Back Bay Duet 50Source: Android Central

Best Cheap Wireless Earbuds Android Central 2020

Cheap wireless earbuds have become great over the past several years. The ones you typically hear about are super expensive. Still, there are some great budget options out there, such as the Creative Outlier Air, which offer fantastic battery life, exceptional comfort, and superb sound quality.

Best Overall: Creative Outlier Air

Creative Outlier Air earbudsSource: Creative

Battery life is one of the standout features of the Creative Outlier Air. Even compared to some high-end true wireless earbuds, the Outlier Air outperforms most of them with up to 10 hours of audio playback on the buds themselves. The included charging case nets you an additional 20 hours of audio playback, which equates to up to 30 hours of listening time. The only real downside is that the case does not feature wireless charging, which is unfortunate.

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Comfort is excellent, but only if they fit your ear. Unlike most other earbuds and true wireless earbuds, the Outlier Air only come with one extra set of ear tips in the box. Typically, earbud companies will include small, medium, and large ear tips in the box with the medium size coming pre-installed. Fortunately, a bud doesn't shove too far into your ear, which means it may be easier to get a better seal.

The Outlier Air also have excellent sound quality. The low- and mid-bass are neutral and flat while the upper-bass and low-mids have a small boost, giving sounds such as male vocals and bass guitar a small boost. The mid-mids up to the mid-treble are smooth and neutral, and while there's not much upper-treble, the treble rolls off nicely. This gives you an overall balanced sound with a small bass bias, and instruments in the treble might sound slightly muffled, but most won't be able to hear the difference.

The Outlier Air don't feature a smartphone companion app, which means that what you see is what you get. Some earbuds will not feature a customizable equalizer, while others won't let you change the media control scheme. Outlier Air don't do either.

Pros:

  • USB-C for charging
  • IPX5 water-resistant
  • Good comfort
  • Superb sound
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • No smartphone app
  • Only comes with one extra set of ear tips

Best Overall

Creative Outlier Air

Well rounded

The Creative Outlier Air have excellent battery life and sound at a great price. Just make sure they fit in your ear.

Best Alternative: Boltune Wireless Earbuds

Boltune Wireless Earbuds Lifestyle HeroSource: Amazon

There's no doubt that the Creative Outlier Air are some of the very best true wireless earbuds you can buy, but if its price is a little higher than what you were hoping to spend, a fantastic alternative comes in the form of the Boltune Wireless Earbuds.

Right off the bat, the Boltune earbuds kick out excellent audio quality that combines clarity and deep bass into one package. Boltune also includes CVC 8.0 noise reduction to make your phone calls as clear as possible. To keep all of this working as intended, you'll find Bluetooth 5.0 for a strong and reliable wireless connection.

Rounding out the experience is excellent battery life (six hours of playback, 34 hours in the case), an IPX8 waterproof rating, and USB-C charging!

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Superb sound
  • IPX8 water-resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • No wireless charging case

Best Alternative

Boltune Wireless Earbuds

Best for less

With great sound, long battery life, and Bluetooth 5.0, the Boltune Wireless Earbuds give you the full experience at a low price.

Best Upgrade: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Soundcore Liberty Air 2Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The purpose of this article is to highlight true wireless earbuds that sound great, work as intended, and come in at a low price. Our next pick is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, and if you're in the market for a higher-end earbud experience that doesn't have an outrageous price tag, it could be an excellent fit.

Right off the bat, the Liberty Air 2 sound wonderful. The earbuds feature "diamond-inspired drivers" and a "premium TPU diaphragm," which basically translates to a wide soundstage and deep bass. No matter what kind of music you're listening to on the Liberty Air 2, it'll sound great. We're especially fond of Anker's HearID feature, which customizes your listening experience based on your hearing sensitivity.

There are plenty of other features outside of the audio side of things, such as a 28-hour battery life, Qi wireless charging, touch controls, and the ability to use either earbud on its own for mono playback. We understand the price tag keeps some buyers at bay. Still, when it comes to getting a premium listening experience, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 deliver that for a lot less money than other companies out there.

Pros:

  • High-quality sound with deep bass
  • Audio is personalized for your ears
  • Total battery life of 28 hours
  • Robust touch controls
  • Qi wireless charging

Cons:

  • Highest price

Best Upgrade

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Spoil yourself

These push the limits of "cheap," but the Liberty Air 2 deliver a super high-end experience for less than the competition.

Best for Tight Budgets: Aukey EP-T21

Aukey EP-T21 true wireless earbudsSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Aukey, mostly known for its battery packs and charging accessories, is steadily breaking into the world of wireless audio gear. With the EP-T21, Aukey has crafted some of the most affordable true wireless earbuds money can buy.

Design-wise, the Aukey EP-T21 gets the job done. It's nothing to write home about, but the simple charging case, stem-style earbuds, and matte black paint job are all solid. Pairing is made as easy as can be, and on the side of the earbuds, you'll find multi-function touch controls for managing all of your audio playback.

What else do you get? Aukey throws in an IPX4 water-resistance rating, the powerful Bluetooth 5.0 wireless standard, and 25 hours of total battery life between the earbuds and charging case. Sure, having to charge the case with a Micro-USB cable is a drag here in 2020, but for the price, there's not much we can complain about.

Pros

  • Decent, crisp sound
  • 25 hours of total battery life
  • IPX4 water-resistance
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Extremely affordable

Cons

  • Charges with Micro-USB

Best for Tight Budgets

Aukey EP-T21

As cheap as it gets

There's cheap, and then there's the Aukey EP-T21. These earbuds are insanely affordable and offer a fantastic user experience.

Best Underdog: SoundPEATS TrueFree+

SoundPEATS TrueFree+Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

If you're reading this and have no idea what SoundPEATS is, don't fret. This is a relatively small and obscure company, but it's been creating top-notch audio gear since 2010. When it comes to cheap true wireless earbuds, one of the best options comes from SoundPEATS.

Taking a look at the TrueFree+, just about everything you could ask for is offered. There's hi-fi sound for great-sounding music and podcasts, a strong wireless connection thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, and an impressive total battery life of 35 hours between the earbuds and charging case.

The earbuds have a pretty simple design, but the case manages to stand out thanks to a sleek striped pattern on the top of it. We also appreciate that SoundPEATS includes a bunch of ear tips so you can make sure the TrueFree+ fit just right. It'd be great to have USB-C charging, but we can make do with Micro-USB at this price and considering everything else that's on the table.

Pros

  • Hi-fi sound quality
  • Customizable ear tips
  • Stylish charging case
  • 35 hours total battery
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Cons

  • Micro-USB charging

Best Underdog

SoundPEATS TrueFree+

Not your first choice, but worth a good look

You might not know SoundPEATS, but the company just so happens to make some of the best cheap true wireless earbuds.

Best Battery Life: Back Bay Duet 50 Pro

Back Bay Duet 50 ProSource: Back Bay Audio

For someone that's always on the move and needs earbuds that aren't always running out of juice, the Back Bay Duet 50 Pro are an excellent pick. Where most wireless earbuds have total battery life of around 30 hours or so, the Duet 50 Pro crank things all the way up to 130 hours.

That may seem like a typo at first glance, but it's not. The earbuds themselves last for eight hours on a single charge, but when you factor in the charging case, you're looking at an additional 122 hours of playback. That much endurance does mean you have to deal with a larger-than-normal case, but we think it's well worth the trade-off.

Outside of that legendary battery life, the Back Bay Duet 50 Pro deliver in other areas. Audio quality is good with a well-balanced sound stage, there's an IPX5 water-resistant rating, USB-C charging, and the battery case has so much juice that it can be used to charge your phone.

Pros

  • 130 hours of total battery life
  • USB-C charging
  • Case can be used as a power bank
  • IPX5 water-resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Cons

  • Disappointing playback controls
  • Charging case is clunky

Best Battery Life

Back Bay Duet 50 Pro

Keep going, and going, and going

For earbuds that can last an insanely long time in between charges, the Duet 50 Pro's usage time of 130 hours is the tops.

Best Comfort: EarFun Free

EarFun FreeSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

At first glance, the EarFun Free may not look like anything too special. However, these are earbuds you certainly don't want to slip by unnoticed.

Many earbuds on this list offer great comfort, but the EarFun Free are on a different level in these regards. I've tested many true wireless earbuds in my days, and these stand out as some of the most comfortable. This is something that will vary from person to person depending on your ear size and shape, but in my experience, they've been great.

Thankfully, that's not where the praise for the EarFun Free stops. These true wireless earbuds also have excellent audio quality, offer great passive sound isolation, and have an IPX7 rating for top-notch water resistance. Combine all of that with 30-hour battery life, USB-C charging, and support for Qi wireless charging, and this is an impressively complete package for being so cheap.

Pros

  • Outstanding comfort
  • Good audio for the price
  • IPX7 water resistance
  • Battery life up to 30 hours
  • Wireless and USB-C charging

Cons

  • Cheap charging case
  • Bluetooth connection can be hit-or-miss

Best Comfort

EarFun Free

No sore ears here

Planning to use your earbuds for hours on end? Make sure your ears stay nice and comfy with the EarFun Free!

Best Workout Buds: Mpow M30

Mpow M30Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

When looking for workout earbuds, one of the most important things to look for is how water resistant they are. Fortunately, the Mpow M30 are IPX8 rated, which means you'll be able to do intense workouts without worrying about them getting damaged. Just don't swim with them, as they're not rated for full submersion.

In terms of comfort, the Mpow M30 are just as excellent. They use a tip and wing mechanism to help with stability, comfort, and fit. You'll get multiple tip and wing sizes in the box, which helps tremendously with finding the right combination that works for you.

Add that together with bass-heavy audio, USB-C charging, and an excellent price, and the Mpow M30 stand out as an easy recommendation. Battery life isn't the absolute best we've ever seen — five hours with the buds and an extra 20 hours with the case — but it should still be plenty for getting through a long run or workout session.

Pros:

  • IPX8 water-resistant
  • Secure and comfortable fit
  • Punchy audio with deep bass
  • Charges with USB-C
  • Super low price

Cons:

  • OK battery life
  • Not rated for swimming

Best Workout Buds

Mpow M30

Flex those buds

Comfort and water-resistance are super important for workout earbuds, and the Mpow M30 fit the bill perfectly.

Best Sound Quality: 1More Stylish True Wireless

1More Stylish True WirelessSource: 1More

The 1More Stylish True Wireless are perfect for the person who's looking for superb sound quality without breaking the bank. It's not neutral, and there's a noticeable bump in the entire bass region, but it's not enough to drown out the mids and treble. Bass lovers will love these, but those who are a fan of a fun, slightly off-balanced sound will love them as well. However, the most impressive part about the sound signature is the soundstage. While it won't beat some of the more expensive true wireless earbuds, the Stylish True Wireless holds its ground. Ths soundstage is wide and spacious, making it very easy to pick out individual instruments and vocals.

In terms of battery life, the Stylish True Wireless perform exceptionally well with up to 6.5 hours on a single charge. The included charging case nets you an additional 17.5 hours of battery life, totaling up to 24 hours of audio playback with the bud and case. The case itself is relatively small and compact. You likely won't have any issues with it fitting in your pocket or purse. Unfortunately, it still uses Micro-USB for charging and doesn't feature wireless charging at all.

Comfort is excellent too. They are super light and easy to get in and out of your ear. The earbud stays in your ear without issue. You're unlikely to feel any sort of discomfort or fatiguing, even after long periods. You get multiple ear tip sizes in the box, which will help with fit.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Superb sound with wide soundstage
  • Excellent comfort

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No wireless charging case
  • Pricier than other options on this list

Best Sound Quality

1More Stylish True Wireless

Fantastic sound

The 1More Stylish feature great sound, long battery life, and excellent comfort for a great price.

Best Noise-Canceling: Mpow X3

Mpow X3Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Noise cancellation is a great feature offered by some headphones, but it's something we don't often see with true wireless earbuds — let alone ones that are considered cheap. That's why the Mpow X3 are so interesting.

The Mpow X3 come with fully-fledged active noise cancellation, allowing you to block out 28dB worth of background noise. It's not as effective as expensive over-ear headphones, but for minimizing the noise of a dishwasher, vacuum, or air conditioner, the X3 work great. You're also treated to excellent sound quality, with the 10mm drivers giving you a nice and balanced listening profile with crisp clarity.

Rounding out the experience are a few other goodies — namely, 27 hours of total battery life, USB-C charging, and Bluetooth 5.0 for a stable wireless connection. Mpow's plastic charging case isn't the best we've ever encountered, but it gets the job done.

Pros

  • Comfortable in-ear fit
  • Active noise cancellation
  • 27 hours of total playback time
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C for charging

Cons

  • Plastic case feels cheap

Best Noise Canceling

Mpow X3

Focus on what matters — your music

Noise cancelation isn't something we usually see in cheap wireless earbuds, making the Mpow X3 very cool.

Best Bass: TOZO T6

TOZO T6 earbudsSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Bass lovers rejoice, the TOZO T6 is the earbud you want if you're looking for a ton of bass. The bass is obviously boosted quite a bit, giving the overall sound a warmer tone with a ton of thump and rumble, but not enough for the bass to be considered muddy or distorted. The midrange and treble are neutral and flat. They'll take a backseat to the bass, but the presence is still there. The dynamic range is excellent; however, the soundstage is a bit weak thanks to the overpowering bass.

Battery life is also quite strong, with the T6 lasting up to six hours for continuous use and the charging case providing another 24 hours of battery life — a total package of 30 hours! The Micro-USB charging port isn't ideal, but you can ignore it and use Qi wireless charging instead.

In terms of comfort, the T6 perform exceptionally well. The buds are super lightweight and don't shove too far down your ears. They come with multiple ear tip sizes in the box, which should help with fit, and the ear tips are super soft and sit comfortably in your ear. It's unlikely you'll experience any sort of discomfort or fatiguing with the earbud, even over several hours of listening.

Pros:

  • Excellent, bass-heavy sound
  • IPX8 water resistance
  • Wireless charging capable!
  • Superb comfort

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • AirPods ripoff design

Best Bass

TOZO T6

Tons of bass

The TOZO T6 feature a wireless charging case, excellent bass-heavy sound, and superb comfort.

Bottom line

As we mentioned at the top, true wireless earbuds have gotten really great over the past few years, and as a result, they've come down in price. A great example of this are the Creative Outlier Air, which are awesome true wireless earbuds at an incredibly low price.

The Outlier Air offers up to 10 hours of battery life on the earbud alone, which is impressive on its own front. Most true wireless earbuds feature around 5-7 hours of battery life for the earbud, even high-end ones. To take it a step further, the Outlier Air's case can charge up the earbud another two times, netting you a total of 30 hours of audio playback. They also feature great sound and superb comfort for long listening sessions.

How to choose the best cheap true wireless earbuds

Back Bay Duet 50Source: Android Central

Just because most of the best wireless earbuds are expensive doesn't necessarily mean you have to pay a premium for a great set. When looking for any set of truly wireless earbuds, your main focus should be sound quality because if they sound like crap, there's no real point in getting them even if they're the most stylish and comfortable earbud on the planet.

Otherwise, you're looking at comfort and battery life. The latter can be a bit tricky with true wireless earbuds as there are several factors to take into account, including how long the bud lasts, how much extra juice you have with the charging case, and how long the bud takes to charge while in the charging case.

Sound Quality

Sound quality should be the top priority for potential headphone buyers. It doesn't matter if they're super comfortable or look pretty if you can't hear what you want to listen to. Unfortunately, most true wireless earbuds trade sound quality for convenience and compactness, although that's not always the case.

Our top three picks are earbuds that all sound great but have vastly different sound signatures. The 1More Stylish make the top of our list for having superb dynamic range and soundstage. They may have a slightly boosted bass, but it's not enough to bother most people. Our second pick is the TOZO T6, which feature really great sound but with much more bass. Our third pick is the Creative Outlier Air, thanks to the more neutral sound signature. The Outlier Air are an excellent pick for those who want more accurate sound, even if it doesn't have the greatest soundstage.

Best cheap true wireless earbuds, ranked by sound quality

  1. 1More Stylish True Wireless
  2. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
  3. TOZO T6
  4. Creative Outlier Air
  5. Back Bay Duet 50 Pro

Comfort

True wireless earbuds are generally very comfortable since they don't wear on your head and neck. For this reason, it's very difficult to rank all of these true wireless earbuds because, generally speaking, anything on this list will be fantastic.

To take this a step further, most true wireless earbuds use standard ear tip sizes, which means even if the included ear tips don't fit you or are super uncomfortable, you can do a quick Amazon search for better ear tips.

Best cheap true wireless earbuds, ranked by comfort

  1. EarFun Free
  2. Creative Outlier Air
  3. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79
  4. Mpow M30
  5. Back Bay Duet 50

Battery Life

Battery life is by far the hardest thing to try to determine when looking at true wireless earbuds. Not only do you have to worry about the actual earbuds' battery life, but the battery life on the charging case as well. Some true wireless earbuds have excellent bud battery life but awful charging case battery life or vice versa.

Our top pick is the Back Bay Duet 50 Pro. The promise of 130 hours of total use time is outstanding, with the earbuds themselves delivering up to eight hours of playback and the charging case holding another 122 hours.

None of the other earbuds on this list come anywhere close to that 130 number, but even with something that has around 30 hours of total use, that should be plenty for most people.

Best cheap true wireless earbuds, ranked by battery life

  1. Back Bay Duet 50 Pro
  2. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79
  3. Boltune Wireless Earbuds
  4. SoundPEATS TrueFree+
  5. Creative Outlier Air

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Joe Maring is Android Central's Senior Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to joe.maring@futurenet.com!

Peter Cao spends more time than he's willing to admit listening and analyzing music, headphones, or earbuds. When not on the clock, he's probably still doing the same, playing basketball, or playing video games.

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