by Adam MolinaDecember 13, 2016

We already took a look at the best headphones, and the best Bluetooth speakers, no\w we’re taking a look at what in my opinion is the hardest group of products to judge: Bluetooth earbuds. Not only are there so many out there to choose from, but there are so many bad ones. Pair that with the physical differences in the human ear when it comes to fit and the ever-present sound preference that lovers of audio love to argue about, and you’ve got what essentially comes to down mainly to preference. That said, there are some that stand out from the rest and we rounded them up for you. These are our picks for the best Bluetooth earbuds of 2016.


Best All-Around

Jaybird X3

The Jaybird X2s were a decisive win for the company, but they were expensive. Then there were the Freedoms. Some people loved it, some didn’t. Either way, they were also expensive. Now the company is back on track with the Jaybird X3s which have received nothing but positive reviews and are priced competitively at around $129. One problem I really had with the Jaybird Freedoms was the fit. That isn’t the case with the X3s. They come with three different pairs of wing tips and six pairs of ear tips that made it easy to find the perfect combination. The X3s have a slimmer profile than the X2s which also makes them easier to wear. Like the X2s before them, these have an 8 hour battery life and now come with a charging cradle for when they die. This makes the control module just a little bit smaller overall. These are a much more refined paired of in-ears good for any situation.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
Sweat resistant
Battery Life
8 hours
Size/Weight
21.5 x 0.5 x 0.9 inches/11.2 ounces
Pros
FitPriceBuild
Cons
Still no IPX certificationDecent sound

SoundPEATS QY8

The Soundpeats QY7 might not be a huge name brand product, but they’ve got a huge name brand kind of following. At under $25, the previous QY7 model was reviewed by over 14,000 people on Amazon and have come away with a 4 out of 5 star score. Now the QY8’s are here and they’ve only been improved. The QY7’s have been impressing people in terms of connection, fit, and sound. Basically every category that matters and that continues with the QY8s.7 These found a home mainly among runners, but those same features are what makes these a great all-around choice. That said, they are sweatproof so don’t be shy about taking these to the gym either. Still, the most important feature of these headphones is how much you’re going to pay for them. Battery life is only about 5 hours which is down an hour from the QY7’s, but again - $25. That gets you aptX for better quality streaming and an IPX4 certification. If you want a decent pair of inexpensive headphones that you can take with you on your commute and then to the gym after work, these might be for you.
Microphone
No
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
IPX4
Battery Life
5 Hours
Size/Weight
4.0 x 3.9 x 1.6 inches/4 ounces
Pros
PriceIPX4
Cons
Battery Life
Best for Running

Bose Soundsport Wireless

Bose recently really impressed us with the Soundsport Wireless. They’re comfortable, stay in your ears while running, and have easily accessible playback controls. For a pair of running headphones, these are hard to beat. These have the signature Bose StayHear+ tips that keep these securely in your ear. These are made from a sweat and water resistant plastic. The wire also lies flat against the back of your neck so the weight of the control module won’t go pulling these out of your ear. If you intend to use them for running you should use the included shirt clip just to be safe, but you probably won’t need it for everyday use. The control module has a mic and all of the playback controls on it which let you do everything from answer a phone call to skip tracks. Battery life is also pretty average at only about 6 or 7 hours. These can easily last you the day under normal conditions, but if you’re going to be running a marathon or something similar these might not last. That said for the average runner, these will do your music or podcasts justice. If you don’t mind paying an extra $50 you can also get a version of these with a built in heart rate monitor.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
Sweat resistance
Battery Life
6 hours
Size/Weight
1.1 x 1 x 1.1 inches/0.8 ounces
Pros
FitSound quality
Cons
Battery Life

CB3 Fit Sport

$149 is a decent price for a pair of Bose headphones, but it’s still $149. If you just aren’t looking to spend that much but still want to take part in Bluetooth goodness, check out the CB3 Fit Sport. These only cost $39 but have almost all the same features. Sweatproof? Check. These have an IPX4 certification so getting caught in the rain shouldn’t be an issue. Good battery life? Check. These will give you about 7 hours of constant playback, one hour less than the X3s but they’re also a third of the price. they do tend to have a more narrow sound than the X3s but the quality itself is fine. The Fit Sport don’t have a control module on the cable, but they do have some plastic playback controls built into the earbud. Easily control your volume or skip between tracks without reaching for your source device.
Microphone
Yes
Water-Resistance
IPX4
Battery Life
7 hours
Size/Weight
7.3 x 5.7 x 4.8 inches/7 ounces
Pros
PriceFitIPX4
Cons
Average battery life
Best for Work Outs

JLab Audio Epic2

The arrival of Bluetooth earbuds in the fitness market because yes, Bluetooth has arrived, has brought a bunch of new players into the audio game. One of them being JLab. They first gathered steam with their Epic Earbuds, and now with their Epic2 earbuds they’re everywhere. These do cost about $100 but I haven’t heard too many people saying it isn’t not worth it. Don’t get me wrong, sound is important. But the most important aspect of fitness headphones has to be fit. Who cares how good the music sounds if you can’t keep them in your ears. The Epic2s come with cable clips, a myriad of different ear tip sizes and styles, and a hooked over-ear design meant to grip your ears snugly. The control module is a bit bulky so you might want to really take some time and find the right combination of clips so that it doesn’t rip the headphones out of your ears. They have 12 hours of playback time, an IPX5 certification against sweat and water, and 8mm drivers pushing the sound. If you want to focus on the workout and not on the headphones, these might be the way to go.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
IPX5
Battery Life
12 hours
Size/Weight
2 x 5 x 7.5 inches/1 pounds
Pros
IPX5Battery Life
Cons
Average sound

Anker Soundbuds NB10

At this point, I just assume I’m going to like Anker products. They’re not amazing or top of the line or mind-blowing, but they’re always solid. There’s something to be said for consistency and the Soundsbuds NB10 continue Anker’s legacy of quality bang for your buck products at less than $40. These have a hooked design that goes above the ear which helps it get a more secure fit and comes with a few extra cable clips and ear tips. Inside are 12mm drivers that live up to the name and provide a fairly strong bass, so if you’re a basshead these might be for you. But what makes these great for working out is the flexible, all rubber design that makes them easy to wear and water resistant (IPX5). They wrap nicely behind the head and have all of the playback controls easily accessible right on the earbuds. Now though these are great for working out, their name on Amazon also says that they’re great for boxing which I would have to strongly advise against unless you’re Rocky. On the downside they only have a battery life of about 6 hours, but unless you’re doing two-a-days that should be fine as long as you remember to throw them back on the charger.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
IPX5
Battery Life
6 hours
Size/Weight
15.9 x 1.9 x 1 inches/0.6 ounces
Pros
PriceFit
Cons
Average SoundBattery Life
Best Sound

ADV.Sound Model 3

ADV.Sound is a fairly new company that specializes in bang for your buck. We’ve always enjoyed their products, but they’ve really outdone themselves with the Model 3 in-ears. Not just because of how good they sound (and they do sound good), but because they only cost $79. Now this pick is kind of cheating, but in a good way. These aren’t entirely wireless. The housing can be popped off thanks to MMCX connectors and reattached to an included cable if you prefer to use them that way every now and then. When using them wirelessly, the ‘buds connect to a cable that snaps in place around your neck. On that cable is a control module that has the Bluetooth components, battery, and playback controls. It’s fairly small and unobtrusive, but because of that you’ll only get about 5 hours of playback time. Still, that doesn’t seem to stop people from loving these, probably because of the sound quality. They’re actually one of those few products that users on our site thought deserved a batter overall score than the one we gave them in the full review. These are one of the best sounding Bluetooth earbuds we’ve tested and everyone should definitely give them a try.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
No
Battery Life
5 hours
Pros
PriceSound qualityBluetooth or wired
Cons
Battery Life

Sony SBH80

Sony makes pretty much everything. I’m never surprised when I’m researching something and find that Sony makes a version of it. The SBH80s are a good example of this. You probably won’t find a ton of marketing on these, but the SBH80s are low-key are great buy at under $100. Though the SBH80 headphones might not have the latest hi-res certifications like the ADV.Sound Model 3s have, they do have some other useful features. There’s HD Voice and aptX in these designed to make the audio as clear as possible for phone calls or listening to music. The SBH80 do have a - peculiar design however. At least when compared to some other Bluetooth ‘buds. It does have that familiar neckpiece with the two earbuds attached to it, but there are two control modules on each wire. One for answering phone calls and one that has all of the playback controls. If you’d rather avoid scrolling through Bluetooth settings these also have NFC. Simply tap a compatible device to the NFC logo on the back of the neckband to automatically pair the two devices. They come in white and black color options and are a solid bang for your buck pick.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Battery Life
6 hours
Size/Weight
3.5 x 0.8 x 0.4 inches/0.5 ounces
Pros
PriceaptXTM codecHD Voice quality
Cons
Kind of bulky
Best Comfort

Beats Powerbeats3

The Powerbeats2 previously held the spot for most comfortable, but now the Powerbeats3 take their place. This isn’t really because they’re any more comfortable than the previous version, but because the new upgrades really make them a better pair of headphones. That said they keep the same $199 price tag that the previous version had when they were initially released so, these aren’t cheap. We spoke about it in our full review of the Beats Solo3 headphones and we’ll probably speak about it again when we give a full review to the Powerbeats3s, but Apple’s new W1 chip combined with Class 1 Bluetooth makes a huge difference. Range is now 100 feet on these and the battery life is upped to a solid 12 hours of constant playback. The W1 chip also makes connecting to iOS devices super smooth. It’s like NFC-easy but with a longer range. Like the previous model, they’re also sweat proof, have on-board playback controls, and of course that signature Beats low end. That might be enough to turn some people off to these, but if you just want a comfortable pair of headphones the Powerbeats are a good choice.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
Sweat resistance
Battery Life
12 hours
Size/Weight
6.2 x 3.3 x 5.2 inches/9.6 ounces
Pros
Good fitBattery LifeRange
Cons
Price

CB3 Stealth

If the over-ear design isn’t for you, another pair of headphones that won’t leave your ears aching after you use them are the CB3 Stealth Wireless. These Bluetooth earbuds have a Jaybird-like design with two ‘buds and a slew of ear and wing tip combinations but cost less than $50. Personally, I’ve been using these for running for a few months now, they make a good pair of everyday headphones as well. They’re not amazing at any one thing, but they’re good in a bunch of categories. For one, they’re IPX4 certified so sweat or rain isn’t an issue. They also have a fairly average battery life at 7 hours which isn’t the best or the worst on this list. Sound is also decent assuming you can get the right combination of ear tips and wing tips to get a good fit. It’s not going to blow you away by any means but again, it’s just solid. There were some issues on Amazon of people not being able to get a good fit so maybe it’s a little hit or miss, but I’ve had no issues at all. For a pair of ‘buds that melt away when you wear them, check these out.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Water-Resistance
IPX4
Battery Life
7 hours
Size/Weight
7.4 x 3.9 x 1.6 inches/7 ounces
Pros
PriceBattery Life
Cons
Issues with fit for some

Did your picks make it to our list, or did we leave them out? What do you think are the best Bluetooth earbuds?

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