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Best Budget Earbuds for 2023: Cheap Wireless Picks

Here are our current favorites from among the many budget true-wireless earbuds we've tested and reviewed. You don't need to spend a fortune to get surprisingly good sound quality and features.

Updated on Sept. 15, 2023

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Written by  David Carnoy
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
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David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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$80 at Walmart
The Earfun Pro 3 include a wireless charging case
Top budget wireless earbuds with noise canceling
Earfun Air Pro 3
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$100 at Amazon
The Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 NC feature improved noise canceling
Latest Anker noise-canceling earbuds
Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 NC
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$50 at Amazon
The Echo Buds 2023 are a good AirPods 3 alternative for less
Best new budget open earbuds
Amazon Echo Buds 2023
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$50 at Amazon
soundpeats-air3-deluxe-hs-blue-background.png
Best cheap open earbuds
Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS
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$24 at Amazon
The Baseus Bowie MA10 earbuds are an impressive value
Baseus Bowie MA10
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$36 at Amazon
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Good-sounding cheap wireless earbuds under $40
Tranya T20
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$70 at Walmart
The Jabra Elite 4 are Jabra's new-for-2023 entry-level earbuds
Best budget earbuds from Jabra
Jabra Elite 4
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$80 at Amazon
earfun-free-pro-2-pink-background.png
Best budget wireless earbuds for sports
Earfun Free Pro 2
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$48 at Amazon
soundpeats mini pro
Cheap earbuds with good sound quality
Soundpeats Mini Pro
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$70 at Walmart
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Best Anker wireless sports earbuds
Soundcore by Anker Sport X10
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What are the best cheap wireless earbuds?

It's a hard question to answer, especially with so many budget wireless earbuds out there. You can't name a standout best overall true-wireless earbuds but there are a few models do stand out from the pack, which is why they're at the top of this list. These include the Earfun AirPro 3, Anker Liberty 4 NC and Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS.

For these mini reviews, I've included details on the earbuds' battery life, audio quality and key features, including whether they have active noise canceling or not, plus their IPX water-resistant rating in case you're interested in using these for running or working out at the gym. Keep scrolling to see the best overall inexpensive earbuds available right now. I'll update this list as other top affordable wireless earbuds are released.

Read more: Best Wireless Earbuds for 2023

The Earfun Pro 3 include a wireless charging case
$1 at Walmart

Top budget wireless earbuds with noise canceling

Earfun Air Pro 3

Earfun has put out a series of wireless earbuds over the last couple of years with one important commonality: They're very good values, made more so by frequent discounts. The company's new-for-2023 Earfun Air Pro 3 earbuds feature the latest Qualcomm QCC3071 system-on-a-chip with AptX Adaptive for Android and other devices that support the new LE Audio standard and LC3 audio codec, which is superior to the SBC codec (they also support AAC for Apple devices).

Lightweight and comfortable to wear -- I got a good seal with the largest ear tip size -- these aren't a huge upgrade over the Earfun Air S, but they are better. They have slightly larger wool-composite drivers (11mm versus 10mm), slightly improved noise canceling and better battery life (up to seven hours with noise canceling on, according to Earfun).

In short, the Earfun Air 3 deliver strong performance for their modest price, with robust bass, good clarity and a relatively wide soundstage. They also pack in a lot of features, including a wireless charging case and "multidevice" connectivity. (I could pair them to two devices simultaneously but had to pause the music on one device and hit play on the other for the audio to switch.) They're IPX5 splash-proof and also work well (though not exceptionally well) as a headset for making calls. 

Use the code EAP3CNET at checkout at Amazon to drop the price to just less than $50.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Good sound and overall performance for their price
  • Wireless charging and support for new Bluetooth LE Audio standard

Cons

  • Voice calling performance is only OK
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$100 at Amazon

Latest Anker noise-canceling earbuds

Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 NC

The Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 NC feature improved noise canceling
Battery life Rated up to 8 hours
Noise Canceling Yes
Multipoint Yes
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX4-- splash-proof)

New for 2023, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds carry a lower list price than last year's Liberty 4 buds and are arguably better. They have improved noise canceling and better sound quality, along with support for the LDAC audio codec for devices that support it. (Many Android smartphones do, and in theory it offers slightly improved sound quality when paired with a music streaming service that offers high-res tracks.) They're lightweight buds that should fit most ears comfortably with four sizes of ear tips to choose from. 

The Liberty 4 NC buds have single custom drivers compared to the Liberty 4's dynamic dual drivers -- and a completely different case design -- but I thought they delivered more pleasant sound than the Liberty 4s. Their treble is a little smoother and they feature strong bass performance. They came across as fairly open, with a reasonably wide soundstage. You can tweak the sound profile in the companion app for iOS and Android. 

The buds come in several color options and are IPX4 splashproof, so they're suitable for running and gym use. They feature excellent battery life -- up to 10 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels -- and there's also a transparency mode that lets ambient sound in and sounds pretty natural with only a very faint audible hiss. While the noise canceling is an improvement over the Liberty 4's and is effective, it falls a bit short of what you get from Bose's and Sony's premium ANC earbuds. 

Like the Liberty 4, the earbuds have six integrated mics for noise canceling and making calls, and callers said they thought the buds did a pretty good job of reducing background noise, with my voice coming through relatively clearly. They're an all-around good performing set of buds for the money, and they offer a strong feature set, including ear-detection sensors and wireless charging.

Pros

  • More affordable and better than Liberty 4 buds
  • Comfortable fit with upgraded sound and noise canceling
  • Robust feature set and solid call quality

Cons

  • Noise canceling could be a little better
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$50 at Amazon

Best new budget open earbuds

Amazon Echo Buds 2023

The Echo Buds 2023 are a good AirPods 3 alternative for less
Battery life Rated up to 5 hours
Noise Canceling No
Multipoint Yes
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX2-- splash-proof)

Amazon's 2023 Echo Buds impressed me in a few ways that I wasn't expecting. For starters, they sound good for inexpensive open earbuds, delivering decent clarity and ample bass. But they also have a robust feature set, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, hands-free Alexa and ear-detection sensors that pause your audio when you take one or both buds out of your ears. 

Their sound falls short of that of Apple's AirPods 3, which deliver fuller bass and overall fuller, smoother sound (they're better at handling more complicated music tracks with a lot of instruments playing at the same time). But the AirPods 3 cost around $150 and offer only about 15% to 20% better audio. In short, if you're looking for open earbuds -- or "semi-open" as these types of earbuds are sometimes called -- the Echo Buds are good value at their $50 list price and even easier to recommend when they go on sale.

Pros

  • Well-designed inexpensive earbuds
  • Good sound for open earbuds
  • Strong feature set, including hands-free Alexa

Cons

  • May not fit everyone's ears comfortably
  • Not a ton of bass
  • No ANC (they're open earbuds)
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$1 at Amazon

Best cheap open earbuds

Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS

soundpeats-air3-deluxe-hs-blue-background.png
Battery life Rated up to 5 hours
Noise Canceling No
Multipoint No
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX4-- splash-proof)

What makes these Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS buds special is that they sound surprisingly good for open earbuds -- they're pretty close to what you get from Apple's AirPods 3 for sound. On top of that, they support Sony's LDAC audio codec for devices that offer it. Not too many cheap open earbuds have good sound but these Soundpeats have good bass response and clarity. They're also good for making calls and have a low-latency gaming mode. Battery life is rated at 5 hours at moderate volume levels, and these are IPX4 splash-proof.

Apply the code DCCNETSP at checkout to get an additional 13% off, bringing the price down to $34 -- a very good deal if you're looking for open-style earbuds.

Pros

  • Surprisingly good sound for inexpensive open earbuds
  • Decent call quality
  • Support Sony's LDAC audio codec for Android devices 

Cons

  • The charging cases of lighter-colored versions show some grime
  • Open design allows sound to leak in and out
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The Baseus Bowie MA10 earbuds are an impressive value
$24 at Amazon

Baseus Bowie MA10

Priced at just $21 after you click an instant $9 discount coupon on Amazon, the Baseus Bowie MA10 delivers surprisingly good sound along with active noise canceling for its low price (you just don't see too many active noise canceling earbuds at this price). They're IPX6 water resistant (can withstand a strong spray of water) and also have multipoint Bluetooth pairing and connect to a companion app. They stick out of your ears a bit but they did fit my ears comfortably.

The earbuds deliver impressive battery life, offering up to 8 hours on a single charger at moderate volume levels with an extra 132 hours in the charging case. Yes, you heard right -- 132 hours! However, the one big downside to these buds is that their charging case is rather large and bulky. If you can live with that, these are a very nice bargain. 

Pros

  • Low price
  • Surprisingly good sound for the money 
  • Active noise canceling and multipoint Bluetooth
  • Strong battery life

Cons

  • Charging case is bulky
  • Earbuds are little big
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$36 at Amazon

Good-sounding cheap wireless earbuds under $40

Tranya T20

tranya-t20-yellow-background.png
Battery Life Rated up to 8 hours
Noise Canceling No
Multipoint No
Headphone Type Wireless earbuds
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX7 -- can be submerged for 30 minutes up to 1 meter)

The Tranya T20 remind me a little of a cheaper version of Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 without the noise canceling. They're pretty no-frills and missing more premium features such as an ear-detection sensor that automatically pauses your music when you take a bud out of your ears. But they sound surprisingly decent for their modest price, if you get a tight seal, they sit pretty flush with your ears (they don't really stick out much) and they have decent battery life -- up to eight hours at moderate volume levels. They also work pretty well for making calls and are IPX7 waterproof.  

The case feels a little cheap and the buds are lightweight. The Galaxy Buds 2 definitely feel more premium. However, the buds are well-tuned and have a relatively wide soundstage. Don't expect the world from them and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

Pros

  • Good price
  • Surprisingly good sound for the money 
  • Relatively compact
  • Strong battery life and IPX7 waterproof

Cons

  • No active noise canceling
  • Case feels a little cheap
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The Jabra Elite 4 are Jabra's new-for-2023 entry-level earbuds
$1 at Walmart

Best budget earbuds from Jabra

Jabra Elite 4

Jabra has replaced its entry-level Elite 3 buds with the new-for-2023 Elite 4, which offer active noise canceling and multipoint Bluetooth pairing. What's a little confusing is that Jabra also sells the Elite 4 Active, a slightly more ruggedized version of the same buds that carries a list price of $120 but sometimes sells for less than the standard Elite 4. So get the Elite 4 Active if it costs less.

The lightweight Elite 4 fit my ears comfortably and offer good, well-balanced sound with punchy bass and decent clarity. They support Qualcomm's AptX audio codec (for Android and other devices that support AptX) but only the SBC codec for iPhones (no AAC support). The Elite 4 are missing more-premium features like ear detection sensors and have a four-microphone array for noise canceling and voice calls (voice-calling performance is good but not exceptionally good). Battery life is rated at up to seven hours at moderate volume levels and the buds have an IP55 water-resistance rating, which means they can take a sustained spray of water and are also dust-resistant. As with a lot of other new buds, you can use either bud independently in a mono mode. 

Pros

  • Good sound quality with a comfortable fit
  • Decent call quality
  • Support Sony's AptX audio codec for Android devices
  • Multipoint Bluetooth

Cons

  • No ear-detection sensors
  • Only SBC audio codec for iPhones (no AAC support)
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$80 at Amazon

Best budget wireless earbuds for sports

Earfun Free Pro 2

earfun-free-pro-2-pink-background.png
Battery Life Rated up to 6 hours
Noise Canceling Yes (ANC)
Multipoint No
Headphone Type Wireless earbuds
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

I was a fan of Earfun's earlier Free Pro earbuds, which offer good sound and have little sport fins that help keep them in your ears securely. Now Earfun has released the Earfun Pro 2 buds with aluminum alloy caps, improved noise canceling and a couple of extra microphones that help boost voice-calling performance.

The Free Pro 2 deliver good sound for their modest price, with decent clarity and deep but well-defined bass. They produce relatively big, open sound. They don't have such extra features as an ear-detection sensor so your music automatically pauses when you take one or both buds out of your ears or an app that allows you to update their firmware. But they're lightweight, should fit most ears well and have decent noise canceling along with a transparency mode (it's not as good as the AirPods Pro's transparency mode, which is hard to beat).

I found the voice-calling performance good but not great. They did an acceptable job reducing background noise and picking up my voice in noisy environments but they aren't necessarily top-notch in this department. Battery life is rated at up to 6 hours, they're IPX5 splash-proof, and their elongated case (it charges wirelessly) is compact and lightweight. 

Pros

  • Integrated fins for a more secure fit
  • Lightweight with aluminum alloy caps
  • Good sound 

Cons

  • No active noise canceling
  • No ear-detection sensors or companion app
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$48 at Amazon

Cheap earbuds with good sound quality

Soundpeats Mini Pro

soundpeats mini pro
Battery Life Rated up to 7 hours
Noise Canceling Yes (ANC)
Multipoint No
Headphone Type Wireless earbuds
Water-Resistant Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

The Soundpeats Mini Pro have a few things going for them. For starters, they're relatively compact and fit my ears comfortably and securely (I got a tight seal with the largest included ear tips). They also sound surprisingly good, with clear, nice-detailed sound and punchy bass. Also, since they're powered by a Qualcomm Bluetooth chip (it's Bluetooth 5.2), they have support for Qualcomm's aptX audio codec, which can offer slightly better sound on aptX-enabled devices such as some Android phones. Note: A newer version of the buds, the Soundpeats Mini Pro HS, offers support for the LDAC audio codec but not AptX.

These are IPX5 splash-proof active noise-canceling earbuds. While the noise cancellation muffles background noise to a degree, it isn't as effective as what you get with Apple's AirPods Pro or top noise-canceling buds from Sony and Bose. Battery life is rated at up to seven hours with noise canceling off and five hours with it on.

On a more critical note, voice-calling performance was only average. In quieter environments, they work decently, but outdoors in the streets of New York, callers said they heard a lot of background noise and they didn't do well with wind noise. The Soundpeats T3 ($36) are better for voice calling but these Mini Pro buds sound significantly better.

Pros

  • Compact design and comfortable fit
  • Good sound with punchy bass
  • Support for Qualcomm's aptX audio codec (for Android devices)

Cons

  • Voice-calling performance is only average
  • Noise-canceling performance is OK not great
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anker-soundcore-sport-x10-green-brackground
$1 at Walmart

Best Anker wireless sports earbuds

Soundcore by Anker Sport X10

The Soundcore Sport X10 have an interesting design with rotating swiveling ear hooks that flip up when you're using them and flip down when you want to set them in their charging case, which has a smaller footprint than a lot of buds with ear hooks. 

As long as you get a tight seal, they sound good, with powerful, punchy bass and good detail. They also have active noise canceling, which is effective though not as good as Sony or Bose's noise canceling. They're also fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating, which means they can be fully submerged in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours with an additional three charges in the charging case.

Pros

  • Swiveling ear hooks for a more secure fit
  • Smaller charging case than other earbuds with this design
  • Good sound and battery life
  • Fully waterproof 

Cons

  • Noise-canceling performance is only average
  • Some people may not be able to get a tight seal
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Best budget wireless earbuds FAQs

Do cheap earbuds sound as good as the AirPods 3rd Gen and AirPods Pro 2?

Apple improved the sound quality of the third-gen AirPods so it raised the bar. That said, many true wireless earbuds that cost less than $100 or even less than $50 offer surprisingly good sound for the money and measure up pretty well against the AirPods and AirPods Pro, though not the AirPods Pro 2, which offer significantly improved sound. 

What are the biggest differences between cheaper buds and more premium buds?

Often, the biggest difference is build quality. Premium buds tend to feel sturdier and tend to be built with more premium materials. They also have a more premium look and feel to both the buds themselves and their charging case. In theory, premium buds should hold up better over time. Additionally, they tend to have more features such as ear-detection sensors and they pair with a companion app so you can upgrade the firmware (as well as tweak the sound and possibly customize the controls). Finally, while some cheaper buds have active noise cancellation, the performance of the noise-canceling and transparency modes tends to be better with more premium buds.

Do cheap earbuds work well for making voice calls?

Some do. Many cheaper buds now feature multiple microphones and some do a surprisingly good job when it comes to voice calling. A few models on this list have surprisingly good noise reduction and measure up well against the AirPods, which are known for their strong voice-calling performance.