Back Bay Duet 50Source: Android Central

Best Cheap True Wireless Earbuds Android Central 2020

Cheap true 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, great 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.

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 great 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 that has 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 great 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 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. In fact, 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 at this price and considering everything else that's on the table, we can make do with Micro-USB.

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: Anker Soundcore Life P2

Soundcore Life P2 Lifestyle HeroSource: Anker

For someone that's always on the move and needs earbuds that aren't always running out of juice, the Anker Soundcore Life P2 are an excellent pick. You're looking at a total package of 40 hours, including 33 hours in the charging case and up to seven hours of continuous use. When you place the earbuds in the case, you can look forward to up to one full hour of extra juice after just 10 minutes of charging.

Battery life is definitely the big draw to the Soundcore Life P2, but other aspects make your time and money worthwhile. Graphene drivers and an aptX codec mean you can look forward to outstanding sound, an IPX7 rating keeps the earbuds safe even when faced with water, and Bluetooth 5.0 allows for a top-notch wireless connection.

These aren't the absolute cheapest earbuds you'll find on this list, but if battery is of your top concern, you'll definitely want to have these on your shortlist.

Pros

  • 40 hours of total battery life
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Single and twin modes
  • USB-C charging
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Cons

  • Disappointing playback controls

Best Battery Life

Anker Soundcore Life P2

Keep going, and going, and going

For earbuds that can last an insanely long time in between charges, the Soundcore Life P2's usage time of 40 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.

A lot of the earbuds on this list offer great comfort, but the EarFun Free are on a different level in these regards. I've tested a lot of true wireless earbuds in my days, and these stand out as some of the most comfortable. This is something that will obviously 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 very good 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: Soundcore Liberty Neo

Soundcore Liberty NeoSource: Soundcore

When looking for workout earbuds, one of the most important things to look for is how water resistant they are. Fortunately, the Liberty Neo are IPX7 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 Liberty Neo are 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 will help tremendously with finding the right combination that works for you. The earbud is rather light and don't enter your ears too much, making them super comfortable even for those who traditionally don't like in-ear earbuds.

Battery life on the Liberty Neo is mediocre at best with up to five hours of battery life on a single charge. The included charging case nets you up to 10 additional hours of listening, which brings the total to 15 hours. It'll still last you a full workday (assuming you're wearing them all day) and a few days if you don't use them so regularly. Usually, true wireless earbuds get at least 20 hours of audio playback, at the very least, with most getting 24 hours. To add insult to injury, the Liberty Neo charge over Micro-USB with no support for wireless charging.

The Liberty Neo produce above-average sound quality, but that won't matter much when working out. The bass and mids are neutral and flat, and the treble is only slightly elevated, giving the Liberty Neo a slightly brighter sound signature overall. This means that sounds such as female vocals and hi-hats from drums will be elevated slightly. However, they fall short on dynamic range and soundstage. There's not much depth or separation to the sound. Again, this is fine if you're working out as you won't be focusing on the music.

Pros:

  • IPX7 water-resistant
  • Superb comfort
  • Great sound

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No wireless charging
  • Mediocre battery life

Best Workout Buds

Soundcore Liberty Neo

Flex those buds

Comfort and water resistance is super important for workout earbuds, and the Soundcore Liberty Neo 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: TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79

TaoTronics TT-BH079Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Noise cancelation 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 TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 are so interesting.

The SoundLiberty 79 come equipped with TaoTronics' "Advanced Noise Canceling Technology," which is said to reduce ambient noise by 96% and retains up to 95% of your own voice for crystal clear phone calls. With this, you can focus on just your music while blocking out unwanted chatter around you.

While that's impressive enough of its own, that's not all you get here. Also offered on the SoundLiberty 79 is 40 hours of battery life, Bluetooth 5.0, and charging that's done via USB-C. You're getting all of that at an outstanding price, making the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 a pair of earbuds that should be on your shortlist.

Pros

  • Comfortable in-ear fit
  • Reduces ambient noise by 96%
  • 40 hours of total playback time
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C for charging

Cons

  • Plastic case feels cheap

Best Noise Canceling

TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79

Focus on what matters — your music

Noise cancelation isn't something we usually see in true wireless earbuds, making the SoundLiberty 79 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. Obviously, they'll take a backseat to the bass, but the presence is still there. 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 the most popular true wireless earbuds are expensive doesn't necessarily mean you have to pay a premium for a great set. When looking for any set of true 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. TOZO T6
  3. Creative Outlier Air
  4. Anker Soundcore Life P2
  5. SoundPEATS TrueFree+

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. Anker Soundcore Life P2
  5. Soundcore Liberty Neo

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 Soundcore Life P2. The promise of 40 hours of total use time is outstanding, with the earbuds themselves delivering up to seven hours of playback and the charging case holding another 33 hours.

You'll find similar endurance with the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79, which also tout 40-hour battery life.

Best cheap true wireless earbuds, ranked by battery life

  1. Anker Soundcore Life P2
  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 News 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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