1More Piston Fit BT
The Piston Fit BT earbuds sound more expensive than they are, and they come with a nice assortment of features for such a low price.
Having reviewed more than a thousand pairs of headphones (and over 200 for this guide alone), we are not easily surprised—but the 1More Piston Fit BT earbuds wowed us. In our tests, these neckband-style wireless earbuds (the two earbuds are connected by a flexible band) offered a balanced, clear sound that all our testers thought was far better than one might expect from $30 earbuds. The thin, lightweight neckband rests comfortably around the neck and coils up for easy storage in a pocket. 1More includes four sizes of ear tips in the package, so everyone on our panel was able to get a secure fit. The aluminum earbuds feel sturdy, and magnets hold them together so you can wear them around your neck when you’re not using them. The controls are easy to manipulate by feel, and the eight-hour battery life will get you through a full workday. The IPX4 water-resistance rating means you don’t need to worry about a little rain on your commute, and the one-year warranty protects you from any other hiccups.
EarFun Free 2S
The EarFun Free 2S earbuds are completely wireless and come with a lot of features you don’t usually find at this price, but the sound quality isn’t as balanced as on our top pick.
If completely wireless earbuds are a better fit for your lifestyle and you don’t want to pay more than about $50, we recommend the EarFun Free 2S set. You get a lot of features with this affordable pair of earbuds: a wireless charging case, a full complement of tap-based controls, clear-sounding microphones for phone calls, and seven hours of listening time per charge (with 23 more hours in the case). The earbuds have a high water-resistance rating of IPX7, so you don’t need to stress if you drop them into a puddle. Plus, EarFun backs the Free 2S pair with an 18-month warranty. However, these earbuds don’t sound as balanced as the 1More Piston Fit BT pair, with a pronounced high-frequency spike that may be fatiguing for sensitive listeners.
Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit
The RP-TCM125 ErgoFit wired earbuds sound quite good for their super-affordable price, and they come with an optional single-button remote and microphone.
If you want to spend the absolute least amount possible and still get quality sound, you can’t beat the Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit wired earbuds. The RP-TCM125 pair has a nice balanced sound, with airy, mellow highs and present but not dominating bass. Unlike on most competitors in this price range, every sonic frequency plays well with the others, so this pair sounds just as good with acoustic guitar as it does with hip-hop and rock music. This set doesn’t have the depth of field (the sense that music emanates from performers located at various positions in a given space, rather than a flat wall of sound) or bass quality of the 1More Piston Fit BT, and you do have to contend with wires, but for the price, the RP-TCM125 is still great. The ErgoFit earbuds have an optional single-button remote/mic on the cable, and they come in a variety of colors.