The AirPods 2 true wireless earbuds are turn heads, but there are plenty of alternatives too. Whether you need something for commuting, working out, or to match your outfit, we have a pick for you.
Editor’s note: this list was updated on May 9, 2019, to replace the Mobvoi TicPods Free with the Creative Outlier Air.
See: Full AirPods alternatives article at SoundGuys
Best all around: Samsung Galaxy Buds
Reasons to consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds:
- The Samsung Galaxy Buds are the ideal companion to any Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, or S10 Plus.
- They support AAC and the scalable Samsung codec, which optimizes streaming quality and efficiency for improved connectivity.
- Battery life is excellent; the Galaxy Buds last 6.53 hours on a single charge. They can also wirelessly charge via any of the Galaxy S10 phones.
- Ambient sound mode lets you hear your surroundings, which is great when crossing the street or joining a conversation.
Best noise cancelling: Sony WF-SP700N
Reasons to consider the Sony WF-SP700N:
- Digital noise cancellation can be toggled with the Sony WF-SP700N.
- The WF-SP700N is IPX4 water-resistant.
- The earbuds support AAC for lag-free iPhone listening.
- Customization is available via the Sony app.
Best battery life: Creative OutlierAir
Reasons to consider the Creative Outlier Air:
- The Creative Outlier Air punch way above their weight class with premium features like USB-C charging and aptX/AAC support.
- They operate via Bluetooth 5 and the connection never drops with in the 10-meter range.
- Battery life is the best of any true wireless earbuds SoundGuys has tested. They last 7.78 hours on a single charge.
- The earbuds are IPX5-rated, meaning they can survive most workouts.
Best design: Master & Dynamic MW07
Reasons to consider the Master & Dynamic MW07:
- These are IPX4 water-resistant earbuds.
- Premium construction with handmade acetate housings and a stainless steel charging case.
- A stable fit is created despite the large acoustic chambers.
- Great sound quality, beryllium dynamic drivers, and aptX support.
Best value: JLab JBuds Air
Reasons to consider the JLab JBuds Air:
- These sub-$50 earbuds are IP55 dust- and water-resistant.
- They reign as the best cheap true wireless earbuds around.
- A stable fit is provided due to proprietary Cush Fins that wrap around the earbuds.
What you should know about the best AirPods alternatives
- Wireless audio doesn’t compare to the sound quality of wired options yet, but there are still certain codecs to keep an eye on depending on your operating system. iPhone users should use AAC-supporting earbuds and Android users should go for aptX.
- Isolation is absolutely key to accurate sound reproduction. If the ingress of external noise is allowed, it will mask certain frequencies and degrade audio quality.
- Generally speaking, connectivity isn’t as good with true wireless earbuds as it is with traditionally wireless earbuds, same goes for battery life.
Related: Don’t use AirPods with Android
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SoundGuys is our sister site specializing in all things audio. Each of the writers has kept pace with the changing audio world and its standards for years. What’s more, SoundGuys respects that audio is both an objective and subjective experience and applies that philosophy to each of its reviews and tests, including the best headphones with Google Assistant integration.