True wireless earbuds are great. They’re portable, convenient, and you never have to worry about wires getting caught on something and ripping them out. But these things can get a little pricey sometimes—what are the best true wireless earbuds under $50?

Editor’s note: this list of the best true wireless earbuds under $50 was updated on December 15, 2021, to add the Urbanista Libson, Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2, and Skullcandy Sesh Evo to the Notable mentions section.

The best true wireless earbuds under $50 is the Edifier TWS1

The Edifier TWS1 is a truly no-frills pair of true wireless earphones, allowing it to keep the important things in check. It’s lightweight and has an IPX5 rating, so it’s not afraid of a little sweat. Lasting 7 hours, 10 minutes on a single charge, you shouldn’t run into any issues with battery life. Unfortunately, because the Edifier TWS1 doesn’t support fast charging with its microUSB port (and takes 1.5 hours to charge completely), you’ll have to leave the case charging for quite a while once it does tap out.

Edifier TWS1

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The connectivity is very good within a 10-meter range because of Qualcomm’s true wireless connection tech, and we didn’t experience latency or skips in our testing. In addition, the earbuds will automatically connect to the last paired device when you remove them from their case.

Related: Ultimate headphone buying guide

For a budget pair of earbuds, the Edifier TWS1 has respectable sound quality. Its sound is neutral-leaning with a slight bass boost that most people will enjoy. The isolation is alright, and while it doesn’t block out much low-end noise like car engines or the train, it blocks out high frequencies enough to prevent them from being distracting. The microphone quality isn’t great, but it’s usable for casual phone calls.

What you should know about the best true wireless earbuds under $50

What makes a pair of true wireless earbuds good? This can be an especially tricky question when you’re shopping with a budget. Keep an eye out for a few key features that will help you make the right decision for you.

What is a Bluetooth codec?

True wireless earbuds don’t have wires, so they operate via Bluetooth wireless technology. A Bluetooth codec determines how data is transmitted from your source device to your headphones. Every Bluetooth product supports the SBC codec, but there are some higher quality options out there if your earphones support them.

A chart showing the frequency response performance of the AAC Bluetooth wireless codec.

Android phones don’t give you CD-quality playback with AAC.

Android users will want to keep a special eye out for earphones supporting the aptX codec, and if you have an iPhone, you’ll want to look for the AAC codec. These codecs are great for reducing audio-visual lag and streaming high-quality audio, but it’s also possible that you won’t be able to tell the audio quality apart unless you have very good ears.

What is an IP rating?

IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, are a standard for how resistant a piece of technology is to water and dust. These ratings are formatted IPXX, with the first X being a placeholder for dust-resistance, and the second X a placeholder for water-resistance. If you’re planning to use your budget true wireless earbuds for workouts, it would definitely be a good idea to look for water resistance at the least.

How should your earbuds fit?

The Jabra Elite 85t noise cancelling true wireless earbuds' oblong ear tips and nozzles.

The Jabra Elite 85t oblong ear tips look strange but are very comfortable once you find the right fit.

If you’re shopping for earbuds, chances are you want them to sound good (who wants earphones that sound bad?). Both the passive isolation of your earbuds and the frequency response are important factors to sound quality, and they play off of one another.

Passive isolation refers to how well your earbuds can block out external noise. Unless your buds have active noise cancelling (ANC) technology, their passive isolation will depend almost entirely on the way the ear pieces fit in your ears. If your earbuds create a seal at your ear canal, they will be more effective at blocking external noise than earbuds that don’t. Many of the best true wireless earbuds under $50 come with several options for ear tip sizes to help you find the best possible fit, but some people may want to look into third-party ear tips.

How should your earbuds sound?

A chart shows the frequency response of the Shure AONIC Free compared to the house curve.

A frequency response that hews somewhat close to our house curve (pink) will please most listeners.

The frequency response of your earbuds determines how different frequencies are reproduced. Many of the best true wireless earbuds under $50 have at least slightly bass-heavy responses, so low tones will sound boosted compared to higher tones. This isn’t necessarily a problem, because many average consumers prefer this sound signature. All this is to say, don’t expect studio sound out of cheap earbuds.

Why is the battery life of true wireless earbuds so short?

It’s rare to find a pair of true wireless earbuds that can last you an entire day of online school. The average battery life of a pair of true wireless earbuds is around five hours, and this is simply because the batteries are too small to hold more charge. That being said, many true wireless earphones store additional charges in their carrying cases, and many also support quick charging—so you can use them for an hour after 5-15 minutes in the case.

Related: How can you make your wireless earbuds last longer?

The Anker Soundcore Life A1 has the best battery life

For a budget pair of true wireless earbuds, the Anker Soundcore Life A1 destroys the competition with a battery life of 8 hours, 23 minutes. With a consumer-friendly bass boost, you get decent sound quality with the A1. It also possesses upgraded features like mono listening, and onboard tap controls.

Anker Soundcore Life A1

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The A1 has an IPX7 rating so you can confidently work out with it. You don’t get the bells and whistles, like automatic ear detection, that you might find on a pricier set of earbuds, but it is a good gym companion. At this price Anker has not included any active noise cancellation, but the passive isolation is pretty good. It comes with a variety of ear tips and wing tips to improve stability and ensure a solid fit.

For a hair under $50 Anker packs in three EQ presets (though two are quite bassy), and you get the standard fare AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs. While you might find yourself missing app support and memorizing tapping patterns to access controls, the A1 ought to satisfy most.

The JLab GO Air goes anywhere

The JLab GO Air is another no-frills option for the best cheap true wireless earbuds. This headset has an IP44 rating, so it can withstand sweat but shouldn’t be submerged in water. It shouldn’t break but if it does, it’s cheap enough to replace without breaking the bank.

JLab GO Air

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While the open design of the case itself is a little odd, the unconventional integrated charging cable is one of the most convenient things about the JLab GO Air. You don’t need to worry about being able to charge your computer at the same time as your earbuds, and, according to JLab, the cable itself can be bent 10,000 times before showing signs of damage.

The JLab GO Air has solid connection strength, and a 4 hour, 5 minute battery life along with quick charging capabilities. The sound quality of the GO Air isn’t the best you’re ever going to hear because the dynamic drivers aren’t great and bass frequencies are extremely over emphasized. However, for budget true wireless earbuds it sounds fine, and it gets the job done.

The 1MORE PistonBuds does the stemmed design well

The 1MORE PistonBuds may mimic the AirPods’ stemmed design, but 1MORE adds a twist with its stout stems. This makes it easy to insert and remove the PistonBuds without drawing to much attention to the ear pieces. The headset features an IPX4 rating, making it resistant to most splashes that come its way.

1MORE PistonBuds

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You can use either earbud for mono listening, which is a must-have feature for anyone who lives with a hearing impairment. The sound quality is consumer-friendly: bass notes are amplified and sound twice as loud as midrange notes. This makes it easier for you to hear that beloved oomph from your favorite songs, but can also make it difficult to hear musical nuances.

The earbuds last 3 hours, 32 minutes on a single charge, which is slightly below average for true wireless earbuds. You can’t fast charge the earbuds in the case, though it only takes 90 minutes to complete a full charge cycle. Said case provides an extra 4.7 charges to your earbuds, so you don’t have to look around for that USB-C cable too often.

The OnePlus Buds Z is dust and water-resistant

If you’re looking for cheap true wireless workout earbuds, look no further. The OnePlus Buds Z has an IP55 rating, so it’s great for exercise. It comes with three sets of ear tips, so you can find the right fit and ensure maximum isolation.

OnePlus Buds Z

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Battery life is about average; it lasts 4 hours on a single charge, but the case boasts some of the most efficient fast charging we’ve seen. When you place the buds in the case for 10 minutes, you get 180 minutes of playtime. You can’t charge the case wirelessly, for that you need the unsealed OnePlus Buds.

OnePlus tuned the Buds Z to please most listeners, so bass notes sound twice as loud as low-mids. The frequency response slightly de-emphasizes upper-midrange notes, but this is a good thing because it reduces unwanted resonances that naturally occur within the human ear canal. The downside of this tuning is that you might notice some “missing” detail due to auditory masking.

You might like: The best noise cancelling true wireless earphones

Isolation is pretty good for a pair of budget earbuds, but it can’t compare to a good pair of noise cancelling earbuds like the Jabra Elite 85t, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, or even the Apple AirPods Pro. If you only have $50 USD to spend, the OnePlus Buds Z is a great option.

The best true wireless earbuds under $50: Notable mentions

Close up shot of the Urbanista Lisbon in Mint.

For buds without any ear tips, the Libson’s wings do a decent job of compensating for the awkward fit.

  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air: Though they don’t quite compare to their slightly pricier successor, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, these earbuds have great sound quality, mic quality, battery life, and have auto-connection and an IPX5 rating.
  • Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2This set of buds costs just under $50 USD and boasts an 8-hour standalone battery life, and with the case, you get up to 100 hours of playtime. Each bud houses an 8mm dynamic driver and uses ear wings to keep the buds secure during all sorts of activities.
  • Jabra Elite Active 65t (Renewed)This headset is the predecessor to the Elite Active 75t, and despite its age, it’s a great option for athletes on a budget. The buds cost a bit more than our $50 cutoff, though.
  • JLab JBuds Air SportThese are another great pair of workout earbuds. They have an IP66 rating and a stable fit with the ear hook design. They also have good isolation and decent sound quality, and you can cycle through a few EQ presets straight from the earbuds.
  • Skullcandy IndyThese earbuds sound very good for Skullcandy’s brand, though bassheads may find the frequency response to be a bit underwhelming. They are IP55 certified with a stable fit and have a strong connection. They also have solid isolation and are portable and easy to use.
  • Skullcandy Sesh EvoIf you want rugged earphones with an IP55 rating, this is another Skullcandy pick that proves popular. With the Sesh Evo, you get a more traditional earbud shape without stems. The company partnered with Tile to make it easy to track the buds and you can use either earbud in mono mode.
  • Urbanista LibsonThe Urbanista Libson is a great pair of unsealed earbuds under $50 USD. You get Bluetooth 5.2, a wireless charging case, and ear wings to secure the buds in place.
  • 1MORE Stylish True Wireless: These don’t quite fit under the budget of $50, but we’re mentioning them anyways because of their style, battery life, and comfort.

Some people may be more inclined to get over-ear or on-ear headphones than earbuds, in which case we recommend you check out our list of the best headphones under $50.

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Read next: The best true wireless earbuds under $100

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