With Apple AirPods' design becoming so iconic in the past few years, many cheap knockoffs have become available. Unfortunately, while some of these may look identical to the AirPods, they generally don't perform nearly as well, and in many cases, you may have little to no recourse if something goes wrong with them. For this reason, you may be better off sticking to headphones from a reputable brand that mimics the AirPods' design language but aren't straight knockoffs. Our recommendations may not look identical to the AirPods, but they have the familiar 'stem' and deliver solid overall performance at much lower price points.
We’ve tested over 120 different pairs of Bluetooth earbuds, and below, you’ll find our top picks for the best AirPods alternative. Check also 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 AirPods alternative that we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. These well-built truly wireless in-ears have a decently versatile overall performance that should please lots of different listeners. They're decently comfortable, and they have a stable in-ear fit, so they shouldn't fall out of your ears during your workout.
Overall, these headphones have a bass-heavy sound profile that adds an extra boom and punch to your audio. If you prefer a different sound, you can use the graphic EQ and presets in the Anker Soundcore companion app to change their sound. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can blast your favorite tunes without annoying anyone around you.
Unfortunately, their microphone has a mediocre recording quality, so your voice can sound muffled and lacking in detail. Also, their touch-sensitive control scheme is a bit limited, as there are only four commands to choose from. On the upside, they can program the controls in the companion app, which is nice.
If you're looking for an AirPods alternative on a tighter budget, consider the Mpow X3 instead. While they don't have any sound customization features like the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless, these well-built in-ears still offer a decently versatile performance at a lower price. They're more comfortable than the Anker, and they also have a very stable in-ear fit. Their sound profile is more neutral and balanced, so they're still suitable for a wide range of audio content. They don't leak a lot of noise, either. Unfortunately, their ANC feature doesn't really cancel out a lot of background noise, which may be disappointing if you want to wear your headphones during your commute.
If you want a more customizable pair with a better noise isolation performance, check out the Anker. However, if you want more comfortable, less expensive headphones, consider the Mpow instead.
The RHA TrueConnect are the best AirPods alternative with a nice design that we've tested. While they may be a bit more pricey than others on this list, these well-built headphones have a slim stem design. They're available in three colors, including matte white, which help to give them a more AirPods look and feel.
They have a bass-heavy sound that's well suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. Due to their in-ear fit, they have very good noise isolation, and they don't leak a lot of audio either. If you like to run or work out, they're also stable enough for moderate exercise, and they're even rated IPX5 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. They've even got a decent and easy-to-use control scheme, which is nice when you're on the go and don't want to pull out your smartphone. They come with three sets of both silicone and foam tips, so you can get the best fit for your needs.
Unfortunately, they have a fairly low continuous battery life of 4.5 hours. While they don't have any power-saving features, they charge in just under an hour, and there are four additional charges in their case, which helps to improve their overall battery performance. RHA also advertises that these earbuds can reach up to a 50% charge in only 15 minutes, but we don't currently test for this feature. That being said, these headphones deliver a sleek and functional design, making them the best AirPods alternative with a nice design that we've tested.
If you're looking for something with fairly neutral audio reproduction, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air are the best AirPods alternative for sound quality that we've tested. Although they're the predecessor of the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless, they have a similarly flat-edged stem design that's comfortable and portable. They also have a more neutral sound that more discerning listeners may enjoy.
Right out-of-the-box, they have a balanced sound profile with a touch of extra bass that's thumpy and punchy without being too overwhelming, making them suitable for most audio content. Their in-ear design helps them to isolate a decent amount of background noise, even without an active noise cancelling feature. They come with four tip sizes so you can find the best fit for your needs. Even though they don't have a long continuous battery life, they charge up pretty quickly, and they even have a standby mode to help conserve energy when not in use.
Unfortunately, although they're cheaper than the Liberty Air 2, they have a barebone design lacking in additional features. Their battery only lasts about four hours, and it may not be enough to get you through your day. Their microphone has a mediocre performance, producing muffled voices lacking in detail. However, that being said, if you're looking for more neutral audio reproduction from your AirPods alternative headphones, these deliver a balanced sound that works for a variety of genres.
If you listen to more bass-heavy EDM like dubstep, house, or techno, get the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive. They have a bulkier earbud design and larger case than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless, but their default EQ setting gives them a more V-shaped sound signature that some people prefer. They pack a ton of bass for lots of rumble and punch while still leaving enough room for vocals and instruments to sound present, bright, and clear. Their overemphasized treble can sound a bit harsh and piercing, though. Fortunately, they have a few onboard EQ presets that you can cycle through - we didn't test them, but the bass boost feature should help cut the treble for those sensitive to higher frequencies.
If you listen to a wide variety of genres and want a more neutral sound profile, get the Anker, but if you like quite a bit extra thump and kick, go for the JLab.
11/12/2020: Slight changes to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
09/15/2020: Replaced Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless with Mpow X3 Truly Wireless, moved Anker SoundCore Life P2 to 'Notable Mentions'. Minor changes to recommendation category names to better reflect current testing standards.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best AirPods alternatives 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.