The best budget wireless earbuds for 2024

Bluetooth: v5.2 | ANC: No | Transparency mode: No | Custom EQ: Yes | Charging port: USB-C | Wireless charging: No | Water resistance: IPX2 | Multipoint connectivity: Yes (2 devices) | Wear detection: Yes | Battery life (rated): 5 hrs, 6 hrs w/ wake word off, 20 hrs w/ case | Fast charging: 15 mins = 2 hrs | Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Warranty: 1 year

All of our picks so far are technically earphones, meaning they extend into your ear canal. For some people, that is inherently uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the market for decent yet affordable “earbuds,” which rest on the concha instead of going all the way in your ear, is spotty. If you can’t bring yourself to pay for a pair of AirPods, though, the Amazon Echo Buds are a worthy compromise at $50.

The plastic earpieces here aren’t exactly premium, but they rest lightly in the ear and feel sturdily put together. They let in and leak noise more easily than in-ear headphones, but if you prefer open earbuds, that’s more of a feature than a bug. If the fit doesn’t feel right, you can shed a little bulk by removing the pre-installed silicone covers. (Like most open earbuds, though, comfort here is dependent on your ear shape.) Mic quality is more than adequate, and the circular touch panels give ample room for using the controls, which are customizable and consistently responsive. Battery life sits around five hours, which is middling but not out of character for budget earbuds. The pocket-friendly case adds about three full charges, but it’s worth noting that Amazon doesn’t include a USB-C charging cable. A poor IPX2 water resistance rating means you should avoid the gym with these, too.

While the Echo Buds sound fine out of the box, I’d use the EQ sliders in the Alexa app to bring down the treble a click or two. By default, the highs are a bit too edgy. That said, this emphasis lends a nice crispness to things like vocals, cymbals and strings, and there’s enough separation to keep complex tracks from sounding totally muddled. The profile here isn’t as full-bodied as the latest AirPods, and no open earbuds deliver true sub-bass, but there’s at least some rumble for hip-hop and EDM.

Unlike many cheap earbuds, the Echo Buds support auto-pausing and multi-device pairing. I often had to manually pause playback on one device before I could switch to the other, but having the feature at all at this price is great. Unsurprisingly, they also come with Alexa baked in, which you can access hands-free. You manage the Echo Buds through the Alexa app, which is much more cluttered than a dedicated audio app but includes extras like a lost device tracker and sidetone control for phone calls. And if you want nothing to do with Alexa, it also lets you turn off the mics and wake-word support.

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