This is also a market that’s exploded recently, so in addition to wireless earbud champions like Apple and Sabra, expect to see buds from established audio veterans like Bose and Sony as well. And there are many more wireless earbuds to come, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, so we’ll be updating this list with those that prove worthy of joining the best.
The very bestwirelessearbuds offer long battery life, great sound, and call quality, and some noise cancellation, as well as water- and sweat-resistance, so you can use them for working out without worrying about damage. And the bestwirelessearbuds rise to the top of the list fit comfortably within your ears and don’t budge while you’re running or working out.
After reviewing dozens of models, the best set of wireless earbuds overall is the Sabra Elite Active 75t thanks to its customizable fit, personalized sound, passive noise cancellation, and waterproof protection. The AirPods Pro is a close second with built-in active noise cancellation, seamless iOS integration, easy-to-use controls, and sweat resistance.
Size: 0.8 × 0.7 × 0.6 inches | Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud) | Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Special features: Active and passive noise cancellation, customizable EQ, fully waterproof The market’s bestwirelessearbuds (and best sport headphones) just got better, thanks to a free over-the-air ANC update that adds active noise cancellation into the mix.
Don’t think that you’re going to get Bose-caliber results, or anything close to what the more premium Elite 85t delivers, but Sabra did do an impressive job tweaking its algorithm to block out a good amount of external sounds. Even before the inclusion of ANC, the Elite Active 75t proved itself as the model to beat, offering better battery life, durability, sound, and special features than its biggest threat: the AirPods Pro.
It’s pretty amazing how Apple continues to enhance the performance of its noise-cancelling earbuds through software updates, and if it keeps up the good work, then the AirPods Pro could climb its way back to the top of our bestwirelessearbuds list. Spatial audio is an incredible addition that creates a 3D-like soundscape to enjoy movies and video games a lot better.
Even simple, but practical, inclusions like auto-switching make a noticeable difference with functionality, allowing users to easily switch between devices that are connected to the same iCloud account. The great news is that without the latest iOS 14 updates, the AirPods Pro still operate at a top-tier level, thanks to improved sound, strong ANC, a more ergonomic design for better comfort and fit, and all the perks that come with the H chip.
If there is any complaint to be made, it’s the same one every Apple fan has voiced since the first-gen AirPods hit the market, that being the subpar battery life. The follow-up to our favorite pair of wireless earbuds is a sonic beast equipped with 12 mm drivers that produce loud, well-balanced audio and some of the finest noise neutralization we’ve heard in the category.
Sabra’s ANC technology is capable of blocking out 90% of external sounds, allowing for disruption-free listening and audible calls. The Elite 85t connects to the Sound+ app to extend functionality, offering up a plethora of special features that range from adjustable noise cancellation to customizable controls.
Size: 1.54 × 1.02 × 1.06 inches | Weight: 0.3 ounces (per bud) | Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours, 18 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters) | Special features: Adjustable ANC, Bluetooth 5.1, Self Voice mode for enhancing calling Distractions will go unheard, as you enjoy media (e.g. music, videos, IG clips) with rich, well-balanced sound.
The buds are even capable of blending ANC with ambient listening, giving you full awareness of your surroundings with the utmost precision; external noises sound clearer and are less harsh on the ears. What you’ll appreciate most is call quality because Bose’s powerful mic array does a phenomenal job of picking up loud, crisp-sounding vocals, while minimizing background fracas at the highest level.
Size: 0.7 × 0.75 × 0.8 inches | Weight: 0.22 ounces | Battery life (rated): 11 hours; 22 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 120 feet (36 meters) | Special features: Ambient listening mode, multiple EQs, reverse wireless charging We also found the call quality, passive noise reduction, and ambient listening mode more reliable.
One of our top picks for the best sport headphones, the Powerboats Pro is everything you have always wanted from Beats on the wireless audio front. The bass-forward sound profile is balanced extremely well, meaning your eardrums will still be on the receiving end of some hard-hitting sonic booms, while taking in crisp mid.
Apple’s H processor brings over many of the performance perks found on the AirPods Pro, including seamless pairing, automatic switching, and “Hey Siri” voice activation. We can’t forget about the wrap-around-the-ear design either, a clutch element that ensures the buds remain put when performing lateral workouts.
Google’s first-ever true wireless model has impressed the critics, including us, enough to be featured on our bestwirelessearbuds list. Google made several upgrades on both the inside and outside, going completely wireless with a stylish, comfy design that sits flush on the ears, while creating custom-designed 12 mm dynamic drivers that pump out warm, rich sound.
It’s a bummer to see these buds share the same battery life as the AirPods Pro (with ANC on), but the attractive 24-hour charging case and insane quick-charging technology (10 minutes = 2 hours) helps remedy this. Boasting an estimated six hours of battery life (with ANC on) and a stylish, elegant design, the Sony WF-1000XM3 richly deserve a spot on our bestwirelessearbuds list.
While the tap gestures don’t operate as well as they do on AirPods, Sony does offer a great free app. Well, there’s a rumor floating around that these buds might receive an update for wireless streaming on Hi-Res Audio codecs, which would definitely increase its value in the category.
Size: 0.8 × 0.7 × 0.6 inches | Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud) | Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Special features: Active and passive noise cancellation, customizable EQ, water resistant Then there are the other hallmarks that make the Elite 75t a superb option, including the sleeker design, dust and water resistance, and bass-forward sound that can also be customized through the Sabra Sound+ app.
You’ll discover some other cool features in the app as well that enhance the user experience such as Sound and Controls. They come with a smaller, more comfy design than the QC Earbuds, plus the same dependable wireless performance and similar sound.
It is disappointing to see that battery life is basically the same as the AirPods and the exclusion of a transparency mode doesn’t make much sense, especially since it has become standard on modern models. But knowing Bose’s commitment to improving new releases, that doesn’t mean we won’t see this mode added in a firmware update, or so we can only hope.
Check out the rated battery life and whether any carrying case comes with the earbuds to provide additional power. Then there's sound quality of both music and phone calls, which you can determine from reviews by professional testers and people who've bought the earbuds.
In determining the bestwirelessearbuds, we consider fit, battery life, sound quality, design and value (are they worth the price?). In terms of audio, we listen to many sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness.
Several rivals now offer superior audio quality, performance and battery life -- not to mention compatibility with technology outside Apple's device ecosystem. For optimal performance, the bestwirelessearbuds need to feel comfortable, have an ergonomic design, and fit right with a tight seal.
If you can't get a snug earbud fit with in-ear headphones, you'll be sadly disappointed and feel ripped off, which is why I suggest buying your pair of wireless earbuds from a vendor with a decent return policy, such as Amazon. This also helps if the earbuds don't meet other expectations, from ambient sound cancellation to touch control to how long they last on a single charge.
In many ways, they're excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and noise-canceling, which is arguably the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. However, the AirPods Pro's smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ.
But with the world moving to wireless audio, the company has slowly shifted into the Bluetooth headphone arena, first with its GW100 on-ear model (in 2018) and now with its first true wireless earbuds, the GT220 ($259, £250, AU$365). The good news is they sound fantastic -- for true- wireless earbuds anyway -- and perform well as a headset for making calls.
These are well-balanced, but they have a more exciting sound profile, with bass that's a touch more forward and nice sparkle in the treble. They are more revealing and articulate than Sennheiser's True Wireless Momentum II earbuds, which come across as warmer and a bit more open with slightly bigger sound.
However, this true wireless earphone option is better all around than the original, with a slightly smaller, more comfortable earbud design, great audio quality, active noise-canceling that rivals that of the AirPods Pro, improved battery life (up to seven hours versus the original's four) and better noise reduction during calls. If you don't like these active noise cancellation earbuds in black, a white version of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds is slated to follow later this year.
That makes them arguably the best true wireless earbuds on the market today and earns them a CNET Editors' Choice Award. Sarah Too/Eleven if they don't sound quite as magical as you'd hope a $249 model would, the Apple AirPods Pro still manage to be a great pair of true wireless earphones with noise cancellation.
That's largely due to their winning design and fit, improved bass performance and effective noise-canceling -- and now these true wireless headphones have been updated with spatial audio, a new virtual-sound mode for watching movies and TV shows (only works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 14). Say what you will about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live's bean-shaped design, but they might just be the most innovative new true wireless earbuds of the year.
These wireless buds are discreet and basically sit flush with your ear without a little white pipe extending out from them. While the Elite 75t has been out a while, it's still one of the best true wireless earbuds out there and recently added noise-canceling via a firmware upgrade.
David Carney/CNET Google's Pixel Buds 2 are worthy contenders in the premium true wireless earbuds arena, particularly for Android phones. These Bluetooth earbuds feature hands-free Google Assistant (for Android), these truly wireless earbuds offer a comfortable, secure fit and very good sound quality for true wireless.
This true wireless earbud option uses Bluetooth 5.0 with support for the AAC codec but not apex. Sarah Too/Nettle Mow X3 wireless earbuds sound shockingly good for their low price of $50 (a $10 instant discount coupon from Amazon is currently available), with good clarity and powerful bass, and they even have active noise cancellation that's fairly effective.
Mow seems to be regularly tweaking its earphones, and the X3 earbuds were briefly taken off Amazon, before returning with an update. “The new version upgraded the volume control and optimized its active noise-canceling function and call effect,” the company told me.
They did fit me comfortably and securely, and I got a tight seal from one of the sets of XL ear tips. They're fully waterproof (IPX7) and get up to seven hours of battery life at moderate volume levels with USB-C charging.
As far as sound quality goes, they're among the best -sounding wireless earbuds and also feature excellent noise-cancellation technology to reduce ambient noise. Sarah Too/CNETUrbanista may be based in Sweden, but it doesn't have a problem naming its earbuds after other European cities.
Its London true- wireless earbuds look a lot like Apple's AirPods Pro and have noise-canceling with a transparency mode, as well as a sensor that detects when you take the earbuds out of your ears and pauses your music. Battery life is rated at five hours -- the same as the AirPods Pro -- but that's not as good as some of the latest true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation.
But its wireless earphones successor, the Jaybird Vista (cue the Windows Vista jokes), includes design, battery life and audio quality performance improvements that make it the product I'd hoped the Jaybird Run would be. It not only has better battery life (it's rated for eight hours) but better water resistance (IPX7 instead of IPX5), upgraded 12 mm graphene drivers and the earbuds support AAC and Apex codecs.
Like most true- wireless earbuds from Chinese brands that sell through Amazon, these have a pretty generic look and feel, especially the case, and they may not fit all ears equally well -- they do stick out a little. Sarah Too/Cities, the Beats Powerboats Pro's jumbo charging case with its built-in battery is a notable drawback.
But incorporating all the features that make Apple's AirPods great while delivering richer sound and better battery life in a design that features ear hooks and won't fall out of your ear is a winning proposition. Just make sure you buy these Beats Powerboats earphones somewhere that has a good return policy, in case you're in the small minority who have ears that aren't quite a match for these Bluetooth headphones.
Sarah Too/Caretaker is better known for its value headphones, but it's trying to step into more premium territory with its Sound core Liberty 2 Pro earbuds, which carry a list price of $150. From a design standpoint, these Bluetooth earbuds share some similarities with Sony's WF-1000XM3, though this Anger Sound core model doesn't have active noise cancellation.
Anger says these truly wireless earbuds have large 11 mm drivers combined with Knowles Balanced Armature, with up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge (32 total hours of playtime with the case) and noise-cancellation microphones to help reduce ambient sound, so callers can hear you better. Some people may have some quibbles over the wireless earphone fit -- I had to supply my own XL tips to get a tight seal and found the Anger's Sound core Liberty Air 2 a little more comfortable -- but the Sound core Liberty 2 Pro are a good value.
Sarah Too/Nettle second-generation Apple AirPods add a couple of small but key improvements to the original, including always-on voice recognition and a wireless charging case option. This pair of earbuds features greatly increased battery life (10 versus 3.5 hours), Bluetooth 5.0 and active noise cancellation with two microphones on each bud.
They may not fit everyone's ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as very good sound and a great listening experience if you can get a tight seal.