As good as products like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and AirPods Pro can be, it doesn’t take spending over $200 to get a perfectly good set of wireless earbuds. You can even drop below the price level of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus and Jabra’s 75ts and still find something that’ll do the job just fine. For this set of recommendations, I’m going to stick under an MSRP of $100.
You can find an endless list of true wireless earbuds under that price on Amazon from random brands you’ve probably never heard of. But I’m sticking with some tried and true companies that can be found in stores and have established customer service operations. Just because you’re being sensible about money doesn’t mean you should be left in the lurch if something goes wrong.
These picks won’t fully match the audio fidelity or deep bench of features of premium earbuds. You’ll give up things like active noise cancellation and wireless charging, but they’re still plenty enjoyable in their own right — and retain a lot of the convenience factor that makes true wireless buds so appealing to begin with.
The best cheap wireless earbuds for 2020
Okay, so maybe the blue / yellow / red combo looks like it came out of a Happy Meal, but at least there’s also a black option.
1. Skullcandy Jib True
Best cheap wireless earbuds for $30
Skullcandy just recently put out its most affordable pair of true wireless earbuds yet. The $29.99 Jib True — available in black or this very attention-getting mix of blue, red, and yellow — manage to deliver a solid mix of specs and serviceable sound quality. Battery life lasts up to six hours, they’ve got the status quo IPX4 sweat resistance rating, and you can use either of the earbuds independently. That last part is something that many more expensive earbuds (hi, Jabra) still don’t offer.
The earbud controls aren’t customizable, but Skullcandy packs in pretty much all of the functions you’d want (track skip / back, volume, voice assistant, and play / pause) into the large single button on each earbud. They’ve been easy to memorize in my time testing the Jib True buds.
If there’s one hangup with the Jib True, it’s that Skullcandy hasn’t really optimized them for use with multiple devices. Whereas pricier earbuds tend to remember a handful of pairing sources, the company recommends that you delete these from their current device’s Bluetooth list before repairing with another. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s also fairly inconvenient.
As for how they sound, I found that the Jib True made for a solid seal in my ear with the included large-sized tips. This always helps with bass response, and the Jib True definitely put most of their sonic weight behind the bass. It’s to the point where the low end is overemphasized and takes away from the mid- and high-range frequencies. I’m guessing that’s partly intentional since a more neutral sound signature would reveal the inherent weaknesses of $30 earbuds. Acoustic guitars lack warmth, and everything here feels like it’s happening in the middle of your head, so the soundstage is quite narrow.
But… 30 bucks, folks. The Jib True earbuds never made me want to rip them out of my ears from audio agony, and I consider that a win. Nor did I run into sync issues when watching videos, and their connectivity proved robust and dependable when walking around busy Brooklyn streets. Perhaps most surprising of all, Skullcandy backs these $30 earbuds with a two-year warranty. If I do have one gripe, it’s that they use a Micro USB connector. We’re supposed to be long past that now, but I can forgive it for the price point. If you’re willing to spend more, stepping up to Skullcandy’s pricier earbuds like the $50 Evo Sesh will get you improved audio and other features like integrated Tile tracking.
Skullcandy Jib True
Prices taken at time of publishing.
Skullcandy’s Jib True prove it’s possible to make enjoyable true wireless earbuds for $30.
$30 at Best Buy $29 at B&H Photo