Cheap Wireless Headphones Buyers Guide
With a cheap set of wireless headphones, quality should be kept at the forefront of your thoughts. Thinking long-term, you probably don’t save yourself a lot in the long run if you find yourself replacing sub-par products on a regular basis.
The quality of the materials used and indeed the material choices can be very reflective of the retail price, as quite often the quickest and easiest way to lower the final price for the consumer is to cut the production costs in the first place. Ideally, you need to spend a little more to get more durably-made products.
However, there are many occasions and situations where your hand is forced. If you have to find a set of wireless headphones on a very restrictive budget, you’ll be relieved to know that there’s no shortage, but sorting the best of the bunch can be tougher with an untrained eye.
Cheaper materials in the lower end of the market are often unavoidable but you can do your best to pick the lesser of two evils where possible.
The prime functionality of a set of wireless headphones is to listen to audio, and while you aren’t going to be experiencing award-winning sound from even the best budget set, you should expect more than adequately balanced full-range stereo sound.
This is largely down to the driver’s performance and the way in which the electronic circuitry processes the electrical signals. Some sets are inevitably better engineered than others. This is why matching sized diaphragms built from composites can sound completely different, even when playing the same tune. The magnetic field within is disrupted in the same way by the audio, but they interpret the signals differently, depending on how accurate and in-depth their response is.
You may notice that many of the wireless headphones we examined claim to have enhanced or optimized bass. This is something idyllic in any set of wireless headphones, as bass can be problematic with a smaller speaker. We have addressed this exhaustively in our articles. If you like music with a lot of bass in the mix, this is vital or you will likely experience a lot of distortion from your buds.
When shopping for wireless options on a very low budget, you should keep in mind that the electrical signals are far less true to the original when they are sent wireless instead of directly through a cable which has a dramatic effect on the audio reproduced.
Our modern lives dictate the need for wireless devices for the majority and quite often, wireless is the only way to go to suit your needs. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend, one way to save a little is to opt for an older model. This can often provide better quality in terms of materials, components, and audio reproduction but ensure its at least 4.0 or higher for compatibility’s sake.
In-Ear or Over-ear?
If you really care about the audio we recommend you get a set of over-ear headphones as generally speaking they have better audio quality, especially in low-price regions.
Their larger size supports the incorporation of much larger drivers. This typically includes 40-45mm minimum, which outperforms a 10mm set without contest.
Their larger size, however, is considered a big drawback for some. Over-ear headphones are somewhat less portable for those who are out and about a lot. They certainly aren’t as discreet.
There are many on the market that employ folding mechanisms or sliding methods. This allows them to collapse into a more compact size, rendering them more portable but still not pocket-sized like an in-ear option. However, they are more likely to be noise cancelling due to the ear cups.
Earbud or in-ear headphones have the advantage of being smaller and less cumbersome. They are usually the only viable option for active and outdoor pursuits, but the audio tends to be less impressive.
They come in many different styles, from wired to wireless to true wireless. True wireless options don’t have any wires at all. You’ll need to consider battery life. 8 hours is a good battery life to consider, and we wouldn’t recommend you get wireless headphones with a battery life that’s less than 5 hours. A lot of them will come with a charging case, which provides even more battery life.
Many manufacturers cater specifically to sporty sorts, developing products with supportive design concepts such as in-ear or over-ear hooks, collars, braces, and even locking systems to keep them in place while you work up a sweat.
If you specifically need a sports model, you’ll likely have to consider waterproofing. Why not head over to our 10 best wireless headphones for working out the article for inspiration?
Top things to consider with over-ear models are their comfort. They should be adequately cushioned, even if this is a little less luxuriously than a premium pair usually provide. The cups should be free to swivel, as this provides a better fit.
When it comes to in-ear models, it’s important to have an ergonomic earbud tip, preferably that comes in a range of tip sizes to choose from. The earbud tip should be made from a skin-friendly and comfortable material, such as memory foam or silicone.
Comfort is key. Whether you decide in-ear or over-ear, long listening sessions with poorly designed wireless headphones can be damaging to your hearing.
Finding a set of wireless headphones at a price you can afford shouldn’t be too difficult, given the gargantuan amount available online.
When it comes to getting a good headphone, wireless options tend to be more expensive. Finding yourself a good deal can sometimes mean settling for less be it in the quality of parts, comfort levels, or audio itself. Don’t bother with a case if you think you won’t need it.
You have to decide what’s most important to you when looking for the best budget headphones. Do you want balanced sound? Good sound quality? A long battery life? Noise cancelling abilities? Of course, noise cancelling will depend on whether the headphones are over-ear or in-ear. A pair of headphones that come with the case (a case is good if you tend to lose your buds)? Once your priorities are in order and you know exactly what you will or won’t sacrifice, honing in the best headphones for you should be a much easier task.
We hope our reviews and handy buyers guide will have served their intended purpose in guiding you towards an informed consumer decision.
If you have audiophile tastes but a less than impressive outlay, you ought to opt for over-ear rather than in-ear as the larger drivers are far more capable and provide better audio overall.
Did you Know
We have highlighted a few great sports models today, but if you surf or swim, there are actually some waterproof headphones on the market with an IPX-8 certification which can be worn completely submerged for 30-40 minutes.