The Longest Lasting Earbuds In 2021: Bluetooth - Rolling Stone
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Small Size, Big Battery — These Bluetooth Earbuds Last up to 12 Hours

Get through an entire trans-continental flight using headphones small enough to fit in your pocket

Sony WF-1000XM4Sony WF-1000XM4

Amazon

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When it comes to battery life, earbuds are at a distinct advantage compared to on-ear or over-ear headphones. Their small size makes them convenient to wear during commutes or other travel, but it means making due with a small battery that’s competing for space with audio hardware like drivers and microphones.

This problem is even greater for “true wireless” earbuds, which can’t hide a battery in an in-line remote. Thankfully, advancements in battery technology has greatly reduced this issue. Modern true wireless earbuds can offer up to 10 hours of music playback per charge.

This improvement to battery life has coincided with other must-have features like active noise-cancellation coming to earbuds for the first time. Better still, true wireless earbuds come with battery cases, which top them up each time you put your headphones away. These brief breaks can get you through an international flight with minimal interruptions.

If battery life is your most important consideration when picking up your next pair of earbuds, this guide can help. Each pair offers up to seven hours of music playback per charge, and some last a lot longer.

What Are The Longest-Lasting Earbuds?

Style: All of the long-lasting earbuds we’re recommending are available in the “true wireless” style, which means there’s no cable between the buds.

Noise Cancelling: All of the earbuds in this guide have active noise-cancellation, which means they have microphones that automatically block outside sounds before they reach your ears. The benefit is that you won’t need to crank up the volume in noisy environments to block out sound.

Water Resistance: Some of the earbuds below are water resistant, which means they won’t get damaged by sweat, or exposure to rain. If you plan on wearing long-lasting earbuds while working out, we recommend using a pair with this feature.

Comfort: We’re only recommending earbuds that come with multiple pairs of eartips in an assortment of sizes, which ensures you’ll find a set that fits comfortably in your ears.

1. Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony

Sony’s WF-1000XM4s are among the best wireless earbuds we’ve ever tried, and their eight hour battery is a big reason why.

The earbuds’ marquee feature is support of Sony’s world-class active noise cancellation, which block an incredible amount of sound in our tests, including engine noise from a long-haul international flight. The earbuds can use their microphones to detect noise around you and optimize their active noise cancellation accordingly, and even pause your audio if it notices you’re speaking. If noise cancellation is at all important to you, this is the pair to get.

Another reason we like Sony’s earbuds is their impressive audio quality. The WF-1000XM4s offer rich bass, and a smooth, detailed sound that isn’t totally neutral but makes music sound alive. If you don’t like how they sound, you can always tweak their EQ using Sony’s Headphones Connect app. If you like to wear earbuds while exercising, these earbuds’ IPX4 waterproof rating should be of particular interest because it makes them effectively sweatproof.

All of the WF-1000XM4s technical features are made possible because of Sony’s custom V1 chip, which is more energy efficient and powers its noise-cancellation. Using a custom processor gives the WF-1000XM4s an edge over earbuds that use off the shelf parts, and the difference isn’t subtle.

If you’re looking for an excellent all-around pair of true wireless earbuds with very good battery life, Sony’s WF-1000XM4s are the clear winner.

Buy: Sony WF-1000XM4 at $278.00

2. Monoprice Monolith M-TWE

Monoprice-M-TWE-Bluetooth-Earbuds

Monoprice

At $95 Monoprice’s Monolith M-TWE punch way above their weight, delivering a slew of great features and up to 10 hours of music playback per charge.

In terms of raw tech specs the M-TWEs check all the right boxes. They support a technology called SoundID, which allows you to tweak their EQ to suit your ears. We’ve tested the earbuds ourselves, and recommend using this feature if you’re not pleased with how the earbuds sound out of the box.

The M-TWEs use hybrid noise cancellation, which isn’t quite as powerful as active noise cancellation, but still does a great job at isolating unwanted sounds and preventing them from reaching your ears. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but something to consider if you travel a lot.

Finally, Monoprice’s Monolith M-TWEs are IPX4 water resistant, which makes them a great choice if you have an active lifestyle. All in all, the M-TWEs are a solid pair of true wireless earbuds that can’t be touched if you want to spend under $100.

Buy: Monoprice Monolith M-TWE at $84.01

3. Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

Amazon

We’ve been huge fans of Soundcore’s headphones for several years, and its Liberty Air 2 Pros are among its longest-lasting set yet, clocking in at seven hours of music playback per charge.

Part of what sets Soundcore’s audio gear apart is its audio quality, and the company says its new PureNote Driver technology offers improvements to bass, treble, and midrange response. The result of this audio upgrade is better sound across the board, regardless of the track you’re listening to, and your listening volume. We’ve used these earbuds for ourselves, and they are a lot better than previous generations of Soundcore’s Liberty earbuds, which were already pretty good.

Another reason we like these earbuds is their impressive level of comfort. Soundcore’s eartips are pretty soft, and don’t put too much pressure around the eardrum. They create a tight seal without causing any pain. If you’ve struggled to find earbuds that actually feel good, we recommend picking up a pair of these earbuds. The active noise cancellation was a little hit or miss, so if you’re looking for a set of earbuds to take on your next trip, you may be better suited with our other recommendations.

That said, if you’re looking for a solid all-around pair of true wireless earbuds that last a pretty long time, don’t hesitate to pick up Soundcore’s Liberty Air 2 Pro.

Buy: Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro at $59.99

4. Edifier TWS NB2 Pro

Edifier TWS NB2 Pro

Amazon

If you want a long-lasting pair of true wireless earbuds that won’t break the bank, Edifier’s TWS  NB2 Pro are the right call. They’re currently available for $56, which is $23 cheaper than normal. They’re a good buy at their full price, but this sale makes them a no-brainer if you’re on a strict budget.

The earbuds can last up to nine hours on a single charge, and support fast charging, which allows them to offer two hours of music playback after spending 15 minutes in their case. Edifier says the NB2 Pros are IP54 dust and water resistant, but still recommends drying them off before putting them back in their battery case if they get wet.

You can switch between six EQ modes by tapping on the earbuds or using Edifier’s app, but we liked listening to them right out of the box during our tests. The NB2 Pros don’t offer the same level of audio customization as the other earbuds in this guide, but that isn’t a huge deal given their high level of audio quality from the start.

Edifier’s earbuds use hybrid active noise cancellation, which isn’t as powerful as true ANC, but the differences are generally pretty minimal. The difference is only really noticeable if you’re in an extremely noisy environment (think train). In an office setting, the TWS NB2 Pro’s noise cancellation works just fine.

The Edifier TWS NB2 Pros are a great pair of true wireless earbuds at their full price, but they’re currently the best headphone deal you can get.

Buy: Edifier TWS NB2 Pro at $67.99

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