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Editor’s Note: We reviewed our current picks, and they’re still the best wireless earbuds on the market as of August 2023. If you’re ready to add to your shopping cart now, we recommend the all-new Beats Studio Buds + as the best compact earphones, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) for pairing with Apple gadgets, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II as the best with onboard noise cancellation.
A stellar set of wireless earbuds is virtually a must-have for anyone with a smartphone. Phone manufacturers began shifting away from the standard audio jack years ago, with the iPhone 7 being the first big-name product to do away with the functionality. Today, save for a few niche offerings, most smartphones don’t have an audio jack.
Thankfully, today’s market for wireless earbuds is brimming with options, ranging from cheap sets that cover the basics to feature-rich offerings for discerning audiophiles. But the transparent number of wireless earbud options makes finding the right one a daunting task, which is why we’re here to help with the process. Whether you’re in the market for an affordable set or are ready to spend big on the best of the best, we found a pair out there that should tick the boxes for your needs.
The Best Wireless Earbuds
Best Overall: Beats Studio Buds +
Most Versatile: Beats Fit Pro
Best Value: Jabra Elite 4 Active
Best AirPods: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Best Budget Earbuds: Soundcore Life P3
Best Sound Quality: Sony WF-1000XM5
Best Noise Cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Best for Exercising: Jaybird Vista 2
Best for Samsung Galaxy Owners: Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
Best Android Integration: Google Pixel Buds Pro
What to Consider
Generally speaking, wireless earbuds should be sleek, comfy, water-resistant, and capable of delivering entertaining sound, regardless of what you’ll be using them for. When you’re shopping for a new pair, look for a durable design, reliable fit, dependable battery life, and solid audio performance (including during calls).
How We Tested
To finalize my picks for this guide, I spent many hours researching dozens of wireless earbuds. After zeroing in on the most promising in various price tiers, I set out on extensive personal testing.
I spent at least a week with every pick on this list, using the earbuds daily on my commute, at work, and while exercising. I evaluated the earbuds on the following criteria:
Audio performance and call quality
Ergonomics during various activities
To test the earbuds’ sound capabilities, I listened to my favorite playlists — along with a few podcasts — and paid close attention to their audible frequency range. The term relates to the ability to deliver the treble (highs), the midrange, and the bass in your favorite tracks.
I put the buds’ noise cancellation through its paces during outdoor walks and subway trips in Manhattan and while working from home and at the office. I also made outgoing and incoming calls with each headset to evaluate the quality of its audio and the performance of its built-in microphone(s).
Regarding ergonomics, I paid close attention to whether the earbuds I tested got uncomfortable after extended use and stayed in place while exercising. I only selected products that treated me to hours of comfortable wear. In addition, I gauged the quality and reliability of the earbuds’ controls.
When it comes to battery life, I kept an eye on whether the products I tested performed in line with their manufacturers’ claims. While testing, I used them at volume levels that hovered around 50 percent.
Now that you know what to look for in a pair of wireless earbuds, check out our reviews of the best, and get ready to begin a new sound journey without wires.
The Beats Studio Buds+ wireless earbuds — the legendary brand’s latest — are our new top pick for most consumers. A sequel to a product we’ve been recommending for the past two years, the new iteration brings next-level sound and noise cancellation, a comfier fit, and longer battery life while retaining the same timelessly cool design and agreeable price category. The Studio Buds+ are available in black, ivory, and an all-new transparent finish which we like quite a lot.
While testing the earbuds, I once again liked not having to use an app to achieve optimal sound and noise cancellation — both were well-balanced and excellent out of the box. I also tip my hat to Apple for making the new Beats earbuds as effortless to integrate with Android and Chrome OS devices as with its own. I only wish the new earphones had a case with wireless charging capabilities.
If you can up your budget by $30, consider the true wireless Beats Fit Pro instead. We go more in-depth below, but the range-topping Beats by Dre earphones have a more secure fit with additional wingtips and, thanks to the Apple H1 chip, support for fancier spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. The last bit delivers a live performance-like listening experience with compatible Apple Music content.
The Beats Fit Pro earphones are the brand’s best true wireless offering and, hands down, the best option for Apple users. Thanks to the tech giant’s H1 chip, they can deliver spatial audio sound with dynamic head tracking. The experience is incredibly lifelike with enhanced content, though you should know it’s only available on Apple hardware.
Powered by a custom audio driver, the Beats Fit Pro earphones deliver a balanced sonic experience. Apple’s H1 chip mentioned above also allows the buds to respond to hands-free Siri voice commands and to seamlessly switch between all devices that use the same iCloud account.
Compared to the cheaper Studio Buds from the same maker, the Beats Fit Pro has a more secure fit with integrated wingtips. The setup makes the earbuds a great option for exercising. You can order the product in a multitude of colors, including finishes created in collaboration with Kim Kardashian.
Jabra’s Elite 4 Active true wireless earbuds are a solid alternative to our top pick, with a more understated design, a tougher build with a higher rating for water resistance, customizable sound via an app, and a lower MSRP, all while being just as lightweight and comfortable. The earbuds’ excellent fit also impressed me by blocking noise exceptionally well — I didn’t need to use noise cancellation on many occasions while testing the product.
Still, the noise cancellation is stellar, as is call quality. Acoustically, the Jabra Elite 4 earbuds perform superbly for their price range. However, the Studio Buds offers support for more immersive Dolby Atmos spatial audio, self-adjustable noise cancellation, and seamless Apple connectivity. And they are on sale right now on Amazon.
If noise cancellation is not a must for you, consider the more affordable Jabra Elite 3 wireless earbuds. The sub-$100 pair has a similar design and sound quality but a slightly lower rating for water resistance. The two-year warranty against damage from water and sweat somewhat makes up for that.
Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro earphones are hands-down the best for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch users. Fresh off an upgrade to the H2 wireless chip, the earbuds deliver better sound, superior noise cancellation, and longer battery life than the iconic first-generation. Of course, they will also link to all Apple devices that use the same iCloud account.
The audio quality of the AirPods Pro is balanced, enjoyable, and among the best in the price range. If you’re looking for Apple earbuds sans noise cancellation, consider the third-generation AirPods.
Remarkably, the charging case of the latest AirPods Pro got a ton of upgrades, too. The accessory packs the Apple U1 chip, so you can track it like an AirTag. To top things off, the essential gadget has an onboard speaker and an IPX4 rating for water resistance like the earphones.
You can customize and protect your AirPods by browsing a vast selection of protective cases. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to add a personal touch.
The Soundcore Life P3 wireless earbuds by Anker are our favorite for budget-minded buyers and a worthy follow-up to the brand’s incredibly popular Life P2. For less than $80, the buds offer an amalgam of well-balanced sound, robust noise cancellation, and a best-in-class companion app to customize them. It was user-friendly, and I always enjoyed interacting with the app while testing the earbuds.
The stem-toting buds are also comfy, durable, and excellent for making calls. To top things off, the Life P3 offers solid battery life and a case that’s compatible with wireless charging. You can order the product in black, white, coral, navy, or sky blue.
If you’re shopping for affordable wireless earbuds with a stemless design, consider the Soundcore Life A2 NC instead. The compact earphones are slightly cheaper than the Life P3 without skimping on audio performance and additional features.
A follow-up to a bona fide legend, Sony’s WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds are today’s best in terms of transparent acoustic capabilities. Thanks to cutting-edge audio hardware and support for lossless audio codecs, the buds can deliver sound with higher audio fidelity than any rival. Their noise cancellation is also excellent, though I’d give the Bose earbuds a slight edge for offering multiple modes and customization options of the essential feature.
Regarding sound and noise cancellation, the WF-1000XM5 earbuds are a significant upgrade over the previous generation, thanks to larger audio drivers and upgraded processing tech. Plus, the buds are sleeker, smaller, and comfier without cutting corners in durability and battery life. Their battery endurance and storage case with wireless charging set them apart from their Bose rival.
These are the true wireless earbuds to get if sound quality is your utmost priority and their admittedly hefty sticker fits your budget. I’m constantly testing earbuds, but the WF-1000XM5 will be my go-to if I have to pick just one set.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have noise-canceling tech, which allows them to tune out ambient distractions more proficiently than any rival. In addition, you can tune the feature's intensity via a companion app and even create multiple quick-access modes for various usage scenarios (e.g., work, commute, etc.). The earbuds’ aware mode for keeping tabs on your surroundings is just as incredible and, together with the noise cancellation, worth splurging on.
Compared to the first-generation Bose QuietComfort earbuds, the sequel offers a sleeker, more compact design and a comfier fit. The buds’ battery life has remained unchanged despite their size reduction, but, oddly, their case lacks wireless charging. If you don’t want to drop $300 on your next set of wireless earbuds, keep in mind that the original’s price dropped below $200 after the launch of the second generation.
Like all Bose products, the QuietComfort Earbuds II deliver a high-quality, well-balanced sound that’s customizable via their companion app. Their performance during calls is also exceptional, making them a great option for remote work. This is the set of earbuds that I reached for most frequently before making calls and stepping into online work sessions.
If you plan to exercise on a daily basis with your next pair of wireless earbuds, you need the Jaybird’s Vista 2. Designed to comply with military standards for durability, the buds have a secure fit and the highest rating for water resistance on this list — they can easily survive exposure to water and dust.
Crafted from stylish and rugged fabric, the buds’ covers (in black or gray) are nice to interact with, too. And believe it or not, their wireless-charging-compatible case with a matching finish is also super tough and IP54 waterproof. Being able to gently rinse the accessory with water after dropping it during an outing in Central Park was very convenient.
The Vista 2 can also deliver high-quality sound, adjustable noise cancellation, and great battery life. Their companion app stands out by offering plenty of tools to customize your experience, dressed in an intuitive user interface. There’s even an option to discover the preferred sound presets of professional athletes and workout warriors.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro earbuds are Samsung’s answer to the Apple AirPods Pro, offering outstanding comfort and seamless integration with the tech giant’s Android smartphones. When paired with a Galaxy phone, the earbuds can stream hi-fi sound that’s a contender for best-in-class. Plus, you can charge them wirelessly off the back of the top-shelf Samsung Galaxy phones.
Thanks to a duo of audio drivers per earphone, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro deliver phenomenal sound, stellar noise cancellation, and excellent call quality. The buds can activate ambient mode by detecting your voice, like the previous generation. This bit reminded me of the much pricier Sony WF-1000XM4 above while testing Samsung’s earbuds.
If you’re shopping for Samsung-ready earbuds on a tighter budget, consider the Galaxy Buds2. The cheaper earbuds' sound, noise cancellation, and call quality are top-notch, but their IPX2 rating for water resistance is not as robust as the Pro’s IPX7.
The Pixel Buds Pro — Google’s best wireless earbuds yet — are excellent for Android users. In addition to a comfy fit, incredible battery life, and super easy Android smartphone pairing, the colorful earbuds offer seamless Google Assistant integration. You can manage audio playback, take calls, send messages, control connected appliances, and open apps, among many other things, with voice commands.
Google equipped the Pixel Buds Pro with custom audio drivers whose audio quality is worthy of the price range. The same goes for the earbuds’ noise cancellation and call quality.
The Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are another excellent option by Google, especially if you don’t want to drop $200 on new earbuds and noise cancellation isn’t a must. For less than $100, the earphones offer top-tier comfort and hands-free Google Assistant access but shorter battery life.
The LinkBuds S — Sony’s latest true wireless earbuds — deserve your attention for delivering supreme comfort and unrivaled ambient sound capabilities. The latter will allow you to remain aware of your surroundings anytime, anywhere, without the need to remove the lightweight buds. While testing, I wore them for hours during at-home work sessions and outdoor walks without missing an important delivery or track of the NYC traffic around me.
Best of all, unlike the first-ever Sony LinkBuds that required donut-shaped audio drivers to achieve that level of comfort, the S iteration also offers more immersive sound and onboard noise cancellation. Sony accomplished this feat by treating the buds to a traditional design with silicone tips but larger air vents to let in more ambient noise. Thanks to well-tuned audio drivers and the same audio processor as the pricier Sony WF-1000XM4 above, the LinkBuds S earbuds produce excellent and easily customizable sound.
Given their price tag, the LinkBuds S could use a wireless charging-compatible case.
The Soundcore Liberty 4 wireless earbuds are today’s best alternative to the third-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro, offering longer battery life for less money without skimping on great sound and reliable noise cancellation. The stem-toting wireless earbuds are available in black, white, blue, and red.
The audio quality and noise cancellation are among the best in their price range, and you can customize them via a best-in-class companion app. Impressively, the Liberty 4 can stream Hi-Res audio, thanks to support for the LDAC codec. The audiophile-grade feature is available on most of the latest Android phones.
Their quality is solid, too, and you can simultaneously connect the buds to a pair of devices. However, Apple’s earphones will also easily connect to all devices that use the same iCloud account.
JBL’s Tour Pro 2 wireless earbuds have the most feature-rich charging case in the business. The high-tech accessory rocks a touchscreen that allows you to control the audio playback, take or reject calls, adjust the noise cancellation, and even customize the sound without reaching for your phone to open the earbuds’ companion app.
While testing the Pro 2, I found the above feature incredibly convenient while using the buds on my MacBook and iPad on my office desk and at home, respectively. I didn’t need to reach for the charging case on the go. I usually keep such wireless earbuds’ accessories in my backpack, while my phone is always in my jeans pocket.
Sound-wise, the JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds deliver an experience worthy of their price range. Their sound quality and noise cancellation are top-notch. Combined with the long battery life and futuristic charging case, the product’s audio performance makes it an interesting alternative to similarly priced Apple, Bose, and Sony rivals.
The Master & Dynamic MW08 wireless earbuds are the pair to get if style and craftsmanship rank above all else. Designed in New York City, they’re luxurious, feature-packed, and worth their hefty price tag. Available in several colors, their gorgeous ceramic housings make rivals look generic and cheap in comparison.
Like all M&D products, the MW08 buds sound exceptional, thanks to finely tuned audio drivers, and their noise-canceling tech is adjustable via a mobile app. They have epic battery life, too, and a beautiful storage case with stainless-steel housing. I felt a sense of special occasion every time I picked them up. However, despite the MW08’s high price, its case doesn’t support wireless charging.
If wireless charging is important for you, consider the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport earbuds instead. For $50 more, they have just-as-luxurious housings with sapphire glass covers and a Kevlar fiber storage case with the essential functionality.
JLab’s Go Air Pop true wireless earbuds are the most affordable worth your attention. Priced as a legitimate impulse buy, these sub-$20 buds are incredibly comfortable, plenty durable, and capable of delivering entertaining sound.
You can tune the buds’ sound by choosing from a trio of custom modes. They include a balanced one, an option with boosted bass, and a JLab signature setting that enhances the treble and the low range. The call quality of the Go Air Pop is also adequate, so long as you’re realistic with your expectations.
The eight-hour maximum battery life of the Go Air Pop can compete with much pricier offerings, though I really wish that their case had an integrated cable with a more up-to-date USB-C connector instead of the old-school USB-A it packs. I had to look for a USB-C hub to power the earbuds up from a MacBook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio.
More Wireless Earbuds We’ve Tested
Below is an additional selection of wireless earbuds I tested at various prices. The products offered a good overall experience but didn’t meet our exact criteria for performance, durability, and available features for the money. That said, each entry left me with good impressions.
Sony WF-C500: These wireless earbuds offer well-balanced sound and outstanding battery life at an incredible sub-$100 price point. However, rivals offer noise cancellation and wireless charging for even less.
Sony LinkBuds: These very interesting and very niche wireless earbuds by Sony have holes in the middle. These let ambient sound in so you can always be aware of your surroundings. That said, the high-tech buds’ battery life and overall durability leave a bit to be desired.
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