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 reviewed over 120 different pairs of Bluetooth earbuds so far, 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 so far.
The best AirPods alternative that we've tested so far are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. These well-built earbuds have a very similar design to the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, but at a fraction of the price. They don't have active noise cancelling, but they're still surprisingly feature-packed, especially for the price.
By default, these truly wireless in-ears have an excited, yet still quite well-balanced sound profile with some extra thump and rumble to make your favorite EDM and hip-hop tracks stand out. What sets them apart from other AirPods clones we've tested, however, is their compatibility with the Anker Soundcore app, which gives you lots of sound customization options, including an 8-band EQ. They also isolate quite a bit of noise passively, last over six hours on a charge, and their case supports wireless Qi charging.
While their touch-sensitive controls provide more options than the older Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless, they're still not the best. They don't provide much feedback, making it difficult to know if a command was registered or not, and the touch control surface is quite small. That said, it's a small price to pay for these otherwise very well-rounded earbuds that provide great value as an AirPods Pro clone.
If you're looking for something a little more affordable, consider the Mpow X3. Despite having an ANC system, they're less effective in blocking out ambient noise than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. They also don't have a companion app that allows you to modify their sound profile and have a shorter continuous battery life, as well as a case that doesn't support wireless charging. However, they have a comfier and more stable fit, a more intuitive control scheme, and a shorter recharge time, not to mention a much cheaper retail price. They also provide an exceptionally consistent, mostly well-balanced listening experience.
Get the Anker if you want a pair of truly wireless headphones with a dedicated companion app and superior noise isolation, but consider the Mpow if you're looking for something with similar overall performance and a cheaper price tag.
The RHA TrueConnect are the best AirPods alternative with a nice design that we've tested so far. 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 with headphones, 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.
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.
07/17/2020: No major updates; slight changes to the text.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best AirPods alternatives we've tested so far. 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.