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The 5 Best AirPods Alternatives - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best AirPods Alternatives

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 but still perform well. While our recommendations don't look identical to the AirPods, they still have the familiar 'stem' and deliver solid overall performance. Some even rival Apple's premium buds, although you may pay a higher cost for them.

We've tested over 220 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.

  1. Best AirPods Alternative

    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 more bass-heavy sound than what we measured. The shape of our test rig's ear canal affects their bass delivery, and subjectively, they have extra boom, which isn't captured in our graphs. This added bass is good if you like genres such as 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 thicker, it's a bit of an advantage as the control surface is also 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.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range AirPods Alternative

    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.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range AirPods Alternative

    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.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget AirPods Alternative

    Even though Apple doesn't offer any wireless buds at this price point, it doesn't mean you need to spend more to find something close in performance to their products. The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless are a good compromise if you want something more wallet-friendly without sacrificing too much. They're not as feature-packed as the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless and lack an ANC to help cut down ambient sound around you. However, they still offer solid performance and are compatible with the Anker Soundcore app, so you can customize their otherwise bass-heavy sound to suit your tastes.

    Although they have a deep in-ear fit and aren't as comfortable as AirPods, they're still well-built, stable, and certified IPX5 for resistance against direct water damage. They can also passively block out a good amount of sound, like ambient chatter at the office. They struggle to reduce the rumble of bus and plane engines, so they may not be ideal for noisy commutes. They continuously last over six hours, and their carrying case supplies three extra charges if needed.

    See our review

  5. Best Sounding AirPods Alternative

    AirPods are well-regarded for their well-balanced and detailed sound. If you're looking for something similarly neutral yet just as versatile, you'll want to check out the EarFun Air Pro 2 True Wireless 2021. These earbuds have a touch of extra thump, body, and boom to warm tracks. The added bass doesn't overwhelm vocals and instruments, so your mixes sound natural and clear. Their stem design is also similar to the AirPods. However, while they have a very well-balanced sound out of the box, they don't have a companion app and lack any sound customization features to help you personalize their sound.

    They have an ANC feature that does a decent job blocking out ambient noise like rumbling bus and plane engines and background conversation. They're well-built, decently comfortable, stable, and have many different silicone tip size options. While they have a fairly short continuous battery life of about 5.8 hours, they come with a case with four extra charges. The case also supports Qi wireless charging.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless: The Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless are budget-friendly in-ears with a similar build and design to the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. They don't have companion app support and don't block out nearly as much ambient noise. See our review
  • OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless: The OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless have a similar appearance to AirPods and a well-balanced sound profile. They support multi-device pairing but have shorter continuous battery life and a less effective ANC feature than the Anker Soundcore Life P3 Truly Wireless. See our review
  • Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless: The Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless are cheap in-ears with a more neutral sound than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. However, their continuous battery life is a lot shorter, and they aren't as comfortable. See our review
  • Wyze Buds Pro Truly Wireless: The Wyze Βuds Pro Truly Wireless have an AirPods-like stem design and a very neutral sound profile but lack a bit of low bass compared to the EarFun Air Pro 2 True Wireless 2021. Their continuous battery life is shorter, but they have a more stable fit. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 15, 2023: Removed the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless from the Notable Mentions since they're discontinued.

  2. Feb 16, 2023: Moved the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless to Notable Mentions and replaced the Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless with the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless.

  3. 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.

  4. Jul 18, 2022: Replaced the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless as the 'Best Cheap AirPods Alternative'.

  5. Apr 26, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available.

All Reviews

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.