Best Cheap True Wireless Headphones: The 6 top AirPods alternatives for $100 or less

Should you’re like me, you will have poked round Amazon searching for cheaper audio alternate options to Apple’s AirPods, wi-fi earbuds that begin at $159 a pair and hit $199 a pair if you would like wi-fi charging — which beats the choice when battery life will get low. (Learn our in-depth assessment of the AirPods Professional right here.) There are many cut price earphones on the market with excessive consumer scores for iPhones, Android telephones and all the things in between, however are these earbuds actually any good? 

In my expertise, more often than not sports activities earbuds, noise-canceling earbuds and different wi-fi fashions are simply all proper, not elite — and a few aren’t good for listening to music in any respect. An growing variety of wi-fi headphone fashions beat the “meh” classification, nonetheless, and some are literally first rate. Here is a take a look at one of the best among the many present crop of price range true-wireless earphones I’ve examined — all are below $100 a pair, whereas a number of are below $50 a pair. All of those earphones characteristic Bluetooth and keep strong wi-fi audio connections; I encountered minimal Bluetooth audio pairing hiccups whereas listening to music with them. Most wi-fi buds aren’t nice for making cellphone calls however they do work properly sufficient in quieter environments. I additionally supplied info on the earbuds‘ battery life and charging. I am going to replace this record and my record of greatest AirPod alternate options as I check extra earphones.

Learn extra: How to decide on one of the best earbuds


Should you love AirPods however do not need to spend some huge cash, listed here are just a few wi-fi headphone choices. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s most spectacular concerning the EarFun Free earbuds are the options: Bluetooth, each USB-C and wi-fi charging and totally waterproof (IPX7), based on their specs. Is the audio elite? No, however the earbuds sound fairly good — it is not simply noise popping out of the speaker. They do not have the audio readability of higher-end true wi-fi earbuds that price $150 a pair or extra, however they do have plump bass and sufficient audio element to make you assume you bought your cash’s price after which some. The earbuds are additionally fairly strong for making calls. The battery lasts six hours at average quantity ranges and the case offers 4 fees on the go. An elite worth at $45.

Learn our EarFun Free first take.

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AirPods and different name-brand actually wi-fi earbuds price $160 a pair and up. However the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 earbuds have an interesting design and ship strong audio high quality at $100 for a pleasant listening expertise. Obtainable in black or white, this second-gen mannequin presents USB-C charging, higher battery life (as much as seven hours of battery life after charging totally, actually) and good name high quality. Aside from lively noise cancellation, the system presents a lot of what the AirPods Professional do for lots much less, together with a compact charging case that has a pleasant matte end. The earbuds’ noise-isolating audio design seals out quite a lot of ambient noise passively and it is an elite set of earbuds for making calls round noise — very near the efficiency stage of the AirPods Professional.

With an IPX5 water-resistance score (they will maintain a gentle stream of sweat and water however cannot be totally submerged), these earbuds are appropriate for the gymnasium and working.

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The perfect true wi-fi earbuds accessible now


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Half the worth of Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 with comparable options, the Soundcore Life P2 earbuds are a wonderful worth possibility. The buds cost horizontally of their case reasonably than vertically, and there is a barely cheaper really feel to each the case and the buds in contrast with the Liberty Air 2. Their sound does not have the presence increase within the treble that the Liberty Air 2 buds have, so they are not as clear-sounding with well-recorded tracks and the bass is not fairly as properly outlined. However they’re hotter and extra forgiving, which I appreciated, and so they sound extra like the unique Liberty Air. (I’d purchase these as an alternative of the Liberty Air, which at the moment are $60.) 

It is also price noting that as an alternative of controls they characteristic bodily buttons, which some folks might choose. Just like the Liberty Air 2, they’ve 4 microphones, two of that are supposed to assist with noise discount when making calls in noisier environments. They do an honest job of decreasing background noise when making calls, however my voice did not sound as clear to callers because it did with the Liberty Air 2.

Whereas there is not any wi-fi charging, you do get USB-C charging. Battery life is rated at seven hours and so they have an IPX7 water-resistance score, which suggests they are often totally submerged in water to a depth of three ft and survive. They’re arguably one of the best worth within the Anker true wi-fi line proper now. An virtually similar model to those earbuds is bought at Goal below the title Soundcore Life Note.

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Through the holidays final yr, JLab had its JBuds Air true wi-fi buds on sale for $30 or $20 off their record value of $50. That was an honest deal. Now we get the Go Air, which is 20% smaller, lists for $30 and is in any other case much like the Air. It is accessible in 4 shade choices.

Just like the Air, for the cash ($30), the Go Air is fairly good. Battery life is rated at 5 hours (there’s an built-in USB cable on for charging), the sound higher than you would possibly count on and so they’re sweatproof with an IP44 score (which means splashproof). Whereas there is not any app for adjusting bass and treble, you may toggle by means of just a few preset EQ settings — JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Increase modes — by tapping both bud twice (sure, they’ve contact controls). I went with Bass Increase to take a number of the edge off the treble and provides them a barely hotter sound. 

There isn’t any high to the charging case, however the buds keep contained in the case simply advantageous due to magnets. To be clear, these aren’t unbelievable — and so they work solely OK for making calls — however you are not going to do significantly better for $30. And so they did match my ears properly — I used to be in a position to get a decent seal from the most important of the three included ear ideas. 

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The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 look much like the Anker Liberty Airs, with the identical pipe design, however do not sound fairly nearly as good as these earbuds. Nonetheless, they price solely round $35 and have higher audio high quality than you’d count on from a really wi-fi mannequin at this value. They provide strong wi-fi efficiency and 5 hours of battery life at average quantity ranges. Their wi-fi charging case delivers an additional 5 fees to your complete battery life, which shall be music to your ears.

We reviewed the TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053. The one distinction between that mannequin and the newer SoundLiberty 53 is that the SoundLiberty 53 are totally waterproof with an IPX7 score whereas the TWS TT-BH053 have an IPX6 water-resistance score. 

Learn TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053 assessment.

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Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air earbuds have a extra comfy match, however the Soundcore Liberty Neo buds sound nearly as good and price much less (the mannequin lists for $60, however might be discovered on sale for $35). These earbuds are much like the Tribit X1 however are a bit heavier and appear a bit sturdier. As with the Tribit, how good you discover the audio relies on how good a seal you get from one of many included ear ideas, which are supposed to drown out ambient noise. The battery life is rated for 3 and a half hours of listening time after charging (a bit quick) with a further eight hours or so of battery life from the charging case.

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I do not actually understand how fashionable the 1More Trendy True Wi-fi earphones are (sure, that is their title), however these earbuds do sound good. With an inventory value of $100, they’re among the many most costly of the fashions on this record (Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are additionally $100). 1More made a reputation for itself with its wired earbuds, the Triple Drivers, which sound nice and have been a superb worth when wired headphones have been nonetheless a factor. The identical clear, balanced sound is current in 1More’s Trendy earphones — they do not sound nearly as good because the Triple Drivers, however they sound good for true wi-fi.

This pair of earbuds has extra of an audiophile sound profile, with extra “correct” sound, so deep bass lovers could also be a bit dissatisfied listening to music, however I preferred it. In fact, it helped that the ergonomic design was in a position to give me a decent seal with one of many included ear ideas. Nonetheless, the stabilizer fin did nothing for me; I simply jammed the tip into my ear to get a safe match. 

The earbuds’ battery life is rated at up six and a half hours (count on nearer to 5 hours of battery life in the event you like listening to music at increased volumes), with an additional 17 hours or so of battery life accessible from the wi-fi charging case.

Learn 1More Trendy True Wi-fi assessment.