Best cheap wireless earbuds under $100 Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best cheap wireless earbuds under $100 you can buy in 2022.
Wireless earbuds have been game-changers 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.
The good news is that even the best wireless earbuds (from in-ear wireless headphones to everything else) don't have to cost an arm and a leg, and you can find great wireless earphones for under $100. To help make life easy and get you the best deal possible with the least amount of effort, we've compiled a list of the very best cheap wireless earbuds around that you can get for under $100.
How to choose the best cheap wireless earbuds for you
The most important thing to realize when choosing wireless (or true wireless) earbuds is that inevitably everyone's ears are going to be different, so a perfect fit for you may not be a perfect fit for someone else. When looking at the best wireless earbuds for under $100, you're generally going to have fewer tips you can swap between on your earbuds than you get with more expensive offerings, too.
Outside of fit, you're going to want to think about what kind of battery life you will need, if your wireless earbuds need to be water-resistant or sports-friendly, and if you want features like Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), touch controls or virtual assistant support. With cheaper earbuds, there are generally fewer features on offer so you'll usually have to pick and choose to an extent, though ANC is increasingly trickling down from a premium to a more mid-price level.
Wireless earbuds routinely go on sale, too, so make sure you keep an eye on our best wireless earbuds deals page to see if you can snag a pair that usually go for over $100 for under it instead. There are lots of earbuds out there, so it's easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you're looking for a good deal too, but we've got a list of the very best wireless earbuds under $100 for you to check out below...
- Got a bigger budget? Check out our ultimate best wireless earbuds guide
These affordable wireless earbuds hit the spot. They boast app support, customisable EQ settings and the British audio firm's innovative High-Performance Audio Mode. Your colour options are white and black.
The real selling point here (besides sound quality) is battery life. The 1 Plus provide a whopping nine hours from one charge, and you get an additional four charges from the carry case. That makes 45 hours of total run time. The fact there's no noise-cancelling onboard helps to explain the marathon battery life, as the tech can be a real drain.
The Melomanias deliver an impactful and expansive musical performance. They sound clear and more dynamic than their predecessors and there's a smidgen more detail too. If you want an affordable and accomplished pair of wireless earbuds the Cambridge definitely warrant a closer look.
Read the full Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review
Think of Sony's WF-C500 wireless earbuds as a no-frills version of its premium (twice the price) WF-1000XM4. They deliver a lot of what makes those wireless earbuds a success without cutting too many corners.
They're good for running and sports, thanks to their IPX4 rating, while you also get ‘fast pair’ connectivity with Android devices and ‘swift pair’ with Windows 10 PCs.
The sound is nicely balanced, there's loads of mid-range detail on show and it's presented in a cohesive and musical package.
Battery life is 10 hours from the buds themselves, which should be plenty for most, and the case provides another 10 hours so the total battery life can be bettered by some rivals. But, if you're after one of the best cheap pairs of wireless earbuds on the market, the Sony WF-C500 should be on your shortlist.
Read the full Sony WF-C500 review
This Pro variant takes the standard – and excellent – Earfun Air (further down this page) and adds active noise cancelling (ANC), more mics and larger drivers. That all adds up to a better sonic performance as well as clearer voice calls – very handy if you're out and about in noisy environments.
And considering the spec sheet, the price remains jaw-droppingly low – a staple of Earfun's approach.
The headphones pair easily, and they're comfortable enough for even the longest of conference calls. The controls are a doddle to use, too. Two taps on the right bud pauses or resumes playback; three skips to the next track. Double tapping the left earpiece accesses Siri on our iPhone and also answers or ends a call. The crucial function you’ll want to practise is a triple-tap of that left earpiece, as this scrolls between the Earfun’s noise-cancelling, ‘normal’ and ‘ambient sound’ modes.
They're built to survive a downpour, too. All in all, it’s a lot of tech and durability for not a lot of money.
Read the full Earfun Air Pro review
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 – but not using – them.
There are no frills here, so aptX, 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.
They lack a little audio finesse – but they come in well under $100. And for that reason, they come highly recommended.
Read the full Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless review
Google's latest wireless earbuds are packed with features and come in at a very low price which is an attractive package in itself. But how do they sound?
They're light and comfortable, and while they don't offer noise cancelling, they do a good job of isolating you and are aided by rubber fins that keep them secure. They are vented, though, so some background noise inevitably creeps in, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your colour choices are either white or 'Dark Olive'.
Battery life is okay at around five hours, plus another 20 or so from the carry case in four charges. The Pixel Buds A-Series pair with your device very easily indeed, too, especially if you're using an Android smartphone or tablet that boasts the Fast Pair feature. IPX4 water resistance means they should be ok for exercise too.
These wireless earbuds put in an admirable performance come music time, with a clean, balanced sound that doesn't lean too far into any part of the sonic spectrum. This is a great pair of wireless earbuds at a great price.
Read the full Google Pixel Buds A-Series review
These cheap wireless buds are packed with features. You don't get noise-cancelling (that's reserved for their more expensive siblings mentioned above), but the Earfun Air do provide excellent noise isolation and they feel comfy in situ too. They're also waterproof to IPX7 standards (submersible in one metre of water for up to 30 mins), support virtual 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, the wireless earbuds offer an energetic and spacious sound.
If you’re after a pair of affordable and entertaining in-ear headphones under $100, the Earfun Air are definitely worth investigating.
Read the full Earfun Air review
The CX 400BT are more sonically gifted than most at this price (a price that fluctuates above and below $100, so do keep an eye out).
They're not water- or sweat-resistant but they do boast Bluetooth 5.1 support and a mobile app, neither of which is a given at this level. The former promises high-quality, far-reaching Bluetooth transmission, while the latter opens doors to EQ adjustment and control customisation.
The controls are simple for voice calls, too. Just tap the right earbud once to activate your phone’s voice assistant or accept incoming calls, twice to jump forward a track or rejects calls, or hold it down to increase volume. Battery life is seven hours, which is decent but can be bettered in this company.
Sound quality is where the Sennheisers excel, though. They produce a detailed and lively sound with bags of energy and enthusiasm. For the money, it's hugely appealing and earbuds of this standard aren't to be sniffed at.
Read the full Sennheiser CX 400BT review
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-frequencies, 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 complimented by decent punch and pleasing tautness and agility. Some rivals boast greater detail and subtlety, but at this price, you could do a lot worse.
Read the full Sony WF-XB700 review
RHA has got in on the true wireless act with the talented TrueConnects, which sound good and cost roughly the same as a pair of AirPods. Unfortunately, unlike Apple, RHA has not quite managed to nail the connectivity. As a result, we experienced the odd Bluetooth blip.
Everything else about the TrueConnects is well-considered though. The battery lasts around five hours between charges and the supplied charging case can recharge the buds up to four times, prolonging the battery life for an extra 20 hours. Comfort is excellent, with surprisingly effective passive isolation when used with the supplied Comply foam tips (you also get several sets of standard silicone tips in the box).
Sonically, the RHA angle towards a neutral tonal balance, with crisp treble and plenty of satisfying, subtle bass. And, some slight connectivity niggles aside, their ease-of-use and insightful sound make them a good cheap alternative to the likes of the Apple AirPods.
Read the full RHA TrueConnect review
How we test wireless earbuds
At What Hi-Fi? we review tons of wireless earbuds every year, and while we use our dedicated testing facilities in Bath, Reading and London for the majority of our reviewing, we of course undertake wireless earbud testing outside our facilities to get a feel for using them out in the world. Our team reviews products together, ensuring no voice goes unheard, and we fill our ranks with experts in the audio world complete with decades of experience.
To gauge how a pair of earbuds' sound quality fares against the current competition, we always compare against similarly priced class leaders to get a good sense of a product's value. Performance-per-pound (or indeed dollar) is an incredibly important metric for us at What Hi-Fi? so we always keep plenty of pairs on-site for when we require them.
Of course, outside of audio quality, we also test how effective noise-cancellation is (if they have them), how clear call quality is from both ends, and generally how good they and their companion apps are to use. Cheap wireless earbuds are everyday items so you'll want a pair that's easy to live with from all aspects.
As a rule, no input from PR companies or sales teams when it comes to verdicts is ever allowed, with What Hi-Fi? enjoying a pristine reputation of delivering honest, unbiased feedback for decades.
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