The Perfect Wireless Earbuds for Every Need

wireless earbuds are one of those ideas that sounded at first like a dream: Pop a tiny little headphone into each ear and listen to music or take calls untethered from everything. The first wireless buds were gigantic, died after a few hours, and had a bunch of other problems. Luckily, times have changed. There are a myriad of new models that sound fabulous and work perfectly. After testing dozens of them for the past four years, here are our favorite wireless earbuds right now, in a wide range of styles and prices.

For more top picks, our Best Wireless Headphones, Best Noise-Canceling Headphones, Best Cheap Headphones, and Best Workout Earbuds guides may help.

Updated September 2021: We’ve added the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 and Sony WF-1000XM4, and updated our list of honorable mentions.

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    How We Define Wireless Earbuds

    An Explainer

    We’ve seen variations go by many names: true wireless earbuds, truly wireless earbuds, completely wireless earbuds, fully wireless earbuds, wirefree earbuds. These days, if a pair of earbuds connects to your phone/computer via Bluetooth, and has no cord that connects the left bud to the right, we just call them wireless here at WIRED. Wireless sets typically come with two popcorn-sized buds, each with a battery inside, and a charging cradle that carries extra battery power and keeps them safe when you’re not wearing ’em. Other kinds of wireless earbuds have a cable or neckband that connects the two buds together.

    Ridding yourself of all cords can feel liberating, but they do come with issues, such as limited battery life (don’t buy any with less than 5 hours), confusing controls, and reliance on a charging case. They’re also easier to lose than traditional earbuds, and replacing one bud can be expensive.

  • Photograph: Google

    Best Overall

    Google Pixel Buds A-Series

    Comfortable fit, solid sound, good looks, and a sub-$100 price make the new Pixel Buds A-Series (8/10, WIRED Recommends) our favorite wireless earbuds for most people. In addition to AirPods-matching five hours of listening time and an AirPods-beating IPX4 sweat-resistance rating for workouts, these headphones pair instantly with Android devices, and Google Assistant integration is excellent. (They still pair very quickly with iPhones, but not as fast as buds made by Apple. You won’t be able to use Google Assistant on iPhone.) The egg-shaped case adds an extra 19 hours of listening time.

    The ear fins keep them very stable in the ears, and the audio quality is also better than Apple’s entry-level buds, with bolder bass aided by the excellent seal formed by the silicone ear tips. 

  • Photograph: 1More

    Runner Up

    1More ColorBuds

    We’ve tried a lot of wireless earbuds in the past couple of years, but lesser-known audio brand 1More still makes some of our favorite buds. Called the ColorBuds, the second-gen of 1More’s wireless earbuds are excellent. They’re extremely comfortable and IPX5 sweat-resistant, and they sound as good as buds two or three times the price. Thanks to their silicone ring-tips, you can wear them for hours at a time and almost forget they’re there, plus the four built-in mics make for better call quality compared to the previous model.

    The six hours of juice per charge is down about a half-hour from its predecessor, but the earbuds are smaller and lighter. Between sessions, the case holds about 16 more hours of power. They’re frequently available for $80, which makes them an even better value.

Source: The Perfect Wireless Earbuds for Every Need

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