Update: January 16, 2021: This list was updated to add a poll at the bottom of the article.
Wireless earbuds are a great option for listeners who don’t want to feel tethered to their phones. There are innumerable options available, from the dirt cheap to ridiculously expensive. Today we’re here to cover a few our top pick for the best wireless earbuds.
Best wireless earbuds:
- LG Tone Flex HBS-XL7
- OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2
- Jaybird X4
- Beats Powerbeats
- Jaybird Tarah Pro
- Sony WI-C400
1. LG Tone Flex XL7
The LG Tone XL7 headset is one of the best all-around options for consumers because it boasts a stylish, resilient design and excellent audio quality despite the limited Bluetooth codec support. That’s right, AAC is the only high-quality streaming option, but everyone can benefit from the 32-bit DAC that upsamples low-quality audio files. What’s more, the drivers are tuned by Meridian Audio, a leader in high-fidelity audio.
LG Tone Flex XL7 microphone demo:
On the right side of the neckband is a dedicated Google Assistant button for making inquiries, commands, setting timers, and more. The neckband is also outfitted with a USB-C input and basic on-board controls. Battery life is pretty good: you can listen to music for 10 hours straight before charging up. Even if you’re crunched for time, you can still get quite a bit of juice from these earbuds thanks to fast charging: 10 minutes of charging provides three hours of playtime. The earbuds also support multipoint connectivity, so you can connect to two devices at a time with these ‘buds.
2. OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2
You don’t need to use a OnePlus smartphone to enjoy all the perks the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 have to offer. These wireless neckband earbuds operate via Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and support aptX HD for high-quality wireless audio. They also support quick charging: 10 minutes of charging via USB-C provides 10 hours of playback. SoundGuys’ testing yielded 14.2 hours of listening on a single charge.
Sound quality is enjoyable for most general consumers. Bass notes sound louder than midrange notes, which means vocals may sound quiet at times. Isolation, on the other hand, is impeccable for a pair of non-ANC earbuds. If you commute often and don’t want to shell out for noise-cancelling earbuds, these are your next best bet.
3. Jaybird X4
The Jaybird X4 earbuds are IPX7-rated, meaning they can withstand full submersion of one meter for up to 30 minutes. Battery life is average, and you’ll get around eight hours of playback on a single charge. This falls short of other wireless earbuds, but more than enough to account for most listeners’ workout schedules. When the battery depletes, you have to finagle the remote module into a proprietary charging cradle, which proves a bit inconvenient.
Read on: Jaybird X4 vs. Jaybird Tarah
The housings fit nicely against the ear, and the nozzles are angled for an ergonomic fit. Jaybird features a clever cable cinch mechanism, so you can manage unwieldy cables. Athletes should consider these reasonably priced buds.
4. Beats Powerbeats
These are the best wireless earbuds for listeners who don’t want to invest in the Apple AirPods Pro or Beats PowerBeats Pro. They’re Class 1 Bluetooth-compliant, support AAC, and use Apple’s H1 chip. This means you’re afforded hands-free access to Siri as well as even more streamlined device switching on iOS.
Beats Powerbeats microphone demo:
Athletes should strongly consider these earphones due to the stable fit provided by the ear hook design and angled nozzles. The ear hooks are adjustable so even those with larger or smaller-than-average ears can find a proper fit. As far as sound qulaity is concerned, bass notes are emphasized but not to an egregious extent. If you’re an iPhone user looking for a versatile pair of workout earbuds, the Beats Powerbeats are it.
5. Jaybird Tarah Pro
The Jaybird Tarh Pro are the perfect companion for any athlete who wants their earbuds to be as tough as they are. These are IPX7-rated, and can withstand just about anything. The wing tips hold the earbuds in place, while the large control module makes it easy to operate the headset mid-exercise.
Battery life is great: you can get up to 16 hours of playtime from these on a single charge. The earbuds can be rotated for a traditional descending fit, or you can wrap the cable over and around the back of your ears for a more secure fit.
6. Sony WI-C400
The Sony WI-C400 is a great pair of cheap neckbuds to get you through the day. Sony includes several ear tip options, so you can find the best fit for your ears. You’ll want to take the time to do so, since fit greatly impacts a headset’s ability to block out background noise, optimizing sound quality.
You’ll get 20 hours of playtime from these earbuds before you have to charge them up via microUSB cable. You’ll find all of the controls on the neckband interior for things like playback and call functionality.
Best wireless earbuds: Honorable mentions
- Beats Flex: These earbuds succeed the BeatsX, and deliver 12 hours of playback on a single charge. They feature magnetic earbud housings, which enable auto play/pause functionality, and house Apple’s W1 chip.
- Huawei FreeLace Pro: If you want a pair of earbuds that work well, and don’t cost too much, get the FreeLace Pro.
- RHA T20 Wireless: RHA’s earbuds feature an interchangeable filter system that gives the listener control of how the earbuds sound.
- Sony WI-1000XM2: These noise-cancelling earbuds are for people who appreciate fine build quality.
What you should know about wireless earbuds
A proper fit can vastly improve audio quality. It’s worth taking a few moments to test out the standard ear tip options. If a pair is too large or small, you could be missing out on bumping bass and general clarity.
Many of these have merited an IP certification. This stands for “Ingress Protection” and is a moniker used to inform consumers that a pair of earbuds has gone through rigorous testing to ensure water-resistance. IPX4 is the standard water-resistance rating for workout earbuds, and you shouldn’t submerge any headset unless it has an IPX7 rating or higher.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
SoundGuys is our sister site that focuses solely on all things audio. The team has a broad understanding of audio and respects that certain aspects are objective and quantifiable without disregarding the importance of subjective enjoyment. When it comes to consumer audio, SoundGuys strives to cut through the muck, granting readers more time to enjoy their music. Ultimately, the team hopes to educate readers with each post and pique the interest of fellow audio geeks.