6 brilliant but affordable AirPods alternatives


AirPods might just be the best wireless buds you can pair with Apple devices, but they’re also pretty expensive. Plenty of more affordable options that deliver stellar sound and reliable connectivity in a neat design are available.

So, if you’re buying on a budget this holiday season, skip the Apple Store and check out these six brilliant but more affordable alternatives to AirPods.

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Affordable alternatives to AirPods

The newest AirPods models start at $179, and while they may work beautifully with iPhone and iPad — and other Apple devices — Apple isn’t the only company that knows how to make a great pair of wireless earphones.

The likes of Amazon, Anker, JBL, and Samsung all offer excellent, highly rated buds that are fully compatible with any smartphone, tablet, or computer that’s equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. Here are some stellar options.

Note that many of the headphones listed below are currently on sale, so be sure to bag them before their prices return to normal.

Beats Studio Buds come in white, red and black.
Almost as good as AirPods Pro, but a lot more affordable.
Photo: Beats

Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds take everything that’s great about AirPods Pro and pack it into a sportier, more affordable design. They offer two listening modes, including ANC, and up to eight hours of listening time in between charges.

Unlike AirPods, Studio Buds are also IPX4-rated for water-resistance, and because they’re made by Apple, they work just as well with other Apple devices. They also come in black and red, as well as the usual white, and they’re now just $129.95 ($20 off).

Anker Soundcore P3
Anker is known for its great accessories, and the Soundcore P3 don’t disappoint.
Photo: Anker

Anker Soundcore P3

Anker’s highly rated Soundcore P3 earbuds are a steal at just $79.99. They not only promise impressive sound and active noise cancellation, but also a variety of different listening modes for things like gaming and transparency.

Soundcore P3 buds are water-resistant, and they pack three tiny microphones into each bud for outstanding call quality. You also get seven hours of battery life in between charges, and the ability to track them when they get lost.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Yes, they’re made by Samsung — but they’re also awesome earbuds.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

They might be made by Samsung, but the $99.99 ($50 off) Galaxy Buds+ earbuds work great with Apple devices — and they’re arguably just as impressive as AirPods, with outstanding sound quality from a two-way dynamic speaker system.

Galaxy Buds+ are water-resistant design and offer excellent battery life, running for a whopping 11 hours on a single charge. And unlike Apple’s most affordable buds, they also come with wireless charging as standard.

Amazon Echo Buds
Hands-free Alexa whenever you need it.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon Echo Buds

In addition to decent sound and active noise cancellation, Amazon’s Echo Buds pack the power of Alexa, giving you instant, hands-free access to an intelligent digital assistant that can control your music, answer your queries, and more.

Echo Buds sport a compact and lightweight design that doesn’t mind getting a little sweaty. They also have a handy Passthrough listening mode, which works just like the Transparency mode on AirPods and other buds.

Their only downside? Echo Buds are a little skimpy on battery life (like AirPods themselves), with only five hours of listening time in between charges. But they are just $89.99 ($30 off) right now.

Motorola Tech3
The only wireless buds on this list with a modular design.
Photo: Motorola

Motorola Tech3 3-in-1

Motorola’s Tech3 earbuds miss out on features like active noise cancellation at $47.99, but they do have a unique trick up their sleeve: Unlike every other pair of headphones on this list, they can be used in three different ways.

Wear them like normal earbuds, wear them around your neck for a more secure fit while working out, or use the included cable to connect them directly to a headphone jack when they run out of juice.

When it is time to charge, Tech31 buds will give you three hours of listening time of a 15-minute top-up. Charge them to 100% and you’ll get up to seven hours before they need plugging in again.

JBL Tune
Some of the cheapest but still decent wireless earbuds money can buy.
Photo: JBL

JBL Tune 125TWS

If you’re after something as affordable as the Tech3 buds above, but you would prefer greater sound over a modular design, check out JBL’s Tune 125TWS headphones, which promise high-quality audio with booming bass for just $49.95.

The 125TWS are completely wireless, offering up to eight hours of music playback on a single charge, and up to 32 with the included case. They’re also a steal at under $50, and users love them, with glowing reviews on Amazon.

Note: Prices are subject to change.


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