10 Best Budget Earbuds

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our personal audio experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our database of headphones and earbuds to find the best budget earbuds available in 2024. Here are the top 10 picks.

Our criteria for the best budget earbuds:

  • Budget: We limted our search to the most affordable earbuds, including both wired and wireless offerings.
  • Earbuds: We limited our search to earbuds and excluded headphones.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized Earbuds or Headphones recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Budget Earbuds

1
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The JBL Vibe Beam True Wireless earbuds are a budget-friendly choice with strong characteristics in certain areas. They're especially suitable for calls and meetings thanks to excellent microphone quality, and they're also well-built with reliable controls. They offer good portability and are sweatproof and dustproof, which makes them well-suited for exercise. However, they're not the best option for a rich sound experience while listening to music or for an immersive TV and gaming experience due to a low soundstage/imaging score. Although they're fairly comfortable, they may not be the best for long listening sessions, and they lack active noise cancelling. They're serviceable for casual book or podcast listening and have a fair noise isolation capability. These earbuds come equipped with app equalizer and app controls customization options, which could enhance their usability. They also have a decent battery life but do not support wireless charging.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good mic quality
  • Sweatproof and dustproof
  • Very good portability
Cons
  • Poor soundstage and imaging
  • Fair comfort
  • No active noise cancelling
  • Poor use during exercise
2
Creative Labs

Outlier Pro

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The Creative Labs Outlier Pro earbuds offer an overall good sound quality with particularly strong performance for calls and meetings, which is complemented by a very good microphone quality. They are also designed to be comfortable for extended periods and come with a robust build quality and excellent built-in controls. These earbuds are excellent for book and podcast listening as well as use during exercise and air travel. If you engage in gaming or watch a lot of TV and video, these may not be optimal due to their poorer scores in these areas. They feature active noise cancelling and are sweatproof, but they do not support lossless codecs for audiophile-grade sound. The earbuds are somewhat large but offer portability and a fair amount of noise isolation. They come with a convenient wireless charging case that can provide up to 10 hours of typical use, with a total battery life including the case being 45 hours.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good mic quality
  • Excellent for air travel
  • Good comfort
  • Active noise cancelling
Cons
  • Poor music score
  • Poor for gaming and TV
  • Heavy at 7.2 grams each
  • Large earbud size may not fit all
3
Soundcore

P20i

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The Soundcore P20i earbuds offer good overall sound quality, with a closed enclosure type and a stemmed form factor. They're wireless but do not support a wired connection. Comfort and mic quality are both good, while they are rated very good for build quality and built-in controls. If you prioritize battery life, the Soundcore P20i has a solid 9 hours of typical use, extending to 20 hours with the case. Plus, they have wireless charging capabilities. For exercise enthusiasts, they are sweatproof but have only a fair score for use during exercise. Active noise canceling is included, which enhances listening experiences in noisy environments. However, they are not the best choice for calls and meetings or gaming, where their performance is rated as poor. An integrated microphone is present for calls, and they feature app customization options, equalizer, and audio controls, being optimized for both Android and Apple devices. They are lightweight at 4.5 grams per earbud and come with a medium-sized carry case. Keep in mind, though, that they lack low latency features, which could affect gaming and TV/video syncing.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Very good build quality
  • Excellent built-in controls
  • Active noise cancelling available
Cons
  • Poor soundstage and imaging
  • Fair music listening experience
  • Calls and meetings quality rated poor
  • Noise isolation is fair
4
Moondrop

Chu

BEST RATING
Calls:
4.7
Wired

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Expert Summary
The Moondrop Chu is an earbud that is well-suited for listening to music with a very good overall sound quality and comes at a budget price. It has a closed enclosure with a wired connection and a dynamic driver, although it lacks wireless capabilities. These earbuds excel in call and meeting quality, as well as gaming, providing very good microphone quality and sound. They are not optimized for exercise due to their poor score in that regard and do not offer features like active noise cancelling, sweatproof or dustproof certification, which might be important for some users. Comfort is rated as good, but built-in controls score poorly, so if you prefer earbuds with easy access to controls, you may need to consider other options. Moondrop Chu is quite portable with a large earbud size, and they come with cable ear hooks for a more secure fit but do not support wireless charging. They might be a good fit for users who prioritize sound and microphone quality over wireless convenience and who are not using them in very active scenarios.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Good comfort
  • Very good microphone quality
  • Very good build quality
  • Good for calls and meetings
Cons
  • Poor built-in controls
  • Poor for use during exercise
  • Fair noise isolation
  • Fair portability
5
BEST RATING
Gaming:
4.6
Wired

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Expert Summary
The 1More Triple Driver earbuds are a lower midrange-priced option best suited for a high-quality music experience, with sound quality and soundstage rated as good. They excel in comfort and have very good build quality and built-in controls. They're wired with a non-detachable 1.28-meter cable and include dynamic and balanced armature drivers for detailed sound. However, they do not support wireless connectivity or active noise cancelling, and they're not optimized for sweat or dust resistance, making them less ideal for exercise and air travel. Their performance in calls and meetings is poor, and they may not be the best choice for gaming due to potential latency issues. They weigh 9 grams, come with an integrated microphone, and provide a variety of included secure fit accessories.
Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good built-in controls
  • Good noise isolation
  • Not reliant on app equalizer
Cons
  • Poor for calls and meetings
  • Unsuitable for exercise use
  • No active noise cancelling
  • No wireless connectivity
6
Creative Labs

Outlier Air V3

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The Creative Labs Outlier Air V3 earbuds offer good overall sound quality at a budget price, and they are a great choice for listening to music, especially audiobooks or podcasts, given their excellent score in that aspect. They are stemless with a closed enclosure, offering passive noise isolation. While these earbuds are wireless with a solid battery life of 10 hours (40 hours with the case), along with wireless charging, they do not support a low latency feature, which could make them less suitable for gaming and watching TV or videos. Designed for durability, they're sweatproof, making them a good choice for exercise. Comfort is rated good, and the mic quality is fair, suitable for calls but not exceptional. They have decent app features, including equalizer and audio controls, and are optimized for both Android and Apple devices. Please note that the soundstage/imaging score is low, so they might not be the best for users seeking a spacious and immersive sound experience.
Pros
  • Wireless with AAC Codec
  • Good overall and comfort scores
  • Very good build quality
  • Sweatproof certified
  • Medium weight, portable
Cons
  • Poor soundstage / imaging
  • Fair mic quality
  • No lossless codec support
  • No active noise cancelling
7
Steelseries

TUSQ

BEST RATING
Gaming:
4.6
Wired

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Expert Summary
The Steelseries TUSQ earbuds are a budget-friendly wired option with a closed, stemless design that prioritizes gaming with a strong mic quality, boasting a boom mic that is both removable and replaceable. They're comfortable, have very good build quality and built-in controls, but are not optimal for calls, meetings, or exercise. They provide good sound quality, soundstage, and noise isolation, making them suitable for TV and video but not ideal for enjoying music or listening to books and podcasts. They're fairly portable, somewhat suitable for air travel, and have cable ear hooks for a more secure fit, but lack wireless capabilities, active noise cancelling, an app for equalization or control customization, and features like ear detection or options for optimizing for Android or Apple devices.
Pros
  • Very good mic quality
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Good for gaming
Cons
  • Poor score for calls, meetings
  • Not optimal for exercise
  • No wireless capability
8
Moondrop

Nekocake

BEST RATING
Air Travel:
4.4
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The Moondrop Nekocake earbuds are a budget-friendly wireless option, well-suited for music listening with good overall sound quality and portability. They feature active noise cancelling, helping to isolate you from outside distractions. While they provide very good build quality and are sweatproof, which may appeal to active users, they're not recommended for gaming or TV due to poor soundstage and latency issues. Calls and meeting quality are fair, but the microphone's performance is rated as poor. They offer basic app control customization, including an equalizer, and are optimized for both Android and Apple devices, but have a limited battery life of around 3 hours.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good build quality
  • Active noise cancelling
  • Good noise isolation
  • Comfortable fit
Cons
  • Poor microphone quality
  • Limited battery life (3 hours)
  • No wireless charging
  • Fair built-in controls
9
Apple

Earpods

BEST RATING
Portability:
5.0
Wired

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Expert Summary
Apple's Earpods are a budget-friendly earbud option known for their open enclosure design, which means they don't create a seal in your ear and allow you to remain aware of your surroundings. They're comfortable and provide good overall sound quality, with very good mic quality making them suitable for calls and meetings. Despite being wired with a 1.14-meter cable and not having wireless capabilities, they are highly portable. Suitable for general music listening, their open design is not ideal for use during exercise or air travel due to poor noise isolation. They lack features like sweatproofing, active noise cancelling, and app-based customization. However, they are optimized for Apple devices and are durable for everyday use. If you're looking for an affordable and reliable wired option mainly for use in quiet environments or for calls, the Earpods could serve you well.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good mic quality
  • Optimal for calls and meetings
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Wired connection ensures reliability
Cons
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Poor exercise suitability
  • No noise isolation
  • No app customization
10
Earfun

Air Pro 2

BEST RATING
Air Travel:
4.5
Wireless

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Expert Summary
The Earfun Air Pro 2 earbuds offer good overall sound quality, including soundstage and imaging, and are quite comfortable to wear. They're wireless with active noise cancelling, making them suitable for use during exercise and air travel. They are a lower midrange priced option, include features for good portability, and support AAC codec which is optimal for Apple devices but they do not support a lossless codec. However, their suitability for gaming and TV is poor due to latency issues. If you need earbuds for casual listening, especially in noisy environments or while being active, these could be a suitable choice, but they won't be ideal for gaming or watching videos. They have a battery life of 6 hours which can be extended to 24 hours with the included charging case, and they also support wireless charging. The build quality is very good, but the microphone quality is just fair, so call quality may be average. They are sweatproof but not dustproof.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Active noise cancelling feature
  • Very good build quality
  • Earbuds are sweatproof
  • Excellent portability
Cons
  • Mic quality is only fair
  • Poor gaming score
  • Poor TV and video score
  • No app control customization