The Best Cheap AirPod Alternatives of 2019

Apple introduced AirPods, wireless Bluetooth earbuds, in Sept. 2016 alongside the iPhone 7. It was a big deal because the iPhone 7 didn't have a headphone jack. Now, lots of smartphones have ditched the headphone jack for Bluetooth connectivity (which is shortwave radio, basically).

AirPods are truly wireless earbuds: They don't have any cables or cords. That may sound obvious, but there are lots of cheaper "wireless" earbuds that are connected to themselves but not tethered to the phone. AirPods are expensive, but they might be worth it for iPhone users who are already deep in Apple's ecosystem.

For Android phone owners, there are truly wireless earbuds that are less expensive than AirPods, but there are tradeoffs (like battery life). Cheaper Bluetooth earbuds will give you 2-4 hours of listening time on a single charge compared to AirPods' 5 hours of listening time. No wireless earbuds are truly waterproof (including AirPods), but you'll want sweatproof headphones if you plan to run or exercise in them. Look for official designations like "IPX5 Water Resistant" or "IPX7 Waterproof " before buying.

Here are the best-reviewed AirPod alternatives that have sold for $75 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $65 | Great Deal: $45

These Anker Soundcore wireless earbuds are comfortable and don't slip out according to many happy customers. Many people describe the sound quality as decent or good, but not great. A common complaint is that the charging case is bulky and difficult to tote around.

Good Price: $50 | Great Deal: $40

Pasonomi's wireless earbuds have a IPX7 waterproof designation, which is the highest level of sweat/water resistance that you'll find on this style of headphone. These earbuds are good for running and playing music, but not great at taking phone calls according to several customers.

Good Price: $34 | Great Deal: $30

Tozo's wireless earbuds are good for the money according to many customers who praised the quality, fit and connectivity. Disappointing battery life is a common complaint, but on the plus side, several customers had a good experience requesting a replacement pair.

Good Price: $47 | Great Deal: $10 (Not a typo)

These Bluephonic wireless earbuds are comfortable and have surprisingly good sound, according to multiple people. Critical reviewers had trouble with Bluetooth connectivity and phone call quality.

John DeFeo