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 in 2020. 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 we've tested so far are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. These ultra-compact truly wireless earbuds might be small, but they're big on sound quality. They have a remarkably well-balanced, neutral sound profile packed in a sleek, low-profile design. They're comfortable, super portable, and their battery performance is also very good, too.
These wireless earbuds have an outstandingly versatile sound signature. They accurately reproduce the clarity and detail of vocals and instruments without sounding too harsh or sharp and can deliver punchy, thumping bass. This makes them an excellent choice for fans of all kinds of genres, from hip-hop to classical. Their 13-hour battery life is also quite impressive, especially for such tiny earbuds, and they charge quickly in their case as well.
That said, not everyone prefers a neutral sound, and some will find they lack a little bass, or sound a bit bright. Fortunately, their companion app, which is available on both Android and iOS, has a few EQ presets that can help you find a sound profile that works better for you. All things considered, they're very well-rounded and are among the best wireless earbuds we've reviewed so far.
If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds with a neutral sound profile but want something with a more open soundstage, then get the Bose SoundSport Free. Their battery performance pales in comparison to that of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless, but they have a more spacious, immersive sound thanks to their semi-open design. Some people also find their earbud design more comfortable, especially for long listening sessions. As expected of semi-open earbuds, however, they hardly isolate any noise. This is intended since it helps create a more immersive soundstage, but it means these earbuds won't be ideal if you want something to help block out ambient noises. Their 5-hour battery is also on the shorter side, but they have an auto-off timer to help save power and their case provides a couple of extra charges.
Get the Samsung if you want your earbuds to isolate a bit of noise, but if you prefer a more spacious, open sound, then you'll want to go for the Bose.
The best sounding wireless noise cancelling earbuds we've tested so far are the Sony WI-1000X. They have a very well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and their companion app gives you access to tons of different sound customization options. Their neckband design is great if you like to always have your music at arm's reach, and they also have excellent noise cancelling.
What really sets these wireless earbuds apart from the competition is their compatibility with the Sony | Headphones Connect app. When paired with these headphones, you get not only a graphic EQ, but also some neat virtual surround sound features, like room effects and sound positioning options. They also block out a remarkable amount of noise thanks to the great combination of their powerful active noise cancelling (ANC) feature and in-ear fit, so you can really focus on your music.
While the second-generation Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless have an improved design, their sound quality isn't quite on par with that of the original. Their default sound profile is rather underwhelming, lacking both a bit of bass and treble. Their compatibility with Sony's app is also a bit disappointing since they no longer have room effects or surround sound options. Overall, the WI-1000X continue to provide better value for the price and are among the best noise cancelling earbuds we've seen.
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 the way 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 sounding budget wireless earbuds we've tested so far are the JBL Endurance Sprint. These affordable Bluetooth earbuds have a very well-balanced sound profile with a bit more bass than the other options on this list without sounding boomy or muddy. This makes them very versatile for lots of different genres, even those with a bit more rumble and punch. They reproduce vocals and instruments with great clarity and even bring a bit of additional brightness to help counteract the bass.
While these budget earbuds don't have an active noise cancelling feature, they still manage to isolate an impressive amount of noise passively. They also don't leak much noise, so if you're listening to a track you really love, you can turn up the volume without having to worry about bothering those around you. Their 9-hour battery life is quite decent, and they even have an auto-off timer that triggers when they're not in use, which is great to have at this price point.
On the downside, they're not the most comfortable in-ears we've tested. Their ear-hook design helps keep them securely in place while running or working out, but they put quite a bit of pressure on both your ear canal and outer ear. Their touch-sensitive controls can also be rather finicky and tend to register unwanted commands, which is particularly annoying when you're on-the-go. That said, they still provide great value for the price, especially if you care about sound quality.
If you're looking for inexpensive in-ears that not only sound good but are comfortable too, then get 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. 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 and their in-ear fit is much more comfortable than that of most in-ears we've tested as well. They don't isolate a ton of noise, though, 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, then it's hard to beat the Anker.
04/10/2020: Updated picks to highlight new top performers; updated text for accuracy and consistency.
02/11/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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.