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Last Update
8th Aug 2019
Update: - Replaced Rowkin Ascent Micro with Xiaomi Mi True Wireless - Interlinking - Beefed up Monoprice section

Although the new Powerbeats and AirPods may suggest you have to pay a premium to get true wireless earbuds, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. Good, cheap true wireless headphones are more prevalent than ever. Today we’re going to separate the high-value products from the rest.

If you want more detail on each pick, visit the deep-dive article at SoundGuys which further breaks down each awardee and the testing methodology.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on August 8, 2019, to include the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless noise cancelling earbuds.

Related: What makes a good pair of true wireless earbuds?| Best earbuds under $50

Best all-around: Creative Outlier Air

The Creative Outlier Air earbuds on a pink comic book with the charging case in the background.

Each earbuds has an LED ring to indicate connection status.

Reasons to consider the Creative Outlier Air

  • These standout from the cheap crowd with their dual-codec support of AAC and aptX.
  • Athletes will appreciate the IPX5 water-resistant build.
  • The bass-heavy sound isn’t overpowering and appeals to a broad audience.
  • Microphone quality is good for quick calls.
  • The 7.78-hour battery life is great, and the case charges via USB-C.

Best connectivity: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

Pictured are the Anker cheap true wireless 'buds on a Pixel 3.

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air are great for Android users that don’t have the built-in W1 chip of Apple products.

Reasons to consider the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air:

  • The Liberty Air provides reliable Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Battery life is great for true wireless ‘buds, clocking in just below five hours of constant playback time.
  • The earbuds are IPX5-certified, making them great for workouts and unexpected downpours.

Best workout: JLab JBuds Air Executive

The earbuds in the charging case with the case open.

The charging case opens to reveal the earbuds, which must be removed simultaneously to properly initiate pairing mode.

Reasons to consider the JLab JBuds Air Executive:

  • The earbuds are IP55-rated to ensure dust and water-resistance.
  • Standalone battery life is good, and a sleek charging case with an integrated USB charging cable is included.
  • Isolation is excellent, facilitating strong bass emphasis.
  • AAC Bluetooth codec support is great for iPhone users.

Best sound: Monoprice True Wireless

Monoprice cheap true wireless earbuds in case an din front of a black vintage lens.

The Monoprice True Wireless earbuds are IPX4-rated, and smaller than most of the competition.

Reasons to consider the Monoprice True Wireless:

  • The earbuds feature IPX4 water-resistance for workouts.
  • Sound quality is good for the ~$50 price.
  • Both the case and earbuds are lightweight and chic. 
  • The playback controls are easy to learn and operate by memorizing a series of button taps.

Best noise-cancelling: Xiaomi Mi True Wireless

Xiaomi Mi True Wireless earbuds in the charging case which is open and resting on a black surface.

It takes one hour to charge the earbuds or case via USB-C.

Reasons to consider the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless:

  • The earbuds boast an IPX4 water-resistant rating, meaning they can withstand workouts and unexpected rain showers.
  • You can connect to two devices simultaneously; Xiaomi delegates one earbud to the primary device and the other earbud to the secondary device.
  • The ‘buds have a stemmed AirPods-like design and charging case with actual nozzles for better isolation. 
  • Noise cancelling is rare at this price point.
For greater detail, read the full article; it includes excellent alternatives and more information regarding how we chose and tested the awardees.

Notable mentions

JLab JBuds Air true wireless: The earbuds in the case which is open and angled away (slightly) from the lens.

The JLab JBuds Air truly wireless earbuds lack aptX and AAC support but stay connected within a three-meter range.

  • JLab JBuds Air: These are even more affordable than the JBuds Air Executive and are IP55-rated.
  • Skullcandy Push: While these cost slightly more than $100, the 6-hour and 21-minute battery life is impeccable and worth checking out if you need your ‘buds to last the bulk of the day.

What you should know about the cheap true wireless earbuds

  • High-quality Bluetooth codecs afford better audio quality and reduced latency.
  • Standalone battery life with truly wireless earbuds is generally sub par, and the cheaper options are no exception. Granted, picks like the Creative Outlier Air are vastly improving battery life.
  • Water-resistance, while not as prevalent as with workout earbuds, is an occasional feature in cheap true wireless earbuds.
  • Cheap true wireless earbuds won’t typically don’t outperform their more expensive counterparts when it comes to sound quality, but that can be mitigated by a good fit and with proper ear tips.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

Working at SoundGuys is a full-time job for each team member, and every writer has multiple years of experience when it comes to reviewing audio products. SoundGuys is constantly checking the pulse of the rapidly evolving world of audio, allowing the team to understand what consumers what and what they deserve.

Adam wearing the Samsung Gear IconX, which are too expensive to be cheap true wireless earbuds.

The SoundGuys team tests as many audio products as possible through both subjective and objective measures.

We want our readers to be happy with their purchases, and none of our writers may benefit from recommending product X over product Y. To greater understand how the site operates, visit the SoundGuys ethics policy page.

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