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The best budget wireless earbuds 2022: our pick of the top cheap earphones

best budget wireless earbuds: enacfire
(Image credit: Enacfire)

Many of the best budget wireless earbuds are far better than their low prices suggest – and come boasting features you'd expect to find from much pricier earphones.

The best earbuds are a selection of the top earphones you can buy, with the most high-end audio tech built-in. But what if your budget can't stretch to the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Apple AirPods Pro, which (although some of the best true wireless options out there) rarely drop to budget-friendly prices? 

Sometimes you can be lucky enough to find cheap earbuds from big audio tech brands such as Bose and Sennheiser that have been discounted in certain sales events, but 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 cost. 

But are a pair of budget wireless earbuds that are under $100 / £100 / AU$130 worth it? What about buying from a brand you've never heard of before?

Some of these cheap wireless earbuds cannot deliver the audio performance you need – which is why you've come here, to this guide. Well done on that. You see, there are some hidden gems which we have tested and then showcased here. These earbuds offer decent sound quality and style, but for a nominal price. 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.

What follows is a list of the best cheap wireless earbuds that we ourselves have tested. 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 comfortable fit and some surprising perks you didn't know you could for the money. 

Best budget wireless earbuds 2022

The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 true wireless earbuds and charging case

(Image credit: Lypertek)
The best budget wireless earbuds you can buy

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
+
Great price
+
Top-notch battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Ambient mode is poor

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 the full review: Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0

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JLab Go Air Pop in blue on white background

(Image credit: JLab)
Talented earbuds that belie their lowly price

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 design with small, comfortable earpieces
+
Reliable on-ear controls
+
Sounds better than anything else at this price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the last word in sonic brilliance generally
-
Odd fitted charging cable

Let's cut to the chase: what's thrilling about the JLab Go Air Pop is that since February 2022 it has been possible to buy this new set of known-brand true wireless earbuds for $20 / $20, a fee that even three years ago was unimaginable. And they're actually good

Regular readers will know that TechRadar penned initial thoughts about the remarkably affordable new JLab Go Air Pop soon after their release, but even then, we weren't sure earbuds this budget-conscious could actually do a job. Well, we're sure now. 

What you need to know is that JLab Go Air Pop are actually pretty good generally – and emphatically unbeatable for this money, although it's important to note that there's little out there to challenge them at this level. If this is where your budget maxes out for non-essentials such as true wireless earbuds, you will find a reliable product here.

These earbuds belie their lowly price-point. They are not junk. They sound far better than is reasonable. Although sonically they can certainly be beaten, you'll have to pay more – which might not be viable right now. And wouldn’t life be better if more of us could afford portable wireless music, rather than no music at all? 

Read the full review: JLab Go Air Pop


the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
The best budget earbuds for working out

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 15g
Frequency response: 17Hz - 21kHz
Drivers: Dynamic
Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic audio quality
+
Sports-friendly design

Reasons to avoid

-
Mids could be richer

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.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport Wireless

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the cambridge audio melomania 1 plus true wireless earbuds with their charging case

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)
The best cheap earbuds for audiophiles

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 9.2g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.8mm
Battery life: 9 hours (earbuds) 41 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning audio performance
+
Great app
+
Easy controls

Reasons to avoid

-
No ANC

Cambridge Audio is probably best known for its high-end audio equipment, but the past couple of years has seen the British audio specialist 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 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 the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

[Update: The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus have been given a permanent price cut.

Although 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.

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the lypertek soundfree s20 true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Lypertek)
The best budget wireless earbudsfor commuters

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm dynamic
Battery life : 8 hours (earbuds) 40 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent connectivity
+
Bassy sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Build feels a little cheap
-
Soundstage could be more spacious

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 the full review: Lypertek SoundFree S20

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The Sony WF-C500 true wireless earbuds in black

(Image credit: Sony )
The best cheap wireless earbuds from Sony

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed, dynamic
Weight: 10.8g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz (44.1kHz sampling)
Drivers: 5.8 mm
Bettery life: 10 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Informative, organized and lively sound
+
Neat and comfortable design
+
Proper control app

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is nothing special
-
Could sound both deeper and wider
-
Not short of rivals

There's a lot of competition in the true wireless space at the moment – even on budget buds like these from Sony. But the WF-C500 true wireless earbuds are sensibly specified, very light and comfortable, and have a choice of control methodologies that all work well. 

At 20 hours, the all-in battery life is a little disappointing. However, 10 hours from the buds alone isn’t all that bad and should suit more people. 

The sound is rapid, detailed and thoroughly engaging with some areas of real expertise. But there's a confined soundstage and lack of bass extension, which means if audio performance is your top priority it might be worth spending a bit more.

Read the full review Sony WF-C500

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the earfun air wireless earbuds in black

(Image credit: EarFun)
The best cheap earbuds for AirPods lovers

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.35g
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: 6mm cellulose
Battery life (on-board): 7 hours (earbuds) 28 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Well-balanced sound
+
Easy connectivity
+
Fairly long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Trebles lacking detail

The EarFun Air (opens in new tab) 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 - and they look a little like the AirPods.

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. 

Read the full review: EarFun Air

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the Earfun air pro budget wireless earbuds in black

(Image credit: Earfun)
The best cheap earbuds with noise cancellation

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.3g
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: 10mm composite dynamic
Battery life : 9 hours (earbuds) 23 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Pleasing audio balance
+
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
No app for EQ adjustments
-
Case is a little bulky

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 the full review: Earfun Air Pro

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soundmagic e11bt budget wireless earbuds

(Image credit: SoundMagic)
The best cheap neckbuds

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic price
+
Elegant design
+
Comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Treble tones can sound harsh

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 the full review: SoundMAGIC E11BT

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jlab go air budget wireless earbuds

(Image credit: JLab)
The best cheap earbuds to use as a backup pair

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5g
Frequency response: 20HZ-20kHZ
Drivers: 8mm dynamic
Battery life (on-board): 5 hours (earbuds) 15 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Very cheap
+
Robust build

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor sound
-
No lid on charging case

The JLab Go Air don't sound great, and they feel a little cheap – but their ridiculously low price makes them an ideal pair of backup wireless earbuds, or a good first pair of buds for your child.

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 the full review: JLab Go Air


anker soundcore life p2

(Image credit: anker)
Great earbuds for commuters

Specifications

Acoustic design: N/A
Weight: 0.13lbs
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
Drivers: Graphene drivers
Battery life (on-board): 7 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit
+
Enjoyable sound
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Unambitious audio
-
Limited in-line controls
-
Uninspired design

There are better and newer earbuds available from Anker these days, but the Soundcore Life P2 are a solid pair that you can usually pick up for less than £50/$50, making them a really good option if you're on a budget. 

During our testing, we said these were the best cheap earbuds for commuters because they're comfortable, unobtrusive and have an IPX7 rating – so great if you like to walk or run to work. 

The sound here is good, but not the best. You won't be able to make the most of the lossless audio you'll find from some streaming services these days, but for providing you with a soundtrack on the bus or while you workout, they're more than suitable. 

Read the full review: Anker Soundcore Life P2

How to find the best budget wireless earbuds for you

It can be a lottery when it comes to buying super-cheap wireless earbuds; you could uncover a real gem or land yourself with a pair or buds that barely work, let alone sound good. 

All the cheap 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. 

Before you buy, have 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.

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. 

If you're all about the sound quality, look for earbuds that support hi-res audio files and low latency codecs like aptX Adaptive.  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 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. 

What are the best cheap earbuds brands?

Brands such as Sony, Jabra, Cambridge Audio, and Lypertek all offer budget-friendly headphones that don’t skimp on the specs.

If you're after earbuds in the sub-$50/£50 price range, check our brands like JLab and EarFun - though the more you're willing to pay, the better the earbuds will generally perform. 

Budget wireless earbuds deals

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.