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Best wireless earbuds under $50
True wireless earbuds (aka 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, and sometimes you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, or even $100 USD. We’ve gathered this list of the best wireless earbuds under $50 USD to accommodate the most readers’ budgets.
Editor’s note: this list of the best wireless earbuds under $50 USD was updated on August 8, 2022, to update formatting and address an FAQ about the Skullcandy Dime 2.
Why is the Anker Soundcore Life A1 the best pair of wireless earbuds under $50 USD?
For a budget pair of 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.
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 USD, 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 Soundcore Life A1 microphone is fine when you use it inside but the quality significantly decreases when there’s background noise.
Anker Soundcore Life A1 microphone demo (Old):
How does the microphone sound to you?
What makes the Beats Flex a great pick for iPhones?
For a budget pair of wireless earbuds, the Beats Flex is a great option for anyone with an iPhone because of its W1 chip integration. The W1 chip isn’t quite as fancy as the H1 chip, so you don’t get hands-free Siri access, but you get other Apple-centered features like automatic device switching (within the Apple ecosystem) and improved power efficiency.
With its 10-hour, 24-minute battery life and fast charging capabilities, you can listen to music for just over 10 hours straight. Just 10 minutes on a USB-C cable supplies the neckbuds with 90 minutes of playtime. This is the main benefit of traditional wireless earbuds, though you don’t get the perk of portable battery power from a case with the Flex.
You can take advantage of auto-pause with the Beats Flex by snapping the magnetic housings together. If you separate the buds when you receive an incoming call, the headset will automatically answer the call. This can be useful, but if you get a lot of spam calls, you may want to disable this feature.
The microphone quality is perfectly fine for casual calls, but you won’t be receiving any praise from those on the other end of the call. Listen to the Beats Flex mic below.
Best Flex microphone demo (Old):
How does the microphone sound to you?
The JLab GO Air POP is an excellent set of cheap wireless earbuds
The JLab GO Air POP is another no-frills option for the best budget wireless earbuds. This headset has an IPX4 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.
Unlike the previous JLab GO Air, which features an open case, the GO Air POP includes a case with a lid to prevent the earbuds from flying out. The case can fast charge the earbuds, which have an 11-hour standalone battery life. You get JLab’s signature integrated USB-A charging cable still, so you should always be able to charge the case. According to JLab, the cable can withstand 10,000 bends before showing signs of wear.
When testing the GO Air POP, we experiences some connection hiccups but they were infrequent and resolved themselves. You get your choice of SBC or AAC streaming with these Bluetooth 5.1 earbuds, and the sound quality is pretty good even with the quiet bass response. You may need to cycle through the integrated EQ presets (no mobile app) if you want louder bass.
The microphone quality on the GO Air POP is okay but unimpressive.
JLab GO Air POP microphone demo (Ideal):
JLab GO Air POP microphone demo (Wind):
How does the microphone sound to you?
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 too much attention to the ear pieces. The headset features an IPX4 rating, making it resistant to most splashes that come its way.
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 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 microphone quality is okay, and you can hear it in our demo below.
1MORE PistonBuds microphone demo:
How does the microphone sound to you?
The 1MORE PistonBuds Pro is a set of active noise cancelling (ANC) earbuds with Bluetooth 5.2 and a more robust IPX5 water resistance rating. For the $59 USD price, you get access to the 1MORE MUSIC app and enjoy a Sonarworks-tuned EQ. 1MORE claims the PistonBuds Pro lasts for seven and a half hours on a single charge, totaling 30 hours with the case. The company also includes fast charging this time around and just five minutes yields 60 minutes of playtime.
1MORE has a good track record of releasing high-value, low-cost products like the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini, which also has noise cancelling. Given how effective the ANC is on the ComfoBuds Mini, we have high hopes for the PistonBuds Pro.
The OnePlus Buds Z is a durable set of earphones
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.
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 under-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 the boosted bass.
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 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, 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 microphone quality is pretty average and should be fine for daily use.
OnePlus Buds Z microphone demo (Old):
How does the microphone sound to you?
The JBL Tune 125TWS occasionally drops below $50
Since the JBL Tune 125TWS is a few years old, and JBL churns out true wireless earbuds regularly, you can find this headset for less than $50 USD, originally $99 USD. The earbuds have an 8-hour standalone battery life with another 24 hours from the USB-C case. You can use either earbud in mono mode, which is great for exercising outside or if you have a hearing impairment.
JBL teamed up with Google on this one so you get Google Fast Pair, making it a cinch to set the earbuds up with your Android phone. You only get SBC and AAC Bluetooth codec support, but this is typical of JBL earbuds.
The Edifier TWS1 supports aptX for less than $50 USD
The Edifier TWS1 is a truly no-frills pair of wireless earphones with SBC and aptX support. 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 90 minutes to charge completely), you’ll have to leave the case charging for quite a while once it does tap out.
The best wireless earbuds under $50: Notable mentions
- Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: These earbuds have great sound quality, mic quality, battery life, and an IPX5 rating, but they no longer have the auto-pause capabilities they once did. Still, they have aptX Bluetooth codec support and come at an absolute bargain of around $39 USD.
- Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2: This 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. Plus, these buds now cost around $40 USD.
- JLab JBuds Air Sport: These 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 Indy: These 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 Evo: If 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 Libson: The 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.
The Skullcandy Dime 2 unfortunately has a very short battery life, topping out at just about 3 hours. It also has inconsistent microphone performance, and if you try to take a call with the earbuds connected to your iPhone, the audio doesn’t come through the headset. Lastly, the Skullcandy Dime 2 has pretty poor isolation, which means its sound quality is unreliable as well. All in all, the JLab Go Air and Go Air POP are much better options for earbuds under $50.
Hold up! Something’s different:
Some of our picks’ frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this article (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and isolation performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white).
We’ve made a big improvement to how we demonstrate the microphone performance of products we review, and we are working on updating our old microphone samples with standardized ones. These will be made obvious in each new sample which begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
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 Ultimate headphone buying guide 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.
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.
What is a Bluetooth codec and why does it matter for wireless earbuds?
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.
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.
It’s rare to find a pair of 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.
How should your earbuds 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 buds 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.
What is a good frequency response for cheap wireless earbuds?
The frequency response of your earbuds determines how different frequencies are reproduced. Many of the best true wireless earbuds under $50 USD have at least slightly bass-heavy responses, so low frequencies will sound boosted compared to higher ones. This isn’t necessarily a problem, because many average consumers prefer this kind of sound. Just don’t expect studio sound out of cheap earbuds.
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Frequently asked questions about wireless earbuds
This depends on your earbuds but there are a few things that could be impeding your earbuds’ ability to connect to your phone.
First, the earbuds may have automatically connected to the last-used device, so check to see if they connected to your laptop or tablet instead. Also, true wireless connection stability, while wholly improved over the past few years, is imperfect. It may just be a matter of going into your device’s Bluetooth settings and “forgetting” the pair of earbuds. Finally, you may need to factory reset your earbuds. This is different for every headset, so consult the manual that it came with.