Do you have to spend £200 on a pair of Apple AirPods to enjoy the best audio quality on a personal level? Absolutely not. There are hundreds of cheap wireless earphones out there that sound just as good as more expensive options, but their price sounds a million times better.
But buying cheap earbuds can be a minefield, because you never really know what you're going to get - especially if it's from an unknown Chinese brand. You could argue that you get what you pay for, except that really isn't the case, and we've found some amazing products at significantly lower prices.
To save you the headache of finding a pair of Bluetooth earphones that impress on more than just price, we've rounded up some of our favourite wireless buds. We've personally tested all these options, so you can be sure that you're getting a truly great deal.
Coming in a tiny price of £25/$25 is the Xiaomi Redmi AirDots. These cheap and very cheerful buds are a real steal, with a simple aesthetic, great audio, and a cool case that belies their humble cost.
You get Bluetooth 5.0, IPX4 waterproofing, four hours of battery life per charge, good microphone performances on calls, and Google Assistant/Sir compatibility.
If you are on a very tight budget, your money is well spent on these.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi AirDots review
One of the cheapest on this list, the Bilikay HBQ-Q67 are a fantastic option for those who don't want lots of frills but just good-sounding earbuds for very little money. The lightweight plastic construction makes them comfortable to wear for long periods, and you'll get around four hours per charge.
The charging case is cylindrical and doubles as a power bank with which you can top up your phone, plus it's also quite a fun design that manages to stand out from the crowd. You'll have to forego waterproofing, and the microphones are a little disappointing, but for around £20 / $20 these are superb value.
Read our full Bilikay HBQ-Q67 review
Creative Outlier Air
You can easily spend more than double the price of the Outlier Air on true wireless earbuds. But for most people, there’s little point: Creative’s headphones sound good and have great battery life.
They’re not the most compact, and the carry case is probably larger than most, but overall, the Outlier Air is an excellent buy.
Read our full Creative Outlier Air review
Topping our price range at £99 / $99, is Lypertek's TEVI earbuds. These offer excellent sound quality, block out the surrounding din, and last all day on a single charge. The buds are a little large in the ears, sticking out somewhat when worn, but this acts as a positive in enabling the user to grip the buds when pressing the control buttons on the outer surfaces. Doing so prevents the buds being forced further into the ears, which keeps things nice and comfortable.
The case is also very smart, with a lightly check-patterned material covering the surface. Popping the TEVI back into it when the batteries have finally run down returns two hours of charge after only 20 minutes, and the case holds enough charge to fully replenish the TEVI seven times.
If your budget extends this far, you won't be disappointed.
Read our full Lypertek TEVI review
Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones
Another Xiaomi offering is the Apple AirPods-style Mi True Wireless Earphones. These are at the higher-end of the budget scale, at around £80 / $80, but they deliver great sound and use touch-sensitive buttons on the outside of the buds to make controlling the various features quick, and easy on the ears.
Removing one while audio is playing will automatically pause the playback, and the 'beamforming and +ENC technology' Xiaomi employs in the microphones means that telephone conversations are clear and crisp. IPX4 waterproofing allows you to wear them in the rain, and the fast recharge time ensures you'll never have to pause too long between albums.
The only real downside is the patchy video/audio syncing when watching video, but if music or podcasts are what you listen to then the Mi True Wireless Earphones are a fine choice.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones review
Tronsmart Spunky Beats Pro
Hilarious name aside, the Tronsmart Spunky Beats Pro are a decent pair of budget earbuds that deliver around 3.5 hours of battery life per charge, have good sound quality, Bluetooth 5 and an IPX5 waterproof rating.
The battery case adds up to 14 hours' worth of playback to the Spunky Beats Pro, so you can wear them all day (except when they're recharging, obviously).
Sadly, because of their chunky design, we found extended sessions became uncomfortable, but if you have a short commute then these could be the ones for you.
Read our full Tronsmart Spunky Pro review
Along similar lines to the Bilikay HBQ-Q67, Alfawise offers an ultra-low cost pair of buds that belie their price tag. For less than £20 / $20 you get a Bluetooth 5 connection, four hours of charge which can then be replenished several times from the case, and audio quality that we found to be actually quite good.
Waterproofing is non-existent and the maximum volume could do with being louder, but as you can pick these up for less than a round of drinks, you can't grumble too much.
Read our full Alfawise HQB-Q32 review
Coming in a sleek pill-shaped case, the Mixcder T1s feature a minimalist design and enjoyable audio performance. Although they conform to the normal in-ear bud styling, the way the stems are positioned means that the buds sit upwards rather than sideways in the ear. This puts a bit more weight on the ears, which can grow uncomfortable over time.
Control buttons allow you to play/pause audio, skip back and forth between tracks, and launch your phone's digital assistant. Microphones are included for the latter and phone calls, and while the audio captured was reasonably clear our recipients said it sounded quiet at their end.
At around the same price point the Mixcdr T1s don't quite have the quiet charm of the Redmi AirDots, but they are still a solid pair of true wireless earbuds at a very affordable price.
Read our full Mixcder T1 review
Bluedio Hi Hurricane
The Hi Hurricane might not be the most aesthetically pleasing of earbuds (they really aren't), but for around £20 / $20 you can go truly wireless, get very acceptable sound quality, and receive calls without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag.
There are compromises of course, with the looks being the most obvious and problems with video syncing probably an important one to note if you intend to enjoy Netflix while on the train, but for music when you're out and about they can fill the ticket. Then, if you happen to lose one, it's a lot easier on your bank balance to replace them.
Read our full Bluedio Hi Hurricane review