What are the best wireless earbuds?
The technology behind wireless earbuds has improved markedly, and now they have become as ubiquitous as wired headphones. The very best wireless earbuds offer long battery life, great sound, and call quality, and some noise cancellation, as well as water- and sweat-resistance, so you can use them for working out without worrying about damage. And the best wireless earbuds rise to the top of the list fit comfortably within your ears and don’t budge while you’re running or working out.
After reviewing dozens of models, the best set of wireless earbuds overall is the Jabra Elite Active 75t thanks to its customizable fit, personalized sound, passive noise cancellation, and waterproof protection. The AirPods Pro is a close second with built-in active noise cancellation, seamless iOS integration, easy-to-use controls, and sweat resistance.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 recently launched straight into 3rd place, thanks to its great sound and ANC. If you’d prefer something cheaper, check out the Sennheiser CX True Wireless further down.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
The market’s best wireless earbuds (and best sports headphones) just got better, thanks to a free over-the-air ANC update that adds active noise cancellation into the mix. Don’t think that you’re going to get Bose-caliber results, or anything close to what the more premium Elite 85t delivers, but Jabra did do an impressive job tweaking its algorithm to block out a good amount of external sounds.
Even before the inclusion of ANC, the Elite Active 75t proved itself as the model to beat, offering better battery life, durability, sound, and special features than its biggest threat: the AirPods Pro The design remains sleek, though it is sturdier this time around, with IP57 certification granting waterproof protection and dust and sweat resistance. Sound is lively and can be customized through the Jabra Sound+ app, which is loaded with presets and other cool features that enhance both sound and call quality.
Apple AirPods Pro
It’s pretty amazing how Apple continues to enhance the performance of its noise-canceling earbuds through software updates, and if it keeps up the good work, then the AirPods Pro could climb its way back to the top of our best wireless earbuds list. Spatial audio is an incredible addition that creates a 3D-like soundscape to enjoy movies and video games a whole lot better. Even simple, but practical, inclusions like auto-switching make a noticeable difference with functionality, allowing users to easily switch between iDevices that are connected to the same iCloud account.
The great news is that without the latest iOS 14 updates, the AirPods Pro still operates at a top-tier level, thanks to the improved sound, strong ANC, a more ergonomic design for better comfort and fit, and all of the perks that come with the H1 chip. If there is any complaint to be made, it’s the same one every Apple fan has voiced since the first-gen AirPods hit the market, that being the subpar battery life.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 improves on just about everything about the old WF-1000XM4, from reworking the design to enhancing ANC and tweaking the sound signature for better frequency balance. That all comes with a higher price, but the WF-1000XM4 sounds good enough to deserve.
This is also a particularly well-featured set of wireless earbuds. There’s LDAC support for higher-quality music, a highly customizable ambient listening mode, support for all three of the big digital assistants, and full EQ customization. Want to bring back the WF-1000XM4’s bass-heavy sound? No problem.
Master & Dynamic MW08
The Master & Dynamic will draw you in with its styling and keep your attention with its performance. ANC and its “Awareness” ambient mode work well, battery life is good even with noise-canceling, and sound quality is among the best in its field.
The MW08 is, admittedly, an expensive choice: right now it’s even more expensive than the AirPods Pro. But you do get a much, much better design in exchange, with earbuds built from ceramic, aluminum, and stainless steel instead of plastic. The black color option is nicely understated, but go with the white or blue versions if you want to stand out
Jabra Elite 85t
The follow-up to our favorite pair of wireless earbuds is a sonic beast equipped with 12mm drivers that produce loud, well-balanced audio and some of the finest noise neutralization we’ve heard in the category. Jabra’s ANC technology is capable of blocking out 90% of external sounds, allowing for disruption-free listening and audible calls. The Elite 85t connects to the Sound+ app to extend functionality, offering up a plethora of special features that range from adjustable noise cancellation to customizable controls. Connectivity is stable too, thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm’s fast-operating processor.
We feel Jabra could have done more to increase playtimes, as the Elite 85t falls right in between the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (6 hours). However, the buds have terrific battery management that squeezes every minute out of the battery. The inclusion of wireless charging is appreciated as well.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is easily the best wireless earbuds Samsung has ever made: their design, waterproofing, and ANC are all significantly improved over the previous Galaxy Buds Live.
They also challenge the AirPods Pro with a lengthy list of features, such as Voice Detect, which can automatically engage the ambient sound mode when the mics hear you speaking. This is a great pair of buds on the whole, though be warned that some features– like the 360 Audio surround sound mode– only work when paired with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone running OneUI 3.1 or later.
Beats Studio Buds
The Beats Studio Buds are unusual, not just for how much it deviates from Beats (and by extension, Apple) design norms but in how it interacts with both iOS and Android devices. Usually, Beats buds are like AirPods, offerings special features to iOS users alone; Studio Buds breaks this pattern by adding fast-pairing and digital assistant support on the Android side. (If you’re having trouble deciding, check out our Beats Studio Buds vs. Beats Powerbeats Pro comparison).
That comes at the cost of some more advanced iOS-only features, but this is still a very good-value set of buds for either camp. The Studio Buds offers ANC and great sound quality at an affordable price, and the tiny earpieces are nice and comfortable.