1More Piston Fit BT
The best earbuds under $50
The Piston Fit BT wireless earbuds are water resistant and comfortable to wear—and they sound more expensive than they are.
Having reviewed more than a thousand pairs of headphones (and over 200 for this guide alone), we are not easily surprised—but the 1More Piston Fit BT earbuds wowed us. In our tests, these neckband-style wireless earbuds (meaning the earbuds are connected by a flexible band) offered a balanced, clear sound that all our testers thought was far better than one might expect from $30 earbuds. The thin, lightweight neckband rests comfortably around the neck and coils up for easy storage in a pocket. Four sizes of ear tips are included, so everyone on our panel was able to get a secure fit. The aluminum earbuds feel sturdy, and magnets hold them together so you can wear them around your neck when you’re not using them. The controls are easy to manipulate by feel, and the eight-hour battery life will get you through a full workday. The IPX4 water-resistance rating means you don’t need to worry about a little rain on your commute, and the one-year warranty protects you from any other hiccups.
Aukey Latitude EP-B40
Lightweight, gym-friendly earbuds
With decent sound, a sweatproof design, and a two-year warranty, the EP-B40 wireless earbuds can handle whatever your day brings, from work to workouts.
If the 1More Piston Fit BT headphones aren’t available, the Aukey Latitude EP-B40 wireless earbuds are a good choice. The two earbuds are connected by a cable instead of the thicker neckband or stiff collar that you find on many budget wireless options, which makes this pick great for occasional gym use. In our tests, these earbuds sounded pretty good for the money, but in comparison with the 1More earbuds, they sounded blurrier in the guitar range, with less defined bass, and syllables were more intense. Although they fit us securely and comfortably, the shorter cable that connects the earbuds could tug a bit. With an IPX4 rating, the Latitude EP-B40 can handle some sweat. Magnets in the earbuds let you clip the pair around your neck between listening sessions. The eight-plus-hour battery life will get you through a full workday before you need to recharge, and a two-year warranty will protect against manufacturing defects.
If you want true wireless earbuds
If you want completely wireless earbuds but are spooked by high price tags, the Sesh pair is an affordable option that sounds good and offers a lost-earbud exchange program.
If you have your heart set on true wireless earbuds and don’t want to pay $100 or more, we recommend the Skullcandy Sesh pair. These earbuds have a fun, bass-forward sound, a comfortable fit, water resistance, and easy-to-use controls—all for a typical price around $40. We also love that the pair comes with a two-year warranty and Skullcandy’s Fearless Use Promise, which means if you lose or break one earbud, you pay to replace only that part, and the company will ship you a completely new pair. However, these earbuds don’t sound as good as the 1More Piston Fit BT set, and at just three hours per charge, their battery life is much lower—though the supplied charging case provides an additional seven hours.
JBL Live 100
The best cheap wired earbuds
The JBL Live 100 earbuds deliver a more realistic sound and better build quality than other cheap wired choices; they also have a single-button remote and mic, and they come with a one-year warranty.
May be out of stock
If you don’t want to worry about charging a battery, the way to go is with a wired set of earbuds like the JBL Live 100. Fabric-wrapped cables, a single-button remote/mic, and aluminum housing give this pair a higher-quality feel than on most similarly priced wired earbuds. The sound represents a step up, too, with a better balance between low and high notes and a more realistic sound than we heard from the other wired earbuds we tested for this guide. The Live 100 earbuds fit all of our panelists comfortably. They come with a quality storage pouch and are backed by JBL’s one-year warranty.