Best wireless earbuds under $100 of 2022

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When looking for budget wireless headphones, you don’t just want to pay a low price, but also want genuine value. If you were only concerned about the lowest price, why would reviews matter? Wireless earbuds that are truly terrible are now available in all places: gas stations, grocery stores, vending machines, and even gas stations. It’s the combination of quality and price that makes a purchase truly worthwhile. Hearing about a brand that gives you so many more than it asks in return is music for the value-minded listener.

So ear ‘ Here’s the deal: each set below is a worthy companion for your melodious wanders. They’ll be great companions on the subway, bus, or train commute, as well as while you exercise or jog in nature. They are the best buds for the best price. Listen up to learn how you can get the best earbuds for your budget, no matter where you are located. These are the best wireless earbuds under $100.

How we selected the best wireless earbuds under $100

We only have two ears, but we listen to all. We have compiled a list that allows us to recommend the best buds for our buds. This list is based on personal experience, testimonials from friends and colleagues, as well reviews and opinions from the internet. Oh, and of course, nothing is allowed on the list if it’s not available for under $100 at publication.

Things to consider before buying wireless earbuds under $100

The main considerations for this list were sound quality, fit, battery life, water resistance, useability, and quality of life features, and the product must have been regularly available for under $100 (even if the suggested retail price were higher). There were a dozen products that were considered, some with multiple models. Ultimately, we weighed sound quality the most, with fit and battery life in the second tier, and useability/quality-of-life features in the third tier, though certain elements were weighed more heavily in certain award categories (such as water resistance in best for exercise).

Fit and style

Wireless earbuds are usually secured to your ears by the rubber in-ear cups that grip onto your canal. Sometimes, a plastic hook will wrap around your ear to keep it from being lost. The dominant style is now “true wireless”, which means that the individual earbuds do not connect via cable. All of our recommended models can be used wirelessly. These may or may not have a stem that protrudes (like with Apple’s AirPods 3). True wireless earbuds are more lightweight and compact than the less fashionable connected wireless earbuds. They come with charging cases, which contain a battery. The case can be used to charge the earbuds. Simply place the case inside the case and connect it to a USB power source. The case will charge the earbuds and the backup battery.

Bluetooth

All of the wireless earbuds on our list pair via Bluetooth, an incredibly versatile and widespread radio transmission system that is also not without its flaws. Bluetooth works through software as well as hardware, so if you ever have trouble pairing a set of earbuds, make sure to update any software or drivers on the computer/phone/tablet/television you’re using before blaming the ‘buds.

As Bluetooth technology improves, Bluetooth is also more stable over longer distances. Make sure you get hardware that supports the latest 5.0 revision. To get the best experience, make sure you choose earbuds with the codec that matches your device. Bluetooth is universally compatible through the SBC protocol. However, Apple devices use AAC to improve audio quality, while Android devices use aptX to increase fidelity. Some earbuds support multiple standards, while others don’t. Remember that like is best when it’s paired with like.

Audio of choice

Your audio choice could influence which earbuds work best for your needs. Hard-driving bass needs a different soundscape than, for example, a whispery true crime podcast. When browsing our recommendations, keep in mind the elements of your most common audio choices.

Best wireless earbuds under $100: Reviews & Recommendations

With the right earbuds you can be a friend to your ears.

Best overall: Sennheiser CX True

Why it was selected: This German audio brand has been trying for years to lower entry costs for their products. They’ve done an amazing job.

Specs

  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Battery Life: 9 hours (playback) 18 hours (charging case)
  • Charging: USB-C

Pros

  • Support for higher-quality Bluetooth codecs (AAC, aptX, SBC)
  • Equalization features and customization target audiophiles
  • Smart control app for iOS or Android

Cons

  • Lower IP rating means they’re not fully protected for outdoor use or exercise
  • Charging case doesn’t afford as many extra hours as some other brands

Sennheiser is a common name on “best of” lists (such as our own mixing headphones), but until recently the venerable German concentrated on the high-end, high-cost product categories. Now, it’s all about the low-end, high-cost product categories. The venerable audio giant has started to offer great products that place sound quality first in all styles. As with Sennheiser’s headphones, soundbars, etc., the company’s true wireless earbuds are a cut above the rest of the sub-three-figures competition, featuring support for the Bluetooth codecs that matter in today’s streaming game: aptX, AAC, and SBC.

Better codecs allow rich, expressive playback of streamed music, regardless of whether it’s lossless Apple Music or Spotify playlists. While streams–and wireless–will never eclipse analog audio (for that check out Sennheiser’s addictive IE300 and immersive IE900), the gulf in quality is as narrow as its ever been while the CX True’s frequency range is a wide 5 Hz – 21,000 Hz.

Battery life is strong on the CX True, with 9 hours of playback, 50% more than a lot of buds. The charging case does not provide as much backup power as other cases. 18 extra hours are welcome, but many on the market offer over a day of extra power in their charging cases. However, because the charging case doesn’t have as large a battery housed in it, it also is smaller and sleeker and fits in a jeans pocket more easily than some other, bulkier-but-with-more-juice brands do.

Fit works well on the Sennheiser. Although the Sennheiser’s squared housing isn’t the most comfortable, they are still very comfortable. While IPX4 does protect the earbuds from water somewhat, you won’t want to subject these to marathon sweat seasons or extended elements (Sennheiser also makes the Sport True with IP54, but it’s not under $100). Sennheiser is not just about the design of the device. Sennheiser offers more customization options that its competitors, including an app for Android and iOS. These settings are more than just lip service. When you adjust the levels to your preference, the 7mm TrueResponse transducers’ superior sound quality (a driver shared with far more expensive models than this one) can be immediately recognized.

The noise cancellation on these is passive only, but active noise cancellation is hard to come by under $100 anyway (Sennheiser’s own ANC version, the CX Plus True, can be had for $130). Sennheiser wireless earbuds are the best because of their best-in-class sound. Technically, the CX True retails for $130, but it is almost always available from online retailers, including Amazon, for slightly under $100. And, if you want to know more, check out our in-depth review of these earbuds.

Best noise-canceling: 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini

Why it made the cut: One of the few sub-$100 models to feature active noise canceling, the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini works great to isolate you in your soundscape.

Specs

  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • IP Rating: N/A
  • Battery Life: 6 hours (playback) 18 hours (charging case)
  • Charging: USB-C and Qi wireless

Pros

  • Extremely light (3.7g) and small
  • SoundID app for customization
  • Active noise-canceling adjusts audio in response to outside sound
  • Pass-through mode means you don’t have to take the earbuds out to converse

Cons

  • Default settings aren’t ideal; must use app for best sound
  • Battery life is low (18 hours total with ANC, 24 hours total without)

Big things come in small packages. In this case, the big thing is active noise canceling, which is extremely rare at this price point in true wireless earbuds. It is also small at 3.7 grams per pair. The 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini is distinguished by its small size and big feature.

ANC does more than passive noise-canceling. It uses external microphones and AI software that detect noises that might be interfering with your listening. Counterwaves are then generated to cancel out or compensate for these sounds. This means that the sound itself is creating the barrier and not just the seal on an earbud. It’s an amazing technology that works seamlessly when done correctly. Here, the QuietMax ANC promises up to 40dB of environmental reduction–an admirable claim.

It also has some noise-maintenance features such as pass-through mode. This allows announcements and conversations to be sent through your earbuds, even though they are in your ears. WNR (Wind Noise Resistant), automatically mutes the low whirring of wind. There are two settings for the ANC: Strong and Mild. You can experiment with both to find the most comfortable setting for you in your environment. It will also reveal how the sound profile changes with each setting. For noisy places such as airports and public transit, strong is recommended. Mild is best for offices or cafes.

Unfortunately, due to its small size and high tech requirements, the battery life is limited. With ANC on, you get 5 hours of active listening plus another 13 from the charging case. (That jumps to 6 and 18 with ANC off.) Thankfully, charging (USB-C or Qi) is fast, with 10 minutes of charge producing 90 minutes of playback.

Sound-wise these ‘buds are small but powerful… if we take a few easy steps. The stock tuning isn’t the most punchy. Fortunately, the paired SoundID app allows for a lot more personalization. This app lets you perform a short test, then apply a custom EQ on your earbuds. The best way to improve the sound quality is to carefully consider the options in quiet spaces and find your sweet spot. The 1MORE ComfoBuds mini is the best option in this category. It offers active noise cancellation and a small, comfortable fit. And if you’re willing to step up to slightly larger earbuds and sacrifice wireless case charging, the 1MORE PistonBuds Pro–with its 10mm driver, Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC, and 12 EQ presets–is another competitively priced ANC option.

Best for calls: Jabra 3 Elite

Why it was selected: The Jabra 3 Elite is a great companion because of its comfortable fit, powerful bass, and microphones for calls.

Specs

  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • IP Rating: IP55
  • Battery Life: 7 hours (playback) 28 hours (charging case)
  • Charging: USB-C

Pros

  • Mono mode is a neat trick if you want to share a bud with your bud
  • Bass is good
  • 4 microphones for high call quality
  • Supports aptX codec
  • Noise isolation with HearThrough mode option
  • Built-in Alexa, Spotify Tap, and Google Fast Pair

Cons

  • Cannot switch connections on the fly

While most people want to listen to music or podcasts through their earbuds they might be more interested in the call quality of wireless earbuds. However, some on-the-go girlbosses and boys might prefer to have the option to make calls with their earbuds. The Jabra Elite 3 beats the Apple AirPods in almost every category. The Jabra Elite 3’s Bluetooth stability and call reception are top-notch. Mono Mode and HearThrough keep you connected to your surroundings. The Elite 3 also has a noise isolation mode, though it’s not active noise canceling so it tends to be a very flat filter and you will still hear some noise (for ANC you’d have to kick in another $100 for the Elite 7 Pro).

The 6mm drivers produce a pleasingly strong bass. Sound is a must-have app that allows you adjust the volume and can even counteract the factory settings’ relatively low max volume. Spotify Tap and Alexa voice assistant compatibility improve the ease of use. The aptX codec supports higher quality streaming music on Android and crystal-clear calls.

The main drawbacks of the Elite 3 are the lower water resistance (a rainproof IP55) and the inability to switch connections on the fly. You will need to disconnect and reconnect to all devices you wish to use with them. This can be frustrating if you are on a call and want audio on your laptop. These are great as a companion to your phone.

Best for exercise: Anker Soundcore Life A1

Why it made the cut: The Anker Soundcore Live A1’s IPX7 waterproofing means that the Anker Soundcore Living A1 will withstand any amount of rain or sweat while you’re burning calories.

Specs

  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • IP Rating: IPX7
  • Battery Life: 9 hours (playback) 27 hours (charging case)
  • Charging: USB-C or Qi wireless

Pros

  • Waterproofing means these can stand up to sweat and/or running through rain
  • Fit is snug and comfortable
  • 3 preset sound modes
  • Great price

Cons

  • Sound quality is more mainstream and bass-heavy

For those who are looking for gym buddies, the Anker Soudcore A1 is the best option. Anker is best known for its battery packs but has since expanded into almost every tech space possible, often at a lower cost than its competitors. Anker’s focus on everyday use is more important than audiophile sound. This means that its products are easy to integrate and have a great battery life, but don’t have the rich, fluid playback Sennheiser’s CX True has.

What Anker did when it launched the Soundcore Life A1 was to make sure it made a durable and affordable set of wireless earbuds. IPX7 waterproofing is stronger that others in this category. This means you don’t need to worry about sweat affecting delicate hardware inside your earbuds. These earbuds are small but comfortable. Once you’re comfortable with the tap controls, you can do a lot while running or using the exercise machines without having to reach for your phone. This is useful to keep your flow going. The 8mm drivers push plenty of air to keep your pace up.

The price point on these–$50–is great, but the compromise is the lack of advanced features such as noise suppression. Bluetooth 5.0 is not 5.2. There are only three presets for EQ. These earbuds can withstand daily use, however. They can take a little bit of rubbing and still work well. They don’t have many extra features, but they are very affordable.

Best budget: Skullcandy Push Active

Why it was selected: Skullcandy is a comfortable and high-quality fashion audio brand that has evolved from a teen-oriented brand to a feature-first manufacturer, as the PushActive shows.

Specs

  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • IP Rating: IP55
  • Battery Life: 10 hours (playback) 34 hours (charging case)
  • Charging: USB-C

Pros

  • Hands-free voice controls
  • Tile finding technology makes them virtually un-loseable
  • Spotify Tap compatibility for easy music playback on Spotify
  • Dual noise-reduction microphones
  • iOS and Android phone control

Cons

  • Hook design may not be to your liking
  • Sound is good but not top of the heap

Our top budget pick could be any number of options from Skullcandy, the Park City, Utah-based company known for the best affordable true wireless earbuds that continually reduce price without cutting features. Skullcandy started with a lot of flashier colors and earbuds. Over the years, they’ve refocused the brand and now produce subtle but elegant designs that focus more on the audio quality, the fit and the tech inside.

Let us start with the Push Active, one of the company’s latest models. It features ear hooks to give those who want more stability in their earbuds and for their workouts a little more stability. Bluetooth 5.2 is a better technology. It allows for greater compatibility with most devices, stronger audio, and Tile finding function allows for wireless location of the earbuds in case they get lost. These earbuds can interact with Spotify Tap’s playlists easier, and the size (smaller) and battery life(longer) of the charging case is really impressive.

Sound isn’t as rare as a Sennheiser, opting instead for a mainstream-friendly middlebass/treble emphasis (aka a V-shaped reaction)–but it’s more than adequate. EQ is done through a paired app and there are multiple settings for multiple types of audio (music/podcasts/video). Stay Aware detects when someone is trying talk to you and lowers your volume so you can hear what they are saying. IP55 water resistance offers sweat protection, though it’s not the top level. The 44 hours of battery life and fit, however, may be the real stars of the Push Active.

Skullcandy Grind Fuel and Mod wireless earbuds
Skullcandy wants you to fall head (or is that skull) over heels with affordable earbuds, like the Grind Fuel (left) and Mod. Tony Ware

Skullcandy offers other models if you are looking for specific features. The Push Ultra has a similar form factor and better IP67 water resistance, though that line is due for a refresh. The multitasking-focused $60 Mod is hookless, light, and introduces multipoint pairing at a low price point. The Dime 2 brings true wireless and Tile tracking under $30, and has a small, efficient battery designed to use less power for a small carbon footprint. The $80 Grind Fuel, meanwhile, offers “Skull-iQ”–a system for more in the way of customizable sound and voice controls than most earbuds under $100.

FAQs

Q: Which true wireless earbuds are worth buying?

Anything in our recommended list above is worth buying, but there are some “honorable mentions” that we should, well, mention. The Belkin SOUNDFORM Rise has a great price point and is really solid as an all-around set of stemmed Bluetooth 5.2 earbuds with a pop-friendly kick to the sound. This is impressive stuff from a company that is best known for its charging accessories. The exceedingly light Nothing Ear 1 has a striking minimalist design with Bluetooth 5.2, multiple ANC modes, and an accurate but active tuning by Swedish sound designers Teenage Engineering. And the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 has a distinct, comfortable bullet-style design and are extremely compact, with long battery life. If you aren’t fussy about the design, they have a rich, EQ-friendly, hi-fi sound profile.

Q: Which budget wireless earbuds are the best?

One of the best budget brands around is Anker, producers of nearly every type of tech gadget imaginable. Anker is a trusted brand that offers a great balance of quality and price. Though it didn’t make our list above, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is a worthy purchase for an overall strong set of earbuds. Anker has a product to meet your technology needs at a very affordable price.

Q: Is Skullcandy a good brand?

Yes! Skullcandy got a bit of flack early on in the company’s lifespan for being trendy, a moniker that is a gift (because it means the kids think you’re cool) and a curse (because it means the people who think what the kids think is cool is lame will think you’re lame). Skullcandy didn’t rely on its reputation. They invested heavily in product design and became more competitive in quality and price. Skullcandy is now a brand that can be considered when “best” or “lower price” are being discussed in the audio space.

Q: Is JBL a good brand?

Yes. JBL has excellent construction and a lot of innovative ideas about designing fit, to the point that several models could compete for our award for best wireless earbuds for sports under $100. JBL’s audio quality and products are competitive. The company is constantly improving and redesigning its products to incorporate new features as quickly as possible. JBL earbuds are a solid contender in this audio space. Our favorites are the JBL Tune 125 TWS, which has excellent bass, and the JBL LIVE 300, which has an equally excellent, and secure, fit.

Final thoughts on the best wireless earbuds under $100

If you’ve decided true wireless earbuds would be the best style and fit for your needs and don’t want to spend over three figures, there are many great options. While the Sennheiser CX True’s sound sets it apart, the features and fits of our other categories do impress. We’ll be in a real war for greatness if Sennheiser releases new revisions that match these features or other companies improve their sound quality. As it stands, our best wireless earbuds under $100 are all regret-free decisions pushing every cent of value out of your money. Happy listening!

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