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The best true wireless earbuds of 2020 Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

The Best Wireless Earbuds of 2022

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The best true wireless earbuds of 2020 Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

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Editor's Choice Product image of Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless
Best Overall

Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless

The Jabra Elite 85t offer outstanding features, impressive sound, and serious noise canceling to make for an incredibly enticing package. Read More

Pros

  • Outstanding features and design
  • Rich, balanced sound
  • Impressive noise canceling

Cons

  • Not as sport-friendly as other Jabra buds
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Sony WF-1000XM4
Best Noise Canceling

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony's flagship wireless earbuds aren't cheap, but they offer gorgeous sound, incredible battery life, and top-tier noise canceling. Read More

Pros

  • Fantastic noise canceling
  • Superb sound
  • Next-gen battery life

Cons

  • No good solution for volume control
  • Missing some features
3
Editor's Choice Product image of Jabra Elite 7 Active
Best for Running

Jabra Elite 7 Active

Jabra's Elite 7 Active provide a stable fit, sporty performance, and great features, from solid ANC and multipoint pairing to rugged waterproofing. Read More

Pros

  • Snug and stable fit
  • Great battery and waterproofing
  • Loaded with features

Cons

  • So-so default sound
4
Editor's Choice Product image of Beats Fit Pro
Best For iPhone

Beats Fit Pro

The Beats Fit Pro are a sporty, high-performance alternative to the AirPods Pro, offering tons of features, great sound, and a stable fit. Read More

Pros

  • Clear, balanced sound
  • Good noise canceling
  • Ample feature set

Cons

  • Can be finicky on Android
  • No EQ modes
  • Case lacks wireless charging
5
Editor's Choice Product image of Jabra Elite 4 Active
Best Value

Jabra Elite 4 Active

Jabra’s Elite 4 Active serve up good battery life, great features like active noise canceling, and a rugged design at a refreshing price point. Read More

Pros

  • Snug, weatherproof design
  • Active noise canceling
  • Great features and battery

Cons

  • No auto-pause
  • Sluggish app connection

If you're looking for the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, our top pick is Jabra's Elite Active 85t (available at Jabra). These buds offer superb build quality, good audio performance, and excellent noise canceling. Add in comprehensive controls and a wide array of top-flight features for Android or iPhone, and it's easy to see why we think they're the most well-rounded buds in the business.

As our sprawling list shows, however, there are a shocking amount of great wireless buds. We've tested dozens of pairs from Sony, Apple, Bose, Samsung, Sennheiser, and other brands using both real-world and lab tests, and we're constantly testing new pairs. Each pair has something to offer, so rest assured you'll find the perfect wireless earbuds below, no matter what you're into.

These are the best wireless earbuds we've tested:

  • Jabra Elite 85t
  • Sony WF-1000XM4
  • Jabra Elite 7 Active
  • Beats Fit Pro
  • Jabra Elite 4 Active
  • Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
  • Apple AirPods Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  • Panasonic RZ-S500W
  • Klipsch T5 II True Wireless
  • Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
  • Beats Studio Buds
Jabra Elite 85t
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Jabra Elite 85t offer the best mix of features, usability, and controls no matter which phone you choose.

Best Overall
Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 5.5 hours with ANC (7 without), up to 25 hours with the case

Jabra’s Elite 85t have been atop our list for some time now, and while the competition's gotten stiffer, their price keeps getting lower. These buds are brilliantly balanced, offering great sound, impressive active noise canceling (ANC), easy tap controls, and a barrel full of other top-flight features. Unlike so many options these days, they're also equally good for Android or iPhone.

While wireless earbuds can get uncomfortable quickly, the 85t are extremely comfortable even for long periods. Their more bulbous design means the fit isn’t quite as secure as sportier pairs, but once you find the right size, their oval ear tips provide a proper seal that's more secure than the AirPods Pro, without plugging up your ears.

Jabra’s excellent Sound+ app lets you customize multiple options, including both noise canceling and transparency mode, the latter of which is among the most natural sounding you'll find. The controls are also fully customizable and utilize tactile buttons that are easy to use even when you're wearing gloves.

Other popular features include auto-pause, a wireless charging case, and multipoint connection so you can easily switch between fun and work modes.

With up to 7 hours of battery, the 85t are still competitive, but some newer rivals like Google's Pixel Buds Pro outlast them. In addition, you can only use the right bud on its own (the left only works in stereo). Those are relatively minor complaints for such a complete package, though. From great sound and noise canceling, to usability that's among the very best on the market, the 85t remain our favorite all-around earbuds.

Pros

  • Outstanding features and design

  • Rich, balanced sound

  • Impressive noise canceling

Cons

  • Not as sport-friendly as other Jabra buds

The black and copper Sony WF-1000XM4 sit inside their case with the lid open atop a mossy boulder with pink roses in the background.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Sony WF-1000XM4 offer brilliant sound, incredible noise canceling, and other premium features to make them among the best buds you can buy.

Best Noise Canceling
Sony WF-1000XM4
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 8 hours with ANC (12 without), up to 36 hours with the case

Sony's WF-1000XM4 (not to be confused with the WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones) are an easy choice for the best noise canceling earbuds. Their incredible sound quality, innovative design, and noise canceling that's at the very top of the heap make them serious players in the space—albeit at a serious price point.

There’s only one pair of earbuds that compares to the XM4's noise canceling at publication time: Bose’s well-regarded Quietcomfort Buds. Both pairs have their pros and cons, but in our testing, the XM4 outrank their rivals in a few key categories, including a smaller profile, better features, and next-gen battery life of up to 8 hours with active noise canceling (ANC).

There’s also their luscious sound which is among the best you’ll find in the genre. It’s sweet, accessible, and yet rich with detail. The stark canvas provided by the powerful noise canceling makes it even easier to enjoy. You’ll find tranquility with these earbuds on a level that’s hard to find with any headphones, let alone tiny earbuds.

The earbuds also offer plenty of ways to tinker through Sony’s Headphones Connect app. You can adjust multiple settings, tune them with a 5-band EQ (something Bose’s buds lack), and even set the earbuds to switch between noise canceling and ambient audio based on your routines and locations. You can also customize the touch controls, though you unfortunately can't use volume control without swapping out another feature.

In addition, they miss a few extras like Find My Earbuds and multipoint pairing, both features we’d like to see in this price range. Still, the WF-1000XM4 are some of the best earbuds you can buy, period. If you’re after a more affordable Sony’s WF-1000XM3 are also still worth consideration.

Pros

  • Fantastic noise canceling

  • Superb sound

  • Next-gen battery life

Cons

  • No good solution for volume control

  • Missing some features

A pair of blue earbuds sits on a wooden plank with their case open.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Jabra Elite 7 Active are great for working out, and so much more.

Best for Running
Jabra Elite 7 Active
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IP57
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours with ANC, 35 hours with the case

The Jabra Elite 7 Active, which step in to replace the stalwart Elite Active 75t, are great wireless earphones for just about anyone. But their nimble design and stable fit make them particularly great for folks who spend a lot of time running or working out. Their hearty, IP57-rated dust and water resistance even lets you safely rinse them off after a workout.

(Tip: If you're looking for more like these, we have plenty to recommend in our Best Workout Headphones guide.)

Like the Elite 85t, the Elite 7 Active will net you nearly every bell and whistle you might need. A finder function makes sure you won't lose track of them. Transparency mode lets you hear the world around you, and mid-level noise canceling lets you block it out. Unlike most buds at their price, they even add multipoint pairing, which makes them much more versatile than most sport-ready buds.

The Elite 7 Active offer solid audio performance, though their brighter sound signature may need some EQ to smooth things out. Still, their sound will satisfy most casual listeners and power users alike, especially once you take Jabra's personalization sound test. Jabra's signature playback controls are intuitive and customizable (thanks to the loaded Jabra Sound+ app) to make for one of the best user experiences in the true wireless game.

Offering superb overall performance, durability, and a well-rounded user experience, the Jabra Elite 7 Active are a great pick for your workout and more. And if you need slightly improved call quality the Elite 7 Pro are nearly identical to their cousins, but trade additional calling software for a less grippy exterior.

Either way, you'll be getting a great pair of durable earbuds, armed for virtually any scenario you can throw at them.

Pros

  • Snug and stable fit

  • Great battery and waterproofing

  • Loaded with features

Cons

  • So-so default sound

Credit: Reviewed / Lee Neikirk

The Beats Fit Pro are our pick for the best true wireless buds for iPhone

Best For iPhone
Beats Fit Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC (7 without), up to 27 hours with the case

It’s been a long time since Apple AirPods Pro hit the scene, yet they’ve long maintained their status as the most popular true wireless earbuds for pairing with iPhones. But the Beats Fit Pro offer enough improvement over Apple's gold-standard buds to make them the best choice for most iOS users.

Starting at $200, the Fit Pro are not only more affordable than the AirPods Pro at full price, but they also offer some clear advantages. They provide longer battery life (6 hours with noise canceling, 7 without), a more secure fit thanks to their rubbery fins, and comparable if not better sound quality. They’re neck-and-neck with the AirPods Pro for noise canceling, and they're a much better choice for Android users, thanks to the dedicated Beats app.

The Fit Pro also offer every iOS feature you'll get with Apple's homegrown buds. There’s iCloud/Music Sharing, Hands-Free Siri, Spatial Audio with Dynamic Head Tracking, and "Find My" tracking so you won’t lose them. Right down to Apple’s H1 chip, the Fit Pro are essentially the AirPods Pro in a better-fitting, more colorful, and longer-lasting package.

That’s not to say the Fit Pro are perfect. During testing, they weren’t quite as clear as the AirPods Pro when it came to voice calling in a windy environment. You also can’t wirelessly charge their case (odd at this price), and they can occasionally be finicky on Android phones.

But that's mostly nitpicking. While the AirPods Pro are still a great choice, the Beats Fit Pro are the top wireless earbuds for iPhone. Even if you’re missing out on those iconic white stems, you’re making the smarter purchase at the end of the day.

Pros

  • Clear, balanced sound

  • Good noise canceling

  • Ample feature set

Cons

  • Can be finicky on Android

  • No EQ modes

  • Case lacks wireless charging

A navy earbud sits in the ear of a man with brown and grey hair with trees and grass in the background.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Jabra Elite 4 Active offer a truckload of features at a surprisingly low price point to make them an incredible value.

Best Value
Jabra Elite 4 Active
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IP57
  • Battery life: 6-7 hours with ANC, 28 hours with the case

The Jabra Elite 4 earbuds offer a very well-rounded package at their price point, with good sound, good features, and a sport-ready design that makes them an incredible value. In fact, they launched with one of the lowest price points we’ve ever seen for a pair of earbuds this loaded, and the price has only dropped.

Whether you need a snug pair of earbuds with transparency mode for walking and running, a water-resistant pair you can rinse off in the sink (or dunk for short periods), or just decent noise canceling to keep out distractions while working from home or gardening, the Elite 4 have got you covered. Their clear sound and solid noise canceling won't beat out flagship pairs, but their performance meets or beats everything in their price class.

At this price, you'll have to give up a few convenience features, like auto-pause when you pull the earbuds out and a wireless charging case. But Jabra attempts to make up for those omissions for Android users with extras like Google Fast Pair and one-tap access to Spotify. You’ll also get extras like a 5-band EQ, an earbuds finder, and customizable controls, among others.

Frankly, you’ll have a hard time beating these buds for the money in the vast majority of categories. Whatever you’re into, Jabra’s versatile Elite 4 Active bring you a huge slice of the best that true wireless earbuds have to offer at a price you can swallow.

Pros

  • Snug, weatherproof design

  • Active noise canceling

  • Great features and battery

Cons

  • No auto-pause

  • Sluggish app connection

Other Top Wireless Earbuds We Tested

Product image of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: ~5.5 hours with ANC (7 without), up to 28 hours with the case

Sennheiser’s latest true wireless earbuds offer everything we like about the previous iteration and improve on the biggest downside: active noise canceling. While ANC was passable in the Momentum TW 2, the TW 3 go back to the drawing board for responsive and powerful noise cancellation that stands tall with the best in the business.

Of course, the earbuds also keep our favorite aspect about the previous pair, namely their fantastic sound quality. The new pair offers a more stylized soundstage that’s a bit brighter than before, but also a smidge clearer with more definition. If you don’t love the default sound, the three band EQ makes it easier than ever to adjust. Battery life is solid at up to 7 hours per charge and 28 total with the charging case (less with ANC).

Other handy features include adjustable controls (including volume controls on by default), a new wireless charging case (finally), and standards like auto-pause and the ability to use one earbud at a time. They also offer advanced audio codecs like aptX Adaptive and AAC for improved sound for Android or iPhone respectively.

Their new design makes them sportier and comfier thanks to multiple ear tips and fins to keep them tight in your ear. They may not be your go-to running buds, but they’ll work in a pinch for most any activity. Perhaps the best news is that all the improvements come with a lower MSRP than Sennheiser’s previous pair.

We don’t find these buds quite as comfortable as semi-open pairs like the Jabra Elite 85t and Apple AirPods Pro, and their charging case is a tad bulky. Like Sony’s WF-1000XM4, there’s also no earbuds finder available and the buds don’t have multipoint connection. That said, Sennheiser’s latest buds cook up a winning combination of good features, top-notch sound, and impressive noise cancellation, making them among the best buds you can buy.

Pros

  • Fantastic sound quality

  • Much improved ANC

  • Smaller footprint

Cons

  • Bulky, heavy case

  • No multipoint pairing

Product image of Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: 5 hours with ANC (8 without), up to 28 hours with the case

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro are an obvious attempt to create earbuds just as impressive for Samsung phones as Apple’s AirPods Pro are for iPhones. The gambit worked pretty dang well. Samsung’s made a feature-packed pair of earbuds bespoke for their platform that offer a lot of great features.

The big headliner for these earbuds is solid active noise cancellation. It’s not the best on the market by any means, but it does the trick, and on the other side the earbuds feature enhanced hearing via transparency mode.

They also offer a truckload of other features typical of flagship earbuds, like the ability to use one bud at a time, a wireless charging case, and a Find My Earbuds function. One particularly interesting feature is Voice Detect. It’s designed to pause ANC and engage ambient mode when you speak, so you can keep in touch with those around you hands-free. However, we found it can be overzealous at times.

Most of the Galaxy Buds Pro’s top features will work for any Android phone with Samsung’s well-equipped app (not for iPhones, unfortunately). But they also saved extras for the Samsung faithful, including auto-pairing and Bixby wakeup. There’s even a 3D audio feature for the Galaxy S21 and up. In other words, it pays to be heavily invested in Samsung’s ecosystem here.

Still, these earbuds feature design traits everyone can enjoy, like IPX7 water resistance (making them dunkable) and impressive, well-balanced sound that’s as good at bumping beats as it is carving out ultra-clear detail or serving up phone calls.

There are some downsides. The fit can wear on the ears over time (and can jostle during some activities). The battery life is just ok at less than 5 hours per charge with ANC. In addition, we’ve found the case doesn’t charge the earbuds as quickly as advertised, so you’ll have to wait longer once you lose juice.

That said, Samsung has created a winner here thanks to a well-rounded feature list, impressive audio performance, and a great price that make its Galaxy Buds Pro hot contenders—especially if you’re toting around a Samsung phone.

Pros

  • Powerful, nuanced sound

  • Plenty of features

  • Stylish, micro-sized design

Cons

  • Battery life just OK

  • Sluggish charging

  • Touchy controls

Product image of Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours with ANC (5 without), 24 hours with the case

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 reduction, and add proper water resistance. Plus, these are the first Apple earbuds with swappable silicone ear tips, making it easier to get a comfortable fit.

In our lab tests, we found the AirPods Pro’s noise cancellation was on par with many pricier noise-canceling headphones, with a minimal hit to battery life. Their Transparency Mode is also among the most effective and natural-sounding we’ve experienced, piping in the outside world when you want to be aware of your surroundings.

The call quality—which uses dual microphones plus digital distortion reduction—is also excellent. And in true Apple fashion, they're incredibly easy to pair with iPhones, which will automatically locate them right out of the box. The newer version also adds MagSafe charging for the case.

If there's a downside to their features, it's that most extras like Spatial Audio, auto-pairing, and Siri on-demand only work with iPhones. There's no dedicated app for Android users to tap into, either, so they're not very versatile if you plan on swapping devices. They also don't offer onboard volume control, requiring you to ask Siri for help instead.

Battery life is also low for their price point these days, at just 4.5 to 5 hours. On the bright side, their pocket-friendly carrying case holds multiple recharges for 24 hours total listening time, and a quick charge in the case provides an hour of listening in just five minutes.

While the AirPods Pro are still a bit pricey for their age, they're a great option for those with iPhones. They can be your go-to headphones for everyday use, long trips by train or plane, and even light workouts. It's for all these reasons the AirPods Pro are some of the most popular earbuds on the planet.

Pros

  • Active noise cancellation

  • Silicon tips ensure a more comfortable fit

  • Easy setup and syncing

Cons

  • Sub-par audio quality for the price

  • No onboard volume controls

Product image of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX2
  • Battery life: 5 hours with ANC (7.5 without), up to 30 hours with the case

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 are a rare breed of earbuds. They not only look better than their price point suggests, but perform better than expected as well. They provide a brilliant balance: tons of features, value, and reliable performance in a design that looks good and fits comfortably. That's a serious win for value shoppers in the Android ecosystem.

They’re not as cheap or sporty as the value-packed Jabra Elite 4, and they're also primarily meant for Android users due to their app. But, Samsung's buds do look cooler, and offer similar features and performance elsewhere. That includes relatively stout active noise cancellation, adjustable transparency mode options to bring in the world around you, adjustable EQ presets and controls, and much more. The earbuds can also auto-connect to other Galaxy devices.

You won’t get the same audio performance or the full package of extras that comes with their pricier siblings, the Galaxy Buds Pro. But you do get ANC that holds up pretty well to the flagship buds, and a lighter, comfier design to boot.

The only real holdup on these earbuds is their middling battery life and water resistance. You get just 5 hours with ANC, or 7.5 hours without it, and water resistance is only IPX2 certified (the Buds Pro are IPX7). They're also not the best buds for major workouts due to their relaxed fit. Still, these are value-packed buds, and when the price inevitably falls, they’ll be hard to turn down even in this cutthroat market.

Pros

  • Light and stylish design

  • Respectable ANC

  • Great features and performance

Cons

  • Minimal water resistance

  • Controls could be better

Product image of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: ~6 hours with ANC, 18 hours with the case

It will come as no surprise to Bose fans that the QuietComfort Earbuds were designed from the ground up for one thing: brilliant active noise cancellation. They succeed immensely on that front, instantly offering world-class ANC that matches brilliantly with Sony's WF-10000XM4 as the best two pairs in the segment. The QuietComfort also offer elegant design, clear sound, and a comfy, secure fit that keeps them in place under duress.

In order to get those traits, you’ll have to deal with a hefty price tag and some compromises elsewhere. Those compromises include extra-large earbuds that weigh around 50% more than the AirPods Pro and similar buds, and a chunky charging case that offers only two recharges. Between the buds and the case, you only get 18 hours of total battery life. That makes these tougher to take along than a lot of competitors.

The sound, while good, also doesn't match our favorite earbuds at this price point, sometimes becoming a bit sibilant in the upper register.

On the other hand, Bose added slick onboard volume control to the earbuds via swipes up and down on the right bud, and the Bose Music app allows you to adjust noise cancellation levels in multiple ways. You can even adjust the loudness of your own voice during phone calls and other parameters, though we would have traded that for some form of EQ instead.

While it would have been nice if Bose had thrown in a bit more for your money, what you're paying for here is killer noise cancellation, and that's exactly what you get.

Pros

  • Top-notch noise canceling

  • Comfy, secure fit

  • Tight, present audio

Cons

  • Chunky design

  • Case has mediocre battery

  • Middling features for the price

Product image of Panasonic RZ-S500W
Panasonic RZ-S500W
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 with ANC (6.5 without), up to 20 hours with the case

Panasonic's RZ-S500W won our favor with a brilliant combination of great sound and excellent noise canceling, at a price that often undercuts major competitors.

The RZ-S500W serve up good passive noise isolation to go with powerful noise cancellation across frequencies, creating a comforting realm of sanctity from barking dogs, yelling kids, and much more. As noted, the sound is also impressive. The clear, mostly even sound signature offers quality listening across musical genres, podcasts, and more. In the Panasonic app, you can adjust everything from EQ to noise cancellation.

You can also choose different transparency modes like ambient sound mode (or hearthrough, transparency mode) to fine-tune how much environmental sound you hear. With around 6 hours of playback per charge, the RZ-S500W aren't amazing but still beat a fair few competitors.

They do have a few drawbacks. For one thing, their charging case only holds two charges. You’ll have to top it off more frequently than most rivals. On top of that, while they’re quite comfortable, the somewhat bulky design can make the fit tricky. Even when properly sealed, they tend to jostle during rigorous activities. They’re a much better fit for your office (home or otherwise) than your daily jog.

Like most buds these days, the RZ-S500W offer IPX4 water resistance to go along with a generous selection of other features and impressive audio performance. While they're not the perfect buds for every occasion, they do offer a lot at a reasonable price (especially on sale) making them a good bargain worth consideration.

Pros

  • Excellent noise cancellation

  • Clean, balanced sound

  • Impressive feature set

Cons

  • Battery life is so-so

  • Fit may be tricky for some

Product image of Klipsch T5 II True Wireless
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless
  • Ambient sound modes: Transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Battery life: 8 hours per charge, 32 hours with the case

Klipsch’s second generation of true wireless earbuds are just as stylish as the original T5, with some impressive upgrades. What hasn’t changed here is the sound, which is among the best in the category. The T5 II earbuds offer clear, detailed sound that’s as dynamic as it is engaging, alongside crystal clear phone calls.

The buds offer plenty of handy features like comprehensive controls (including onboard volume control), a light and comfy fit, and top-notch dust and water resistance (IP67). The Zippo-like metallic case is robust as they come, but still fits perfectly in your pocket.

Their biggest miss is the lack of active noise cancellation and they also don't offer a Qi-certified charging case for wireless charging. In addition, the onboard controls can be finicky. Klipsch has a newer pair, called simply the T5 II ANC, but the ANC is relatively weak and the other added features don't add much value. That said, if you can find them on sale, they could be a solid alternative.

If sound quality is your top concern, and you don’t want to spring for the pricier Sennheiser Momentum 3, you’ll want to give the T5 II (or T5 II ANC) a good look.

Pros

  • Clear, vividly detailed sound

  • Great style, fit, and finish

  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Some controls are finicky

  • Missing some features

Product image of Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life:6 hours with ANC (7 without), up to 26 hours with the case

The Liberty Air 2 Pro’s topline feature is active noise cancellation. They were the first of their kind from Anker's Soundcore line to offer it, and the ANC is impressively effective for the money.

The active noise cancellation built into the Liberty Air 2 Pro is not quite as impactful as you’ll find in some of the pricier options on our list, but for such a low price point, effective ANC with equally adequate transparency mode is a serious feat.

Both functions pair well with the Liberty Air 2 Pro's excellent sound quality. Soundcore makes both ANC and equalization fully customizable. However, we found sticking to the earbuds’ Soundcore Signature setting delivered the kind of balanced sound that suits most musical genres.

The Liberty Air 2 Pro’s other features, like IPX4 water resistance and battery life of around six hours with ANC and seven without it aren’t uncommon for the market. However, their execution is on par with many pricier options.

We do wish Soundcore had made these earbuds more secure for workouts and found a way to offer more comprehensive controls. Still, those are small transgressions for an otherwise value-packed pair of true wireless earbuds. Soundcore closed a sizable gap in performance and features with the Liberty Air 2 Pro, without sacrificing affordability.

Pros

  • Great sound for the price

  • Thick with features

  • Good noise canceling for the price

Cons

  • Not ideal for active usage

  • Limited controls

Product image of Beats Studio Buds
Beats Studio Buds
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 5 hours with ANC (8 hours without), up to 24 hours with the case

The Beats Studio Buds arrived as the spiritual successor to the second-generation AirPods. Though the AirPods 3 (technically called the "AirPods third-generation") have since launched with popular iOS features like Spatial Audio, the Studio Buds are a better choice for those seeking a more traditional experience.

Offering clear sound, a slick and comfortable design, and even active noise canceling that ramps up when things get louder, these funky little buds are a welcome refresh that screams "Apple." They even offer some of the AirPods’ most prized Apple-centric features like one-touch pairing for iPhone, voice-activated Siri, and Find My Earbuds via your iPhone settings.

It’s not too surprising that a pair of Beats buds can step into the AirPods’ shoes. Apple owns Beats, after all. What is surprising is how well the Studio Buds cater to the Android crowd. You’ll find similarly breezy one-touch pairing, and a (very) basic app to toggle the noise canceling and ambient audio modes. There’s even a Find My Earbuds feature via the Android menu.

There’s a lot that these buds get right. Their splash-proof, ergonomic design tops the list, followed closely by affordable ANC. But they are missing some key features. Other Apple buds with the H1 chip, such as the AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro, can auto-sync to all your Apple devices via iCloud. These don’t.

They also don’t offer a wireless charging case or sensors that pause your earbuds when you take one out. (Though you can use one earbud at a time). While their mirrored controls make things simple, there’s also no onboard volume control, something that's available on nearly all non-Apple earbuds at this price. The fit also isn't as stable as sportier buds, like Jabra's Elite 4 Active.

Their incredible ease of use, comfort, and simple setup go a long way to make up for those transgressions, though—especially if you're looking for Apple-centric buds at a good price.

Pros

  • Light and comfy design

  • Solid ANC for the money

  • Breezy setup for Android or iOS

Cons

  • No onboard volume control

  • Light on extras, no H1 chip

  • Only two charges in case

How We Test Wireless Earbuds

True wireless earbuds all come with two individual buds—no wires between them—and a charging case.
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan

True wireless earbuds all come with two individual buds—no wires between them—and a charging case.

When testing earbuds, we focus on several key pain points consumers typically run into including (but not limited to) battery life, ease of use, controls, wireless range, sound quality, sound isolation, and comfort.

For sound quality tests, we use a mix of real-world and lab testing, including data collection and A/B testing on factors like max volume, passive and active noise attenuation (including active noise cancellation), and how well each earbud blocked outside and background noise. We use all the earbuds extensively, playing a wide variety of test tracks ranging from classical to hip-hop, rock, jazz, and more.

Most features are tested in real-life situations, 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 account for this, we note any major issues that popped up in user reviews (where available), though this doesn’t impact final scores.

We also use these earbuds over a prolonged period and update their firmware when available to test out the latest features. We update relevant articles and reviews with our findings.

The truth is that wireless earbuds across the board have struggled with durability, so this is a major cause of concern for us. Since some of these models are quite new, we reserve the right to revisit our conclusions as we become aware of any major issues or pain points as time goes on.

How to Choose the Best Wireless Earbuds

There are plenty of high-quality wireless earbuds available on the market today, but how can you decide which pair is right for you? We’ve compiled a list of a few key factors to consider before purchasing a new set of wireless earbuds.

Battery Life

In our testing, the average battery life (without enabling the noise canceling feature) seemed to be around 7 hours. However, some earbuds, like the AirPods Pro, only last up to 5 hours. If you use your headphones for extended periods of time, then battery life will be important to note when shopping for your wireless earbuds.

Dust and water resistance

All of the headphones featured in this round-up are water resistant or waterproof earbuds to varying degrees. You’ll know which offers the highest protection by checking out the “IP” rating.

When it comes to water resistance, the highest number you'll likely see for headphones is "IPX7,” indicating that the product is certified to withstand being fully submerged in one meter of freshwater for 30 minutes. Anything from IPX4 (meaning the headphones can withstand splashes from any direction) and above should do the tric for most scenarios. The first “X” stands for dust/ingress protection. As with water resistance, the higher the number, the better the protection. Earbuds with an IP57 or IP67 rating are among the most robust you’ll find.

Noise Cancellation and transparency mode

Active noise canceling headphones have become a mainstay for travelers, public transit commuters, gym-goers, and those working in distracting environments in the office or at home. Most of our favorite wireless earbuds include ANC as the feature has become more popular. You can also check out our guide of the best noise-canceling headphones we've tested.

Transparency mode could be just as important, especially if you’re looking for a great pair of workout headphones, as it’s designed to help keep you aware of your surroundings. It’s essentially the inverse of noise canceling, and uses the same microphones used to block sound out to pipe it into your buds. The two features together make modern earbuds very versatile.

Price

Budget is always a major consideration when shopping for a new set of earbuds. In this Best Wireless Earbuds roundup, the price for each pair typically ranges between $150 to $250. If you’re looking for a set of quality wireless earbuds on a budget, we recommend checking out our guide to the Best True Wireless Earbuds Under $100.

What’s the Difference Between Wireless vs. True Wireless Earbuds?

Originally, wireless headphones utilized Bluetooth technology to allow you to unplug from your source device, but a wire would connect one earbud to another. Now, "true wireless" earbuds are even more minimalist, offering totally wire-free listening with no cable between the earbuds.

If you're looking for an experience that won't tether you to your phone, tablet, or laptop, Bluetooth headphones (A.K.A. wireless earbuds) are what you need. True Wireless earbuds have become the standard, and fortunately, they're ubiquitous enough these days that you can find a well-made pair in virtually every style and price range.


Meet the testers

Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

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.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
Ryan Waniata

Ryan Waniata

Managing Editor - Electronics

@ryanwaniata

Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2012. 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.

See all of Ryan Waniata's reviews
Nick Woodard

Nick Woodard

Contributor

@@nwoodard25

Nick Woodard is a tech journalist specializing in all things related to home theater and A/V. His background includes a solid foundation as a sports writer for multiple daily newspapers, and he enjoys hiking and mountain biking in his spare time.

See all of Nick Woodard's reviews

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