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Best cheap wireless headphones in 2021

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Last updated: 22 October 2021

So, you’re looking for a new pair of headphones. Maybe your old headphones are starting to look old and tattered, or maybe it’s just time for an upgrade, but how do you choose? All the ‘good’ headphones are incredibly expensive, right? 
 
Actually, they aren’t. The very best headphones might set you back a bit, but they aren’t a necessity. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a pair of headphones that will bring your music to life. Of course, if you are an audiophile, you’ll need to stick to the better-known brands. For casual listening, however, the headphones on this list should suit you perfectly. 

1. SKULLCANDY Hesh 3 S6HTW-K033 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Best for: Sound

An excellent pair of headphones and currently on sale for just £49.99, they are an absolute steal. The music quality is superb, and with a long-lasting battery life, you can rest easy knowing that the Hesh 3 will keep playing for a while yet. Some customers reported that the microphone occasionally loses its clarity, although this shouldn’t be enough of an issue to deter you from buying them. They are incredibly comfortable, and you might not even realise you’ve been wearing them all day.

Pros:

  • Very comfortable: Memory foam ear cups mean you can comfortably wear these for hours at a time.
  • Long battery life: The Hesh 3 headphones come with a brilliant 22 hours of battery life, perfect for listening to music all day long.
  • Rapid charge: Should your headphones be running low on battery, put them on charge for 10 minutes and they’ll get enough juice for 4 hours of playback.
  • Aux cable backup: If you’ve run out battery completely, you can plug in an aux cable and continue listening without any further interruption.
  • Ear cup buttons: You can control your music, volume and calls without even touching your phone, so there’s no need for it to leave your pocket

Cons:

  • Microphone: Some customers have reported that the inbuilt microphone sometimes lacks clarity.
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2. Sony WHCH510B

Best for: Battery life

If you’re looking for value for money, you’ll struggle to do better than the Sony WHCH510s. What they may lack in music control, they more than make up for in price, comfort, and sound quality. And the battery life is exceptional. You could listen to up to 5 hours of music a day for a week on a single charge.

Pros:

  • 10m connection: These headphones can remain connected to your phone or connected media device from up to 10 metres away.
  • Staggering battery life: With up to 35 hours of playback on a single charge, the WHCH510s are capable of playing your entire playlist in one sitting. Again, and again, and again.
  • Sound quality: Sony typically produce some of the best sounding headphones you can get, and these are no exception - especially for the price.
  • USB-C charging: Charging times are so much faster with the inclusion of a USB-C charging port. Never worry about having to leave home without enough battery again.
  • Tactile: The texture on these headphones is a small touch, but a welcome one. Sony consistently focuses on the little details to enhance user experience.

Cons:

  • Fiddly controls: The buttons on the ear cups are difficult to distinguish and use.

 

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3. Philips UpBeat On-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Best for: Comfort

A decent offering from Philips, the UpBeat headphones provide comfort and allow for extended listening sessions. They might let you down if you want to use them for several days in a row, however. Considering their price, they are a decent purchase, but there are better wireless headphones available at a similar cost.

Pros:

  • Foldable design: When not in use, the Philips UpBeats fold for compact, easy storage.
  • Easy earcup controls: Whether you want to pause or skip a track, forget about messing with your phone. Easily accessible earcup buttons can do it instead.
  • Decent battery: With a 15-hour battery life, these headphones are good for a long listening session, but should probably be charged after every use.
  • Snug fit: The on-ear design and cushioning of the UpBeats means they hug your head comfortably.

Cons:

  • No fast charging: These headphones aren’t capable of fast charging, which means you simply have to let them re-juice between uses.

 

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4. JVC HA-S30BT-B-E Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Ear cup buttons and the added range of the JVC S30BTs allow for a lot of freedom from your phone. Leave it on your desk, your pocket or your bag. Either way, you’ll be able to continue listening with ease. The inclusion of a microphone means that even if someone rings, you can have a conversation without hunting for your phone first. Honestly, we prefer these to the S35s. They’re cheaper, and offer almost the same functionality. If you’re looking for a great pair of headphones that won’t cost you too much, then you could do a lot worse than these.

Pros:

  • Ear cup buttons: Handy ear cup buttons let you control the volume of your music, as well as giving you the option to play, pause and even answer a call.
  • 10m range: You can comfortably leave your phone on your desk and keep listening with a strong 10-metre connection range.
  • Swivel ear cups: Want to carry these around with you? The swivel flat feature of the S30s makes them extremely easy to carry.

Cons:

  • No aux input: There’s no option to plug in an aux cable, so if you want to listen to a device without Bluetooth, the S30s aren’t for you.
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5. Kitsound Metro X On-Ear Headphones

A cheaper pair of headphones that can do it all. The Metro X’s look great, and with enough styles to suit everyone you’re certain to find one that fits your personality. Their biggest failure is their shorter battery life, but that isn’t the end of the world. You can get around the battery issue thanks to the inclusion of an aux port. The biggest selling point is that the music quality is pretty good for inexpensive headphones, and they should be able to handle whatever you decide to blast through them.

Pros:

  • Adjustable headband: Don’t worry if they’re a little small at first, just extend the headband to your preferred size and they should fit perfectly.
  • Fashionable: Whether you choose to go for blue, black or pink, there’s no denying that the combination of matte and metallic finishes looks appealing.
  • Aux input: You’ll be able to connect to devices without Bluetooth thanks to the included aux input. A welcome extra to any pair of wireless headphones.
  • Wide range: Whatever your taste in music, the Metro X’s have you covered with strong bass and a range of strong, clear sounds.

Cons:

  • Only 8 hours: If you’re intending to wear these headphones during work hours, the very longest they’ll last is one 8-hour shift. If they’re on the whole time, then they’ll need charging at least once a day.
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6. Skullcandy Cassette™ On-Ear

The Skullcandy Cassettes are a pair of headphones that are very easy to love. Their noise-isolating feature is fantastic at keeping out little noises like whirring machines, which can really help to immerse yourself in the music. Our only gripe is that they are a little expensive, but they are worth the cost - especially when you take into account their 22-hour battery life. If you do decide to buy these, you’ll be rocking out to brilliant sounding music for hours at a time.

Pros:

  • Noise-isolating design: The development of the ear pads was designed to prevent any outside sounds from interrupting your music, without adding the cost of a noise-cancelling processor.
  • Stylish: The cobalt blue colouring of the Skullcandy Cassettes makes them stand out. Perfect for people who see music as a way of life.
  • 22-hour battery life: This long-lasting battery life should only need a couple of charges a week in order to satisfy continuous listening.
  • Easy storage: When not in use, you can easily fold these headphones away. Pop them in your bag and take them anywhere thanks to their lightweight, portable design.

Cons:

  • Slightly pricey: The Cassettes do push the upper limits of a ‘budget’ pair of headphones - although if you don’t mind paying slightly more then they’re a great purchase.
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7. JABRA Move Style Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

These headphones from JABRA offer some of the best sound available in the budget category. They were built by audio experts to deliver the depth and musical clarity headphones should provide. Customers have only experienced minor issues with them, and they are an excellent purchase. We’d absolutely recommend these to anyone buying headphones on a budget.

Pros:

  • Comfortable: The ultra-light, cushioned build of these headphones allows them to remain comfortable, even after hours of playback.
  • Designed by audio experts: Using these headphones, you can be assured that you’re getting the best sound quality available at that price.
  • Good-looking: The Jabra Moves look very sleek and sophisticated, whichever colour you choose.

Cons:

  • Non-folding: The most common issue that customers had was that since these headphones don’t fold up, they can be difficult to put in a bag and carry around.
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8. JVC HA-S35BT-W-U Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

On the whole, these are a very solid pair of headphones. If you already have their predecessors, the S30s, and are looking for an upgrade, these are a decent choice. There are alternatives available for a similar price, but these are a good mid-range option. If you like JVC, then you should definitely check these out. They are a newer, improved model and aesthetically, they look better than the S30s.

Pros:

  • Improved ear cup buttons: With the design slightly improved over the S30s, the ear cup buttons on the S35s are far sleeker.
  • Earpad isolation: The build of the earpads themselves offer some sound isolation to keep external sounds out.
  • Voice assistant compatible: If your device has a voice assistant then you can easily activate it with a simple push of a button on these assistant ready headphones.

Cons:

  • No outstanding features: Despite the fact that these are a very good pair of headphones, the JVC S35s don’t have any features that you can’t find elsewhere.
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9. VOLKANO Phonic VK-2002-BL Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

A brilliant pair of headphones, especially considering their low cost. They have good sound quality, and are very comfortable to wear - a key feature to look for when comparing headphones. Their microphone lets them down slightly, but the 25-hour battery life and the option of several methods of audio input more than makes up for it. These are ones to check out, especially if you’re on a budget.

Pros:

  • Comfortable: Soft, padded ear cups make these headphones extremely comfortable to wear.
  • Inexpensive: This is one pair of headphones that definitely won’t break the bank.
  • Multiple audio inputs: Choose how to listen to your music, from Bluetooth, MicroSD card, or even FM Radio.
  • Detachable aux cable: Whether your headphones are out of battery, or you simply need a wired connection, the Phonic VK-2002s can handle it.

Cons:

  • Poor mic quality: As is natural with budget headphones, less money has been spent on the microphone component - meaning a reduction in quality.
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10. JBL Tune 500BT Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

The JBL Tune 500BT is a fantastic pair of headphones. They might cost more than some of the other headphones on this list, but you get what you pay for. They’ve got buckets of additional functionality, typically found in more luxury headphones (the speed-charging being particularly welcome). They aren’t perfect, and the lack of audio jack shows that. On the whole though, it is a very strong pair of headphones.

Pros:

  • Smartphone assist: The JBL Tunes are fully integrated with Siri and Google support.
  • Wide range of colours: Whatever your preferred style, the range of 4 available colours means one of them should suit you.
  • Seamless device switching: The JBL Tune can automatically switch between tablet and phone, for example if you receive a phone call.
  • Speed charge feature: Running low on battery? Simply plug in for 5 minutes and get enough power for another hour of listening.

Cons:

  • Lacking cable input: If you want to listen to something that needs an audio jack, you’re out of luck.
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11. Vivanco 25174 Mooove Air

These are a good pair of budget headphones. The ear cup buttons keep them in line with other wireless headphones, but the folding design makes them far more portable. Of course, their build quality may be lacking, but despite that, these manage to be a very good-looking pair of wireless headphones. They’re not perfect, but at such a low price there really isn’t anything to complain about.

Pros:

  • Stylish: The red and black tones of the Mooove Airs look great and they can be a great accessory.
  • Swivel and folding joints: For added convenience when on the move, the headphone joints both swivel and fold. This means they pack up tightly, so you can easily pop them in your bag and go.
  • Adjustable headband: If they don’t fit you properly straight out of the box, just adjust the headband until it does.
  • Aux port: For devices without Bluetooth capabilities, simply plug in an aux cable and continue listening to your favourite tunes.

Cons:

  • Build quality: Due to the lower cost of these Vivancos, the build quality doesn’t match up to more expensive headphones.
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12. VOLKANO Impulse Series VB-VH100-BLK Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

A decent pair of budget headphones. You can’t expect them to compete with better brands, but at an incredibly low price, they’re fantastic value for money. They also offer some interesting features, such as FM radio capability. If you need headphones to simply play music and aren’t too bothered by their longevity, then these may be a good fit for you. Because of their low price, they’re easy to replace if they break or get lost.

Pros:

  • Value for money: The pricing of these headphones is extremely favourable considering the good sound quality.
  • FM radio: Want to listen to music but forgot your phone? Simply switch to the FM setting to tune into your favourite radio station.
  • Foldable: Thanks to their hinge joints, the earcups on the VOLKANO Impulses can be folded in, making for easy storage and transport.

Cons:

  • Not too comfortable: After being worn for a while, the Impulses can begin to cause discomfort.
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13. GOJI Lites GLITOBT18 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

The Goji Lites are great value for money. Their sound quality is very good, with the bass being particularly notable. All this is bolstered by their very low price. Some customers have found issues with the headphones remaining connected to their devices when they move away, but with budget headphones, hardware issues are bound to occur.

Pros:

  • Great value for money: The 40mm drivers in these headphones provide excellent bass and sound quality.
  • Compatible: Whether pairing with Android or Apple devices, these headphones are fully compatible and the connection is easy to set up.
  • Clear earcup buttons: Controlling these headphones right from the earcup is simple with their clear and easy-to-use buttons.

Cons:

  • Loses connection easily: Customers have reported losing connection when moving a short distance away from their phone.
  • Can cause discomfort: Wearing the Lites for extended periods can make your ears uncomfortable.
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Best wireless headphones for kids

14. GOJI GKIDBTP18 Wireless Bluetooth Kids Headphones

Whether at home, in the car, or on a long plane journey, you can keep your child entertained with the comfortable Goji Kids Headphones. Compatible with either Apple or Android, you can rest assured that they’ll connect to any device your child may be using. Be aware that the volume has been deliberately limited to avoid damaging their hearing, so it will sound quieter than other headphones. Ultimately, this is an excellent first pair to get for your little one.

Pros:

  • Limited volume: To ensure your child’s hearing doesn’t get damaged, these headphones have a volume limiter.
  • Robust: Designed with kids in mind, the Goji Kids headphones are intended to withstand being knocked and dropped.
  • Lightweight and comfortable: The build of these headphones should allow your little one to listen all day long without complaint.
  • Two colours: You can let your child choose whether they want the blue or pink version of these headphones.

Cons:

  • Shorter battery life: With only 10 hours of battery life, you’ll have to make sure they get charged regularly, otherwise you risk them running out during use.

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15. JBL JR300BT Wireless Bluetooth Kids Headphones

These headphones are perfect for your little one, and the added bonus of the included stickers means that they can make it feel like the headphones are really theirs. The 12-hour battery life is fantastic as well, since it means you won’t struggle to make sure it’s charged before every use. While it can be difficult to get the charging cable in, simply double-checking that the headphones are charging is enough to eliminate this issue. Finally, you do not need to worry about your child damaging their ears since the volume is capped at 85Db.

Pros:

  • Capped at 85Db: Let your child crank up the volume - the JBL Kids Headphones are volume capped to prevent any loud sounds or music from damaging their hearing.
  • Sticker set: An accompanying sticker set lets kids fully customise these headphones however they like. Perfect for unleashing their creativity.
  • 12-hour battery: Wherever you and your little one go, the battery of the JBL Kids will have you covered.

Cons:

  • Charging port difficulty: It can be hard to access the charging port of these headphones, meaning that they may not charge properly.

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There we have it. These are the best wireless headphones that you can buy on a budget! Overall, our top recommendations are for the Sony WHCH510s and the Skullcandy Hesh. They really are the best you can get without spending too much, but if they’re still a little pricey then another great choice would be the Volkano Impulses.

We’ve listed headphones from several different manufacturers, and if any are out of stock make sure to have a shop around. Whatever you decide to get, think about what specifics you need from a pair of headphones, and purchase accordingly. After all, the best headphones you can buy are simply, the right ones for you.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.