Best budget earbuds: From cut-price noise cancelling to True Wireless bargains

·3-min read
Take your music with you with these bargain earbuds (Getty Images)
Take your music with you with these bargain earbuds (Getty Images)

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Lighter, louder and with oodles of stamina, the latest in-ear headphones will have you hankering for a sonic upgrade - and if you’re quick off the mark, you’ll bag yourself a bargain too.  

From cut-price high performers with cutting-edge noise cancelling, to high-fashion True Wireless models that offer cable-free listening, there’s some brilliant deals to be had, and prices start at just £19.99...

Under £20

These necklace-style Bluetooth earbuds from budget label JLab can currently be picked up for just £19.99 from Argos, making them a tempting low cost option if you want to cut the wired chord for less.

Buy it: JLab Jbuds Pro wireless earbuds | £19.99 from Argos

They come with an adjustable eartip for a really secure fit, and have three EQ curves built in (Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost), that you can select without having to navigate an app. The ten hour battery life is impressive, and they’re IP55-rated for sweat and water resistance, making them a good option for sporty types.

True Wireless bestsellers

The second of our JLab recommendations, these True Wireless dot-style £19.99 earbuds are a best seller for Amazon. The drivers are small at 8mm, but a Bass Boost mode is available to put a little more bounce into your tunes. Battery life is good at five hours, and there’s 15 more stored in the charging case.

Buy it: JLab Go Air Bluetooth True Wireless earphones | £19.99 from Amazon

They work with Siri and Google Assistant too. Fashionistas will appreciate the blue and green colour options, which make a welcome change from standard black or white.

Under £25

If you don’t need True Wireless earbuds, Sony’s behind-the-neck necklace-style WI-C200 are difficult to resist. These wireless Bluetooth earbuds are available from Currys PC World for just £24.99.

Buy it: Sony WI-C200 Wireless Bluetooth Earphones | £24.99 from Currys

Great for everyday use and the morning workout, they boast a class-leading 15 hours battery life, and will work with Google Assistant, courtesy of a quick access button.

True Wireless champs under £45

For affordable big brand True Wireless earbuds, you can’t beat JBL’s Tune 115WS. Currys PC World is currently selling them for just £44.99.

Battery life is a generous six hours, and there’s another 15 hours in the supplied charging case.

Buy it: JBL Tune 115TWS | £44.99 from Currys

Available in either white or black finishes, the Tune are dot (rather than stalk) style, with big JBL branding that implies that they cost more than they actually do. They’re smart too, working with Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.

The investment 

If you want a great value for money on high performance earbuds, Huawei’s fabulous Freebuds 4 should be on your radar. 

Unlike the rest of the headphones in our group, Huawei’s stick-style earbuds offer dual microphone noise cancellation, with clever adaptive Adaptive Ear Matching technology. 

Buy it: Huawei Freebuds 4 True Wireless | £129 from Argos

The buds can analyse your ear shape, and then automatically select the most effective noise cancelling filter. By design, the Freebuds 4 don’t offer complete isolation, but in many ways that’s a good thing if you want or need to be aware of your surroundings when out and about.

They also sound superb. Big 14.3mm dynamic drivers offer crisp treble, with a surprisingly fulsome bass.

In regular use, you’ll get four hours battery life, although this drops to 2.5 if you switch noise cancelling on. With the charging case, you’ll have a 15 hour reserve. Helpfully, they re-charge in just 15 minutes. We rate them a great alternative to Apple’s Airpods Pro.

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