An impressively full-featured and well-reviewed set with noise-cancellation.
Impressive feature set includes active noise-cancellation for music listening and mic noise-cancellation for clear calls. Accelerometer-based tap controls. Lasts up to 9 hours on a single charge. Composite drivers provide strong bass and authentic treble.
Touch controls lack volume and only operate on right earbud.
Solid pair with a big bass sound and waterproof rating at a truly affordable price point.
Rated IPX7 waterproof. Offers 9-hour battery life. Top- and bottom-heavy audio profile with powerful bass and bright highs. Low-latency mode is good for gaming. Uses Bluetooth 5.1. Lasts 8 hours per charge with 32 hours of extra charge from the case. Touch controls.
Lacks noise-cancellation. Does not have a companion app.
This Sony option offers the quality and smarts you would expect from the brand.
Small and light stemless design fits securely in most ears. Offers 10 hours of battery life with extra full charge in case. IPX4 water resistance. Touch controls for pause/play, skip, and volume. Boasts spatial audio and onboard processing for bright, spacious sound.
Lacks high-end features like noise-cancellation. Can sound a little too bright and harsh.
These bass-y buds from Anker offer the features of more expensive models plus a few extras.
Customizable noise-cancelling offers different levels for commuting, outdoors, and indoors. Boasts 6 microphones and advanced algorithm for voice call clarity. Powerful bass response with bass boost. Sleep mode generates white noise. Offers cordless charging.
Bass-heavy sound not for all tastes. Slightly bulky.
In our testing, we found the Pixel Buds A-series to be comfortable and balanced, with well-implemented controls.
Comfortable design that stays in place with soft built-in stabilizers. Good sound quality with punchy bass and emphasized highs, ideal for phone calls. Intuitive tap-based controls. Sweat-resistant; good for workouts or chores.
Our testing found the battery life underwhelming.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Truly wireless earbuds are in-ear headphones that use the power of Bluetooth connectivity, along with other advanced digital wireless technology, to offer a completely wireless listening experience. In the past, wireless simply meant freedom from a headphone jack. Now users can pair independent earbuds to one or more audio sources and take calls, listen to music, or record voice notes from, sometimes, unnoticeable earpieces.
Styles of these earbuds may vary from those that hook over the ear for extra stability to others that are so well designed they can maintain an extremely low profile and remain firmly placed in the ear, undetected by the casual observer.
Truly wireless earbuds won’t have any wires connecting them to your device or each other. Most bud styles are designed to fit comfortably inside your ear. Others will sport a hook that wraps around the outside of your ear for additional support. You’ll have to consider your activity level and how snug you’ll need your buds to fit. Many of the inner-ear-style earbuds claim they will remain secure, even during vigorous physical activity, and many newer models have gotten increasingly better at this.
You won’t need any batteries to power your wireless earbuds, but you will need to consider how you’ll be charging them. Many will come with a small carrying compartment that will double as a battery pack and charging station. This means you’ll need to keep the compartment charged so that when it’s time to store your earbuds, you can recharge them as well. Most of these are powered via USB.
Be sure that the earbuds you consider are compatible with your device. Many of the truly wireless earbuds that are not a part of the Apple family will be compatible with other devices that support Bluetooth (however, that is not the case for all of them available). Also, features like Siri, Google Now, and Alexa may require compatible software to work in connection with your earbuds, so be sure to check compatibility before making your purchase.
Range refers to how far your wireless earbuds can be from the device it’s paired with before it loses quality or connection. You’ll have to stay close to your connected device if you’re considering a more inexpensive product, which will typically allow for 15 to 20 feet of distance. This is perfectly fine for most individuals, as we don’t stray too far away from our phones anyway. However, there are some who would like a bit more freedom to move around with their wireless buds. More expensive brands allow users 40 to 50 feet of distance. If you will primarily use your earbuds for working out, you can easily keep your phone on or near you. If you want to use your earbuds while doing yard work or projects around the house, you may want a pair with a greater range.
Most truly wireless earbuds will support listening to phone call audio and music wirelessly. Where you’ll find a difference in products is whether phone call audio can be listened to in both ears or just one. Some products will only allow for call audio to play from one ear. So, if you’re looking for stereo sound from your music and your calls, be mindful of your product’s audio features before making your purchase.
If you really want to give truly wireless earbuds a try, but are on an extremely tight budget, you can still enjoy wireless freedom at a low cost. Just know that the brands towards the bottom of this range, which is around $20 to $40, will give you the bare minimum when it comes to features and will likely be of low sound quality and material. As you move toward the high end of this scale, however, you should be able to find something that’s comparable to the other more reliable brands.
Between $50 and $60 is where quality and price come together. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the best place to look. At the mid-level price range, you’ll find products that boast high-quality sound and cool features (such as multiple device pairing and long battery life) as well as more stylish designs.
Though products ranging from $80 to $90 are still under $100, this is where you can find some of the most durable, stylish, and feature-packed earbuds available. All the earbuds here will be made of quality material, have top-notch sound quality, and tout extremely reliable and long-lasting battery life.
A. Yes. While not every brand may include this feature, many wireless earbuds will allow you to use one while the other charges. Generally, the right earbud is the dominant one.
A. Not always. Some brands don’t allow users to hear call audio in both ears, just the dominant earbud. This is considered a safety feature. Music will always play in both ears, however.
A. Wireless earbuds are very small by nature, so it’s difficult to equip them with a lot of controls. However, some brands do allow you to answer calls, start and stop music, and skip tracks by the press, hold, or tap of a single button located on one of the earpieces.
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