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 will sound best to everyone, there are certain qualities you'll 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 will suit your tastes without sounding muddy, cluttered, or dull.
We've reviewed around 100 wireless earbuds so far, 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 so far are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. These compact and lightweight truly wireless in-ears are comfortable enough for long listening sessions and have a very impressive 13.3-hour battery life, the longest we've tested to date on a pair of truly wireless headphones. They look and feel quite premium, and their charging case can be topped up by simply tossing it onto any Qi-enabled wireless charging pad, which is convenient.
The default sound profile of these headphones is remarkably well-balanced and follows our target curve almost perfectly, making them suitable for a very wide range of content and genres. That being said, if you prefer your headphones have a bit of extra bass or treble, their companion app gives you access to five different EQ presets to help you find a sound profile better-suited to your personal tastes.
Unfortunately, due to their closed-back in-ear design, their soundstage is poor, and they don't create a speaker-like and out-of-the-head listening experience. This is to be expected and is common among any in-ear closed-back headphones. Overall, these headphones are versatile enough for most uses, and have an exceptionally accurate and natural sound profile to boot, making them among the best headphones we've tested.
If you want something with a more open soundstage, get the Bose SoundSport Free. These truly wireless headphones' five-hour battery is significantly shorter than the 13+ hours with the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless, but they have a more spacious and immersive sound thanks to their semi-open design. Some people also find their earbud design more comfortable, especially for long listening sessions as they don't enter the ear canal nearly as deeply. However, as expected of semi-open earbuds, they hardly isolate any noise. While this is intended to help create a more immersive soundstage, it means these earbuds aren't the best for loud environments, like on a bus or in a noisy office. On the upside, they still don't leak too much, though people close by may notice some thin audio leakage.
If you want your earbuds to isolate a bit of background noise or need much longer battery life, get the Samsung, but if you prefer a more spacious, open sound, go with the Bose.
The best sounding wireless earbuds with noise cancelling that we've tested so far are the Sony WI-1000X. These wireless in-ears employ a comfortable neckband design that feels very well-built along with an intuitive control scheme that places all essential functions within easy reach. They also provide a well-balanced, remarkably consistent listening experience out the box, with punchy, full-bodied bass, well-reproduced mids, and neutral treble.
You can customize their sound profile through a graphic EQ in the feature-rich Sony| Headphones Connect app, which also contains a plethora of options for virtual surround sound, including room and sound positioning effects. They last 10 hours on a single charge and have an excellent ANC system that effectively blocks out everything from bus and plane engines to the high-pitched hum of an AC unit, making them a good fit for your daily commute.
Unfortunately, they take a fairly long time to charge, while their integrated microphone delivers mediocre performance, especially in comparison to rivals like the Jabra Elite 65e Wireless. Still, the Sony are an excellent choice if you're looking for a premium listening experience in a relatively portable package, and rank among the best noise cancelling earbuds we've tested so far.
If you're looking for noise cancelling wireless earbuds with a well-balanced but in a more compact design, then get the Apple AirPods Pro. They don't have any sound customization options, unlike the highly-customizable Sony WI-1000X Wireless, but their super-portable truly wireless design is a lot easier to stash in your pockets when you're on-the-go. They also pair seamlessly with other Apple devices, making them great wireless earbuds for iPhone. Their noise cancelling is excellent, and they have a very neutral sound profile as well. They're a bit bass-light, so fans of EDM like dubstep or house, in particular, might find they lack thump and rumble.
Get the Sony if you like being able to customize your earbuds sound; however, if you prefer something more compact with a versatile sound right out of the box, go for the Apple.
The best wireless earbuds for sound quality in the budget category that we've tested so far are the JBL Endurance Sprint. These wireless in-ears provide a well-balanced listening experience with a touch of extra bass to liven up some of your favorite EDM and hip-hop tracks without overwhelming finer instrumentals and vocals. They feel reasonably sturdy and should stay in your ears when you're on the move. Their 9-hour battery life, while not quite best-in-class, should be sufficient to get you through the daily grind.
Despite lacking an ANC system, these headphones do a good job of passively blocking out background noise, making them a good option for tuning out the outside world while you're out on a run or at the gym. Their noise leakage performance is even more impressive, so you should be able to listen to your music at high volumes without worrying about disrupting people nearby.
On the downside, their touch-sensitive control scheme has a small contact surface that doesn't register inputs accurately, which can be annoying when you're trying to make an adjustment without disrupting your pace. Their in-ear fit also isn't especially comfortable and might become a little fatiguing during longer listening sessions. Otherwise, these are a solid value thanks to their well-balanced sound profile and solid construction.
If you want something more comfortable, go with the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. They sound less neutral than the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless, but their bass-rich sound signature is still very well-balanced, and they're more comfortable. They pack even more thump and rumble but still manage to so without sounding too thick, cluttered, or muddy. Their 18-hour battery life is among the best we've seen to date for wireless earbuds, and their in-ear fit is much more comfortable than most in-ears we've tested. However, they don't isolate a ton of noise and don't have an auto-off timer, so you'll need to remember to turn them off when you're not using them.
Get the JBL if you prefer a more neutral sound; however, if you prefer even more bass and want something more comfortable, go with the Anker.
08/06/2020: Slight changes to text for accuracy and clarity; no change in recommendations.
04/10/2020: Updated picks to highlight new top performers.
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/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.