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 a Chinese brand you've never heard of. 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. Our expert team have tested all these options, so you can be sure that you're getting a truly great deal.
Find out how we test audio.
Best budget wireless earbuds 2020
1. TaoTronic SoundLiberty 79 - Best Overall
Getting a great balance of sound quality, performance and style for around this price can be a challenge, but the TaoTronic SoundLiberty 79 earbuds manage it with aplomb.
The slim, comfortable design mean they sit neatly in your ear, which is a good thing due to the impressively long battery life that allows the earbuds to keep on chugging for a massive eight hours on a single charge.
Add to this Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, an IPX7 waterproof rating, plus impressive audio delivery either when enjoying content or receiving calls, and it all makes these are a very solid choice for anyone wanting to enter the wireless earbud world.
Read our full TaoTronic SoundLiberty 79 review
2. Huawei Freebuds 3i - Best Noise Cancelling
If you're specifically after a budget pair of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling, the FreeBuds 3i are the ones to get.
They're cheaper than the Freebuds 3 and have a closed-fit design instead of an open, AirPods-style design. They also don't have the issues we found with the Honor Magic Earbuds.
The closed design is much more effective at blocking out noise, so overall it seems like choosing the 3i is a no-brainer.
Well, yes, except for the fact the battery life isn't as good. And it's much shorter than some rivals here, so make your peace with this before you spend your money on the FreeBuds 3i.
Read our full Huawei FreeBuds 3i review
3. Creative Outlier Air - Best Sound Quality
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 those are minor details here. If you can stretch to this price then Creative delivers some excellent earbuds for your money.
Note that the Freebuds 3i offer noise cancelling for not much more money if that's a lure.
Read our full Creative Outlier Air review
4. Lypertek TEVI - Best Battery Life
Topping our price range 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
5. Xiaomi Redmi AirDots - Best Budget
Coming in at a tiny price 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
6. Bilikay HBQ-Q67 - Best Value
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 the price these are superb value.
Read our full Bilikay HBQ-Q67 review
7. Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones – Best Call Quality
Another Xiaomi offering is the Apple AirPods-style Mi True Wireless Earphones. These are at the higher-end of the budget scale, 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
8. Aukey EP-T10 - Best Wireless Charging
The best thing about the Aukey EP-T10 earbuds is the inclusion of wireless charging - a real rarity at anything like this price.
Decent battery life, an IPX5 rating, and a surprisingly snazzy swivelling case all add to the appeal of the headphones, though the trade-offs are limited bass and a slightly uncomfortable fit.
If you're keen on Qi charging these will do you well, but if not you'd be better off looking elsewhere.
Read our full Aukey EP-T10 review
9. Tronsmart Spunky Beats Pro - Best for Fitness
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
10. Alfawise HQB-Q32 - Best Budget Sound Quality
Along similar lines to the Bilikay HBQ-Q67, Alfawise offers an ultra-low-cost pair of buds that belie their price tag.
For a minimal price 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