Anker Soundcore Life P2 LifestyleSource: Anker

Best Cheap True Wireless Earbuds Thrifter 2021

With the proliferation of true wireless earbuds on the market these days, you don't have to spend a lot of money to grab a set anymore. Many affordable sets share the same basic features with select pairs focusing on specific needs like sound quality, call clarity, a fitness focus, or something else. Some, like the Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo, are just great all-rounders that will work great for most users.

Best Overall: Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

Soundcore Liberty NeoSource: Anker

Soundcore, a sub-brand of Anker, makes some excellent audio products at really affordable prices. In many cases, you'll be very surprised by the quality for the money. When it comes to true wireless earbuds, Soundcore has a few different options to choose from with price points to suit all budgets. We find the Liberty Neo to be the best overall choice thanks to their balance of performance and price.

Existing owners love the Soundcore Liberty Neo, and for good reason. They sound great thanks to expertly tuned graphene drivers and Soundcore's exclusive BassUp technology. they also have a snug fit that allows for passive noise isolation.

They use Bluetooth 5.0 so you'll experience a reliable connection and IPX7 protection guards them from rain and sweat. Each earbud can last for 5 hours per charge and the included charging case stores an additional 15 hours of playtime. A 10-minute charge even gets you an hour of playtime so you won't find yourself without music for long.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Graphene drivers and BassUp
  • Noise isolation
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Cons:

  • Not the longest battery life
  • Charges via Micro-USB

Best Overall

Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

An inexpensive true wireless option

This set of earbuds ticks most of the boxes for the average user with the quality you'd expect with any Anker offering.

Best Budget: UGREEN HiTune

Ugreen HiTune LifestyleSource: UGREEN

UGREEN is a relatively new name in the budget smartphone accessory space, but its gear is on par with its competitors' devices in terms of quality. Despite being one of the more affordable options on the market, UGREEN's HiTune true wireless earbuds are actually pretty feature-packed.

They feature Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX, built-in touch controls, and even have a respectable 27-hour battery life including the charging case capacity with USB-C for fast recharging. On top of all that, they have noise-canceling mics so you'll sound great when taking calls. The 5.8mm drivers probably won't pack the oomph that audiophiles would want and an IPX5 water resistance rating (lower than some others in this price range) is another sacrifice that helps keep costs down.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • 27-hour battery life
  • Noise-canceling mics
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • 5.8mm drivers

Best Budget

Ugreen Hitune

UGREEN HiTune

Inexpensive and reliable

Though some features are lacking, the Aukey EP-T21S will offer a decent experience for most users without breaking the bank.

Best for Calls: Anker Soundcore Life P2

Anker Soundcorelife P2 LifestyleSource: Anker

For many people, making and taking calls with your earbuds is a key part of the experience. If that sounds like you, the Soundcore Life P2 is a great choice. They feature four mics with cVc 8.0 noise-canceling tech so you can be heard clearly and background noise is filtered out. They also use Bluetooth 5.0 for a solid connection and implement simple one-step pairing with the device they last connected to so you can simply remove them from the case and have them automatically paired to your phone every time a call comes in.

On top of that good stuff, the Soundcore Life P2 are IPX7-rated for water resistance, feature graphene drivers, and BassUp tech for solid sound quality, aptX support, while packing in 40 hours of battery life with USB-C recharging. The only downside to all of that battery life is that the included charging case is slightly larger than other options.

Pros:

  • 4 cVc 8.0 noise-canceling mics
  • 40-hour battery life
  • IPX7 rating
  • One-step pairing
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • Larger charging case
  • Physical buttons

Best for Calls

Anker Soundcore Life P

Anker Soundcore Life P2

Take the call

With a focus on a great call experience and a bunch of advanced, these are a solid set of wireless earbuds.

Best for Noise Cancellation: TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94

Taotronics Soundliberty 94 LifestyleSource: TaoTronics

You don't have to spend a fortune to snag a set of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 offer ANC at a much more affordable price than many competitors and back it up with 9.2mm high fidelity dynamic drivers for solid sound quality. There are various silicone ear tip sizes included so you can get a snug fit and really block out distractions, too.

As well as the effective noise reduction of 35dB, the SoundLiberty 94s also features four mics for crystal clear calls, IPX5 water-resistance, and a 32-hour battery life with USB-C recharging. There's no wireless charging for the case like you might expect from other popular ANC earbuds.

Pros:

  • ANC
  • 4 mics for calls
  • USB-C charging
  • 32-hour battery life

Cons:

  • No wireless charging

Best for Noise Cancellation

Taotronics Soundliberty

TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94

Block out distractions

These earbuds feature active noise-cancellation at an affordable price so you can focus on only the sounds you want to hear.

Best for Workouts: SoundPEATS TrueWings

Soundpeats Truewings LifestyleSource: SoundPEATS

If you're wanting a set of affordable earbuds to power your workouts, there are other factors to consider outside of sound quality alone. Firstly, you want a set of true wireless earbuds that are comfortable and won't fall out of your ears during even the most vigorous of workouts. You also need a set that can resist sweat and rain.

The TrueWings earbuds from SoundPEATS are designed with sports in mind. They sound great with their 13.6mm drives and are built to stay put when working out thanks to their adjustable ear-hook. They are also IPX7-rated for water resistance so you don't have to worry about liquid damage and handy on-ear touch controls make it easy to control your music mid-workout.

Pros

  • Secure fit
  • IPX7 rating
  • 13.6mm drivers
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Cons

  • 4-hour battery life per earbud

Best for Workouts

Soundpeats Truewings

SoundPEATS TrueWings

Hit the gym

With IPX7 water-resistance and secure ear-hook design, the TrueWings are a great choice for the gym.

Best for Easy Controls: SoundPEATS TrueFree Plus

Soundpeats True Free Plus LifestyleSource: SoundPEATS

Having control over your media playback via your earbuds is table stakes. You don't want to have to fiddle with your phone every two minutes since that hardly feels like an upgrade over wired headphones with in-line controls. That being said, some earbuds do it better than others. The SoundPEATS TrueFree Plus keeps it simple which is often better. Take them out of the charging case and they'll automatically pair with the last connected device. Once in your ears, buttons on each earbud make it easy to play/pause your music, switch tracks, and handle phone calls.

The TrueFree Plus also features Bluetooth 5.0 and built-in mics for taking calls, plus an impressive 35-hour battery life. Each earbud lasts just 3.5 to 4 hours between charges, though, so you might find yourself placing them in its chunky charging case more often than with other earbuds.

Pros:

  • Auto-pairing
  • On-ear controls
  • 35-hour battery life

Cons:

  • Large charging case
  • 3.5-4 hours of playtime per earbud

Best for Easy Controls

Soundpeats Truefree Plus

SoundPEATS TrueFree Plus

Press play

Simple on-ear controls make it easy to control your music and take calls. Auto-pairing also means less fiddling in your settings.

Best for Wireless Charging: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 LifestyleSource: Anker

While on the more premium end of the affordable category, Anker's Liberty Air 2 pack is most of the technology you could want from your true wireless earbuds without brushing up against earbuds that cost twice as much. They feature noise-canceling microphones, one-step pairing with Bluetooth 5.0, on-ear controls, and more. They also have advanced drivers for impressive sound quality and with HearID you can even customize the EQ to your preferences.

Their standout features, though, are in the battery department. While the total playtime is 28 hours with the included charging case, each earbud can last for 7 hours of continuous playback which is more — double in some cases — than many other competitors and means you'll be putting the earbuds back in the case way less. A quick 10-minute charge in the case will also give your earbuds 2 hours of playback. The case can also be powered back up wirelessly with any Qi wireless charger, or with the included USB-C cable.

Pros:

  • Qi charging
  • USB-C charging
  • 7 hours playtime per earbud
  • Noise-canceling mics
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • LED charging indicator

Cons:

  • More expensive option

Best for Wireless Charging

Soundcore Liberty Air

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Power up

Thanks to great battery life and advanced recharging options, you can listen more and charge less with these earbuds.

Which earbuds should you choose?

There are a plethora of true wireless earbuds out there and many of them are super affordable which makes choosing the right set a little difficult. On top of that, a lot of the earbuds at the affordable end of the market share many of the same features if you were to purely look at the spec sheet. There are some key differences to look out for depending on your use case or preferences, though, like call quality, a secure fit, water-resistance, or even noise-cancellation.

We recommend Anker's Soundcore Liberty Neo because they manage to balance the most important features that the bulk of people are looking for with an affordable price tag. They don't have some of the most advanced features in certain aspects, though any of our other picks may suit you better if you have those very specific needs.

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