Just a year ago, functional and reliable cheap true wireless earbuds would have been an oxymoron, but now they’re being released in droves. You no longer have to shell out $150-plus for solid truly wireless earbuds, instead, save your money and enjoy the latest and greatest audio technology has to offer.
For the best true wireless earbuds under $100, get the JLab JBuds Air
As it stands, the JLab JBuds Air also happens to be the best bang-for-your-buck option in our best true wireless earbuds list. These IP55 earbuds feature the same durability ratings as the Jabra Elite 65t for one-third the cost. The ‘buds feature a 3.07 standalone playback time and are afforded an extra 10 hours of listening from the 500mAh charging case.
JLab JBuds AirFull Review
To combat the earbuds’ bulky frames, JLab includes a proprietary Cush-Fins; these drastically improve stability especially when exercising. Additionally, the earbud nozzles jut out at an angle and provide a comfortable fit.
Sound quality reflects the fact that the JLab JBuds Air are workout earbuds. The most aggressive emphasis is experienced with lower midrange and higher bass frequencies. While this is suitable for exercise, it becomes fatiguing after an hour of casual listening.
On the whole, if you’re in need of cheap true wireless earbuds but can’t afford to break the bank, the JLab JBuds Air is the best all-around pick.
What you should know about cheap true wireless earbuds
- Generally speaking, the included charging cases make up for an across-the-board poor standalone battery life. There are, however, a few contenders with solid playback time like the Rowkin Ascent Micro, which feature an AirPods-like charging case.
- Typically we advise listeners to keep an eye out for high-quality Bluetooth codecs—although the validity of the streaming quality claims is dubious—but in the instance of the best true wireless earbuds under $100, you’re not going to find anything with high-quality codec compatibility… yet.
- IP, or Ingress Protection, ratings denote how dust- or water-resistant a product is. Our deep dive into IP ratings is a great resource, but if you don’t have time, the higher the number the more resistant a product is to dust or water.
- For the price, none of these options are going to outperform something like the Samsung Gear IconX or Earin M-2, but improving isolation is an easy way to improve sound quality. Take a few minutes to figure out which included ear tips are best for you or invest in a pair of third-party ear tips. Doing so could end up preventing irrevocable hearing loss, too.
Monoprice’s True Wireless earbuds offer the best sound quality
Listeners on a budget will enjoy the Monoprice True Wireless: the earbuds feature a vocal-oriented frequency response, and the lack of low-end can quickly be remedied by using more substantial ear tips like Comply’s.
Monoprice True WirelessFull Review
That said, the earbuds don’t just sound good, they’re tough too due to an IPX4 certification. Unlike the JLab JBuds Air, these earbuds retain a slim design that sits flush with the ear.
Unfortunately, during our testing, the Monoprice True Wireless struggled to maintain a consistent, reliable connection, but if you favor style and durability—it’s easy to pardon.
Need extended playback time? Stay charged with the Rowkin Ascent Micro
The Rowkin Ascent Micro is the little brother to the Rowkin Ascent Charge+, but the earbuds are identical. In fact, many prefer the Ascent Micro to its larger counterpart, because of the compact design that appears to have been influenced by the Apple AirPods. On a full charge, the earbuds provide 3.17 hours of playback, outlasting all other listed true wireless options here.
Rowkin Ascent MicroFull Review
From the case to the earbuds, the Ascent Micro was built with athletes in mind because the ribbed texture makes it easy to grip both parts of the product with sweaty or gloved fingers. What’s more, nearly every control can be made from the touch capacitive earbud panels, meaning that athletes can devote more time to training and less time to fumbling with phones.
The Soul Emotion has a sleek design
If your main goal is to listen with fashionable, cheap truly wireless earbuds, then there’s no question that the Soul Emotion is for you. Sound quality, durability, and battery life fall behind the competition, but this is the most compact true wireless product and it costs less than $50.
Soul EmotionFull Review
Arguably the biggest perk of true wireless earbuds is the convenience of them, and these earbuds are a breeze to carry. Heck, they even fit in women’s jean pockets, and that’s saying something.
Sound quality isn’t great as clarity is lackluster; however, the earbuds feature a bass-heavy sound signature which should please most general consumers who just want something wireless to replace the crappy USB-C headphones their phones provided.
Reliable connectivity takes precedence with the Jam Ultra
While the Jam Ultra is a bit more expensive, running just under $100, the included earbuds are easy to pair and stay connected without issue according to Adam’s experience.
Jam UltraFull Review
Unlike the Rowkin Ascent Micro, listeners aren’t granted a ton of liberty as far as playback controls are concerned, but Jam has users covered with the basics and call functionality.
The cloth wrap design is reminiscent of waterproof speakers like the JBL Charge 3 or Flip 4 and sets the ‘buds apart from other more traditional designs. With a bass-heavy frequency response, the overall sound lacks clarity but not to the extent of the Soul Emotion earbuds.
If you’re willing to stretch your wallet a bit more, these are some excellent alternatives.
- Rowkin Ascent Charge+: The build is identical to that of the Ascent Micro, but the whole package includes a Qi Wireless charger and a larger carrying case that sports an elongated design.
- Apple AirPods: If all you want is the best true wireless option for your iPhone, the AirPods are the platonic ideal; although they do have their flaws like poor isolation.
- Jabra Elite 65t: This is going to run you quite a bit more than the $100 limit, but we crowned it as the best true wireless earbuds available to date.
- Crazybaby Air Nano: These are an older model of the Air 1S, and support the AAC codec. If you have an iPhone but don’t want to splurge on AirPods, this may be a good alternative.
- Sol Republic Amps Air: This affords 45-plus hours of playback with the included charging case, but didn’t make it as a top pick due to poor connectivity and fit.
How we test
While we encourage you to read our comprehensive article elucidating how and why we test, the short of it is that we run three basic tests: frequency response, isolation, and battery life when applicable.
As with all valid tests, we make sure that the results of each one are repeatable and not just a fluke. As for battery life, we subject each pair of earbuds or headphones to a constant 75dB(SPL) output until the unit’s battery is completely drained. In order to record the battery life, we make sure the output is being recorded by software through a dummy head.
Why you should trust us
SoundGuys serves as each of our day jobs, or rather we serve SoundGuys as our nine-to-fives, and Adam, Chris, and Lily each have multiple years keeping tabs on the audio industry. Our collective experiences allow us to pick out the good from the bad, or the unremarkable, reducing the time you have to spend doing independent research.
While our site does use referral links, none of our writers may benefit from suggesting one product over another; in fact, they won’t even know if a link was ever clicked. Ultimately, we just want you to enjoy your purchase because we get that picking out audio products can be an overwhelming, time-consuming process. If you so choose, we recommend reading up on our ethics policy.
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