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True wireless earbuds have come a long way in a few short years. What was once an expensive extravagance for early adopters that offered inconsistent performance and subpar audio quality can now be made to a far higher standard at a more accessible price point.
The market has been flooded by affordable wireless earbuds over the past couple of years, so much so that it's hard to decide which ones are worth spending your hard-earned cash on. After trying a few pairs out and researching a few more, we're able to recommend some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy for less than $100.
Soundcore Liberty Neo / Air
When I reviewed the Liberty Neo earbuds from the Anker sub-brand Soundcore a few months ago it was the first time I'd used a sub-$100 true wireless set, and I was more than pleasantly surprised by them. They cost just $40 at this point, which gets you pretty damn good audio, battery life of around three hours (plus 3 more full charges in the case), and a sweatproof IPX5 rating. They don't have the bells and whistles of more expensive products, but the sound quality is surprisingly good and there were few connection issues to speak of.
Soundcore also produces another set that's worth taking a look at in the Liberty Air. They're a bit more expensive at $80, but they're also a more traditional AirPods competitor in form and offer touch controls, unlike their cheaper sibling. Battery life is also improved up to 5 hours on a charge (with 15 more in the case). Ryan reviewed them earlier this year and described them as an incredible value with "surprisingly powerful bass and rich midrange."
Another pair I've had the pleasure of trying out recently are these from Taotronics. Much like the Soundcore Liberty Neo, they're a relatively no-frills set, but they sound much better than you'd expect for the price. They also manage to include touch controls, which is better than pressing a button into your ear. Up to 5 hours of battery life is similarly unexpected, and although the case doesn't look like much, it can hold up to another 5 recharges. Although $45 is already a killer price for these earbuds, you'll also be able to find them on sale occasionally too, making them even better value for money.
- Taotronics TT-BH053 — $44.99 — Amazon
One of the most popular products in this category on Amazon.com, the SoundPeats TrueFree+ cost a measly $33 yet still manage to deliver an impressive spec sheet. They offer Bluetooth 5.0, support for connecting to two devices at the same time, and fast pairing. These won't offer the best audio quality around, but it'll be more than good enough for everyone but the most discerning audiophiles. Battery life of around 3.5 hours is also very good for the price, especially when you consider that the case can hold another 9-10 times that amount.
- Soundpeats TrueFree+ — $32.99 — Amazon
Creative Outlier Air
Towards the higher end of what we'd call cheap, the $80 Outlier Air from Creative boast some impressive features and are appearing in best lists all over the internet for good reason. They promise up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge with a further two charges in the case, which is better than competitors that cost three times as much. The case also has a touch of class with an aluminum chassis and USB Type-C charging, something not everything on this list has. There are also individual charging lights for each earbud and the case, which is nifty. The graphene-enhanced drivers are said to produce competitive audio quality with impressive bass, and there's support for AAC and aptX codecs.
- Creative Outlier Air — $79.99 — Amazon
While their starting prices are above the $100 cutoff we set for this post, both the Samsung Galaxy Buds and the Zolo Liberty+ can now be had for less. The Galaxy Buds have dropped below $100 a couple of times before, and are sure to again at some point, so keep an eye out. In my review, I found they offered superb fit and comfort, a case smaller than most, up to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge, and well-rounded audio comparable to much more expensive rivals.
The Zolo Liberty+ have now seen a permanent price drop down to $100. David reviewed them last year and thought they sounded as good as other $150 competitors and got impressively loud. He called them "the best all-rounder wireless earbuds" at the time, and while they might have been surpassed in that by the Galaxy Buds, they are still a solid purchase for 100 bucks.