The 10 best earbuds

If you’re looking to upgrade your headphones but want something less bulky, earbuds are the way to go. Earbuds are lightweight, compact and more suitable than traditional headphones for traveling and exercising.

Before buying a new pair of earbuds, there are several things you should take into consideration, as they come in varying shapes, specs, and designs. Although the best earbuds share many of the same features, you want something comfortable that suits your lifestyle.

What to look for in earbuds

Noise-canceling

The best earbuds have an active noise-canceling feature that drowns out unwanted ambient noise. It’s great for situations when you want to block out everything and zone out to your favorite tunes. On the flip side, most noise-canceling earbuds have an ambient noise mode that lets wearers hear their surroundings more clearly, which is excellent for cycling and outdoor jogging.

Ingress protection rating

Some earbuds are designed for working out, so they need to have some resistance to sweat and moisture. An IP rating indicates how dust and water-resistant something is. It’s often expressed as IPXX, with the first digit representing dust protection and the second representing water. For example, earbuds with an IPX4 indicate that they haven’t been sufficiently tested for dust protection and can be splashed by water from any direction without damage.

Wireless vs. wired earbuds

Most earbuds are wireless and sync with devices through Bluetooth, but wired earbuds are still around. Wireless earbuds are more convenient, but they don’t offer a stable connection like the one you get with wired earbuds. However, the best wireless earbuds can support a stable Bluetooth connection up to 20 feet away from the source device.

EQ Adjustability

Most wireless earbuds can be managed through a smartphone app where EQ settings can be adjusted. Many have preset modes that boost bass or treble. You can also manually customize them to suit your preference.

Battery life and charging

Battery life varies significantly across different earbuds. Generally, you want your earbuds to last 5-8 hours on a full charge. Having features such as active noise-canceling enabled drains batteries faster. Most earbuds come with charging cases that can power them up on the go, usually in a short period.

Most earbuds charge using a USB-C charging cable. This is convenient for Android users because you can also use it to charge your phone. Also, some earbuds support wireless charging, meaning you can place the case on top of a Qi pad to juice them up.

Best earbuds

Best earbuds $200-$300

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Earbuds

These earbuds have a secure fit and have an IP57 protection rating, making them ideal for working out. They have active noise cancellation, and settings can be adjusted through the Jabra Sound smartphone app. Call quality is excellent, and they offer up to 24 hours of battery life.

Sold by Amazon

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro have a sleek design and integrate seamlessly with other iOS devices. They have a Transparency mode for hearing ambient noise, spatial audio and an adaptive equalizer that automatically optimizes music audio quality. They’re moisture-resistant and have a force sensor for controlling music playback and phone calls.

Sold by Amazon

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

These earbuds sound great and look stylish, boasting an updated, sleeker design than their predecessor. Phone call quality is excellent even in noisy environments, and speak-to-chat technology automatically adjusts the volume. They have an IPX4 protection rating and they support Qi wireless charging.

Sold by Amazon

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds

These earbuds deliver impressive high-fidelity audio and have a volume-optimized automatic equalizer for fine-tuning music. They have touch controls for music playback and noise-filtering microphones to filter out ambient noise during phone calls. They last up to 18 hours and support wireless charging.

Sold by Amazon

Best earbuds $100-$200

Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds

These are great earbuds for anyone looking for something lightweight and compact. They have an acoustic platform that delivers balanced, high-quality sound. They also have built-in microphones for taking calls and accessing voice assistants. They have an IPX4 protection rating and offer up to 24 hours of listening time.

Sold by Amazon

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Earbuds

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Earbuds

Bass-lovers will love these earbuds thanks to the built-in transducer and Bass Boost mode. They offer active noise cancellation, customizable touch controls, access to voice assistants, an IPx4 protection rating and a compact design with a pocket-size charging case.

Sold by Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

These earbuds work best with Android smartphones, particularly the Samsung Galaxy series. They have four ambient filter levels and deliver impressive bass thanks to the 6.5-millimeter tweeter and 11-millimeter woofer built into each bud. Plus, they have an IPX7 protection rating and can charge using a smartphone’s battery.

Sold by Amazon

Best earbuds under $100

JBL Wireless Earbuds

JBL Wireless Earbuds

These affordable earbuds have plenty of premium features, including active noise canceling, ambient noise listening and four built-in microphones for crystal-clear phone calls. They offer up to 40 hours of battery life, and each bud has a 6-millimeter driver for solid bass reproduction.

Sold by Amazon

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless Earbuds

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless Earbuds

These earbuds have a minimalist design and are ideal for those who want high-quality sound without breaking the bank. They have an IP55 protection rating making them excellent for working out and offer impressive volume and Bluetooth range. Also, they support tile-finding technology, which is used for locating misplaced personal items.

Sold by Amazon

Skullcandy Inkd Wired Earbuds

Skullcandy Ink’d Wired Earbuds

These earbuds are for you if you don’t want the hassle of dealing with shoddy wireless connections. They deliver quality sound and have controls for managing music playback and phone calls. Also, they come with two sets of ear tips and a protective velvet pouch.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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