True wireless earbuds have grown in popularity since Apple released its first-generation AirPods in December 2016. Since then, there has been a steady stream of alternatives making their way into showrooms online and off. Here are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy.
What are true wireless earbuds?
By definition, true wireless headphones (or earbuds) are designed without any wires. They are sometimes called cordless, or cord-free. Most are advertised as offering a tangle-free experience.
Before Apple AirPods arrived on the scene, true wireless earbuds failed to leave a mark. Yes, they were available, but technology-wise, the products on the market were difficult to use and didn’t product great, consistent sound.
AirPods offer everything you would want on a pair of earbuds, including great sound, quick pairing, and an easy to use charging case. When in use, AirPods offer five hours of continuous music on a single charge, Siri-integration, and much more. The case provides up to 24 hours of total time.
If there’s one constant criticism about AirPods is that they don’t fit for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of third-party solutions to resolve this.
Charging: Five hours per charge; case holds 24 hours of battery life; 15 minutes gives you three more hours.
Update: Apple has a new second-generation AirPods, which feature slightly better battery life when talking on the phone, and a wireless charging case.
Bang & Olufsen offers some of the best audio products around. Under its B&O Play label, it has produced a steady lineup of high-end headphones and wireless speakers over the years. The Beoplay E8 is the company’s first true wireless earbuds.
More expensive than most of the products on our list, the Beoplay E8 true wireless earbuds provide Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound in a tiny design. Offering four hours of playing time between charges, the earbuds are available in gray and black. Each pair comes with a genuine leather charging case that provides two additional four hours of charges.
Charging: Four hours per charge; case holds 8 hours of battery life.
Bose SoundSport Free
These true wireless earbuds from one of the biggest names in home audio are sweat and weather resistant and come in various colors, including blue, black, and orange. The SoundSport Free provides five hours of music between charges. The included recharging case offers an additional 10 hours.
The SoundSport Free ships with various tips for a comfortable and secure fit.
Charging: Five hours per charge; case holds 10 hours of battery life; 15 minutes gives you 45 more minutes.
IQbuds Boost by Nuheara
The most expensive earbuds on our list are the IQbuds Boost from Nuheara. Priced at nearly $500, these top-of-the-line true wireless earbuds offer five hours of music between charges and up to eight hours of processing ambient sound. The included case provides three to four additional charges.
The difference between the IQbuds Boost and less expensive IQbuds is the introduction of Ear ID. This feature using self-assessment and auto-calibrate to match your unique hearing profile. The Boost also supports the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs. They also provide focus-directional hearing that has been designed to bring the sound directly in front of you into sharper focus.
Charging: Five hours per charge; case holds 15 to 20 hours of battery life.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
The Jabra Elite Active 65t true wireless earbuds have received high marks since it debuted. It provides five hours of battery life between charges, with 15 hours added with the rechargeable case.
Featuring four-microphone technology, the Elite Active 65t works with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. As its name suggests, it’s also sweat and dustproof (IP56).
If you’re looking to save some money, consider the Jabra Elite 65t. It’s basically the same as the Active edition except that takes longer to charge and is rated IP55.
Charging: Five hours per charge; case holds 10 hours of battery life; 15 minutes gives you 1 1/2 more hours.
The Jaybird Run true wireless earbuds provide interchangeable tips and fins and is sweat-proof and water resistant. Thanks to the free Jaybird app, you can adjust your sound by changing the lows, miss, and highs. This product is available in gray and white.
Charging: Four hours per charge; case holds 8 hours of battery life; five minutes gives you one more hour.
Samsung Gear IconX
The 2018 edition of the Samsung Gear Samsung Gear IconX offers five hours of Bluetooth streaming, seven hours of MP3 listening, or four hours of talk time between charging. The case provides one additional charge.
Unlike other products on our list, the Gear IconX doesn’t just stream music via Bluetooth. It also can store up to 1,000 songs with 4GB of built-in storage.
Although often noted for its built-in fitness tools, these are not available for iOS and Mac users. Fitness functions require the use of the Android-based S-Health app.
These are available in black, gray, and pink.
Charging: Five hours per charge; case holds 5 hours of battery life; 10 minutes gives you one more hour.
Sony’s 1000XM3 truly wireless headphones are some of the best options out there. They offer class-leading noise cancellation, thanks to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e. The headphones also feature 24-bit audio signal processing, all in an effort to improve the overall sound quality.
The headphones feature a frequency response between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. The headphones can also automatically switch between ambient noise and not based on your activity, and the headphones can automatically pause the music you’re listening to with wearing detection and quick attention mode.
The 1000XM3 feature up to 24 hours of battery life with the charging case. Quick charging can see the headphones get 90 minutes of playtime with just ten minutes of charging.
The original AirPods kickstarted the truly wireless headphones market, and now Apple has noise cancelling AirPods Pro. The new headphones feature three sizes with tapered silicone tips, all for a customizable fit. And of course, the AirPods Pro feature active noise cancellation.
There is a transparency mode as well, which will let you effortlessly hear the world around you when you need it. The AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant, and the Adaptive EQ feature will automatically tune your music based on the shape of your ear.
The AirPods Pro also support “Hey Siri”, and along with the wireless charging case the AirPods Pro can reach up to 24 hours of battery life.
The Jaybird Vista are sport headphones, featuring water resistance and a design that’s meant to be comfortable even during a workout. The headphones are IPX7-rated for water- and sweat-resistance. With a full charge, the Jaybird Vista offers six hours of audio playback, plus an additional 10 hours with the charging case. That’s 16 hours with both headphones, or 32 hours if you’re only using one of the wireless earbuds.
Jaybird says the Vista offers zero-lag listening thanks to its JBS1 wireless technology, and the Vista wireless earbuds are among the lightest and smallest on the market. They feature three different sizes for the perfect fit, and the Jaybird app features EQ control for the best audio experience.
What do you think?
Next-generation true wireless earbuds are just around the corner. As new products are added, we’ll adjust this list. Which are your favorites? Did we forget to include the ones you like the best? Let us know below.