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Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50 Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best cheap wireless earbuds under £50 you can buy in 2021.

Wireless earbuds have been a game-changer when it comes to personal audio. Freed from the shackles of a smartphone, users can hit the gym, go running or simply go about their daily lives without fear of snagging an arm on a dangling cable.

They come in all different shapes and sizes, including premium models like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Apple AirPods Pro, to more affordable options. The latter is what we're concerned with here: this is our pick of the best cheap wireless earbuds under £50.

So what should you expect from a pair of wireless earbuds under £50? Sound quality is obviously paramount, but a secure and comfortable fit is also vital, especially if you'll be wearing them for prolonged periods. Noise cancelling is rare at this price, though not unheard of, and a charger-cum-carry case usually comes as standard.

Below, we've rounded up the best cheap wireless earbuds that have passed through our testing rooms and left a lasting impression. While all quite different, they have all scored well in our reviews, delivering decent features and impressive sound for the price. Intrigued? Read on, and we'll find you a superb pair.

And if you're looking a bit further afield, and have a bit more budget to play with, the Apple AirPods 3 should be landing soon. Expect shorter stems, a redesigned charging case and possibly more fitness-tracking features. But until then...

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50 - Earfun Air

(Image credit: Earfun)

1. Earfun Air

Wallet-friendly and feature-packed cheap wireless earbuds.

SPECIFICATIONS

OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 7 hours (35 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, expansive sound
Great feature set
Classy build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Treble needs more refinement

These buds might be cheap, but they're packed with features. You don't get noise cancelling (that's reserved for their more expensive siblings, the Earfun Air Pro), but the Earfun Air do provide excellent noise isolation and they feel comfy in your ears too. 

They're also waterproof to IPX7 standards (submersible in one metre of water for up to 30 mins), support virtual voice assistants and include Qi wireless charging if you've got a suitable charger to hand.

Battery life is seven hours from the buds and a further 28 hours from the charging case. Amazingly it all feels fairly premium too. The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is solid and stable, calls sound clear and for the money, and they produce an energetic and spacious sound.

If you’re after a pair of entertaining cheap wireless earbuds under £50, the Earfun Air are the best option we've tested.

Read the full Earfun Air review

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

(Image credit: JBL)

2. JBL Reflect Flow

If you’re after sporty pair of cheap wireless earbuds, look no further.

SPECIFICATIONS

OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 10 hours (30 hours with charging case) | Sensitivity: 102dB | Weight: 85g (including case)

Reasons to Buy

Good detail
Strong bass depth
Long battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Can be beaten for dynamics
Carrying case is a bit big

JBL is a heavy hitter when it comes to sporty earphones and the JBL Reflect Flow is one of the best options out there at this price. While they may have launched with a little more expensive price tag, we're including them here as they have dropped to around £50 in recent sales. (One to watch on Black Friday.)

Aimed at active lifestyles and gym-goers, they're IPX7 waterproof and provide 10 hours of playback (or 30 hours with the charging case) – that should outlast multiple workout sessions. Pop them in the case and these in-ears will go from empty to fully charged in two hours.

Whether pumping iron or beavering away in an office, the 'Ambient Aware' and 'TalkThru' modes should come in useful. By short-pressing the left bud, you’ll scroll through to a slightly quieter sound (Ambient Aware) or very low volume playback (TalkThru) so you can chat to someone without taking the earbuds out.

Sound quality is solid, with a good level of detail and a pleasing amount of precision. Overall, the JBL Reflect Flow are impressive cheap wireless earbuds, perfect for the gym or running, and without breaking the bank. 

Read the full JBL Reflect Flow review

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

(Image credit: Beats)

3. Beats Flex

Fun and fuss-free wireless wonders.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No

Reasons to Buy

Punchy lows
Durable build
Extra features for iOS users

Reasons to Avoid

Treble is rounded off
Fit may be an issue

The Beats Flex are a step up from Apple's bog-standard Lightning wired buds. They’re available in some fresh hues (including the Yuzu yellow sample you see here), they charge via USB-C, have a 12-hour battery life, and courtesy of one-tap audio share you can split sounds with nearby Beats or AirPod headphones (provided you have an iPhone 8 or later running at least iOS 14). They're very affordable, too.

Four ear tip options give a good chance of finding a decent fit, and the cable is flat, like a strand of tagliatelle (they're not "true wireless"). Magnets keep the earbuds together when not in use.

Pairing is a doddle (even more so using an Apple device). They don't support some iOS 14 features, including automatic switching to another device or hands-free Siri‌ support. And there’s no noise cancelling either. But with the correct seal you’ll still enjoy good levels of passive noise isolation.

Audio quality is good and the Flex offer a considered, smooth sound profile that’s preferable to one that is harsh or bright through the upper frequencies. A solid bet at this end of the market.

Read the full Beats Flex review

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

4. SoundMagic TWS50

A light and comfortable pair of affordable in-ears.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No

Reasons to Buy

Expansive soundscape
Clear and agile treble
Light and comfortable earbuds

Reasons to Avoid

Beaten for dynamics and timing
Case design is fiddly

Staying true to its affordable heritage, SoundMagic’s debut true wireless earbuds are very wallet-friendly indeed – in recent months they have dropped as low as £36. They're wonderfully light, and provide a good, secure fit.

While the controls are a bit fiddly, as is the case, the buds are rated IPX7, making them waterproof up to 1m for up to 30 minutes. That's above and beyond what we would expect at this price bracket. And they'll last around 30 hours (using the carry case) before needing a mains recharge.

Audio-wise, there's an awful lot to like for the money. Voices are full-bodied and it's a detailed, expansive soundscape.

If this is the extent of your budget, you’ll get a competitive battery life, one of the lightest and most comfortable earbuds we’ve tested to date and an expansive listen that offers plenty in the way of sound-per-pound value. In other words, a fine option.

Read the full SoundMagic TWS50 review

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

5. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

These ridiculously cheap earbuds spring a sonic surprise.

SPECIFICATIONS

OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 7 hours

Reasons to Buy

Full, fun sound
Great price

Reasons to Avoid

No aptX Bluetooth or NFC
Bass is a bit slow

These Skullcandys are some of the most affordable wireless earbuds on the market and represent serious value. Sound is full and fun, and while it won't trouble a more premium pair, it's very impressive given the price.

As you might expect, features are thin on the ground. The cable can be removed from the flexible neckband and the battery life is a decent 6-7 hours. You get a basic three-button remote just below the left earpiece and a little plastic fastener that lets you loop the cable together when you're wearing them but not listening to music.

There are no frills here, so aptX Bluetooth, fast charging and NFC are all absent from the spec list. But if you're looking for cheap wireless earbuds, these offer a dynamic and fun sound for the money, with a relatively wide and well-separated soundstage.

Read the full Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless review

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £50

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony WF-XB700

A reliable pair of cheap wireless earbuds with lashings of bass.

SPECIFICATIONS

In-line remote and mic: No | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 9 hours (+9 from charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Clear, punchy sound
Decent battery life
Comfortable, lightweight build

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals offer more detail
Reasonably large earbud design

Anyone looking for an affordable pair of sport-friendly wireless earbuds might be tempted by the Sony WF-XB700. Battery life is a reasonable 18 hours – nine hours from the buds, nine hours from the case – while their IPX4 water resistance rating provides the buds (but not the case) with protection against 'water splashing’. 

It takes a few twists to get them securely into place, but once they're in you can almost forget about them, apart from when you need to use the button found on each bud to control them.

The WF-XB700 are part of the company’s Extra Bass range of audio products and are tuned to emphasise low-frequency response, rather than deliver a neutral sonic balance. And although there’s meat behind their low-end, it doesn't overshadow mid and high frequencies.

Their balance is actually complemented by decent punch and agility. Some rivals boast greater detail and subtlety, but at this price, you could do a lot worse.

They sell for just over £50, but shop around and you might find them for a few quid less.

Read the full Sony WF-XB700 review

MORE:

Best cheap wireless earbuds under £100

Feel the burn: best wireless headphones for running and the gym

Shut out the world: best wireless noise-cancelling headphones

Go in peace: best noise-cancelling earbuds

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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