Best value earbuds reviewed – work without wires!

Best value earbudsThis post reviews the best value earbuds of 2019 that let you work without wires!

Whether you are feeding the baby a bottle, speaking on the phone while preparing dinner or listening to music while exercising, those cords can get in the way. I have lost count of the number of times the cord has been ripped from my phone while working. About a year ago I bought a pair of wireless earbuds and have never looked back.

There are so many different options out there, it can be hard to know which ones give you the best bang for your buck.  So for your convenience, I have researched the top rated earbuds for different price points and looked at what real customers are saying. The recommendations are based on the product features, quality and customer reviews. If you are looking for the earbuds that give you the best value overall, then jump to the TBI Pro Wireless Earbuds review by clicking here.



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Best Premium Earbuds

Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods

Let’s start with the popular Apple Airpods.

While the sound quality of AirPods is excellent and the special features when paired with an iPhone are handy, (e.g auto pausing a track when you take the AirPods out of your ears and integration with Siri), there are some downsides to this popular choice which may cause you to consider alternatives.

Customers complain that the AirPods fall out easily. There are no hooks to secure the AirPods to your ears which is problematic when you are exercising.  AirPods are also not waterproof or water resistant which again is not ideal if you are planning on using them outdoors.

I have reviewed two premium earphones below which I think are excellent alternatives to the AirPods.

Bose® SoundSport® Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones

Where to Buy: Amazon.comBose SoundSport Wireless Headphones

Overall Rating on Amazon: 3.4/5 (1,554 reviews)

Build Quality: 4.2/5

Sound: 4.3/5

Battery Life: 4.1/5

Recommendation: An excellent alternative to Apple AirPods. Best choice for truly wireless earphones when considering sound quality.

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Pros

  • Sound quality – Better sound quality than the AirPods and Jabra Elite after the recent firmware update.
  • Battery life – five hours on a single charge.  Fifteen hours with the charge case (contains a battery for charging)
  • Build quality – Excellent
  • Microphone and remote – Excellent even in a noisy background according to customer reviews
  • Bluetooth – Some customers have reported cut out issues (see below)
  • Fit – Comes with multiple size ear tips and hooks. Very stable when exercising
  • Water resistant – Sweat proof and can be worn in the rain.  IPX4 rating.
  • Charge Case comes with a battery to give two additional full charges when your earbuds are in the case.
  • ‘Find My Buds’ feature to locate lost earbuds
  • iPhone and Siri integration
  • Warranty – 12 months

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life on a single charge
  • IPX4 rating – only water resistant, not waterproof
  • For its relatively large size, the charging case only supplies two full charges.
  • Earbuds noticeably protrude from the ears

What the customers have to say

On Amazon.com there are over 1500 reviews of these earphones which provide a great insight into the customer experience.  The majority of customer reviews are positive with the sound quality being the standout feature that customers have enjoyed. The major customer complaint was an issue with syncing audio when watching a video on your iPhone or iPad. This appears to have been corrected by a recent firmware update. Customers need to update this themselves using the Bose® connect app.  Some customers have complained that the Bluetooth frequently cuts out.  Again, Bose® has provided a firmware update to correct this issue on the connect app or offered replacement.

Jabra Elite Active 65t True Wireless Sports Earbuds

Where to Buy: Amazon.comJabra Elite Active 65t

Overall Rating on Amazon: 3.7/5 (1,150 reviews)

Build Quality: 4.2/5

Sound: 4.0/5

Battery Life: 4.3/5

Recommendation: Another excellent alternative to Apple AirPods. Sound quality is not quite on par with Bose® but design protrudes less than the Bose®.

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Pros

  • Sound quality – Very good but not on par with Bose® SoundSport®
  • Battery life –  five hours on a single charge. Fifteen hours with the charge case (contains a battery for charging).
  • Build quality – Plastic but highly durable according to customer reviews.
  • Microphone and remote – Excellent even in a noisy background.
  • Special features – ability to hear passive sound (e.g people talking) while still cutting out background noise
  • Bluetooth – No consistent issues reported by customers. Customers enjoyed a seamless pairing with multiple devices.
  • Fit – Despite not having the hooks, customers have found these earbuds fit very securely even during exercise. Do not protrude like the Bose® SoundSport®
  • Water resistant – Sweat and dust proof.  IP56 rating.
  • Charge Case comes with a battery to give two additional full charges when your earbuds are in the case.
  • Warranty – 2 years

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life on a single charge.
  • IP56 rating – only water resistant, not waterproof.
  • A few customers have reported the design is uncomfortable to wear after prolonged use.

What the customers have to say

Of the over 1100 reviews on Amazon, the overwhelming consensus is that these earphones are a great find. The trending concerns raised were that the sound quality was less than other premium earphones and there were some customers who also found the Jabra Elite uncomfortable to wear after prolonged use.

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Best Overall Value Earbuds

When looking for earphones that provide the best overall value, I researched many products on the market that were significantly cheaper than the premium brands. I eventually settled on the TBI Pro Wireless Earbuds. They have had so many positive customer reviews and had many of the features of the premium products.

TBI Pro True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Where to Buy: Amazon.comTBI Pro Wireless Earbuds

Overall Rating on Amazon: 4.2/5 (1025 reviews)

Build Quality: 4.2/5

Sound: 4.3/5

Battery Life: 4.2/5

Recommendation: The TBI Pro provides the best overall value when considering features, quality and price. These are not for audiophiles, who should consider the premium earphones.

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Pros

  • Price – At the time of review this product was under $50 at Amazon.com
  • Sound quality – Very good for the price point, but not as good as the Bose® or Jabra earphones.
  • Charge Case – Earphones can last up to 24 hours with the charge case and 4-6 hours battery life on a single charge
  • Build quality – Excellent for the price
  • Microphone – The majority of reviews were happy with the microphone quality.
  • Bluetooth – Reliable
  • Fit – Comes with multiple size ear tips and is a stable fit. The design does not protrude from the ears
  • Water resistance – IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof.
  • Customer satisfaction money back guarantee

Cons

  • Sound quality does not compare to higher-end earphones.
  • Does not have volume control on the earbuds

What the customers have to say

Of the over 1000 reviews, the overwhelming feedback from customers is that these earbuds are well made and great value for the price. Customers have stated the sound quality is above average but not on par with the premium brands. A small number of customers complained that the earbuds would not stay in because they had small ear canals.  Overall the consensus was a good quality product that represented great value for money.

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Best Budget Earbuds

If you are on a tight budget and need to go a step down from the TBI Pro in terms of price, then I recommend the Anker SoundBuds Slim+ earphones.   These were under the $30 at the time of review.  They lack some of the features of the TBI Pro (such as being truly wireless) but represent good quality and value at this price point.

Anker SoundBuds Slim+Anker Earbuds Slim+

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Overall Rating on Amazon: 3.9/5 (1,188 reviews)

Build Quality: 4.0/5

Sound: 3.9/5

Battery Life: 3.7/5

Recommendation: You cannot go wrong if you are looking for budget wireless earphones for under $30. It is worth spending the extra few dollars to buy the latest model that has improved battery life and microphone.

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Pros

  • Price – under $30 at Amazon.com
  • Sound quality – Good for the price point and includes aptX technology.
  • Battery life – Seven hours which is excellent for the price point
  • Build quality – Excellent for the price
  • Microphone – Microphone sound is good according to customer reviews
  • Bluetooth – Reliable
  • Fit – Comes with multiple size ear tips and hooks. Very stable when exercising.
  • Water resistance – Sweat proof and can be worn in the rain
  • Warranty – 18 months

Cons

  • Sound quality cannot compare to higher end earphones.
  • Not truely wireless
  • Does not have a charging case

What the customers have to say

From the 1000 reviews on Amazon, the overwhelming consensus from customers is that the product is  great value for the price.  Some customers have complained about quality issues with the product. These complaints are varied and there doesn’t seem to be a clear trend. a small number of customers have reported that the battery life can reduce over time. Once again this is not an issue in the majority of reviews ad so may be a quality issue that can occur in a small percentage of units.

I hope you found this review useful. I would be very keen to hear about your experiences with any of these products.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.  Enjoy being more hands on while you’re hands free!

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Disclaimer

This page contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these links to make a purchase I receive a small commission – at no cost to you! This allows me to continue doing what I love to do – providing helpful information to dad’s and their families. Your support is greatly appreciated!


6 Comments

  1. I am looking for a completly wireless pair of headphones because my cat loves to chew headphone wires so im looking to get around this problem!

    Im loving the encafire wireless earphones, customer reviews seem to be good and the all important sound quality is good enough for me, a microphone and them being waterproof have them as my winner here

    Thanks for this great insight into some great options!

    1. Hi Dianne, It sounds like the TBI Pro would be a great fit for your needs. There are so many positive reviews on Amazon for these earphones, I don’t think you can go wrong for the price.

      I wish you all the best with your purchase!

      John

  2. Hello John,

    What a great idea the creators of wireless headphones had without wires.

    How many tasks today we can do without these annoying cables.

    The models that you expose I observe an important variety in the prices.

    In my case I prefer those that offer me an excellent sound quality and that is very stable when I perform exercises.

    I see two with possibilities of purchase I will contact you again in case of doubts.

    Claudio

    1. Hi Claudio, great to hear there are two options I have reviewed that may suit your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need any advice on your purchase.

      All the best,

      John

  3. Hi John, thanks for good picks and product review. My family will look for products by looking for the price criteria before anything, which is not always a good idea. Based on your experience, is the lower price product always less durable or having shorter life when having the same features?

    Thanks for sharing.

    Taviwan

  4. Hi Taviwan, thanks for your question. In my experience, generally speaking you get what you pay for in terms of quality, but I have had many instances where I have paid for a less expensive product and it has proven to be durable and has lasted a long time. For the earbuds I have reviewed in this article they should all be durable and last a long time. The main difference between the lower cost buds and the more expensive is the sound quality. If sound quality is most important to you when choosing earbuds, I would recommend you choose either the Bose or the Jabra.

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