Whether you're a fan of jazz, rock, or EDM, sound quality is important, even when shopping for wireless earbuds. While there's no true one-size-fits-all approach to determining what sounds best to everyone, there are certain qualities you want to keep an eye on. A neutral sound profile is ideal since it's versatile - most people find it sounds good with a wide range of music genres. However, some people prefer more bass, while others like a brighter sound. As long as there's a balance between bass and treble, with a clear and even mid-range in-between, you can find something that suits your tastes without sounding muddy, cluttered, or dull.
We've tested over 200 wireless earbuds and in-ears, and below are our top recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for sound quality to purchase. See our recommendations for the best earbuds and in-ears, the best earbuds for bass, the best neckband headphones, and the best truly wireless earbuds.
The best wireless earbuds for sound quality that we've tested are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. These compact in-ears have a very well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, with adequate thump and rumble, clear, present vocals and lead instruments, and detailed sibilants. Their companion app allows you to choose between five other EQ presets if you aren't a fan of their default audio reproduction.
They have a comfortable, shallow fit, so you should be able to wear them for fairly extended periods without experiencing any discomfort. Their lightweight construction and silicone stability fins enable them to stay firmly in place, even during intense workout sessions. They supply over 13 hours of runtime on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a full day's use, though their case only supplies roughly one extra charge.
Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive control scheme can be hard to use if you're wearing gloves, and it's easy to make an accidental input. They also really struggle to filter out bass-range ambient noise, like the rumble of bus or plane engines, which could be disruptive during your commute. Otherwise, their well-balanced default sound profile, comfortable, stable fit, and relatively impressive battery life also help make them some of the best headphones under $200 that we've tested.
If you want to fine-tune your listening experience in greater detail, you may want to consider the JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless. These in-ears have a less stable fit than the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless and a much shorter single-charge battery life, but their companion app features a parametric EQ that allows you to customize their sound profile far more extensively than the Samsung's audio presets. Still, out-of-the-box, these headphones have a well-balanced sound profile that's suited for a wide variety of content and musical genres. Thanks to their ANC feature, they also block out more noise than the Samsung, which is good if you want to stay focused on your music during your commute or time at work.
Get the Samsung if you don't want to charge your headphones quite as often, but consider the JBL if you want a more adjustable listening experience.
The best sounding wireless noise cancelling earbuds that we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. These truly wireless earbuds have a very neutral sound profile that should suit a wide variety of musical genres. They have an adjustable active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that filters out ambient noise to an impressive degree, allowing you to stay focused on your music even in loud or crowded environments.
These earbuds are very well-built, with a high-grade plastic construction that should survive a couple of minor drops and bumps without much trouble. They provide more than seven hours of playback time on a single charge and come with a case that supplies roughly two additional charges, which should be enough to get you through your day. Thanks to their stability wings, they shouldn't have trouble staying firmly in place even during workouts.
Unfortunately, they're relatively bulky as far as truly wireless earbuds are concerned, and they stick out quite far from your ears. Also, while their companion app features a range of adjustment options for noise cancelling and control remapping, it doesn't allow you to customize their sound profile with presets or an EQ. Still, if you're looking for truly wireless earbuds with a premium-feeling design and a well-balanced sound profile, they're a good option.
If you're looking for neutral-sounding earbuds with a more comfortable fit, you may prefer the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. Their sound profile lacks a bit of low-bass, unlike the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, but their sound is well-balanced overall, and their lighter, less bulky design should be much more comfortable for most. Their ANC system is similarly effective at isolating you from bass-range noises like rumbling engines, and it does a better job of blocking out distractions like ambient chatter. These earbuds have a shorter continuous battery life than the Bose, but their small, sturdy case holds around five additional charges. However, they don't have a companion app and lack sound customization features.
Try the Bose if you want the headphones with a more accurate bass response or a longer continuous battery life, but consider the Apple instead if you're looking for a more comfortable fit or a somewhat better noise isolation performance.
The JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless are the best wireless earbuds for sound quality in the budget category that we've tested. These sports-oriented earbuds come in a few different bright colors and have a very stable fit, thanks to their ear-hook design. Their sound profile is very neutral, with a bit of extra thump, rumble, and punch that shouldn't make mixes muddy or overwhelm vocals and lead instruments.
Their continuous battery life of roughly nine hours is long enough to last you a 9-5 workday or a couple of long workouts without recharging. Despite not having an ANC feature, they have an impressive noise isolation performance and even block out an alright amount of bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines. They're also decently well-built, with sturdy-feeling earbuds and an IPX7 rating for water resistance.
However, while they're adequately comfortable, some may find them fatiguing to wear for long periods because of their thick ear hooks and limited tip options. The touch-sensitive controls are a bit tricky to use when you're on the go, too. That said, these sports headphones offer a well-balanced sound profile suitable for a variety of content, from genres like EDM and hip-hop to podcasts.
If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds, you may prefer the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless. These budget-friendly earbuds have a shorter continuous battery life than the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless, but they don't have a cable that goes around your neck, which makes them much more compact and portable. While they're sometimes above our usual price point, they're currently on sale. They have a very neutral sound profile, with a more accurate bass response than the JBL, which some may prefer. They're also decently well-built and comfortable. Their battery only provides roughly four hours of continuous use on a single charge, but on the plus side, they come with a good hard plastic case that holds about 1.3 additional charges.
If longer continuous battery life is important to you or you prefer a more bass-rich sound, go for the JBL, but try the Anker instead if you're looking for budget-friendly, truly wireless earbuds.
Sep 29, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock. There were no changes to picks but added the Wyze Buds Pro Truly Wireless to the Notable Mentions because of their very neutral sound profile.
Aug 03, 2021: Replaced the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Truly Wireless with the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless as the 'Truly Wireless Alternative' to the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless because the TaoTronics are out of stock. Added the Sony WI-C310 Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Jun 04, 2021: Checked the text for accuracy and product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Apr 06, 2021: Replaced Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 with TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Truly Wireless as alternative to the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless due to current availability; replaced 'More Comfortable Alternative' category with 'Truly Wireless Alternative' category. Added Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 to Notable Mentions.
Feb 04, 2021: Replaced Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless as 'Alternative With A Better Microphone' with JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless as 'More Customizable Alternative'. Replaced Sony WI-1000X Wireless with Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. Renamed 'Truly Wireless Alternative' category to 'More Comfortable Alternative'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best sounding wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones. 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.