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Best wireless headphones under $50 in 2022

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 laptop
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 laptop (Image credit: Anker)

Finding a headphone jack on a phone now is rare. Chances are, your phone doesn't have one — leaving you to go the wireless route to keep the music playing. If your need coincides with a tight budget, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is your best starting point to get a set of great, all-around Bluetooth headphones. Here are some of our top choices for the best Bluetooth headphones under $50.

Best overall: Anker Soundcore Life Q20

Anker Soundcore Q20

Source: Anker (Image credit: Source: Anker)

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 - Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Covering your ears

Reasons to buy

+
Good soundstage
+
ANC support
+
Really long battery Life
+
Foldable, portable design
+
Fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
No app support
-
Plastic build

Anker has become quite the value brand of late, and one of the headphone pairs that set the tone are the Soundcore Life Q20. These affordable cans have ANC built-in, and while not as good as their successors, the Soundcore Life Q30, they are solid value at this price.

A lot of that has to do with the excellent battery life, which goes up to 40 hours per charge with ANC on, and 60 hours off. Fast charging them for five minutes will get you up to four hours of playback, so in the rare time you run out of juice, you can get back to listening in short order. The build quality isn't as good as the newer Q30, but the fit is snug, and the lightweight body shouldn't feel cumbersome to wear.

Audio quality is basically what you hear is what you get. Unlike other Anker headphones, the Q20 doesn't work with the company's excellent app to customize the sound. Still, if you're looking for good bass and a nice balance with the mids and highs, these headphones will be perfectly fine for what they cost. The ANC isn't the best you'll find, but again, it works as well as you might expect for a budget pair of cans.

Best true wireless: Back Bay Audio Tempo 30

Back Bay Tempo 30 Lifestyle

Source: Back Bay Audio (Image credit: Source: Back Bay Audio)

Back Bay Audio Tempo 30

Very cheerfully cheap

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound for the price
+
Bass and Game modes
+
32 hours of total battery life
+
IPX7 water-resistance
+
Solid Bluetooth connection
+
Extremely affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No fast charging
-
No ANC or ambient modes

Boston-based Back Bay Audio did right by the Tempo 30 in making these earbuds sound really good for the price. If you want more bass, you can always toggle on the Bass Mode to give them an extra rumble for your ears. You can even try their Game Mode, which cuts down audio lag while playing games or watching shows and movies.

It also wisely throws in six different ear tips in the box to ensure you find a fit that suits your ears, big or small. Bear in mind these earbuds are all about audio, first and foremost, meaning they don't have ANC or an ambient mode to deal with background noise. The nice fit does give you pretty good passive noise isolation, so at least there's that.

I mentioned switching modes, and you do that through the touch controls, which are fairly responsive and reliable. You will need that if you plan to be active with these and need to play/pause or skip tracks. Back Bay made these earbuds with IPX7 water resistance. Great if you want to go for a run or work out in the gym, but just don't take them for a swim.

At up to eight hours per charge, the Tempo 30 hold up well for their cost. Doesn't hurt they add another three charges in the case, and that you can charge them via USB-C. Keep the cable handy because there's no wireless charging, nor even fast charging.

Best active noise-canceling: Tozo NC2

Tozo Nc2 Lifestyle

Source: Tozo (Image credit: Source: Tozo)

TOZO NC2 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds

Versatile earbuds

Reasons to buy

+
Nice sound quality
+
Good battery life
+
Decent ANC performance
+
OK water resistance
+
USB-C and wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Call quality isn't the best
-
ANC can struggle with certain frequencies

Tozo is the best among budget headphones, so the NC2 are right at home that way, but what puts them on this list is that they offer ANC. It's reliable in a very bang-for-your-buck kind of way, meaning it won't match the performance of more premium earbuds capable of canceling outside noise, but the effect is certainly still there. It strangely does a little better with varying frequencies while inconsistent with low-frequency droning sounds, like an engine or fan.

Their signature sound veers toward bass, and it's immediately obvious that the highs and mids take a backseat to maintain that skew. That's great if you like listening to genres that need help on the low end, though it's unfortunate you don't have a way to tweak the sound using an equalizer on a supporting app.

Battery life is pretty respectable at up to eight hours per charge, with the case giving you an extra three charges. This is with ANC on, where you essentially have no option to turn it off. Fully charge the case in less than two hours via USB-C, or lay it down on a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad to cut out all wires entirely.

Best on-ear: Sony WH-CH510

Sony Wh-CH510 lifestyle

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

Sony WH-CH510

Listening inside and out

Reasons to buy

+
Solid audio quality
+
Comfortable fit
+
Lightweight build
+
Very long battery life
+
Swivels for easier storage

Reasons to avoid

-
No real passive noise isolation
-
No option for wired playback

On-ear headphones are something of a compromise in that they don't fully block outside noise, nor do pinch the ears like over-ears might do. The Sony WH-CH510 have the comfort part down, given that you can probably wear these for hours and not complain about it. The price is on par with the build quality, which is a mix of metal and plastic that doesn't feel premium.

You will get good sound from the WH-CH510, courtesy of slightly boosted bass that reveals itself most in quieter confines. The highs and mids are more pronounced, which is hardly surprising because of passive noise isolation. These headphones are all about sound, given the dearth of other features. You don't get ANC or ambient mode, or any support from Sony's Headphones app. You just put these on and listen. The Bluetooth connection is solid, except it's also your only option. There is no wired playback here.

Battery life is amazing at up to 35 hours per charge. And in the rare instance you've run out, get 90 minutes of playback with just a 10-minute quick charge. Plus, it's a USB-C port, so no more Micro-USB.

Best workout buds: Anker Soundcore Life P2

Anker Soundcore Life P2 Lifestyle

Source: Anker (Image credit: Source: Anker)

Anker Soundcore Life P2

Flexible workout earbuds

Reasons to buy

+
Bluetooth 5.0 support
+
Decent battery life
+
Good sound signature
+
IPX7 water resistance
+
Should fit most ears

Reasons to avoid

-
Should've had ear hooks
-
No app support

The Anker Soundcore Life P2 are all about ensuring you can stay active. You get an IPX7 rating for a decent level of durability, meaning you can work hard while working out, run in the rain, or even accidentally drop them in water. Anker considers them waterproof, but you should wipe them down after every activity to keep them dry after you're done.

It helps that they're comfortable and secure in your ears, too. Of course, every pair of ears is different, but Anker tried to stay as still as possible during intense activity. With Bluetooth 5.0 onboard, you can count on a stable connection to your phone, but as for fit during activity, Anker would've been better served to go with a design utilizing ear hooks rather than an AirPods clone.

They do sound good for what you're paying, especially with an emphasis on bigger sound. There's some thump and rumble here, with a balanced mid-range and uneven treble, but it's highly dependent on the kind of seal you get when they're in your ears. And you'll have to rely on that because they're not compatible with Anker's solid Soundcore app, which would have offered an equalizer for a more personalized sound.

Battery life is decent at up to seven hours per charge at 60% volume. That guarantees a few workouts before having to charge them up again, though the case gives you almost five more charges before it runs out of juice itself. And you get fast charging via USB-C, where plugging them in for 10 minutes gives up to one hour of playback in a pinch.

Best battery life: KVidio Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Wearing the KVidio Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.

Source: KVidio (Image credit: KVideo)

KVidio Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Long listening sessions

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Comfortable for longer use
+
Great sound
+
Fold up for easier transport
+
USB-C for charging

Reasons to avoid

-
No ANC or ambient mode
-
No real app support

Long battery life is a convenient feature, and the KVideo Wireless Bluetooth Headphones let you go with up to 55 hours on a single charge. That should keep you listening to music and spoken word content for days. You don't get fast charging support, but the USB-C port should have you back up and listening after an hour or two. You can also listen in wired mode using the included 3.5mm cable.

The battery life is a real benefit of a nice pair of over-ears at an affordable price. They also have a high degree of comfort, where the headband and earcups shouldn't pose a problem over long periods of use. They do stick out a little because of how the cups stick out, but that should be fine if you feel you have big ears. When you want to put them away, the cups fold up nicely for a more compact size when you need to take them with you somewhere.

You can expect above-average sound, with deep and punchy bass, balanced mid-range, and boosted treble, all combining for a decent soundstage. You won't have any active noise cancelation (ANC) to rely on, including for phone calls, but at least passive isolation does a pretty good job on its own. They are lively, so if you want something that plays a little louder and crisper right out of the box, these are worth a listen.

Best comfort buds: Otium Bluetooth Headphones

Otium Headphones Bluetooth Headphones Active

Source: Otium (Image credit: Source: Otium)

Otium Bluetooth Headphones

Playing nice for less

Reasons to buy

+
Good audio quality
+
IPX7 water and sweat resistance
+
Comfortable and easy fit
+
Consistent onboard controls
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too bass-heavy
-
Charges via Micro-USB

They're not true wireless earbuds, as you have a cable connecting the two sides, but this affordable pair from Otium does sit pretty comfortably when you need to wear them. For something this inexpensive, the IPX7 rating does provide a higher level of sweat and water resistance than is typical, but considering they are supposed to be for active use cases, you should feel comfortable wearing them under those circumstances.

A lot of it comes down to the ear hooks, which help keep the ear tips nestled into your ears. With the right fit and a tight seal, you get the best audio quality Otium can manage with these buds. Naturally, they're not for audiophiles, and Otium skewed them toward a bass-heavy sound profile. If you like music that bumps, you're bound to like the way these prioritize that part of the audio spectrum.

Physical buttons stand in for the onboard controls, and once you learn them, they do what they do without many issues. You'll get up to eight hours per charge with the battery, though you will have to charge them up using a Micro-USB cable, which is one of the downsides to using a pair like this for the sake of comfort or during a run.

Music to your ears

Great headphones come in all shapes and sizes. But they also come at different price ranges, as evidenced by this list. Just because headphones are cheap doesn't mean they're bad. Getting more for less always feels like a win, and that's one of the best ways to describe the sound quality, comfort, and battery life with this group of the best Bluetooth headphones under $50.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are a solid example. They cover most of the bases with excellent sound quality, ANC support, and 30 hours of battery life — all at a price you can afford.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

Ted Kritsonis
Ted Kritsonis

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.