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HOME / Audio / Truly Wireless Earbuds – The 5 Best Earbuds Under $50
Truly Wireless Earbuds – The 5 Best Earbuds Under $50
The best wireless earbuds that are significantly cheaper than the Apple AirPods...
We all know that the headphone market has been trending towards wireless for a long time now.
First, it was the advent of “wireless headphones”, which basically said goodbye to actually plugging in headphones to the AUX port on your phone but was really just two earbuds connected by single wire (think Jaybird X3 or Beats Powerbeats3).
Then came along the Apple AirPods, which were the first true wireless earbuds to really grab people’s attention and make a big splash in the mainstream media.
However, the AirPods [check price at Best Buy] are an Apple product after all and are quite expensive as you would expect. As such, there are a ton of lower cost manufacturers that have emerged over the past year or so that offer that true wireless feel at a much more palatable price point. And that’s what we are covering in this post—we picked up five of the most popular true wireless earbuds on Amazon and put them to the test. Here’s what we found out.
First up, we have the Samsung Gear IconX Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. Yes, I know I said affordable above. Hear me out—while the IconX were quite expensive when they were first released way back when, they have been discounted heavily over the past several months.
We regularly see them between $75-$100 and even saw a refurbished unit dip below $50 the other day on the deals portion of our website. Anyways, we’ve already done a full Gear IconX review so I’m just going to touch on the high-level points in this post.
First, the IconX do a great job with sound isolation and minimizing wind noise. The fit is super secure – you don’t have to worry about the cordless earbuds falling out of your ear.
But with that said, they are just average when it comes to comfort. The earbuds started to fatigue my ears after awhile and just wouldn’t be my first choice for prolonged listening sessions. Another downside is the track management system, which uses a touch system – one tap, two tap, three tap, slide, etc.
It’s nice in theory but in reality it’s a little finicky and just not all the practical, especially when you’re working out or running.
However, on the positive side, you have two listening options with the IconX.
Of course, you can just use them as normal Bluetooth wireless earbuds and stream music via Spotify OR you can load music directly onto them. They can store about 1,000 songs, which is pretty cool. Plus, when you play music natively, battery life is a little better at around 2-3 hours vs 75-90 minutes when you just stream music via Bluetooth.
Another cool feature of the IconX is that they have a built-in heart rate sensor for your workouts. You can start or stop a workout right on the earbuds and we found the sensor to be pretty accurate overall. Lastly, audio quality is pretty solid as well. The bass is impressive, mids and highs sounded good and the earbuds can get pretty loud.
Overall, obviously we wish battery life was a little better, but if you can grab these for under $75 we think they are a great buy considering all the extras these wireless in-ear headphones offer.
The JBuds Air are our pick for the best true wireless earbuds under $50. If you go down the list of what’s important to consumers, they check most of the boxes.
They pretty good audio quality with three different audio profiles: Balanced, Signature (which we think most people will like best), and Bass Boost for when you’re really trying to get pumped up in the gym. Again, it’s not the best we’ve ever tried, but for $50 and three different settings, we think you’ll be happy with it.
The battery life on these earbuds is pretty standard at approximately 3.5 hours, but they also come with a charging case which gives you another 10 hours.
They are IP55 certified, meaning they’re water and sweat resistant for intense workouts or running in the rain.
Our least favorite thing about the JBud Airs is the remote system. To be fair, we really don’t like any true wireless earbuds’ remote system, even the expensive brands.
The problem is that the button on them is not very clicky, so you don’t get that tactile feedback, and we found that we kept just pushing the earbud more and more into the ear, which is annoying. So it’s not our favorite, but it still works.
Also, these earbuds only take phone calls in mono mode, not stereo mode. This means you’ll have to take an earbud out while taking your phone calls.
But overall, for $50, this is one of the best pairs of earbuds that you can get on the market right now.
Our second favorite pair of cheaper true wireless earbuds right now is the TaoTronics TT. They’re owned by Sunvalley Brands and cost around $45 on Amazon. They check a lot of the basic boxes that we look for.
They’re comfortable—same as the JLabs. They do have bluetooth 5.0, which we thought was going to be great, but it turned out to be pretty average. It’s good for about 30 feet, and then after that they start to disconnect. We found this to be true for most of the cheap true wireless earbuds, even with bluetooth 5.0.
The internal earbud connection is also pretty good. There’s a little disconnection, and the audio quality itself is a little tinny and shallow, but good enough for $45 in our opinion.
The TaoTronics have a three hour battery life, and then come with a charging case that doubles as a 3500 milliamp power bank, so you can charge your other devices with it. We think this is a really nice addition.
These are IPX7 certified, which means you can soak these puppies in water up to a meter deep.
As for the remote system, there is no clicky or tactile feedback system. It’s simply a touch capacitive system, and we don’t like it if we’re being honest. It’s not as easy to control as other earbuds that give you that tactile feedback. You’ll need to tap twice to do things like skip a track, and while we have confidence that you’ll be able to figure it out, it’s still not the most fun to use.
Overall, these are absolutely going to get the job done, but they’re not the best. They cost a little bit less than the JLabs because the quality of them is a little bit lower, but they should work fine for you.
So this one actually isn’t a well known brand to us. We initially wanted to use the original SoundPEATS for this, but we couldn’t find them—their loss.
But we’re glad we found these true wireless earbuds for around $40, because we really love the secure fit they have. They remind us of the PowerBeats 3. The ear hook fits around our ears perfectly, so we didn’t have to adjust them any during our workouts in the gym or long runs.
The Z5’s also have bluetooth 5.0, and we think it’s pretty good, but it’s not great. The interbud connection is pretty good, too. The audio quality for these is pretty decent. Not great, but good enough that they can compete with the other earbuds on this list, and we think it’s about the best you’re going to get at this price point.
They have a four hour battery life, which is great, but what we don’t like is that they come with a very obscure charging system. We’ve never seen charging cords like this before, so we assume they can really only be used for these earbuds. The company is smart enough to send you two, in case you lose one, but it still seems a bit inconvenient.
These are IPX7 certified, so again, completely water and sweat resistant.
We actually really like the remote system on these earbuds. They have a center button, but more buttons on the top for volume, which keeps things simple. All of the buttons are clicky and tactile, which also keep things easy to use.
So while we do wish we could have found the original SoundPEATS, we’re glad we discovered these. For $40, we think you’ll be happy with them.
The sound quality is fair. We noticed that when we turned them up really loud, the bass drowned out the sound, but if you keep them at an average volume they should be fine. They’re comfortable, too. We didn’t have any issues with them falling out of our ears.
They have bluetooth 5.0, but it’s the same as the TaoTronics TT. It’s good for about 30 feet, then they start to disconnect.
The battery life on these is as good as the rest on this list at 3.5 hours per full charge. With their charging case, they can get up to 15 hours total. We like how sleek and compact the charging case is, as well.
They’re not water resistant. They should be fine during a sweaty workout, but don’t go running in the rain with these.
Our favorite thing about these true wireless earbuds is their super clicky remote system. It’s basically a button, it’s so clicky. It makes for really good tactile feedback, which makes them simple and easy to navigate.
For $30, these are the best true wireless earbuds you can get. What you pay is what you’re going to get with this list, so if you’re looking for better quality budget true wireless earbuds, go for the JLabs. If that’s not your price range, we think these other picks are going to suit you just fine.