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Best wireless earbuds

I got no strings to hold me down.

Published onApril 2, 2024

The Best
Sony WF-1000XM5
MSRP: $299.99
Check price
Excellent ANC and Isolation
SBC, AAC, and LDAC support
Great app support
Great battery life
Default sound too bassy
Best for iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
MSRP: $249.00
Check price
Effective ANC
Great sound quality - Lossless Audio
Great auto-wear detection
Water-resistant buds and case
USB-C charging
Good fit with four ear tip options
Many Apple-exclusive features
No way to customize the EQ without third-party app
Best durability
Jabra Elite 8 Active
MSRP: $199.99
Check price
ShakeGrip coating keeps the buds in place
IP68 (earbuds) IP54 (case)
Battery life
Frequency response
Useful equalizer
Three ear tips is not enough for workout earbuds
Buttons can be heard and felt when actuated
Deep in-ear fit is polarizing
Best value
Creative Aurvana Ace 2
MSRP: $150.00
Check price
xMEMS drivers that deliver great sound
Latest and greatest Bluetooth tech
Unique design
Lightweight and comfortable
Mediocre noise canceling
No auto play/pause
Bang for your buck
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
MSRP: $99.99
Check price
Battery life
LDAC, AAC, SBC codecs
Fast pair
Wireless charging
Chunky case
Many EQ presets are too bassy

True wireless earbuds have matured tremendously since their debut. Once rife with sub-par picks, the category is now teaming with premium options from audio stalwarts like Apple, Sony, and Bose. Heck, we’re even seeing affordable active noise canceling (ANC) options flood the market, too. As a quickly evolving category, wireless earbuds blur the line between audio devices and smart wearable technology. Our selection of the best wireless earbuds spans ANC to workout picks and everything in between.

What's new?

The best pair of wireless earbuds for most people are the Sony WF-1000XM5

The Sony WF-1000XM5 charging case open with the earbuds inside beside a green iPhone 13 Pro and the ear tip selection and USB charging cable
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
The Sony WF-1000XM5 comes with a variety of ear tip sizes and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. It does not come with a free iPhone.

The Sony WF-1000XM5 is a high-end set of earbuds that plays nicely on both Android phones and iPhones. These earbuds feature two new processors: the Integrated Processor V2 and the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN2e, allowing improved noise canceling performance, even at low frequencies. They also support SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs and have a versatile app.

Sony provides four sets of memory foam ear tips, which effectively mold your ear canal and block out background noise better than their predecessors, the WF-1000XM4. Aside from making for a more comfortable fit, having the right size ear tips is necessary for a pair of ANC earbuds, as good isolation begets optimal noise cancelation.

The WF-1000XM5 is worth its premium price tag and is one of the best wireless earbuds you can buy.

The sound quality is quite good, too, though you’ll notice a slight over-emphasis in the mid-bass frequencies. Again, you can quickly fix this within the mobile app by lowering the bass and midrange response. You get plenty of listening time with over eight hours of continuous playback on a single charge and up to 24 hours with the charging case.

Anyone who wants a handsome pair of wireless earbuds with stellar active noise canceling, a reliable IPX4 rating, and advanced features like multipoint connectivity and spatial audio with head tracking should save up and shell out for these earbuds.

Sony WF-1000XM5Sony WF-1000XM5
SoundGuys Editors Choice
Sony WF-1000XM5
Great ANC • Improved sound quality • Comfortable fit with four ear tip options
MSRP: $299.99
The Sony WF-1000XM5 have even better noise canceling than the WF-1000XM4. Sony made these its most comfortable earbuds by shrinking them and including XS-L memory foam ear tips. The WF-1000XM5 support advanced features like multipoint connectivity and spatial audio with head tracking. You also get plenty of customization options through the free mobile app.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Sony WF-1000XM5 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Sony WF-1000XM5 in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 3.4, the Immersiveness score is 4.7, and the Overall Score is 4.9.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 posts impressive results with its sound quality, appealing to most consumers.

Sony puts a lot of engineering effort into its microphone quality, though the Sony WF-1000XM5 mics don’t hold a candle to those of the over-ear WH-1000XM5.

Take a listen to our standardized mic samples and vote in our mic poll below.

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Ideal conditions):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Office conditions):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Street conditions):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Windy conditions):

If you want to see what other people are saying about these headphones, by all means, vote in the poll below. After you vote, the results will display, and we can update our score after a certain number of votes are accumulated.

How does the microphone sound to you?

16676 votes

The best earbuds for iPhone owners are the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), now with USB-C.

The AirPods Pro 2 with water droplets on them.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) buds and case are water resistant.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has been revamped to include USB-C connectivity, aligning with Apple’s iPhone 15 models. This update comes with added perks like improved dust resistance, now boasting an IP54 rating, up from the original IPX4. Aside from that, the H2 chip still enables smooth switching between Apple devices, and the ear tips continue to provide a snug fit better fit than the standard AirPods, with great active noise canceling and playback controls built into the stem. Adaptive Transparency Mode uses microphones to amplify the sounds around you so you can hear your surroundings better.

iPhone owners are the only ones with any business buying the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).

As for noise canceling, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ANC performance is great. It will hush your surroundings significantly and render low-frequency rumbles anywhere from one-half to one-eighth of their original perceived loudness. Sound quality is very good, and while we wish there was an integrated custom EQ in the Apple Settings app, we don’t feel there’s much need for it. At least, most general listeners won’t feel compelled to change the sound because it really is that good by default. But if you listen to Apple Music, you can choose from numerous EQ presets.

The second-gen model has sliding touch controls (along with taps). We also like that the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) case has a speaker on the bottom that will emit a sound to help you locate it. If you know your AirPods Pro is not in your current room or home but can’t remember where you placed it, open the Find My app to see a map with the case or buds’ last location.

If the AirPods Pro is a bit too rich for your blood, there are a handful of solid iPhone earbuds or AirPods Pro alternatives out there for iPhone and Android users alike. You can even snag the first-gen AirPods Pro for on the product's website.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Impressive ANC • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging
MSRP: $249.00
One of the best true wireless earbuds for iOS users.
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) modestly improve upon the first-generation AirPods Pro and feature the same iconic look. Apple's upgraded H2 chip begets better noise canceling and battery life, while the case's U1 chip and integrated speaker let you precisely locate the case. If you own an iPhone, the AirPods Pro 2 are an obvious choice.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

A bar chart showing the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality scores of the Apple AirPods Pro 2.
The Apple AirPods Pro 2 have high audio quality scores, which should appeal to most.

The AirPods Pro’s mic system is very good for wireless earbuds, but its quality declines when there’s background noise.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Office conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Street conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Windy conditions):

The best earbuds for running or working out are the Jabra Elite 8 Active

A hand holds the Jabra Elite 8 Active from a birdseye view showing the open case.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
The Jabra Elite 8 Active is a great set of all-around earbuds.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active raises the bar in the durability department, boasting an impressive IP68 rating—up from its predecessor’s IP57. But ruggedness isn’t its only strength. This new model excels in active noise canceling, particularly effective at silencing low-pitched noises, although it struggles a bit with high-pitched sounds.

Sound quality sees improvements, too, thanks to Dolby Atmos support for spatial audio. The earbuds bring a balanced, punchy audio profile that pleases across genres. And let’s talk battery life—nearly 9.5 hours with ANC on, which is a notable step up from the Elite 7‘s stamina.

Athletes who also want something office-appropriate will love these.

Connection-wise, it maintains a stable link via Bluetooth 5.3 and offers multipoint connectivity, ensuring a seamless switch between devices. In summary, the Elite 8 Active combines unrivaled durability with improved ANC, better battery life, and enriched sound quality, making them a well-rounded pair of earbuds for ardent gym-goers and outdoorsy folks or just anyone who cares about good sound quality.

Jabra Elite 8 ActiveJabra Elite 8 Active
SG recommended
Jabra Elite 8 Active
ShakeGrip coating keeps the buds in place • IP68 (earbuds) IP54 (case) • Battery life
MSRP: $199.99
See price at Amazon
Jabra Elite 8
See price at Jabra
Jabra Elite 8

Loading chart ...

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Jabra Elite 8 Active in default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 4.5, the Immersiveness score is 4.2, and the Overall Score is 4.9).
An overall score of 4.9 stands with the highest among wireless earbuds.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active uses six microphones to capture your voice. The mic system relays voices of higher and lower registers rather well. Overall, it’s entirely useable.

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Office conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

1859 votes

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 is the best value

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds in charging case held above a black table.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
Beyond its flashy design, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 also performs exceptionally well.

Despite being the cheapest option on this list, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 has some of the best sound quality. These earbuds use xMEMS, the latest and greatest in earbud driver technology, to deliver impressively detailed and immersive sound. You can also use an equalizer in the Creative Companion app to customize the sound of the earbuds to your liking. They scored higher in our MDAQS audio testing than any other earbud to date.

If you care about audio quality, you should care about these earbuds.

In addition to great drivers, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 supports advanced Bluetooth codecs for the highest possible streaming quality. They have Bluetooth 5.3 with support for LC3, aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, AAC, and SBC.

Despite a flashy copper design, you can use the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 at the gym if you’d like. The earbuds are IPX5-rated, which means they handle sweat and splashes of water without a problem. We also found them to be lightweight and comfortable and didn’t have to worry about them falling out of our ears. ANC helps to control background noise so you can focus on your music.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2Creative Aurvana Ace 2
SoundGuys Editors Choice
Creative Aurvana Ace 2
xMEMS driver • aptX Lossless • Customizable app
MSRP: $150.00
Anyone interested in the best audio quality should consider the Creative Aurvana Ace 2.
With an xMEMS driver and the latest Bluetooth technology, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 is making waves in the audiophile community.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

Bar chart showing MDAQS results for Creative Aurvana Ace 2
The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 scores highly for MDAQS, a testament to the MEMS speaker technology.

Six microphones and Qualcomm cVc noise cancelation technology lead to a pretty good call experience on the Creative Aurvana Ace 2. Listen to the demos below and let us know what you think

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 microphone demo (Street conditions):

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 microphone demo (Reverberant space):

How does the microphone sound to you?

378 votes

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC is the best bang for your buck

A close up of the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC with the case and buds out on a table.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC have everything most people look for in wireless earbuds.

For less than $100, you’d be hard-pressed to find earbuds that do most of the tasks the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC promises. With an IPX4 rating, long battery life, and good ANC with additional wind reduction and adaptive noise canceling features, these earbuds have more features than most name-brands at this price.

Students and budget-conscious folks looking to get noise canceling at an affordable price will enjoy these.

The accompanying app gives you a whopping 22 EQ presets alongside a labeled eight-band equalizer so you can fine-tune your listening experience. Anker kitted out the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC with Bluetooth 5.3 and LDAC, AAC, and SBC codecs. Android users will likely get the most out of the LDAC codec. Meanwhile, iPhones will default to the AAC codec. Oh, and they also support Bluetooth multipoint, so you can simultaneously connect to more than one device.

For most people, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC are simply good, value-priced earbuds. They tick off most boxes, from the nearly 10 hours of battery life with ANC on to the responsive touch controls.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NCAnker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
SG recommended
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
Price ANC • Battery life • LDAC, AAC, SBC codecs
MSRP: $99.99
These are definitely a contender for some of the best affordable noise canceling earbuds based on performance and value. With an IPX4 rating, long battery life, and good ANC, these are worth a go. You might not want to go for a run with them, but otherwise they're decent.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC in SBC soundcore signature EQ mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 3.9, the Immersiveness score is 4.8, and the Overall Score is 4.9).
An overall score of 4.9 is among the highest we’ve seen from wireless earbuds we’ve tested.

Anker uses six microphones and an AI algorithm for the Liberty 4 NC. The results are okay, although the buds do best with lower-pitched voices. Voices are intelligible, although, in ideal circumstances, the resolution doesn’t exactly impress; it’s totally fine.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 are ready for the future

A close-up photo of the Sennheiesr MOMENTUM True Wireless 4's earbud on a wooden table.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The latest in Bluetooth tech is packed into this earbud, futureproofing the product for a few years.

In the competitive landscape of wireless earbuds, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 earbuds stand out as a top recommendation for Android and iOS users alike, offering a blend of premium features, sound quality, and versatility that cater to a wide range of users. They compete directly with our top pick position, currently held by the Sony WF-1000XM5. They make a good argument for taking that crown for those seeking future-proof technology. The only areas in which they fall short compared to the XM5’s are in battery life and microphone quality.

The Momentum True Wireless 4 are a solid contender in the world of ANC earbuds.

Notably, these earbuds support Auracast and LE Audio, two technologies poised to soon enhance wireless audio experiences. Additionally, the inclusion of aptX Lossless audio codec ensures high-fidelity sound. The earbuds also offer an IP54 rating for resistance against dust and water, wireless charging capabilities, and a commendable ANC performance that effectively reduces environmental noise.

In short, these earbuds have some of the best sound quality and active noise canceling capabilities on the market. They are best suited for people with the money for a top-end product and the infrastructure (a brand-new Android phone, specifically) to fully enjoy higher-bitrate tunes.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4
SoundGuys Editors Choice
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4
IP54 • Auracast and LE Audio support • Sound quality
MSRP: $299.95

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in AptX Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 4.2, the Immersiveness score is 4.4, and the Overall Score is 4.8).
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 sounds excellent right out of the box, with an extremely high Timbre score, and high Immersiveness.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 has a sufficient microphone for phone calls, but the mic performance is below what we’re used to for higher-tiered TWS earbuds. We found the speech quality highly variable, and environmental noise is not suppressed well or consistently.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

177 votes

The Master & Dynamic MW09 has the best battery life

Master & Dynamic MW09 earbuds in charging case held above a table.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
You get what you pay for with these premium earbuds.

The Master & Dynamic MW09 are the most premium wireless earbuds on this list, and while they may have an eye-watering price tag of $349, you won’t regret getting them if you have the budget. Beneath the flashy aluminum or kevlar finish, a major selling point is their exceptional battery life, lasting nearly 16 hours on a single charge, with the charging case providing an additional 32 hours.

The MW09 have great noise canceling, the latest Bluetooth technology, and the best battery life of any earbuds we’ve tested.

The MW09 earbuds are equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.4 and support a host of codecs, including AAC, AptX Adaptive, AptX Lossless, LC3, and SBC. Denoting what the company calls its “signature rich, warm sound,” the MW09 has a lot of bass. However, if you don’t like how the MW09 earbuds sound, you can play around with the equalizer presets or the custom EQ within the M&D Connect app. They also excel in noise cancelation with multiple ANC modes and offer a high level of comfort with various ear tip options.

Despite the heavy price tag and the heavier materials sitting in your ears, the Master & Dynamic MW09 earbuds are an excellent option for those seeking premium features, exceptional battery life, and a luxurious design, especially if you can snag them on sale.

Master & Dynamic MW09Master & Dynamic MW09
SoundGuys Editors Choice
Master & Dynamic MW09
High-quality design and build • Bluetooth 5.4 • ANC
MSRP: $349.00
Premium wireless earbuds available in a luxurious aluminum or kevlar design.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Master & Dynamic MW09 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

Master & Dynamic MW09 MDAQ scores.
Most wireless earbuds struggle to score well in Distortion.

The Master & Dynamic MW09 works well for taking phone calls. Using what Master & Dynamic calls an “A.I. enhanced talk solution,” the earbuds modify the incoming microphone signal to amplify the voice.

Master & Dynamic MW09 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

143 votes

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best pick for Samsung users

On a tropical themed outdoor blanket the open case of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro rests with the lid open.
The buds are prominent and bulb-shaped, making it easier to grasp them and perform touch commands.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is one of the best wireless earbuds for most Android users because it has great noise canceling and an advanced feature set, especially for Samsung Galaxy owners. There’s no app support on iOS, so we recommend iPhone owners get something else (namely, the AirPods Pro).

Ecosystem exclusive features allow these earbuds to fit right in with your Samsung devices.

They boast an IPX7 rating, so whether you’re caught in the rain or accidentally drop them into a puddle, these earbuds have you covered. Adding to their charm is the “Conversation Mode,” enabling audio transparency for brief interactions without pausing your music. But when you’re tuned in, they support immersive audio experiences through Direct Multi-Channel, 5.1, 7.1-channel, or Dolby Atmos content.

Touch controls have been refined, and you’ll enjoy stable Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and support for two high-quality Bluetooth codecs: the Samsung Scalable Codec and AAC. Sound quality is great: the Buds 2 Pro gives that extra oomph in bass and upper-midrange, making it a favorite for bass lovers.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Comfortable fit • Enhanced noise-cancelling technology • Satisfying battery life
MSRP: $229.99
Samsung's reliable earbuds upgraded
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds provide great sound and feature active noise canceling. They meld a great fit and comfort with a vast range of ear tips. Efficient ANC and five hours of battery life sweeten the deal.

If you want something more affordable, consider getting the standard Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 instead. The ANC isn’t quite as good, and the IPX2 rating isn’t as durable for the elements, but they still have a sound quality that exceeds their price tag of $150.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 3, the Immersiveness score is 4.4, and the Overall Score is 4.7).
A 4.7 is a tad lower than our top picks, but most people will enjoy how these sound.

More and more of us rely on our earphones as communication devices; I take hands-free calls nearly every day. Anyone who spends a silly amount of time in conference calls or quelling their parents’ anxieties can do so clearly with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone system. It may not be quite as clear as the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4, but it’s about the best you can get for the price.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are bassy with some of the best noise cancelation

The capacitive touchpads of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are the main control interface.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The capacitive touchpads of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds allow you to control your earphones without worrying about a compromised seal.

If you find the typical cylindrical nozzle of earbuds uncomfortable, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, as the name suggests, offer a more comfortable alternative design. They may be chunky, but they feature an egg-shaped nozzle that sits more firmly in your ears, and the sliding touch controls are more intuitive and avoid tapping gestures that can tend to push earbuds deeper into sensitive ear canals.

If you own a newer Android device, you may benefit from the revamped chipset of these earbuds. Namely, they offer Snapdragon Sound with aptX Lossless support, which purportedly provides Hi-Res audio using aptX Adaptive. This feature also allows low-latency listening and Google Fast Pair for source devices with a compatible processor. However, regardless of your device, you are going to need to install the Bose Music app in order to enjoy features like Immersive Audio, in-app EQ, firmware updates, and customizing the shortcut gesture.

If you’re using a new Android phone, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are unquestionably among the top options at this price point.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds have some of the best ANC we’ve ever tested, silencing outside sounds under 400Hz by up to 34 dB. Soundwise, these earbuds will appeal to a specific type of listener: someone who wants strong bass and treble. If you like music that suits that profile, this shouldn’t be a problem – it’s just not for everyone, and too much low-end may rattle your skull.

Overall, these are definitely the best wireless earbuds from Bose to date, but they have strong competition between the other contenders on our list. For instance, the Sony WF-1000XM5 offers better tuning and mic quality for $50 less. And if you are an iPhone user, it’s still better to go with the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) due to its lower cost, better sound, and iOS-oriented features. Still, if you are a hardcore earbuds enthusiast who needs the top end of what’s available and has an up-to-date Android phone, you will likely be satisfied with the QuietComfort Ultra earbuds from Bose.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra EarbudsBose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
Excellent sound quality • Immersive audio • Customizable fit
MSRP: $299.00
Next-level ANC and comfort from Bose
Designed for maximum comfort and the ultimate in ANC from a wireless earbud, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds offer enhanced spatialized audio, solid battery life, and multiple configurations to ensure a solid fit.

Loading chart ...

The chart below shows how the sound of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Bose Quietcomfort Ultra Earbuds in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 2.2, the Immersiveness score is 3.9, and the Overall Score is 4.4).
A 4.4 isn’t the best overall score on this list, mainly brought down by high distortion.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds have a microphone array that performs well enough for phone calls. Listen to the standardized samples below if you’d like to hear how well the microphone performs in several common settings.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds microphone demo (Office conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds microphone demo (Street conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

735 votes

Those with an active lifestyle should consider the Beats Fit Pro

The Beats Fit Pro noise canceling true wireless earbuds in the open case and next to the two extra pairs of ear tips, all of which are in the purple variant.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Beats include three pairs of ear tips for its wing-tipped workout buds.

The Beats Fit Pro is one of the best workout earbuds you can find. The concha wing tips create a secure fit that’s nearly impossible to shake loose. While the case doesn’t have an IP rating like some of the other company flagships, you do get a nice IPX4 rating for the earphones, protecting them from splashes and sweat. We also like that the Beats Fit Pro works nearly as well on Android devices as it does on Apple devices, all for less than $200.

Two years later, these still fit like a pro.

Unlike many earbuds, the Fit Pro features button controls that require pressing the “b” logo on either bud to perform certain controls. For many athletes, buttons are easier to operate when exercising than touch controls, so it’s a smart move by the designers.

Noise canceling is very good and outperforms the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) when quieting certain sub-bass frequencies. This is great for muting your commute to the gym and reducing the clang of weights on the gym floor. Regarding sound quality, Beats remains Beats and boosts the bass on the Fit Pro. While the bass boost is audible, it’s tasteful and doesn’t render detail imperceptible during pop and hip-hop tracks. Apple’s Adaptive EQ technology is baked into the headset, automatically adjusting the bass and midrange response based on your surroundings.

Beats Fit ProBeats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
Good fit and stabilizing ear wings • Android and iOS compatible • In-app ear tip fit test • ANC and transparency
MSRP: $199.99
Beats Fit Pro are true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds that work just as well with Android devices
The Apple-owned Beats Fit Pro are just as easy to use with an Android device as they are with an iPhone, fitting well with multiple ear tips, and boosted bass sound quality. The only downsides are the price tag and ANC issues.

Loading chart ...

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Beats Fit Pro in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.8, The Distortion score is 4.3, the Immersiveness score is 3, and the Overall Score is 4.7).
The Beats Fit Pro have very little Distortion, as indicated by the high score.

Using the Beats Fit Pro to take calls from a quiet environment yields good, accurate vocal reproduction. Like the AirPods Pro series, the microphones don’t do very well in windy conditions.

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

6826 votes

Don’t overlook the JLab Epic Lab Edition earbuds

The HLab Epic Lab Edition sits atop a wooden desk, with its case open.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The JLab Epic Lab Edition is a surprisingly solid choice.

The JLab Epic Lab Edition earbuds emerge as a standout choice in the wireless earbuds market, primarily due to their superior sound quality enabled by the latest Knowles balanced armature drivers and an array of advanced features. Priced at $199.99, they offer great value, boasting wireless charging, multipoint connectivity, an IP55 waterproof rating, and a user-friendly companion app that allows for extensive customization, including a 10-band EQ and ANC settings.

These are credible high-end earbuds with uncommon value-adds.

Despite some drawbacks, such as the less effective ANC and their somewhat bulky design, these earbuds cater well to commuters, casual listeners, and fitness enthusiasts alike, offering a comfortable fit with multiple ear tip options and a robust battery life that nearly reaches 9 hours on a single charge. They bring Bluetooth 5.3, support high-quality audio codecs like LDAC for Android users, and have a built-in USB-C dongle. Coupled with the convenience of both wired and wireless charging for the case, the JLab Epic Lab Edition earbuds are an easy recommendation for anyone looking for high-end features without the high-end price.

JLab Epic Lab EditionJLab Epic Lab Edition
SG recommended
JLab Epic Lab Edition
Sound quality • Features • ANC/Transparency
MSRP: $199.99
JLab takes a swing at the kings of the earbuds ring.
The JLab Epic Lab Edition are the testbed for the latest generation of Knowles balanced armature drivers, and they make a compelling case. Great sound quality paired with most of the top-flight features we expect from high-end earbuds make this one of the best buys in the category.
See price at Amazon
JLab Epic Lab Edition true wireless earbuds
See price at JLab Audio
JLab Epic Lab Edition true wireless earbuds

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The chart below shows how the sound of the JLab Epic Lab Edition was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD Acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the JLab Epic Lab Edition in Knowles Preferred EQ mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 1.8, the Immersiveness score is 3.9, and the Overall Score is 4.4).

If you’re more prone to take calls in the office, outside, or in a room that echoes, below are samples collected that simulate each environment.

JLab Epic Lab Edition microphone demo (Office conditions):

JLab Epic Lab Edition microphone demo (Street conditions):

JLab Epic Lab Edition microphone demo (Windy conditions):

JLab Epic Lab Edition microphone demo (Reverberant space):

Though the JLab Epic Lab Edition does poorly at noise rejection, wind noise makes conversations difficult.

Should you get the Google Pixel Buds Pro?

Google debuts its take on noise canceling wireless earbuds with the Pixel Buds Pro. Many of the features remain the same between the Pixel Buds Pro and the more economical A-Series earbuds, which you can read all about in our Google Pixel Buds Pro review. Wireless charging fanatics will prefer the Pro version since the A-Series lacks this feature. The Pixel Buds Pro case is also more durable than most earbuds’ cases and merits an IPX2 rating. Both sets of Google earbuds share the same IPX4 rating, but most athletes will prefer the stabilizing ear wings on the A-Series. Google ditches the wing tips on the Pro model. So, if you need wings, the A-Series can be found for $94 at Amazon.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro case is open with the lid propping the case up, revealing the buds.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The case lid props up the buds for easy access, and the “G” logos on the earbud touch panels are hard to miss.

If you’re looking at raw noise canceling performance, the Pixel Buds Pro outdoes the AirPods Pro (1st generation) and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Passive isolation is a bit inconsistent when it comes to sounds above 1kHz. That is likely a consequence of the pressure-relieving vents that reduce the “plugged ear” feeling.

The Pixel Buds Pro is a powerful headset that taps into the Google ecosystem. You can integrate the buds with the Google Translate app for live translation and use “Hey Google” to access Google Assistant. For $200, though, people may want more like an in-app EQ and more customization options.

Google Pixel Buds ProGoogle Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Active noise-cancelling • Android integration • Google Assistant features
MSRP: $199.00
The Pixel Buds Pro introduce ANC to the series
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the first in the line to offer active noise canceling. Obviously, they also have tight integration with Android and tons of support for Google Assistant commands, including the popular translation features.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone is alright, but it emphasizes sibilant sounds (s-, sh-, z-) too much, making the audio somewhat unpleasant to listen to.

Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

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The best wireless earbuds: Notable mentions

  • Beats Studio Buds Plus ($169 at Amazon): The Beats Studio Buds Plus are a competent, if slightly understated true wireless option for those who don’t want the AirPods Pro. Additionally, this Apple-owned product offers an alternative to the lollipop design of the AirPods earphones.
  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II ($249 at Amazon): If active noise cancelation is a priority for you, these earbuds deliver, and they are a bit cheaper nowadays.
  • Bose Sport Earbuds ($165 at Amazon): These workout earbuds have a comfortable and stable fit, an IPX4 rating and a few creature comforts like automatic ear detection. It doesn’t isolate very well, but this shouldn’t be an issue when working out because you want to be aware of your surroundings.
  • EarFun Free Pro 3 ($79.99 at Amazon): These are surprisingly decent entry-level wireless earbuds, especially in terms of their sound quality. The app is mature, and the price is very reasonable.
  • Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 ($129.99 at Amazon): At $129, these are a steal. They’re not perfect, but the only group of people we don’t recommend these to are frequent international travelers. For everyone else, this is a good buy.
  • Jabra Elite 7 Pro ($199 at Amazon)): This set of durable earbuds has great battery life and will survive nearly any adventure. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro also sounds great, has a high-quality microphone, and has tons of features from the Jabra Sound+ app.
  • Jabra Elite 7 Active ($179 at Amazon): This is a great jack-of-all-trades headset that packs in tons of customization options alongside rugged protection, good sound, and solid active noise canceling.
  • Jaybird Vista 2 ($117 at Amazon): This is a durable set of workout earbuds with an IP68 rating for the buds and an IP54 rating for the USB-C case that also supports wireless charging. You get a comprehensive app experience on iOS and Android and accessible features like mono listening. Jaybird adds active noise canceling to these earbuds, which isn’t the best, but the passive isolation makes up for it.
  • JLab Epic Air Sport ANC ($89 at Amazon): This set of buds directly competes against the Beats Powerbeats Pro and costs a heck of a lot less. You get pretty good ANC for the price, and a consumer-friendly sound profile that you can change with the earbuds’ built-in EQ presets.
  • Nothing Ear (2) ($149 at Amazon): These wireless earbuds are friendly with Android and iOS, and feature the LHDC and AAC codecs, alongside some luxuries like ANC and a comprehensive app.
  • Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless ($89 at Amazon): Sennheiser’s earbuds sound and look great, and the ANC performance is better here than most other ANC earbuds. You get an IPX4 rating for the buds, along with touch controls. For the reasonable price, it’s worth checking out.
  • Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 ($149.95 at Amazon): The previous flagship earbuds from Sennheiser proved that you can pack great sound and active noise canceling (ANC) into a sturdy built set of earbuds, and now for a lower price.
  • Sony LinkBuds ($178 at Amazon): Listeners who want to hear their surroundings and their music all at once will like these donut-shaped earbuds. With Sony’s design, the buds don’t block your ear canals but also remain in place (unlike the AirPods). These buds are more covert than bone-conduction headphones, which is a big plus.
  • Sony LinkBuds S ($148 at Amazon): Unlike the standard LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S features a traditional earbud design without donut holes. Noise canceling performance is close to the WF-1000XM4 and outperforms the previous Sony WF-1000XM3 flagship earbuds.

What you should know before you buy wireless earbuds

Users commonly cite connection issues with their true wireless earbuds, and companies have handled this in several different ways. Solutions range from tweaking Bluetooth to implementing completely new hardware.

A phone displays Bluetooth codecs with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and Google Pixel Buds Pro.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
You can force Bluetooth codecs through the Android Developer Settings.

All wireless headphones connect to your source device via Bluetooth. Typically, one earbud is the primary receiver, and the other is the secondary receiver. Rather than simultaneously send a signal to both earbuds, many smartphones send the signal to the primary, passing data along to the secondary one. This results in a split-second delay between the audio. Manufacturers account for this delay and calculate it into the playback. This way, the earbuds are synced up for playback, and you don’t notice a lag. Most likely, you’ll notice a delay when watching videos; the sound won’t match the person’s words. But you won’t be able to tell if you’re listening to podcasts or music.

Then you have something like the Apple AirPods, which handles the wireless issue a little differently. Apple’s H1 works alongside the regular Bluetooth chip. This dedicated chip helps make the pairing process smoother (if you’re on iOS). It establishes a stronger connection between the earbuds and the source device, resulting in significantly fewer skips. This is limited to Apple-owned hardware, like Beats products and the AirPods.

A hand holds a Apple AirPods (3rd generation) earbud by the stem to reveal the open-type fit and embedded sensors.
The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) didn’t make the cut among the best wireless earbuds for its poor fit, sound quality, and limited feature set.

We’re witnessing a wireless epoch. It’s no longer niche or novel to listen completely untethered on your way to work. Technological advancements have lowered the financial barrier to entry, and cheap wireless options are readily available to budget listeners.

Wireless earbuds can still be for you if you don’t commute, especially if you like to exercise. Nothing’s more convenient than listening completely wire-free. There are many great wireless workout earbuds for runners and gym rats alike. Numerous companies have gone the extra mile by getting products officially IP certified, but they also integrate useful athletic features (e.g., ear hook design, silicone wing tips, Ambient Aware mode).

While it’s true that battery depletion is a problem, resulting in a shortened lifetime of wireless earbuds compared to their on-ear or over-ear headphone alternatives, you’re paying a premium for convenience. For some of us, it’s easy to justify the cost. Others may be better off with wired earbuds or dealing with bulkier wireless headphones.

What is isolation, and what is frequency response?

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When it comes to headphones, getting a proper seal is one of the best ways to make your music sound better. Some earbuds have active noise canceling, which uses tiny microphones to cancel outside noise, but not all options have this nifty feature. Instead, they rely purely on passive isolation or blocking sound just by physically being in your ear.

Then there’s frequency response. You can learn more about frequency response and why it affects how you hear your music here. We have developed our own headphone preference response curve as a guide to what we like to hear. In our charts, the pink line represents our preference curve, and the cyan line represents the product being reviwed. Many people like a bit of a bass frequency boost, but remember that too much of a bass boost can degrade sound quality.

How long do wireless earbuds last?

Generally speaking, the standalone battery life of wireless earbuds averages anywhere from three to six hours of battery life. Anything that falls above or below that is unusual. The charging cases typically provide an extra two to three charges, giving you at least 9 hours of total playtime.

As far as why battery life is so short on all wireless earbuds, you don’t have to dig too deep into it to get the reason why. Truly wireless earbuds are simply too small. Batteries still rely on physics, and it’s hard to stuff a battery into something so tiny, which is why they all come with cases that will charge up your headphones when they’re not in use. This is pretty bad for the environment, and there aren’t too many eco-friendly headsets to choose from.

What is a Bluetooth codec?

true wireless earbuds - Graph of Bluetooth codec signal strength vs dropped seconds of audio
LDAC 330 underperformed compared to aptX and aptX HD.

As with any nascent product category, early adopters will need to know a bit more about the tech that defines it. Namely, you need to know what to look for when figuring out if a product will be good or not. With Bluetooth audio, that means figuring out what Bluetooth codecs both your phone and your earbuds support.

As per our investigative testing, LDAC isn’t necessarily Hi-Res. What’s more, AAC is bunk when used on Android devices and should really only be used when listening via iPhone. If your Android phone automatically streams over AAC, you can always force developer settings to mandate SBC streaming instead. Android users, stick to aptX.

How we test wireless earbuds

Loop Experience Plus earplug in the ear of a B&K5128 test head.
All objective testing is carried out using our B&K5128 acoustic test head.

Using a dummy head, product designers can test out how audio products will perform for most people — and so do we. We run a number of tests, including frequency response, isolation, and battery life. You can read more about it here and learn more about the specifics.

  • For each product, we played several sine sweeps through the earphones. We logged the frequency response once we arrived at a representative result, demonstrating the hallmarks of a good acoustic seal.
  • To test isolation, we play a sample of shaped noise at 90dB(SPL) (measured at the eardrum), once with the headphones off and another with the headphones on. We then subtract one measurement from the other.
  • To test the battery, we use shaped noise and a real-time analyzer to find the setting needed to output consistent audio peaking at 75dB(SPL) from the products. We play our music test track on an infinite loop. This means every result can be directly compared.

These three basic tests cover the biggest areas of concern with wireless earbuds. Remember that your battery life will vary if you tend to crank the volume. Additionally, you could squeak out better isolation performance if you use third-party tips on your earbuds.

We try to get as much hands-on time with products as possible before declaring them one of the best. This means that the products on this list have been put through our full review process. We also spend hours browsing through forums and discussions within the audio community. Even if we’ve already reviewed a product, we do this to get as much of a birds-eye view of the landscape as possible.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

We’ve had our finger on the pulse of wireless earbuds since they hit the market. We pride ourselves on our ability to show our work and justify why we selected our picks. SoundGuys takes integrity very seriously.

Everything we recommend results from our objective measurements and great subjective experiences. Ultimately, we want you to enjoy your purchase or, at the very least, leave our site with a little more knowledge about the inner workings of audio.

Help us improve our recommendations by telling us how much you are willing to spend!

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Frequently asked questions

Simply put, no Raycons are not better than AirPods. In our review, we found the sound quality to be lacking, and there are just too many good and similarly priced true wireless earbuds to make the Raycon Everyday Earbuds worth buying.

Choosing the right wireless earbuds involves considering several key factors: compatibility, comfort, sound quality, battery life, and any special features like noise cancelation or water resistance. Look for earbuds that easily connect to your device and offer a stable connection, perhaps within the same ecosystem. Comfort is subjective, so consider the earbuds’ shape and the presence of different-sized tips. Sound quality can vary, so check out our reviews for notes on clarity, bass, and frequency response. Battery life is crucial for convenience, with 4-6 hours being average and the charging case providing additional charges. Finally, prioritize features important to you, such as active noise cancelation for travel or IP ratings for exercise.

A good pair of wireless earbuds typically costs between $100 and $400. This range includes options with high-quality sound, reliable connectivity, and additional features like noise cancelation and water resistance. While there are cheaper alternatives available, they might compromise on sound quality, battery life, or durability. Investing at least $100 or more will generally ensure a balance between performance and value.

In terms of product lifespan, most wireless earbuds generally do not last more than three or four years, primarily due to battery degradation. Over time, these batteries lose their ability to hold a charge, leading to reduced playback time and eventually making the earbuds unusable. While some models might offer slightly better longevity due to the build quality, the small form factor inherently restricts their overall lifespan. To maximize the lifespan of wireless earbuds, it’s important to follow best practices for battery care, such as not exposing them to extreme temperatures and avoiding letting the battery fully deplete regularly.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is objectively the better set of earbuds compared to the original Galaxy Buds Pro when it comes to noise canceling performance. However, if you think the original Galaxy Buds Pro ANC performance is good enough, there may not be much of a reason to upgrade. You get slightly better microphone quality on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, along with the more advanced Samsung Seamless Codec; otherwise, these earbuds have more similarities than differences.

The Apple AirPods Max and Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) on a wooden slab next to each other.
Your AirPods Max will have a much longer life-of-battery compared to the AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

We have an entire article detailing the lifespan of true wireless earbuds’ batteries (spoiler: wireless earbud batteries only last a couple of years with daily use). Wireless headphone batteries are much larger, so you don’t need to charge them as frequently. Since you’re not subjecting wireless headphone batteries to the same daily charge-and-deplete cycle that you do with wireless earbuds, they degrade much slower. In other words, wireless headphone batteries last significantly longer than their wireless in-ear counterparts.

Wireless headphones usually have the added advantage of wired playback. This means that even when the battery fully degrades, you can still connect it to your device’s headphone jack and audio media playback.

Yes, either Bose QC Earbuds II earbud supports mono mode.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 charging case open next to the Sony WF-1000XM5 charging case with one ear bud in front of the case from each product
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
The WF-1000XM4 are great earbuds, but the WF-1000XM5 are even better.

The decision to upgrade from the Sony WF-1000XM4 to the newer WF-1000XM5 really depends on your personal needs and preferences. In our detailed breakdown between the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WF-1000XM5, we found that the XM5 earbuds edge out the XM4 for ANC performance. However, if you’re looking for a significant upgrade in sound quality, you might not find it worth the additional cost, as the improvements in these areas aren’t substantial.

The WF-1000XM5 does offer improved comfort, with a design that fits more securely in the ear. If you’ve had issues with the WF-1000XM4 staying in your ears, this might be a compelling reason to consider the newer model.

That said, the WF-1000XM4 holds its own against modern flagships. The ANC and isolation are effective, and you get most of the same software features as the WF-1000XM5, making them the better bang for your buck.

This answer is constantly changing, but the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC lasts a whopping 15 hours and 31 minutes on a single charge.

There are a few TWS models out there, many from Jabra: the Jabra Elite 7 Pro (which tops our list on multipoint) and Jabra Elite 85t all have multipoint as a feature. Check out our article on multipoint for more. The Sony WF-1000XM4 and LinkBuds also received an update to support multipoint too.

Deciding which headset is better depends on quite a few factors. iPhone users will benefit more from the Apple AirPods due to H1 chip integration, which affords hands-free access to Siri, easy iOS device switching, audio sharing, and more. The same can be said for the Pixel Buds A-Series. Google’s earbuds provide a more seamless experience on Android than iOS. Both work with their opposing platform, though. The Google Pixel Buds (2020) provide a better fit, but the AirPods keep you more aware of your surroundings. Still, Google enables environmental awareness via the spatial vents on the bottom of each earbud. We have an in-depth Google Pixel Buds A-Series vs Apple AirPods article that goes into much greater detail on the matter.