Whether you spend your days listening to music, podcasts, or simply talking on the phone, if you're on the hunt for the best wireless earbuds, you've come to the right place. We've reviewed a sizeable number of models available and rated the absolute leaders of the pack based on every important metric: comfort, battery life, noise cancellation, water resistance, phone and assistant integration, and so on.
These tiny headphones are almost as important as the phones in our pockets. Our buyer's guide for the best wireless earbuds will help you find the pair that suits your needs and sounds the best, regardless of what you like listening to.
What are the #1 wireless earbuds?
Like any pair of headphones, which earbuds or wireless headphones are fitting for you is subjective in a few key ways. They have to fit right, feel comfortable over more extended periods, and produce a pleasing sound to your ears. If audio fidelity is paramount for you, there are good options for that, just as there are options for being active or present great value without breaking the bank.
The best wireless earbuds strike the right notes where it counts. We're talking about excellent sound quality, excellent comfort, solid microphones, and accessibility — even better when they come at a reasonable price.
It's also not just about sound, it can also be about what you don't hear, as active noise cancelation (ANC) becomes such an integral part of what makes good earbuds stand out. That's why it should come as no surprise that such a feature is so common among the best in the business.
Whether money is no object or you're on a tight budget, there's a good chance you will find something within reach in this list.
Previous Jabra earbuds set the stage for what the Elite 7 Pro bring to the table as one of the best value wireless earbuds for Android you can wear right now. We certainly noticed that in our review of the Elite 7 Pro. Jabra's experience as a hearing aid company shows a consistent ability to find balance in how it approaches both comfort and sound. These earbuds feature a nicely balanced sound signature that you can easily adjust in the excellent Sound+ app available for Android and iOS. The Elite 7 Pro also share these design and functionality principles with the Elite 7 Active, delivering smooth mid-range and treble frequencies that won't hurt your ears, even during piercing high notes.
In addition to great ANC, there's excellent passive noise isolation here as well, owing to the excellent build that makes these so comfortable to wear, even for extended periods. As for battery life, you get up to eight hours per charge, with ANC on. You can stretch that further if you leave it off. The included case nets three additional charges for an overall total of around 30 hours. The case itself charges via USB-C or Qi wireless charging, including a fast-charging option where plugging in for five minutes can get you up to 60 minutes of playback.
In our review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, we found that the wireless earbuds took the best features from the previous Galaxy Buds Pro, making them stand out as one of the most comfortable we've tested. It's a distinction the company wanted from the start, yet it took several attempts to get to this level of respectability.
The Buds 2 Pro are also small and nimble, packing in active noise cancelation (ANC) and crisp sound all at once. The ANC is smarter and more precise this time around, muffling a wider range of frequencies. Call quality also remains excellent with some improved clarity to go with it. They are also Samsung's first earbuds to support 24-bit hi-res audio in case you want to listen to another level in quality. The Enhanced 360 feature is a renewed focus on spatial audio, including head tracking, to give your ears a surround sound effect. All of this comes at the expense of battery life, where you max out at up to five hours per charge when ANC is on — eight hours if you keep ANC off. The case gets you three extra charges, which you can charge via USB-C or wireless charging pads. A quick five-minute charge through USB can get you up to an hour of playback.
At this point, ANC has found its way into more true wireless earbuds, but they won't match the level attained here with the WF-1000XM4, which are world-class by comparison. As we said in our Sony WF-1000XM4 review, the XM4 won't win accolades for beauty, but they are certainly among the best earbuds for Android.
Sony didn't have to play too much with the existing sound profile, but did maintain a consistent design approach. Rather than skew the default sound stage to push more bass, Sony preferred to keep it more neutral, leaving plenty of room to customize it through the equalizer settings in the Headphones Connect app. The battery life is excellent as well, with up to eight hours alone and an additional 24 hours with their charging case. Sony chiseled that case down 40% to make it a lot more portable, which is great considering how cumbersome the previous one tended to be. Along with ANC, the WF-1000XM4 have an ambient sound mode that also performs well. And then there's 360 Reality Audio for listening to content with a spatial effect.
Perfecting an elegant combination of comfort, performance, and value, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a great choice if you want the premium earbuds experience without paying the premium cost.
The sound profile is clear and crisp, and bringing in ANC is excellent because it pushes the Galaxy Buds 2 closer in feel and quality to the Galaxy Buds Pro. The latter does block out slightly more background noise, but our Galaxy Buds 2 review found it to be a surprisingly even race between the two. The onboard mics do okay with Ambient Sound, though the ones on the Buds Pro generally perform much better. That's also why phone calls on the Buds 2 are much better in quieter surroundings.
Battery life isn't as high as previous pairs, but you can still expect up to 7.5 hours with ANC off or five hours with it on, depending on volume levels. You get three extra charges from the case, topping it up via USB-C or wireless charging.
Beats has made wireless earbuds before, but there is something different about the Studio Buds. For starters, they are positively diminutive compared to anything else bearing the brand's logo. They're small enough to rival even the smallest pairs on any list. That sometimes comes with cautions affecting performance and output, yet somehow these little buds pack a real punch.
It begins and ends with comfort because the tighter seal helps augment the solid audio they're capable of. The brand's propensity and obsession with bass isn't so prominent here, as Studio Buds engineers clearly had a different template in mind when they developed these earbuds. The sound stage is balanced, where you can easily tell that the highs and mids got a little more attention this time around. With ANC on, you can get up to five hours per charge, or eight hours if you turn it off, based on default volume. The case has no wireless charging, except if you manage to plug in, only five minutes of charging can get you up to 60 minutes of playback.
As we described in our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review, when it comes to proper ANC, these are the earbuds to beat.
Bose also chose to keep the sound profile neutral with the QuietComfort Earbuds II, letting the user make changes by adjusting the existing four presets included in the Bose app. Battery life is decent, though it varies with volume. You're more likely to get just above five hours and an additional 18 hours with the charging case. The ambient sound mode allows you to hear the outside world, removing the need to take off your earbuds if you'd like to hear what's going on around you.
There's a lot to like about these earbuds, and though they are the best noise-canceling pair available, they aren't without some drawbacks. The fit may not be for everyone, and the case will not be as easy to pocket as others are. And for some reason, the case doesn't offer wireless charging.
When we tested and reviewed the Pixel Buds Pro, we found that Google finally had something special to offer in the arena of wireless earbuds. New tuning gives these buds a clearer sound that skews more favorably to the mids and highs. There are also seven audio presets, and you can create your own via a five-band EQ.
As with previous generations, the Pixel Buds Pro are tailor-made for Android. Open the case the first time, and with one tap, your Pixel Buds will pair to most modern Android phones. Unless you're using a Pixel device, where the settings are within the phone's system settings, you can download the companion app during setup on other Android handsets to access some of the extras available. Finally, that includes ANC, and it couldn't come soon enough, given how good it is on these earbuds. They do a solid job blocking out background noise, putting Google on the map for such a key feature. The touch controls are reliable, and the translation features are also very much intact, which is a cool way to bridge a language barrier when you can.
Which brand is best for wireless earbuds?
Wireless earbuds for Android have grown more popular over the last few years, and the variety has grown with them, making them an essential audio category. Choosing the right pair is easier than it may seem because so many vendors are getting in on the action, and price points now vary so widely.
For many, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro will be the best option. They strike the right balance in the areas that really matter, like size, sound, durability, and supporting features. They're small enough to fit comfortably in most ears and are ruggedized enough to withstand water and sweat should you need extra protection. Sound quality is among the best available, call quality is outstanding, and the Sound+ app has features worth trying.
Equipped with good ANC, plus unique features to cater to call quality, there's a lot to work with. They provide excellent passive isolation with the proper seal to listen to everything without worrying about the background. You also have physical control buttons that avoid false positives when you press them.
Jabra scored a real winner with these among the best wireless earbuds. They may not come in first place in every category, but it's hard to argue how consistently great they are to use.
How do true wireless earbuds differ from regular wireless earbuds?
In simple terms, true wireless earbuds function without cables and cords. Regular wireless earbuds are “wireless” because they don't connect to the device playing the audio, but do have a cable connecting the two earbuds. In that case, the Bluetooth connection from a smartphone connects to one earbud, which then relays that connection to the other earbud through the cable.
True wireless earbuds perform the same function, albeit wirelessly. So, in effect, you have something like a daisy chain, where the phone pairs with one earbud (usually the right one) and then relays that connection to the left. Unfortunately, this method hasn't always been reliable, with audio hiccups and cuts happening. Bluetooth 5.0 has helped improve that, whereas some true wireless earbuds will connect both sides to the phone.
What are the advantages of true wireless earbuds?
The most immediate advantage is that you're not dealing with any wires. No chance of cables tangling or accidentally breaking. You have two separate earbuds in a case that charges them on its own. The case has a battery you can charge, meaning that you don't always have to plug it in to charge the earbuds themselves.
Some cases support wireless charging to add more convenience. Most also have USB-C ports for wired charging, some of which also include fast charging.
Despite their smaller size, true wireless earbuds are often equipped with the same wireless earbuds' features. For example, they can include onboard controls for playback or even active noise cancelation (ANC) and voice assistants. In addition, there are models with higher water and sweat resistance and those more focused on increased audio fidelity.
What are the disadvantages of true wireless earbuds?
With no cables connecting the two earbuds, there is always the risk of losing one of them. Moreover, the lack of a cable connecting the two earbuds emphasizes the connection between the two buds themselves. While this has improved, there is a chance that one side's audio may drop out — brief as it may be.
Not having cables makes true wireless earbuds easier to use on a run or during a workout. Comfort and fit are always considerations under those circumstances, but you should also be careful to use them with the right protection in place. That means at least an IPX4 rating or better if you want enough durability for workouts.
The constant charging cycles also take their toll on the lithium batteries' true wireless earbuds and their case use. Not every manufacturer approximates a shelf life, but you may find your earbuds don't last as long after two years with regular usage. Wireless earbuds aren't impervious to these issues, but since they're not cradled in a charging case, the batteries don't go through as many cycles.
Does it matter what Bluetooth version my earbuds have?
Yes, but not always for the reasons you might think. For example, Bluetooth 5.0 doesn't impact audio quality, so having that onboard doesn't mean they will sound better than a pair using version 4.2. On the other hand, updated Bluetooth protocols will impact things, how version 5.0 improves range and battery efficiency, for instance.
That other range could make it easier to walk around at home wearing your earbuds listening to music while the phone isn't near you. Usually, major updates to the Bluetooth protocol add higher data transfer speeds, but the benefits aren't always shown with audio quality. Other times, they might.
Still, generally speaking, most of the best wireless earbuds these days have more advanced Bluetooth connectivity.
What are the best codecs for wireless earbuds?
For Android devices, Qualcomm's aptX, aptX LL, aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX Lossless codecs are generally better than SBC (subband codec), which is the standard codec all Bluetooth audio devices support. The main reason is that aptX has more bandwidth than SBC, which can positively affect audio quality. In addition, AptX Adaptive also automatically adjusts the bit rate in real-time to maintain smooth playback and reduce connection drops.
AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) is also standard and is YouTube's preferred codec. While iPhone users benefit from it, it hasn't been as efficient on Android phones. Samsung has its proprietary codec it calls Scalable, first introduced in the Galaxy Buds. Its purpose is to be adaptive, so the bit rate and connection don't impact what you listen to. It's exclusive to Samsung's earbuds, so not adopted by other brands the way Sony's LDAC is. It also has a variable bit rate, though it's not widely adopted yet.
What are the best wireless earbuds for Android?
By and large, any pair of wireless earbuds will work with Android phones and tablets. Sometimes, you may lose certain features or functionality based on what a brand sets aside for its own ecosystem. That's why Apple's AirPods will pair faster and more seamlessly with iOS devices than they would with Android. It's also why Samsung earbuds may have certain exclusive features that only work with its own products.
Apple doesn't support Qualcomm's aptX codec, whereas Android devices generally do. The flexibility of that codec helps some earbuds do more with Android than they might on iOS. One example of that would be how aptX Adaptive includes the low latency mode so beneficial to syncing audio with video while playing games or watching a show or movie.
Even if a pair of wireless earbuds don't support aptX, it doesn't negate their abilities or performance. It matters how the earbuds were tuned to begin with, and it's always a bonus when they have an app they can connect with to let you adjust sound and controls.