Today, almost all mini earbuds provide a complete wireless experience. Most manufacturers have switched to more efficient and sophisticated wireless inductive chargers rather than the traditional capacitive chargers. Moreover, many of the available headsets presently in the market boast the latest sweat resistant and IPX water coatings as well as aerometal finish. The initial sweat and rain sensitive ones that lost their warranty within no time are now a thing of the past.
From the hundreds if not thousands of products available on Amazon, I’ve done the hard work and selected the five best ones for you. My selection criteria was mainly based on factors such as ruggedness, durability, built-in mic functions, noise cancelling technology, charging support, battery life, Amazon’s reviews and ratings from customers. I also considered each earbud’s resistivity to sweat, dust, and rain.
Here’s a review of the best cheap wireless earbuds under $100:
1. ACIL Bluetooth Headphones – Best Overall
An area I feel is their major strength has to do with sound. The ACIL Bluetooth Headphones provide authentic wide-ranging sound with powerful lows and dynamic highs. These earbuds are excellently engineered for performance.
My analysis and review of these earbuds made me conclude that in addition to sound, they aim to deliver on 3 main points – comfort, price, and utility. Essentially, each primary feature is tailored towards these three main points. For instance, the cabling is flat. The flat design is handy at preventing wires from tangling. I found this subtle detail to be done right something that’s characteristic of the whole device.
Physically speaking, they feature an ordinary black build that certainly looks professional and sleek. I can guarantee you that these ones were built to last. They have a durable silicone cording that connects each bud. Additionally, the silicone cording has different stress-points that are handy at evenly distributing strain across the wire. In case of an accident and you happen to tug off the ACIL, you can rest assured that you’ll not destroy your earbuds.
The earbud’s IPX5 water resistance rating further reflects the general sturdiness of their build. A hydrophobic material covers every earbud, which ensures that it’s resistant to bad weather, sweat, and dust. Their sweat-proof design is also runner-friendly.
In terms of comfort, they boast establishing comfort. There’s a customized fit for every individual wearer with their four pairs of highly flexible silicone earpieces. The variety frees you in terms of choosing the perfect size for your ears. The portions that touch your ears are made using a soft liquid silicone material that offers a great combination of comfort and flexibility fit.
In addition to the customized ear-tips that the ACIL offer, I discovered that these earbuds have an asymmetrical design that’s individualized to every ear. This results in a more comfortable fit particularly for extended periods of listening. More than that, their smooth fit is perfect for achieving noise cancellation. The earbuds achieve passive noise cancellation by creating a physical barrier between the surroundings and ear canal.
What about battery life? ACIL advertises that users stand to enjoy 11+ hours from just a single battery charge. Although I ascertained this to be true, I believe it depends on an array of conditions, from volume settings to room temperature. In my real world situation, I found myself getting closer to 8-9 hours in terms of battery life.
2. JLab Audio JBuds – Best True Wireless
You gotta love the JLab Audio JBuds. Before getting into these earbuds, it is worth mentioning that JLab Audio is and has always been an award-winning designer of top-notch personal audio including speakers, headphones, and earbuds. Their products boast innovative tech, inspired design, and incredible sound. They create audio products for those into an active lifestyle and upbeat energy.
Whether you’re just about to jump into an airplane, head to the gym or work or for a run, these grab your JBuds earbuds today. With a 3-4 hour battery life coupled with a Bluetooth 5.0, you enjoy enough power to see you through every music moment. I loved their innovative charging because it offers 10 additional hours to your earbuds meaning you can charge back up real time. They automatically turn on and connect to each other from the case making them a great option for the on-the-go moments.
Their customizable EQ3 sound feature means that you control the sound. You have the opportunity to tune the earbuds to your personal preferences. What’s more, you can control the volume and your music with just one or two taps on the earbud’s outside. Their built-in mic is available to help you activate voice assistants such as Google, Siri** or even take phone calls.
The fact that they’re sweat resistant means that they can hold up against dirt and moisture meaning you don’t have to worry about a thing when working out, traveling, or doing any hobby. The buds have additional Cush Fins and ear tips to maintain comfort for your daily needs. Their sturdy and compact charging case fits in any jacket or bag pocket when you’re on the move.
3. Sennheiser CX 6.00BT – Best Design
Sennheiser is undeniably setting the standards when it comes to audio devices. Recently, I did a comparison review of some of the company’s best mics – E945 Vs. E935. Over the 70 years the company has been in operation, they continue to be world-beaters in excellence and innovation. The amazing Sennheiser CX 6.00BT Wireless Earbuds is one of the best products yet. With this headset, you can enjoy video and music on the go.
Clad in an extremely lightweight frame, these earbuds offer exceptional comfort and fit. Their advanced Bluetooth tech ensures that they deliver quality sound. Enjoy multi-device connectivity, intuitive operation, and fast charging function.
When it comes to controls, the CX 6.00BT is loaded with a number of advanced features. Its convenient multi-connection ability enables the pairing of two devices simultaneously. Taking and making calls is easy courtesy of the integrated microphone as well as 3-way calling support. The earbuds have a 3-button remote that offers control for calls and music. With convenient voice prompts, you’ll always get notifications of battery status and incoming calls.
In terms of design, this device features an attractive around-the-neck cable design. Together with angled ergonomic earpieces, this design helps to make sure that the gadget stays in place. To guarantee a personalized fit for optimum sound quality and wearing comfort, it comes with 4 sizes of ear adaptors (L, M, S, and XS) which greatly contributes to an improved attenuation of ambient noise and an enhanced listening experience.
4. TBI Pro Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds – Best Sound Experience
Is the main feature you’re looking for in your prospective earbud is premium sound quality? If yes, then I recommend the TBI Pro Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. These structured earbuds not only boast breakthrough and cutting-edge technology, but they also deliver top-notch audio performance while at the same time reducing outer-world noises to ensure that the only thing you focus on is what you’re listening to.
They come equipped with leading industry Bluetooth 5.0 to provide nothing short of fast connection to any gadget you’re using. With their one-step Link Technology, they offer an automatic pairing connection between the two of them as they search for your gadget’s Bluetooth for successful connection.
The portable and compact mini charging case recharges the earbuds five times meaning you can enjoy listening all day long. The charger perfectly fits in your pockets.
Whether you won an iOS or Android device, these wireless earbuds offer wide connection to almost all top-rated smartphones in the world. Moreover, they work fine on MP devices, laptops, Mac, and tablets.
I love the ergonomic and snug design of these earbuds. They have an in-ear design that contours the size and shape of the human ear in order to fit comfortably without compromising comfort. With additional ear tips and ear hooks, finding the correcting size is a walk in the park.
5. Mpow Upgraded Jaws Gen5 – Best For Hands-Free Driving
If you’ve been looking for the best earbuds for hands-free driving, then I highly recommend the impressive Mpow Upgraded Jaws Gen5. So what makes them the best for hands-free calling? They have a high-quality built-in microphone that allows you to auto switch between calls and music. I loved their intelligent shark-like magnetic design that hugely reduces the burden on your ears when you’re not using them. Their high-fidelity sound is also impressive. The earbuds have a Bluetooth 4.1 that guarantees a crisp and skip-free stereo sound. Their CVC 6.0 noise cancellation feature reduces outside noises perfectly.
The earbuds bring with them a highly comfortable neck-behind design. Their neck-behind wearing style offers an easy button control and comfortable fit meaning you’ll always have an easy time when using them. The fact they have an extra design of the neckband means that the manufacturer included a larger battery and more controls. I find their design one of the most innovative. It perfectly blends the versatility of earbuds with the behind-the-neck headphone’s comfort.
When it comes to performance and sound quality, they perform above average. Although they produce one of the best sounds of a neck-band-style earbud, their sound is not at par with studio-quality earbuds or headphones. The good thing is that I noticed that bad boys give a longer-than-average battery life – 350 hours on standby and 13 hours of continual use. Their charge time is under two hours. Unfortunately, when charging, you cannot use them. Their Bluetooth compatibility is excellent for sure.
While picking the right product can be confusing because of the vast number of options available in the market, it’s vital that you invest your money in a gadget that fits your lifestyle. From better sound quality to excellent battery life, there’s a lot you need to consider. Before looking at the factors that should affect your choice when purchasing a pair of wireless earbuds or wireless in-ear headphones, let’s first look at some other important information:
Wireless Earbuds – What Are They?
What differentiates wireless earbuds or wireless in-ear headphones from true wireless headphones?
These are Bluetooth earbuds or in-ear monitors (IEMs) with a cable connecting both drivers housing. The battery, volume controls, and the microphone are located on the cable. Do not confuse wireless earbuds with true wireless headphones.
These are also Bluetooth earbuds or in-ear monitors (IEMs) that do not have cables between them or to an audio source such as a mobile phone or a TV. The battery, controls, and the microphone are built into the housing of the earbuds.
Both the wireless headphones and the wireless earbuds transmit data via wireless technology. It’s therefore important for you to gather a little knowledge about the different types of wireless technologies behind these gadgets.
Types Of Wireless Technologies
Today, most wireless electronic devices including headphones employ Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth enabled headphones offer more audio sources to connect to. Bluetooth connections are considered safe since they require direct pairing. In addition, Bluetooth connections are not reliant on a direct line of sight and can give wireless freedom of up to 330 feet or 100 meters with high-quality headphones.
Just like the television remote, infrared wireless headphones receive audio signals through infrared waves from a base unit. The most high-end wireless infrared headphones can rival the audio excellence of corded headphones. Unfortunately, the transmission range is restricted to around 23 feet or 7 meters. The user must also maintain a direct line of sight to prevent interference, making movement limited.
Headphones that employ RF technology are more powerful in terms of range. RF devices give wireless freedom of up to 300 feet or 91 meters without loss in connectivity. They are quite common in silent discos. Their main shortcoming is that they lack bass capabilities. However, they have excellent sonic quality than their Bluetooth counterpart.
Kleer wireless technology is the newest in the bunch. It’s best known for its lossless transmission of audio and low battery consumption lasting up to 3 to 4 times that of Bluetooth headphones. Headphones that use this technology offer a wireless range of up to 50 feet or 15 meters.
There you have it!
Now let’s dig deeper and look at the factors that should affect your choice when picking the right pair of earbuds.
Factors To Consider When Shopping
The audio quality should be a major buying point when it comes to wireless earbuds. This is fundamentally due to how sound is conveyed wirelessly from the source to the earbuds. Unlike corded headphones, digital audio has to be compressed at the source and relayed to the headphones through some wireless technology such as Kleer, infrared or Bluetooth. The compression and wireless transmission can result in a drop in audio quality. The distance between the headphones and the source, the obstacles (walls, etc.), and the Bluetooth audio codecs that your earbuds and source support can also impact heavily on the sound quality.
Bluetooth audio codecs
These algorithms decompress and compress the wireless audio signal. Examples of Codecs include AAC, aptX HD, aptX, SBC, and LDAC. These are capable of delivering excellent quality compression at near CD quality. For the algorithm to work, both the audio source and the headphones must support the same codecs.
The battery is the lifeblood of any wireless headphone and therefore a very necessary aspect to consider before purchasing your wireless earbuds. Most often than not, true wireless earbuds last for an average of 3 to 4 hours before they get completely drained. Luckily, wireless earbuds come with a special charging case that can keep you topped up for an extra 5 to 6 hours of listening time. A variety of other models however such as the Jabra Elite 65t promise up to 25 hours of listening time.
However, don’t allow the deception by the manufacturer’s specs sheet influence your decision because there’s a whole lot of dynamics that determine how the battery life of wireless earbuds get drained. For instance, the higher the volume levels, the shorter the battery will last. Battery life specs on the manufacturer’s sheet normally replicate the use of the battery under optimal conditions.
Bluetooth wireless earbuds vary in range capabilities. For instance, Class 1 Bluetooth covers a range of up to 330 feet (100m), class 2 covers a range of up to 33 feet (10m), while class 3 covers less than 33feet. Most audio sources such as mobile devices fall under class 2. This means that wireless earbud manufacturers must engineer a device that supports class 2 Bluetooth codecs. Some devices such as Apple AirPods can transmit to as far as 100 feet (30m), thanks to Apple’s w1 chip. This device is hence ranked under class 1. However, as you consider range, you have to factor in latency or the speed of transmission.
Form, comfort, and design
These are probably the three main characteristics that most audiophiles focus on before looking into the technical bits. This is because most users will wear a single pair of headphone for several hours every day. Thus, they have to offer comfort, convenience, and style. It’s however important to note that comfort is subjective to a person’s lifestyle. For instance, some people will consider wireless earbuds that fit snugly in the ear canal, is lightweight, and has well-placed controls. Others will opt for devices that come with active noise cancelling mode.
Wireless Bluetooth earbuds is a technology that’s still in its first stages. And like all other technologies, even the best and the most expensive brands have their fair share of setbacks. For this reason, it’s absolutely necessary to put into consideration the warranty and return policy of the manufacturer before placing your purchase order.
It’s only fair to say that headphone jacks are on their way to extinction and wireless earbuds and true wireless headphones are the future. While a significant number of audiophiles may not agree with this, it’s evident that the quality of Bluetooth enabled devices is improving every day. If you’re ready to enjoy the wireless world, here are some of our best choices you can get cheaply as reviewed.
Prior to making a purchase, I think the most important factor to consider is your need. For instance, if you’re a passionate music listener like myself, choose an earbud with the best battery timing supports 3D music experience and supports HD stereo. On the other hand, if you are into making calls all the time, settle for pocket-friendly ones with average battery life, uninterrupted DSP connection, and have long wireless range. For voice commands and calls, it’s prudent to consider an earbud set with the latest Bluetooth version.
For the intense jogging listeners, gym freaks and music lovers, sweat and waterproof earphones are obligatory. The last thing you want is to choose a product that ruins your warranty within one month.
Are you low on budget, then your only concern should be the necessary features, that is, sound quality, battery timing, Bluetooth reliability etc.
Additionally, buy devices that support magnetic wireless charging. Nowadays, charging via cables or wired charging is quickly becoming outdated. Inductive charging is the better replacement.
I hope you loved my comprehensive review of the best affordable wireless earbuds. Do you know a device that you felt I should have featured on this list? Please let us know in the comments section.