If you're looking for the best wireless earbuds you can buy, it may come as little surprise that Apple’s Airpods Pro(available at Amazon for $199.00) are the pick of the litter. While they’re not cheap, the AirPods Pro’s superb mix of build quality, wireless range, noise-canceling, and clear sound add up to a winning formula in this very competitive segment.
Before we crowned the AirPods Pro, we tried out dozens of the most popular models, using both real-world and lab testing. While we’re confident you won’t regret investing in the AirPods Pro, there are also a metric ton of other great wireless options available in a wide variety of styles and price points—including those still connected by a small cable. Follow below and we have no doubt you'll find the perfect wireless earbuds for whatever you're into.
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
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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 (finally). What’s more, these are the first Apple earbuds with swappable silicone ear tips, making it easy 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 on a single 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. Their Transparency Mode is also among the most effective and natural-sounding 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 dual microphones plus digital distortion reduction—is also excellent. The design also makes them incredibly easy to pair, control, and wear.
The AirPods Pro are pricey, 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. At their current pricing, they offer a near-unbeatble combination of features, durability, and overall performance.
That said, we did encounter some 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, and Jabra is a trusted name in the genre, so we expect any such issues you might encounter have been addressed. In addition, other reviewers we’ve spoken with had no such issues at all.
Despite being an older pair, 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, making them a great value. If you’re planning on running or working out at the gym, the Elite Active 65t are a top choice for the money.
Sony’s WF-1000XM3 are, like the WH-1000XM3 headphones and the new WH-1000XM4, world class noise canceling headphones. Like their over-ear siblings, these earbuds are loaded with tech, offer impressive sound, and have the ability to whisk away the outside world with some of the most powerful noise cancellation around.
While their high price point and lack of water resistance make them a tough sell for gym rats, anyone who wants great sound and serious noise cancellation to complement the sheer convenience of fully wireless earbuds should consider them. Along with whisper-quiet noise canceling, the WH-1000XM3 offer solid battery life at 6 hours per charge with noise cancellation engaged and 8 hours without it. In addition, Sony's powerful Headphones Connect app lets you customize a carousel of settings to make them just right for your listening habits. We'll also add that, as they've hung around on the market, you can often find them on sale.
With their impressive collection of features and stellar performance, 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 models, but in a tiny, wireless form factor, these are the earbuds for you.
The Jabra Elite Active 75t are a fantastic set of wireless buds for just about anyone. But they're particularly suitable for folks who spend a lot of time running or working out, thanks to their nimble design and their hearty, IP57-rated water and dust resistance, allowing you to safely rinse them off after a workout.
The Elite Active 75t will net you nearly every bell and whistle you might be hoping for, with the exception of active noise cancellation (ANC). That said, it's not really expected at their price point, and their impressive passive noise cancellation makes the omission almost a non-issue in most settings. Otherwise, you'll get everything from an earbuds tracker to transparency mode, which allows you to 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 sound performance—bolstered by up to 7 hours of battery life—will satisfy most 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 rarely get pressed accidentally. Jabra’s intuitive 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 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 performance, durability, and a well-rounded experience. In addition, if you don't see the need for your earbuds to be fully submerged in water—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 durable earbuds, armed for virtually any scenario you can throw at them.
For this list, we focus 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, 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 struggled with 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.
Active Noise Cancellation: Noise-canceling headphones, i.e those with active noise cancellation (ANC) aren't just for frequent flyers. 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 those working in distracting environments in the office or at home. 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 Wireless Earbuds We Tested
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The winning follow-up to Samsung's original Galaxy Buds, the 2020 Samsung Galaxy Buds+ check off a lot of the right boxes where true wireless headphones are concerned, starting with their light and comfy design.
While they don't 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 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). That's double the playback of the AirPods Pro, though you'll have to give up any form of noise cancellation in the bargain.
Along with their stocked feature set, we also really enjoy the Galaxy Buds+'s simple and comfortable form factor and compact charging case, available in multiple colors.
This is the hill we're prepared to die on: these will 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 Momentum, 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) active 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. They also offer desirable features like transparency mode for environmental awareness and decent active noise cancellation.
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 improved, 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 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, and while they're relatively easy to use, the interface isn't quite as dead-simple as Apple's AirPods Pro.
Still, if you value high-quality sound first and foremost, and you've got the means, Sennheiser's 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.
Panasonic's RZ-S500W won our favor with a brilliant combination of great sound and top-notch noise canceling at a price that easily undercuts Sony and Apple. Honestly, we utilize noise canceling more than any other true wireless feature as we're often wearing them for tasks like vacuuming or lawn mowing, which is why we're so taken with these relatively affordable buds.
Whereas most wireless earbuds offer noise canceling as something of an afterthought, the RZ-S500W serve up powerful cancellation across frequencies for a comforting realm of sanctity from barking dogs, yelling kids, and much more.
As noted, sound is also impressive, with a clear and mostly flat sound signature that offers a quality listen across musical genres, podcasts, and more. Panasonic’s app adds to the fun, letting you adjust everything from EQ to noise cancellation and transparency mode (AKA ambient sound mode, hearthrough mode, etc.) so you can choose exactly how much environmental sound you let in or keep out. Just about the only feature the S500W don’t have is auto-pause, which is pretty handy for moments when you want to take a quick break, but definitely not a deal breaker.
With around 6 hours of playback per charge, the RZ-S500W sit directly between their two biggest competitors in the ANC earbuds space, the AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3, but at a much lower price.
That said, they do have a few drawbacks. For one thing, their charging case only holds two charges, meaning you’ll have to top it off more frequently than most rivals. On top of that, while we found the RZ-S500W quite comfortable, fit can be tricky due to their somewhat bulky design. Even when they're properly sealed, they tend to jostle during rigorous activities, making them a much better fit for your office (home or otherwise) than your daily jog.
On the other hand, unlike Sony’s WF-1000XM3, the RZ-S500W offer IPX4 water resistance, allowing you to easily combat the elements. Add in their other generous features and the Panasonic RZ-S500W earbuds sit among our favorite earbuds to come out in 2020.
Sony has been on a roll in the true wireless space lately. Whether it's the company’s value-packed WF-XB700, which has quickly become one of our favorite options under $100, or the class-leading, noise-squashing WF-1000XM3, Sony has proven its formula is working.
The WF-SP800N join this growing collection of formidable earbuds, offering an embarrassment of features for their price point, along with impressive sound, a strong and stable connection, and a sporty, water-resistant design—something the flagship WF-1000XM3 buds don’t have.
Packing everything from noise cancellation and transparency mode to automatic audio adjustment, the SP800N are impressively well-appointed for their price point—especially since you can often find them on sale. They're also highly adjustable thanks to Sony's Headphones Connect app, including a five-band EQ with a separate bass control so you can easily pull back (or ramp up) their booming "Extra Bass" feature.
As for negatives, the SP800N’s noise cancelation is just OK, the buds are fairly bulky, and the charging case stores only one extra charge. In addition, we found a tear in one of the silicone ear fins after just a few days (though, as we've yet to hear about other reviewers running into this issue, we're hoping it was just a rogue bad fin). Because of their fins, it can also be a pain to put them in and take them out.
Their incredible playback time of 9 hours on a single charge with noise cancellation—and a whopping 13 hours without it—helps make up for their charging case's shortcomings. Add in their wealth of other features and the SP800N are steeped with value, making them one of our favorite new pairs of sports buds on the market.
Priced similarly to Apple's AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats Pro are impressive true wireless earbuds in their own right thanks to their high playback time per charge, great sound, and durable, sporty design. 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 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 impressive 9 hours of battery life per charge allows you to leave the case behind.
Like other Beats headphones, their sound profile is still bass-forward, but it’s thankfully restrained here for excellent 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 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—but their price point has also dropped a fair bit over time. if you’re looking for fitness first, the top Beats earbuds are a fine choice, especially if you can find them on sale.
New for 2020, Sony's WF-XB700 are among the best true wireless options for under $100. They're very affordable, but still designed to meet Sony's high-quality standards for sound profile and materials. If you like a lot of bass in your music, and you want the freedom that only tiny, untethered true wireless earbuds deliver, the Sony WF-XB700 deliver.
The WF-XB700 aren't perfect, of course, and certainly aren't as well kitted-out as the beloved Sony WF-1000XM3. You aren't getting sought-after features like noise canceling in any form here, and they also aren't compatible with Sony's robust audio apps (for iPhone/Android), so if you love Sony for its customizability options, you're out of luck here.
Fortunately, these are a solid choice for bringing along to the gym: they're splash-proof and offer a great fit/seal despite their bulky size, meaning you can work out with them worry free.
The WF-XB700 may not be for everyone, but they are a really good choice for a lot of people. If you've been wanting true wireless earbuds but don't want to pay an arm and a leg, these namebrand budget buds may just be the model you've been waiting for.
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 often just too darn expensive (at full price anyway) for many budgets. The Powerbeats are a great stand-in, priced well below the Powerbeats Pro's suggested retail price, and their price tag is only falling.
Outside of the wire situation, Powerbeats fans will be very glad to know that the connected Powerbeats sound just as good as the "Pro" model, and offer similar levels of flexibility and style (i.e., they come in a bunch of colors). They also offer shockingly good connection quality that outdoes their siblings, as well as any other true wireless earbuds we've ever tried. Seriously, they've got such good range you may actually forget where you put your phone.
These are an excellent addition if you've been after the workout-ready, sound-forward style of the original Powerbeats Pro but don't want to shell out that much 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 good 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.
As the years go by, however, the AirPods drawbacks become more pronounced. One such drawback is that they are still designed like the solid plastic earbuds Apple has included with its products for years, meaning there are not ear tips so 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, transparency mode, or other desirable features many of their peers provide. For their feature set, they're just plain over priced.
Still, their intuitive usability makes them a go-to choice for Apple fans, as does their combination of dependability, connectivity, and convenience. If you like the sound of all that, and don't mind sacrificing some key features, these are still a viable option for novice users. Otherwise we suggest stepping up to the pricier Apple AirPods Pro, or picking another option on our list.
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 clarity that accentuates 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 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-ready 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, allowing you to swap for a wired or wireless cable. The real headline? These are some of the best-sounding earbuds at their price point. 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 into 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.