The best AirPods alternatives for under $100

Although the new Powerbeats and AirPods may suggest you have to pay a premium to get true wireless earbuds, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. Good, cheap true wireless headphones are more prevalent than ever. Today we’re going to separate the high-value products from the rest.

If you want more detail on each pick, visit the deep-dive article at SoundGuys which further breaks down each awardee and the testing methodology.

Related: What makes a good pair of true wireless earbuds?| Best earbuds under $50

Best all-around: Creative Outlier Air

Each earbuds has an LED ring to indicate connection status.

Reasons to consider the Creative Outlier Air: 

  • These standout from the cheap crowd with their dual-codec support of AAC and aptX.
  • Athletes will appreciate the IPX5 water-resistant build.
  • The bass-heavy sound isn’t overpowering and appeals to a broad audience.
  • Microphone quality is good for quick calls.
  • The 7.78-hour battery life is great, and the case charges via USB-C.
Buy at Creative

Best workout: JLab JBuds Air Executive

The earbuds in the charging case with the case open.

The charging case opens to reveal the earbuds, which must be removed simultaneously to properly initiate pairing mode.

Reasons to consider the JLab JBuds Air Executive:

  • The earbuds are IP55-rated to ensure dust and water-resistance.
  • Standalone battery life is good, and a sleek charging case with an integrated USB charging cable is included.
  • Isolation is excellent, facilitating strong bass emphasis.
  • AAC support is great for iPhone users.
Buy at JLab

Best sound: Monoprice True Wireless

Monoprice cheap true wireless earbuds in case an din front of a black vintage lens.

The Monoprice True Wireless earbuds are IPX4-rated, and smaller than most of the competition.

Reasons to consider the Monoprice True Wireless:

  • IPX4 water-resistance
  • Good sound quality
  • Chic earbud and case design
  • Easy-to-operate playback controls
Buy at Amazon

Best battery life: Rowkin Ascent Micro

Rowkin Ascent Micro cheap true wireless earbuds on a couch with the charging case in the background.

The Rowkin Ascent Micro is one of the more expensive options listed, but it’s designed with athletes in mind and is easy to grip with sweaty hands.

Reasons to consider the Rowkin Ascent Micro:

  • IPX5 water-resistance
  • Comprehensive touch controls
  • Portable design with AirPods-like charging case
  • Effective isolation and noise-reduction performance
Buy at Amazon

Best connectivity: Jam Ultra

The Jam Ultra cheap true wireless earbuds resting against the charging case.

A cloth-like wrap encases the charging case and earbud housings, giving it an unique look.

Reasons to consider the Jam Ultra:

  • Unique cloth-wrap design makes the earbuds and case easy to grip
  • Reliable connectivity
  • Bass lovers will enjoy the exaggerated low-end in lieu of crystal clear reproduction
Buy at Amazon
For greater detail, read the full article; it includes excellent alternatives and more information regarding how we chose and tested the awardees.

Notable mentions

JLab JBuds Air true wireless: The earbuds in the case which is open and angled away (slightly) from the lens.

The JLab JBuds Air truly wireless earbuds lack aptX and AAC support but stay connected within a three-meter range.

  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air: These are great for Android users who don’t want a pair of AirPods lookalikes without the expense.
  • JLab JBuds Air: These are even more affordable than the JBuds Air Executive and are IP55-rated.

What you should know about the cheap true wireless earbuds

  • High-quality Bluetooth codecs afford better audio quality and reduced latency.
  • Standalone battery life with truly wireless earbuds is generally sub par, and the cheaper options are no exception. Granted, picks like the Creative Outlier Air are vastly improving battery life.
  • Water-resistance, while not as prevalent as with workout earbuds, is an occasional feature in cheap true wireless earbuds.
  • Cheap true wireless earbuds won’t typically don’t outperform their more expensive counterparts when it comes to sound quality, but that can be mitigated by a good fit and with proper ear tips.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

Working at SoundGuys is a full-time job for each team member, and every writer has multiple years of experience when it comes to reviewing audio products. SoundGuys is constantly checking the pulse of the rapidly evolving world of audio, allowing the team to understand what consumers what and what they deserve.

Adam wearing the Samsung Gear IconX, which are too expensive to be cheap true wireless earbuds.

The SoundGuys team tests as many audio products as possible through both subjective and objective measures.

We want our readers to be happy with their purchases, and none of our writers may benefit from recommending product X over product Y. To greater understand how the site operates, visit the SoundGuys ethics policy page.

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