What are the best cheap wireless earbuds?
Best cheap true wireless earbuds: The market for wireless earbuds has exploded, especially cheap wireless earbuds. With a huge number of affordable options from all sorts of brands, there’s plenty of choice for the consumer.
But which exactly is the pair to get? Though you won’t be spending on a fortune, at least compared to the premium pairs, they will still need to sound good, have reliable build quality and be easy to use.
This list of the best cheap wireless earbuds offers a number of good-value headphones to ensure you find a wireless earbud that suits your needs.
The following list is a summary of our top picks, but you can scroll down to see summary of each one.
- Best cheap wireless earbud: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- Best budget wireless earbud: Lypertek Tevi
- Best cheap wireless noise-cancelling earbuds: Sony WF-1000X
- Best cheap wireless earbud comfort: SoundMagic TWS50
- Best looking wireless earbud comfort: Shanling MTW100
- Best cheap AirPod alternative: TicPods Free
- Best cheap bass wireless earbuds: Sony WF-XB700
- Best fit cheap wireless earbuds: Creative Outlier Gold
- Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50: Anker Soundcore Life P2
- Best cheap running earbuds: Treblab xFit
- Best impulse buy: Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo
- Best cheap wireless earbuds battery life: EOZ Air
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
Great sound on a budget
- Great battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Poised, energetic sound
- Grey finish is a bit austere
- Touch controls take some getting used to
Cambridge Audio’s first wireless earbuds are a resounding success – great sound and super-long battery life for less than £100.
Battery life is excellent at nine hours on a single charge and 45 in total. There’s aptX-HD for high-quality Bluetooth streaming, and when combined with its energetic character and great integration across the frequency range, the Melomania 1 hit a sweet spot of performance and price. They’re one of the best cheap true wireless you can get.
- Confident, lively sound
- Polished build quality
- Long battery life
- Comfortable to use
- Not much at this price
The Tevi are one of more assured and confident listens for less than £100, with a sound that’s smooth and lively, they boast excellent timing and can summon up plenty of power.
The battery life is enough for a very long time, and they’re comfortable enough to wear for prolonged periods. They’re also available in a new, more distinctive pink finish.
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Adaptive noise cancelling totally works
- Comfortable, stable fit
- Great sound
- Charging case is a little chunky
Three years old and the WF-1000X are still a great pair of wire-free earphones, offering excellent sound.
Audio is balanced and refined, offering finesse and detail. They come with lots of features, including active noise cancellation. While battery life has been surpassed by others and the charging case is large, they’re now available for less than £100, making them a good alternative to the WF-1000XM3.
Likable and affordable
- Light, compact and comfortable
- Detailed, informative and coherent sound
- Convincing tonality
- Direct rivals offer better battery life
- Not the most out-and-out dynamic listen
The TWS50 are SoundMagic’s first true wireless, and much like their wireless earphones, they’re great.
Though the tadpole design is odd, the TWS50 are light, compact and comfortable. You get 30 hours of battery, Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX for good-quality streams and connectivity. The sound is entertaining too, with a detailed, well-defined soundstage and a convincing tone.
Compelling performance at an affordable price
- Neutral, crisp sound
- Comfortable design
- Excellent all-rounders
- No voice-assistant functionality
- Flimsy case
- Not widely available
For less than £100, the Shanling offers touch controls, 24-hours of battery and a rock-solid Bluetooth 5.0 connection, and despite their low price, they have the look of more expensive headphones.
The Shanling are impressively balanced with a clear sound, energetic treble and warm bass. It’s a character that makes them a good fit for most musical genres.
A solid AirPods alternative
- Decent audio
- Good battery life
- Great value
- Design is a little ostentatious
- Touch controls are finicky
The TicPods Free’ battery life is fine at four hours, and while the design isn’t helped by finicky touch the controls.
The audio quality is pretty decent, with good treble reproduction and tonal balance. And there’s decent rhythmic control when faced with toe-tapping beats. Bass could be better, but overall the TicPods are a nice and enjoyable sounding wireless earbud.
Fun, affordable sound
- Excellent battery life
- Fun, punchy sound
- Powerful sub-bass
- Quite large
- No active noise cancellation
With the WF-XB700, Sony has pursued a more fitness-focused bent for this entry in its wire-free earbud range. They’re also very good as just a standard, cheap true wireless earbud.
They’re a bit large and there’s a certain pragmatism to their look – think plastic and plenty of it. But these choices help keep the earbuds’ weight down as well making them comfortable to wear. Battery life is a long nine hours, and the sound is fun and lively, with plenty of powerful bass.
Creative Outlier Gold
Improved performance – same price
- Better balanced sound than the Outlier Air
- Great fit and finish
- Improved battery life
- Super X-FI is limited
- Better-sounding options at the price
- Playback controls may cause discomfort
The Outlier Gold are updates of the Outlier Air, and they’re an improvement in a number of ways.
Firstly, the gold finish is better. Secondly, the spotty wireless connection of the original has been smoothed out. Thirdly, battery life has been increased and to top it all off, they sound better. While the Outlier Air took a more energetic approach, the Outlier Gold has a more balanced sound, which makes them a better fit for a wider range of music.
Anker Soundcore Life P2
Good value all-rounders
- Laid-back sound
- Comfortable fit
- Solid controls
- Uninspired design
- Average sound detail
- Large case
The Anker Soundcore Life P2 are a success, even if they aren’t the most refined wireless earbud. They’re comfortable to wear, look appropriate for most environments, sound good for the most part – working particularly well for podcasts – and offer a seamless pairing experience. That they’re all-rounders is their biggest strength.
Staggeringly long battery life
- Excellent battery life
- Provide a solid seal and decent noise isolation
- Good audio quality, for the money
- Not suitable for gym use
- Buds prone to unpairing
The Air are wireless earbuds from the French-based company EOZ, and they’re great for gym-goers and commuters alike.
Build quality is excellent, and the fit is very good thanks to the use of a clip on-ear design. With above-average audio quality, the standout feature is their marathon 90-hour battery life. It’ll be a long wait until you need to charge these earbuds again.
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Punches above its price
- Very affordable
- Compact design
- Solid battery life
- Not the best sounding
- No wing tip options
While you can can get better audio from more expensive pairs, the xFit are great value for their price.
Treblab have wisely not fallen into the trap most affordable earphones do and beefed up the bass. 30 hours of battery is better than any AirPod is capable of and in general, they sound fine with a good sense of separation. You’d struggle to do better for a cheap true wireless under £50.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo
A solid impulse buy
- Great fit
- Super cheap
- Solid connection
- Audio lacks dynamism
- Charge case feels a little cheap
If an inexpensive pair of wireless earbuds for the commute or gym are needed, Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Neo are a solid buy. You’re not going to get much in the way of industry-leading features, but there’s Bluetooth 5.0 and an IPX5 resistance to water.
Battery life is low (3.5 on a single charge, nine in total), but that’s no surprise at this price. It’s the same with the sound, which is not the most dynamically persuasive. Still, these are a solid pair of true wireless under £50.
How do we select the best headphones?
Not just anybody can review a pair of headphones. You don’t need superhuman hearing to tell what’s good, but you do need to know what to listen out for.
Our headphone tests are done by some of the best and most prolific reviewers in the industry, with years of experience listening to everything from the plasticky freebie earbuds that come with your smartphone, to five-figure beasts of glass and marble. We love music and we want your tunes to sound good, too.
So we listen every pair of headphones we can get on or in our ears. We use a variety of sources, from basic MP3s playing on a laptop to high-quality tracks on dedicated hi-res audio players.
Our test tracks are wide-ranging to give headphones a thorough challenge. They’re also familiar, so we know every track backwards, and we know which bits might trouble the lesser performers.
We listen again and again, and we do that for weeks in case the sound changes – because it usually does. Then we’ll listen to similarly priced rivals and come up with a verdict that reflects the performance and features for the money.
Still after a headphone to buy? Looking for something other than the best cheap true wireless earbuds? If you’re interested in delving deeper into other types, here are other pages that go into greater detail.