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 170 wireless earbuds and in-ears, and below are our top recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for sound quality to purchase. See also our recommendations for the best earbuds and in-ears, the best earbuds for bass, the best neckband headphones, and for 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 also 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. These truly wireless earbuds have a very neutral sound profile that should suit a wide variety of musical genres. They're equipped with 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 also 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 more comfortable noise-canceling earbuds, consider the Apple AirPods Pro instead. They have a shorter continuous battery life than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and a companion app with fewer customization options, but they have a more comfortable fit with a more compact design. They also do a slightly better job of blocking out ambient noise so you can stay focused on what you're listening to, though their performance in this respect is still quite similar. Like the Bose, while they don't have any sound customization options, their sound profile is well-balanced, making them a good option for a variety of musical genres. Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive control scheme can take some time to get used to and doesn't feature any onboard volume controls.
Get the Bose if you want longer continuous battery life and an adjustable ANC feature, but consider the Apple if you want a more comfortable fit.
The best wireless earbuds for sound quality in the budget category that we've tested are the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless. These colorful headphones are well-suited for sports, thanks to their stable, ear-hook design. They also have a well-balanced sound profile with a touch of extra bass that shouldn't overwhelm instruments and vocals.
They have a nine-hour continuous battery life, which should be enough to last you through your 9-5 workday or on your daily commute. While they don't have an ANC feature, they can passively isolate a great amount of noise, especially in the mid-range where ambient chatter sits. They feel decently sturdy and have an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.
Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive control scheme can be tricky to use accurately as the contact surface is small, so you may accidentally register a command if you're adjusting their fit. Some users may also find their in-ear fit a bit fatiguing when worn for a few hours. That said, these sturdy, sporty headphones offer a well-balanced sound profile at an affordable price.
If you prefer the go-anywhere design of a pair of truly wireless headphones, consider the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Truly Wireless. These in-ears block out less ambient noise than the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless, but they're even more portable and have a similarly well-balanced sound profile that should suit a wide mix of genres. They feel quite well made and have an impressively stable fit, so they should stay in place even during intense workouts. While their continuous battery life of under six hours is somewhat short, their case supplies roughly four additional charges, which should be enough for a couple of days. Unfortunately, they lack any sound customization features like an in-app graphic EQ or on-board EQ presets.
Consider the JBL if you want a longer continuous battery life and superior noise isolation capability, but take a look at the TaoTronics if you don't want to deal with the hassle of audio cables and prioritize a sturdier build quality.
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'.
Dec 04, 2020: Replaced the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and renamed the pick to 'Alternative With A Better Microphone'. Added the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Oct 05, 2020: Slight changes to text for accuracy and clarity; no change in recommendations.
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.