Now that true wireless earbuds are becoming more common, a lot of models with features that used to be limited to flagships and mid-rangers have spilled over into the budget range. In other words, you don’t have to spend a pretty penny to get a decent pair nowadays. That’s good news since smartphones without headphone jacks are becoming the norm, after all.
Considering price, features and performance, we’ve narrowed down our picks to the JLab GO Air POP, Jaybird Vista 2, Anker Life Dot 2, Soundpeats T3 and Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. Each of these earbuds stands out in one way or another, but in general, it’s hard to go wrong with any of them.
- Best Budget Wireless Earbuds Comparison Chart
- Best Budget Earbuds — JLab GO Air POP
- Best Budget Wireless Earbuds for Working Out — Jaybird Vista 2
- Best Budget Wireless Earbuds with Long Battery Life — Anker Life Dot 2
- Best Budget Earbuds for Phone Calls — Soundpeats T3
- Best Budget Audiophile Earbuds — Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds Comparison Chart
|Model||JLab GO Air POP||Anker Life Dot 2||Soundpeats T3||Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW|
|Price||Check Price at JLab.com||Check Price at JaybirdSport.com||Check Price at Soundcore.com||Check Price at Soundpeats.com||Check Price at Walmart.com|
|Active Noise Cancellation||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Battery Life||Earbuds: 8 hours|
Case: 24 hours
|Earbuds: 8 hours|
Case: 16 hours
|Earbuds: Approx. 7 hours|
Case: 100 hours
|Earbuds: Approx. 5.5 hours|
Case: Approx. 16.5 hours
|Earbuds: 6.5 hours|
Case: 13 hours
Best Budget Earbuds — JLab GO Air POP
The price-to-performance ratio of the JLab GO Air POP is almost unbeatable.
Put simply, the JLab GO Air POP gets it right across the board. For starters, it’s easy on the budget, and despite that, it doesn’t skimp on performance. Sure, it may have a consumer-friendly signature (i.e., punchy bass), but it delivers fairly accurate sound reproduction.
Also, it isn’t lacking in features either. It may not have active noise cancellation (ANC), but it offers decent isolation to noticeably reduce ambient noise. Plus, it has three EQ presets that let you adjust how it sounds according to your preferences. Last but not least, it has exceptional build quality, which isn’t all that common for earbuds in its price range.
If there’s anything to complain about, it’s its charging cable. It has a short USB-A plug integrated with its case, and with USB-C becoming the global standard, it would’ve been nice to see it keeping up with the times.
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds for Working Out —
Jaybird Vista 2
Water and sweat aren’t a problem for the
A typical concern most folks have when exercising with true wireless earbuds on is water damage. That’s where the
Moreover, it comes with wingtips in varying sizes, allowing you to get a snug fit so it won’t fall out of your ears even when, say, running. Also, it has a long battery life of up to eight hours on a single charge with 24 hours’ worth of additional power via its case. Lastly, since it’s designed for sports, it has a transparency mode called SurroundSense that lets you hear your surroundings when working out outdoors.
On top of that, it has ANC, but it won’t win any awards on this front. It can block a bit of rumble and humming, but a lot of unwelcome sounds will still slip through.
Best Budget Wireless Earbuds with Long Battery Life — Anker Life Dot 2
With a total playback time of 100 hours, the Anker Life Dot 2 and its charging case can last at least four days.
If you’re after a pair of true wireless earbuds that can just keep on going and going, then the Anker Life Dot 2 is likely your best bet. It can last for about seven hours on a full charge, which is par for the course. However, its charging case can hold up to 100 hours of juice, which is something its direct competitors don’t even come close to.
Now it’s touted as having a balanced sound, but what you’re really getting is a bass-heavy profile. That’s not bad per se, as most of its counterparts are guilty of it too. Besides, it works well for genres like hip-hop.
Best Budget Earbuds for Phone Calls — Soundpeats T3
Background noise during calls isn’t an issue for the Soundpeats T3.
At first, the Soundpeats T3 may seem like some normal boring pair of earbuds. It has an average battery life of up to 5.5 hours, average sound with extra bass, average IPX4 water resistance, average ANC and transparency mode performance and the list goes on.
However, once you use it for phone calls, you—or rather, the person on the other end of the line—might just get a pleasant surprise. It can effectively reduce ambient noise to the point that most of what’s going on in the background won’t be heard by the person you’re talking to. Thing is, it almost feels like it’s doing its job too well, as it tends to deliver your voice a little less clearly compared to mid-range and top-of-the-line counterparts. That’s to be expected considering its relatively lower price point, though.
Best Budget Audiophile Earbuds — Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW
The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW may not have that many features, but its sound quality is clearly beyond the budget range.
It can be a challenge to find a pair that can meet the needs of your everyday audiophile, but the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW arguably comes the closest to do just that without breaking the bank.
It doesn’t have fancy features like ANC or even EQ presets, nor does it have a companion app to get a visual representation of its settings; however, it more than makes up for it in sound quality. Every detail simply sounds clear without the highs, mids and lows drowning one another.
What’s more, it has a transparency mode to let you hear your surroundings and a low-latency mode to keep audio-visual lag at bay when watching TV shows or movies. Also, it’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t follow the typical design of most earbuds with its squircle form factor.
The JLab GO Air POP,
Best budget wireless earbuds overall
Best-sounding budget wireless earbuds
To sum things up, the JLab GO Air POP is our pick for the best budget true wireless earbuds because of its low price tag and decent performance across the board. If you’re looking for a pair for working out, the Jaybird Vista 2 can deliver with its IP68 water and dust resistance rating and secure fit.
Meanwhile, the Anker Life Dot 2 is the earbuds to beat in terms of battery life with its 100-hour playback time, and the Soundpeats T3 is one of the best for phone calls, owing to its ability to reduce background noise. Last but not least, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is one of the best-sounding earbuds in its price range.
In our opinion, the JLab GO Air POP is among the best true wireless earbuds because of its low price and decent performance. It even has features like EQ presets, and it has an exceptional build quality despite its low cost.
The Jaybird Vista 2 is rated IP68, meaning that it can withstand water and sweat with no problem whatsoever. Also, its charging case has a IP54 rating, so it can survive splashes of water and the like.
The Anker Life Dot 2 is an outlier in the earbuds space with its charging case that offers 100 hours of playback.
The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is arguably among the earbuds with the best sound quality out there, making it the most suitable option for the budget-oriented audiophile.