5 true wireless earbuds worth buying for under $40
We have a list of the best cheap true wireless headphones. But what if you want to pay as little as possible? Say, less than $40 or even less? Yes, there are a growing number of cheap true wireless headphones out there, but only a few stand out for their superior level and surprisingly decent price. As I like to say, you shouldn’t expect the world at this low price, but I’ve rounded up the options if you’re shopping for an affordable pair that does a decent job – and you can throw in any of these cheap wireless headphones in a sports bag and not be heartbroken if you lose them.
Here are my current true wireless favorites, ranked from highest price to lowest price (but heck, they’re all pretty damn cheap). I’ve tested them all and will regularly update this list of options for the best wireless headphones under $40.
Learn more: Best Cheap True-Wireless Headphones for 2023
Best Budget Wireless Headphones
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
What makes these Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS earphones special is that they sound surprisingly good for open-back headphones – they’re pretty close to what you get from Apple’s AirPods 3 for sound. Additionally, they support Sony’s LDAC audio codec for devices that offer it. Few cheap open-back headphones sound good, but these Soundpeats have good bass response and clarity. They are also good at making calls and have a low latency gaming mode. The price is currently just over $35 after applying the code NI6VXZF8 at the register.
You receive price alerts for Tranya T20
Rated up to 8 hours
Yes (IPX7 — can be submerged for 30 minutes up to 1 meter)
The Tranya T20s remind me a bit of a cheaper version of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 without the noise cancellation. They’re pretty basic and lack premium features like an ear detection sensor that automatically pauses your music when you take a bud out of your ears. But they look surprisingly decent for their low price. If you get a tight seal, they’re flush with your ears (they don’t protrude much) and they have decent battery life – up to 8 hours at moderate volume levels. They also work great for making calls and are IPX7 waterproof.
The case feels a bit cheap and the buds are light. The Galaxy Buds 2 definitely feel more premium. However, the buds are well tuned and have a relatively wide soundstage. Don’t expect the world from them and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
You are receiving price alerts for Soundcore by Anker Life P2 Mini
The Anker Life P2 Mini Soundcore have been out for a while but are still a good budget headphone option. Available in multiple color options (navy shown here), they’re compact and lightweight and sound decent with 3 EQ modes to choose from. Although they don’t have active noise cancellation, battery life is good, up to 8 hours at moderate volume levels. The P2 Minis are IPX5 splash resistant and work well but not exceptionally well as a headset for making calls.
I also like the Soundcore Life P3i buds from Anker, which cost around $45 and have active noise cancellation. They are superior to these buds, but cost about $10-$15 more.
You receive price alerts for Earfun Free 2S
I was a fan of the original Earfun Free headphones, and now there’s an upgraded version called Earfun Free 2 (which was later upgraded to the 2S). They’re not a huge upgrade, but like the originals, they fit my ears well and offer good value for money with powerful sound. It just has a touch of treble and bass boost (there’s a lot of bass) and extra features like wireless charging.
Battery life is rated at 7 hours at moderate volume levels, and these headphones are fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating. These are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and use Qualcomm’s QCC3040 chip which includes support for the aptX audio codec if you’re using a compatible device (some Android smartphones support this protocol).
Clip it coupon on the page and apply the code BFFREE2S4 at checkout for an additional $13 off.
Rated up to 6 hours
No IP rating, advertised as sweat resistant
I’ve never tried the original Fiil CC headphones, but the next-gen CC2 improves on the performance of the originals, with better battery life (they’re rated at 5 hours on a single charge) and no latency issues audio when watching videos.
These stayed in my ears better than the standard AirPods. They pair quickly – they’ve got Bluetooth 5.2 – there’s a companion Fiil app to adjust settings and they sound good enough for open-style buds, with just enough bass to keep you from feeling them are shy. They’re also decent for making calls and have touch controls.
One of their special features is their open case, which makes it easy to access the buds and put them back in their case. Thanks to some built-in magnets, they stay securely in place in the case – you can turn it around and the buds won’t come out. Unlike the AirPods, these have square, not rounded stems. It sounds a little weird at first, so they fit your ears slightly differently than AirPods.
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