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The Best Wireless Earbuds For Your Listening Pleasure

Best Wireless Earbuds
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updated: July 9, 2024
edited by Amber Katz

In the nearly two decades since they first hit the market, wireless earbuds have become ubiquitous; even your grandparents have cut the cord in favor of convenient, easy-to-wear headphones. With each iteration, we’ve seen massive improvements in sound quality, performance, and battery life.

And yet, says Steve Greenberg, host of YouTube gadget game show What The Heck Is That?, “Buying wireless earbuds can be a challenge. You would think high price means better quality—but in the world of wireless earbuds that’s not always true.” So when the experts shared what to consider before splashing out for a new set, we were all ears.

Our top wireless earbud picks

Best all-around earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4

Best all-around
Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones Black

Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones Black

File this under: You get what you pay for. Sony’s spendy creation gets high marks all around for exceptional, balanced sound quality, industry-leading active noise cancellation (automatic wind noise reduction!) and up to eight hours of battery life with continuous listening.

The design—a matte black or gray with rose gold hardware—is cute, too, but it's not just about looks. Sony’s soft, polyurethane foam tips—available in small, medium and large sizes—are designed to expand and truly seal off the ear, fully shutting out any surrounding noise. And, recently, the brand addressed their all-star product’s one missing feature, releasing a software update that allows for Bluetooth multipoint.

Specifications:

  • Size: 1.6 inches x 2.7 inches x 1.2 inches
  • Weight: 1.92 ounces
  • Battery life: Eight hours; 24 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: Yes

What we like:

  • Superior noise-cancellation
  • Balanced sound quality
  • An entire work day’s worth of battery life

What we don’t like:

  • Some might find the fit to be too expansive

Best budget wireless earbuds: EarFun Air Pro 3

Best budget
EarFun Air Pro 3

The EarFun Air Pro 3 packs a lot of features into their modest price, including up to 45 hours of battery life (nine hours from the earbuds themselves and an additional 36 hours from the case), multipoint connectivity and noise cancellation up to 43dB, which, says Greenberg, “filters out 95 percent of noises whether in-flight, city traffic, or office chatter.”

Specifications:

  • Size: 2.36 inches x 1.96 inches x 1.22 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces
  • Battery life: Nine hours; 45 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX5
  • Multipoint: Yes

What we like:

  • Comfortable fit with various size tips
  • Extralong battery life
  • Multipoint connectivity
  • Affordable price point

What we don’t like:

  • Sound quality isn’t quite as superior as more expensive models

Best noise-canceling earbuds: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best noise-canceling
Bose - QuietComfort Earbuds II True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones - Soapstone

Bose - QuietComfort Earbuds II True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones - Soapstone

Among the reasons the brand insists their creation has the “world’s best noise cancellation” is their CustomTune technology that tailors the noise cancelation and sound performance to your ear canal’s shape. (An aware mode option allows users to minimize loud sounds but still be able to carry on conversations.)

The fit is rather bespoke as well, thanks to its two-piece silicone design that comes with three sizes of eartips and a coordinating stability band. And using the Bose Music app allows listeners to adjust to their preferred levels of bass, mid-range and treble.

Specifications:

  • Price: $299
  • Size: 1.2 inches x 0.68 inches x 0.88 inches
  • Weight: 0.22 ounces
  • Battery life: Six hours; 24 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • Delivers on their world’s best noise canceling claim
  • Ability to adjust sound quality based on your needs
  • Two-piece fit system allows for a wider range of comfort

What we don’t like:

  • Battery life isn’t quite as strong as other brands

Best for working out: Beats Fit Pro

Best for working out
Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Earbuds - Black

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Earbuds - Black

Meet the AirPods Pro’s sportier sibling. Apple took everything listeners love about their flagship earbuds—active noise-canceling, the surround sound of spatial audio—and repackaged it into a more workout-friendly design.

Their flexible wingtips (that come with three soft silicone ear tip options) were tested by various athletes to ensure they’ll stay put (and keep the beats bumping) through even the most vigorous of sweat sessions. Plus, if you’re the gym selfie sort, they come in your choice of seven saturated shades.

Specifications:

  • Size: 0.75 inches x 1.18 inches x 0.94 inches
  • Weight: 0.2 ounces
  • Battery life: Six hours; 24 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • A combo of noise cancelation and transparency modes, when you want to be aware of your surroundings
  • Comfortable fit that remains in place

What we don’t like:

  • Some features like spatial audio and auto device switching are only available to iPhone users

Best for iPhone users: Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation

Best for iPhone users
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) - Lightning

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) - Lightning

A favorite for a reason, the second-generation version of the brand’s popular earbuds is chock full of features for Apple devotees like head tracking for spatial audio and automatic syncing across all iCloud devices. Other enhancements include an uptick in sound quality and noise cancelation, an extra hour of battery life, plus the ability to control the volume on the buds themselves and a speaker on the case to help you find your earphones when they inevitably go missing.

Specifications:

  • Price: $250
  • Size: 1.22 inches x 0.86 inches x 0.94 inches
  • Weight: 0.19 ounces
  • Battery life: Six hours; 30 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • Improved noise canceling and sound
  • A snug fit with tips ranging from extra small on up
  • Volume control on the stem of the ear buds

What we don’t like:

  • To access many of the features, you need to use other Apple products

Best for Samsung devotees: Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

Best for Samsung devotees
Samsung - Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless Earbud Headphones - Graphite

Samsung - Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless Earbud Headphones - Graphite

With perks like 360-degree audio, ambient mode and auto device switching between the brand’s other products reserved solely for Galaxy phone owners, this might not be an ideal pick for, say, a committed iPhone user. But Android lovers will enjoy high-quality audio, top-notch water resistance and a design that’s lighter and smaller than previous versions for a better fit.

Specifications:

  • Price: $230
  • Size: 0.7 inches x 0.85 inches x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 0.19 ounces
  • Battery life: Five hours; 29 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX7
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • Superior listening experience
  • Comfortable, lightweight design
  • Impressive water resistance

What we don’t like:

  • Best features reserved for Galaxy users

Best for those with a Google Pixel phone: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Best for Google Pixel phone
Google Pixel Buds Pro - Noise Canceling Earbuds

Google Pixel Buds Pro - Noise Canceling Earbuds

For this go ‘round, Google improved on its previous iterations with an enhanced sound quality and active noise cancellation that uses what they call a silent seal to block out the bulk of outside noise. And not only does the pliable silicone of the eartips conform to the shape of your ears, there are sensors to measure the pressure in your ear canal for improved comfort. Plus, they offer the multipoint ability to pair your earbuds with two devices at once—something a lot of the other big brands don’t have.

Though—stop us if you’ve heard this before—some perks like having controls built right into their phone’s settings are reserved solely for Galaxy users.

Specifications:

  • Price: $200
  • Size: 0.88 inches x 0.87 inches x 0.93 inches
  • Weight: 0.22 ounces
  • Battery life: Seven hours; 20 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: Yes

What we like:

  • Impressive noise cancelation
  • Multipoint Bluetooth support
  • Comfortable fit

What we don’t like:

  • Some features not available for Apple users

Best barely there pick: Beats Studio Buds Plus

Best barely there pick
Beats Studio Buds + | True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds, Enhanced Apple & Android Compatibility

Beats Studio Buds + | True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds, Enhanced Apple & Android Compatibility

For some the appeal of these buds is clear, as in their translucent-looking frosted plastic shell. And at just 0.81 inches by 0.73 inches by 0.59 inches they’re definitely on the tinier side with silicone tips ranging from extra-small up to large for an optimal fit.

Of course, for some, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And these Beats buds boast powerful noise cancelation, better sound and improved voice calling thanks to larger, more sensitive microphones. Plus they offer perks for both Apple devotees (Siri, automatic software updates) and Android users (the option to seamlessly transition between Android devices).

Specifications:

  • Price: $170
  • Size: 0.81 inches x 0.73 inches x 0.59 inches
  • Weight: 0.18 ounces
  • Battery life: Nine hours; 24 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • Lightweight, comfortable fit
  • Standout translucent design
  • Features that work with both Apple and Android phones

What we don’t like:

  • No wireless charging

Best sounding wireless earbuds: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Best sounding
Sennheiser - Momentum 3 True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones - Black

Sennheiser - Momentum 3 True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones - Black

Music enthusiasts take note: Reviews promise that the third generation of the brand’s wireless earbuds hit all the right chords with a superb, detailed sound quality, adaptive noise cancelation and a built-in equalizer for a listening experience that’s truly custom.

Users also sing the praises of the design, including the optional wing tips that help to really secure the earbuds in place.

Specifications:

  • Price: $280
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Weight: 0.2 ounces
  • Battery life: Seven hours; 28 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: Yes

What we like:

  • Superior sound quality
  • Rubberized wing tips help create a more secure fit

What we don’t like:

  • Noise cancelation isn’t quite as strong as other brands’ offerings

Best wireless earbuds for a secure fit: UE Fits

Best wireless earbuds for a secure fit
UE Fits

As the name suggests, UE Fits has honed in on the feel of their earbuds, uncovering a way to offer a bespoke fit. Once placed inside your ear, the photopolymer gel of the tips molds to your unique shape in just 60 seconds, creating a custom, perfect seal. (If you’re not satisfied, they offer a 30-day risk-free return policy.)

Though the brand doesn’t boast the same flashy features as others, they’ll definitely get the job done with a full, warm sound quality and a snug fit that creates what they call a passive noise isolation.

Specifications:

  • Price: $199
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Weight: 0.25 ounces
  • Battery life: Eight hours; 20 with charging case
  • Noise cancelation: No
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX3
  • Multipoint: No

What we like:

  • A fit that’s entirely customized
  • Decent battery life

What we don’t like:

  • Lacks features such as multipoint connectivity and active noise cancellation
  • Water resistance is definitely on the low end, so may not be good for working out

How we selected the best wireless earbuds

We interviewed experts to find out the features that matter when searching for the best wireless earbuds. Then, we researched some of the most popular earbud brands on the market based on reviews, features, and fit.

What to consider when buying wireless earbuds

What kind of sound quality does it offer?

While this comes down to personal preference—some listeners like a large, thumping bass, others are looking for more clarity—a more neutral sound profile with a good balance between bass, midrange and treble tends to be a people-pleaser as it makes a large variety of music sound good.

Do you want noise-canceling capabilities?

In a word, yes. Once a great-to-have feature, noise-canceling now comes standard in most earbud offerings. Aside from blocking out the literal noise so you can really hear what you’re listening to, there’s a health benefit as well, notes audiologist Lindsay Creed.

“If you wear something that's noise-canceling, you're not going to be as tempted to increase the volume of what you're listening to,” explains the associate director of audiology practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. “So you may actually listen to your media at a safer level.” Read: No risk of causing noise-induced hearing loss.

What kind of battery life are you looking for?

Sure, this is generally a bigger is better situation. But the ideal number you’re looking for is something that can offer at least five hours of continuous battery life, even with the noise-canceling feature enabled.

Are they water-resistant?

Even if you’re the type to only run when being chased, your earbuds could take on moisture if you’re caught in the rain or have to power through a particularly sweaty day. Which is why being resistant to water and sweat is key. You’ll want a set that offers at least IPX4 water resistance.

Do they offer multipoint connectivity?

Though not a must, multipoint is a nice feature that lets you pair your buds with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. If you’re the sort to spend your day toggling between your phone, computer and TV, it might be a key capability for you.

Though, when scanning the list of features, you’ll also want to ensure you can access them with your phone of choice. Tech brands do have the tendency to tailor some of their standout assets to their own products. If you’re in it for the perks, consider keeping it in the family.

Are they comfortable enough to wear for hours each day?

It’s an obvious, but important question because if you want to yank ‘em out of your ears after just an hour or so of use, they’re not the headphones for you. “The better they fit your ears, the more they're going to isolate the ear from background noise,” notes Creed, “and the user isn't going to be as tempted to ramp up the volume to hear over the ambient noise. So, they'll probably listen at a lower decibel level.”

And since ears come in all shapes and sizes, this is an area where you’ll need to rely a bit on trial and error. Silicone tips are more common, but foam, which naturally expands to fill your ear, is also an option. “And sometimes,” says Creed, “they come with little tips that are various sizes—small, medium and large—in the packaging so that you can try to semi-customize the fit a little bit.”

What alternatives are there to earbuds?

Options abound for those who simply don’t love the feeling of an in-ear device. Listeners have their choice of over-ear headphones (large enough to cover the entire ear) and on-ear headphones (they rest on the lobe) with or without wires. And those who don’t mind the actual earbuds but fear they’re too easy to lose, can opt for a wired set or a wireless pair that’s attached by a cable.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Which earbuds brand is best?

Again, this is a personal-preference situation, but experts agree there are a few standouts including Apple, Bose, Samsung, Sennheiser, Google, and Sony.

Which is better: Bluetooth earphones or earbuds?

The difference isn’t all that huge, actually. Wireless earphones are, by definition, earbuds that offer Bluetooth streaming without having to physically plug a cable into your device. Early versions, however, did have a cord connecting the two buds, which some users still prefer so they can let the wire hang around their neck when not in use.

Which is healthier: earbuds or headphones?

A bit of a toss-up. “It’s whichever is going to fit the ear better so that the user doesn't increase the volume,” explains audiologist Creed. Though she notes over-the-ear headphones “do tend to have a lower maximum output level,” that doesn’t really matter if you’re forced to pump up the volume to hear anything. Says Creed, “It's personal preference in terms of comfort and feel. But then also wanting to make sure that whatever you choose really fits the ears snug.”

What are the best wireless earbuds for small ear canals?

Seek out eartips made with a more flexible silicone versus plastic that come in a variety of sizes, suggests Creed. And stick to the true wireless earbuds versus the over-the-ear variety. Those with truly narrow canals can be susceptible to collapsed canals where headphones put “pressure on the ear canal and can actually cause it to seal off,” says Creed, “which would then have you ramp up the signal louder and that could be more dangerous.”

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