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12 Affordable AirPods Alternatives

By July 2, 2020April 22nd, 2021No Comments
12 Affordable AirPods Alternatives

In the fall of 2016, Apple unveiled the AirPods wireless headphones. And, while they weren’t the first in the market with Bluetooth headphones (not by a longshot), they were definitely the coolest. 

Of course, in true Apple style, they didn’t produce the must-have product by adding all sorts of cutting edge features or over-the-top styling. What they did was keep them ridiculously uncluttered and put them in a brilliant little case that doubles as a charging station.

Since the original launch, they’ve come up with a pro version, that seems to fit better in your ear, but runs about half an hour shorter in battery time at 4.5 hours.  

What’s probably more important is that since the launch, all sorts of Apple Airpod look-a-likes have popped up. Some of them have longer run times, better functionality, and pretty much all are cheaper than the original fruit-etched variety. 

So what do you need to know before buying non-Apple stamped Airpods-Alternatives? 

Battery Life

You want to get headphones that aren’t going to require charging every day. A short-lived battery charge means that you’re likely going to forget to keep them charged and be continually needing to go back to the old wired option.

However, total battery longevity may not be as critical, meaning the number of times they can be charged and depleted before they won’t charge again. Apple will probably always do a little better at this metric than most. However, for many of the less expensive alternatives, you can repurchase them 20 times before you start closing in on the Airpod price.


At this point, no wireless headphones can top a wired connection. Even the genuine Airpods run into some connection issues. That’s not to say Bluetooth headphones are unreliable. With Bluetooth 5.0, some will allow you to be a football field away and get good quality audio. However, with all sorts of signals travelling through the air around you, interference happens. 

Noise Cancelling

One of the reasons for using headphones is the ability to block out the interruptions around you. Whether that’s because you need to focus on the content that you’re listening to, or simply because you just don’t want to be distracted by your surroundings. The essential feature here is referred to as “seal,” and it was one area where the original Airpods were actually quite lacking. A sound seal is precisely what it sounds like, a physical obstruction that prevents outside noise from going around the earbud. The usual method is to employ a flexible rubber or silicone barrier that prevents other vibrations from entering the ear canal. Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach can never hope to achieve any sort of seal. However, the pro version of the Airpod seems to be attempting to work on this problem. 

Sound Quality

If you want the sharpest sound possible, sadly, you will have to keep the wires. Bluetooth is getting incredible results, but it still can’t compete entirely with having a hardline direct to the source. That said, even your base model Bluetooth headphones today are doing a pretty credible job of delivering good quality. Maybe if you’re sitting down to take in a Beethoven concert, you better stick with the wired variety. However, if your goal is to get some music while you work out or listen to a podcast while you walk, most wireless headphones will do a fine job. 

So, let’s look at some of the contenders to be the top alternative to the AirPods.

1. Lasuney Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones

We’re starting here with a solid knock-off. These Lasuney wireless pods look pretty close to the Apple originals, but they come in somewhere close to one fifth the price. With a run time of four to five hours, they also compare pretty well with most of the higher-priced models. The charging case allows you to recharge on the go up to five times, giving you 30 hours of mobile listening with fewer than two hours charge time in between.

While these buds don’t have the noise-cancelling soft silicone seals for your ear canals, if you like the traditional Apple shape, these are pretty bang on.

Key Features

In-call stereo sound
4-5 hour of continuously playing
13mm vibrating diaphragm
HD rendering technology


 Brand: Lasuney
 Model: Bluetooth 5.0
 Compatibility: Android & iPhone

2. ZOLO Liberty Bluetooth Earbuds

This fine alternative provided by the good folks at Zolo offers some of the best wireless audio on the market. Using Graphene to enhance the speaker-drivers strength and flexibility makes the bass punch, the mids smooth, and the treble soar. As they say, “it delivers an unrivalled listening experience in complete freedom.” And I’m inclined to agree. The 100-hours of total playback is also pretty great, with 8-hours off a single charge and then a few more on-the-go tops to last you days! They’ve also anticipated your modern lifestyle, with a one-touch connection to your digital assistant of choice. No more fumbling to get your device out to get the answers you need on the fly.

Key Features

100 hours with the included charging case
Superior sound across the entire frequency range
GripFit technology ensures Liberty fits comfortably
Single button-press activates your favorite AI Assistant


 Brand: Zolo
 Model: Liberty
 Compatibility: Android, IOS, Bluetooth 5.0

3. Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones

What I’m about to say may be controversial, but I really do think it’s true. These Boltune headphones look better than Airpods. Both the two-tone black and grey headphones, and the houndstooth finished fabric charging case. They aren’t trendy, they’re classic sort-of-cool. Of course, none of that means anything if they don’t perform, and these earbuds do just that. The built-in Qualcomm QCC3026 chipset and high-fidelity dynamic drivers deliver powerful bass and breathtaking sound with exceptional clarity. And, while these buds have soft silicone fitting to create a sound seal, they also use cVc 8th generation noise cancellation technology to effectively block out all background noise. Also, with the charging case, they do an incredible 42 Hours Playtime over seven charges from the case. The USB C fast charging technology allows you to get 1 hour of playtime after a 10-minute quick charge if you’re in a bind.

Key Features

Auto-pause when you remove an earbud
10-Minute quick charge for 1-hour playback
18-month warranty
42 Hours Playtime


 Brand: Boltune
 Model: Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones
 Compatibility: Android, iPhone, laptops

4. Google Pixel Buds

Is it sacrilege to include the Pixel Buds on a list of AirPods alternatives? The thing is, they make some excellent wireless earphones. Of course, when you pair them with an Android phone, you can easily access hands-free help from the Google Assistant. However, when paired with IOS, you still get a reliable headphone. A single charge will get you 5-hours of use, but paired with the charging case, you can extend that out to 24-hours. More than functional, the Pixel Buds have a really great look to them and come in four colors.

Key Features

12 mm dynamic speaker drivers
 Hands-free Google Assistant
Spatial vents to reduce the “plugged ear” feeling
Dual IR proximity sensors for in-ear detection to play and pause automatically


 Brand: Google
 Model: Pixel Bud
 Compatibility: Designed for Android, but work with all Bluetooth devices

5. ABRAMTEK E8 Mini Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones

Another alternative that may actually be better than a pair of AirPods, these Abramtek minis are so tiny you can shove the charging case in your change pocket. Of course, they do fall down a little on playtime, lasting 3-4-hours on the first charge with another 10-hours possible using the charging case. They come equipped with IPX7 waterproof protection, bass boost technology, and high fidelity earphone drivers that integrate with electroacoustic technology that dramatically enhances the overall clarity. Another cool feature is that the Abramtek E8 allows each earbud to work individually. Meaning both earbuds have fully functional controls. Just pick right or left at random and use it right away.

Key Features

Ultra light-weight and small compact size
10-Minute quick charge for 1-hour playback
1Deep Bass Boost
14 Hours Playtime


 Brand: Abramtek
 Model: E8
 Compatibility: Android, iPhone, laptops

6. Vankyo X200 Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds

While not quite as small as the minis listed above, the X200 is a nicely-compact set of wireless earbuds. The sound quality is excellent, they have the water and sweat proofing you would expect, and they are controlled with a cool multi-function button. However, where they really knock it out of the park is with the playback time. A single charge lasts up to 7-hours, but the portable charge case lets you get up to 120-hours. You read that right. I also love that they include a digital gauge that tells you how charged your earbuds are. I suppose with all that power to burn, you can afford little light displays.

Key Features

TWS Chip eliminates noise and provides a bass boost
Ergonomically designed with gel-flexible silicone ear caps


 Brand: Vankyo
 Model: X200
 Compatibility: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, laptops

7. Microsoft Surface Earbuds

The first thing that hit me about the Surface offering is that they look like a fashion accessory. I mean that in the best possible way. It almost feels like something that in 10 years will be totally ubiquitous in the office. Everybody always connected. That said, right now, they have a strong product. A single charge will give you 8-hours of playback, and with the charging case included, you get up to 24-hours. They also have a nice interplay with Microsoft’s mobile app options. For example, paired with the Outlook app on IOS, you can be notified of incoming emails, listen to, speak to reply, and delete your emails without taking out your phone. With PowerPoint and Word, you can dictate the copy and have what you’re saying be translated into one of 60+ languages. It’s the beginning of the cyborg revolution! Oh, by the way, they have great sound quality. It’s almost like they decided this can not be another Zune!

Key Features

Microsoft IOS app integration is incredible
24-hour playback time
Two microphones per earbud
IPX4 Waterproof


 Brand: Microsoft
 Model: Surface Buds
 Compatibility: Windows 10, Android 9 or 10, IOS 12 or 13, Bluetooth 4.1/4.2/5

8. Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Now, if you want to take the Airpods look-a-like effect to the next level, this offering from Sony will cost you a little more, well, perhaps more than a little more, but they definitely notch the quality up a significant amount. These buds give you eight hours of charge, with the case battery charging the pods up to an additional 3 times. Sony’s history of producing amazing headphones for decades really pays dividends here through the amazing noise-canceling feature.

Key Features

 Noise cancellationj
8 hours battery life on a single charge
Ergonomic tri-hold structure to secure the correct fitting in your ear.
Alexa compatible


 Brand: Sony
 Model: WF-1000XM3
 Compatibility: Any bluetooth device that can pump out audio

9. Skullcandy Push True Wireless In-Ear Earbud

It’s hard to go wrong with a pair of Skullcandy headphones. For years they’ve been known for making a high-quality product. The Push wireless model doesn’t disappoint. All said the battery life is not as long as some of the other selections at only 12-hours total (3-hours fully charged and 9-hours from the case). However, the signal strength and quality manufacturing make the Push a strong choice.

Key Features

Secure fitfin® gels for ear fit
Activate assistant
Powerful wireless connection
Sleek modern design


 Brand: Skullcandy
 Model: Push
 Compatibility: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, laptops

10. Panasonic True Wireless Earbuds

If you were on your way to the shops with your heart set on a pair of AirPods, I might suggest you take a look at these first. They’re not identical, but they are much more affordable and they still come from a well-known brand. These Panasonic earbuds are available in two colourways: white and all-black. Both earbuds also feature touch sensor controls on both earbuds to control music playback, volume, track selection, and call management. You can also manage the noise-cancellation feature as well as connect to your favourite voice assistant.

Key Features

Terrific noise-cancellation
Ambient sound mode
Touch sensor controls
IPX4 Water-resistance
Includes five earpiece sizes
6.5 hours battery life + 13 additional hours with the charging case


 Brand: Panasonic
 Model: True Wireless Earbuds
 Compatibility: Android, IOS, and Bluetooth devices + Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant

11. EDYELL Wireless Earbuds

Technically these earbuds look like an alternative to the Pixel Buds, but I think they still count. And of course, they come in a lot cheaper than either the Pixel Buds or Airpods. However, the 120-hours of playback time on these is a whole lot better than both of name-brand originals. With so much power, you can actually use the charging case to power up other devices as well, making this a spare battery for all your digital accessories. Moreover, if you find yourself with drained earbuds, a quick 15-minute charge will give you another two-hours of time.

Key Features

Ergonomic fit for all-day wear
120-hour playback time
IPX5 Waterproof technology


 Brand: Edyell
 Model: Wireless Earbuds
 Compatibility: Android, IOS, and Bluetooth devices 

12. Tribit FlyBuds 1 Wireless Headphones

It may sound silly, but as soon as you see the Flybuds, in their charging case, hanging from their lanyard on a gym bag, you’re going to think: why don’t they all do that?! And then, when you realize you can drop the case on a wireless charger, you’ll be pretty much sold and you and you haven’t even heard about the sound quality or battery life yet. Or was it just me? As for longevity, a single charge will last you about 6-hours, and with the case, you get up to approximately 36-hours of go time. The high-excursion, low-distortion 8. 2-mm drivers provide for some serious sound performance. While the soft-touch buttons mean you don’t feel as if you’re jamming an earbud into your brain to press pause.

Key Features

6 different silicone ear tips for a tailored feel
36-hour playback time
IPX8 Waterproof technology
18-month replacement guarantee, 30-days money-back, and lifetime customer support


 Brand: Tribit
 Model: FlyBuds 1
 Compatibility: Android, IOS, and Bluetooth devices