The Best Affordable True Wireless Earbuds Available in Canada
These earbuds offer total wireless freedom at a seriously low price.
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If you want the freedom of movement possible with true wireless headphones but don’t want to spend a ton of money, you’re in luck. The prices of earbuds that lack any wires have dropped significantly, and the quality has gone way up. While the best wireless earbuds from top brands might perform better, these lower-priced options hold their own, some for under the $100 watermark.
Which budget true wireless headphones are best? Do any of them actually sound good? How long is the battery life? Our U.S. team spent over 50 hours researching and testing a variety of models to find out. None were perfect, but some were clearly better than others. These are the best budget true wireless earbuds available to buy in Canada.
1. The Best of the best: Anker Soundcore Liberty 2
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 are the best of the bunch for most people thanks to a customizable fit, customizable sound, and above-average battery life. Multiple included ear tips and silicone wings mean that just about everyone can get a comfortable and secure fit and the Anker app lets you dial in the sound you want. It’s possible another option here might sound better to you or fit better, but the Liberty 2 are our favourite all-rounders.
The sound is among the best we tested in this price range. It’s a bit bass-heavy and a touch sharp in the upper register, but thanks to the EQ options in Anker’s app, you can tune the sound to be pretty close to whatever you prefer. In fact, the app has a feature called HearID that will help find the EQ settings best for your ears.
Battery life was a bit less than claimed—we tracked 7 hours of playback per charge instead of 8. That’s mid-pack for this category, but still above average for many more popular true wireless headphones. The case should offer about three full charges. Speaking of the case, it feels a bit flimsy, with a thin plastic cover that slides to open and seems like it could get knocked open in a purse or backpack.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 offer the most for the most people and at a great price. You should be able to get a comfortable fit and dial in a sound that you like.
Get the Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 earbuds at Amazon Canada
2. The best for sports: JLab Epic Air Sport ANC
Just because the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC are our best sports pick doesn’t mean you should dismiss them if you’re not sporty. Quite the opposite. These would be great for anyone worried about getting a good fit, especially those who struggle with traditional earbuds. They’re IP66 rated, meaning they’ve got good dust resistance, and you can get them quite wet—but don’t submerge them. Of course, they’re also good if you’re an active type.
One big reason for this is the over-ear loop design. It’s a soft silicone we never found annoying, fitting comfortably even with glasses. Some people aren’t a fan of this style, but it allows for a far more secure fit than any other option—we never once felt that they’d fall out and get lost. The loops aren’t removable (see the non-Sport sibling), but the Epic Air Sport come with multiple silicone ear tip options, and a very comfortable foam tip.
Overall, the sound is a bit bass-heavy, but like the Anker Liberty 2, extensive EQ options help you fine-tune your preferred sound.
Battery life was slightly less than claimed. We measured around 13 hours per charge to JLab’s claim of 15, but still, that’s a ton for true wireless headphones. If you enable features like noise-cancelling, you’ll get less battery life. Speaking of noise cancelling, like all the NC offerings here, it’s very mild. It doesn’t hurt to have it, of course, but if you’re looking specifically for noise cancelling, you’ll want to look at our top picks on our best wireless earbuds list, or our best noise-cancelling headphones list.
Like the majority of newer true wireless earbuds, the Epic Air Sport ANC also offer adjustable transparency mode, which JLab calls Be Aware, letting you hear your environment in high-traffic areas.
The case, a bit larger than the others in this category, also holds a big battery, offering about 3.5 additional charges. It has an attached USB cable, either a strength or a weakness, depending on your gear. More importantly, it has wireless charging, which is a great touch.
If you’re headed out for a walk or hike, these are the ones you’d want to grab. However, if you don’t like the over-ear loops, the Anker Liberty 2 are the better choice.
Get the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC earbuds at Amazon Canada
3. The best value: JLab Go Air
The JLab Go Air are impressive for one primary reason: a crazy-low price. However, being the least expensive option isn’t a guarantee of a “best value” superlative. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good value.
Fortunately, in most of our tests, the Go Air performed pretty well, or at least not bad. Sound quality is mid-pack, not impressing in any particular way, but not overly disappointing in any way either.
The fit is just OK. The buds are very small and light, so if they fit your ears you’ll barely notice them. However, unlike many headphones we tested, the Go Air only come with three sets of tips—no wings or different materials. The lack of customization options is understandable given their price, but something to keep in mind. If they don’t fit you, they might fall out and disappear.
Battery life was a little better than advertised in our tests. JLab claims 5 hours and we got 5.5. The case offers roughly four extra charges. Like other JLab models, the case has a built-in USB cable. Unlike some, however, this one doesn’t have wireless charging.
Speaking of the case, it’s a bit weird. It’s less a case than a cup to hold the earbuds. They lock in magnetically, but there’s no top to the case. So in a purse or backpack, we could imagine something pushing out one or both of the earbuds out of the case.
For the price, though, all of these negatives can be largely forgiven. If you want a cheap option with a better chance to fit and a bit better sound, check out the Tribit FlyBuds NC.
Get the JLab Go Air earbuds at Best Buy Canada
4. The sustainable option: House of Marley Champion
The House of Marley Champion are a tiny pair of earbuds made predominantly from sustainable and recycled materials including bamboo, natural fibres and silicone from post-consumer waste. Even the charging cable is “post-consumer recyclable polyester.” These are a great place to start for anyone looking for a greener alternative in a sea of plastic headphones.
Beyond their Earth-friendlier materials, the earbuds themselves are quite good. They aren’t right on par with our top picks, but they hold their own—not a podium finish, but podium adjacent for sure. We got more than their claimed 8 hours of battery life in testing, and the tiny case can charge them back up more than twice. That case charges with USB-C and, like the headphones themselves, has a small bamboo accent that looks great. The buds are IPX4 water-resistant, which means you can splash them but not submerge them.
The sound quality is good, though the bass is messy, and there’s more emphasis on the treble than their more balanced competitors. They do especially well with podcasts and audiobooks. The biggest issue is that they only come with two sets of tips, and those with larger ears and/or ear canals might not be able to get a secure fit.
That said, if you’re looking for a more planet-friendly pair of earbuds for your money, the House of Marley Champion may be the pick for you.
Get the House of Marley Champion earbuds at Best Buy Canada
5. For people who hate over-ear loops: JLab Epic Air ANC
The Epic Air ANC seem like they’d be the same as their siblings, the Epic Air Sport ANC, minus the over-ear loops. Performance is slightly different, however. Battery life for the buds is slightly lower, at 12 hours claimed versus 15 for the Sports. We measured a bit less. The case should recharge the buds around three times, the same as the Sport.
Also, they’re IP55 rated instead of IP66, and the bass is less defined and sloppier. This might have to do with the fit. Lacking the over-ear loops of its sports sibling, the Epic Air feels loose. They’re light and comfortable, however.
Whether the microphone is different, or it's the way they sit in your ears, those on the other end of the phone said voices weren’t as clear with these compared to nearly all the others.
Like their Sports sibling, the noise-cancelling is very mild. The transparency mode, called Be Aware, is adjustable in the app and, at its maximum, actually increases the sound of the world around you; a sort of opposite of noise-cancelling that is useful in certain situations. Also, like the Sport, the case has a built-in USB connector and has wireless charging. Unless you hate over-ear loops, the Sport are the better option.
Get the JLab Epic Air ANC earbuds at Amazon Canada
6. For Google Pixel owners: Google Pixel Buds A-Series
The 2021 A-Series followed hot on the heels of the 2020 Google Pixel Buds and delivered a full-scale improvement. The streamlined A-Series manages to notably undercut the previous model’s price tag while still delivering many of the qualities we liked about the older version: solid true wireless sound, sleek bud and case designs, and leading integration of Google and Google Assistant functionalities.
During testing, we found these little buds provided relatively good sound quality (though it’s a bit wimpy without bass boost). But where they stand out is in the realm of fashion: The compact, hyper-pocketable case is composed of buttery-smooth plastic. At the same time, the buds themselves are as space-saving and design-minded as much pricier competitors.
The A-Series buds also maintain one of the key features of the previous Pixel Buds: hands-free Google Assistant, which is a definite plus in this price range. On the other hand, you should be aware that there are several popular features you’re not getting here. Neither noise-cancelling nor a form of transparency mode make the cut (not surprising at this price), but there’s overall still a good range of features to be found, including adaptive EQ, in-ear detection, and a Find Device feature.
Apart from a light feature set, the A-Series’ 5-hour playback time per charge is pretty lacklustre for 2021, especially because there’s a range of products in this price bracket that net you more battery life nowadays. That’s on par with Apple’s incredibly popular AirPods and AirPods Pro, but that’s also one of the AirPods’ main weak points. If you can rest them on occasion, though, you’ll get up to 24-hours with the included case and 2 hours on 10 minutes charge.
If you’re going to spring for the A-Series, you should do so knowing you’re getting a product that looks and feels more expensive than it is but doesn't bring all the features that you'll get from much of the competition. That said, especially for budget-conscious Googlers who aren’t hunting for noise cancelling, the A-Series could be a perfect little true wireless buy.
Get the Google Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds at Best Buy Canada
7. The affordable option: Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2
At first glance, we didn’t expect the Life Dot 2 to fit well. However, their curved, shell-shaped “AirWings” fit quite well in testing. We got the best fit with one of the larger AirWings, which routinely slid down over the metal contacts that allowed the earbuds to charge. If we didn’t notice this when they were put away, they wouldn’t charge.
Battery life is good, with a claimed 8 hours that’s right in line with what we tested. The case has a huge battery which should offer about 12 charges. They’re IPX5 certified, meaning there's no dust resistance, and you shouldn't submerge them, but splashing water (and even a bit more) should be OK.
Performance, overall, is mid-tier. There's a bit too much sizzle to the Life Dot 2’s upper mid-range, which can be mildly unpleasant. Unlike the Liberty 2, you can’t connect the Dot 2 to Anker’s app to adjust this. The price, however, is great.
Get the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 earbuds at Amazon Canada
8. The budget runner-up: Tribit FlyBuds NC
We don’t have a “budget runner-up” category, but the FlyBuds would take it if we did. They were among the few pairs we tried with the long pillar design that actually fit well, and they're regularly priced lower than most options on our list.
The sound is quite good, a bit mid-heavy and a little brittle, but solidly above average. Like the other noise-cancelling options, it’s mostly here in name only, with very little actual noise reduction. Battery life was very good. We measured 11 hours without NC active, higher than their claimed 10. The case should offer a bit more than two additional charges.
They’re IPX4 rated, and you can toggle between the noise cancelling and a transparency mode Tribit calls Ambient. This mode works fine, but the NC is mild enough that you might not need it. The voice prompts between modes are nicely clear.
Their mid-pack performance, however, is greatly offset by their price, which was below our test average. Roll all that together, and these would be a great option for someone who wants something better than the very lowest priced buds but don’t want to shell out for our pricier picks.
Get the Tribit FlyBuds NC earbuds at Amazon Canada
9. Colourful and stylish: 1More ColorBuds
The 1More ColorBuds are a stylish and tiny pair of earbuds that are available, as the name suggests, in a variety of colours, including gold, green, pink, and of course, black. The earbuds and case are both among the smallest of any we tested.
They don’t perform as well as we’d hoped, however. Their swoopy shape didn’t sit as comfortably or as well in our ears as other tiny buds. They are, for instance, only fractionally smaller than the House of Marley Champions, yet those are far more stable. They also lack any buttons on the buds, making you unable to easily pause or switch to a new track like most other earbuds. They do offer an IPX5 water resistance rating, though, which outdoes many budget true wireless headphones we’ve tested.
The sound is also somewhat of a disappointment; it’s fairly brittle and sibilant and overall very tilted toward the high end. The sound quality overall sits somewhere in the middle compared to the other budget true wireless earbuds we tested, though the ColorBuds were on the higher-end of the crowd when it comes to price point.
We did get better-than-expected battery life. 1More claims 6 hours; we got over 8. The small case can charge them back to full over three times. That said, in a crowded category, the Colorbuds fail to stand out for any one feature and would be best purchased if you can find them on one of their fire sales.
Get the 1More ColorBuds at Amazon Canada
10. For fans of heavy bass: Monoprice True Wireless Plus
The Monoprice True Wireless Plus are also mid-level performers. They’re tiny, which can be both good and bad. You barely notice them in your ears, but unless you get a perfect fit, they’re not going to be in your ears for long. There are only three tip sets available in the box, fewer than most of the other headphones we reviewed.
For as small as they are, they produce prodigious bass. Snare drums are accentuated, but there’s not much in the way of high frequencies.
The case is one of the only ones we've seen recently that does not have a modern USB-C connection, sporting micro-USB instead. However, it has wireless charging, which is nice to see at this price point. By far, our favourite aspect is that when the earbuds are charging, they’re slightly visible through the translucent cover, looking like two glowing eyeballs.
Battery life was a bit less than the 9 hours they claimed, at a little over 7. The case should offer at least three more charges. When it comes to water resistance, they offer the common IPX5 protection so that you can splash them without worry. .
Get the Monoprice True Wireless Plus earbuds at Amazon Canada
11. The safe bet: Sony WF-XB700
The Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earbuds are an entry-level option within Sony's prodigious headphone lineup, offering a taste of Sony's sought-after sound design and quality construction at a more affordable price than high-end business like the WF-1000XM3.
So what's the catch here? Basically, you're not getting high-tech features like noise-cancelling, adjustable EQ, or any of the fancier features you'll find on the higher-end models. What you are getting is a workout-friendly pair of true wireless earbuds with an accessible, very bass-forward sound profile. If the lack of features, limited controls, and inability to integrate these with Sony's Headphones Connect app isn't your cup of tea, you may have to spend a little more.
The WF-XB700 aren't perfect, but no product is. If you've been wanting to dip your toes into true wireless earbuds but don't want to risk buying something that might sound terrible or break after a couple of months, Sony's WF-XB700 should be on your radar.
Get the Sony WF-XB700 earbuds at Best Buy Canada
12. Fun colours and a handy feature: Skullcandy Sesh Evo
The Sesh Evo are among the smallest pairs of earbuds we tested. They feel more secure than options like the tiny Monoprice True Wireless, but not by much. Like the Monoprice, they don’t come with wings, but the design might offer those with smaller ears an OK fit as the earbud itself looks like it would fill smaller ears.
Our review sample, and their case, were a colour Skullcandy calls “Bleached Blue,” and it was a lovely alternative to the black-only options from most contenders we tested. They’re also available in green, red, and of course, black.
Battery life is among the lowest in their class, even slightly worse than cheaper picks like the JLab Go Air. They claim 5 hours, and that’s what we measured. The case should offer 4-5 additional charges. Sound quality was the worst of the bunch. The bass is bloated and lacks definition, while at the same time, there’s too much treble. Not a great mix.
There are three EQ settings, including Music, Movie, and Podcast. Movie improves the bass a little, but makes the treble slightly worse, so it’s a bit of a wash. Podcast mostly accentuates the midrange, as you'd expect. They are IP55 rated, meaning they're secure against basic dust ingress and light jets of water.
One last cool feature: they have a built-in Tile to help make them easier to find.
Get the Skullcandy Sesh Evo earbuds at Amazon Canada
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.