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The best Powerbeats Pro alternatives (and they’re cheaper, too)

The Beats Powerbeats Pro true wireless earbuds reign supreme when it comes to comfort, power, and performance. They’re perfect for long runs, last longer than most other buds in this price tier, and the sound is unbeatable. But not everyone has $250 to drop on premium name-brand audio.

Fear not, friends. One of the benefits of getting to try the latest wireless earbuds from competitive major brands is that we know a good deal when we see one. The JLab Epic Air Sport has the same features as the Powerbeats Pro without putting as big a dent in your wallet. With that in mind, here’s our roundup of fantastic alternatives to the Powerbeats Pro that will keep your heart beating to the music and your next credit card bill from causing cardiac arrest.

The best Powerbeats Pro alternatives at a glance:

The best Powerbeats Pro alternative: JLab Epic Air Sport

JLab Epic Air Sport
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Why you should buy them: They’ve got most of the features we love about the Powerbeats Pro, for way less cash.

Who they’re for: Workout and fitness junkies who want massive battery life and a very secure fit.

Why we picked the JLab Epic Air Sport:

The JLab Epic Air Sport prove that you can have it all, and still afford to pay your rent. Using the tried-and-true ear hook design that makes the Powerbeats Pro such a good choice for high-energy activities, the Epic Air Sport offer a killer combination of comfort and stability. With seven different choices of ear tips, they should accommodate almost every ear shape. Their IP66 rating offers considerably more protection from dust and water than the Powerbeats, however, it’s not quite robust enough for swimming.

A two-year warranty — double the time we usually see in these kinds of gadgets — adds to our faith that these earbuds will be able to stand up to the toughest of workouts. They’re also champs in the stamina department, with 10 hours of battery life in the earbuds themselves, and a whopping 60 hours in the charging case, for a total of 70.

That charging case is definitely on the bulky side, but that’s to be expected — even the Powerbeats Pro’s case isn’t what we’d describe as easily pocketable.

But the real surprise with the JLabs is their sound quality. The Powerbeats still have a slight edge when it comes to overall fidelity, but not to the degree that it justifies their much higher price. Overall the Epic Air Sport sound fantastic, and they get a big rave from us for their built-in three-mode EQ which can be accessed from the buds themselves — no phone settings required. You can pick from Balanced, Bass Boost, and Signature, and each one offers audible benefits depending on your preferred genre of music.

With all of these benefits and a price that is typically in the $150 range, the JLab Epic Air Sport should give prospective Powerbeats Pro buyers something to think about before they lay down their hard-earned cash.

Read our full JLab Epic Air Sport review

The best waterproof Powerbeats Pro alternative: JBL Reflect Flow

JBL Reflect Flow

Why you should buy them: They offer the highest level of water resistance in a set of true wireless earbuds.

Who they’re for: Those who want real protection from water, a secure fit, and great battery life.

Why we picked the JBL Reflect Flow:

Although technically speaking, no product is genuinely waterproof — here are the reasons why — JBL nonetheless refers to its Reflect Flow true wireless earbuds as waterproof, and we think it’s a reasonable claim. All of the earbuds on this list can stand up to your rainiest and/or sweatiest encounters, but the Reflect Flow’s IPX7 rating is the highest we’ve yet to see in any true wireless products. These buds should be able to handle almost any water scenario short of snorkeling.

That’s a big deal, especially for folks who want a set of true wireless earbuds they can use while swimming. JBL doesn’t specifically call out swimming as an activity in its marketing language but given that IPX7 means protection in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, we think most swimming sessions won’t hurt the Reflect Flows.

Even if you’re not swimming, the Reflect Flows are super comfortable and secure thanks to the use of high-quality silicone eartips and wingtips. Unlike some earbuds which come with thin, barely-there eartips, these are dense and durable.

They can be relied on to last a long time, with 10 hours per charge in the earbuds, and 20 hours in the charging case, which we wish more truly wireless buds would offer. Of course, it comes at the cost of size — the Reflect Flows protrude from your ears more than other designs — something to keep in mind if you intend on wearing them under cycling, skiing, or motorcycle helmets.

Sound quality on the Reflect Flows is good, but we noticed it struggled a bit through the midrange, causing some tracks to lack the presence and punch of the Powerbeats Pro. Still, there’s plenty of bass, which should please those who want a workout companion that keeps them tuned to the rhythm.

There are two small drawbacks, however: It takes a significant amount of pressure to make the buttons click through their thick silicone outer skin, and that can be both uncomfortable and difficult during workouts. The JBL Reflect Flow’s Ambient Aware settings let some outside sounds in, but it’s not as effective as we’d like.

The best Powerbeats Pro alternative for everyday use: Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra elite 75t true wireless headphones
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Why you should buy them: They’ve got a great mix of battery life, sound quality, comfort, and durability.

Who they’re for: Those who want one set of true wireless earbuds that can tackle travel, the office, and the gym.

Why we picked the Jabra Elite 75t:

Jabra’s Elite series of true wireless earbuds have always been among our favorites for overall performance and that’s still true of their latest, the Elite 75t. With these buds, you’ll get top-notch sound quality that even manages to deliver bigger, bolder bass than the Powerbeats Pro — something we never thought we’d say about any Beats product — and superb comfort and fit.

The Elite 75t are smaller than their predecessors, the Elite 65t, and we think even those with hard-to-fit ears will find that they go in and stay in. Once they’re securely seated in your ear, you barely notice them.

That secure fit provides an amazing amount of noise isolation. It’s not quite as silky-silent as buds with active noise cancellation, but when you trigger the Elite 75t’s passthrough mode you become instantly aware of how much sound they block.

Battery life at just above seven hours is good but not stellar by today’s standards, but considering the tiny size of the Elite 75t, perhaps they deserve more credit — after all, they’re still way better than the AirPods Pro which top out at 5 hours.

You get IP55 protection with the Elite 75t, so they’re slightly more water-resistant than the Powerbeats Pro, making them more than ready to tackle heavy sweat or the occasional water spray.

Jabra’s Sound+ app offers plenty of customization, from setting the amount of passthrough sound to picking the perfect EQ. You can also adjust what each button controls. Speaking of the buttons, they’re amazing: They require just enough pressure that you won’t click them by mistake, but not so much that it’s hard to do. The Jabra Elite works really well with gloved hands too.

Read our full Jabra Elite 75t review

The best cheap Powerbeats Pro alternative: JLab JBuds Air Sport

JLab JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

Why you should buy them: They’re tough as nails and incredibly affordable.

Who they’re for: Those who need a set of workout-friendly true wireless earbuds that won’t break the bank.

Why we picked the JLab JBuds Air Sport:

You should be able to buy a decent set of wireless buds for the gym or the track without spending hundreds of dollars, and that’s exactly why we like the JBuds Air Sport. Think of them as a more affordable set of JLab Elite Air Sports — they may not sound quite as good, but they deliver on most of the things that matter in a set of wireless buds designed for sports.

You get the same IP66 water- and dust-resistance, and the same comfortable and secure ear hook design that will keep them in place no matter what you do. JLab’s excellent two-year warranty is also in effect, which is especially commendable at this price.

Also on tap is the Be Aware passthrough mode and the same three-mode built-in EQ settings that we enjoyed so much on the Elite Air Sports. But there’s a slight catch: their battery life is very good but still isn’t in the same league. You get six hours on the earbuds and 34 hours in the charging case — just not the Powerbeats Pro-killing longevity of the Elites.

Otherwise, the JLab JBuds are a really solid value in a set of workout-ready true wireless earbuds, at a price that clocks in well under the $100 mark.

The best hands-free Powerbeats Pro alternative: Amazon Echo Buds

Amazon Echo Buds
Riley Young / Digital Trends

The Powerbeats Pro work well enough with Android phones, but you really need an iPhone to get the most out of them. But Amazon’s Echo Buds are just as happy on Android as they are on iOS, making them an ideal workout partner for users of either platform. They’re compact, fit snugly (especially when using the optional wingtips), and they can handle your sweatiest workouts thanks to IPX4 protection. However, the Echo Buds have many other features that make them stand out from the competition as a worthy alternative to the Powerbeats Pro.

You can easily enable or disable the Bose Active Noise Reduction using a passthrough mode, blocking out unwanted sounds to concentrate or letting them in for conversations. They also feature hands-free access to Alexa, allowing you to use voice to perform most actions rather than tapping on the buds.

No other non-Apple true wireless earbuds have this workout-friendly feature. Their sound quality isn’t quite a match for the Beats, but the Amazon Echo Buds sound way better than Apple’s AirPods at a lower cost. That makes them one of the best values in a true wireless earbud at the moment. With five hours per charge and a total of 20 hours when you include the charging case, these buds can keep up with even the busiest of lifestyles.

Read our full Amazon Echo Buds review

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