In-ears and earbuds are a lot more portable than bulky over-ear and on-ears. However, for most, you might be sacrificing a bit of sound quality and soundstage for a more compact and a portable design. On the upside, there are quite a few wireless in-ear and earbuds that still deliver in the sound department.
So for those who refuse to compromise, below are our top recommendations for the best sounding wireless earbuds and in-ears to purchase in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best earbuds and in-ears, the best earbuds for bass, and for the best truly wireless earbuds.
The best sounding wireless earbuds we've tested so far are the Bose SoundSport Free. They sound the most balanced out of all the truly wireless headphones we've tested and should cater well to all music genres and tastes.
The Bose SoundSport Free have a very even, neutral sound. They have great bass, an excellent mid-range, and clear and present treble that doesn’t sound too sharp or piercing on higher frequencies. They also have a comfortable earbud design that most find a bit more comfortable than typical in-ears. The SoundSport Free provide close to 5 hours of continuous playback, but you can get a total of up to 15 hours of battery life by storing them in their charging case throughout the day.
Unfortunately, they do not have the most compact design, especially since their charging case is rather bulky compared to those of other truly wireless earbuds. They also do not come with an EQ, so you can't customize their sound profile. If prefer truly wireless earbuds with sound that you can EQ, take a look at the Jabra Elite Active 65t, but if you want more comfortable earbuds that sound good out-of-the-box, go with the Bose.
If you want even more sound customization options than what the Jabra Elite Active 65t provide, then get the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re not truly wireless like the Elite Active 65t or the Bose SoundSport Free, but they’re compatible with a great companion app that features a parametric EQ for a highly customizable experience. They’re also more comfortable than the Elite Active 65t.
Unfortunately, they have a restrictive proprietary charging cradle, so you can’t charge them with a regular micro-USB cable like you can with the Bose. If you don’t mind the charging cradle, though, they have a very good battery for wireless earbuds and are a decent choice for critical listeners.
If you like the earbud design of the Bose SoundSport Free and want something that sounds equally as good but cheaper, go for the Bose SoundSport Wireless. They don’t have truly wireless design like the SoundSport Free and aren’t as customizable as the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but they have a balanced sound that's very similar to that of the SoundSport Free.
Like the SoundSport Free, they’re one of the best sounding wireless earbuds we've tested, thanks to their near neutral mid-range and extended bass and tapered highs. They reproduce most tracks accurately, they have a decent battery life, and they're comfortable.
Unfortunately, they won't be ideal for noisy environments and commuting due to their somewhat open earbud design, but overall, they're a decent choice for most uses.
If you prefer more isolation, get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. They don’t sound quite as good as the Bose SoundSport Wireless, but they still have very good audio reproduction, especially for closed-back truly wireless earbuds. They also isolate significantly better than the Bose which makes them a good choice for commuters who want to tune out the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Unfortunately, these headphones have limited controls that provide mediocre feedback. If you’d prefer a more traditional wireless design with better controls, consider the JBL Reflect Mini 2, but the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air sound better overall.
If you’re on a budget but still don’t want to skimp on sound quality, get the JBL Endurance Sprint. They lack the more spacious, open sound of the Bose SoundSport Wireless, but they isolate better and still have impressive audio reproduction for wireless earbuds.
These headphones have awesome, punchy bass that is deep and thumpy without sounding boomy, a very well-balanced mid-range, and a remarkable even treble-range. They’re also fairly well-made and have a cool, rubberized design that is rated IPX7 for waterproofing, which makes them good for sports.
Unfortunately, the JBL Endurance Sprint take a lot of adjusting to find the right fit and can be a bit uncomfortable after a while. They isolate very well, though, and if you don’t mind the way they fit, they can be a decent choice for commuters.
If you find the JBL Endurance Sprint uncomfortable and prefer a more bass-heavy sound, get the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They’re quite a bit more bass-heavy than the JBL Endurance Sprint and won’t be great for those who prefer a more neutral sound profile, but they still do a good job at reproducing instruments and vocals and sound decent overall.
They’re not as sweat-resistant as the JBL Endurance Sprint, but they have an easier-to-use control scheme and are much more comfortable. All-in-all, they offer an affordable wireless design with a 12-hour battery life and a decently balanced sound that is sure to please bass lovers.
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 (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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/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.