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The 7 Best Budget Wireless Headphones - Spring 2019
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Best Budget Wireless Headphones
360 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
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Wireless technologies have come a long way in recent years, and you don’t need to pay a small fortune to own decent wireless headphones anymore. Wireless headphones still have some flaws, though: Bluetooth headphones generally aren’t great for gaming since they tend to lag too much and have poor mic quality, but gaming headphones that use dedicated wireless transmitters lack the portability and versatility of Bluetooth headphones. That said, there are a lot of wireless headphones out there and you’re sure to find a pair that suits your needs.

We’ve tested 129 wireless headphones and below are our recommendations for the best budget Bluetooth headphones to buy in 2019. 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, or take a look at the mid-range and budget categories for our best wireless Bluetooth over-ear headphones and best wireless gaming headsets.

  1. Best Budget Headphones Under $50: Mpow H5 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.7
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    6.8
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.7
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    6.0
    TV
    Score components:
    5.8
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best cheap wireless headphones that we’ve tested so far are the Mpow H5. There aren’t very many decent pairs of over-ear headphones in this price range, but the Mpow H5 are Bluetooth over-ear headphones with active noise-canceling (ANC) that are surprisingly well-rounded for the price.

    They’re fairly comfortable and their build quality feels on par with headphones that cost significantly more. They come with a great hard case too, which is a nice touch at this price point. They even support multi-device pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously. The H5 sound decent in general, but will sound a bit boomy and muddy to more critical listeners. They have an ordinary rechargeable battery that lasts for 12 hours, but they also support passive playback, so they can be used wired when their battery dies.

    Unfortunately, their noise-canceling performance isn’t very good, as it fails to isolate noise well. If you care most about noise-cancelation, consider the Cowin E7, which isolate much better than the Mpow H5, but sound significantly worse and feel more cheaply made. All things considered, the Mpow H5 are decent over-ear headphones for most use cases.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative: Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you prefer the portability of earbuds and are looking for something even cheaper, get the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They’re currently the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50 and provide very good value for their price. They’re very comfortable, especially for in-ears, and fit very securely. They have good, deep bass, and although they lack a bit of emphasis on vocals and lead instruments, they sound decent overall. They also have a battery life of nearly 13 hours, which is quite good.

    The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a fairly premium look, but their audio cable feels quite thin and prone to breakage. They’re also not sweat-proof, and although they have a nice stable fit, they might not survive your toughest workouts. If you need more durable earbuds for sports, check out the Anker Soundcore Spirit X. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat the SoundBuds Curve, especially considering their price.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Headphones Under $100: Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.1
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.4
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.6
    TV
    Score components:
    4.6
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best budget Bluetooth headphones under $100 that we’ve tested so far are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. They’re truly wireless in-ears that have a sleek, low-profile design, similar to that of the Apple AirPods. They’re super portable and come with a very good charging case that makes them easy to slip inside your pockets.

    The Anker Liberty Air are among our best sounding wireless in-ears since they have remarkable audio reproduction, especially for Bluetooth earbuds. They’re well-suited to a variety of music genres, as well as audiobooks and podcasts. They also have great passive isolation and do a decent job at blocking out ambient noise for headphones without ANC, which makes them a good choice for commuters. Their battery performance is about average for truly wireless in-ears in 2019, and they provide about 4 hours of continuous playback but will last for 12 hours more if you store them in their charging case throughout the day.

    Unfortunately, the Liberty Air have worse latency performance than most Bluetooth headphones, which makes them a poor choice for watching videos or playing games on a mobile device. However, latency perception varies from one person to another and some devices and applications may offer compensation to make it less noticeable. That said, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air are overall decent truly wireless for most use cases and are one of the best cheap headphones we've reviewed.

    See our review

  4. Alternative For Sports: Jaybird Tarah Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you need something more sweat-proof to handle your most intense workouts, get the Jaybird Tarah. They’re not truly wireless like the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, but they have an IPX7 rating for superior water resistance and have a very stable fit that makes them a great choice for sports. They sound decent and are compatible with the impressive Jaybird MySound app that gives you access to a great parametric EQ so you can customize your sound your way.

    Unfortunately, the Jaybird Tarah come with a proprietary charging cradle that’s rather restrictive. The cradle is not only proprietary to the brand, but also to the model of headphone, so if you upgrade to another Jaybird model like the Tarah Pro, you’ll get another, different charger once again. Besides that though, the Tarah are all-around great sports in-ears that are worth considering.

    See our review

  5. Over-Ear Alternative For Gaming: Corsair HS70 Wireless

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re a gamer on a budget and don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a wireless gaming headset, get the Corsair HS70 Wireless. They’re not as versatile as the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, since they don’t support Bluetooth, but their USB wireless transmitter provides a stable connection with very low latency. The HS70 are comfortable gaming headphones and they sound great too, which makes them a solid choice for not only gaming but for critical listening too.

    On the downside, the Corsair HS70 can’t be used wired with an audio cable, and they’re not compatible with Xbox One. However, if you’re looking for wireless over-ears with low latency that you can set up for use with a PS4 or PC at home for under $100, you can’t do much better than the HS70.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Headphones Under $150: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    6.2
    TV
    Score components:
    5.9
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best budget wireless headphones under $150 that we’ve tested so far are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They’re well-rounded, versatile over-ear headphones that support Bluetooth and have ANC. They’re fairly comfortable and have a very easy-to-use control scheme that provides great tactile feedback.

    The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 have a good, bass-heavy sound that delivers a lot of thump and rumble without sounding too boomy. They also have a remarkable battery that lasts for 30 hours and charges fairly quickly. The BackBeat Pro 2 have lots of power-saving features that help prolong their battery life and can also be used passively once the battery eventually dies.

    The BackBeat Pro 2 have okay noise isolation, but the similarly priced JBL E65BTNC perform a bit better in this respect. They leak more, though, which makes them less well-suited than the BackBeat Pro 2 for commuting or office use. Overall, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are one of the best cheap headphones we've tested and are decent over-ears for most use cases, especially if you’re a fan of bass.

    See our review

  7. Alternative For Gaming: SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for a gaming headset that you can use wirelessly or wired, get the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition. They’re one of the best gaming headsets that we’ve reviewed so far and provide very good value for the price. They sound great and they have an impressive boom microphone that records audio clearly, even in noisy environments. They have excellent low-latency performance with their wireless USB transmitter and, when plugged into a PC, can be customized with the SteelSeries Engine.

    Unfortunately, they can feel a bit tight on the head sometimes and won’t be comfortable for everyone. They also have limited wireless compatibility with the Xbox One, but unlike the Corsair HS70 Wireless, they can be plugged into the controller and used without a problem.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • AUKEY Latitude Wireless: Decent wireless earbuds with remarkable isolation. Less comfortable than the Anker SoundBuds Curve, but a good alternative. See our review
  • Skullcandy Jib Wireless: Inexpensive wireless earbuds that perform okay, but don’t provide as much value as the Anker SoundBuds Curve. See our review
  • JBL E65BTNC Wireless: Decent over-ear wireless headphones that have decent noise isolation and sound good, but don’t have the great battery life of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud Flight: A good wireless gaming headset with an outstanding microphone, but not as well-built as the SteelSeries Arctis 7. See our review
  • Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset: A good wireless gaming headset with tons of customization options, but don’t have as good of a microphone as the SteelSeries Arctis 7. See our review
  • Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016: Decent wireless in-ears that are great for sports but outperformed by the more comfortable Jaybird Tarah. See our review
  • JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless: Decent wireless in-ears that have great audio reproduction and an IPX7 rating, but aren’t as comfortable the Anker SoundBuds Curve. See our review
  • Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless: Okay wireless over-ears with ANC that have very good isolation performance but have a dark sound. See our review
  • Skullcandy Grind Wireless: Wireless on-ear headphones that provide decent value for the price. See our review
  • Cowin E7 Wireless: Unremarkable wireless over-ears with ANC that have decent isolation performance but feel cheaply made and sound mediocre. See our review
  • Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless: Wireless in-ears similar to the SoundBuds Curve but are more water-resistant. See our review
  • JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless: Decent wireless in-ears that are great for sports and are a solid alternative to the Jaybird Tarah if you don’t mind not having an EQ. See our review
  • Samsung Level U Pro Wireless: Decent wireless in-ears for Android that are worth considering if you use Android and like being able to customize your headphones. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap Bluetooth headphones for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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 cheap 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.

 

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