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For $20, pair your AirPods with in-flight entertainment, health-club machines, Nintendo Switch and more

This TaoTronics Bluetooth transmitter/receiver does all kinds of useful tricks. It's a must-have for owners of any wireless earbuds.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

This $20 gizmo puts Bluetooth anywhere it ain't.


Problem: You get on a flight, only to realize you packed wireless earbuds -- meaning you can't use the in-flight entertainment system.

Similar problem: Lots of health clubs have cardio machines with headphone jacks, but you want to use your wireless 'buds.

Related problem: The Nintendo Switch doesn't support Bluetooth headphones.

Offshoot problem: Your spouse is going to murder if you don't turn the damn TV down, but your TV doesn't support Bluetooth headphones.

All these problems (and more!) can be solved by a single device: a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. Fancy ones like the Twelve South AirFly can run as much as $45, but I've got a better option: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get the TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver for $19.99 with promo code CNETEVG5. Regular price: $29.99. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

This portable, rechargeable gizmo can plug into any headphone or audio-out jack (airplanes, health clubs, older cars, Nintendo Switch, you get the idea) and broadcast that audio to your preferred Bluetooth headphones. It does this using low-latency aptX technology, meaning audio and video should be correctly synchronized if you're watching something.

That's the transmit option. As a receiver, the device lets you plug in, say, a favorite set of wired headphones or a wired speaker -- anything that doesn't have native Bluetooth capabilities. Then just pair it with your phone, tablet or anything else that broadcasts Bluetooth audio.

Handy, no? The TaoTronics has a rechargeable battery that's good for up to 10 hours, though if you're planning to give it a full-time home (like plugged into your TV), it can operate while plugged into power.

I've used similar devices, though not this exact one. It has a 4.2-star average rating from over 2,000 buyers and a 12-month warranty from TaoTronics -- 18 months if you register it after purchase.

I feel like this is kind of a must-have item, even if you have just one Bluetooth-audio problem you need to solve. For $20, it's a cheap fix.

Your thoughts?

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