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There has never been a better time to go wireless, especially when it comes to your music.
While headphones have always been a reliable option for taking your music on the go, a ton of manufacturers are now making wireless sets that deliver the same sound quality in more versatile, portable packages. Using Bluetooth technology, they let you listen to music or take calls without being tied down by annoying cables. And, you don’t need to plug in to stay powered up.
But not all wireless listening devices are the same. For the best wireless listening experience, you’ll want to upgrade to a pair of true wireless earbuds.
What Are True Wireless Earbuds?
Here’s how true wireless earbuds compare to regular wireless earbuds, and what to look for when shopping for the best true wireless earbuds online.
Wireless vs. True Wireless: Wireless headphones don’t need to be plugged in to anything but still require a headband that sits over your head. Some wireless earbuds, meantime, are attached to each other with a cord, or come with a neckband that wraps around your neck, to help keep them in place.
True wireless earbuds, however, refer to two earbuds that don’t need to be connected to one another. Instead, they fit snuggly inside your ear, either with adjustable cushioned tips or with a wrap-around hook that slides over your ear. By cutting the cord, you’re less restricted in your movement, letting you easily take your wireless earbuds on a run or hike, without getting tangled up in an annoying cable.
Connectivity: True wireless earbuds still work with Bluetooth technology, only the Bluetooth connection is built directly into each earbud as opposed to being built into a wire. Because the earbuds are separated, you can choose to either use each one individually or pair them together for more immersive audio. And when you need to charge the battery, just snap the earbuds into their included charging cases, which power up your buds without needing an outlet.
Sound: The best true wireless earbuds will deliver studio-grade sound in a portable package. Pair them with your device to stream music, or use them to take calls, while freeing your hands up from the phone.
What Are the Best True Wireless Earbuds?
We’ve rounded up some of the best true wireless earbuds available online. They all win points for ease of use, comfort and durability, while delivering clean, crisp and reliable sound that will last you through the day and into the night.
1. Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)
Apple’s 3rd Generation AirPods remain our pick as the best true wireless earbuds on the market, thanks to their comfortable fit, enhanced audio technology and easy pairing.
The new AirPods retain all of the things you liked about the 2nd Generation model but with a few key differences. The first is a shorter stem and an improved contoured design, which help these wireless earbuds stay put in your ears without shifting (or falling out). AirPods have always fit well, but these ones are noticeably more comfortable, sitting at just the right angle in your ear for optimal listening — even when wearing for long periods of time.
Speaking of listening, audio quality is excellent in these buds, with Apple’s Adaptive EQ automatically tuning the music to your ears and your surroundings. New to these earbuds is Apple’s spatial audio technology, which places music around you rather than blasting it directly at you. Add in the AirPods’ “dynamic head tracking” capability, and music seems to float from all directions, as if you were at a concert or theater.
The new AirPods are great for working out — they’re sweat and water-resistant with decent battery life at up to six hours per charge (up to 30 with the included MagSafe charging case). There’s no noise cancellation in these buds, but you won’t really need it unless you’re in a super noisy or busy environment. These also don’t have the gummy eartips of the AirPods Pro, but surprisingly, that didn’t really affect the fit here, even when we were out for a run.
Apple ups the ante once again, delivering a pair of wireless earbuds with intuitive design and superb sound quality that tops all other audio brands in its class.
2. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The Galaxy Buds Pro are a great alternative to Apple’s AirPods, with excellent audio quality and a more personalized design and fit.
The sound is also on par with most over-ear headphones, with an 11mm woofer and a 6.5-mm tweeter built into each earbud, letting you hear low frequencies and thumping bass beats with stunning clarity.
Unlike the new AirPods, Samsung’s buds feature active noise cancellation technology, for an immersive music listening experience. Choose from four ambient sound modes in case you need to keep an ear out for the traffic while you’re walking down the street.
These buds are also IPX7-rated, so they can withstand light rain with ease or your grueling workouts at the gym. Battery life is decent, lasting about eight hours on a single charge if you’re not using Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby and you have ANC off.
Don’t worry about the fit — you’ll get three ear tip sizes to make sure these buds never leave your ear unless you yank them out. They come in a couple of different colors, too, so you can pick your favorite pair.
3. Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds
Sony’s headphones are always in demand and with the Sony noise-canceling WF-1000XM4 earbuds, the brand’s taking the audio industry by storm.
They’ve got an ergonomic design that should fit snuggly in your ear cavity whether you’re on the train, in the boardroom or at the gym. They’re IPX4-rated, which means they’re water-resistant enough to withstand light water splashes and sweat. Battery life runs a full eight hours on a single charge and the wireless carry case stores an additional 16 for all-day performance.
They’re packed with 6mm drivers for bass-rich sound and an integrated V1 processor which reduces distortion and keeps your audio sounding clear even after hours of use. Alexa is built-in too so you can switch up your music, access your notifications and more, all with the sound of your voice.
Personalize your sound by downloading the Sony Headphones Connect app, where you can adjust ambient sound settings as well as adjust other sound levels for an audio experience tailored to your tastes.
4. Jabra Elite 85t
Jabra’s Elite series has been ranking in our lists for years and their latest iteration, the 85ts are well worth your money.
Easily adjust the level of ANC to your liking through the Jabra Sound+ app to block as much sound as you need. You can even adjust transparency settings through the HearThrough mode to let ambient sound in. As for the audio, you’ve got 12mm speakers for your favorite songs, whether you’re listening to EDM or rap. There are also six microphones built-in if you need to take a break from your music listening session and jump into a Zoom call.
The fit’s great too, featuring a semi-open ear design which the brand says should avoid giving you that “plugged up” feeling that many earbuds have. Through the MyFit feature, you can adjust your fit to your liking.
They’re also IPX4-rated, which means they should be okay to use for light workouts at the gym. The brand also says the design is dust-resistant.
Plus, you’ll get 5.5 hours of battery life on a single charge — the wireless charging case can hold an additional 18.5 hours of battery life. And, they’ve even got Alexa built-in if voice assistance matters to you.
5. Beats Fit Pro
Available in four colors, the Beats Fit Pro pack stellar sound and ergonomic style. The wingtip design means you can adjust the fit as you want and that these buds will stay put in your ear, even during your workouts. There are three ear tip sizes included too, allowing you to further adjust the fit.
You’ve got noise cancellation and transparency modes like the Apple AirPods Pro which will help you zone out or stay in tune with your surroundings. Battery life runs six hours on a single charge and the wireless charging case will hold another 18 hours of charge time.
These buds even carry Apple’s H1 chip for an immersive audio experience and there are audio sharing features too, so you and your friends can listen to the same tunes, as long as they own a pair of Apple headphones or earbuds.
They’re IPX4-rated as well, which means they’re both sweat and water-resistant up to a degree so you can wear these buds at the gym, while out on a walk or just while you’re at home when you’re streaming your favorite TV shows.
They even support spatial audio, a feature that adjusts sound as you turn your head for maximum surround sound. Plus, even though they’re technically Apple earphones, they’ll function easily with both iOS and Android devices.