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The best true wireless earbuds — There's more than Apple out there

The best buds you can buy.
By
December 9, 2022
Sony WF-1000XM4
By Sony
8
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Positives
360 Reality Audio support
Excellent isolation, ANC
Foam ear tips
Bluetooth 5.2, SBC, AAC, and LDAC
IPX4 rating
Negatives
Price
Default frequency response is a bit odd
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
By Samsung
7
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Positives
Touch panels have a good level of sensitivity
IPX7 water resistance
Intelligent Conversation Mode
Negatives
Case prone to scratches and nicks
Battery life is just fine
App lacks custom EQ (has EQ presets)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
By Apple
7.9
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Positives
Active noise cancelling
Great auto-wear detection
Water-resistant buds and case
Good fit with four ear tip options
Negatives
Charges via lightning cable
Many Apple-exclusive features
No way to customize the EQ without third-party app
Google Pixel Buds Pro
By Google
8
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Positives
Fast, wireless, and USB-C charging
Battery life
Fast Pair and multipoint
Negatives
No equalizer
AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs only, no aptX
Fit is a bit loose for some people
Beats Fit Pro
By Beats
7
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Positives
Android and iOS compatibility
In-app ear tip fit test
Noise cancelling/Transparency
IPX4 rating
USB-C case with fast charging
Negatives
Price
Fairly large case
ANC and update issues
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
By Sennheiser
8
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Positives
Good sound with interchangeable ear tips and ear fins
Bluetooth 5.2; aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, SBC
Good noise cancelling
Negatives
Price is high
EQ tool is only okay
Connection is not as stable as expected
Shure AONIC Free
By Shure
8
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Positives
Exceptional isolation
Good sound
Excellent app
Negatives
Case and buds are a bit bulky
Not the most stylish
Beats Studio Buds
By Beats Electronics
7
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Positives
Sound quality
Multiple listening modes
Small, lightweight, and comfortable
Negatives
Sub-par noise cancelling
No H1 or W1 chip; missing features for Apple users
No auto play/pause

The world of true wireless earbuds is vast, so picking the perfect pair can get tricky. But fear not, it’s easy to choose if you consider some basics:

  • What do you plan on doing with your earbuds: taking them to the gym, using them at the office, or at home?
  • Which features appeal to you the most: sound quality, ease of use, ANC, or something else?
  • What design do you find comfortable: ear hooks, foam ear tips, or silicone?

Once you know what sort of earbuds will work for you, you can pick the right pair. If you really want to get into the weeds, we’ve got that covered below. But if you know what you want, you can skip down to the top choices we’ve selected after some rigorous testing.

Continue reading to see our selections for the best true wireless earbuds of 2022.


The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the best true wireless earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony WF-1000XM4
Great ANC • IPX4 rating • 360 Reality Audio
Powerful active noise canceling earbuds.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are some of the best on the market. High-quality sound is matched by top-notch ANC. Well designed ear tips provide an excellent seal, improving noise isolation, and call quality.

Sony has been at or near the top of consumer headphones and earbuds for a while, and that’s for a good reason. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are solidly-built, comfortable, true wireless earbuds with plenty of features and configurability options. That makes them our pick for the best overall true wireless earbuds. They even boast an IPX4 rating, so they can withstand some sweat and drips without worry.

You get three sizes of foam ear tips with the Sony WF-1000XM4, which means they’re not only comfortable but also have great isolation. That means external noises will be less distracting no matter where you go. You also get handy touch controls to handle music playback when on the go without taking your phone out of your pocket.

These buds have great active noise-cancelling (ANC), too. In our experience, they cut down low-frequency sounds around 50Hz to approximately one-sixteenth or one-quarter as loud. That means your bus commutes will be nice and quiet, while the isolation performance of the foam ear tips handily takes care of high-frequency sounds.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have great ANC to handle low-frequencies while their foam ear tips block out high-frequency noises quite well.

The Sony Headphones Connect app makes it easy to tinker with these earbuds to fit them to your needs. It even has an ear tip fit test, which is handy to ensure you get the best possible isolation performance. Furthermore, you can use the app to customize the touch controls of each bud and toggle ANC on or off or enable transparency mode.

Connectivity options are also great with the Sony WF-1000XM4. You get the AAC, SBC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs, so users of Apple and Android devices alike have high-quality options to rely on. These buds even use Bluetooth 5.2, which means they should get LC3 codec and LE Audio support somewhere down the line.

We got seven hours, 42 minutes of battery life from these earbuds (not including the charging case), which is pretty good, considering many true wireless earbuds land around five hours. Plus, five minutes in the charging case net you 60 minutes of listening time.

As for the mic, we found that it’s good enough but not great. Your voice will sound fine, but if there’s wind or office noise, the mic tends to struggle. Still, it’ll work for conference calls and chats with friends.

There is one awkward out-of-the-box quirk, however. The Sony WF-1000XM4’s default frequency response curve knocked down the highs a little more than we would have liked in our tests. Fortunately, that’s easy enough to fix with the equalizer available in the Headphones Connect app. Plus, you get spatial audio via Sony 360 Reality Audio support across devices.

If you want a pair of earbuds that can do it all and make it easy, then the Sony WF-1000XM4 are a great choice.

What makes them stand out

  • Comfortable foam ear tips: The Sony WF-1000XM4 include three sizes of foam ear tips, which are comfortable and help these buds block out distracting sounds.
  • Great ANC: The Sony WF-1000XM4 handle low-frequency sounds well with noise-cancelling while the ear tips handle high-frequency noises.
  • IPX4 rating: If you happen to sweat on these, it’s not a big deal, so you can take them to gym without too many worries.
  • Handy mobile app: The Sony Headphones Connect app makes it easy to tinker with these buds to suit your tastes.
  • Good battery life: With seven hours, 42 minutes of battery life, the Sony WF-1000XM4 can get you through nearly a full workday.

Best of the rest: other true wireless earbuds models worth considering

For most people, we recommend the Sony WF-1000XM4. These earbuds have plenty of handy features, are easy to use, and they work great with all sorts of devices. However, there are other reasons to buy earbuds, and some models might suit you better. You might be a gym rat or want the comfort of a walled garden. For these scenarios, here are some of our other picks:

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: If you want even better ANC, consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. They’re especially good if you have a Galaxy phone, but even without one, they boast some of the best noise-cancelling around.
  • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen): iPhone users can always rely on AirPods; the second-generation AirPods Pro boast great ANC and a host of nice-to-have features.
  • Google Pixel Buds Pro: Google ecosystem lovers will find the Google Pixel Buds Pro have a lot to offer and they’ll integrate well with other offerings from the company, too.
  • Beats Fit Pro: If you go hard at the gym, the Beast Fit Pro make for a good choice.
  • Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3: While aptX support might be a notable draw for these buds, they also let audiophiles customize their listening experience in quite a fine-grained manner.
  • Shure AONIC Free: If you’re not a fan of ANC, these isolation-only buds sound great and have a great app plus aptX support.
  • Beats Studio Buds: Don’t want to spend a lot on earbuds? The Beats Studio Buds offer good sound and ease of use without breaking the bank.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have outstanding ANC

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Excellent ANC • Good audio quality • Fast charging earbuds
A good companion for your Samsung phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is one of the best options for Android phone owners for its solid active noise cancelling (ANC), good sound and various features.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have good ANC, but if you want some of the best ANC available on the market today, then go for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. These earbuds are best used with Samsung phones, but everyone can take advantage of their outstanding noise-cancelling.

You get three sizes of silicone ear tips with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which aren’t quite as moldable as foam tips. But these buds do have an IPX7 rating, making them slightly more water-resistant than Sony’s offering. Plus, the touch controls on these buds struck a nice balance between being sensitive enough to register taps and not being over-sensitive in our testing. However, we couldn’t customize these controls all that much with the Galaxy Wearable app, which was slightly disappointing.

Regarding ANC, however, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best earbuds you can buy. They cancel out low-frequency noises even better than the Sony WF-1000xM4. They isolate decently, as well. giving you an overall experience that’s nice and distraction-free almost anywhere. If you want to spend a little less and still get solid ANC, you can also consider the sibling to these buds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. They don’t cancel as much noise, but they make a good alternative at a lower price, especially for Galaxy owners.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have some the best ANC available.

In our review, these earbuds sounded good out of the box, with some slight emphasis given to the lows and highs. In all honestly though, it’s not awful, and non-audiophile ears may never even notice. The Galaxy Wearable app has some EQ presets available but no custom equalizer if you want to alter this frequency response curve. The microphone in the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro did well with removing external noises, but we found that our voice did not sound exactly like it does in real life. Still, they’re fine for meetings or casual conversations.

As for Bluetooth codecs, you get AAC and SBC on most devices, while Samsung Galaxy phone owners can take advantage of the Samsung Seamless Codec. That also gives you access to spatial audio via Samsung 360 Audio. Samsung phones also get 24-bit audio support, although it’s debatable how important that is. These buds do use Bluetooth 5.3, so they should support LE Audio and the LC3 codec somewhere down the line.

Excellent ANC does suck up some battery, however. We only got four hours, 50 minutes from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on average in our testing. That’s close to the five hours Samsung claims and to the average battery life of many true wireless earbuds. You can top the case and buds up using USB-C, Qi-compatible wireless charging pads, and Wireless PowerShare if you have a compatible Galaxy device.

While you will get the best experience with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro when you pair them with a Samsung phone, they boast some of the best ANC available today.

What makes them stand out

  • Outstanding ANC: The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have some of the best ANC available on the market today.
  • IPX7 rating: The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can handle sweat and splashes without any worries.
  • Just-right touch controls: You can switch songs and control playback with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro without accidentally triggering too many actions if you just want to adjust the fit of the buds.
  • Ecosystem integration: Both a blessing and a curse. If you have a Samsung Galaxy device, these earbuds will slide in nicely, but people without one will miss out on some features.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) are best for Apple aficionados

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Impressive ANC • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging
One of the best true wireless earbuds for iOS users
The second generation of AirPods Pro features top-quality active noise cancellation in a water-resistant package.

Another entry in the ecosystem-exclusives arena are the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation). If you have any iPhone from the past five years, these true wireless earbuds are a pretty safe and easy choice.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) come with four sizes of ear tips, adding an extra-small option to the usual small, medium, and large. That means listeners with smaller ears will find they can get a more comfortable fit and better isolation than they could otherwise. These earbuds are IPX4 rated, but so is their case, which means you get a little bit of extra piece of mind. Plus, the case now has a lanyard loop to help anchor it to a bag or belt, while a small speaker in the case can help you locate it by emitting a tone.

You get the usual set of touch controls, but unlike the first-gen AirPods Pro, you can also swipe up and down on the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to adjust the volume, which we found pretty handy in daily use.

But what really sets the second-generation AirPods Pro apart is their excellent ANC. They’re right up there with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and block out external noises quite well via isolation, too. Plus, they have Adaptive Transparency, which lets you use transparency mode while still blocking out sudden, loud noises such as construction sounds, which worked quite well in our testing.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) offer excellent ANC and seamless ecosystem integration for Apple fans.

There is no app for the AirPods Pro (2nd generation). However, pairing them with an iPhone does let you use that phone to enable Apple’s Personalized Spatial Audio and test the fit of the ear tips. While you only get the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs with these earbuds, that’s fine for iPhones. They do use Bluetooth 5.3, which means LE Audio and the LC3 Audio codec should appear somewhere along the line.

In our audio tests, the sound quality of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) was good, with a frequency response curve that doesn’t amp up or underemphasize anything by too much. We liked everything we played through these buds, but be aware there is no custom EQ of any sort available; you’re stuck with the equalizer options available in iOS through the Music app.

The mic on the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) does cut out external noises, but sometimes it also sliced out some of our voice, too. Still, overall it works fine in most calls and conveys your words clearly.

As for battery life, we got five hours, 43 minutes from the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), which is average for true wireless earbuds, though a bit shorter than Apple’s claim of six hours. You can get 60 minutes of playback time after just five minutes in the case, which is good when you’re on the go. Plus, the buds learn your listening habits and will only charge to 80% until just before you typically use them when paired with an iPhone, which helps preserve their battery.

If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are a great purchase. They integrated well with Apple’s ecosystem and offer plenty of small but important upgrades over the first-gen AirPods Pro.

What makes them stand out

  • Excellent ANC: The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) have great ANC that’s much better than the first-gen AirPods Pro.
  • IPX4 rating for the case and buds: The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case and buds can withstand water drops and sweat.
  • Good out-of-the-box sound: You get a solid frequency response curve right out of the box with the AirPods Pro (2nd generation).
  • Ecosystem integration: The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) do great when paired with an iPhone.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the Google lover’s choice

Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Decent ANC • Fast-charging battery • Google apps
The first Pixel earbuds with ANC.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the first Pixel Duds to offer active noise canceling. The battery lasts seven hours, and a fast charging case adds an extra hour with only five minutes of charging. These earbuds provide access to Google Translate, Google Assistant, and "Find my bud."

While we’re on the subject of ecosystems, the Google Pixel Buds Pro are a great choice if you are all Google all the time. These buds come with the standard assortment of three ear tips and IPX4 rating. Plus, the case has an IPX2 rating, so you get a little bit more reassurance against sweat and drips. Not as much as the AirPods Pro above, but enough for basic use.

You also get the standard assortment of touch controls and swipes. But being a Google product means you can also use Google Assistant and go totally hands-free.

The Pixel Buds app didn’t have a custom EQ at launch, but it does now at the time of writing. Plus, plans are in place to offer spatial audio support by January 2022. You get an ear tip fit test, too. There is no Pixel Buds app for iOS, but that’s expected given these buds’ target market.

While these buds only have SBC and AAC Bluetooth codec support, they do support Google Fast Pair, as expected. That means you can sync them to Android devices easily. And they have Bluetooth multipoint support, so you can connect to two devices at once if you wish.

With Google Assistant and Fast Pair support, the Google Pixel Buds Pro slide in nicely with the rest of Google's offerings.

The Pixel Buds Pro have ANC, and we found that it works alright. It won’t beat the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or anything, but it reduces traffic noise and other distractions. Isolation performance is also decent, with higher frequencies somewhat tamped down.

We got seven hours, six minutes of battery life from the Pixel Buds Pro, which is similar to what Google claims they’ll get. And it’s pretty good compared to the five hour average you’ll achieve from comparable earbuds. The case gives you another 13 hours, and you can charge it via USB-C or wirelessly. Plus, just five minutes in the case nets you 60 minutes of playback time with ANC enabled.

As for sound, these buds have amped-up highs and lows slightly in their frequency response curve, but the EQ in their app does let you take care of that. The microphone prioritizes conveying your voice, although some background noises do still make it through in our experience. Again, completely fine for daily conversations or meetings, but not great to record a podcast.

If you’re a Google die-hard, the Pixel Buds Pro make for a good choice. They’ll integrate well with your Pixel phone and other services from Google.

What makes them stand out

  • Google ecosystem integration: Users of Pixel phones and Google Assistant will find the Pixel Buds Pro integrate well into their lifestyle.
  • IPX4 rating for the buds and IPX 2 for the case: Sweat and drips shouldn’t be a concern with the Google Pixel Buds Pro.
  • Solid battery life: Around seven hours of battery means you’ll be able to listen to your tunes uninterrupted.
  • Fast Pair and Bluetooth multipoint: Connectivity is a breeze with the Google Pixel Buds Pro.

The Beats Fit Pro are great for the gym

Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
Android and iOS compatible • In-app integration • Fast charging
A good ANC, and fast charging battery for the Fit Pro earbuds.
The Beats Fit Pro earbuds offer a pleasant bass-boosted sound. The battery will last an extra hour with only five minutes of charging, and the app provides more features and adjustments.

When it comes to intense exercise, earbuds need to be secure and stable so that you can focus on your workouts. The Beats Fit Pro fit that bill well, thanks to their wing tips and “twist and lock” design. You get three sizes of ear tips to choose from with the Beats Fit Pro, too, so they’ll remain anchored even during rapid movements. That makes them our top recommendation for any gym rats out there looking for great true wireless earbuds.

Instead of touch controls, you get a physical button on each Beats bud. That means if you’re just looking to adjust your earbuds, you’re less likely to trigger an unwanted action. This is nice to have with workout earbuds, where you might be putting your arms above your head or making other motions that could trigger touch controls.

The Beats Fit Pro have decent ANC, so you can block out some unwanted sounds. But if you want to let in some of your environment for safety or to hear your spinning instructor, you can enable transparency mode. Plus, you get an ear tip fit test in the Beats app to ensure you’ve got the best possible isolation performance.

The Beats Fit Pro will stay in your ears even during intense exercises.

The Beats app is mostly for Android users, but that doesn’t mean Apple users are left out to dry. iPhone owners can use the iOS Settings app to access the same features. As a result, these buds work well with either platform. However, these earbuds only have the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. But if you’re at the gym, you likely won’t notice any delay between video and audio for this to matter all that much.

And while the Beats brand may have a reputation for way too much bass, we’re happy to report that these buds don’t fall prey to that problem. They do still amp up low notes a bit, but not enough to totally drown out other frequencies. Many gym-goers enjoy this sort of frequency response, in fact, so if you’re one of those, you’ll be happy with how the Beats Fit Pro sound. The microphone, however, doesn’t tackle background noises all that well. It’ll work for a quick chat, but if you want to take work calls, you’ll need to move to a quiet room.

We got six hours, 22 minutes of battery life from these earbuds, which is about what Beats claims they’ll get and in line with other true wireless earbuds. Plus, just five minutes of charging nets you 60 minutes of playback, which is always useful if you’re busy, but there is no wireless charging option.

For gym rats and exercise lovers, the Beats Fit pro are a great choice. We did find their secure ear tips got a bit uncomfortable after around 90 minutes, but your mileage may vary. Either way, you can rest assured they won’t fall out.

What makes them stand out

  • Secure fit: The Beats Fit Pro have wing tips that help anchor them in place during rigorous exercise.
  • IPX4 rating: If you sweat a lot during workouts, the Beats Fit Pro can handle it.
  • Good ANC: You get solid ANC with the Beats Fit Pro that you can disable or use transparency mode to get more awareness of your surroundings.
  • Quick charging: Just five minutes in the case gets you 60 minutes of playback time, which is great if you’re in a hurry to get to the gym.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 are for tinkerers

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
High-res audio • “Sound Zones” adaptation • Good sound
A great sound, and better ANC for the Momentum True Wireless 3.
With the Momentum True Wireless 3, Sennheiser proves that you can pack great sound and ANC into rugged-built earbuds. They are assured by a two-year warranty.

You can customize the other entries on this list to an extent, but if you demand earphones that let you tailor them to the nuances of your daily life, then the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 are for you.

Much like the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), these earbuds come with four sizes of silicone ear tips, which lets you get a just-right fit. Plus, to further customize the experience, you get three sizes of silicone wings to stabilize the buds. We even found swapping out the tips and wings to be fast and easy. And you get an IPX4 rating to ward off worries of sweat and splashes.

But what really makes these earbuds a tinkerer’s dream is the Smart Control app for iOS and Android. It lets you fine-tune the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 to your heart’s content. Inside, you’ll find a three-band equalizer, transparency mode, ANC options, touch control customization, and “Sound Zones.”

Sound Zones let you customize the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 to all sorts of use cases.

That last feature is really where you can ramp up the customization. The MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 let you plot the places you visit most on a map and then assign ANC and EQ settings to those locations. That way, whenever you are in those places, your earbuds will automatically adjust to your preferred settings. For instance, if you want transparency mode and lots of bass at the gym but full ANC and a more neutral frequency response curve at home, you can set that to happen automatically.

The other features of these buds are pretty standard and high-quality, with a notable mention of aptX Bluetooth codec support in addition to SBC and AAC, meaning all your devices will function well with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3. Furthermore, they use Bluetooth 5.2, so LC3 codec and LE Audio support will likely be added in the future. A recent update also added 24-bit audio support, but again how useful that’ll end up being is debatable.

We got five hours, 33 minutes of battery life from these true wireless earbuds, which again is pretty standard for comparable buds. Similarly, they emphasize bass notes a bit, but not by a lot, and you can EQ them. Plus, the ANC is a capable performer and will definitely cut down on distractions during bus rides and elsewhere.

If you demand the ability to tailor your buds to everywhere you visit and everything you do, then definitely consider the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3.

What makes them stand out

  • Customizable: The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 let you tailor how they function to all sorts of use cases.
  • Solid ANC: Not only can set different ANC levels for different locations, but the ANC also generally works well.
  • Comfortable, stable fit: You get four ear tips and three stabilizing wings in the box to suit the fit of the buds to your ears.
  • aptX support: With aptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codec support, any device should fare well with these buds.

Don’t want ANC? Try the Shure AONIC Free

Shure AONIC Free
Shure AONIC Free
Exceptional isolation • Good sound • Excellent app
Free your buds and the rest will follow.
If you don't mind the somewhat bulky case footprint, and large earbuds, the Shure AONIC Free isolates like no other. Its app is comprehensive and the connection is solid over aptX, providing excellent sound quality too.

The other options mentioned in this list have ANC, because, well, it’s nice to have. But if you’re the kind of person who cannot stand noise-cancelling, then the Shure AONIC Free are probably the best true wireless earbuds for you.

The AONIC Free come off as a no-nonsense set of earbuds with three sets of foam ear tips included. And they have an IPX4 rating, too. Similarly, the charging case is solid and not flashy, functioning as a secure place to stash the buds.

And even though you don’t get ANC, you do get multiple EQ presets along with a customizable equalizer in the ShurePlus PLAY app for iOS and Android. Therefore, these buds will sound the way you want. And your settings get saved to the buds themselves, so if you pair them to a different device, your preferred sound profile will remain.

Even though they don't have ANC, these buds still have the same features as other high-quality earbuds.

Continuing that thread, just because you don’t have ANC doesn’t mean you can’t have a transparency mode. Shure calls it “Environment” mode, and it lets in your surroundings without having to remove the buds. This might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense once you consider that their isolation performance is pretty good.

As further evidence that these are still high-quality earbuds even without ANC, the Shure AONIC Free support the aptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. All the other basics you would expect are here, too. These earbuds sound good, and we had no complaints during our testing period. And the mic works well for phone calls with friends and coworkers.

These get roughly five hours, 31 minutes of battery life in our experience, which is average for true wireless earbuds. With the case, we achieved about 16 hours and 30 minutes. Like other options, 15 minutes in the case nets you 60 minutes of playback time.

If you don’t want to bother with ANC but still want earbuds that work well and offer solid performance, take a look at the Shure AONIC Free.

What makes them stand out

  • Good isolation without ANC: The Shure AONIC Free still block out noise without ANC, which is good for people who find ANC uncomfortable or annoying.
  • Comfortable foam ear tips: Foam ear tips are always nice to have, and they’re a part of the reason these buds have good isolation.
  • Environment mode: You can enable Environment mode to hear your surroundings without taking out your earbuds.
  • aptX support: With aptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codec support, iPhone and Android users will do well with these buds.

The Beats Studio Buds are a good budget buy

Beats Studio Buds
Beats Studio Buds
Decent sound quality • Multiple listening modes • Lightweight
A good fit, great sound, and active noise cancellation
Android smartphone owners can finally enjoy the Beats brand with Studio Buds. They have great sound, sweat resistance, and active noise cancellation in a small, comfortable design.

You can splash out some serious cash for the best true wireless earbuds, but the Beats Studio Buds are an affordable option that still sound good and stay comfortable.

It might seem odd that Beats buds would have enjoyable audio, but these earphones don’t amp up the bass too much. They still do a little but in a way that most people tend to enjoy.

And unlike Apple’s other offerings, the Beats Studio Buds work on iOS and Android thanks to the Beats app for Android. Like the Beats Fit Pro above, iPhone owners don’t need the app; they can just use their phone’s Settings to tailor these earbuds.

Furthermore, we know looks aren’t everything but we’d be remiss to point out these come in red, white, black, Ocean Blue, Sunset Pink, and Moon Gray. So, if you want budget buds that still look good, they’ve got you covered.

The Beats Studio Buds look and sound good without breaking the bank.

While touch controls on cheaper earbuds can get finicky, the Beats Studio Buds avoid that thanks to their click-button-based controls. You aim your finger for the clicky part on either bud, which means unintentional actions are few and far between.

You won’t sacrifice comfort, either. The three sets of silicone ear tips included are pretty cozy, and the buds weigh just 5g, so our ears didn’t feel bogged down after extended wear.

Technically, these buds have ANC, but we didn’t find it all that impressive. It’s there and somewhere noticeable, but you do sacrifice this aspect to get a lower price. Finally, the battery life was a bit below average in our tests, coming in at four hours and 24 minutes in the right earbud and four hours, 41 minutes in the left earbud.

Still, if you want cheap, good-looking earbuds that are comfortable and sound good, then the Beats Studio Buds hit all those bullet points. If you’re looking for more cheap true wireless earbuds, we have a separate list for that, too.

What makes them stand out

  • Comfortable fit: The Beats Studio Buds are just 5g and stay comfortable during long listening sessions.
  • Fun colors: Sure, looks aren’t everything, but there’s no denying these buds look good and come in multiple different colors.
  • Good sound: Unlike some of their Beats siblings, the Beats Studio Buds don’t amp up the bass too much.

What to look for in a good pair of true wireless earbuds

You have practically endless options when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Some offer excellent ANC; others let you tinker with everything, while some work best with certain devices. But don’t fret; you can sort through the avalanche with a few key considerations.

Consider your lifestyle

What do you do daily? Are you an office worker who takes the bus home every day? Do you spend your free time at the gym sweating buckets? These factors will influence which buds will work best for you. For example, if you do the latter, consider buds with IPX2 or higher ratings and those that come with wing tips to help further anchor them in place. Meanwhile, commuters may want to consider solid ANC performance to ward off rumbling engines and other distractions. Whatever you do daily, it’s worth it to find earbuds that are built to handle it.

Are you devoted to an ecosystem?

Are you an Apple die-hard? Can you go a day without Google’s services? If you demand buds that tightly integrate with your other devices, then it’s worth it to consider who makes your tech. For example, Samsung, Apple, and Google all offer buds tailored to their users in this list. But if this doesn’t bother you, then all-rounders like the top pick Sony WF-1000XM4 will work across devices without much hassle.

Is latency a concern?

Many of our picks on this list support Bluetooth codecs like aptX and LDAC, which help Android users get low-latency performance. But if you’re not going to use your buds to watch videos, then you may never notice latency problems. For instance, if you leave your phone in your pocket all day, then SBC or AAC will be fine, regardless of the device. Plus, Apple users can always take advantage of AAC no matter what.

Do you want bells and whistles?

Spatial audio, multipoint, and more are always nice to have, but take a moment to consider if you really want them. If you only pair your headphones to one device, for example, you won’t need multipoint. Likewise, if you don’t have a streaming service that offers spatial audio support, such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Tidal, then you won’t end up using that feature either. Some earbuds even offer 24-bit audio support, but that feature is pretty niche, at best.

Battery life may be limited

Some of our selections for the best true wireless earbuds do have seven-hour or higher battery life ratings, but overall true wireless earbuds tend to last around five hours, especially if they have ANC. That’s because the small earphones just don’t have the space for bigger, longer-lasting batteries.


Why you should trust us and how we test

At Android Authority, we have a long history with tech devices of all sorts. Along with our sister site, SoundGuys, we’ve tested hundreds of earbuds and headphones over the years. Our team of experts personally uses each product in their daily life, at the gym, and on the go to see how they stack up in the real world. We select the best of these to make it onto our list of true wireless earbuds. We focus on user experience and sound quality, and to that end:

  • Wear the product for at least a week, listen to lots of different kinds of music, and do all sorts of activities.
  • We note the comfort, construction quality, materials, and ease of use.
  • We go through any associated companion apps to ensure they work well with the earbuds.
  • We make phone calls to check mic quality in the real world.
  • We subject each earbud model to the same battery test, sound quality and frequency response tests, and isolation and ANC test.
  • We routinely go back and update old reviews if new features, fixes, or problems are discovered.

As you can see, we’re very thorough and don’t take this lightly! We recognize every model of true wireless earbuds is different. So, we determine what makes them unique (if anything) and how they stand out in the market. Then, we check to see if they might be missing anything important or have flaws that would knock them out of the running. Finally, we make objective measurements of everything we can. That includes battery life, frequency response, isolation, and noise-cancelling performance.

You can trust that our experts put each device through the wringer. Usually, our review period lasts about a week or so, but this might be extended for really feature-packed or unique devices. We also revisit our reviews periodically to see how the products have held up over time.

Frequently asked questions about true wireless earbuds

Sometimes, there are situations in which you need to hear your surroundings, such as when jogging. In these scenarios, it’s handy to have a transparency mode instead of constantly removing your earbuds and putting them back in.

We have a guide to help you get the most battery life here.