Best Wireless Earbuds Under $20 | Top 7 Remarkable Value

By The Best Portable SpeakersDec 20, 2021

When choosing wireless earbuds, among the first things people usually look for are excellent sound quality, long battery life and that they fit comfortably in their ears.

They also often prefer wireless earbuds that are stylish and lightweight. 

When it comes to functionality, earbud shoppers seek a pair that will not fall out when they are jogging, working out or doing other activities that require movement.

Moreover, they want earbuds or headphones that will cancel out all the unwanted and distracting noise around them, enabling them to focus intently on the audio/music they are listening to.

Are Wireless Earbuds Worth It?

The biggest advantage that wireless earbuds or headphones have over the wired ones is the freedom of movement. The ability to function and move freely without wires getting in the way enables consumers to be active with a much greater range of motion. 

Although, that means that there are probably some other things that you might need to sacrifice to be able to move around while listening to music.

One of them, for example, could be audio quality. It’s a known fact that wired headphones/earbuds generally sound better than wireless headphones. This is because of how the data is handled during the transmission.

Wireless earbuds use Bluetooth, which can’t handle as much data as the analog signal used in the wired transfers. 

Another point to consider here is that wireless earbuds can only connect to Bluetooth enabled devices. If you know for sure that you would never want to listen to the music that is recorded on a non Bluetooth device, then no need to think about it anymore.

However, if you sometimes do so, and you do not own a set of wired buds or headphones, you would need to purchase a Bluetooth A/V receiver for that non Bluetooth capable vintage audio source of yours.

One more thing, if you purchase wireless earbuds, you can only listen to your favorite audio while they are charged.

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So, even if you get earbuds that come with a case and extra battery in it, once they are discharged, they need to go back into the case to be recharged, meaning you cannot use them for the time being. So, if your budget allows, look for earbuds that have great battery life and a quick charge option.

But, the pros of the wireless earbuds for most of us still outweigh the cons. 

Let’s look at the audio quality again. With Bluetooth becoming more and more advanced, an average user would never notice the difference between audio being transmitted via Bluetooth or via analog in wired earbuds.

Why so? Because, as mentioned above, Bluetooth can only handle so much data at a time. The data loss in Bluetooth streaming can only be noticed if you move too far away from the streaming device. It could also occur if you listen to audio from lossless file formats, such as WAV, FLAC, etc. 

The first issue should not be a problem, as with Bluetooth and wireless streaming you already have it better than with wired earbuds, where you are simply attached to the audio source device.

With Bluetooth 5 and greater the music won’t stop playing as long as you are within 100 foot range of the streaming device and no walls to disrupt the signal. 

The second would only apply if you are an audiophile, DJ or musician as you would want perfect audio quality to work with and in that case, you most likely wouldn’t be here looking for wireless headphones or earbuds.

Let’s see what other perks wireless headphones and earbuds offer.

Modern wireless earbuds can be connected to multiple streaming devices at the same time. This means that you are not bound to a single music source and can switch easily when you feel like it. 

Many earbuds are waterproof, making them great to use in the pool while swimming, which you would never be able to do with the wired buds.

And, to add to the above, often wireless earbuds will allow you to connect to a virtual assistant such as Siri, Google and Alexa.

Some people think superior quality wireless earbuds don't come cheap. And often it is true because wireless tech is more expensive to manufacture. But if you do some digging, you will find excellent quality wireless earbuds that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Check the ones we listed below, you will most likely find what you want among them.

What Wireless Earbuds Should I Buy?

Wireless earbuds are more affordable than ever, easy-to-use and lightweight. Unfortunately, finding the right pair can not only be confusing but downright frustrating at times. High sound quality should be the main requirement when considering buying wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

This way, you can avoid disappointment from sub-par audio.

Codec Quality Matters

A codec is a mechanism that is used to compress(convert signal from analog to digital) and decompress(convert signal from digital to analog) audio sound for transmission from a streaming device to a receiving device. Many types of codecs are available.

Lower-quality earbuds usually have a low-complexity sub-band (SBC) codec. This codec uses a process that is time-consuming because it separates frequencies and delays audio transmissions coming from the device to the earbuds.

When looking for suitable codecs, you want  a pair of earbuds that have codecs such as aptX and aptX HD. These codecs have a much better sound quality. They support a more rapid bit rate and lower latency. Just remember, the higher quality sound and less lag you want, the faster the codec needs to be.

For example, if you want to watch a movie with minimal lag, aptX low latency would be a good option.

Battery Life and Charging

With wireless earbuds, you will usually receive a case for storing them in, which quite often has an extra battery to charge them as well.

As we mentioned above, the earbuds while being charged cannot be used, so if you want to maximize their usage time, make sure they are always fully charged.

Ear Tips for Sound Quality and Earbud Controls

Ear tips are an essential piece to consider when looking to purchase wireless earphones and headsets.

They are usually made from either silicone or foam and often supplied in a range of sizes. The tips provide a seal between your ear canal and the earbud, thus helping to eliminate or reduce outside noise, giving their wearers a comfortable fit and great wireless quality sound.

They also help to secure the earbuds inside your ear, so they stay put, no matter how active you are. Ear tips can generally be cleaned to prevent growth of bacteria.

If the ear tips supplied with the earbuds become worn, you can try buying them separately from the same manufacturer so that you can immerse yourself in your music or shows without any outside noise. There are also plenty of aftermarket options available.

  • 10 pairs of medium black silicone ear tips
  • Search for different models

  • Aftermarket multiple sized ear tips
  • Find your model

Earbud controls provide you with the ability to control music and even give voice commands without the need to reach for your streaming device making your wireless experience more enjoyable. 

Canceling the Noise

Earbuds with a noise cancellation feature will let you enjoy music without having to turn the volume right up while you are in a noisy environment. Some also have transparency mode, which allows for certain background noises to come through.

This feature could be handy for example when you are jogging, and you need to be aware of your surroundings. 

If you don’t have noise reduction or noise-cancelling earbuds, then good quality ear tips could help to reduce the noise while enjoying your music. 

Earbuds that are Waterproof - What's Best?

Earbuds can be water-resistant or waterproof. Their IP rating shows what type of water exposure they can handle. 

The rating is specified in IPXX format, where the second X determines the water protection level. The higher the number  the more water the earbuds can withstand. For instance, an IPX3 may only be able to handle splashes of water and light sweat, but an IPX8 could be worn while swimming.

So, if your budget allows, it’s best to purchase earbuds that are waterproof. That way, you will be able to use them in any environment that you may put yourself into.

Microphone Use and Why Budget Options Don’t Work

Most wireless earbuds come equipped with a microphone attached to the right earpiece. Basic earbuds with microphones have two transmitting sources.

The first is the primary earbud, where the mic is and the second is the other earbud where audio is also transmitted to from the primary.

Budget options for earbuds with microphones can often lack quality components. Thus, when using budget earbud options with a single mic for calls, often the person on the other end can have difficulty differentiating your voice from other background noises.

More refined sets of wireless earbuds can have multiple microphones in each earpiece. These offer dual beamforming microphone features, making it better to isolate a person's voice from other noises in the background, therefore offering better communication.

7 Best Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds Under $20

Budget Waterproof Choice:  YW YUWISS T04 IPX6 Earbuds

If your budget isn’t high, but you still want to own a set of low latency wireless Bluetooth earbuds, then you should definitely check out the YUWISS T04s. These cheap wireless earbuds feature the aptX codec, which helps these earbuds produce premium sound quality and plentiful bass for a remarkable Hi-fi audio experience. 

Their IPX6 waterproof rating and comfortable fit that will allow them to stay put makes these earbuds perfect for workouts and jogging in the park.

Integrated dual mics with built-in noise-cancelling will enable you to take advantage of hands-free calling and  let the other party hear every word you say clearly.  

Bluetooth 5 allows for instant auto-pairing and stable connection within 33 feet of your streaming device. The earbuds’ battery life will last you up to 5 hours, depending on content and volume of the audio.

And, the included storage case will provide you with up to 25 additional hours of playtime. 

They are also voice-assistant ready, and their multifunction touch controls will make your life simple as. 

Get a pair of these lightweight and ergonomically designed earbuds today and start enjoying your favorite beats.  

  • Hi-fi sound
  • IPX6 waterproof
  • up to 25 hours playtime
  • Bluetooth 5

Small Ear Bluetooth Option: MPOW EM16 Wireless Mini Earbuds 

These wireless earbuds are fantastic for people with smaller ears thanks to their tiny size and lightweight design. Weighing at only 0.1oz, the MPOW EM16s are easy on the ears when wearing for extended periods. Memory foam tips in different sizes also add to the comfort.

Integrated CSR chipset and Bluetooth 5.0 deliver stable connection and seamless data transfer, while HD stereo produces incredible audio sound for listening to your favorite audiobooks and any genre of music. 

Built-in mic and multifunction buttons let you answer calls without reaching for your phone. Noise-cancelling ensures crisp and clear sound, even in loud environments. And, while on a call, the person you’re talking to will hear every single sound you make.

From a full charge, the earbuds will provide up to 8 hours of non-stop audio and about 300 hours standby time.

They can be fully charged in approximately 2 hours. 

With their water-resistant (IPX4) rating, these Bluetooth earbuds can survive light splashes of water and sweat that may come upon them, which makes them perfect for working out in the gym.

  • Light Weight
  • 8 hours playtime
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Built-in mic

Good Value: XClear Wireless Sweat Proof Earbuds

These sweat proof earbuds, with an IPX5 waterproof rating, can survive contact with water as well as sweat from those intense workouts in the gym.

They offer excellent quality sound and crystal-clear hearing during phone calls for a budget priced earbud. XClear earbuds utilize Bluetooth 5.0 for minimal dropouts and increased clarity. Pairing these earbuds with your streaming device is straightforward.

Once you’ve paired them once, as long as Bluetooth is on your mobile device, when you take them out of the charging case they will connect automatically.

The earbuds come with a compact storage case that can also be used to charge your earphones. They also offer up to 5 hours of quality use before needing to be charged.

In addition, these earbuds also feature an LED battery life display to check the power of your earbuds while charging.

Lastly, these compact earphones offer a comfortable ergonomic design that fits snugly into your ear, so you can keep the bass pumping, enjoying world-class sound on the go.

These are an excellent value for money choice.

  • IPX5 waterproof
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 5 hour playtime
  • LED battery display

Great All-Rounder: JLab Go Air POP True Wireless Earbuds

These are the best cheap all-round wireless in-ear earbud option for many reasons. They are sweat-resistant and offer IPX4 waterproof protection. Perfect for your morning walks and working outdoors.

The JLab Go Air POP True Wireless earbuds deliver remarkable sound quality thanks to Bluetooth 5.1. This technology gives them great connectivity and pairing abilities with your streaming devices.

The earbuds feature the ability to control playback options, interact with a smart assistant of your choice as well as answer, reject and terminate phone calls with touch sensitive controls.

EQ3 sound technology lets you choose between 3 different modes: JLab Signature, balanced as well as Bass Boost, so you can easily choose the sound settings to suit your mood.

With an incredible 8 hours of playtime between charging, these earbuds can last you an entire day.

The charging case charges the earbuds in approximately 2 hours and provides an additional 24 hours of playtime. 

They are compact and lightweight, allowing you to wear them for hours with less ear fatigue.

Choose between 3 sizes of gel ear tips for a better seal and clearer sound.

You will have peace of mind when you purchase these earbuds as they come with a JLab 2-year warranty. Not bad for under $20.

  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • EQ 3 sound technology
  • IPX4
  • Up to 24 hours playtime

Skullcandy Dime Wireless Earphones

These unique earbuds by Skullcandy also offer automatic connection and universal controls, making it easy to take calls, change tracks and adjust volume.

In addition, with the earbuds’ IPX4 water-resistant rating, they can handle sweat from a good aerobic workout or morning run.

Skullcandy Dime come with 10.5 hours in total. It’s 3.5 hours of playtime in the earbuds themselves.

Also, you get 7 hours of power (2 additional charges) from the charging case. 

A small earbud with enough power for your commute or a walk in the park.

  • 3.5 hours playtime
  • IPX4 water-resistant
  • Auto connect
  • Universal controls

When You’re on the Go: Skullcandy Jib Wireless Earbuds

Feel the music with a higher-quality set of in-ear earbuds from Skullcandy, which are perfect for when you’re on-the-go.

With a simple and easy-to-use design, these earbuds offer clear sound for when you’re on the phone or listening to music.

Also, these wireless earbuds feature noise cancellation technology and dual microphones, making it easier for you to hear others and for them to hear your voice more clearly when in crowded noisy places throughout the day.

Their IPX4 waterproof composition makes these earbuds water-resistant and able to handle a bit of sweat when you’re running or exercising.

Skullcandy Jib Wireless Earbuds come with 22 hours (including charging case) of battery life, which is double the model above.

Suitable for those of you with busy lifestyles, you'll get through 6 hours of your day before you need to recharge them.

And, you can use either earbud by itself, if you need to.

All for under $20.

  • Clear sound
  • Noise Cancellation
  • Dual Microphones
  • Up to 22 hours playtime

Top Value: The NYZ Apollo True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

With incredible sound quality, the speakers in these wireless ergonomically designed earbuds are innovative in their composition and performance.

The Apollo True Wireless Bluetooth earbuds feature Hi-fi Stereo surround audio sound and an in-ear design, making it easy to get lost in your favorite jams. This is made possible by a 10 mm diaphragm driver, which keeps your true wireless music experience in balance. These wireless beauties also support SBC, AAC and aptX codecs too.

They implement good noise-reduction technology that filters noise from the background, allowing for no destruction from the outside world while listening to music as well as clearer phone calls.

What sets these earbuds apart is their Qualcomm chip that caters for stable audio transfer and anti-interference, which makes them perfect for louder surroundings.

With the earbuds' easy to use touch controls you can leave your cellphone in your pocket. 

Finally, these top value earbuds feature 8 hours of listening time and come with a charger that the manufacturer claims to be 4 times faster than other wireless earbud chargers on the market. Top Value for under $20.

  • Noise reduction technology
  • Hi-fi stereo
  • Qualcomm chip
  • 8 hours of playtime

Best Performers Under $20

For under $20, these seven pairs of wireless Bluetooth earbuds offer any consumer a great opportunity to find the best quality earbuds available without breaking the bank.

If you frequently lose your Bluetooth earbuds, going with a less expensive option like the ones mentioned above may be the way to go. Buy yours today.

using wireless earbuds on a budget

(Disclaimer) At the time of writing this article, all of these earbuds were under $20. However, pricing is open to change at any time. Thus, some earbuds may increase in price with no prior warning.

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