Wireless headphones can be much more convenient than their wired counterparts; they give you an extra level of freedom and help eliminate annoying cables from your life. While wireless headphones have been around for a long time, you used to have to pay a fairly substantial premium for the luxury. However, in the past few years, that's changed and you can now get surprisingly decent wireless headphones on a budget. While most wireless headphones use a Bluetooth connection, gaming headsets generally use a dedicated wireless transmitter as that will give you better microphone quality as well as less lag, at the expense of portability and versatility.
We’ve tested over 250 pairs of wireless headphones and below are our recommendations for the best budget Bluetooth headphones to buy. If you’re looking for a more specific type of headphones, check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50 or $100, the best headphones under $50, or take a look at the budget category for our best wireless gaming headsets.
The best cheap Bluetooth headphones under $50 that we've tested so far are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. These over-ear headphones look and feel decently well-built for their price and are comfortable enough to wear for long listening sessions. They last over 32 hours off a single charge, which is great, and they can be used wired when their battery runs out.
These headphones have a bass-heavy and excited sound profile that's versatile enough for most popular genres. Fans of EDM and hip-hop will enjoy the good amount of extra thump and rumble, though it shouldn't be too overpowering for rock or pop as well. These headphones also have a surprisingly good ANC feature that does an excellent job of blocking out background chatter.
Unfortunately, like with most budget ANC headphones, they only do an alright job at blocking out the low rumble of bus or plane engines. They also don't have a dedicated companion app to make any EQ changes to their sound profile, though again, this is common at this price. Overall, these are a decent pair of wireless over-ear headphones, that perform surprisingly well considering their low price.
If you prefer the portability of in-ears, get the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. They aren't as comfortable as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, and they don't isolate background noise as well due to their lack of ANC, but they're much more portable and are even cheaper. Their sound profile is fairly bass-heavy but should still be well-balanced enough for most genres. They're a great option for the gym as their ear-hook design makes them quite stable in the ear, and they're rated IPX7 for water and sweat resistance, though this isn't something we test for. At almost 18.5 hours, the battery life of these headphones is very impressive and is among the longest we've ever tested for a pair of Bluetooth in-ears.
If you find over-ears more comfortable and want ANC to help give you some peace and quiet, go for the Q20. However, if you want something even cheaper than you can easily toss in your pocket, get the Curve, a good alternative to the best cheap wireless headphones under $50.
The best budget wireless headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the Mixcder E9. These over-ear ANC headphones are comfortable thanks to their well-padded headband and ear cups and they have easy-to-use physical controls. They feel decently well-built, despite being a bit plasticky, and they come with a nice hard carrying case.
Their sound profile is fairly well-balanced and is versatile enough for a wide range of content and genres. They may be lacking in detail and brightness to some people, though it shouldn't be too noticeable overall. Their ANC works decently well, and they actually do a better job at blocking out the low rumble of engines than background speech, which is fairly uncommon and makes them better for commuting than to help keep you concentrated in the office.
Unfortunately, while their 18.3-hour battery is good, it isn't nearly as long as their advertised 24-hour battery life and is shorter than the other over-ear options on this list. They also leak a bit more audio than other over-ears, so you may not want to blast your music if you work in a very quiet office. Overall, however, they offer a good price-to-performance ratio and are the best budget headphones under $100.
If you prefer the extreme portability of truly wireless in-ears, get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. Their in-ear fit may not be as comfortable for everyone as the over-ear design of the Mixcder E9 Wireless, and their battery doesn't last as long off a single charge, but they're much more portable and isolate background speech better. They have an excited sound profile and their companion app gives you access to a graphic EQ, making them well-suited to a wide range of genres and content. They last just over six hours off a single charge, which is good for truly wireless headphones, and their case holds an additional three charges to help you get through the day. Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive controls may not be for everyone, and if you prefer physical controls you may want to consider the similarly-performing Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless, though they don't have a companion app.
Overall, if you prefer over-ear headphones and want something with a long battery that will get you through a couple of full work days, go for the Mixcder, but if you prefer the truly wireless experience and want something you can easily toss into your pocket or bag, get the Anker.
The best budget Bluetooth headphones under $150 that we’ve tested so far are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. These comfortable over-ears are very easy to use and have a premium and well-made design. Their 30-hour battery life is great, and they support multi-device pairing so you can easily switch between two devices.
While they're a bit more expensive than the other options on this list, it shows in their very accurate and well-balanced sound profile. Almost the entire profile is accurate and neutral, with a bit of extra thump that doesn't come across as over-powering or muddy, making them well-suited for almost all genres and content.
Unfortunately, their companion app doesn't include any EQ settings, and while they have ANC, it's only decent and won't help bring you too much peace and quiet. They provide great value overall, however, and provide a lot of extra features like multi-device pairing, an auto-off timer, and NFC pairing.
If you’re looking for the best budget wireless headphones for gaming, get the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition. They don't have Bluetooth like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016, so you can't pair them to your phone, but they have a much better microphone and lower latency, thanks to their dedicated wireless transmitter. While their out-of-the-box sound profile is very well-balanced, unfortunately, their frequency response consistency is sub-par, so different people may experience it differently. On the bright side, they can be EQ'd via the SteelSeries Engine software to suit your preferences, and they're comfortable enough for extended gaming sessions. Unfortunately, they're only compatible with PC and PS4, and can't be used wirelessly with the Xbox One.
If you're looking for a day-to-day pair of Bluetooth over-ears get the Plantronics, but if you want a good gaming headset that won't break the bank, go for the SteelSeries.
06/17/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy; moved the Mpow H10 to Notable Mentions.
04/16/2020: Replaced the Mpow H5 with the Anker SoundCore Life Q20 for consistency.
02/14/2020: Replaced the Anker SoundBuds Curve with the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019, and the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air with the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2.
10/21/2019: Replaced Mpow H10 Wireless with Mixcder E9. Added Mpow H10 Wireless as 'Better Noise Canceling Alternative'. Removed 'Customizable Alternative for Sports'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best budget wireless headphones for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of wireless headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.