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 180 different pairs of Bluetooth earbuds and in-ears, 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 truly wireless in-ears are sturdily-built, with a dense plastic construction and an IPX5 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for that. They supply over six hours of continuous playback time and have a case that supplies roughly three additional charges, though they don't have any power-saving features like an auto-off timer to help conserve power when not in use.
Out-of-the-box, these in-ears have a bass-heavy sound profile that should add extra boominess to some mixes, though vocals and lead instruments should still sound full-bodied, present, and clear. If that's not to your liking, their companion app features an eight-band graphic EQ, as well as 20 different EQ presets to choose from. They also do a very good job of passively blocking out background chatter and high-pitched ambient noise, like the hum of an AC unit.
Unfortunately, they struggle to filter out low-end background noise, like the rumble of bus or plane engines. Their control scheme can also be a little unintuitive due to the lack of feedback. Still, their sturdy construction and sound customization features help make them some of the best wireless Bluetooth headphones under $100 that we've tested.
If you're looking to spend less on an alternative to AirPods, consider the Boltune BT-BH024 Truly Wireless. They don't have a companion app like the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless, so you can't customize your listening experience in-depth, but they're significantly cheaper, still feel quite well-built, and are rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for that. They have a bass-heavy sound profile that doesn't clutter or muddy vocals or lead instruments, though their underemphasized treble response does result in a slight loss of clarity. Their nine-hour plus continuous battery life is longer than that of the Anker, and they have a case that supplies about five extra charges, so you shouldn't need to worry about running out of power too often, though battery consumption can vary in the real-world.
Get the Anker if you want a more customizable listening experience, but take a look at the Boltune if you want to save money without sacrificing build quality or battery life.
The best AirPods clone for sports that we've tested are the Mpow X3 Truly Wireless. These noise cancelling truly wireless in-ears have a compact, lightweight design that allows them to stay firmly in place even during intense workouts. They feel sturdy enough to take a couple of drops and bumps and are even rated IPX8 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.
They have a well-balanced sound profile that's versatile enough for a wide variety of content, from hip-hop to podcasts. Their shallow in-ear fit is quite comfortable and helps them deliver audio very consistently once you find a suitable fit with their included ear tips. They provide over five hours of battery life with their noise cancelling feature turned on, which is unremarkable for a pair of truly wireless headphones, but they come with a case that supplies over three additional full charges. You can also use their standby mode to conserve their charge when not in use.
Unfortunately, they do a disappointing job of blocking out ambient noise, even with their ANC feature turned on. However, that could be a benefit if you plan on using them while running outdoors and want to stay aware of your surroundings. They also lack any sort of sound customization features. Otherwise, their sturdy design, stable fit, and versatile sound profile also help make them one of the best headphones for running that we've tested.
If you're looking for something with fairly neutral audio reproduction, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless 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 in 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 their successor, they have a barebones 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. That 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're a fan of genres like EDM or hip-hop and want a bass-heavy sound profile, you may want to consider the OnePlus Buds Z Truly Wireless. They have a shorter continuous battery life than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless and filter out less ambient noise, but they supply a lot more thump and rumble and have a comfier fit. They also feel better-built, with an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Their integrated mic delivers superior recording quality and noise handling performance, which could be handy if you plan on making phone calls with them. Their auto-off timer is also a handy feature, as it helps to extend their short continuous battery life. Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive control scheme only works when they're paired to a OnePlus phone, which is a significant nuisance.
Get the Anker if you want a more neutral sound profile and more functionality across a broader range of devices, but consider the OnePlus if you have a OnePlus smartphone and want a more exaggerated bass profile.
Mar 16, 2021: Verified that main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category. Added Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Nov 12, 2020: Slight changes to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
Sep 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.