In today’s world, we like our information fast, and our tech wireless. But at the moment, most wireless earbuds still have a cable that connects the left and right earbuds together. Sure, there isn’t the wire that you have to run down your shirt to your phone, or the wire that’ll catch your arm as you power through a workout on the treadmill. But still, it’s there and it’s frustrating. What’s more, the wire that connects the two earbuds together doesn’t look stylish, and it can jump up and down on your neck as you are working out. It’s annoying, and it’s not truly wireless.
True wireless earbuds are two separate earbuds that aren’t connected to one another but connect to your phone. They look better, feel better, and the Bluetooth connectivity is often better because the receiver is built into the earbud. This then gives your phone a more direct line for the Bluetooth connection, as opposed to a built-in receiver on the wire that sits behind your head and often causes signal loss.
You’ll generally see two styles of wireless earbuds. The hook style that wraps around your ear is great for working out, and generally comes with a number of customizable tips to fit snuggly inside of your ear canal. The other style is made to fit into your ear without any outside housing, much like the Apple Airpods. Earbud style is a matter of personal preference, but regardless of your choice, you can’t go wrong with our options listed below.
1. Jabra Elite 65t
The Jabra Elite 65t is a superb mix of everything. They’re customizable, comfortable, boast high performance, and have an impressive battery life. Over 60% of Amazon reviews gave these Jabra earbuds a 4 out of 5 or better. What’s more, the Jabra Elite 65t boast a IP56 dust and water resistant rating, meaning your sweat won’t come close to ruining your earbuds. If you like to crank up the tunes at the gym, these earbuds inherently serve up big bass performance. But if that’s not for you, you can use the Jabra app to customize the sound with a five-band Equalizer, to ensure that these earbuds sound exactly the way you want them to. The Jabra Elite 65t have up to five hours of battery life, which is great, but it’s their quick charge feature that really impressed us. Simply place your dead earbuds in their case for 15 mins and Jabra claims you’ll get another 1.5hrs of usage.
2. Sony WF-1000XM3
The Sony WF-1000XM3 provides noise-cancelling which isn’t often seen in wireless earbuds. This makes them great for in-flight or office use. Beyond noise-cancelling, these earbuds sound great. Like the Jabra Elite 65t, you can customize the EQ using the Sony app, to shape the sound any way you see fit. If you tend to be more on the active side, keep in mind that these earbuds aren’t water resistant like our top overall pick. We can’t say with certainty that sweat or rain won’t ruin your earbuds, which is a bummer for those looking to get out and run with this pair. You also can’t control the volume on the earbuds, which keeps you tied to your phone, unfortunately. On the upside, there are cool little features, like your audio will automatically pause when you take an earbud out of one ear. The earbuds also automatically turn on when you take them out of the case, so you can simply pop them in your ears and hit the road. Also, Sony claims that these wireless earbuds can give you up to 24-hours of battery life, but other review sites such as TechRadar, claim that the battery life is closer to 6 hours, especially with the noise-cancelling feature on. Provided the long battery life, and noise-cancelling features, we feel these headphones are great for office and business traveling warriors.
3. Jaybird Run XT
BEST FOR RUNNING
If running is your jam, the Jaybird Run XT are the wireless earbuds you’ll want as your running partner. A common problem with the previous version of the Run XT – the Jaybird Run – was connectivity. With the previous model, the earbuds would cut out as your arums swung in between your phone and your earbuds. But thankfully, Jaybird fixed that problem in the latest XT version. Another great feature of the XT is they are waterproof. And not just a little sweat – sporting a IPX7 waterproof rating – you can go swimming wearing these earbuds and they’ll live to tell the tale. In the chance that mid-run, your earbud’s batteries die – which could happen given the subpar four hours of battery life – and they fall out of your pocket, you can use the Jaybird app to locate your missing earbuds, which we thought was a pretty neat feature. The app also allows you to adjust the EQ like both the Sony, and Jabra earbud apps. The earbuds already sound great, and produce great bass, but the EQ really lets you shape the sound to your liking.
4. Samsung Galaxy Buds
Sure, there are cheaper wireless headphones out there, but one’s like the Skullcandy Indy wireless earbuds don’t have good sound quality, and the Jaylab Jbuds Air Sport have connectivity issues. The Samsung Galaxy are still over $100, but they look awesome, are smaller than most earbuds, are available in a handful of different colors and sound great. Now all value or budget picks have their shortcomings, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds are no different. These earbuds aren’t very waterproof. We wouldn’t recommend getting anymore than a light sweat going while using these earbuds. Also, they’re prone to clarity issues when using the microphone for phone calls, especially in louder environments. But for more common uses, like listening to music, these earbuds are a solid bet. They produce a clear sound with good bass and impressive highs , unlike other value earbuds that sound thin or tinny. The six hour battery life is just as good the Sony WF-1000XM3 and better than the Jabra earbuds. Despite their shortcomings, these are a solid pair of wireless earbuds.
5. Beats Powerbeats Pro
BEST BATTERY LIFE
The ear hook style of wireless earbuds are still popular, especially among athletes, gym goers, and runners. They help stabilize the earbud on your ear, and make it so you rarely have to worry about them falling out or moving around. Another reason runners love them is the lengthy nine-hour battery life. That impressive battery life beats out all other earbuds on our list. The charging case is a bit on the bulky side, so carrying that around with you for a quick recharge is a little bit of a hassle. And to our surprise, for true wireless earbuds that are touted as a great choice for fitness lovers, these are only rated IPX4 water resistant, which means sweat won’t harm these, but we wouldn’t recommend trying to rinse them off. All of that aside, you’ll love the sound quality. They sound especially good when you listen to music that tends to have more powerful bass like EDM and rap. The earbuds sound full, and can give you that extra bit of motivation during your workouts. They are a bit on the pricier side, but the sound quality, comfort and battery life make it worth the investment.
6. Apple AirPods
It’s hard to ignore Apple products when you see them. They are instantly recognizable, and carry a cahce that only Apple products can carry. Just like the Apple Watch Series 4, the Apple AirPods scream style when you are using them. But beyond looking great, they sound great too. Apple did a fantastic job at balancing the EQ on the AirPods. Their bass is full, yet the mids and high frequencies sound rich, which provides a really great listening experience. As you’d expect, AirPods work seamlessly with your iPhone. As soon as you pair them to your phone once, your AirPods will automatically sync whenever they are in range. On top of that, they feature wireless charging, and up to five hours of battery life, which is about the same as the Jabra Elite 65t. Although AirPods are great for casual use, hardcore runners might want to look for an earbud that will reliably stay in your ear during a workout. The jarring nature of running could pop your AirPods loose, and nothing is more frustrating during a run than messing with your earbuds. But for Apple lovers, it’s hard to argue going against Apple AirPods.
7. Skullcandy Sesh
An unfortunate consequence of true-wireless earbuds is that they’re easy to lose, and even easier to drop. In fact, what makes them so great (the lack of any wires), makes them so hard to hold on to. If your hands are sweaty or you’re tired, it’s easy to fumble them and drop them on the floor, or in a drain, or in the toilet.
Now, we’re not suggesting that will always happen, but it does happen. And for that reason, we love Skullcandy’s Sesh headphones. The quality is there. The headphones come with easy-to-use buttons so you can change tracks, activate your virtual assistant and manage the volume, all without pulling out your phone. They also stay in your ears whether you’re riding your bike, going for a jog or powerlifting your way to a new PR. But our favorite quality of these buds? The price. For $40, you can get audio quality that’s ideal for the gym. And if (and when) you do drop them, or lose them, you won’t be heartbroken. For a gadget that’s this easy to lose or destroy, the lack of heartbreak is an incredibly important feature.