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 140 wireless earbuds, 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 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 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 is remarkably well-balanced and follows our target curve almost perfectly, making them suitable for a very wide range of content and genres. That 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-backs. Overall, these 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're looking for a pair of neutral-sounding earbuds with a better performing integrated microphone, try the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless, they don't have any EQ presets to help customize their sound profile, and they're less comfortable, but the Bose's mic has a better recording quality, so you're heard more clearly, even in noisier environments. They also have a more neutral sound profile, especially in the treble range, which makes them well-suited for a variety of audio content. Their ANC feature does a great job of isolating ambient noise around you too. However, their continuous battery life falls a bit short compared to the Samsung.
Consider the Samsung if you mostly listen to audio and don't take a lot of calls. However, check out the Bose if you take calls on-the-go and you want earbuds that also have ANC.
The best sounding wireless noise cancelling earbuds that we've tested are the Sony WI-1000X Wireless. Thanks to their ANC feature, they can block out background noises like bus and plane engines, making them a solid choice for your commute or working in a noisy office. These well-built headphones have an around-the-neck design, and their battery life can last over 10 hours with ANC on.
Overall, they have a very well-balanced, neutral sound profile that's suitable for a wide range of music genres. They're also compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app, which has a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize the sound to your liking. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume without bothering the people around you.
Unfortunately, these headphones have an in-ear design that won't be comfortable for everyone, and some listeners may start to feel fatigue during longer listening sessions. Their neckband design also isn't very portable and may not be preferred by all users. That said, they have a decently versatile performance and an excellent noise cancelling performance that ranks them among the best noise cancelling earbuds we've tested.
If you're looking for earbuds with a truly wireless design, consider the Apple AirPods Pro instead. While they aren't as customizable as the Sony WI-1000X Wireless, these comfortable, well-built in-ears are much easier to take with you on the go, and they even come with a portable charging case that offers around five extra charges. Their sound profile is also very neutral and well-balanced, though they lack a bit of low-bass compared to the Sony, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Their ANC feature does an excellent job isolating against ambient sound, so you don't hear plane engines or background voices while listening to your favorite songs. They also don't leak a lot of noise, and they have a very stable in-ear fit.
If you love bass-heavy tunes and want to customize the sound of your earbuds, check out the Sony, but if you prefer a truly wireless design, consider the Apple instead.
The best wireless earbuds for sound quality in the budget category that we've tested are the JBL Endurance Sprint. 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 9-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're able to 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 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 tested 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.
12/04/2020: 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.
10/05/2020: 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.