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The best cheap true wireless earbuds for 2021

We know that, for many people, Apple’s iconic white AirPods are the first thing they picture when you mention “true wireless earbuds,” and there’s no doubt that those earbuds almost single-handedly defined the category. But there’s no need to drop $159 (or $199 for the wireless-charging model) to get a decent set of true wireless buds that will meet your music and voice needs. The 1More Stylish earbuds provide comfort and great sound at an even better price. Check out other selections of cheap true wireless earbuds.

Looking for more features? Check out our more comprehensive list of the best true wireless earbuds.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds at a glance:

The best cheap true wireless earbuds: Earfun Air

Earfun Air true wireless earbuds
Earfun

Why you should buy them: They pack a ton of premium features and very good sound quality into an affordably-priced set of earbuds.

Who they’re for: Those who want a highly versatile set of buds that clock in well under $100.

Why we picked the Earfun Air:

What do you really want from a set of true wireless earbuds? Our guess is that it’s the same things we look for: Good sound, comfortable fit, all-day battery life, and the ability to handle the occasional sweaty workout. The Earfun Air easily meet these criteria, but what we love about them is that they offer so much more, too.

These true wireless earbuds come in black and white, and they bear a strong resemblance to a certain fruit-branded company’s product. But thanks to their in-ear design and four different sizes of silicone ear-tips, they offer way better sound quality than you’ll get from a set of AirPods. Just like the AirPods, they have wear sensors that let them pause your tunes automatically when you remove them from your ears.

Their seven-hour battery life between charges isn’t enormous, but it beats out many of the more expensive options including those made by Apple. The wirelessly-charging case (which also takes USB-C) gives you an additional 28 hours, for 35 hours of total play time before you need to look for an outlet or Qi charger.

An IPX7 rating means these earbuds are almost completely impervious to water. Sweat in them, shower in them, heck, even submerge them in the sink to get them clean — none of those things will harm the Earfun Air.

The touch-sensitive controls are accurate (though not as good as physical buttons) and we found that even voice calls on these earbuds were handled with clarity. The ability to use either earbud on its own is super handy.

Their sound quality is impressive, with plenty of bass, and surprisingly good definition for midranges and high frequencies. They do an excellent job with virtually all music genres.

We have only three small critiques: An app would be nice because there’s no way to adjust the EQ on these earbuds. Getting them out of their charging case can be a bit tricky — you need to grasp them just right to pull them free of their sockets. And, there’s no hear-through mode to be able to listen to ambient sounds. Otherwise, the Earfun Air are a helluva good deal when it comes to a set of true wireless earbuds.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation: Earfun Air Pro

Why you should buy them: They’re one of the most affordable ways to get a premium feature: ANC. And they sound great too.

Who they’re for: Those who want active noise cancellation (ANC) without paying three-figure prices.

Why we picked the Earfun Air Pro:

Yes, it’s another set of Earfun true wireless earbuds. The brand, which was basically nonexistent a few years ago has grown to become one of the best for folks who are looking to spend as little as possible without sacrificing quality.

The Earfun Air Pro share the same design and features as the more expensive Edifier TWS NB2, and yet somehow, they’re $20 less. The unusual wedge-shaped stems are distinctive and frankly a breath of fresh air in a world where all earbuds look like AirPods or round black buttons. More importantly, the rounded, ergonomic shape of the housing that sits in your ear is very comfortable. We found we could wear them for many hours at a time without fatigue or soreness.

Sound quality is excellent — deep bass is accompanied by clear mids and highs — and while we still wish there was a way to tweak the EQ via an app, we can’t really complain as the out-of-box sound signature is so satisfying.

Like the Earfun Air, you can use the earbuds independently, but the Pros address our biggest critique by adding an ambient mode so you can hear the outside world. ANC is good, you’ll definitely notice a difference when the feature is turned on, particularly with low-frequency sounds like the rumble of a truck. At this price, you can’t expect AirPods Pro performance, but if you’re looking for a little more peace and quiet, the Earfun Air Pro deliver.

IPX5 water resistance is good enough to let you get a serious sweat going without worry, and battery life is excellent — seven hours with ANC on and nine hours when it’s not in use. The charging case adds another 23 hours when ANC is off.

There’s no wireless charging, and volume control needs to be done from your phone, but these are small caveats. The Earfun Air Pro are otherwise amazing in every way considering their rock-bottom price.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds for working out: JLab Jbuds Air Sport

JBUDS AIR SPORT TRUE WIRELESS EARBUDS

Why you should buy them: They’re tough as nails and won’t budge during even your most strenuous workouts.

Who they’re for: Those who need true wireless earbuds designed for serious activity — that don’t cost a small fortune.

Why we picked the JLab Jbuds Air Sport:

Yes, we’ve seen plenty of people at the gym with Apple AirPods. And why not? If your workout consists of free weights and cardio sessions on a stationary bike, you probably aren’t at risk of losing one of those little white golf tees. Or if you do, they don’t have far to fall. But more demanding fitness regimens require a different kind of true wireless earbud, like the JLab Jbuds Air Sport.

Designed with a Powerbeats Pro-style wraparound earhook (but without the astronomical price point), the Jbuds Air Sport should stay put no matter how intense your training session gets. They also offer an IP66 rating, which means that short of taking them for a swim (don’t do that), they’ll stand up to any water or dust you expose them to.

A solid 6-hour battery life per charge (and 34 hours of reserve in the case) means the Air Sport will get you through even your longest sessions, and the Be Aware function is a must for those who take their workouts to the streets, allowing you to bring in the ambient world around you with a tap. We’re also big fans of JLab’s built-in EQ settings. Without ever needing to open an app or touch your phone, you can switch between three different modes to match your tunes.

Finally, a two-year warranty — one of the longest you’ll find on any true wireless earbuds — provides confidence that the JLab Jbuds can walk (or run) the talk.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds alternative to AirPods: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 True Wireless Earbuds

Why you should buy them: You like the AirPods design, but wish they had more features and a lower price.

Who they’re for: Those who love the golf-tee style, but want to save some green over the AirPods.

Why we picked the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2:

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Apple must be feeling pretty flattered by the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2. These true wireless earbuds make no excuses in their attempt to mimic Apple’s iconic earbuds, but they make up for that flagrant imitation by going well beyond what Apple offers on the AirPods — and for a lot less cash.

First, you actually get a choice of color: White or black. Second, at around 6 to 7 hours of battery per charge, the Liberty Air 2 outlast the AirPods. Third, you get way more for your money. Clocking in at just under $100, the Liberty Air 2 have a wireless charging case (which begs a $40 upgrade from Apple), a variety of silicone eartips to achieve a much better fit, and IPX5 water resistance for tough workouts.

You can also use the earbuds independently, either one at a time in mono mode with the same device, or you can pair each bud to a separate device. Speaking of pairing, we had a little trouble with the buds on initial pairing and had to reset them, so we recommend downloading Soundcore’s app first, and following the instructions to ensure easy setup.

The app also lets you customize the touch controls, including the ability to swap one of the factory-set options for features like volume control. It also provides a HearID sound test to calibrate the Liberty Air 2’s EQ to your personal hearing profile. Speaking of sound, the default quality is relatively impressive, with some rich bass and clear treble — though things do tend to get a little crispy with brighter instruments.

We think most people will be satisfied with their $100 purchase based on all the features the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 offer, and the HearID sound test will also add an extra element of control.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds for portability: Back Bay Audio Duet 50 Slim

Back Bay Audio Duet 50 Slim
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Why you should buy them: They’re the smallest set of true wireless earbuds we’ve ever tasted but you’d never know it from the sound quality.

Who they’re for: Those who want a small, very pocketable set of earbuds that deliver great sound.

Why we picked the Back Bay Audio Duet 50 Slim:

Back Bay Audio is hardly a household name in electronics, but this company has impressed us with its Duet 50 Slim true wireless earbuds. For just $53, they deliver a good set of features, but what we love most about them is their size. Not only are the buds themselves tiny — helpful for getting a nice, secure fit — but their dark grey metal charging case is among the smallest, classiest, and most durable we’ve ever seen.

When we first tried them, we weren’t especially impressed with the sound. The bass seemed weak considering the company promises excellent bass. But thanks to the six sets of silicone ear-tips (three sizes in two different shapes) we were able to get just the right fit, and suddenly the sound improved significantly. It was a good reminder that just because a set of tips feel comfortable, it doesn’t mean you’re getting the best fit — a critical component of sound quality.

There’s no app for adjusting EQ, but the balance is very good. Bass lovers will appreciate just how much low end is present on these tiny buds.

We think physical buttons outperform touch controls and the Duet 50 Slim’s buttons prove it. They’re easy to press and make a satisfying click — you know when you’ve pressed them correctly. The button press sequences cover everything from playback to volume, to call management, as well as being able to access your voice assistant.

Their IPX5 water protection makes them very workout-friendly and with an excellent 8 hours of play time between charges (30 hours when you include the case), they’ll last all day and then some.

They’re not perfect: There’s no wireless charging and no ambient mode for hearing external sounds, and they don’t auto-pause when you remove an earbud. But for those seeking an affordable and highly portable set of true wireless earbuds, we think the Back Bay Audio Duet 50 Slim offer a lot to like.

The best cheap true wireless earbuds for those on a strict budget: JLab Go Air

JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds

Why you should buy them: They’re shockingly cheap, offer decent sound and connection, and look good to boot.

Who they’re for: Anyone looking to dip their toes into fully wireless earbuds for a crazy-low price point.

Why we picked the JLab Go Air:

Earlier this year, we updated this list with Tribit Audio’s $45 FlyBuds as the best choice for a budget set of true wireless earbuds. But then JLab released its Go Air buds and set an even lower bar for price — just $30 — while preserving almost everything we liked about the FlyBuds.

The Go Air tick a lot of the boxes we think matter in a set of true wireless earbuds: They get five hours on a single charge — not amazing, but certainly on par with some far more expensive products like the $130 Amazon Echo Buds, $149 AirPods, and $249 AirPods Pro. The charging case packs another 15 hours for a total of 20 hours.

With an AirPod-beating IPX4 rating for water-resistance, they’re highly workout-friendly and though the earbuds lack a hook or earfin, they still stay put thanks to their small and light design.

The touch controls on each earbud are easy to use and manage to remain responsive while avoiding accidental triggers most of the time. through a combination of taps and long-presses, you get all of the essentials: Volume, track control, play/pause, call answer/end, and voice assistant access. JLab even includes its unique three-mode EQ, which can be toggled without using your phone.

While JLab gives you a lot of impressive features for just $30, there have to be a few sacrifices at that price point. For example, the sound quality is excellent — a lot better than we expected from budget earbuds — but they don’t come close to what the 1More Stylish and other expensive earbuds offer. 

These earbuds feature adequate bass response provided you enable the Bass Boost EQ function. Their cell phone quality is acceptable for infrequent calls in that you’ll be able to hear the other person on the line, but it’s not high-quality enough to rely on for everyday use.

Even though the charging case doesn’t have a lid, it features large guardrails that protect your exposed earbuds from bumps and scratches. The case uses strong magnets to secure the earbuds—so strong, in fact, that removing the earbuds from their sockets can be difficult.

It’s certainly convenient to have a built-in USB cable in the charging case, but it also carries risks, since the case will be useless if the cable is damaged. Still, the JLab Go Air is a solid budget buy for those who want to go wireless without spending a lot of money.

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