Best Wireless Earbuds

Updated: Nov 9, 2023 8:07 AM
best wireless earbuds featured image that shows the top three best wireless earbud models

Table of Contents

We’ve researched and gathered the specs and real-world experiences to bring you the best wireless earbuds on the market today. Whether you’re looking for wireless earbuds for working out or running, or just upgraded and want wireless earbuds for your iPhone, we’ve found the best earbuds with long battery life and fit for any budget. They are more comfortable than the best Bluetooth headsets.

Our top pick and the best wireless earbuds are the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones, providing six hours per charge and are sweatproof for use while running or working out. Plus they have a unique and sophisticated holding mechanism so they stay in place without being jammed irritatingly into your ear. But, compare Bose SoundSport Free vs Bose Sport Earbuds to see which one is the better buy. Overall, investing in a solid pair of loudspeaker drivers can enhance your focus and immersion during your various day-to-day tasks, and today’s users can choose from a nice variety of devices, from the best wireless earbuds to the top-rated headphones.

Top 6 Best Wireless Earbuds Compared

 #1  Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: These sweat-resistant wireless earbuds have Bose’s super comfortable “Stay Hear” to keep them comfortably in place, while providing great sound courtesy of Bose’s intelligent EQ and offering up to 6 hours of battery life. They’re great for runners, gym rats, and anyone looking for the best, most comfortable wireless earbuds.

  • Six hour battery life
  • Secure, comfortable outer ear fit
  • Bluetooth plus NFC compatible
  • More expensive than the SENSO Bluetooth Headphones (our #2 pick)
  • Not completely waterproof
  • Less noise cancelling for phone conversations than Apple AirPods

The great Bose headphones may not be the fanciest or smallest wireless earbuds on the market, but these SoundSport headphones from Bose have a few features that make them ideal workout music companions. They use a unique fitment that Bose calls “Stay Hear” (get it?) and which lets them stay very securely in place without having to be jammed up against the skin of the ear canal. This means less chance of irritation and infection, plus better sound quality. The SoundSport earbuds also benefit from Bose’s intelligent EQ feature, giving you the right levels for every kind of music.

The SoundSport wireless earbuds are great for workouts at the gym, since they also promise sweat-resistant performance. With a claimed six-hour battery life, they should be able to keep the music going for even the most marathon workouts.

 #2  SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: These budget wireless earbuds are among the lowest priced waterproof sports earphones on the market, yet have comfortable, flexible ear hooks and even come with a carrying case. They’re great for those looking for an affordable set of wireless headphones for the gym, for running, or for bike riding, thanks to all-weather functionality.

  • Best budget
  • IPX7 Waterproof
  • Up to 9 hour battery life
  • Shorter Bluetooth range than some competitors
  • Lacks the comfortable fit of the Bose SoundSport
  • Less secure hold than with the Bose SoundSport

These SENSO Bluetooth headphones excel and really are a bargain considering their IPX7 waterproofing, which even the more expensive TREBLAB J1 (our #4 pick) earphones lack. The SENSO wireless headphones promise up to 9 hours of playback per charge, and in real mixed-use scenarios typically offer at least five hours, making them comparable if not a little bit ahead of the Bose SoundSport (our top pick.)

They also win high marks for durability and comfort, making them a good choice for wireless earbuds for workouts, bike rides, and running. They use Bluetooth 4.1 and are compatible with hands-free calling, though as with the Bose SoundSport headphones, background noise cancellation is less than ideal when used for phone calls. Another pair of earphones that have great sound quality is the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, which also has an IPX4 rating, meaning that they’re splash-proof but not completely waterproof. Check out the best waterproof earbud.

 #3  Apple AirPods with Charging Case

Award: Best for iPhone Users

WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed to work with iPhones, these truly wireless earbuds provide good sound quality for music and hands-free calling, along with the convenience of a portable “charging case,” with a battery good for over 24 hours of earbud recharging.

  • Great sound quality
  • Accelerometer and optical sensors for automatic on/ off
  • Compatible with Apple Watch and Siri voice commands
  • More expensive than the other wireless earbuds on our list
  • The earbuds themselves have a shorter battery life than the SoundSport
  • Fit may not be as secure as with the SoundSport

The Apple AirPods are among the most sophisticated and high-tech wireless headphones available, especially for iPhone and Apple Watch users. With an integrated H1 or H2 chipset, beam-forming microphones, and much-improved bass drive and mids compared to the previous earbuds from Apple, they represent a real advance in audio quality among wireless headphones for Apple iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users. Adding to the AirPods’ functionality is their neat auto-on function and the ability to control music, dictate hands-free text messages and make calls using Siri voice commands.

While Apple aficionados will likely find these AirPods a worthwhile innovation, the price point may be a bit steep for those just looking for some good Bluetooth headphones for working out. Or for playing cool soundtracks while flying the best drones in the air. Yes, I do that. A few days ago actually. Also, if you’re eyeing AirPods right now, check out the Apple AirPods Pro for the latest and most powerful version of these popular wireless earphones that are capable of wireless charging as well.

 #4  TREBLAB J1 Running Earphones

Award: Best for Runners and Cyclists

WHY WE LIKE IT: Sweatproof and water-resistant wireless earbuds designed for an active lifestyle, have long battery life, and offer good sound quality. They’re great for joggers, runners, and cyclists looking for wireless earbuds for working out.

  • 8 hour battery life
  • Noise isolating
  • Clear mid tones and strong bass
  • Lacks auto-on feature that the Apple AirPods provide
  • Lacks a portable charging case
  • Controls more complex than with the Apple AirPods

These IPX6 waterproof wireless earbuds are designed for workouts, running, bicycling, and day-to-day activities as well as outdoor adventures. Unlike most small wireless earphones for working out, they offer a noise-isolating feature that helps greatly with hands-free calling. The J1 earphones themselves have an 8 mm speaker for immersive, CD-quality sound, and a magnetic housing that makes it easier to keep them securely attached to the around-ear loops. While your mileage may vary as far as fit and comfort are concerned, most find that these J1 running earphones stay sung and comfortable while running or working out at the gym.

They’re not quite as easy to use as the Apple AirPods, and of course lack some of the voice command capability, but they’re worth a listen for anyone looking for a solid pair of sweat-proof workout earbuds or to make hands-free calls in crowded places. The Beats Powerbeats Pro is another product with a good battery life of up to nine hours. You may also want to check out the best kid headphones.

 #5  Jabra Elite 65

Award: Best AirPod Alternative

WHY WE LIKE IT: True wireless earbuds for iPhone, Android devices, and more, benefit from the convenience of the Jabra app, compatible with both Apple and Android, letting you customize the features like voice-to-text and hands-free calls, plus giving you personalized sound preferences. They’re great for Android and Google smartphone users looking for an AirPods alternative.

  • Voice command compatible
  • IP55 rated for dust and water resistance
  • Jabra Sound App offers custom equalizer function
  • Battery life is shorter than with the Treblab J1 (our #4 pick)
  • Lacks the AirPods’ accelerometer feature
  • More expensive than the similarly performing Bose SoundSport (our top pick)

Among “true” wireless earbuds, that is, those not connected with a wire, these Jabra Elite 65 Bluetooth earphones are a compelling choice, especially for Android and other smartphone users looking for earbuds somewhat like the Apple AirPods. Less costly than AirPods but nearly matching their sound quality, the Jabra Elite 65 comes with the Jabra Sound app, which lets you customize the equalizer functions and personalize the sound of your earbuds for hands-free calling or music listening while working out or running. The Jabra earbuds are wind-protected too, so you get clearer calls.

Battery life is rated at 5 hours, compared to the 8 hours you get with the Treblab J1, our #4 pick. However, the Jabra earbuds do come with a portable charging case, much like the AirPods, though it doesn’t quite match the Apple wireless headphones’ claimed 24-hour listening time. When fully charged, it delivers enough for 15 hours of listening. On the plus side, the Jabra headphones are IP55 rated for dust and water resistance, so they’re good wireless earbuds for running or biking. Speaking of Jabra, check out their other great Bluetooth earbuds like the Jabra Elite 75T, which features great music and call quality, and the similar Jabra Elite Active 75T, which is its alternative for workouts. Another example of one of the best true wireless earbuds is the Google Pixel Buds In-Ear Headphones. Also, read about the best headphones for running.

 #6  Plantronics Backbeat Go 410

Award: Best Active Noise Canceling

WHY WE LIKE IT: These active noise-canceling wireless earbuds offer long battery life and a clever magnetic auto shut-off sensor plus the ability to function as wired headphones as well. They’re great for travelers, train commuters, and those who frequently listen to music or podcasts or make calls in noisy environments.

  • 10 hour battery
  • Magnetic auto shut-off
  • HD voice feature boosts phone call clarity
  • Ergonomics not as pleasing as with the Apple AirPods
  • Treble may be more pronounced and mids less rich than with the Bose SoundSport
  • Noise cancellation doesn’t work in wired mode

These clever dual-mode wireless earbuds can work as “wired” headphones or as wireless Bluetooth 5.0 headphones. But do compare wired vs wireless headphones just to see which works best for you. A smart magnetic sensor automatically shuts them off when the earbuds are clicked together, saving the battery and making them easier to store. The battery life is a claimed 10 hours, though the active noise canceling feature when in use, may cut this down as much as 50%.

While the sound quality may not be quite as rich or pleasing as with the Bose SoundSport (our top pick) or the Treblab J1, these Plantronics wireless earbuds do excel when it comes to phone calls, thanks to their HD voice feature. Active noise cancellation is also helpful, a boon for commuters and podcast listeners. Check out the Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Earphones as well so that you can focus better on what you’ll listen to during your next commute. Speaking of noise cancellation, read our best noise-canceling headphones. You can also look at our headphones section.

Beginner’s Guide to Wireless Earbuds

What Exactly Are Wireless Earbuds?

Wireless earbuds are a specific kind of headphones that you wear inside your ears, near your ear canal. The compact design of these headphones is a perfect fit for on-the-go listening sessions and audio experiences with excellent sound quality. With these earbuds’ wireless connectivity, you won’t have to worry about wires or audio cables getting in the way when you connect them to your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Earbuds are similar to in-ear monitors in form and function, but monitors are placed directly into the ear canal for better noise isolation.

Did You Know?

When Were Wireless Earbuds Invented? Wireless headphones have been around since 2004, but the first wireless earbuds – the Jabra Elite Sport earbuds – were released in 2016.

How Exactly Do Wireless Earbuds Function?

Like other types of headphones and speakers, these earbuds utilize a combination of internal components like dynamic drivers, magnets, and voice coils to translate an electrical audio signal into sound waves with great sound quality. Wireless headphones like these typically use Bluetooth for their wireless connections, which transmits the audio signal via ultra-high frequency radio waves. Earbuds can typically reach upwards of 100 decibels (dB) in volume, which can be harmful to your ears, so it’s important always to be aware of how loud your music is. You may also wonder how exactly active noise canceling works its magic with earbuds. Simply put, the earbuds combine an excellent seal around your ear canal, speakers, and microphones to eliminate ambient noise and loud sounds around you.

Did You Know?

How Long Should Wireless Earbuds Last? In general, your earbuds should last you anywhere between three and five years with the proper care and maintenance. We recommend storing your earbuds in a case when not in use to prevent damage or loss.

Using and Properly Wearing Your Earbuds

In general, you simply need to press the earbuds snugly into place in your ear. Some options provide different ear tips that you can swap out to make the headphones fit better. To correctly wear earbuds with wings, determine which bud is meant for which ear and place it directly into your ear. Then, place the wing inside your earlobe at a comfortable angle. You may need to adjust several times before finding the right fit.

true wireless earbuds

What Exactly Does True Wireless Mean?

True wireless earbuds have zero audio cables or wires present externally, either between the buds and your audio source device or between the two buds. The first iterations of wireless earbuds still featured a wire between the two buds, but true wireless earbuds feature a primary earpiece that connects to your audio source device and then sends that signal to the secondary earpiece.

Turning Your Wireless Earbuds On

Most earbuds with wireless connectivity turn on automatically when you remove them from the wired or wireless charging case, though there are some differences between individual brands and models. For example, turning Apple Airpods on involves removing them from the case and placing them in your ears before you can play music.

Choosing a Pair of Wireless Earbuds

Step 1. Where Are You Using Your Wireless Earbuds?

One of the biggest factors in choosing new earbuds is the location in which you primarily use them. Some locations are louder than others, which can significantly affect your earbuds’ sound quality and audio performance. For example, if you primarily use your earbuds on public transportation, then you’ll need to compare noise-canceling earbuds and headphones. Noise-canceling options typically feature both passive and active noise-canceling technology in the form of tight ear seals and speakers that cancel out environmental noise. If you’re worried about not hearing anything around you, consider a model with an ambient mode. The ambient sound mode on headphones allows you to temporarily disable active noise cancelation and utilize those microphones to hear what’s going on around you instead.

Step 2. What Are You Using Your Wireless Earbuds For?

In general, earbuds with wireless functionality are an ideal choice for high-energy activities like working out, running, or playing music. As such, earbuds will typically always be the winner when it comes to the headphones vs. earbuds for working out debate. However, there are some instances where this may change. For example, if you’re a musician, you may want to compare in-ear monitors and earbuds to find the right choice. Depending on how dynamic the activity is, you may also need fewer wires and will need to compare wireless and true wireless earbuds. As a general rule of thumb, when deciding between earbuds or headphones, you’ll want to choose earbuds for more dynamic activities and headphones for more immersive sound experiences where excellent sound quality matters most.

Did You Know?

Can earbuds be earplugs? Earbuds are not adequate substitutes for hearing protection like earplugs. While some earbuds can block out background noise, they do not completely eliminate loud noises at harmful levels.

Step 3. Do You Have an Android or iOS Device?

The operating system of the device you are using with your wireless earbuds can have a direct impact on the model you purchase. The biggest example to consider here is using Apple AirPods with anything other than an iOS device. Apple AirPods and Apple AirPods Pro are made specifically for seamless compatibility on iOS devices. They do not work as seamlessly with Android devices. However, non-Apple earbuds tend to work well with iOS devices still. Another example of this comes into play when you compare EarPods and earbuds. EarPods are made specifically to work with Apple devices since they feature a Lightning cable instead of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

Step 4. What Size Wireless Earbuds Do You Need?

Finding the right size of wireless earbuds is an especially important process, especially when comparing earbuds and over-ear headphones, which don’t require as much sizing consideration. The same is true when you compare on-ear headphones and earbuds. If you don’t get the right fit with your earbuds, then you won’t get a good seal in your ear canal, which can negatively affect the audio quality and bass response. The best way to find the right size of earbuds is to try several pairs on or purchase a model that features a variety of different earbud tips. If you don’t know what kind of earbud tips you need, then the try-it-on method also works. The common sizes of ear tips are small, medium, and large sizes, with medium being the default size.

small earbuds accompany daily carry materials

Step 5. How Much Should You Expect to Spend on Wireless Earbuds?

Wireless earbuds tend to be more expensive than traditional earbuds, which are often included free with many different types of mobile devices. However, the technology is becoming more affordable, so you’ll have plenty of options available in any price range without sacrificing too much in the sound quality department. In general, a pair of top-rated wireless earbuds with advanced key features like active noise cancelation, long hours of battery life on a single charge, and a durable build can cost you anywhere between $100 and $300. As you get into more affordable price ranges, you get fewer hours of playtime and hardly any extra features like an IP rating for water resistance.

Types of Wireless Earbuds

Wireless Earbuds for Activities

Wireless Earbuds for Specific Uses

Wireless Earbuds by Device

Wireless Earbuds by Feature

Top Wireless Earbuds Brands

Owning a Pair of Wireless Earbuds

Pairing Your Wireless Earbuds

Different models of wireless earbuds often feature different methods for pairing to an audio source device. In general, though, you will open your Bluetooth settings on your audio device and then either open the wired or wireless charging case, press and hold the pairing button on the charging case, or remove the earbuds from the case. One of those actions will typically cause the earbuds to show up in the Bluetooth pairing menu. Of course, you can always refer to your earbuds’ instruction manual to learn exactly how they pair to eliminate any confusion.

There may also be some differences between different audio source devices. Always refer to your user manual to learn about pairing your wireless earbuds to these different devices:

Did You Know?

How Far Do Wireless Earbuds Reach Out? Most wireless earbuds feature a maximum Bluetooth range of around 10 meters or 33 feet. However, the farther away your buds are from your source device, the higher the chance there is for signal degradation. The optimal distance between earbuds and devices is around two feet.

Make Your Wireless Earbuds Louder

You can control most wireless earbud models using the controls on your connected device or the companion mobile app. As such, if you want to increase the volume in your earbuds, simply press the volume up button on your phone or tablet. Flagship models tend to feature touch or gesture controls that allow you to tap or swipe directly on the earbud itself to perform certain actions. You can customize these actions in the Bluetooth menu on your phone or tablet. Remember, earbuds are closer to your eardrums than a pair of headphones that go over your ears. Make sure you’re listening at a safe volume to protect your hearing. Plus, you’ll get fewer hours of battery life on a single charge at high volumes.

STAT: Keep your earbuds in the 60 to 80 dB range. Going higher than that opens you up to hearing damage. If you listen to earbuds at 100 dB or higher, you should minimize your listening time, ideally keeping it below 15 minutes. (source)

Troubleshooting Your Wireless Earbuds

Knowing how to troubleshoot common wireless earbud issues can improve your overall user experience and help you maintain a high level of audio performance. Refer to your user manual or helpful online resources to learn how to troubleshoot the following common issues:

Cleaning Your Wireless Earbuds

To clean your earbuds, remove them from the charging case and remove any earbud tips you may have installed. Then wipe down the exterior of the earbuds with an alcohol wipe. You can use a cotton swab lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean the mesh screen. Be sure to also clean your earbud tips! You can use alcohol wipes for your plastic or silicone ear tips. To clean foam earbud tips, soak them in warm water and soap for a time, then rinse them off and let them air dry.

STAT: Only about 8% of people clean their earbuds weekly. Clean your earbuds regularly to avoid the buildup of wax and bacteria. (source)

Fixing Broken Wireless Earbuds

If you’re feeling up to some more technical challenges, knowing how to fix AirPods or how to fix earbuds that only work on one side can save you a ton of money and frustration in the long run. In general, most broken earbuds simply need a reset or re-pairing. However, if you run into problems with the internal components of your ear, it’s often more affordable to simply replace the earbuds entirely instead of trying to repair them.

jogger using and adjusting earbuds

Finding Your Lost Wireless Earbuds

If you ever lose a pair of earbuds, you can feel a little more at ease knowing that many models have an additional feature in the form of built-in tracking. Of course, this helpful feature relies on the lost earbuds still having power, so if they expend hours of battery life, you may have a little bit of a harder time searching.

Stop Your Wireless Earbuds from Falling Out All the Time

The easiest way to stop your earbuds from falling out of your ears is to purchase a pair with the right fit from the beginning. However, you can also purchase an option with different earbud tip sizes, or you can even purchase after-market ear tips, ear hooks, and ear wings for a better fit. Another thing you can do is clean your ears before using your earbuds. Earwax, dirt, and grime can all cause your earbuds to fall out more easily.

Ryan Mcbride Avatar

Learn More About Earbuds