It’s not uncommon for people to use the terms “headphones” and “earbuds” interchangeably, but these aren’t the same thing. While headphones fit around your head, earbuds, such as AirPods, fit in your ears.
Recently, wireless headphones have become more popular than ever, and if you’re in the market for a pair, here’s what we recommend.
(Prices look too high here? Check out our list of the best cheap true wireless earbuds for more value-packed favorites!)
Best true wireless earbuds at a glance:
- The best true wireless earbuds: Amazon Echo Buds
- The best true wireless earbuds for your budget: 1More Stylish
- The best-fitting true wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite 75t
- The best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM3
- The best true wireless earbuds for iOS: Apple AirPods Pro
- The best true wireless earbuds for Android: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
- The best true wireless earbuds for working out: JLab Epic Air Sport
- The best true wireless earbuds for sound quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- The best true wireless earbuds for bass: Powerbeats Pro
- The best stylish true wireless earbuds: Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Why you should buy them: They’re comfortable, they’ve got impressive noise reduction, and they give you hands-free access to Alexa, all at a killer price.
Who they’re for: Anyone who wants top-of-the-line features without paying top-of-the-line prices.
Why we picked the Amazon Echo Buds:
These days, it’s not hard to find true wireless earbuds with good sound quality, or excellent battery life, or even noise cancellation. What is hard is trying to find a set that will deliver the performance and convenience of these features without spending more than $200.
That’s where the Echo Buds excel. They combine a host of cutting-edge technologies and features into a product that costs far less than many less-capable earbuds. We’d normally expect such an approach to deliver a series of second-rate results, but Amazon hasn’t cut any corners. The Echo Buds’ Active Noise Reduction system designed by Bose is effective at drowning out external sounds while the pass-through mode lets you control how much sound gets in. The triple-mic array lets you talk to Alexa without needing to tap on an earbud. And the sound quality is good enough for all but the most discerning ears.
On the downside, the battery life is only average at 5 hours, and the charging case isn’t as small or well-built as the one that comes with Apple’s AirPods. You can’t control volume directly, but if you’re ok with talking to Alexa, you can control volume and almost anything else you need. With IPX4 water resistance, solid connectivity, and more add-ons than many pricier options, these are the value-packed buds of choice.
Why you should buy them: Low cost, solid sound, super comfortable, sweat resistant.
Who they’re for: Those who want better-than-AirPod battery, sweat resistance, and solid sound for a very reasonable price.
Why we picked the 1More Stylish:
A sleek, comfortable design and tons of great functionality meet a very low price in 1More’s latest wireless earbuds, making them our current go-to when friends and family members ask for earbuds for $100 or less.
You get an impressive 6.5 hours of listening time between trips to the included charging case, with three full charges in the case for up to 26 hours of playback before you need to hunt for the micro USB cable. The built-in mics can’t be used to pass through external sounds, something to keep in mind if your workouts occur near traffic. Though the Stylish initially launched without volume control, an app-based update has added this feature, making these earbuds an even better value.
Unlike the regular AirPods, these headphones do feature sweat resistance alongside built-in earfins and silicone ear tips, meaning they remain in your ears during even the sweatiest and most head-wrenching gym sessions.
That, plus great sound and aptX support for great Bluetooth quality make the 1More Stylish an absolute bargain. True to their name, the 1More Stylish come in a choice of colors: Rose pink, gold, spearmint green, and black, a degree of choice that is still quite rare among most competitors. If you’re after a great pair of true wireless earbuds for an affordable price, these are your buds.
Why you should buy them: They’re tiny, super-comfortable earbuds with excellent sound quality.
Who they’re for: Those who find other earbuds uncomfortable, or insecure, and want a great fit.
Why we chose the Jabra Elite 75t:
If you’ve never had a problem getting earbuds to fit comfortably, this may not be a huge selling point, but we think the Jabra Elite 75t are some of the best-fitting earbuds you can buy. And if you have had trouble in the past, we don’t need to tell you how important this is.
Of course, every set of ears are different, and what works for one person might be lousy for another. However, we’ve tried out a lot of wireless earbuds over the years and we can say with confidence that there’s an excellent chance the Elite 75t are going to fit you well. The secret is their size and shape. They’re very small and incredibly light, so there’s simply less mass acting on them. This keeps them seated securely even when you’re actively moving.
They’re also very ergonomically shaped, with contours that let them nestle right in the pocket of your outer ear, avoiding any of the folds and protrusions that usually prevent other designs from staying put.
So yes, they fit incredibly well and remain comfortable for hours of use, but that’s not the whole story. The Elite 75t have excellent sound quality, with a bass response that’s so commanding we think you’ll be as shocked as we were that so much boom can come from such small buds.
They can last 7.5 hours between charges and their tiny charging case — one of the smallest we’ve ever seen — can keep the tunes going for a total of 28 hours. With an IP55 rating for water and dust protection, they can survive even the toughest workouts, provided you don’t jump in the pool. That ruggedness is backed up by a two-year warranty which is unusual in an industry that often only provides one year of coverage.
Each earbud has a control button that is easy to press — even with gloves on — and the click combinations let you control volume, track changes, play/pause, call answer/end, and summon your favorite voice assistant.
The free Jabra Sound+ app lets you customize the EQ, phone call settings, and later this year will let you choose what the button clicks do.
The Elite 75t do not have active noise cancellation like some of the earbuds on this list, but we’d argue you probably won’t miss it. They isolate sound so well because of their fit, you’ll be glad they have a hear-through function for letting the outside world in when you need it.
Why you should buy them: With built-in active noise cancellation, they’re the most technologically advanced true wireless earbuds you can buy.
Who they’re for: Those who want it all: Great sound, great battery life, great customization, and of course, noise cancellation.
Why we chose the Sony WF-1000XM3:
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are effectively the true wireless version of the Sony WH-1000XM3 — the headphones that dominate several of our best-of lists, and our favorite overall headphones you can buy. These earbuds are a technological tour-de-force, combining superb sound quality, awesome noise cancellation, and solid battery life of 6 hours with noise cancellation, and 8 hours without.
The WF-1000XM3 get their impressive audio chops with a little help from Sony’s DSEE HX sound processing, which has a near-magical ability to take even lo-fi MP3s and make them sound rich and full. The active noise-canceling circuitry is the same as the WH-1000XM3 — in other words, superb. You get whisper-quiet backgrounds on airplanes, public transit, or even noisy offices. That noise cancellation is fully adjustable, and a long-press on one of the earbuds activates a transparency mode, giving you unfettered access to the sounds of the environment around you.
The charging case, which looks like it was designed by the marketing team at Duracell, stores three full charges, giving you up to 32 hours of playtime — or 24 if you like your environment ultra-quiet. Wondering how the WF-1000XM3 compare to the PowerBeats Pro? It isn’t even close.
Sony’s app for iOS and Android has EQ, ANC, and voice assistant settings for a fully customized experience. And thanks to a post-launch update, you can even control volume without reaching for your phone — though you’ll have to trade it for another function. Also, Sony hasn’t claimed they offer sweat-resistance, though given how many AirPods we see at the gym, maybe the Sony buds can handle a bit of moisture too. Speaking of AirPods, we compared the non-pro version directly with the WF-1000XM3. It was an easy Sony win. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro stack up quite nicely.
Why you should buy them: They keep all of the best features of the original AirPods and add better sound, active noise cancellation, and water resistance.
Who they’re for: AirPods fans who have been itching for something better. A lot better.
Why we chose the Apple AirPods Pro:
AirPods have become the poster child for the true wireless earbuds revolution thanks to their iconic design, ease of use, and tight integration with the iPhone and other iOS devices. But they’re far from perfect. Middling sound quality and no sweat- or water-resistance have been among the top criticisms.
That’s why the AirPods Pro are so welcome: They address both of these concerns, and up the ante even further by adding active noise cancellation, an in-ear design that’s more snug and secure, and an intelligent EQ system that automatically adjusts to each users’ ears. We were frankly blown away by both the improvement in sound quality and the effectiveness of Apple’s noise-canceling tech.
Meanwhile, all of the features that Apple fans have come to rely on like Siri connectivity, intuitive touch controls, and accelerometers that recognize when the buds are in or out of your ears to pause and play sound automatically, are all preserved. Battery life is unchanged at 5 hours of music streaming per charge — a number that is less impressive now than it once was — but you get a wireless charging case that would normally cost you $50 more than the price of a regular set of AirPods.
If you’re an Apple fan, there’s a lot here to love except perhaps the price. Apple debuted the AirPods Pro at $249, putting them near the top of the true wireless earbud market.
Really like the AirPods Pro but don’t want to deal with the long delivery times? Here are the best AirPods Pro alternatives.
Why you should buy them: Samsung’s second generation true wireless earbuds combine best-in-class playback time with the same comfortable fit that made the Galaxy Buds a hit in the first place.
Who they’re for: Those searching for solid-sounding earbuds that will last all day without having to return to their charging case.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Buds:
The original Samsung Galaxy Buds were our pick for best true wireless buds to pair with your Android device. Now that we’ve had the chance to review their successors, it was an easy decision to give the Galaxy Buds+ the top spot.
The newest earbuds from Samsung pack 11 hours of playback between charges, the best battery life we’ve seen from true wireless earbuds so far. The caveat is that Samsung’s included wireless charging case only carries enough juice for one extra charge. Still, being able to go a full day before having to charge the Galaxy Buds+ is a game changer.
Aside from the big-time battery, the Galaxy Buds+ have improved audio quality thanks to dual dynamic drivers and a speaker and microphone system driven by Samsung subsidiary AKG. Plus, Samsung retained the comfortable and lightweight form of the first generation.
Why you should buy them: They’re fully sweatproof, have all-day battery life, sound great, and are very reasonably priced.
Who they’re for: Runners, cyclists, or anyone who likes to listen to music while working out.
Why we picked the JLab Epic Air Sport:
Our previous pick for this category, Jabra’s Elite Active 65t, had plenty to brag about upon their release, but there’s a new boss in town: The JLab Epic Air Sport (3rd gen), which best the Jabra in multiple ways. They fit well, they’ve got twice the battery life, and they sound very good. They even beat the Jabra buds on price. What more could you ask for?
How about a built-in triple set of EQ presets that you can access without an app? And the JLab’s IP66 rating ensures the only wet experience you need to avoid is swimming, and even sand won’t compromise the sensitive electronics inside.
The 10-hour battery life is among the best of any true wireless earbuds right now, and their charging case can replenish them more than five times before needing to be plugged-in. It’s such a big battery, JLab even encourages you to use it to top off your other devices. The earbuds come with seven sets of ear tips (including a foam set) that should give everyone a comfortable fit, and their robust ear hooks — though not especially stylish — will keep the Epic Air Sport from going anywhere without you.
Top it all off with Bluetooth 5.0 wireless tech for easy pairing and reliable connections, and a price that puts these earbuds within reach of even the most modest of budgets, and you can see why we’re so bullish on the new JLab Epic Air Sport.
Why you should buy them: They’re the best sounding true wireless earbuds available today, with exceptional battery life and solid features.
Who they’re for: Those who want the best sound possible in a long-lasting, sleekly designed set of buds.
Why we chose the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2:
The first generation Momentum True Wireless provided seriously high-end sound, although they came at a high-end price. They were also lacking in battery life.
The Momentum True Wireless 2 sought to solve its predecessor’s lack of juice. Sennheiser increased playback time from four to seven hours on a single charge, and beefed up the earbuds’ charging case to include three additional charges for a total of 28 hours.
Although the Momentum True Wireless 2 are 2mm smaller than the originals, their style and design remains largely unchanged. The same goes for their ease of use, with intuitive touchpads letting you effortlessly change tracks and adjust volume. They can even pull up your preferred voice assistant for help in selecting something to listen to.
Most importantly, the new Momentum buds have Sennheiser’s signature sound, aided by a new feature. With the addition of active noise cancellation, you’re able to experience that superb sound profile without the outside environment getting in the way.
The $300 price point is a tall order, but if you’re after the best sound true wireless earbuds can offer, the Momentum True Wireless 2 are worth the cost.
Why you should buy them: They have superb battery life, water resistance, and the kind of punchy bass the Beats brand is known for.
Who they’re for: Those who need a robust set of wireless earbuds that sound great and have the stamina for even the most grueling workouts.
Why we chose the Beats PowerBeats Pro:
Battery life has long been one of the biggest challenges for true wireless earbuds, which is why the PowerBeats Pro’s 9 hours of playback time per charge is so noteworthy. There are only a few prime options in the field that do better, with the MW07 Plus being one of them. With this kind of stamina, you can probably leave the charging case at home, which is a good thing because it is massive.
They also provide a shake-proof fit, with earhooks that may look bulky but are surprisingly easy to get on and off your ears when the time comes, though they’re not the comfiest for long listening sessions. Thanks to built-in optical sensors, removing an earbud instantly pauses the music, making for quick and easy transition from listening to talking.
Sound quality is also quite good — especially low-end bass, which is powerful but never flabby. The PowerBeats Pros aren’t perfect, though. We experienced some frustrating connection problems, especially in high-traffic areas, even though the earbuds use Apple’s touted H1 wireless chip. If you keep your phone close, though, the Powerbeats Pro have plenty going for them.
If you appreciate the Powerbeats Pro’s workout-friendly design, but you need a more affordable option, here are the best Powerbeats Pro alternatives.
Why you should buy them: These earbuds are one of the few that sound as good as they look, and we think they look awesome.
Who they’re for: Those who want truly wireless earbuds that sound great, last long, and make a design statement.
Why we chose the Klipsch T5 True Wireless:
With the Klipsch brand, the bar tends to get set pretty high when it comes to sound quality. Thankfully, the company’s true wireless earbuds are no exception. In fact, these earbuds are bested by only a few buds we’ve tried, including the MW07 Plus. The superlatives continue, too, with 8 hours of battery per charge and an additional 24 hours of juice on-tap in the charging case.
Let’s take a moment right now and give proper admiration to that charging case: It looks like (and opens like) a Zippo lighter, and we think it imparts the same cool factor on anyone who carries it. It’s a tad heavy, but those curved corners and metal finish make it all worthwhile.
It’s also worth mentioning that the T5 offer great call quality, something that’s important for most wireless earbuds users. Usability is also excellent thanks to the T5’s built-in controls for volume, track control, play/pause, and voice assistants.
Rounding out the T5’s strengths are IPX4 water-resistance — good for all but the wettest environments — and uniquely shaped sound tubes that not only project sound directly into the ear, but also allow the mass of the earbuds to sit squarely in the center of the ear itself. It’s a much more comfortable arrangement than many earbuds.
Research and buying tips
- Can wireless earbuds connect to a PC?
- Can wireless earbuds be used on airplanes?
- Can wireless earbuds connect to the PS4 and Xbox One?
- Can wireless earbuds connect to a TV?
- Are wireless earbuds better than wired?
- Do wireless earbuds always have a charging case?
- Are wireless earbuds good for working out?
Yes, as long as the PC has Bluetooth. Some have Bluetooth by default, but if yours doesn’t, you can add it with an affordable USB adapter.
Yes. You can enable most devices’ Bluetooth radio while in airplane mode.
Not to the Xbox One, but check out our handy guide for connecting Bluetooth headsets to the PS4.
Only if your TV has Bluetooth transmission, or via an external device like this.
Not usually for sound quality, but they are for convenience.
Not always, but the vast majority do come with a charging case. If they don’t come with a case, we strongly recommend you don’t buy them.
Yes, they are awesome to work out in, as long as they have waterproofing or an IP rating and fit snugly in your ears.
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