If you don’t like the cumbersome design of over-ear headphones and prefer headphones with a smaller footprint, earbuds and in-ears can be a good choice. But if you don’t like having a wire going to your phone and prefer the freedom of wireless technology (or maybe your phone doesn’t even have an audio jack), wireless earbuds and in-ears are even better.
We've tested nearly 90 pairs of wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best Bluetooth earphones to buy. See also our recommendations for the best sounding wireless earbuds, the best Bluetooth headphones, the best wireless earbuds for iPhone, and the best earbuds and in-ears.
The best Bluetooth earbuds we’ve tested so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re highly customizable in-ear headphones with lots of neat features. You can EQ the way they sound with their companion app and their 13-hour battery life with auto-off timer keeps them running all day. Their very stable fit makes them a great option for fitness enthusiasts, and they isolate well enough to be a good choice for commuters, too.
Unfortunately, these earbuds come with a proprietary charging cradle that’s a bit restrictive, since it means you can’t just borrow a friend’s micro-USB cable if you leave yours at home. They also can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the regular Jaybird Tarah Wireless can. That said, they’re still a solid upgrade on the regular model, especially in terms of battery life. They’re well-rounded wireless in-ears that are not only the best wireless earbuds for running that we’ve reviewed so far, but they're also versatile enough for more casual use.
The best true wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far are the Samsung Galaxy Buds. They’re more comfortable than most truly wireless headphones thanks to their low-profile design that fits securely without putting too much pressure on your ears. They come with a great hard charging case that easily fits in even the smallest pockets, and they feel well-built overall. They’re currently our best wireless earbuds for Android thanks to their compatibility with the Samsung Wearable app, great audio reproduction, and surprising 7.5-hour battery life.
On the downside, their default sound lacks a little bass. Since their companion app is only available on Android, iOS users who are fans of bass may be a bit disappointed. They also don’t have onboard storage like the Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless, which are harder to find, and are only rated IPX2 for minimal water resistance. That said, the Galaxy Buds feel better-built and have far superior battery life. If they suit your needs, they’re fairly versatile truly wireless headphones that are worth considering.
If you want truly wireless earbuds that are more suited to running or sports, get the Jaybird Vista. They don't isolate background noise nearly as well as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless, but they have a better-built sportier design that's rated IPX7 for waterproofing. Their sound profile out-of-the-box is decent, but they're compatible with Jaybird's great MySound app for both iOS and Android which gives you access to an excellent parametric equalizer. Unfortunately, their microphone performance is poor and it'll be hard for the person on the other end of the line to hear you if you're in a busy environment due to its poor noise handling.
Go for the Samsung if you prefer a more casual design for everyday use, but if you want a more versatile pair of headphones that are better for sports or working out, get the Jaybird Vista.
The best wireless earbuds for iPhone that we've tested so far are the Apple AirPods Pro. Apple’s newest iteration on what is now an almost iconic design brings some minor design changes and improvements over their predecessors. As you may recall, the last AirPods were earbuds, which sat outside of the ear canal. But on the Pro, Apple transformed them into in-ears, requiring a deeper insertion. That said, they’re not so deep as to be uncomfortable. This does help with passive isolation and Apple has succeeded in what they set out to do. The noise isolation on these earbuds are great. The overall sound profile is also different, as Apple opted for a closed-back design this time around. Lacking a bit of bass, they have a fairly neutral sound but lean more towards the brighter side.
What hasn’t changed is the seamless pairing process and the strong, stable connection thanks to the inclusion of the H1 chip. However, despite the seamless integration of the Apple ecosystem, there isn’t an app to customize the sound, with only a few settings available through the Bluetooth settings menu. Battery life remains decent, averaging 5.3 hours of playback, with an additional five charges in the charging case.
Overall, these headphones are a worthy upgrade. If you live in the Apple ecosystem, these are for you.
The best earbuds under $100 that we've tested so far are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. They look similar to their predecessors but with a few refinements as well as some welcome additions. The build quality of these earbuds has significantly improved, as they feel sturdy and able to survive a few accidental drops without any issues. The same can be said of the accompanying charging case, which now holds five additional charges, while the earbuds themselves last 6.4 hours on a single charge. Even something as small as changing from a micro-USB to a USB-C charging port is a very nice touch.
These earbuds sound fairly well-balanced but somewhat bass-heavy. If that's not your style, Anker now has a mobile companion app that lets you fine-tune the sound through a number of presets. Although these earbuds don't have active noise cancelling, they're still able to provide great noise isolation, particularly in the mid-range, great for blocking out ambient chatter. If you need to take a call, however, the microphone is passable. Speech sounds muffled and the microphone has trouble separating voice from background noise. As for Bluetooth performance, they now support aptX, but not with low latency, consequently, they're not ideal for watching videos or for gaming.
If you need a well-rounded pair of headphones with tons of features while staying within budget, these are worth considering.
The best cheap wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far are the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They’re more comfortable than most in-ears we’ve tested, since their earbud tips don’t enter too deeply in the ear canal and they have an ear-hook design that ensures a stable fit. Their 13-hour battery life outperforms that of more expensive models, and they even come with a nice hard carrying case, which is a welcome addition at this price point. They’re also the best earbuds for bass that we’ve reviewed to date thanks to their exciting bass-rich sound.
On the downside, like most budget headphones, they don’t have any power-saving features, so you’ll need to remember to turn them off when not in use or else their battery will continue to drain. They also don’t have a companion app, so your EQ options are more limited. Though their ear-hook design ensures a stable fit, they don’t have the most sweat-proof design, so athletes may want to consider the similar yet more sweat-resistant Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless. Overall, they're the best Bluetooth earbuds we've tested in the budget category.
The best sounding wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far are the Bose SoundSport Free. These sports-oriented truly wireless headphones feel very well-built and have a comfortable earbud fit. They have outstanding audio reproduction and sound slightly more spacious than most wireless earbuds thanks to their semi-open design. They provide nearly 5 hours of continuous playback, which is pretty good for truly wireless headphones, and they have a convenient auto-off timer to help save power when not in use.
Although their control scheme provides all the essential functions, the buttons are very stiff, which makes them difficult to use. They’re also rather bulky: the earbuds themselves protrude quite a bit of out the ears and their charging case doesn't fit in your pockets as nicely as the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. That said, they're the best Bluetooth earbuds for sound and are a very good choice for those who want something durable without compromising on sound quality.
If you want cheaper wireless earbuds with a focus on sound quality, go with the JBL Endurance Sprint. They don't have the same open sound and aren't as comfortable as the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless, but they do a much better job at isolating background noise and are significantly cheaper. Their sound profile is versatile with excellent bass and great mid-range and treble, making them suitable for a variety of genres, from EDM to audiobooks. They're also a great choice if you want to use your headphones for working out, as their ear-hook design is quite stable. They're rated IPX7 for waterproofing, though we don't test this. Unfortunately, their bulky design can take some adjusting to find a comfortable fit and probably isn't ideal for long listening sessions. They also have a finicky touch-sensitive control scheme that can be a bit difficult to use properly.
Get the Bose if sound is your number one priority and money is no object, but if you want something cheaper to help bring you peace during your daily commute, go with the JBL.
When it comes to noise isolation, Amazon hit it out of the ballpark with the Amazon Echo Buds True Wireless. Even without active noise cancelling enabled, these earbuds have incredible passive isolation. The downside is that they need to be inserted deep into the ear canal, which can be uncomfortable for some. Fortunately, they aren't bulky and there are multiple tip and stability fin sizes to make them more comfortable. The fins also make them stable enough for sports and shouldn't fall out during vigorous exercise.
While the noise isolation is remarkable, if you do need to momentarily let ambient noise through, there's a pass-through feature within the Amazon Alexa app that lets you do that without having to pause your music or remove the earbuds completely. Sadly, any options to fine-tune your sound are noticeably missing from the app. Speaking of sound, they're fairly well-balanced, with a lot of thump in the bass, but the treble can be quite sharp and harsh at times.
The battery life of these earbuds is decent. They can last a little over 5 hours and there are five additional charges available in the charging case. What really stands out is that they take less than an hour to charge and even have a standby mode to conserve battery. If you need a pair of truly wireless headphones with great noise isolation, definitely pick these up.
If you like the noise isolation of the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless but being able to customize your sound is a must, take a look at the Sony WF-1000XM3. They have a bulkier design and the charging case is significantly bigger; however, the build feels much more premium and they have better battery life on a single charge, even with ANC enabled. Sony's Headphone Connect app is among the best on the market, with tons of customizations available, which includes presets, a graphic EQ, room effects, and the ability to remap the controls on the earbuds. Unfortunately, they don't have any low-latency Bluetooth codec support, so watching videos and gaming may not be ideal.
If noise isolation is your main priority, the Amazon are the ones to get. But for a more customizable pair, go with the Sony.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Bluetooth earbuds and in-ear headphones for most people to need according to their needs. 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 in the US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones and earbuds. 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.
01/07/2020: Removed Jabra Elite Active 65t, replaced Anker SoundCore Liberty Air with Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2, replaced Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 with Amazon Echo Buds.
11/27/2019: Replaced Beats PowerBeats Pro with Apple AirPods Pro, dropped Apple AirPods 2019. Minor text and structure changes.