After extensive research and over two dozen hours of testing by our expert panelists, we think the Anker Soundbuds Sport IE20 are the best Bluetooth earbuds available under $50. Though they aren’t perfect, if you’re looking for something ultra-affordable that gets the job done, the IE20 are the best of the options available. They sound decent for the price, fit most people, handle phone calls remarkably well, and are inexpensive enough that it’s possible to ignore their flaws (and replacing them won’t break the bank should you lose them). Additionally, with Anker’s 30-day return-for-any-reason policy and 18-month warranty, if you find they aren’t for you, you won’t be stuck with buyer’s remorse.
Overall, none of our panelists were thrilled with any of the choices in this price range, so if you are someone for whom sound quality is a top priority, you’ll need to spend more money. Though you get a lot of extra perks for the extra cash, our upgrade costs a bit over twice as much as the Anker pair, which we realize could be too much for the truly budget-conscious.
If the Bluetooth earbuds are sold out, or you prefer a necklace-style headphone, the Skullcandy Ink’d Bluetooth are also adequate for the price. They have more bass than the Anker IE20s, and are much more comfortable for long-term wearing. The necklace/halo feels flimsy, but is flexible enough that it coils up for storage. However, that extra bass can overpower the rest of the sound, and with only two sizes of included tips, those with larger ear canals will find getting a seal impossible.
Why you should trust us
In addition to researching what other professional reviewers had to say (in this case, not much) as well as consulting reviews on Amazon, Best Buy, and headphone enthusiast sites, I also hold a bachelor’s degree in both music performance and audio production from Ithaca College and have tested literally hundreds of headphones while working for The Wirecutter.
I spent several years in terrestrial radio before moving on to become a professional voice actor in Los Angeles, a job I still do and love. In other words, I’ve been in and out of top recording studios for over a decade. I also have reviewed high-end home audio equipment for publications such as Home Entertainment, Home Theater Magazine, and Sound & Vision. My articles have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and Time, and on Good Morning America and the BBC World Service. In other words, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s out there and what’s worth your time and hard-earned money, and I am committed to finding gear that will make you happy.
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