If you're often on the go and find over-ear headphones to be a bit too bulky, in-ears and earbuds are a great portable option. They tend to be very small and easy to bring around, and some designs are also more oriented towards sports. Some might not be as comfortable as well-padded over-ear headphones, but they can be a good option for passively isolating you against the outside world without breaking the bank for high-end noise cancelling over-ears.
We’ve tested over 150 earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds under $100 to buy in 2020. If you’re looking for our top picks in general or are curious about different features, check our recommendations for the best headphones under $100, the best wireless earbuds, the best wireless headphones under $100, and the best earbuds under $50.
The best wireless earbuds under $100 we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2; they're also the best true wireless earbuds under $100 we've seen to date as well. They have a similar stem-design to the AirPods, are very portable, and come with different tip sizes to help you find the best and most comfortable fit.
Their audio reproduction is well-balanced, but it has a little bit extra of bass, which is great if you listen to hip-hop or EDM music. They're compatible with the Anker Soundcore app which gives you access to a graphic EQ, and some presets so that you can customize the sound signature to your preference. They also have a great passive isolation performance thanks to their in-ear fit, which is very useful when commuting in public transit.
However, this truly wireless design doesn't have the best battery life with about six hours of continuous playback, but, on the upside, the case provides the equivalent of three additional charges. Also, the touch-sensitive surface can be finicky at times. If you'd prefer physical buttons, check out the Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless, although they don't have as good an overall performance for the price.
If you want earbuds with a neckband design, consider the JBL Live 200BT. While these headphones aren't as portable as the compact Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless, their around-the-neck design means that you won't need to worry about dropping your earbuds. They have a comfortable, stable in-ear fit that should prevent them from falling out during physical activity. Their out-of-the-box sound profile is actually more neutral and better-balanced than the Anker, though some listeners may prefer the Anker's bass-heavy sound. Unfortunately, these earbuds don't have a companion app or any sound customization features. That being said, their over 10-hour battery life should be enough to get you through your commute and your day without a recharge.
If you want a truly wireless pair of earbuds, go with the Anker, but if you prefer an around-the-neck design, choose the JBL.
The best wireless earbuds under $100 for sports that we've tested so far are the Jaybird Tarah. These well-built wireless in-ears are decently comfortable and have a very stable fit, so they should stay on your ears even during intense physical activity. They also have an IPX7 rating for sweat and water resistance, though we don't test for this.
These earbuds have a neutral, well-balanced sound profile that makes them versatile for a variety of music genres. Using the dedicated companion app, you can even adjust the sound to your liking using a parametric EQ and several presets. You can also use the app to access and share sound profiles with other Jaybird users.
Unfortunately, these earbuds only have 6-hour battery life. This shouldn't be an issue if you plan to use the headphones during your workouts, but if you want to use them during your commute and at work, it may not be ideal. That being said, they also have a quick charge feature that can give you 1 hour of playback from just 10 minutes of charge time, which may solve this issue for some listeners.
If you're looking for a cheaper pair of sports-oriented earbuds, consider the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 instead. These earbuds don't have a companion app or any sound customization features, but their over 18-hour battery life is superior to the Jaybird Tarah Wireless. They're also well-built, very comfortable, and IPX7-rated for sweat and water resistance. Their ear-hook design gives them a very stable fit on your ear, so they should stay in place during your workouts. While their sound profile is decently neutral, it's a little more bass-heavy than the Jaybird, which fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop may actually prefer. Unlike the Jaybird, these earbuds also come with a hard case to help protect them while you're on the go.
If you want to be able to adjust the sound of your earbuds, go with the Jaybird, but if you're shopping on a budget and want longer battery life, choose the Anker.
The best Bluetooth earbuds under $100 for iPhone that we've tested so far are the Beats Powerbeats3. These wireless in-ears feature an ear-hook design that helps make them stable enough for intense workouts. They come with four sizes of tips to help you find a decently comfortable fit, and they look and feel well-built and durable. They have an in-line remote on the cable connecting each earbud that's easy to use and gives you a good amount of functionality.
The sound profile of these headphones is quite well-balanced, with just a bit of extra bass that gives extra kick and thump without being overpowering. Like all recent wireless headphones made by Apple and Beats, they allow for seamless pairing to all your Apple devices thanks to their W1 chip, making it incredibly easy to switch devices. Their battery also lasts nearly 12 hours, which should be more than long enough for your daily commute and full day, and likely even a quick trip to the gym on the way home.
Unfortunately, they don't really have a dedicated companion app other than a settings pop-up on your apple device that shows battery life, meaning you can't EQ the way they sound to match your personal preferences. They also block very little background noise so they won't help to give you peace on the bus or in the office. It's worth noting that this model may be getting more difficult to find as the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless have now been released, but other than the longer battery on the newer model, they both perform similarly.
If you're looking for earbuds that'll block out the ambient noise while still staying inside the Apple ecosystem, get the Beats BeatsX instead. They might not have ear-hooks for additional stability like the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, and their battery is noticeably shorter at about only six hours. However, their design passively blocks a good amount of outside noise. If you're looking for headphones for your daily commute, these would be a good option, especially since they also use the W1 chip to easily connect to Apple devices. Their sound signature is also well-balanced, although they might sound a bit dark with a slight overemphasis in the bass range and a lack of detail in higher frequencies.
Get the Powerbeats3 if you're an active person who wants a sturdy pair of headphones that will last you a full day of use on a single charge. However, if you want something that will do a better job of blocking out noises around you, go with the BeatsX.
08/11/2020: Updated text for accuracy and clarity; no changes to product picks.
04/13/2020: Replaced the JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless with the Anker SoundBuds Curve 2019 Upgraded.
12/06/2019: Replaced Anker SoundCore Liberty Air with Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wireless earbuds under $100 to buy for most people. 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 headphones reviews. 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.