Best Cheap Earbuds 2024: The best affordable picks

If you need a pair of affordable wireless earbuds, it’s safe to say you aren’t short of options in 2024. We’ve put together this best list to help you narrow down your choice to only the best budget earbuds available right now.

When we talk about cheap earbuds in this list, we’re referring to pairs that land under the $100/£100 mark. If you’re happy to spend a bit more than this, we’d recommend heading over to our best wireless earbuds and best noise-cancelling earbuds guides for a wider selection of midrange and high-end options. 

For those wanting to stay within double digits, you’ve come to the right place. All of the earbuds in this list adhere to this budget, though that isn’t the only criteria they must meet for us to recommend them as a good pair of wireless earbuds. 

Every pair of earbuds in this list has been examined in a variety of areas, including design, sound quality and Bluetooth performance. We also look at any additional features, including companion apps, waterproofing and noise cancellation, where applicable. Controls and ease of use are also important – especially on an entry-level pair of earbuds. You should be able to connect them to your device and navigate to your favourite playlists, podcasts and tracks without issue. 

Some of the earbuds on this list might not include the same premium features as many more high-end pairs, but you can still expect them to sound great and offer great value for money.

Keep reading to learn more about our best cheap earbuds with summaries of each pair of earbuds, along with links to our full, in-depth reviews with images. Alternatively, head to our other audio best lists for more options to suit your budget. We’d also recommend visiting our guide to the best cheap headphones and the best budget soundbar.

Best cheap earbuds at a glance

How we test

How we test headphones

Not just anybody can review a pair of headphones. You don’t need superhuman hearing to tell what’s good, but you do need to know what to listen out for.

Our headphone tests are done by some of the best and most prolific reviewers in the industry, with years of experience listening to everything from the plasticky freebie earbuds that come with your smartphone, to five-figure beasts of glass and marble. We love music and we want your tunes to sound good, too.

So we listen every pair of headphones we can get on or in our ears. We use a variety of sources, from basic MP3s playing on a laptop to high-quality tracks on dedicated hi-res audio players.

Our test tracks are wide-ranging to give headphones a thorough challenge. They’re also familiar, so we know every track backwards, and we know which bits might trouble the lesser performers.

We listen again and again, and we do that for weeks in case the sound changes – because it usually does. Then we’ll listen to similarly priced rivals and come up with a verdict that reflects the performance and features for the money.

Anker Liberty 4 NC

Best cheap earbud

Pros

  • Strong noise-cancelling for the price
  • Clear, detailed, balanced audio
  • Impressive stack of features for the money
  • Comfortable fit

Cons

  • Battery not as extensive as Anker claims
  • EarFun rival better for ANC

Our pick for best affordable earbuds of 2024 is the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, a budget true wireless pair that has the type of features you’d expect from a flagship earbud.

That said, it wouldn’t be right to expect a flagship level of performance from these earbuds, but they do extract an impressive performance for the price, boasting strong noise-cancellation, good audio quality, and a varied set of features that can be customised and personalised to your liking.

The design is nothing new for a true wireless bud, though the Liberty 4 NC are a little looser in terms of their fit. So while they’re not the most snug pair, they are comfortable. Controls are responsive, and the buds could be used for workouts and gym work with their IPX4 rating, with a charging case that’s compact enough to slot into a pocket without trouble.

Battery life isn’t quite as strong as stated number, with the Liberty 4 NC falling short of its claims in our tests. But it’s still good enough to get you through a couple days listening before they completely run out of battery. There’s support for LDAC, which allows for higher quality audio streaming over Bluetooth, as well as multipoint support for listening to two devices at the same time.

The wireless performance is solid, holding on in busy areas. The noise-cancellation is strong, reducing traffic, people’s voices, and ambient noise on public transport like on the Underground well, though we’d rate the EarFun Air Pro 3 as the more convincing of the two. The transparency mode is clear, with a selection of modes to choose from to lock onto people’s voices, but again, we find the EarFun better in this department.

Where the EarFun isn’t as good as the Soundcore is with its audio performance. The Liberty 4 NC is the clearer, detailed, and more openly expressive pair of the two earbuds; with a clearer midrange performance, more detailed treble, and a more balanced bass performance. They are a satisfying, all-round pair of cheap earbuds, hence their position at the top of this list.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

Earfun Air Pro 3

Best cheap noise-cancelling earbuds

Pros

  • Strong noise-cancellation
  • Solid call quality
  • Robust wireless connection
  • Enjoyable audio
  • Snug, comfortable fit

Cons

  • Battery life doesn’t quite reach claimed levels
  • Audio lacks dynamism, not the most detailed performance

If you’re primarily looking for a noise-cancelling pair of earbuds, then EarFun Air Pro 3 would be our first recommendation.

They offer one of the best noise-cancelling performance for the money, thinning out people’s voices, reducing traffic and large crowds as well as ambient sounds. The transparency mode offers good clarity and creates a greater sense of awareness when engaged. Compared to the similarly priced Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, they’re the more convincing option.

Like the Anker effort, they come with a wealth of features that includes Bluetooth multipoint, aptX Adaptive Bluetooth and a claimed seven hours of battery life, though much like the Liberty 4 NC, we found that its stamina was closer to five. For customisation and personalisation there is an app for checking battery life, tweaking the EQ, and a game mode switch for improved latency. It’s not often you get this level of customisation for an earphone as affordable as this one is.

The audio quality isn’t as good as the Liberty 4 NC, which is our favourite best cheap earbud. Its profile is warm, with a thick, rich bass performance and a smooth sense of detail across the frequency range. Its smoothness means it’s not the sharpest, clearest, or most defined performance; but it does extract enough detail from music to make for an entertaining listen, and and avoid sibilance with vocals.

Nevertheless, these are wireless earbuds that can do a little bit of everything. and if you’re in the market for a cheap noise-cancelling pair then these come highly recommended.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: EarFun Air Pro 3

Majority Tru Bio

Best true wireless earbud under £40

Pros

  • Secure, snug fit
  • Inexpensive price
  • Long battery life
  • Balanced approach to audio

Cons

  • Controls feel a bit stiff
  • Below average call quality
  • Fast charging is a bit slow

The Majority Tru Bio aren’t as feature-packed as the other entries on this list. There is no app, no advanced Bluetooth codecs or even noise-cancellation, but if you’re in the market for a pair of buds that are simple to use and very cheap, the Tru Bio are among the stronger options we’ve come across.

They are made from plastic but they’re made from 100% compostable plastic (the case, the drivers, the earbuds), which would put the Tru Bio towards the positive end of the headphone scale in terms of sustainable practices. Their ergonomic shape helps produce a tight and snug fit, while the use of physical buttons also means they’re easier to use than some touch control options, even though the controls themselves feel fairly stiff.

Battery life is long, with our tests indicating you could get up to 10 hours battery life at default volume. There’s no wireless charging support, and fast-charging is on the slow side, so if you’re looking for a quick top-up to get you on your way, at 30 minutes for two more hours of playback, the Tru Bio aren’t the speediest. Call quality is average, fine in quiet places but we wouldn’t recommend using them in noisy areas as it can be hard for the person on the other end of the line to hear what’s being said.

In terms of audio, the Tru Bio’s performance is one we would describe as solid. The midrange is clear and detailed, better than the EarFun Air Pro 3, and bass is described with punchiness. The treble performance is fine, but the Tru Bio plays it safe, lacking sharpness and brightness. Still, a solid performance for a true wireless pair that keeps things simple.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Majority Tru Bio

FAQs

What is Bluetooth multipoint?

Bluetooth multipoint is a feature of the Bluetooth 5 standard, and it allows for a headphone to be connected to two (or three) devices simultaneously. You can swap between one device and another and still be connected to both.

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