Whether you’re looking for an everyday pair or something for fitness, these are the best picks
It’s a good time to buy a pair of true wireless earbuds. Whether your top priority is sound quality, comfort, battery life, voice call quality, or noise cancellation, the current field of products is full of great options. There’s no one set of earbuds that is perfect at everything. So today we will look at various options.
Remember that getting the most out of earbuds requires a good seal in your ear. Always try the various ear tip sizes that come with whichever buds you purchase — and don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes in each ear. Ears are funny like that.
1-SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS PLUS
Samsung got so much right with the Galaxy Buds Plus that they’re an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a dependable set of true wireless earbuds at a fair price. With up to 11 hours of continuous battery life, they can outlast every other set of earbuds in this roundup.
The Galaxy Buds Plus feel light in the ears but stay seated firmly and are comfortable to wear for extended periods. They come in a range of colors — unlike Apple’s AirPods — and the sound quality is noticeably improved over their predecessors. You can personalize that EQ tuning (and adjust ambient sound preferences) using Samsung’s companion mobile app, which is available on both Android and iPhone.
Samsung also improved the microphone system in the Galaxy Buds Plus; these are much better at handling voice calls than the original Galaxy Buds were. Their sweat resistance doesn’t quite reach par with other earbuds in this price range, and they lack noise cancellation, but those are about the only knocks I can direct at the Galaxy Buds Plus.
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS OVERALL
Pros & Cons
+11-hour battery life sets a new standard
+ Lightweight, comfortable fit and subtle design
+ Improved mics for voice calls
– No active noise cancellation
– Weaker water and sweat resistant than the competition
– Can’t pair to two devices simultaneously
2- APPLE AIRPODS PRO
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS FOR IPHONE OWNERS
If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, there’s no beating the AirPods Pro. From the seamless setup to quickly switching between your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the experience is fantastic. The AirPods Pro fit more ears than the regular, one-size-fits-most AirPods, and the active noise cancellation helps to drown out your surroundings when you only want to hear your tunes. When it does come time to hear what’s happening around you, Apple’s transparency mode offers the most natural-sounding amplification of ambient noise that I’ve heard yet.
The AirPods Pro are known for balanced, clear audio. With 4.5 hours of battery life with noise canceling on, battery life is decent if not a class-leader — but the case has enough juice to recharge them several times. Voice call quality is second to none, so these (and the standard AirPods) are the go-to pick if you’re often chatting with people through your earbuds.
Apple plans to update the AirPods Pro with new features this fall, including seamless, automatic switching between Apple devices. (Don’t worry: incoming iPhone calls will always take priority even if you’re doing something on your iPad or Mac.) The other new addition is spatial audio, which will use head tracking to deliver a “theater-like” surround sound experience.
Here’s a tip: if none of the included ear tips get you a perfect seal, I recommend a set of memory foam tips.
Pros & Cons
+ In-ear design allows them to fit more people’s ears
+ Better sound quality than other AirPods
+ Noise cancellation is surprisingly effective
+ Deep software integration with iOS
– Most expensive AirPods yet
– No improvements to battery life
– Best experience reserved for those in Apple’s ecosystem
– Limited lifespan of two or three years
3- JABRA ACTIVE ELITE 75T
Jabra’s earbuds have an advantage that remains rare among true wireless earbuds: you can use them with two devices simultaneously. Every other product on this list requires you to switch from one paired device to the other, but with the Jabras, you can listen to tunes on your laptop while staying connected to your phone in case a call comes in.
The Active Elite 75ts offers a full-bodied, powerful sound with an extra dose of bass. You can adjust the EQ using Jabra’s app, which also includes numerous other features for tailoring the earbuds to your liking. Their physical controls are easy to use, and the 75ts are comfortable over longer periods of time. Jabra backs them with a two-year warranty, a longer period of support than most, in the event you experience any hardware issues. Also with the Active version of Elite 75t, Jabra has improved its water resistance and made it a suitable workout companion.
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS FOR MULTITASKING (AND LOTS OF BASS)
Pros & Cons
+ Better fit and smaller than the previous model
+ Added coating for dust and sweat resistance
+ Sound better than the AirPods Pro, with better clarity and tighter bass
+ Good for making calls
+ IP57 water-resistance rating (fully waterproof)
– No active noise canceling
– No wireless charging
– AirPods Pro is slightly better for making calls
4- BEATS POWERBEATS PRO
There’s still no beating the Powerbeats Pro if you’re looking for a set of earbuds for your workouts or runs. Their ear hook design keeps them planted on your ears during intense exercise, they can endure your sweatiest workouts, and the nine hours of continuous battery life should get you through just about any marathon. And the sound quality is killer, with plenty of bass and an immersive soundstage that will keep you motivated through every set.
This spring, Apple released a new batch of Powerbeats Pro colors. Though the company didn’t make any significant hardware changes, I haven’t run into some of the annoyances — like one earbud failing to charge or not turning out when removed from the case — that I have with my original pair. Maybe it’s luck, or maybe Apple quietly made some fixes.
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS FOR FITNESS
Pros & Cons
+ Superbly comfortable and steady in the ear, even during intense workouts
+ Huge soundstage for true wireless earphones
+ Rich sound with a satisfying bass thump
+ Sweat and water resistance
+ Epic battery life for the category
– Laughably large carrying case
– The treble energy can be fatiguing with long listening sessions
– Wireless or USB-C charging would have been nice
– Not the most discreet look for the office or casual environments
5- SENNHEISER MOMENTUM TRUE WIRELESS 2
If you deem yourself an audiophile and rank pristine sound above everything else, it’s worth taking a look at Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds. The audio is lush, detailed, and sublime. Active noise cancellation helps keep you lost in your favorite albums, even if the Sennheisers fall behind our other top picks in areas like battery life and ease of use.
The bigger downside is that Sennheiser charges a premium price for such premium sound.
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS FOR SOUND QUALITY
Pros & Cons
+ Sublime sound
+ Snug, comfortable fit
+ Customizable controls
+ Solid ANC performance
– High price
– Unintuitive default controls
– No wireless charging on the case
6- SONY WF-XB700
Sony’s entry-level earbuds were released without much fanfare a few months ago, but I think they’re a real standout. They’ve already seen sale prices of below $100, and for that, you get a pair of earbuds that can kick out powerful bass and latch into your ears with remarkable stability — no support fins or hooks required. There are no frills here: these earbuds don’t have an ambient sound mode, they won’t pause your music when you take them out, and they lack any kind of mobile app support for EQ adjustments.
But in the time I’ve spent using them, I haven’t really cared about any of that. The WF-XB700 earbuds sound downright terrific for the price, the connection stability is rock solid (with no audio sync issues when watching videos), and their ingenious charging case always makes clear that everything is charging as it should, thanks to a slightly transparent lid. You can’t really ask for better battery life than the nine hours you’ll get from these, and they’re IPX4 water and sweat resistant. The textured finish probably won’t appeal to everyone, but it means you won’t have to put up with scratches or smudges on the earbuds or case.
I can’t call them the best true wireless earbuds you can get, but I think a lot of people would be perfectly content with the WF-XB700s if they wanted to save some money. They’re a real gem and nail that price/performance balance terrifically.
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS ON A BUDGET
Pros & Cons
+ Great price
+ Full bass
+ Reliable onboard controls
+ Solid battery life
– Build quality isn’t great
– The charging case can’t be used with one hand
– Battery life is average