With the Apple AirPods' design becoming so iconic in the past few years, many companies have started to imitate their look and shape. However, most third-party knockoffs are among some of the worst in-ears you can buy, so you're better off sticking to headphones from reputable brands that mimic the AirPods' design language and still perform well. While our recommendations don't look identical to the AirPods, they all deliver solid performance and many have the familiar 'stem' design you might be looking for. Some even rival Apple's premium buds, although you may pay a higher cost for them.
We've tested over 240 pairs of Bluetooth earbuds and in-ears, and these are our top picks for the best alternatives to Apple's AirPods. Check our recommendations for the overall best wireless earbuds for iPhone, the best true wireless earbuds, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100 we've tested.
The best alternative to AirPods we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless. These in-ears rival the premium Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, with better active noise cancellation (ANC) to block out more background noise across the entire range. They have a well-balanced sound profile that delivers extra bass—more than you can see in our results because of the shape of our test rig's ear canal. Subjectively, they pack in extra boom, which is good if you like genres like hip-hop or EDM but also muddies vocals and instruments. On the upside, their companion app features three ANC settings and a graphic EQ with presets for optimal personalization.
While their stem is shorter and thicker, it's arguably advantageous as the control surface is larger, making inputs easier. These headphones also have similar comfort, so you can wear them for long listening sessions without feeling much fatigue. They're also slightly more stable, meaning they're less likely to fall off during a workout. While the AirPods' battery lasts less than the Bose's 6.7-hour playback time, the AirPods have a charge more in their case, meaning they have a slightly higher total battery life.
The best AirPods Pro alternative we've tested in the upper mid-range price point are the JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless. These lightweight in-ear headphones have the same 'stem and bud' design as the AirPods and are very comfortable and stable once you find a good fit with the included ear tips. They have an IPX4 rating for dust and water resistance and feel sturdy enough to withstand accidental drops, making them a good pick for gymgoers and hikers.
Out-of-the-box, their sound profile has a more bass-heavy sound profile than the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, with extra thump, rumble, and boom that will suit fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. If you prefer a different sound, you can use the companion app's parametric EQ and presets to customize it. While the JBL's ANC system does a good job of blocking out ambient noise, the AirPods perform better for this and can cut out more noise overall.
In the mid-range price point, the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless are the best AirPods Pro clone we've tested. They're just as comfortable as the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, have a similar control scheme, and have nearly identical continuous and total battery life. They also have a more bass-heavy sound profile, which will please fans of EDM and hip-hop, and their app comes with a graphic EQ and presets to fine-tune your audio.
Apple doesn't offer EQ or sound customization with their AirPods, making these a more versatile choice. However, while these lower-cost in-ears have great internals, the reduced price point is mainly felt in real-life experience. They feel more plasticky and less premium. The case's lid is also extremely flimsy and feels like it could break if dropped while open.
While both in-ears have excellent ANC, the AirPods block out more of the rumble from bus and plane engines, making them more suitable for commuting. Naturally, they also have better compatibility with the Apple ecosystem, allowing for faster pairing and access to software like Apple Music's Spatial Audio. With this in mind, the Anker are a great pick if you want the same performance as the AirPods but don't care about premium features.
Even though Apple doesn't offer any wireless buds at this price point, you can still get some of the same features and design from a pair of budget headphones. The Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless don't have features like ANC or sound customization, but they have a similar stem design and a solid build quality. They have a well-balanced, versatile sound profile that adds a bit of warmth and boom in your audio without overwhelming instruments and vocals. Without ANC, they aren't a good choice for reducing rumbling engines during your commute, but they do a very good job of passively isolating you from higher-pitched sounds like background conversations at the office.
They aren't as comfortable as AirPods but are stable enough to stay in place during workouts and come with an IPX4 rating for resistance against minor water exposure. Unfortunately, battery performance is a weak point for these earbuds. They only last for just over three hours of continuous use, and the case only holds about 2.5 additional charges. On the plus side, they have a standby mode to help conserve power and charge fully in about half an hour.
AirPods are well-regarded for well-balanced and detailed sound. The Nothing Ear (2) Truly Wireless are a good alternative if you want something similarly neutral. These earbuds have a stem design similar to AirPods' and even come in white if you also like the look of Apple earbuds. More importantly, they have a well-balanced sound profile, so your audio has the right amount of rumble and body, while instruments and voices are clear and bright-sounding. Unlike AirPods, they offer an in-app EQ and presets for sound customization. There's also a feature meant to customize the sound based on the shape of your ears.
These earbuds have an ANC feature, but it doesn't match the AirPods' noise isolation performance. However, it's good at blocking sounds like background chit-chat or an A/C unit and isolates you from some lower-pitched noise like rumbling engines. The buds have a comfortable fit and a premium feel. They're rated IP55 for dust and water resistance and are stable enough to stay in place for workouts. Their continuous battery life of 5.6 hours isn't great, but they come with a case with about four additional charges.
Jul 11, 2023: Removed some products that are out of stock. Replaced the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless, and the EarFun Air Pro 2 True Wireless 2021 with the Nothing Ear (2) Truly Wireless.
Dec 21, 2022: We've replaced our top pick with the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless and overhauled the list's structure to be in-line with current methodologies by replacing activity-focused picks with price-focused picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best AirPods clones that we've tested. We factor in the price (a cheaper option wins over pricier a one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (nothing that's too hard to find or out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our truly wireless earbuds. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.