If you're hungry for the best wireless earbuds you can buy, Apple’s latest true wireless earbuds—the Apple Airpods Pro(available at Amazon for $229.99)—are the chef's specialty. While they’re not cheap, the AirPods Pro’s superb mix of build quality, wireless range, noise-canceling, and crisp sound make them an easy pick.
Of course, to come to that conclusion, we tried out dozens of the most popular models and put them through the wringer in our labs. While we’re impressed with just how good other fully wireless earbuds have become, we’re confident you won’t regret investing in the AirPods Pro. There are reasons you might prefer other wireless earbud types, however, including those still connected by a small cable. Not to worry: we've reviewed a lot of these things.
These are the best wireless earbuds we tested, ranked in order:
Apple AirPods Pro
Jabra Elite Active 75t
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Jabra Elite Active 65t
Bose SoundSport Free
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Apple's AirPods Pro take everything we love about the traditional AirPods and ramp things up a notch (or three). They sound better than all Apple earbuds before them, deliver excellent noise-canceling, and (finally) add proper water-resistance. What’s more, these are the first Apple earbuds with swappable silicone tips, making it easier for just about anyone to get a comfortable fit.
While battery life is middling at 4.5 to 5 hours (some competitors offer 10 hours or more per charge), the pocket-friendly charging case holds multiple recharges for 24 hours total listening time. In addition, quick charging provides an hour of listening in just five minutes, so you'll rarely need to worry about dead earbuds.
In our lab tests, we found the AirPods Pro’s noise cancellation was on par with pricier noise-canceling headphones, with a minimal hit to battery life. Even better, their Transparency Mode is among the most effective we’ve experienced, allowing you to pipe in the outside world for those times you want to be aware of your surroundings. The call quality—which uses those same microphones plus digital distortion reduction—is also excellent.
The AirPods Pro are expensive, but they offer enough of a meaningful upgrade that we think they’re well worth it—especially since they can be your go-to headphones for the gym, everyday use, and long trips by train or plane. For all these reasons, these are the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t are nearly identical to their predecessor, the Jabra Elite 65t, except—as the addition of the word “active” would suggest—this upgraded pair of Jabra’s premiere true wireless earbuds are better equipped to deal with sweat, rain, and dust.
In our testing, the Elite Active 65t performed similarly to the standard Elite 65t: mostly distortion-free sound with great isolation and a fair amount of “oomph” on the low end.
That said, we did encounter some of the same finicky issues with the Elite Active 65t when it came to Bluetooth pairing, particularly when switching from one device to another. We sometimes found ourselves needing to remove the Elite Active 65t from our phone or computer’s saved devices list and re-establish a connection, which can be difficult since a long press on the earbud’s play button controls both the earbuds’ Bluetooth signal and the power.
Additionally, there was regularly static in the left earbud of our Elite Active 65t review unit, and some reviewers on Amazon have described similar issues. To Jabra’s credit, some of these users reported receiving replacement ‘buds, so at least there appears to be some accountability on Jabra’s part. In addition, other reviewers we’ve spoken with had no such issues at all.
While they may have some connection woes, the Jabra Elite Active 65t sound great, stand up to the elements, and also offer desirable features like ambient sound mode to filter in outside sounds, all at a very friendly price point. As such, we think they’re a great value. If you’re planning on running or working out at the gym, the Elite Active 65t are a solid choice for the money.
Sony’s WF-1000XM3 are essentially the true wireless version of the top-rated WH-1000XM3 headphones, and they deliver the same kind of wow factor. Are these earbuds for everyone? Probably not. They're pricey, and without any water resistance rating they’re not the best choice for the gym.
So who are these earbuds for? Anyone who wants great sound and serious noise cancellation to complement the sheer convenience of fully wireless earbuds. With whisper-quiet noise canceling and a battery life of 6 hours per charge with noise cancellation engaged (and 8 hours without it), Sony’s latest earbuds are a wholesale improvement upon the first-generation model the company released, the WF-1000, and helped set the standard for the genre.
With their impressive collection of features, including a loaded app for adjusting sound parameters, the WF-1000XM3 are easily among our favorite true wireless earbuds on the market. If you’re looking for the same mix of gorgeous sound, great features, and class-leading active noise cancellation (ANC) offered by Sony's stellar over-ear model, but in a tiny, wireless form factor, these are the wireless earbuds for you.
The Jabra Elite Active 75t are a fantastic set of wireless ’buds for just about anyone, but particularly suitable for folks who spend time running or working out, thanks to IP57-rated water and dust resistance.
They'll net you virtually every bell and whistle you might be hoping for, with the exception of active noise cancellation. That said, it's not really expected at their price point, and their impressive passive noise cancellation makes that almost a non-issue. Otherwise, you'll get everything from an earbuds tracker to transparency mode, which allows you hear the world around you so you can stay aware in nearly any situation.
The Elite Active 75t sound good, though their heavy, bass-forward sound signature won't be for everyone, and it might take some tinkering in the accompanying app to find an equalization setting that fits your playlist. Still, their performance—bolstered by up to 7 hours of battery life—will satisfy both casual listeners and power users alike.
We also love the Elite Active 75t’s playback controls; their buttons are easy enough to press without needing much force, yet firm enough that they won’t get pressed accidentally. Jabra’s easy-to-use controls and customization thanks to the loaded Jabra Sound+ app make for one of the best user experiences in the true wireless game.
One small point of caution: Their small size and rigid plastic design may wear on those with smaller ears after a few hours—though that's also the case with the majority of true wireless earbuds to some degree.
All in all, the Jabra Elite Active 75t are a great pick for folks looking for superb battery life, durability, and an overall, well-rounded experience. In addition, if you don't see the need for your earbuds to be fully submerged—and you want to save a few bucks—the Elite 75t earbuds are nearly identical to their cousin, with only a slightly less rugged IP55 dust/water-resistance rating.
Either way, you'll be getting a great pair of earbuds.
For this roundup, we focused on several key pain points that consumers typically run into when buying both wireless and “true wireless” earbuds: battery life, ease of use, controls, wireless range, sound quality, sound isolation, and comfort.
For sound quality tests, we first put our earbuds through some basic audio tests in our labs in Cambridge, MA to give us data on a few things such as max volume, passive and active noise attenuation (including active noise cancellation), and how well each earbud blocked outside noise. From there, we used all the earbuds extensively, playing a wide variety of test tracks ranging from classical to hip-hop, rock, jazz, and more.
The other features were all tested in real-life situations over the course of several weeks, including sweat proofing, short- and long-term comfort, battery life, microphone quality, and connectivity over distances and through obstacles like doors and walls.
Perhaps the biggest missing link in all headphone reviews is durability. It's simply impossible for us to test a single pair and come to a meaningful conclusion about how well they'll hold up over time and with regular use (and abuse). To try to get at this issue, we did note any major issues that popped up in user reviews (where available), though this didn't impact the final scoring.
The truth is that wireless earbuds across the board have a pretty terrible record for durability, so this is a major cause of concern for us. Since some of these models are quite new, we are reserving the right to re-evaluate our conclusions as we become aware of any major issues as time goes on.
What You Should Know About Headphones
You've probably seen a bunch of different headphones in your everyday life, but what you may not realize is that headphones, while they have a number of different selling points, are primarily categorized into three types: in-ear (including all earbuds), on-ear, and over-ear.
Knowing the basic terminology of modern headphones is the best way to estimate what you need (or want) in a pair of headphones, which will guide you towards deciding how much to spend. Usually, if you have an idea of what style you're looking for, which features you want or need, and how you'll be using your new headphones, you can start to estimate how much you want to spend. If you don’t, our list should help you figure out what you do and do not want.
For example, Sony's super-popular WH-1000XM3 headphones are Bluetooth (wireless) over-ears with Adaptive Noise Canceling. If you're not sure what all that means, read on to see which pair is right for you.
Style: Deciding on one of the three common form factors—in-ear, on-ear, or over-ear—should be your first step. Generally, in-ear headphones are the most portable and convenient, over-ear headphones are the most comfortable, while on-ear headphones are somewhere in between. Check out our guide to the pros and cons of each form factor.
Bluetooth/wireless: Do you want wireless headphones? A pair of Bluetooth headphones will let you unplug from your source device, while a set of "true wireless" earbuds are even more minimalist, offering totally wire-free listening. If you're looking for an experience that won't tether you to your phone, tablet, or laptop, Bluetooth headphones are what you need—and fortunately, they're ubiquitous enough these days that you can find them in every style and price range.
Noise-canceling: Noise-canceling headphones, i.e those with active noise cancellation (ANC) aren't just for frequent flyers anymore. Originally developed for pilots, these headphones reduce the volume of ambient noise around you. Over the last several years they've become a mainstay for travelers, public transit commuters, gym-goers, and even people in extra-chatty offices. If you already know you're looking for noise-canceling headphones, check out the best ones we've tested.
Transparency mode: This feature goes by many names, including hearthrough mode, ambient sound mode, etc. All of these phrases refer to the same technology, which uses tiny microphones on the exterior of your headphones or earbuds to filter in sound from your environment. The purpose is to keep you aware of your surroundings, letting you play tunes while you jog or hike, while still being conscious of dangers or alerts. Not all transparency mode is created equal, though, and how a headphone’s hardware and software handle things like wind gusts can make a serious difference in the feature’s utility.
Open-backed: Last but not least, this niche kind of over-ear headphone is a style that's especially preferred by people mixing and mastering audio. Unlike traditional "closed-back" headphones, open-back headphones have, literally, open backs, allowing some of the sound to escape into the room around you (and vice versa). While these headphones are primarily meant for audio professionals and audiophiles, it's worth knowing about them if only to decide if they're something you want to consider.
Other Top-ranked Wireless Earbuds We Tested
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The winning follow-up to Samsung's original Galaxy Buds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ debuted in 2020 and checked off a lot of the right boxes where true wireless headphones are concerned.
While they don't cancel noise or sound as good as the Apple AirPods Pro, the Galaxy Buds+ still sound plenty good, and also offer a heap of great features for as much as $100 less. Key Galaxy Buds+ features include their own credible version of transparency mode called "Ambient sound," basic water resistance, and a whopping 11 hours of max playback per charge (and up to 22 hours total with the case).
We also really enjoy their simple and comfortable form factor and compact charging case, available in multiple colors.
This is the hill we're prepared to die on: these may be a better choice for many folks than the classic AirPods, especially if you use them alongside the minimalist and intuitive Samsung Wearables app. The only major drawback is that they don't work with older phones, so check those requirements before you pull the trigger.
Sennheiser’s new-and-improved Momentun, the Momentum 2 True Wireless offer the best sound in the category, though their amazing performance comes with a hefty price tag.
First, the good stuff: The Momentum True Wireless 2 offer a rich, dynamic listening experience regardless of genre, thanks in part to their mild (but effective) noise cancellation.
In fact, they sound so good that you might find yourself discovering sonic details in songs you thought you knew like the back of your hand. Listening to music on the Momentum 2 is an altogether inviting experience, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better sounding pair of wireless earbuds of any kind in 2020.
Compared to the original Sennheiser Momentum, the Momentum 2 offer a vastly improved selection of touch controls on the outside of each earbud. And as a bonus, Sennheiser’s Smart Control app has also seen a host of improvements this year, making the customization experience painless and surprisingly granular, allowing you to change up the controls in any configuration to dial up your favorite combination.
There are a few drawbacks that must be reckoned with, should you decide to shell out the dough for a pair. For one thing, while the Momentum 2 True Wireless offer better battery life than their predecessor, they top out at around seven hours (or a little over five with noise cancellation enabled), which is better than Apple's AirPods Pro, but less than we'd like for their $300 price point.
In addition, the Momentum 2 aren’t quite as durable as some of the more affordable true wireless earbuds we’ve tested this year, and while they're relatively easy to use, the interface isn't quite as dead-simple as Apple's AirPods Pro.
Still, if you’ve got the means and value high-quality sound first and foremost, the Sennheiser Momentum 2 are a fantastic pick. They’re better than their predecessor and stand toe-to-toe with Apple’s AirPods Pro in a wide range of categories.
Priced similarly to Apple's AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats Pro are impressive true wireless earbuds in their own right, checking off a lot of the right boxes where this headphone type is concerned. They're relatively stylish (as you might expect from Beats), available in ivory, black, navy, or moss colors, and feature adjustable ear hooks to help keep them in your ears during just about any workout.
They also offer vastly improved sound quality over previous Beats earbuds, making them a good choice for general use, though their ear-hook design can get uncomfortable over time. Like most true wireless earphones, they come with a pocketable charging case (thanks to their ear hooks, it’s larger than most), but their 9 hours of battery life per charge allows you to leave the case behind for most activities.
Like other Beats headphones, their sound profile is still bass-forward—but it’s thankfully restrained here for impressive clarity. As you’d expect for fitness headphones, the Powerbeats Pro are also sweat- and water-resistant so you won’t have to worry about going for the gusto, while a three-button control system present on both earbuds makes it easy to use them with both ‘buds in or just one earbud at a time.
The Powerbeats Pro are less minimalist than Apple's AirPods, and come at a premium price point—especially for headphones that don’t include active noise cancellation or transparency mode. Still, if you’re looking for fitness first, the latest Beats earbuds are a fine choice.
The 4th-gen Beats Powerbeats are basically the same headphones as the Powerbeats Pro—they simply aren't "true wireless," featuring a small cable that runs between the two buds and behind your neck.
However, what you're sacrificing by way of true wireless freedom, you're making up for in price. People love the Powerbeats Pro, but they're just too darn expensive (at full price anyway). The Powerbeats are a great stand-in, priced well below the Powerbeats Pro's suggested retail price.
Outside of the wire situation, Powerbeats fans will be very glad to know that the connected Powerbeats sound just as good, and offer similar levels of flexibility and style (i.e., they come in a bunch of colors), as well as shockingly good connection quality that outdoes their sibling, as well as any other true wireless earbuds you'll find right now.
These are an excellent addition if you've been after the workout-ready, sound-forward style of the original Powerbeats Pro but didn't want to shell out a ton of cash. Heck, if you don't mind the addition of one little wire, there's really no reason not to buy these instead.
If you're buying wireless headphones, you're likely doing it for the convenience above all. Like the AirPods Pro, Apple's standard AirPods excel at that, with connection quality that’s as good or better than any true wireless earbuds we've tested.
These earbuds have awesome range, a small but powerful charging case for 24 hours of listening time in total, and they are incredibly easy to pair with Apple devices, though they work great with Android and Windows devices, too.
One drawback is that they are still designed like the solid plastic earbuds Apple has included with its products for years, meaning fit can be finicky. Sound quality is also merely so-so (in part because of their lack of a tight seal in your ears) and they don't offer water resistance.
Still, their intuitive usability makes them a go-to choice for Apple fans, as does their combination of price, dependability, connectivity, and convenience. If you like the sound of all that, but still need something more, we suggest stepping up to the pricier Apple AirPods Pro.
If you're looking for true wireless earbuds with great sound quality, the Bose SoundSport Free are a good choice for the money. Once you get the fit right, they offer excellent bass response, good sound isolation, and impressive sound quality that excels at every genre, from classical to rock to hip-hop.
The Bose Soundsport Free do have one key design flaw, as described by one user review from Bose's site: they stick out of your ears like bolts from Frankenstein's neck. Unlike most earbuds that dig into the nooks of your ears, these jut way outward. They felt secure enough in our testing for running, but they look a bit goofy.
Part of this design is to make room for physical buttons on the buds themselves rather than just touch controls. It's nice, but the force required to push the buttons down can cause the buds to shift out of place.
However, if you can ignore those flaws, the SoundSport Free are a great buy. They offer a decent five hours of battery life on a charge (with another 10 hours from the included case) and the sound quality is so good it's worth mentioning again.
Look, most true wireless earbuds look a bit off. Plenty has been written about Apple's AirPods and their golf-tee design. But the Soundsport Free might be the weirdest-looking of the bunch. If you can live with that, though, the Soundsport Free are definitely worth consideration.
The Jabra Elite 75t are almost identical to our Best for Running pick, the Jabra Elite Active 75t, featuring the same great sound and form factor as the 'Active' version, just with less waterproofing. Get the Jabra Elite 75t from Amazon
The Jlab Audio Epic Air are an affordable pair of workout-facing buds with decent battery life and an interesting form factor. These are a good choice if you're looking to save some money but still want workout-proof buds. Get the Jlab Audio Epic Air from Amazon
For those serious about sound, the Shure SE215 present a unique way to go wireless (or wired thanks to their breakaway design) without sacrificing sound quality: these are some of the best-sounding earbuds around. Get the Shure SE215 from Amazon
The V-Moda Metallo Forza Wireless earbuds are another audio-focused favorite of ours, offering brilliant sound for the money. V-Moda has always been as focused on sound as it is on style, and the Metallo Forzo show off both in spades. Get the V-Moda Metallo Forza Wireless from Amazon
The Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC headphones offer an impressive collection of features for their price point. The Curve boasts quick charging, very sturdy materials, and a vibrating neckband design that alerts you with a buzz. Get the Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC from Amazon
If you’re the kind of listener who takes everything from The Weeknd to Billy Joel with an extra side of booming kick drum, the Beats Powerbeats3 may just be your dream ‘buds. Get the Beats Powerbeats3 from Amazon
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.
Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer to a career in digital media in 2013. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.