energetic and fun audio at the level. Sony's proprietary 360 Reality Audio is also on the spec sheet, so those with a Tidal account are basically sorted, and you also get Sony's standard DSEE audio 'upscaling' engine (note: not the top-tier upscaler but still a neat inclusion), so your even your lowly Spotify tracks are going to get a bit of help too. Other notable features not always seen at the level include handy multi-point connectivity and adaptive sound control.

As if that wasn't enough, these are some of the most secure and comfortable buds we've tested (especially for smaller ears) with an unmistakably Sony classy build and finish – plus they're 38% smaller and 37% lighter than Sony's WF-1000XM4 buds. 

It's hard to fault them at this level – their sub-$100/£100 price tag makes it nigh on impossible. They're smaller, they're cheaper, but they still boast many of the features that made their flagship siblings class-leaders. Highly recommended. 

Read our full Sony WF-C700N review

The best super cheap budget wireless earbuds

JLab Go Air Pop earbuds in their charging case on green grassy background

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best super cheap budget wireless earbuds

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 3.7g per earpiece
Frequency response: 20HZ-20kHZ
Drivers: 6mm drivers
Battery life (on-board): 32 in total (8 hours from buds)

Reasons to buy

+
Light, comfortable, bijou design
+
Reliable on-ear controls
+
Better sound than rivals at this price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the last word in sonic brilliance 
-
Quirky fitted charging cable
BUY THEM IF

✅ Your budget maxes out at $20 / £20 / AU$50: They're ridiculously affordable and boast features no other solution to date has managed at this level. 
✅ You prioritize a long battery life: 32 hours of playtime, for $20. For clarity, Apple's AirPods Pro will give you a maximum of 24 hours of listening time.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ You really want app support: Even without a companion app you get on-ear volume control, EQ profiles, access to voice assistants (it's all here) but if you really need an app, you won't get that here.

❌ You want top quality sound and have a more malleable budget: If sound quality is top of your wish-list and you can spend a little more, you should do that. 

Considering their truly humble ticket pricing, the JLab Go Air Pop are an incredibly accomplished pair of earbuds. OK yes, there's the rub – they're very good for the money, but that's why you came to this particular guide! Connectivity is instant and reliable, but you also get the simple on-ear volume controls which certain buds at ten times the price don't always offer. There's a mic in each earbud for call-handling and you even get EQ profiles – triple tap either earpiece to hear a calming voice announce “bass boost’, “balanced” or “JLab signature”. 

What you need to know is that these earbuds laugh in the face of their lowly price-point for sound too, providing a pleasant listen nothing else at this level can. Sure, sonically they can be beaten of course, but you'll have to pay a lot more. 

To look at, the JLab Go Air Pop are simple buds that look nice and are lightweight at just 3.7g per earbud. We found them incredibly comfortable to wear when we were testing them. You get three sets of tips to choose from and a teeny tiny charging case that'll easily slip into your pocket.

These buds are only $20 / £20, a fee that even three years ago was unimaginable. And they're actually great. In our review of the JLab Go Air Pop we concluded: "In terms of build, battery life and feature set, JLab is irrefutably top of the class for value – but remember, it is a very small class."

Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review

The best mid-range budget wireless earbuds

The Earfun Air Pro 3 earbuds in their open case on wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
The best mid-range budget wireless earbuds

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 52g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: Not listed
Battery life: ANC off: 9 hours (buds) 36 hours (case); ANC on: 7 hours (buds) 37 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Great all-rounders
+
Excellent battery life
+
Solid noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
No wearing detection
-
Sound is fun but not fantastic
-
Stem design not for everyone
BUY THEM IF

✅ You need solid all-rounder buds for less: Few buds tick all the boxes in terms of comortf, good ANC, solid sound and top battery life for under $100/£100. 
✅ You won’t want to have to charge them all the time:
There are several great features here, but practically speaking, battery life is arguably the best.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ You need ANC that puts you in a cocoon of silence:
ANC is good here, but it doesn’t deliver that almost eerie bubble of silence you get from higher end buds.

❌ You want class-leading sound: We enjoyed listening to music with the EarFun Air Pro 3, but they're not at the top of the pile for neutrality, expanse or dynamic clarity.

The EarFun Air Pro 3 buds don't look particularly special, but they're a really great pair of all-rounder earbuds. As well as bringing you an excellent nine hours of battery life (with an additional 36 from the case), there's also multipoint pairing and some next-gen features that may soon make these buds even more special, including support for the hotly-anticipated Bluetooth LE Audio  – and Auracast

The ANC from the EarFun Air Pro 3 aren't on a par with the best noise-cancelling earbuds you can buy today, but they cost less than half the price of many of those rivals and the level of noise-nixing is good enough for focusing at work and diminishing most extraneous low-level sounds while travelling. 

Audio-wise, the EarFun Air Pro 3 buds are powerful and punchy from the get-go. During our testing, we listened to Stevie Nicks' Edge of Seventeen and the signature sound was bang on, with big, booming vocals and oodles of energy. Through the lower registers, things can get a little muddied and cluttered, particularly through heavier tracks, but it's a relatively minor issue at this level. 

At 52g they're lovely and light and although the units do feel a bit plasticky, they're incredibly comfortable. 

The EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds deliver a generous dollop of everything most people will need from a pair of true wireless earbuds today, and they do it all for well under $100/£100.

Read our full Earfun Air Pro 3 review

The best budget wireless earbuds for design

The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbuds out of their charging case, on red background

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget wireless earbuds for design

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.2g per earbud
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.8mm dynamic
Battery life : Earbuds 6.5 hours, 13.5 hours in the case (20hr total)

Reasons to buy

+
Chic buds with reliable on-ear volume control
+
Useful low latency/hear-through modes
+
Sounds far better than most at this price

Reasons to avoid

-
No companion app
-
No active noise cancellation
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want the best-sounding true wireless buds for $79: This incredibly affordable proposition boasts sonic chops no other solution has managed at this level. 

✅ You like to look good (and a little bit alternative): Are these the coolest little earbuds on the planet? Hard to say. 

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ ANC is top of your list: There's no active noise cancellation here, sadly, although the hear-through feature works beautifully to stay aware.

❌ You really want app support: These buds do well without a companion app, but if you prefer a visual cue you won't find it here.

The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbuds are one of our favorite pairs of budget buds because they're packed with more features than you'd expect for the price, including on-ear controls that work well (including volume) plus a low-latency mode and a hear-through function. You're also getting Bluetooth 5.0 and an impressive 20 hours of battery. They lack a companion app and there's no active noise cancellation here, but during our testing we were wiling to let these specs slide for everything else you get here. 

These aren't the best-sounding buds you can buy, but for the price we were impressed. Stream Perfume Genius' On the Floor on Tidal and the complex intro comes through with such detail that we're noting treble elements in our right ear we never picked up before. A female backing vocal is easily perceptible and impactful – delivered with the kind of insight that lesser earbuds at this money cannot begin to dish up.

These buds sound good, but it's the design that we really want to shout about. They have a cubist and cool aesthetic that's refreshingly different in a sea of similar-looking buds. They're also available in six delicious-sounding colorways (Caramel, Popsicle, Cupcake, Blueberry, Liquorice and Popcorn). Not only do they look good, they feel good too and fit comfortably for hours. 

These inexpensive earbuds should be on your list – and not on looks alone. These buds sound more expansive and are generally better than anything else you can buy for this money.

Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review

The best budget wireless earbuds for battery life

The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2 true wireless earbuds in white in their charging case.

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget wireless earbuds for battery life

Specifications

Acoustic design: : Closed
Frequency response: : 20Hz - 20kHz
Drivers:: Graphene, 6mm dynamic
Battery life: : 10 hours (earbuds) 70 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound
+
Top-notch battery life
+
Budget price tag

Reasons to avoid

-
Ambient mode is poor
-
No ANC 
BUY THEM IF

✅ You value audio quality: These buds sound superb out of the box, especially at this price point. The LDX Audio mode gives them an optionally-beefier sound too.

✅ You don’t want to keep reaching for a charger: Battery life from the PurePlay Z3 2.0 is so good you’ll find yourself surprised when you eventually need to recharge its capacious power case. 

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ You need noise cancellation: It’s the one area where the budget nature of the earbuds becomes clear – premium noise cancelling features are absent.

❌ Hear-through and ambient modes are crucial: Though the PurePlay Z3 2.0 claims to have listening modes that give you a better feel for your surroundings, they didn’t prove very useful in our testing.

The LyperTek PurePlay Z3 2.0 are the successors to the original Lypertek PurePlay Z3, which we loved. They're a little older now but still hold their own in the game, boasting great features for the price, including wireless charging, a powerful LDX Audio mode and an improved companion app. Perhaps the best feature here is battery life though, which is a massive 80 hours with the charging case and 10 hours from the buds on their own. Know many other buds that can do that? Neither do we… 

Sound quality is also good – it's a detailed, integrated, balanced, agile hi-fi sound. They boast a novel LDX Audio mode, which during our testing was "like hitting an overdrive button – raising the volume of less-present frequencies (particularly bass tones), widening the soundstage." The result is a more energetic, dynamic delivery, and whether you love it forever or use it sporadically at best, it certainly adds value in this budget realm.

They're not the nicest-looking proposition, but they're gloriously light and comfortable even for long listening sessions and we are big fans of the physical buttons. They come with small, medium or large silicone ear tips, and even a Flexifit foam tip that expands slightly in the ear for a tighter seal and better passive noise cancellation – yes, for this money! 

These budget buds are a few years old now, but that means they're often around at even lower prices – and that killer battery life alone makes them a great buy if you can find them. 

Read our full Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review

The best budget wireless neckbuds

The Soundmagic E11BT neckbuds pictured on a wooden background.

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget wireless neckbuds

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 24.7g
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000Hz
Drivers: 10mm dynamic neodymium
Battery life: 20 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant design
+
Truly comfortable
+
Budget-friendly 

Reasons to avoid

-
Treble tones can sound harsh
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want a neckband: If you don't want to go fully  wireless, these are a top alternative, keeping each bud anchored without the annoying wire to your source device.

✅ You want cheap gym earbuds: These are some of our top picks for budget workout buds; the neckband keeps them in place, plus there's a splash-proof IPX4 rating.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

❌ You want truly wireless earbuds: If you want a little case where your two learpieces go to roost, you'll feel short-changed here

❌ You want ANC: Passive noise isolation is good here, but you won't have total immersion.

The SoundMagic E11BT buds aren't packed with features (there's no ANC whatsoever), but they remain our top pick for budget 'buds if you prefer a neckband-style design. They boast good connectivity, control via an inline remote and continuous playback for up to 20 hours, provided you don't max out the volume during your workout. 

Largely speaking, the audio quality provided by the E11BTs is very good indeed, with an impressive amount of oomph and drive for such small earbuds. Vocals are clear and smooth thanks to their custom-tuned drivers and there's good bass depth and clout too. 

Overall, the E11BTs are comfortable to wear thanks to ergonomically-designed eartips and a flat neckband that shouldn’t irritate you while running or working out. With an IPX4 rating, they'll also withstand even super-sweaty training sessions. 

The SoundMagic E11BTs are an extremely capable pair of wireless in-ear earphones and given their low price they're fantastic value. Aside from an occasionally overstated treble (but we're really nitpicking here) we found it difficult to fault them.

Read our full SoundMAGIC E11BT review

How to choose the best budget wireless earbuds

Buying a pair of the best budget earbuds can be a challenge. You might uncover a real gem or land yourself with a pair or buds that barely work, let alone sound good. All of the the affordable earbuds in this list come with our recommendation. 

But often you do get what you pay for in terms of connectivity, build and noise cancellation. In fact, ANC is the first thing to be omitted from the spec sheet in the budget realm. For example, you need to be looking at models such as the EarFun Air Pro 3 and Sony WF-C700N as opposed to Audio-Technica's ATH-SQ1TW or Lypertek's PurePlay Z3 2.0 if you want active noise cancellation in your budget buy. 

Before you add the earbuds to your online shopping cart, it's also worth having an idea of what kind of earbuds you need. There are two kinds of wireless earbuds: neckbuds that have a cable connecting each earbud but connect via Bluetooth to your phone, and true wireless earbuds that have no cables at all. The former is a dying breed but still, certain active users and athletes prefer it. 

Do you intend to workout with your earbuds? If so, you'll need buds that will stay put, so look out for interchangeable eartips and fins to hold them in place. Check out our guides for the best running headphones and best workout headphones, or even the best bone conduction headphones for more inspiration. 

If you're all about the sound quality, look for earbuds that support hi-res audio and low latency codecs like aptX Adaptive and aptX Lossless. Or, if you want cheap earbuds that will get your through a week's worth of commuting, you'll want to look out for long battery lives – think 25 hours and above. 

How we test the best budget wireless earbuds

We've tested many of the best cheap wireless earbuds and to be included on this list, we need them to tick a number of boxes. Top of the list is pricing: being available for under £100/$100 is paramount at this level, closely followed by solid sound quality, decent battery life and a good level of comfort. 

We tested the earbuds in a number of different sound environments across a vast selection of musical genres. We listened to podcasts and albums in both quiet rooms and busy aeroplanes, to ensure we knew how they'd handle varying levels of noise too. We also wore them while walking and, often, working out, which meant we could speak to their comfort levels, ANC if available, and how secure they are in your ear. 

We also put those battery claims to the test, making sure we got a sense of how quickly the juice drains from the buds and the case itself during both extensive listening sessions and shorter ones. 

Of course, these earbuds aren't going to compare with high-end buds that are double – or even triple – the price, but our testing is independent, which means we can assure you that you're getting the best sound-per-pound experience. 

Latest updates to the best budget wireless earbuds

January 23, 2024
Removed Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus because although they're excellent, the product is no longer available. Updated copy throughout. 

December 5, 2023
Checked rankings against current models available in the market. Updated the 'how to choose' section with our latest advice.  

October 3, 2023
Updated rankings and swapped out products that were no longer available. Completely refreshed the format of the guide to include a new quick menu and extra information in the boxouts of each write-up.