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 180 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 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 Truly Wireless. 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 want neutral-sounding noise cancelling earbuds with a more comfortable design, try the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. While they lack more low-bass than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, and their continuous battery life is shorter, the Apple are lightweight and have a less bulky design. These well-built headphones have a fairly neutral sound profile suitable for lots of different audio genres, even though they lack sound customization features like an EQ. They also have an ANC which can reduce even more background noise than the Bose, which is nice if you want to stay focused on your audio. Thanks to their H1 chip, you can also seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. However, their touch-sensitive controls can be a little tricky to get used to and they lack volume controls.
Go for the Bose if you favor more neutral bass reproduction and a longer continuous battery life. However check out the Apple if you prioritize comfort and a slightly better noise isolation performance.
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're looking for a cable-free audio experience, check out the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Truly Wireless. While they don't passively block out as much background noise as the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless, the TaoTronics have a truly wireless design, which makes them more portable and easy to take with you on the go. They have a similarly well-balanced sound profile with a touch of extra thump and rumble, which should be suitable for a variety of audio content. They also have a well-built design and a decently comfortable fit. Although their under six hours of continuous battery life may a little short for some users, their carrying case holds roughly four additional charges. Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app or sound customization features like an EQ to help adjust their sound.
Try the JBL if you favor a better noise isolation performance or a longer continuous battery life. However, take a look at the TaoTronics if you don't want to deal with audio cables and prefer a better-built design.
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'.
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.