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Best wireless earbuds

I got no strings to hold me down.
By
November 18, 2022
Best all-around
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
By Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling earbuds in black against a white background.
7.7
Check price
Positives
Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, Scalable Samsung Codec, and AAC
Sound quality and good ANC
In-app ear tip fit test
Fast and wireless charging
Negatives
Lacks aptX
No iOS app support
Sensitive touch controls
The Bottom Line.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is one of the best options for Android phone owners for its solid active noise cancelling (ANC), good sound, and various features.Read full review...
Best iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
By Apple
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) wireless earphones in white coming out of the MagSafe charging case which stands vertically.
7.9
Check price
Positives
Active noise cancelling and Adaptive Transparency modes
Great auto-wear detection
Water-resistant buds and case
Pressure-sensitive stems and sliding controls
MagSafe, Wireless, and Apple Watch compatible charging
Negatives
Charges via lightning cable
No way to customize the EQ without third-party app
Price
The Bottom Line.
The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is the default for iPhone owners for its convenience and sound quality.Read full review...
Best for workouts
Beats Fit Pro
By Apple
Product shot of the Beats Fit Pro in Stone Purple colorway.
7.7
Check price
Positives
Android and iOS compatibility
In-app ear tip fit test
Noise cancelling/Transparency
USB-C case with fast charging
Secure, compact fit for exercise
IPX4-rated earbuds
Negatives
Fairly large case
Known ANC update issues
The Bottom Line.
The Beats Fit Pro buds fit extremely well and work with Android and iOS devices. When you use these buds with an iPhone, you still get special features like pesronalized Spatial Audio too.Read full review...
Best ANC
Sony WF-1000XM4
By Sony
The Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds in black against a white background.
8
Check price
Positives
Great ANC
IPX4 rating
360 Reality Audio
Bluetooth 5.2; SBC, AAC, LDAC
Extra features in app
Foam ear tips
Negatives
Cost
Default sound signature is odd
The Bottom Line.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 isn't perfect but it's active noise cancelling and feature-rich app separates it from the rest.Read full review...
Best versatility
Jabra Elite 7 Active
By Jabra
The Jabra Elite 7 Active in navy against a white background.
7.9
Check price
Positives
Great sound quality
IP57 rating
Adjustable ANC/HearThru
Great mobile app
USB-C, wireless, and fast charging
Negatives
No aptX (SBC/AAC only)
Potential pressure/comfort issues
ANC only okay
The Bottom Line.
This is a great jack-of-all-trades headset.Read full review...

True wireless earbuds have matured tremendously since their debut. The category, once rife with sub-par picks, is now teaming with premium options from audio stalwarts like Sony and Bose. Heck, we’re even seeing affordable active noise cancelling (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 covers everything from ANC to workout picks, and if this list is too rich for your blood, check out our picks for the best wireless earbuds under $100.

Editor’s note: this list of the best wireless earbuds was updated on November 18, 2022, to address the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, and to update some FAQs.

For our top five picks, you can find the isolation and frequency response charts at the end of each image gallery. You can learn more about how to read our charts here.

Why is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro the best pair of wireless earbuds for most?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is the best wireless earbuds for most people because it has great noise cancelling that outdoes its price. The Galaxy Buds 2 is reasonably priced and can often be found between $100-129 USD. There’s no app support on iOS. iPhone owners, we recommend you get something else but if you can’t stay away from the Buds 2, borrow a friend’s Android phone for updates.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
7.7
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds with one 'bud out of the open, angled charging case.Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 galaxy wearable app home settings screenshot.The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless charging case with the USB-C input in view.A woman wears the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds.The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the open charging case while connected to the Galaxy Wearable app on a Samsung Galaxy S10e.The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds next to the extra ear tips.The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.A chart depicts the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 frequency response (cyan) relative to the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2.0.A chart depicts the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isolation and noise cancelling performance, with low-frequency sounds rendered one-quarter as loud with ANC on than without the earbuds in at all.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
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Sound quality is great: AKG tuned the drivers to reproduce slightly amplified mids for consumer-friendly sound. This broad, slight emphasis bodes well for popular genres of music. Anyone who enjoys a bit more oomph to an underscoring kick drum will appreciate these buds. ANC performance is very good and renders 90Hz frequencies one-quarter their original perceived loudness.

With the Galaxy Buds 2, you get premium features and access to big updates... if you have an Android phone.

You operate the Galaxy Buds 2 via a touch panel on each earbud. As with all earbuds in the Samsung Galaxy Buds line, the Galaxy Buds 2 touch panels are very sensitive. We often experience command misfires which isn’t the case with other true wireless earbuds. But if you can accept the sensitive touch panels, you’ll enjoy stable Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and support for two high-quality Bluetooth codecs: the Samsung Scalable Codec and AAC.

The company is dogged about releasing firmware updates that cover connection improvements. One of the best reasons to get the Galaxy Buds 2 is because of how liberal Samsung is with its updates. The first-gen Galaxy Buds received an update that enabled direct Spotify access, and we expect to see this same support throughout the Buds 2 lifecycle.

More and more of us rely on our earphones as communication devices; I for one take hands-free calls nearly every day. Anyone who spends a silly amount of time in conference calls or quelling their parents’ anxieties will be able to 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 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

5946 votes
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Compact design • 5-hour battery life • Solid sound quality
The Galaxy Buds 2 is a well-priced pair of ANC earbuds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is one of the best options for Android phone owners for its solid active noise canceling (ANC), good sound and various features.

Why is the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) the best pair of wireless earbuds for iPhone owners?

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has ear tips for a better fit than the standard AirPods, great active noise cancelling, and playback controls built into the stem. When using the AirPods Pro (2nd gen) with an iPhone, you get seamless connectivity and a host of control options directly from your phone’s Control Center. If you have other Apple source devices, you can seamlessly switch between them with the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) thanks to its H2 chip.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
7.9
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) earbuds rest on a black surface with the case in the background.A hand holds the right earbud of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to show off the stem.The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ear tip separated from the housing.Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) charging case lanyard loop while the case rests in a tech pouch.The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case is open and laying at an angle to show the earbuds and their sensors.A person wears the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) in profile view.The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case open with one of the earbuds on a burlap sack, and the Nothing Ear 1 case in the background.The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case is open and contains the earbuds next to an iPhone 12 mini, which prompts the user to update to iOS 16.A chart depicts the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) noise cancelling and isolation performances; the former is very effective when you get a good seal.A chart depicts the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and AirPods Pro (1st generation) frequency responses, revealing the newer pair has a louder bass response.
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
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Adaptive Transparency mode uses microphones to amplify the sounds around you so you can hear your surroundings better. The “adaptive” part of this mode means the technology can quiet loud, sudden sounds like construction or a fumbled frying pan. This works surprisingly well and is a major upgrade to the standard transparency modes found on other earphones.

The other side of the same coin is noise cancelling, and the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ANC performance is even better than before. It will hush your surroundings significantly and render low-frequency rumbles anywhere from one-half to one-eighth their original perceived loudness. You can read all about how the ANC compares between the first and second-gen AirPods Pro models in our detailed versus article.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) lays on a wooden surface next to the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation), earbuds out of case.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
The AirPods Pro earbuds are pretty hard to differentiate.

Sound quality is very good with the AirPods Pro (2nd gen), 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. If you do want to customize the sound, you’re left to your own devices by creating a custom EQ through your music streaming service app or downloading a dedicated EQ application. If you listen to Apple Music, you can choose from numerous EQ presets.

Unlike the old AirPods Pro, the second-gen model has sliding touch controls (along with taps). With a sliding gesture, you can increase or decrease the volume without saying, “Hey Siri,” or reaching for your phone. 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 AirPods Pro alternatives out there for iPhone and Android users alike. You can even snag the first-gen AirPods Pro for $199 at Amazon.

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):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2571 votes

Editor’s note: Our standardized test setup plays back pre-recorded phrases from a calibrated artificial mouth in our test chamber, either with or without simulated background noises, simulated reverberant spaces, or artificial wind. This means that samples from every product can be directly compared, which makes it far easier to make meaningful comparisons between products in terms of the raw speech quality or the product’s ability to reject noise. While this setup is consistent, it’s unable to allow the earbuds to detect speech as they would in the real world (using vibrations), so you’re likely to experience something different than our demos above.

Beats Studio Buds noise cancelling true wireless earphones in the open charging case.
The Studio Buds works nearly as well on iOS as it does on Android, the only other Beats product we can say that about is the Beats Fit Pro.

The Beats Studio Buds compares rather well against Apple’s old flagship AirPods Pro and works just as well on Android as it does on iOS. The microphone is quite good, and it has active noise cancelling, though it’s only okay. Unlike other Beats products, the Studio Buds closely follows our consumer curve, meaning its default sound should please most listeners. It can be had for $99 at Amazon.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Impressive ANC • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging
One of the best true wireless earbuds for iOS users
The second generation of AirPods Pro features top-quality active noise cancellation in a water-resistant package.

Going to work out? Then get the Beats Powerbeats Fit Pro

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, and all for less than $200 USD.

Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
7.7
The Beats Fit Pro noise cancelling 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.The Beats Fit Pro noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the open charging case and next to a Samsung Galaxy S10e with the Beats app open. The app has a purple tint to it, presumably to match the earphones.A woman's hand pockets the Beats Fit Pro noise cancelling true wireless earbuds case which is in the color purple.The USB-C input on the Beats Fit Pro case next to the USB-C to USB-C cable, which is very short.The Beats Fit Pro noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in purple lay in the open charging case against a black fabric background.The Beats Fit Pro isolate fairly well, but also cancel a decent amount of noise.A plot showing the frequency response of the Beats Fit Pro, a set of earphones that fit the SoundGuys consumer target (pink) fairly well outside of the mids and highs.
Beats Fit Pro

Unlike many earbuds, the Fit Pro features button controls that require you to press 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 cancelling is very good and actually outperforms the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) when it comes to quieting certain sub-bass frequencies. This is great for muting your commute to the gym and somewhat reducing the clang of weights on the gym floor. When it comes to 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, and this automatically adjusts the bass and midrange response based on your surroundings.

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?

3918 votes
Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
Android and iOS compatible • In-app integration • Fast charging
A good ANC, and fast charging battery for the Fit Pro earbuds.
The Beats Fit Pro earbuds offer a pleasant bass-boosted sound. The battery will last an extra hour with only five minutes of charging, and the app provides more features and adjustments.

What makes the Sony WF-1000XM4 a great pair of noise cancelling earbuds?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is an expensive set of earbuds that works equally well on Android phones and iPhones. Don’t let that scare you away: this is well worth it for the right buyer. Sony vastly improved its active noise cancelling, thanks in part to Bluetooth 5.2 and a new V1 processor. While the ANC can’t compare to its big brothers, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4, it handily outperforms most other noise cancelling wireless earphones.

Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony WF-1000XM4
8
The Sony WF-1000XM4 on a wet, red bench, also with moisture on the earphones.A photo comparing the relative size of the Sony WF-1000XM3's case with the Sony WF-1000XM4's.A photo showing the Sony WF-1000XM4 in the charging case.The memory foam tips of the Sony WF-1000XM4.A photo showing someone using the touch controls of the Sony WF-1000XM4.The Sony WF-1000XM4's case open, revealing the earphones sitting within.A photo showing the Sony WF-1000XM4 in its case, with the lid open.A chart showing the frequency response of the Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless earphones compared to the SoundGuys house curve.A chart shows the exceptional ANC and isolation performance of the Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless earphones.
Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony provides a trio of memory foam ear tips, which effectively mold to your ear canal and block out background noise. You can even use the Headphones Connect app to check that you selected the properly fitting ear tips. This is absolutely necessary for a pair of ANC earbuds, as good isolation begets optimal noise cancellation.

Sound quality is quite good too, though you’ll notice some treble frequencies sound odd since the drivers under-emphasize them. Again, you can quickly fix this within the mobile app by lowering the bass and midrange response. The earbuds support the SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs, meaning anyone can enjoy high-quality audio. Because the foam tips guarantee a good seal, isolation and ANC are incredibly effective on the Sony WF-1000XM4. Anyone who wants a handsome pair of wireless earbuds with stellar active noise cancelling, battery life, and a reliable IPX4 rating should save up and shell out for these earbuds.

Sony’s microphone quality is pretty good, even in sub-optimal conditions like office or wind. It won’t render environmental noise absolutely quiet, but it will relay your voice clearly.

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

13560 votes
Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony WF-1000XM4
Great ANC • IPX4 rating • 360 Reality Audio
Powerful active noise canceling earbuds.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are some of the best on the market. High-quality sound is matched by top-notch ANC. Well designed ear tips provide an excellent seal, improving noise isolation, and call quality.

The Jabra Elite 7 Active does everything very well

If you’re looking for a truly great pair of wireless earbuds, your search is over with the Jabra Elite 7 Active. While this set of earphones only supports SBC and AAC, you can change the sound profile within the companion app’s EQ module. Jabra’s earphones have an IP57 rating, making them unusually durable relative to most other earbuds.

Jabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra Elite 7 Active
7.9
Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds inside the charging case on a wood tableJabra Elite 7 Active on table with cable and ear tipsJabra Elite 7 Active earbuds in the rain.Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds on table with eartips taken off.Jabra Elite 7 Active charging case placed on a wood surface.Jabra Elite 7 Active next to Jabra Elite 7 ProA chart showing the frequency response of the Jabra Elite 7 Active closely aligning with our house consumer curve.A chart showing the isolation and ANC performance of the Jabra Elite 7 Active with at least 20dB of attenuation throughout most of the audible frequency spectrum.
Jabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy now
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The Jabra Elite 7 Active has active noise cancelling but it isn’t the best around. That said, if you can get a good fit with the earbuds, you’ll benefit greatly from the solid passive isolation. The earbuds do a fine job of passively blocking out frequencies above 1kHz. It’s not as if the ANC is bad here, it’s just not the best. The Elite 7 Active’s ANC can quiet frequencies lower than 1kHz to half their original loudness.

Jabra’s default frequency response for the Elite 7 Active boosts bass a bit more than our target curve suggests, but it should still sound good to most people. Plus, you can always adjust the sound from the mobile app (iOS/Android). The microphone system does a fine job of quieting background noise, but the click and clack of your keystrokes will still come through to the person on the other end of the call.

For the price, it’s like you’re getting multiple headsets in one with the Elite 7 Active.

The Elite 7 Active does a pretty good job of relaying voices amid incidental noise like ringing phones and clacking keyboards.

Jabra Elite 7 Active microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Jabra Elite 7 Active microphone demo (Office conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

3535 votes
Jabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra Elite 7 Active
Built to withstand even the toughest workouts.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active wireless earbuds, with ShakeGrip technology, offer a secure fit, even during intense workouts. ANC keeps you focused, while touch input and voice assistants allow you to control your music and make calls. Use the Sound+ app to set your EQ.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is about as comfortable as it gets

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the USB-C charging case next to a Gameboy Color and PlayStation 4 controller.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
You have two color options with the Bose QC Earbuds, black or white.

Listeners who want ANC that rivals the Sony WF-1000XM4 but with an arguably more comfortable, stable fit should get the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. These earbuds feature an IPX4 rating and nearly perfect touch controls that precisely register when you make a command. We find the QC Earbuds to be about as comfortable as wireless earbuds get, and the USB-C case supports wireless charging which is a nice “plus.”

While the original $279 USD price tag will scare many listeners away, patient buyers can find these earphones on sale for $199 USD or less a few times a year.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Customizable ANC • 5h battery life • Various tip size
Bose QuietComfort earbuds offer high-quality sound. You can choose the degree of noise canceling and enjoy premium features like automatic ear detection.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds has an okay microphone. We’ve certainly tested better microphones in true wireless earbuds, but it isn’t so bad that it should necessarily deter you from buying the headset.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Office conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Street conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

5977 votes
An aerial view of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II with the open case and earbuds, as if the buds are spilling out.
Edgar Cervantes / SoundGuys
The Bose QC Earbuds II looks completely different from the first-gen model.

There’s a lot to like about the latest Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but some things aren’t better than the originals. For starters, the frequency response pretty radically changed from the first generation QuietComfort Earbuds to one that’s far too bassy and trebly. Bose offers some EQ presets, but none are as good as the default sound of the original QuietComfort Earbuds. We like the improvements to ANC and the sleek design, but we don’t love the price at launch, although currently you can get them for $279 at Amazon.

Should you get the Google Pixel Buds Pro?

Google debuts its take on noise cancelling 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 $93.02 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 cancelling 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, which 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 the Google Assistant. For $200 USD, though, people may want more like an in-app EQ and more customization options.

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?

1629 votes
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Decent ANC • Fast-charging battery • Google apps
The first Pixel earbuds with ANC.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the first Pixel Duds to offer active noise canceling. The battery lasts seven hours, and a fast charging case adds an extra hour with only five minutes of charging. These earbuds provide access to Google Translate, Google Assistant, and "Find my bud."

Is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro any good?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are sitting in and covered in water droplets on a tropical themed outdoor blanket with a water bottle in the background.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The buds are IPX7 rated for waterproofing, which should cover most wet activities or environments you’d take the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Where the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 has an IPX2 rating, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has a more durable IPX7 rating. This makes it much more reliable to use during workouts and on rainy days, as the buds can withstand one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Another reason one might opt for the Buds Pro is that it features some of the best ANC we’ve tested, handily outperforming the AirPods Pro (1st generation).

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro buds fit most ear sizes well and you get to choose from three sizes of silicone ear tips. Samsung also features an ear tip fit test in its Galaxy Wearable app (Android only). The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro comes at a hefty cost, but Samsung’s earphones tend to go on sale fairly regularly.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone is pretty good at relaying your speaking voice mostly accurately.

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

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

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

How does the microphone sound to you?

2430 votes
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Excellent ANC • Good audio quality • Fast charging earbuds
A good companion for your Samsung phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is one of the best options for Android phone owners for its solid active noise cancelling (ANC), good sound and various features.

Is the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 worth it?

A hand holds the open case of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 with blurred rocks in the background.
The very strong case magnet hampers single-handed operation, but this also means it stays closed in your bag.

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 is a pair of noise cancelling earbuds that improves upon the previous generation with some of the best ANC we’ve tested. The second generation MOMENTUM True Wireless earbuds looked nice but left a lot to be desired, now Sennheiser’s ANC competes with Sony and Bose. You get the same IPX4 rating as before and Sennheiser throws in stabilizing ear fins to better keep the buds in place while you work out.

Sound quality is very good and the bass and midrange response closely follows our consumer curve. You can create a custom EQ with the Smart Control app (iOS/Android) and disable the touch controls from there too. While this headset exceeds most listeners’ $200 USD budget, those who want something stylish with plenty of functionality will like the Sennheiser MTW3.

The mic on the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 is not great, and you probably won’t want to use it in any less than ideal conditions.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Street conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2018 votes
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
High-res audio • “Sound Zones” adaptation • Good sound
A great sound, and better ANC for the Momentum True Wireless 3.
With the Momentum True Wireless 3, Sennheiser proves that you can pack great sound and ANC into rugged-built earbuds. They are assured by a two-year warranty.

The best wireless earbuds: Notable mentions

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series on driftwood with a smartphone.
The Pixel Buds A-Series looks nearly identical to the standard first-generation Pixel Buds and very similar to the Pixel Buds Pro.
  • Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen): Anyone looking for a pair of intelligent earbuds will appreciate the Echo Buds (Gen 2). This headset has comprehensive Alexa integration through the Alexa app, which can be downloaded regardless of your source device’s brand. The Echo Buds (Gen 2) also comes with an array of ear tips and ear stays that ensure its stability in your ears. Find it for $69.99 at Amazon.
  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: These earbuds with angled nozzles may just be your best bet for a budget pair of wireless earbuds. It runs for $19.99 at Amazon and features great isolation and pretty good mic quality. You can EQ the bassy default sound from the Soundcore app.
  • Beats Powerbeats Pro: This pair of earbuds lasts over 10 hours on a single charge, which is insanely good for true wireless earbuds. Securing over-the-ear hooks keep the Powerbeats Pro in place no matter how much you shake your head. Try it at $179.95 at Amazon.
  • Bose Sport Earbuds: 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. Find it for $129 at Amazon.
  • Google Pixel Buds A-Series: These budget friendly buds (for $93.02 at Amazon) will integrate easily with your Android device. As long as you’re willing to go into your Android developer settings to boost the extremely quiet volume output of the buds, it’s a good affordable buy and a great alternative to AirPods.
  • Jabra Elite 7 Pro: This set of durable earbuds has great battery life will survive nearly any adventure (available at $99.99 at Amazon). The Jabra Elite 7 Pro also sounds great, has a high-quality microphone, and has tons of features from the Jabra Sound+ app.
  • Jaybird Vista 2: This is a durable set of workout earbuds with an IP68 rating for the buds and 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 cancelling to these earbuds, which isn’t the best, but the passive isolation makes up for it. Find it for $144.99 at Amazon.
  • JLab Epic Air Sport ANC: This set of buds directly competes against the Beats Powerbeats Pro and costs a heck of a lot less at $89.98 at Amazon. 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 1: For $53.99 at Amazon, you get a unique pair of ANC earbuds with a semi-transparent design, USB-C/wireless charging case, and IPX4 rating with this headset. It’s not the absolute best around, but it’s good for the price. Plus, the Ear 1 works equally well on Android as it does on iOS. If you like Nothing’s aesthetic but want something more like the AirPods (3rd generation), the Nothing Ear Stick may be more your speed.
  • Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless: 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. It’s worth checking out at a reasonable price of $69.95 at Amazon.
  • Sony LinkBuds: 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, and can be had for $148 at Amazon.
  • Sony LinkBuds S: Unlike the standard LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S features a traditional earbud design without donut holes. Noise cancelling performance is close to the WF-1000XM4 and outperforms the previous Sony WF-1000XM3 flagship earbuds. The tradeoff: a boring design, but the price is nice at $148 at Amazon.

What you should know before you buy the best 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.

Close-up shot of the Bluetooth toggle turned on for iOS device.
Bluetooth is turned on in iOS and Android.

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 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 and 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, though, may be better off with wired earbuds or dealing with bulkier wireless headphones.

What is isolation, and what is frequency response?

A chart compares the Sennheiser IE 300 (cyan) frequency response against the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2 (pink), revealing a pleasing sound for most consumers.
The cyan line represents the Sennheiser IE 300, and the pink line is our house curve. You can see that the cyan line is notably lower in the 2-6kHz range.

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 cancelling, which uses tiny microphones to help cancel outside noise, but most options don’t 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 how it affects how you hear your music by clicking here. We at SoundGuys have an in-house studio curve and consumer curve that we posit as the ideal for each instance. In our charts, the pink line represents our house curve and the cyan line represents the headset in question. 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 four to six hours of battery life. Anything that falls above or below that is unusual. The cases typically provide an extra two to three charge cycles, giving you at least 12 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 the best wireless earbuds

By using a dummy head, audio engineers can test out how audio products will perform for most people—and so do we. Specifically, we tested frequency response, isolation, and battery life to keep things simple. You can read more about it here if you want to know more about the specifics.

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

While these three tests are simple, they 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.

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. But what do we do when we haven’t spent time with a product? Lots and lots of research. We spend hours browsing through forums and discussions within the audio community. Even if we’ve already reviewed a product, we usually do this anyway to get as much of a birds-eye view of the landscape as possible.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

A woman wears the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds noise cancelling true wireless earbuds.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The Bose QC Earbuds are quite a bit larger than the competition.

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 certain products over others. We go to great lengths to make objective, abstract concepts accessible to our readers. 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, to exit our site with a little more knowledge about the inner workings of audio.

Frequently asked questions about the best wireless earbuds

A photo comparing the relative size of the Sony WF-1000XM3's case with the Sony WF-1000XM4's.
The new Sony WF-1000XM4 has a much smaller case than that of the Sony WF-1000XM3.

This question really boils down to your budget and how much you value active noise cancelling performance. We have a detailed breakdown between the Sony WF-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM4, and find that the XM4 earbuds kick the pants off the XM3 regarding ANC.

In the chart below, you can see the WF-1000XM3 does very little to actively cancel sounds below 1kHz. With the WF-1000XM4, those frequencies are anywhere from one-half to nearly one-eighth as loud as they’d sound without the buds in. Passive isolation is also much better on the newer earbuds.

A chart compares the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WF-1000XM3 noise cancelling performance, revealing the WF-1000XM4 to be much more effective across the board.
No contest, the WF-1000XM4 is the better set of noise cancelling buds.

While the original $279 USD price of the WF-1000XM4 is steep for most consumers, you can often find the earbuds on promotion for $199 USD. At that price, we highly recommend the WF-1000XM4 over pretty much any pair of wireless earbuds, including its predecessor.

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

Actually 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. Sony has also announced the WF-1000XM4 and LinkBuds will be receiving an update with multipoint soon too.

The now discontinued Galaxy Buds Plus come with a few pairs of interchangeable silicone ear tips, so you should be able to find a decent fit. However, earbuds that are designed for adults reach maximum volumes that we don’t recommend for children because they can damage their hearing. We’d recommend checking out our explainer piece on kids’ headphones for more information, or looking for a volume limiter.

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.