If your new phone’s missing the headphone jack, you’ve probably already had to entertain the idea of switching to Bluetooth. Why stop there? Why not go with a true wireless option, and ditch even the cables connecting the earbuds to each other? There’s more than just AirPods out there.

This list of the best true wireless earbuds comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take on the best true wireless earbuds.
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We put a bunch of headsets through the wringer over at SoundGuys, but I’m going to give you the overview here. We measured sound performance, battery life, and isolation, with a calibrated test fixture to suss out what you can expect when you buy true wireless earbuds. In Twitter polls over the last year, it was obvious battery life was the most important metric for true wireless earbuds, followed by sound quality, then isolation. Price was a distant fourth.

Your needs might be different, so we’ve included all our data at the bottom of the article. With that in mind, let’s attack these needs one by one, shall we?

Best true wireless earbuds:

Editor’s note: this list was updated on June 16, 2020, to include the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 and JLab GO Air in the notable mentions section and to include updated charts.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus true wireless charging case PowerShare S10e 2

Wireless PowerShare is a great trick to have up your sleeve when you’ve left the USB-C cable at home.

If battery life and functionality are your main concerns, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are king. These ‘buds provide some of the best battery life around for the $140 price. Samsung’s sophomore true wireless earphones lasted 11.7 hours on average before they needed to be recharged in the USB-C case.

Sound reproduction is very consumer-friendly. While there’s some bass emphasis, it’s nothing too exaggerated. This measn the Galaxy Buds Plus strategically toe the line of reproducing a “fun,” yet versatile sound that makes all genres sound good. Isolation is pretty good but won’t do much on a plane or in a subway car. The microphone does a great job of maintaining speech intelligibility during calls.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo:

Anyone who’s a huge fan of Spotify will want to throw down for these as they offer integrated Spotify support at the tap-and-hold of either touch panel. One of the best things about investing in Samsung’s true wireless earbuds is the company’s frequent updates. It even added Spotify integration to the old Galaxy Buds via a free update, so we expect this same care to be taken as the Galaxy Buds Plus age out.


Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum True wireless earbuds on a phone.

It doesn’t use the latest Qualcomm radio features, but the connection of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds is still quite good.

One of the best true wireless options available is the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. Sennheiser remains a veteran in the audio industry and consistently produces high-end audio products that perk up our ears. The company’s first attempt at true wireless earbuds provide excellent sound quality with the main drawback being cost.

While there aren’t many features offered, these true wireless earbuds stand out from the crowd by supporting aptX-Low Latency, which makes a world of difference when you’re streaming video or using these for gaming. That said, if you’re an iPhone user, only AAC and SBC are supported. Additionally, the Sennheiser app lets you EQ the sound according to your preferences.

Sennheiser momentum true wireless earbuds frequency response chart.

The Sennheiser Momentum’s frequency response is tuned to lessen distortion at the 2.5-7kHz range.

If we picked a best overall option, this model would be a front runner. While Apple’s AirPods are popular and convenient, the key difference here is that these earbuds can block outside noise and the AirPods 2 can’t. What’s more, the 2.5-7kHz dip exists for a good reason: this range tends to present resonances within the human ear canal. By sealing it up with a properly fitting earbud and playing music, this distortion is amplified; hence the de-emphasis.

The 4.175-hour battery life is average for true wireless earbuds and while auto-connectivity may not seem as seamless AirPods with iPhones, due to H1 chip support, aptX-LL support remains impressive.


Sony WF-1000XM3

Aerial view of the Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds in the case which is open.

You can pair the earbuds via NFC or the traditional Bluetooth pairing process. They can only connect to one device at a time.

Sony’s entry on this list is a solid jack of all trades, and a master of noise cancellation. Though not as good as its big brother, the WH-1000XM3, these ‘buds do a fantastic job at attenuating low-frequency sounds. This is super important because the base frequencies of most music live in the lows, which are very hard for in-ears to block out. If low-frequency noise gets into your ear canal, you’ll perceive a larger loss in audio quality due to auditory masking.

Sony WF-1000XM3 noise cancelling isolation chart.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 noise canceling is highly effective at attenuating low-frequency background noise.

These true wireless earbuds sound good, too. Even though the only high-quality Bluetooth codec supported is AAC, the new QN1e chip and DSEE HX processing promote clear audio reproduction. Again, it’s disappointing to see such limited codec support, but oftentimes it’s hard for listeners to distinguish between high-quality codecs anyway.

Battery life is above average: we were able to draw out 4.76 hours of playback before placing them into the case for a recharge. Quick charging is afforded, and just 10 minutes in the case affords 1.5 hours of playback. To completely charge the case takes 3.5 hours via the included USB-C cable.

Sony WF-1000XM3 microphone demo:

While the Sony WF-1000XM3 are quite expensive, they’re the best ANC true wireless ‘buds out there. These attenuate plane engines and car rumbles extremely well. Regardless of how far your traveling, you can rest assured that it’ll be a quiet endeavor.


Beats Powerbeats Pro

The Beats Powerbeats Pro are true wireless workout earbuds done right: the ear hook design bodes well for all activities while the touch controls remain easy to memorize and operate. Just like the AirPods and AirPods Pro, these earphones house Apple’s H1 chip, which allows for hands-free access to Siri and greater power efficiency further aided by Bluetooth 5.0 firmware. Beats went through the effort to get these IPX4-certified, so they can endure your sweatiest workouts.

beats powerbeats pro frequency response

SoundGuys Bass emphasis (pink) and boosted highs(cyan) are great for pop jams, but underemphasized mids can lead to some sounds not sounding “clear.”

Battery life is one of the most impressive things about these earbuds: SoundGuys recorded a standalone playback time of nearly 11 hours on a single charge. This outpaces most true wireless workout earbuds by nearly double the playtime. The case provides an additional 1.5 charges and sound quality is great for exercising, thanks to an emphasized sub-bass response.

Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone demo:

Athletes drawn to everything about the Powerbeats Pro except for the price should turn to the Beats Powerbeats. These standard wireless earbuds afford nearly all that the Pro model offers for less. Listeners benefit from H1 chip-integration, a water-resistant build, and almost 18 hours of playtime on a single charge.

Get your Beats Powerbeats Pro


Apple AirPods Pro

One single earbud of the AirPod Pro and Freebuds 3 side by side on a brown wallet

SoundGuys The earbuds look similar, but the new AirPods Pro have a slightly shorter stem and silicone ear tips for a better fit.

If you’re an iPhone user and can afford it, the Apple AirPods Pro are the best earbuds for you. Apple’s H1 chip does wonders for seamless device switching, hiccup-free streaming, and general efficiency. Not only that, but Apple completely changed the design of the AirPods with advent of the Pro edition: these have dedicated nozzles to facilitate active noise-cancelling. You can toggle between listening modes, including Transparency which allows you to hear your surroundings in case you need to respond to a train ticketer.

The stems have also been redesigned and are actually functional now. By squeezing them you can operate playback controls and cycle through listening modes. In order to accommodate the new AirPods Pro, Apple re-engineered the charging case; it’s now shorter and stouter than before and supports wireless charging by default.

Apple AirPods Pro microphone demo:

Just like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, these earbuds have an IPX4 rating so they’re a great pick for people who want the option to exercise to music without buying multiple pairs of earphones. Battery life is fine and clocks in just under five hours on a single charge, which is better than the Sony WF-1000XM3 with ANC on. If the AirPods Pro are cost-prohibitive, there are an array of great alternatives available.


True wireless earbuds complete test results

I only highlighted three models here. If you want to see how they all did, the data’s all here. Even the best truly wireless earbuds have a tough time competing with similarly-priced Bluetooth headsets connected by a wire or neckband. Poor battery life, sub-par Bluetooth codecs, and terrible connection strength plague this product category.

 Battery life (75dB)Bluetooth CodecAttenuation average
(dBSPL)
Price
Jabra Elite 65t5.85 hoursSBC14.23$170
Bose SoundSport Free4.583 hoursSBCNegligible$200
Bang & Olufsen E8 Wireless4.45 hoursaptXVaries by tip$299
JBL Free4.333 hoursSBC6.9$129
Sol Republic Amps Air3.98 hoursSBC8.91$100
Anker Zolo Liberty3.567 hoursSBC6.83$99
Earin M-23.5 hoursaptXVaries by tip$250
Apple AirPods3.45 hoursAACNegligible$159
Optoma Nuforce BE Free83.1 hoursaptX6.99$129
Sony WF-SP700N2.583 hoursSBC19$179
Samsung Gear IconX1.52 hoursaptX7.19$180

You should take those average isolation numbers with a grain of salt, because not every set blocks out the same frequencies. The Jabra and Sony above appeared similarly good, but the Jabra had a 0dB rating under 1000Hz, which is where most of your music is. The difference between the Sony WF-SP700N and the rest of the pack is that it can lop off about 10dB of noise in that range where no other truly wireless earbuds can.

There’s no “one size fits all” standard out there for frequency responses — people’s biology varies too greatly for that. We highlighted the Samsung Gear IconX because it’s not only the easiest to equalize, but it generally sounds the most clear of the options here. Some models targeted something akin to an equal-loudness contour with emphasized bass (pink) and treble (cyan), and others aimed for a more studio (read: “flat” or “neutral”) response.

How we tested

Audio engineers use a dummy head to test out how products will perform for most people — we did too. Specifically, we tested frequency response, isolation, and battery life to keep things simple. You can read more about it here if you want to know more about the specifics.

  • For each product, we played several sine sweeps through the earphones, and logged the frequency response once we arrived at a repeatable result demonstrating the hallmarks of a good seal.
  • To test the battery, we use pink noise and a real-time analyzer to find the setting needed to output 75dB(SPL) over the products, and we play music on an infinite loop. This means every reading can be directly compared to each other.
  • To test isolation, we took a sample of pink noise at 90dB SPL at one meter, once with the headphones off, and another with the headphones on. We then subtract one curve from the other.

These three tests are simple — they cover the biggest areas of concern with true wireless earbuds. Your battery life will vary if you tend to crank the volume. Additionally, you could squeak out better isolation performance with third-party tips.

What we considered

We buy most of our test units, so this one got expensive. In order to figure out what to test, we used what we knew from reviewing this category since its beginnings. While most people know only the AirPods, a slew of products you may not know much about have hit the market. We took the units that held up the best in daily use, and rolled with that.

That means many true wireless earbuds didn’t quite make it into our article for one reason or another. It’s not that they’re bad, they just have a major tradeoff or two. You may find one of these fit your needs better than what’s listed above.

Honorable mentions

Jaybird Vista true wireless workout earbuds charging case backpack

The Jaybird Vista true wireless workout earbuds are stylish and covert.
Credit: Lily Katz / Android Authority
The Jaybird Vista true wireless workout earbuds are stylish and covert.

  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: These earbuds serve as a worthy budget option for listeners who want a headset with an excellent microphone system. Bluetooth connectivity is stable and the IPX5 certification is appreciated. The controls take some adjustment, but the SoundCore app makes it easy to remap them.
  • Apple AirPods: We’re not biased — I swear! These lack in certain areas relating to sound (isolation) and form. They’ve got great features and decent battery life owing to that W1 chip, but some people straight up won’t be able to use them because they don’t seal the ear canal or even really hold your outer-ear’s helix.
  • Bang & Olufsen E8 Wireless: This model was absolutely exceptional in features, battery life, and isolation (memory foam tips are a godsend). However, it had persistent connection issues with Windows 10 and Android devices. Considering it’s the most expensive entry in our competition here ($300), those problems — plus a strange sound — were enough to sink them.
  • Bose SoundSport Free: These were disqualified because they could not maintain a connection to three different devices. They have great battery life and sound good enough, but the product has to actually work well for us to recommend it as a top pick.
  • Earin M-2: These are actually pretty good. We honestly don’t have many nits to pick here, they just weren’t the best in any of our categories. They’re essentially our Mendoza line.
  • Google Pixel Buds (2020): While these aren’t the best option for everyone Google finally got it right with the new true wireless Pixel Buds. If you’re looking for a hands-free wireless Google Assistant experience these are for you.
  • Jabra Elite Active 75tJabra improved its workout line of earphones as the Elite Active 75t supplies over seven hours of listening on a single charge. What’s more, the downsized design is more comfortable than before. These are great true wireless earbuds to get for conference calls, and they support mulitpoint, which is great for keeping tabs on your phone and desktop simultaneously.
  • Jabra Elite 75t: These earbuds used to be the best you could get, and they’re still a great option. Battery life is stellar and they’re one of the more durable options on the market.
  • Jaybird Vista: Athletes and runners in particular, should pay attention to these IPX7-rated earbuds. Jaybird updated the connection mechanism from the older Jaybird Run, making wireless streaming more stable.
  • JLab GO Air: For just $30, it doesn’t get better than this. JLab integrated its new Dual Connect technology which creates two independent connections from your smartphone to the earbuds, enabling a more consistent connection. They’re durable and easy to pocket; sound quality isn’t the best but every headset has its shortcomings.
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds: These are a top-pick for Samsung Galaxy owners. The scalable Samsung codec provides a fine balance of connection reliability and audio quality.

Next: Best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds

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