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  • Marianne Zara

Cheap Alternatives to AirPods

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Woman wearing pink headphones while holding her iPhone 7 in pink case

AirPods cost from $159 to $249 for in-ear AirPods, and $549 for over-ear AirPods. However, there are cheap AirPods alternatives. Some of these cheap AirPods for sale have almost the same features as the original and could go for as low as $50.

Cheap AirPods don’t always equate to extremely poor quality. It will lack some high-end features like active noise cancellation or sophisticated equalizers but it may be able to compete with its design, audio quality, Bluetooth connectivity, or ease of use. We’ve rounded up the best budget earbuds that aren’t at par with Apple’s features. Here are your top 5 cheap AirPods:

1. AirBuds Pro / Air Pro 3 Truly Wireless

If you're looking for an almost exact copy but cheap AirPods, you can’t go wrong with the AirBuds Pro, also known as Air Pro 3. It is a cheaper AirPods alternative available for less than $50.

It looks similar to your AirPods Pro

Talk about alternatives, let’s start with something that looks similar to your AirPods, - white, minimalist, and sleek. Its charging case and AirPods are of the same length and height as the original. The in-ear tips are also silicone that you may remove for easy cleaning.

It uses Bluetooth 5.0

The connection of the Air Pro 3 with your device is stable. It doesn’t disconnect easily - we all know how difficult it is to have an AirPods that would disconnect every so often. But because it also features a Bluetooth version 5.0 similar to your AirPods, it’s easy to pair and there’s a great connection. The Air Pro 3 uses Fast-Pair technology which easily recognizes other Bluetooth devices.

To connect, simply press the function button and connect to Air Pro 3 TWS for Android OS and Microsoft OS. As for iOS, wait for the pop-up window.

It also uses smart sensors

It has smart sensors and touch control panels that make everybody’s life simpler. Upon pairing, just put it out from its charging case and the smart sensor will transfer your audio on your cheap AirPods. May it be your music, your call, or a podcast, once the AirPods detects itself in-ear, it will activate. So just wear them and let your music play. Once you remove them, the smart sensors will deactivate your AirPods sensing you’re not using them.

Moreover, even these cheap AirPods have touch control panels to answer or reject calls, play, pause music, and even, go to the previous or next song. Another awesome feature of the touch control panels is that you can activate voice assistants by tapping 2 times.

It is also water-resistant

You may also take it to your workout or running session since it’s resistant to splashes of sweat and water.

The difference with AirPods Pro

It may not have the AirPods’ sought-after ANC but it offers a good noise isolation feature. Remember that it mimics the AirPods, and silicone tips. Once in the ear, these tips go in your ear already isolating some external noise.

Another difference is its buds’ battery which only lasts for about 5 hours. Its charge time is pretty long as well. You need a whole 1.5 hours for it to charge fully. These are probably the features they let go of to achieve cheap AirPods.

2. Taotronics Soundliberty 94 Truly Wireless

Not many would’ve heard about Taotronics Soundliberty 94 Truly Wireless but it has made our list because its features are more than commendable. For less than $60 Taotronics gives you the ANC feature that most cheap AirPods don’t have.

It has the same comfortability and portability as the AirPods Pro

The Taotronics Soundliberty 94 is as comfortable as the AirPods Pro having silicone tips that provide a comfortable feel on any ear. They’re a little bit tinier than the AirPods Pro but their compactness and lightweight condition make them perfect for workouts.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0

Like the AirPods and your cheap AirPods - Air Pro 3, it also supports Bluetooth version 5.0 meaning it’s fast in finding Bluetooth devices and fast in pairing. It also means a strong and stable connection with your device and not an on/off Bluetooth relationship.

Its active noise canceling feature can be comparable to AirPods Pro

We mentioned that the AirPods Pro uses outward and inward microphones to block both external and internal noises. Taotronics is your cheap AirPods with ANC. They use 2 outward-facing and 2 inward-facing microphones to block out any background noise. It could even block airplane noises or gym noises. Its ANC is so commendable, that it could compare with your AirPods. With its ANC, you can hear your music, calls, or podcasts.

It has ambient mode features

A go-to when it comes to cheap AirPods Pro, it also mimics the AirPods ambient mode. This enables you to be aware of your surroundings and hear what’s going on around you.

It has intuitive touch control panels

Like your AirPods, you may play and pause the sound. You may also skip a track, return to a song and activate the voice assistant on your phone. Generally, this is a pro of these cheap AirPods. However, sometimes the touch panels miss so it depends on how patient you are with the touch controls.

It is also water-resistant

They may not be waterproof i.e., you cannot submerge them in water but they can take in splashes, may it be sweat or water.

The difference with AirPods Pro

The Taotronics Soundliberty 94 doesn’t support type-C, instead, it uses a micro USB charger. Also, its battery life was said to be 8-hours of playtime with ANC off and additional 32 hours with the charging case. However, when ANC is on, battery health is said to be a lot shorter - less than 50%.

3. Tozo T6

The Tozo T6 is also an AirPods replica that you wouldn’t want to miss. It may not look exactly like the AirPods (and the Air Pro 3) but it copies the all-white charging case facade and the idea of having green lights the blink for connection. Its earbuds are somehow similar, having an all-white body color. It just differed in shape and the ear tips itself where you place the silicone tips. Apart from its AirPods-like design, its features are also notable with a price tag of only $40.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0

Like the Air Pro 3 and Taotronics, Bluetooth 5.0 is the recommended minimum BT version for wireless earbuds to ensure a strong and stable connection, especially during a call.

It features smart sensors

This cheap AirPods features a one-step pairing similar to the AirPods. It pairs automatically to another Bluetooth device. It also features smart sensors in a way that when you put it in your ear, it will be detected so you may play your music or podcasts, or continue with your call.

Its battery life is the same as the AirPods

The TOZO T6 wireless earbuds last for up to 6 hours of playtime from a single charge. Its charging case carries 24 extra hours like the AirPods.

It supports Qi wireless charging

Like the AirPods, the Tozo supports Qi wireless charging. It charges fast and needs not to be plugged in. Just leave it on your table to charge.

The difference with AirPods Pro

The Tozo went beyond the AirPod in its IPX rating. The Tozo has IPX8 making its AirPods and case waterproof. The inner Nano-coating makes it possible to be submerged in the water about 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. Because of this, you may take it to your most sweaty activity.

4. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

This pair of cheap AirPods is highly praised for its audio quality. Although it is not as cheap as the previous ones. The Cambridge Audio Melomania can compete with higher-priced AirPods with its built-in speakers. These cheap AirPods cost $130 - higher than the previously listed ones.

It is as comfortable as the AirPods

It is very lightweight. The AirPods weigh 4 grams for each bud while the AirPods Pro weighs 5.4 grams per bud. Cambridge is just 4.6g per earbud. Also, we use silicone tips like that of the AirPods Pro.

It has advanced features like the AirPods

It features Find My earbuds for easy finding when you cannot find your cheap AirPods. It also has a high-performance audio mode to provide you with the highest quality of your Melomania which is not at par with the AirPods.

The difference with AirPods Pro

It outperforms Apple’s AirPods when it comes to battery life. The Melomania offers 45 hours of battery life. With over a $100 price tag, you would say it’s not one of those cheap AirPods anymore but considering the features it presents, this is a cheaper alternative.

5. JLab JBuds Air

The JLab JBuds Air (along with Cambridge Melomania) are the ones we’ve listed before but we are listing them again as they are still the best cheap alternatives for the AirPods. This JLab JBuds features 3 EQ settings (Balanced, Bass Boost, and Signature) - an advanced feature for a $40 AirPods.

It features a similar Bluetooth version as the AirPods

This pair of cheap AirPods have Bluetooth 5.0 that easily detects other devices and connects with them. Moreso, its Bluetooth range is like the AirPods with a 10-meter reach. Further, it also uses an auto-connect feature.

It offers water-resistance

It has an IPX55 certification which means it can withstand sweat and splashing water similar to the AirPods. However, it can't be submerged in water.

The difference with AirPods

JLab JBuds Air may have nice features that you will love but what they probably let go of to offer these cheap AirPods is the battery life. It is only good for 4 hours, plus an extra 10 hours of use with the charging case.

They also offer colored versions such as Black, Green, and Navy Blue. It also differs from the AirPods in its bulkiness which might get uncomfortable if you wear them for long periods.

Cheap Air Buds Can Come as Neat

Despite the low prices, cheap Air Buds can offer features that are not too far away from the most sought-after AirPods. They would lack a quality you may also be looking for but that’s how they are made affordable to the market. For instance, the battery life is mostly what was sacrificed to offer these best-budget Air Buds. Nonetheless, they have extremely sophisticated features that are already comparable with mid-end brands.

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