Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

Skullcandy's latest cheap earbuds cost just $20

The Smokin’ Buds have EQ modes, touch controls and a promised battery life of up to eight hours.


Skullcandy is well known for offering decent, affordable audio gear and the brand's latest earbuds are even less expensive than the $25 Dime from 2021. The Smokin’ Buds True Wireless Earbuds will set you back just $20.

The company is promising plenty of bells and whistles with these earbuds, such as "clear, full range sound backed by impressive bass depth." In addition, Skullcandy says users can expect "expertly tuned" drivers.

There are EQ modes designed to help you get the most out of music, movies and podcasts. Each earbud has a microphone, so you can wear either one at a time. There are touch controls for volume, calls and EQ modes, and you'll be able to activate a voice assistant by tapping either earbud.

Skullcandy says the Smokin’ Buds have a comfortable, noise-isolating fit thanks to an ergonomic, oval design. IPX4 sweat and water resistance should help make them durable. What's more, Skullcandy claims you'll get up to eight hours of use on a single charge and an extra 12 hours from the charging case. The brand also says a rapid charging feature can add two hours of playtime after just 10 minutes of charging. Bluetooth 5.2 support should help the earbuds to pair with devices swiftly too.

Skullcandy Smokin' Buds True Wireless Earbuds and charging case
Skullcandy Smokin' Buds True Wireless Earbuds and charging case (Skullcandy)

On top of all of that, Skullcandy says the Smokin' Buds are "environmentally conscious." They're made with 50 percent certified recycled plastics, a consolidated part count and smaller, "more efficient" batteries, while the packaging is completely recyclable. “With 25 percent of earbud sales happening in the under $30 price range, we aimed to provide a better option that would mitigate the environmental impact of this popular, high-volume category,” Jason Luthman, Skullcandy's director of global product management, said.

Given the price, it's hard to imagine that the Smokin' Buds will truly compete against the very best earbuds on the market in terms of audio quality. Still, they check a lot of the right boxes at this price range (don't go expecting active noise cancellation for 20 bucks) and they could be a handy backup pair or a viable option for workouts instead of using fancier earbuds when you're working up a sweat.