Home > Technology

The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024

You don't have to shell out hundreds of bucks to put quality earbuds in your arsenal. Read on to find out how some of the best wireless earbuds under $50 stacked up to rigorous testing.

(Photo/Nick Belcaster)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

We like to think we’re fairly easy on our electronics. But when it comes to reviews, there’s a certain perverse pleasure in seeing just how much abuse a piece of gear can take. Especially cheaper items, which can be pushed to the limits without sweating your wallet.

And speaking of sweat and punishment, perhaps no tool in our kits has a more thankless job than earbuds. Rather than suffering in silence, we expect Bluetooth earbuds to perform on command. Whether it’s phone calls and voice chats for work, a bicycle session, or a gym trip, we rely on these little marvels to keep the world out and our sanity in.

And with so many options available, we could think of no better way to honor these lifesavers than with an old-fashioned budget battle.

Scroll down for the best affordable earbuds of 2024. To expedite your search, jump ahead to our comparison table and buyer’s guide.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Wireless Earbuds guide on March 21, 2024, to add a slate of new and worthy earbuds, including the Jabra Elite 3, JBL Vibe, Skullcandy Dime 3, and the TOZO T6s.

The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024

Best Overall Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Life A3i Earbuds


  • Battery life 9 hours per charge, 36 hours total with case
  • Charging case Yes
  • Weight 4.5 g per bud, 48 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes, 4 mics
  • Waterproof rating IPX5
Product Badge The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Active noise cancelling works, and not often included at this price point
  • 10 mm drivers move a good amount of sound
  • Lightweight and little ear-fatigue
  • Soundcore app allows for different EQ profiles


  • No wireless charging through the case
  • Button-press menus a bit complicated
Best Value Earbuds

JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds


  • Battery life Up to 5 hours, 15 hours with charging case
  • Charging case included Yes
  • Weight 5 g per bud, 50 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes
  • Waterproof rating IP44
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Good sound quality for the price
  • Great value


  • Finicky touch interface
  • Charging case relies on magnets to hold buds in
Best Audio Quality Earbuds

SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe HS


  • Battery life 5 hours per charge, 20 hours total with case
  • Charging case included Yes
  • Weight 4.1 g per bud, 36.9 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes, dual mics
  • Waterproof rating IPX4
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Simple user interface
  • Effective on-ear detection technology
  • Good value
  • Game mode


  • Not the best bass response
Best App Functionality

Jabra Elite 3


  • Battery life 7 hours per charge, 28 hours total with case
  • Charging case Yes
  • Weight 4.6 g per bud, 33.4 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes, 4 mics
  • Waterproof rating IP55
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Quality sound
  • Impressive options within app
  • Easy-to-navigate controls
  • Variety of audio options


  • App is essential for full use
Best Customization

JBL Vibe Buds


  • Battery life 8 hours per charge, 24 hours total with case
  • Charging case Yes
  • Weight 4.5 g per bud, 34 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes
  • Waterproof rating IP54
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Easy to pair
  • Good sound quality
  • Customization within the app


  • Open-style case not ideal
  • Touch buttons can be tricky to master

Skullcandy Dime 3


  • Battery life 8 hours per charge, 20 hours total with case
  • Charging case Yes
  • Weight 34 g with case
  • Microphone Yes
  • Waterproof rating IPX4
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Good sound quality
  • Comfortable streamlined design
  • Unique charging case may be attractive for some


  • No app can make navigation clunky
  • Pairing was not always streamlined
Best Battery/Charging Options

Tozo T6


  • Battery life 10 hours per charge, 50 hours total with case
  • Charging case Yes
  • Weight 4.4 g per bud, 53 g total with case
  • Microphone Yes
  • Waterproof rating IPX8
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • Quality battery life
  • Impressive waterproof rating
  • Comes in six colors
  • Wireless charging available


  • Touch control can be tricky to use
  • Sound quality isn’t top-shelf
Best of the Rest

Tribit FlyBuds 3 Wireless Earbuds


  • Battery life 5 hours per charge, 90 hours total with case
  • Charging case included Yes
  • Weight 4 g per bud, 82.2 g with case
  • Microphone Yes
  • Waterproof rating 8
The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024


  • The case doubles as a power bank for your phone
  • Excellent sweatproofing


  • Larger case size

Wireless Earbuds Comparison Table

EarbudsPriceBattery LifeWeightMicrophoneSweatproof Rating
Anker Soundcore Life A3i Earbuds$509 hours; 36 hours with case1.6 oz. with caseYes, 4 micsIPX5
JLab Go Air True
Wireless Earbuds
$305 hours; 15 hours with case2.2 oz. with caseYesIPX5
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe HS$505 hours, 20 hours with case1.3 oz. with caseYes, dual micsIPX4
Jabra Elite 3
$507 hours, 28 hours with case1.1 oz. with caseYes, 4 micsIP55
JBL Vibe Buds
$508 hours, 24 hours with case1.2 oz. with caseYesIP54
Skullcandy Dime 3
$308 hours, 20 hours with case1.2 oz. with caseYesIPX4
Tozo T6
$5010 hours, 50 hours with case1.9 oz. with caseYesIPX8
Tribit FlyBuds 3 Wireless Earbuds$40Up to 5 hours per charge2.9 oz. with caseYesIPX8
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

How We Tested Earbuds

Wireless earbuds falling under $50 may not be the most talked about range of earbuds, but they certainly can be practical for those hitting the trail or the gym. At GearJunkie we’ve been tracking the progress of the relatively affordable segment of earbuds for years. And we like the trajectory of the offerings.

The GearJunkie testing system uses a mix of staffers and contributors to put the buds through their paces. Before we select which buds make our list to try, we sift through the industry to explore any newcomers into the space, watch for trends from key manufacturers, and then gather the latest in the world of budget wireless earbuds. Once all the buds are gathered, we get to the real work. 

With as diverse a mix of earbuds as we can cobble together, our reviewers get to work on putting them through the paces of everyday use. For every pair of earbuds tested, they go through a mixture of scenarios. National journalist Tim Newcomb is on the wireless earbuds beat, having covered sports gear for over two decades for the likes of Sports Illustrated, TIME, Wired, Popular Mechanics and Forbes. His testing scenarios included everything from a ride down a Pacific Northwest singletrack and a running trail to plowing through an urban city street and a crowded gym. 

We hit varying weather — Newcomb living in the Pacific Northwest ensures there’s ample time to test gear in the rain — and will even create scenarios to ensure the buds do what they say they do. We’ve been known to drop buds from second-story windows, hit the showers with them, and even toss them in the freezer for hours. All of these have real-world applications, especially if you live in a harsher climate. Over several days’ worth of ear time across a range of activities, we got a pretty clear idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

But since these are earbuds, sound quality matters too. We run them all through the same series of audio files gauging their clarity, bass response, and general audio quality. Armed with a range of songs recommended by Spotify for testing sound on headphones, we put every headphone through the paces to ensure the audio discussion comes from the same starting point. 

Testing the best budget wireless earbuds is a combination of all these metrics. How does the audio perform? How do the materials hold up? What’s the fit and comfort like? How easy are they to use? They all add up to give us our range of the best options available.

Testing History

Since 2021, we’ve been turning on and tuning in to the best quality earbuds we can get our mitts on without selling the farm to get them. Like most tech, the limits to high-quality audio aren’t as much tethered to dollar signs as it is to the quest for the best of the best, but often, we just need a set of ‘buds that’ll keep up with our walk to work or run in the afternoon.

Each year introduces new designs and features, and we try to reflect the best on the market of that year, without losing site of some of the mainstay options that retain their place in the conversation. It’s worth noting that earbuds get much more expensive than those on this list. If you want the all-around best headphones for exercise, plan to spend a little more.

Whether it’s reps at the gym or a quick trail run, cheap earbuds are a quick and easy way to plug music into your day; (photo/Josh Wussow)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Affordable Earbuds

If you’re searching for a pair of reliable headphones for less than $50, there are a handful of key variables to keep in mind. Ultimately, you aren’t going to find high-performance options in this price range. Still, if you understand the basics of sound quality, battery life, and waterproofing, you can make an informed purchase and get the best bang for your buck.

Sound Quality

Like full-size speakers, earbuds distort different parts of the audio spectrum. No two pairs of earbuds will sound the same. While there are several objective factors that separate high-quality and low-quality sound, personal preference is perhaps the most important consideration. Some folks like a bassy sound balance, while others prefer a heavier treble.

Most of the earbuds on this list aren’t truly noise-canceling, save for the Anker Soundcore Life A3i Earbuds, which are certainly an outlier at this price point, and effective noise cancellation is typically a feature of more expensive options. Still, many users prefer to be able to hear their surroundings while listening to music or podcasts. Some earbuds on this list will simply muffle — but not cancel — outside noise, which comes in handy — especially in loud environments.

Ultimately, many users find that they do not need everyday earbuds with elite sound quality. For most users, a few sonic flaws are reasonable — especially if you want to spend $50 or less.

Soundcore Life A3i Wireless Earbuds - Earbud Side Comparison
With such a compact size, the audio drivers in wireless earbuds are typically around 10 mm in size; (photo/Josh Wussow)

Understanding Driver Types

You’ll want to get to know coils when understanding the types of drivers used, especially in earbuds. A driver is basically the component that drives air. Listeners need the air to create pressure waves that can be heard by the human ear. Basically, a driver is the speaker function of a headphone or earbud. And like most technology, drivers come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. 

The most common driver type is the dynamic driver. This style uses a coil and a magnet to turn electric current into air through a diaphragm. The idea is that as the electric current flows, the magnet allows the coil to regulate the diaphragm and move the air toward the ear. A dynamic driver is the most basic design, so it is often the least expensive, and does a good job of moving quite a bit of air, which can help produce good bass. It may distort at higher volumes, but choosing quality materials in construction can limit that downside. 

A balanced armature driver is also sometimes used in small devices, most commonly hearing aids, but also earbuds. The armature is basically a tiny arm positioned between two magnets. When the electric current charges the magnets it moves the arm toward the diaphragm. That, in turn, produces the air movement and sound. The big advantage of this type of driver is the small size, but that also limits bass abilities, so isn’t as popular in earbuds as it is in hearing aids. 

What Are EQ Profiles?

An EQ profile — EQ really just stands for equalization — offers up a way to personalize the way you hear your music. Equalization gives each user the chance to tweak the frequency ranges of the audio output, allowing the user to adjust these ranges to fit their personal desires. 

Typically found within the app functionality of a Bluetooth earbud, companies tout the EQ options to better individualize the sound experience. You’ll want to personalize your EQ settings based on the type of music you enjoy — or if you just like certain ranges of sound. Each app will have its own way of allowing you to adjust, but typically you can bolster the low end to accentuate bass, the high end for the melody, and the mid-range for the vocals. You may want to think about if you’re heavy on techno music — boost the low and high ends for a good balance — or typically are listening to movies or other audio heavy on vocals — for that you’ll want a heavy dose of the mid-range.

Bluetooth Codecs

You can’t listen to music if your wireless earbuds can’t connect. Not only does the driver control the sound quality and the EQ profile differentiate your listening preferences, but Bluetooth codecs define how well your earbuds perform. 

Bluetooth is the way your wireless earbuds receive data from your mobile device. The better the Bluetooth quality, the quicker the earbud receives and processes data for a fuller audio experience. Typically, the SBC is the basic version of a codec, with the lowest rate of data transfer. That translates into basic sound quality. AAC for Apple and AptX on Android offer more data transferred, which equates to better sound quality. 

Battery Life and Charging

Like all wireless devices, earbuds need to be charged from time to time. When you’re in the middle of a flight or bike ride, you certainly don’t want your headphones to suddenly die. For this reason, it’s worth seeking headphones with reasonable battery life and a quality charging case.

The battery life of headphones depends on various factors including surrounding air temperature and audio volume. To get the maximum life out of your fully charged headphones, keep the volume in the low to mid-range.

In 2024, a good pair of affordable earbuds may last up to 5 or 6 hours on a single charge. In our experience, earbuds tend to die a little sooner than the manufacturer claims. Most pairs come with a nifty charging case that allows you to juice up the headphones on the go. Most fully charged cases will charge the earbuds 2-5 times before they need to be plugged into an outlet.

Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 - testing
Charging cases typically recharge earbuds 2-5 times; (photo/Josh Wussow)

Button Navigation

Buttons matter. But it can be a touchy subject. Earbuds have limited real estate in which to work, forcing companies to think about how much functionality they want multi-function buttons to play on an earbud. But first, they must decide if they are going to include a physical button or a capacitive touch-only button. 

The physical button is more basic and offers key elements, such as a clear response on whether it has been pressed and the ability to press it with gloves on or if hands are sweaty, dirty, or wet. Some folks may not like the force a physical button on an earbud requires as it may press the bud deeper into the ear. Plus, the mechanical clicking noise a pressed button makes isn’t for everyone. But on the upside, you know what you’re getting each time. 

The touch-style button generally brings in more features, allowing users to swipe for differing actions. For example, users may swipe in varying directions to control volume and then in another direction to enable other features. But the touch-style button has a learning curve and does require a clean finger. 

Deciding on the type of button may dictate what features are available via the earbud without having to reach for the phone. Even with the physical touch button, you can get differing actions by adding multiple button presses, whether on the same earbud or having buttons on the right and the left. Companies also tend to make the buttons multi-functional, meaning the number of rapid clicks each serves a different function. 

How much control you want from your earbud alone is dictated by how the manufacturer approaches button navigation.

Call Quality

Most high-quality workout headphones are able to accept and manage quick phone calls. A built-in microphone, user-friendly controls, and decent sound quality are essential for taking calls via your headphones.

These days, dual and quad mic technology has dramatically improved call quality — even on cheap earbuds.

However, if you plan to use your ‘buds for long work calls, a $20 pair might not be the best choice.

Soundcore Life A3i Wireless Earbuds - fit
Earbuds are tiny — try not to lose ’em; (photo/Josh Wussow)

Waterproofing and Durability

If you’re going to be wearing earbuds while working out, durability and a reasonable degree of water resistance are crucial. If your exercise regimen includes outdoor activities such as running, cycling, or rowing, we recommend earbuds with a solid waterproof rating. Even if you don’t plan on being out in the rain, it’s wise to be prepared.

Though all of the headphones on this list are fairly durable, some will withstand wear and tear better than others. Though cheap earbuds are easy on the wallet, there is certainly a relationship between price and build quality.

In order to handle the inevitable perspiration that occurs during exercise, earbuds need to be reasonably water-resistant. Many options come with a water resistance IP rating that serves as a helpful guide.

Basically, headphones exist on a spectrum from IPX1 to IPX9. IPX1 headphones should be able to handle sweat and occasional small drops of light rain. IPX9 headphones can withstand a direct stream of hot water from a pressure nozzle. The IPX rating system can feel a little confusing, and we recommend you don’t think too hard about it.

Simply put, headphones with any IPX rating should be able to handle the demands of any dry-land form of exercise. If you plan to use your earbuds in wet environments — like a scullboat or a paddleboard — we recommend a higher IPX rating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most affordable earbuds?

Though we recommend all of the earbuds on this list, the Soundcore Life A3i earbuds are our pick for the best overall set for $50 or less.

Are earbuds waterproof?

Not all earbuds are waterproof, and some are more water-resistant than others.

Most bluetooth earbuds come with a water-resistance rating from IPX1 to IPX9. IPX1 earbuds can generally withstand moisture from sweat but not much more. If you’re going to be exposing your earbuds to wet and rainy conditions, look for a pair with a strong rating of around IPX4 or higher.

What are the best earbuds for running?

Runners need earbuds that fit well and don’t fall out. Because people have different ear shapes, the process of identifying a good pair may require some trial and error.

If you plan to run on the streets or in a public setting, we recommend a pair of streamlined earbuds that won’t stick out and still allow you to maintain situational awareness.

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!