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 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 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 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, these headphones 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, these headphones 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 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 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.
10/05/2020: 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 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.