Wireless earbuds are not the easiest to figure out because you have to take a leap of faith that they will sound as good as you want them to. It’s not just about the audio, but also about how comfortable they feel, how long the battery lasts, and how customizable they are for your preferences.
And when we’re talking “wireless” we mean no cables or cords at all. Stick the two earbuds in your ears, where they both connect to each other — and then to the device you’ve paired them with. There are countless pairs available to buy right now. The best part? You have plenty of good options, some of which may surprise you when looking at our choices for the best you can buy right now in the list below.
How do we know? We’ve tested all of them, and rather than set up a generic ranking system, we chose to qualify what each pair’s strengths truly are to help you make the best choice for you.
If you don’t know Jabra or its products, this may be a good time to familiarize yourself. The Danish brand’s heritage in hearing aids and impairment technology plays a role in how it makes excellent earbuds like the Elite 7 Pro. These buds stand out as the best overall choice because of the superb mix of sound quality, comfort, battery life, app support and durability they come with.
They do offer active noise cancellation (ANC), which uses the onboard microphones to block out as much background noise as possible. ANC is custom-tuned to your ears by way of a short test you go through on Jabra’s Sound+ app (iOS or Android). The mics also work in reverse, piping in ambient noise (HearThrough mode) so you can hear your own voice or when someone talks to you, without taking off the earbuds.
Music sounds smooth and balanced with the Elite 7 Pro, never feeling like it’s way off. You can use the equalizer (EQ) in the Sound+ app to customize that further. Call quality is perhaps the best in the industry, thanks to Jabra’s MultiSensor Voice technology, which is currently exclusive to the Elite 7 Pro. Each earbud also has physical button controls that respond well.
Battery life should last you up to eight hours per charge with ANC on (or more if it’s off), while the charging case gives you another three charges for a full total of up to 30 hours. With longevity also comes some durability, given the IP57 rating is good enough to withstand water and sweat. Just don’t go swimming with them. If you prefer something more rubberized, try the Elite 7 Active. They have the exact same build, though lack the MultiSensor Voice tech, so calls won’t match in clarity.
Are there any flaws? Yes, and a major one is that you can’t connect the Elite 7 Pro to two devices simultaneously. So, if you were hoping to pair with your computer and phone all at once, that won’t happen here — at least until or unless Jabra releases a firmware update to fix that in January 2022.
These earbuds could just as easily be the best overall, but their real claim to fame is their outstanding ANC performance. No longer a luxury feature on only a few earbuds, ANC is more common now, except your experience will definitely vary.
In this case, the WF-1000XM4 aren’t necessarily the prettiest, but they sound great and do the best job in blocking all that background noise. By default, these earbuds have the kind of sound signature that works for all genres, though you can do more. Go into Sony’s Headphones Connect app and use the EQ within it to tweak music your way. There is an Extra Bass option should you want more of that, as well as the ability to adjust other settings.
Unlike many other earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 also support 360 Reality for content that plays in virtual surround sound. Not to mention the LDAC codec when you want to listen to music in higher quality over Bluetooth. They’re both great, provided you use services and content supporting them.
With all that going on, battery life holds up very well at up to eight hours per charge. You get an extra three charges from the case, which also supports wireless charging. If there is a downside, it’s that they’re not especially rugged. The IPX4 rating is okay, but not for any significant water or sweat resistance.
Sennheiser routinely makes headphones and earbuds that sound great, and these are a good choice for that. They’re also considerably cheaper than they used to be. The default sound is excellent, and perhaps the cleanest and clearest you will find at this price.
It’s bass-friendly from the start, yet doesn’t leave the mids or highs behind. Regardless of what you like to listen to, you would be hard-pressed not to like how good these sound. And if you’re looking for more, find it in Sennheiser’s Smart Control app. Its onboard EQ gives you room to customize and tweak the sound, where you can save those settings as a preset in the app.
That Sennheiser includes ANC support and an ambient mode to hear the background when you want to. While ANC isn’t as good as something like Sony’s, it’s still more than adequate. Plus, the Momentum True Wireless 2 sports pretty good battery life at up to seven hours per charge, plus another three charges in the case. One gripe here is that the case doesn’t support wireless charging, so keep a USB-C cable handy.
And lastly, these buds are a little bigger, and may not suit smaller ears as comfortably. If you generally have a hard time with wireless earbuds, try something smaller first.
For what they cost, the Soundcore Life P3 should make you feel like they were worth every penny. These earbuds aren’t flashy or feature some cutting-edge feature, but they do the key things well. Starting with the sound, the Life P3 deliver a robust sound signature, and here’s the best part. The Soundcore app gives you 22 EQ presets, plus the option to create your own. Work your way through those, and you’re all but guaranteed to find something suits you. To top if off, Anker even threw in a gaming mode to reduce latency.
Now, none of that would matter if they didn’t fit well, but they should. Anker went as far as including a fit test in the app to help ensure you get the tightest seal. As with any pair of earbuds, the tighter the seal, the better the audio sounds. The onboard microphones are surprisingly good for calls, making it easier to keep in touch.
ANC performance is better than you’d expect at this price, and the Transparency ambient mode does a good job, too. Keep an eye on battery life, as the seven hours Anker states refers to when ANC is off. Leave it on, and you’re likely looking at about five hours. Still, the case gives you another four charges, which is great on its own, and wireless charging is always nice.
Buy it now at Amazon for $99.99
Want durability to go with that sound? Check these out. The Jaybird Vista 2 are among the most workout-friendly earbuds you’ll find. Not only are they durable with an IP66 rating, but even the charging case has its own IP54 rating. The level of water and sweat resistance is among the highest you’ll find on any earbuds, so work out, run, and go nuts wearing these. Well, except for swimming — don’t wear the Vista 2 doing that.
Their size can deceive you in that they’re not as big as they may initially seem. When you find the right fit, the Vista 2 have excellent passive noise isolation to seal out background noise. If you want to bump that up, turn on ANC and block out even more. When you need ambient sound to come in, Jaybird covered that, too.
What really makes these worth it is the sound. They’re not going to beat the likes of Sony or Sennheiser, but Jaybird’s mobile app is huge for customizing how you want the Vista 2 to sound. Within that app is a vibrant community of fellow users who help develop EQ presets you can apply to your earbuds. Doesn’t matter what genre you love, or what mood you’re in, there’s a preset for it. Even create and share your own, if you like. There’s already very solid bass coming out of these earbuds, but you can always ramp that up or tone it down.
Expect up to six hours of battery life with ANC on (eight hours when off). Like all other earbuds, volume level matters most for battery longevity, so numbers fluctuate. The case gives you another two full charges, and includes a chip inside so you can track it in case you misplace it. The case also works with wireless charging pads.
As an Apple user, you’re probably thinking AirPods first. Bear in mind that all of the other earbuds on this list work perfectly fine with Apple’s products, but if you’re so inclined, the AirPods Pro should get the first crack. The main reason why is fit. Unlike the regular AirPods, the Pro version use silicone ear tips (in different sizes) that make it easier to get a tighter seal. Apple also engineered these buds to sound better, so they’re a good buy.
Another key feature that makes them stand out is their outstanding ANC performance. Not quite as good as Sony, yet still a serious contender. The ambient mode is no slouch, either. With those pillars in place, the sound only benefits. The AirPods Pro aren’t going to match the audio fidelity of others on this list. Sony, Jabra, Sennheiser and Samsung all have better sound. Even Anker and Jaybird are arguably better. It’s just that the AirPods Pro will sound good, and the excellent microphones also mean great call clarity.
The one thing holding them back is battery life. Apple claims you can get 4.5 hours with ANC on (five hours when off), assuming you stick to default volume. More than likely, you’re looking at about four hours per charge. It doesn’t hurt that the charging case gives you another four charges. Keep your Lightning cable or wireless charger handy, though. No USB-C for these guys.
This is actually a tough call. The Galaxy Buds Pro are Samsung’s best earbuds, yet we could just as easily recommend the Galaxy Buds 2 instead. What sets the Buds Pro apart are better ANC performance, slightly better sound, more durability, and additional features. The two are actually a lot more alike apart from those things, with the Buds 2 getting an edge on fit and comfort.
All that said, the Buds Pro have plenty to work with. There are two levels of ANC (high and low), plus four levels of ambient mode. Voice Detect automatically lowers the volume of whatever you’re listening to and turns on ambient once you start talking, so you can engage in conversation without removing either earbud. You can set it so that volume returns after 5-15 seconds of silence. There’s also 360 Audio to listen to virtual surround sound with the right content, like a movie or show. You can adjust all that, and more, in the Galaxy Wearable app.
When you get the right fit, you notice these pump out pretty crisp sound. It’s just a bummer that you only have six EQ presets in the app, and no option to create your own. Samsung users benefit from neat features, like Auto Switch. If you have a compatible Samsung phone, tablet or laptop, you can watch something on a tablet or computer, and then take a call on your phone. No need to touch anything because the earbuds automatically switch over. Good thing, too, because call quality is fantastic.
An IPX7 rating makes the Buds Pro the best Samsung has for earbuds you can run or work out in. Just note that battery life isn’t the best. Expect to max out at five hours per charge with ANC on, going up to a more respectable eight hours if you leave it off. The case carries three extra charges, with full support for USB-C and wireless charging.
It’s a good thing Amazon discontinued the original Echo Buds because these significantly improve on them. On paper, it doesn’t look like it, but the nuances are there. Not only is the fit smaller and better, but newer drivers and full ANC set them apart in the ways that truly count.
Beyond good audio quality and very functional ANC, the main claim to fame for these earbuds is Alexa. These buds give you hands-free access to the popular voice assistant, where just saying “Alexa” is enough to wake it up and have it do something for you. Whether you want to ask a question or issue a command, it’s all pretty easy. Tell Alexa who to call or when to remind you of something.
Spotify Premium subscribers also get the added perk of telling the earbuds what to play. Don’t reach for your phone to select or skip a track, just say so. Control smart home devices without lifting a finger. If you’re meshed in the Alexa ecosystem, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) will feel like a natural extension.
Watch out for battery life along the way. At up to five hours with ANC on (6.5 when off), it’s hard to quantify how long the Echo Buds last when Alexa is always listening. USB-C and wireless charging help top you up faster, as the case is good for an extra two charges.
Buy it now at Amazon for $154.99
When you rely on Google Assistant, you could always apply that principle to your earbuds. In this case, the Pixel Buds A-Series, a budget-friendly pair with hands-free access to Google’s voice assistant from any Android phone. Indeed, Android users will notice tighter integration, not unlike how the AirPods are with iOS devices.
Google Pixel phones have Pixel Buds settings embedded in their own system settings, whereas non-Google Android phones use a separate Pixel Buds app you can download from Google Play. Either way, you can adjust a few things in there, though options are far more limited compared to competitors on this list. There is no ANC or ambient mode, nor an EQ you can use to tweak the sound how you want. They sound good on their own, though not on par with others on this list.
What you do get are other elements, like translation or voice texting. If you speak or message with someone in a different language, both of you will see real-time translations appear, or you can hear them directly in the Pixel Buds A-Series. You can tell the assistant to control smart home devices, remind you of calendar appointments and tell it what music to play, among other things.
While very cool, all of this comes at a cost in battery life. You’re looking at five hours per charge max. Depending on what volume you listen to audio content at, you may find the number closer to four hours. These also aren’t ruggedized, so be wary of running or working out in them. And lastly, the case, which carries at least three charges, only supports USB-C. No wireless charging here. If not for the price, these earbuds might be missing too many features, but for such a specific purpose, they’re worth a look.
This is a product category showing no signs of slowing down. This list, comprehensive as it is, can’t possibly cover every single pair currently available. That’s why you can expect to see this list change month-to-month, and in some cases, maybe even from one week to the next. In a highly competitive field, it’s only a matter of time before you see newer models and new brands earn their spot on here.
Comfort and sound are subjective things, so what might be great for you may not suit someone else. Even so, the brands listed here carved out niches that set them apart from each other. It largely depends on what you prioritize. We should also be transparent in that wireless earbuds have a pretty short shelf life. You can expect a good two years’ worth of usage before the batteries start to degrade — a consequence of the constant charging the earbuds get from the case. You may find your earbuds last longer than that, but it’s a good baseline to consider, especially since that’s the lifespan Apple gives its own AirPods.
As is, right now, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro are the best you can buy from an overall perspective. While they may not be the absolute best in every aspect, they’re still excellent at everything they do. Once multipoint connections come through in an upcoming firmware update, the company will have addressed the biggest flaw.