These days, you don't need to sacrifice portability or affordability if you want headphones that make your music sound good. While earbuds can't create the wide, natural soundstage that some over-ears can, you still have plenty of choices if you want earbuds with quality sound. There's no genuine one-size-fits-all approach to determining what sounds best to everyone, but 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. Some earbuds also offer extra features like an EQ, so you can adjust the sound profile or virtual surround sound for a more immersive listening experience.
We've tested over 250 wireless earbuds and in-ears, and below are our top recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for sound quality. See 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 sounding wireless earbuds we've tested are the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. These high-end buds have a slightly warm sound profile, with more thumpy bass than the original Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. The rest of the range is relatively neutral, making their sound profile a bit more versatile than the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless, which are our top bass-heavy pick below. However, they lack the Bose's variety of sound customization features and instead utilize an adaptive EQ system that adjusts their sound based on ambient noise conditions and playback volume.
They also support Spatial Audio, a feature that allows audio to follow your head movements to create a more immersive experience. Even though they have a lightweight design, the buds can wiggle out of your ears over time, affecting their stability. On the upside, they have a nearly six-hour continuous battery life, and their carrying case holds four extra charges. Their ANC system offers excellent overall performance and reduces a wide range of background noise.
If you want something more affordable without sacrificing performance or features, consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless. These comfortable buds rival the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless in many ways, including in sound. They have a flat, neutral sound profile that's versatile enough for most audio content. You can customize their sound using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets to suit your tastes better. They're well-built and are certified IPX7 for resistance against submersion in water.
Their ANC offers excellent overall performance, cutting down background noise like traffic or chatty coworkers around you. With their ANC on, they last under five hours continuously. Luckily, their carrying case supplies an additional 2.6 charges if needed. Consider the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless if you're looking for buds with better overall battery performance. They have over seven hours of continuous playback time with nearly two extra charges in the case, and they support multi-device pairing. However, they aren't as comfortable and stick out of your ear.
If you're looking for a less expensive option, consider the JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless instead. These earbuds are available for under $100 and offer solid build quality and a comfortable design. Their sound lacks a bit of low-bass, but the rest of the range is quite neutral, so your audio has body and punch that doesn't overwhelm instruments and vocals. If you prefer a different sound, they work with a companion app with a parametric EQ, so you can adjust it to suit you. They have an ANC feature, but it doesn't block out much noise compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless.
Their continuous battery life of around 5.5 hours is also on the short side, so you'll have to top up the battery in the case during long workdays. Unlike the pricier options listed here, they don't have any virtual surround sound features. Their default sound also isn't as well-balanced, but you can use both presets and a parametric EQ for further sound customization via the impressive JBL Headphones app.
The Sony WI-C310 Wireless are easier on the wallet than most other picks. They don't have many extra features, and when it comes to build quality, they're a step down compared to the more pricey JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless. However, these budget-friendly headphones have a smooth and warm sound profile well-suited for genres like rock or jazz. Thanks to a bump in their bass range, they have a bit of extra punch and boom, but it doesn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments. As a result, these sounds are still accurately reproduced, sounding clear and detailed. These buds last 17 hours continuously, which is good for long listening sessions. Unlike other picks on this list, they also have a lightweight neck cable design, so you can wear them around your neck when you aren't listening to audio.
They're decently comfortable and stable fit, but the cables leading up to the earbud are long and can get snagged on something if you aren't careful. Unfortunately, parts of their build also feel particularly fragile. If you want to finetune your headphones to your liking, consider the JBL Vibe Beam True Wireless instead. They're not as neutral-sounding out of the box, but they have a companion app with a parametric EQ and presets to help you achieve your desired sound. They're less comfortable, though.
Consider the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless if you want premium buds that can stream high-resolution audio. These earbuds support LDAC, Sony's proprietary high-resolution audio codec, allowing you to listen to higher-quality audio if your streaming service supports it. They also do an amazing job of isolating you against noise of all types, which you might want if you're looking for earbuds for commuting. Their memory foam ear tips help with isolation and provide a comfortable fit, especially if you have smaller ear canals. Their sound profile is warm but not as bass-heavy as the Bose and Apple, and they sound balanced across all frequency ranges. They also support multi-device pairing and Sony's 360 Reality Audio, which adds head-tracking and immersive audio qualities via compatible apps like Tidal. Sadly, they don't have an adaptive EQ feature like the AirPods or Bose, but you can manually adjust the sound profile with an in-app graphic EQ.
The Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless are also a good choice if you're looking for cheaper earbuds that can still stream high-resolution audio. They have an ANC feature that does a great job of blocking out ambient sound, including bass-range noise like rumbling engines and higher-pitched sounds like voices. However, their default sound lacks low-bass and can make instruments and vocals sound a bit veiled.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless are our top pick for bass-heavy earbuds. These buds have an excellent array of features that rival the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless in many ways, but their sound profile out-of-the-box is less neutral overall and more geared towards bass. They feature Bose's CustomTune technology, which adapts their sound profile based on the shape of your ear and listening habits. There's also further sound customization available via the graphic EQ and presets in the Bose Music app. These buds are among the first to feature the manufacturer's Immersive Audio technology, which tracks your head to add additional depth to your audio. Their incredible ANC performance means they block out a wide range of ambient noise, from low engine rumble to office chatter, so you can focus on your tunes without distractions.
However, their seven hours of continuous battery life won't be enough to get you through long days at the office without a top-up from their case. For bass-heavy wireless earbuds with a better battery life performance, consider the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3. These lightweight buds last over eight hours continuously with their ANC enabled. Rather than boost their bass, as seen with the Bose, these have a recessed treble range, which veils instruments and vocals in favor of a prominent bass. They have a customizable 3-band graphic EQ via their companion app to tailor the sound to your liking, and while their ANC performance isn't quite up-to-par with the Bose, it still does an excellent job of blocking out a wide range of external sounds.
Nov 28, 2023: The Sony WF-100XM5 Truly Wireless are now our top pick for the 'Best Wireless Earbuds With LDAC', with the Sony Linkbuds S as an alternative. We've also added the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless as our bass-heavy pick, with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 as an alternative.
May 30, 2023: Removed the EarFun Air Pro 2 True Wireless 2021 and the Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless. Added the JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 True Wireless as an alternative with virtual surround sound features, and the Sony LinkBuds S as the 'Best Sounding Earbuds with LDAC'.
Mar 14, 2023: Replaced the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless with the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless due to a firmware update that affected their sound quality. Added the EarFun Air Pro 2 True Wireless as 'Best Sounding Lower Mid-Range Wireless Earbuds'. Removed the JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless from the Notable Mentions as they aren't currently available.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wireless earbuds for sound quality 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.