Best Wireless Earbuds for all Budgets in 2021

|Posted by | Lifestyle
Tags: , , , ,

Wireless earbuds combine great audio with convenience and ultimate portability. Here are seven of the best models in 2021.  

We’ve seen some pretty serious technological advances in consumer goods, but few come close to the sophistication found in wireless earbuds. 

Combining impressive technology and long battery life in an incredibly small form factor, wireless earbuds have quickly become indispensable in our everyday lives. 

If you’re looking to get a pair of your own, here are seven of the best wireless earbuds to check out in 2021.  

Why pick earbuds over headphones? 

Compared to headphones, earbuds offer greater portability, discreteness and comfort, while rivalling their larger cousins in sound quality. The one downside is the shorter battery life, but this is easily overcome. 

Earbuds consist of two earpieces to be worn in each ear; they may or may not be linked by a chain or neckband. They are much lighter compared to headphones, with their diminutive size making them a better choice for listening to music while exercising. 

Some music lovers also prefer earbuds for the minimal contact (they sit comfortably inside your ears), instead of the feeling of a pair of headphones clamped over their ears. 

However, earbuds have smaller bodies that limit the size of the batteries in them, resulting in shorter listening times (typically around four or five hours on a single charge). 

If this is a problem for you, choose a set of earbuds that come with an automatic charging case, so you can effortlessly charge your earbuds between use while also storing them safely.  

Wireless vs true wireless earbuds

There are actually two sub-classes of earbuds – wireless, and true wireless. Confused? Don’t worry, we’ll explain the difference between the two. 

Ever since the iPhone 7 cut our dependence on headphone jacks, we have not looked back. The market is now flooded with earbuds of all make, model and price points, with unknown startups and beloved brands going head-to-head. 

But one common factor is their ability to play music wirelessly from your device. Hence, all earbuds that don’t require plugging into an audio jack are, in fact, considered wireless earbuds

As mentioned above, some models of earbuds come with a connecting neckband or chain. This is common in sport-oriented models, with the chain designed to help keep the earbuds in place during vigorous activity. This is meant to prevent an earbud from going missing should one pop out during an especially impressive squat. Some models also put control buttons in the neckband for convenience.  

Then, there are earbuds that exist as two separate pieces, with nothing but air (and Bluetooth) between them (think Apple Airpods, with their stems that hang out of each ear).

These types of earbuds, with no visible wires or cords, are known as true wireless earbuds. So if you see them marketed as such, you’ll know you’ll be betting on great engineering and ergonomics to keep your earbuds securely in place.

Do earbuds offer noise cancelling?

Earbuds are unlike headphones with larger earcups that naturally block out some background noise when worn (aka passive noise cancelling). The tiny earpieces rely on a combination of ear sealing and special noise cancelling algorithms (aka active noise cancelling or ANC) to provide a superior listening experience. 

In fact, top-end and premium earbuds have such good noise cancelling technology that they can easily hold their own against headphones. The most advanced ANC models are able to neutralise outside noise, while simultaneously filtering unwanted sounds in the ear canals.

ANC technology has progressed so far that your earbuds achieve it automatically and seamlessly, so much so that you won’t even notice it – which is kind of the point!

Best earbuds for every budget 

Brand and modelTypeFeaturesPrice 
Sennheiser CX 400BT True WirelessTrue wirelessANC: No
Battery life: 7hr
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth
Comfort and fit: Silicone eartips (4 sizes)
$161.10 on Amazon
Bose SoundSport WirelessWireless with neckbandANC: No
Battery life: 6hr
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth, NFC
Comfort and fit: 3 sizes of in-ear tips, neckband 
$172.71 on Amazon 
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1True wirelessANC: No
Battery life: 9hr
Volume control: No
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth
Comfort and fit: Silicone tips (3 sizes), memory foam tips (M size only)
$175.31 on Amazon
Jabra Elite 75tTrue wirelessANC: No
Battery life: 5.5hr
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth
Comfort and fit: In-ear, oval silicon eargels (S, M, L) 
$198 on Amazon
Sony WF-1000XM3True wirelessANC: Yes
Battery life: 6hr
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth
Comfort and fit: Ergonomic tri-hold structure
$217 on Amazon
Technics EAH-AZ70WTrue wirelessANC: Yes
Battery life: 6hr
Connections: Bluetooth
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Comfort and fit: Lightweight, brushed aluminium 
$268.14 on Amazon
Apple AirPods ProTrue wirelessANC: Yes
Battery life: 4.5hr
Volume control: Yes
Microphone: Yes
Connections: Bluetooth
Comfort and fit: Soft silicon tips (S, M, L) 
$379 on Apple.com

Best earbuds under $200

Sennheiser CX 400BT True Wireless

Source: Sennheiser

Price: $161.10

Features: ANC: No | Battery life: 7hr | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth | Comfort and fit: Silicone eartips (4 sizes)

Recommended for: Audiophiles looking for entry-level true wireless earbuds that deliver great sound.

The CX 488BT True Wireless earbuds taps on its Sennheiser parentage to deliver great sound, even if it does so in a package that is unlikely to win any style or fashion awards.

What this pair of earbuds does well is deliver rich, well-balanced sound via its 7mm dynamic drivers, along with a decently long playback time of 7 hours (plus an additional 13 hours via the charging case).   

While it lacks ANC (par for the course at this price tier), the CX 488BT is still a solid, entry-level buy for Sennheiser fans contemplating making the switch to earbuds. 

Bose SoundSport Wireless

Source: Bose

Price: $172.71

Features: ANC: No | Battery life: 6hr | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth, NFC |Comfort and fit: 3 sizes of in-ear tips, neckband

Recommended for: Gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts looking to work out with a power playlist.

The Bose SoundSport Wireless delivers quality sound playback, combined with a sweat-resistance feature and lightweight-yet-secure fit, to power you through your run or weight-lifting.

Whether your exercise playlist consists of EDM, hip-hop, power ballads or a handpicked collection of personal anthems, the SoundSport Wireless does an admirable job of delivering clear, punchy beats on a bed of growling bass.

All this is achieved with the absence of active noise cancelling, a testament to the legendary Bose audio quality.

The result is a pair of great-sounding workout headphones that sits securely in place through even the most intense of workouts – thanks to soft, comfortable silicone ear tips and a flexible, lightweight neckband. 

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Source: Cambridge Audio

Price: $175.31

Features: ANC: No | Battery life: 9hr | Volume control: No | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth | Comfort and fit: Silicone tips (3 sizes), memory foam tips (M size only)

Recommended for: Music-lovers looking for long-lasting playback at a bargain price.

An entry by British audio house Cambridge Audio, the Melomania 1 carves out a clear niche with its impressive battery life and wallet-friendly specs. 

Capable of going nine hours on a single charge, the Melomania 1 is made for marathon listening. You know, the type you tend to get into the mood for on long, meditative train rides or road trips.

The included charging/carrying case provides a further 36 hours of playback for a combined total of 45 hours, making it an ideal pick for weekend getaways or as an all-day work and leisure companion.

These earbuds do not have ANC, and finding a perfect fit can be finicky. But the audio quality makes up for it, with detailed, rhythmic sound, especially considering its sub-$200 price point.

Jabra Elite 75t

Source: Jabra

Price: $198

Features: ANC: No | Battery life: 5.5hr | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth | Comfort and fit: In-ear, oval silicon eargels (S, M, L) 

Recommended for: Those who want good-looking, great-sounding, long-lasting wireless headphones.

If battery life is your main concern, you’ll like the 25-hour playback time on the Jabra Elite 75t – 5.5 hours for the earbuds, and an additional 19.5 hours via the charging case. 

But long playback time isn’t the only reason why the Jabra Elite 85t made it onto our list. The model is also renowned for delivering exceptional sound quality for its price range, making it a worthy pick for those who’re looking for headphones with great punchy sound and a battery that just won’t quit. 

Its minimalist design and dainty size also makes it easy to carry around. It’s also comfortable in your ears, given the choice of three different eargel sizes that will fit almost every ear out there.

Best earbuds under $300

Sony WF-1000XM3

Source: Sony

Price: $217

Features: ANC: Yes | Battery life: 6hr | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth | Comfort and fit: Ergonomic tri-hold structure

Recommended for: Athletes and music lovers seeking true wireless freedom 

Offering style and power in a compact package, the Sony WF-1000XM is a great choice for those seeking the freedom of True wireless headphones – especially with its lowered price after the launch of its successor (see below).

Launched in 2019, the WF-1000XM3 captured the attention of audiophiles already primed to expect great things from the series as the superior alternative to Apple’s Airpods. But this iteration soon proved capable of exceeding every expectation as it rose up to take its place among the top.

Delivering exceptional sound quality and dexterity across a wide range of genres, aided by digital active noise cancelling, the WF-1000XM3 has become a fast fan favoruite. 

Audiophiles will, no doubt, enjoy the stunning performance and stylish design, while fitness folks will love the small form factor and True wireless convenience. 

Technics EAH-AZ70W

Source: Technics

Price: $268.14

Features:  ANC: Yes | Battery life: 6hr | Connections: Bluetooth | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Comfort and fit: Lightweight, brushed aluminium 

Recommended for: A worthy option for those seeking premium-sounding, true wireless in-ear headphones.

True wireless in-ear headphones often underdeliver in an area or two, due to the tiny form factor designers are forced to work with. 

However, with a good balance between sound quality, build and price, the Technics EAH-AZ70W stands out as a worthy option for those seeking a good all-rounder in the true wireless format.

This pair of headphones don’t suffer from the anemic sound that can plague some of its peers, delivering solid, punchy and spacious sound anchored by deep and deftly defined bass. Its digitally-enhanced active noise cancelling also creates audio isolation for a more immersive listening experience.

Additionally, the EAG-AZ70W’s looks as good as it sounds. Its premium sound is matched by an equally attractive brushed aluminium finish.

Best earbuds under $400

Apple AirPods Pro

Source: Apple

Price: $379

Features: ANC: Yes | Battery life: 4.5hr | Volume control: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Connections: Bluetooth | Comfort and fit: Soft silicon tips (S, M, L) 

Recommended for: Music-loving iPhone loyalists 

Arguably the headphones that started it all, the first generation Apple AirPods were decidedly lacklustre. But with the arrival of the Pro version, Apple has more than redeemed itself. 

The Apple AirPods Pro fixes the most glaring fault of its predecessor — leaky music — with soft silicone tips that come in three sizes, paired with an in-app Fit Test that helps you select the best tip size for your ears.

Another laudable feature is the top-end active noise cancellation which adjusts at 200 times per second, so you get crystal clear sound no matter your listening environment. 

Plus, if you’re an iPhone loyalist, the Apple Airpods Pro is simply the best in-ear headphones for the device, thanks to a superior in-app experience.

While Apple is sometimes criticised for products that look better than they perform, this is not the case with the AirPods Pro. It’s pricey, but you’ll be getting the best of Apple’s iconic design paired with some serious, high-end technology. 


Regardless of which wireless earbuds and its budget range suits your needs, be sure to get it with the right cashback credit card to maximise your spend. Check out our comprehensive credit card comparison if you are in the market for one.

Read these next:
Things To Do In Singapore That Get You The Most Bang For Your Buck (March 2021)
SingapoRediscovers Vouchers: Family Activities For Every Budget
What Really Happens If You Skip Credit Card Bills, Loan & BNPL Payments
Best Steak Restaurants And Buffets In Singapore (2021)
Best Video Streaming Services in 2021: Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney+ and Viu


By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.