The entire selling point of wireless earbuds is that they make things easy. You pull them out of a case, they automatically connect to your phone, and you get audio in your ears without the hassle of cords.
Unfortunately, it’s not always this simple.
Thanks to what seems like a never-ending list of audio codecs and Bluetooth protocols, your experience with Bluetooth earbuds can differ depending on what earbuds and what phone you’re using.
And when it comes to Android, the wireless earbuds that are great on the iPhone aren’t always as great on Google’s OS.
Why? It comes down to AptX support, or the lack thereof from earbud makers. Even though there have been AptX earbuds available for the last two years, this audio codec isn’t as widely supported today as some had expected. Reasons for not supporting the standard ranges from sub-optimal power consumption (questionable) to the belief that using AptX optimized chipsets only provide minimal benefit in loud areas (valid, but people also use them in quiet places). In those cases, wireless earbuds simply use the SBC or AAC codec with Android. But as tests from sites like SoundGuys have shown, getting the best audio quality in these circumstances is a mixed, inconsistent bag.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. There are not only some great AptX wireless earbuds for Android phones out there but also some non-AptX wireless earbuds which still manage to shine on non-Apple phones.
Keep reading for our top picks.
1. Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds
BEST WIRELESS ANDROID EARBUDS OVERALL
When you put the overall feature set of the Sony WF-1000XM3 up against the competition, they emerge as the clear leader of the pack when it comes to the best wireless earbuds for Android. While these earbuds may not support AptX, Sony has instead opted to use its DSEE HX upscaling algorithm to provide crystal-clear audio. As one of the leaders when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones you can expect top-class performance on that front as well. Rounding out the feature set, the WF-1000XM3 earbuds come with an app that lets you fully customize the sound these buds produce, as well as the touch controls. And there are even some excellent premium features, such as the ability to activate ambient mode by placing one hand over one of the earbuds.
2. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Review
Given all of the functionality that Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 headphones offer for under $100, it’s hard not to consider them some of the best wireless earbuds for Android you can buy. Sporting a look similar to the Airpods, these earbuds support the Apt X codec, seven hours of playback on a single charge (with another 21 stored in the case), four integrated microphones which give you excellent call quality, and a companion app which lets you fully customize the sound or pick from a number of presets (including some designed by audio pros). These earbuds will definitely need a little EQ tweaking since they’re heavy on treble by default, but there are few wireless earbuds for less than $100 that can match what you get with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2.
3. Google Pixel Buds
BEST FOR PIXEL OWNERS
In choosing not to support the AptX audio codec, it’s clear that Google wasn’t going for ultimate audio quality with its Pixel Buds. Instead, it aimed to provide a set of premium features to those who are entrenched in the company’s wide-ranging ecosystem. The most central of these features is the fact that you can activate Google Assistant the same way you would with one of their smart speakers: by just saying ‘Hey Google.’ You don’t have to tap or press anything to start a call, change tracks, adjust the volume or send a text message. But when you also include the Pixel Buds’ ability to translate foreign languages on the fly and their design (which looks as good as anything out there), and you have a worthy pair of all-around earbuds that are more than just a device for listening to music.
4. Edifier TWS6 Wireless Earbuds
Edifier is not as well known as some of the other brands on this list, but for the last few years, they have quietly been making speakers and headphones which offer amazing bang for the buck. The TWS 6 are no exception, producing some of the most accurate and detailed audio you find in any pair of the best wireless earbuds for Android regardless of price. What’s also great about these is how surprisingly small they are. As someone who has regularly used these in day-to-day life, there are many instances where people don’t realize I’m wearing earbuds at all.
But offering quality AptX audio at a near-unbeatable price does come with a few tradeoffs: These are a relatively spartan pair of headphones, so you won’t get much in the way of noise-canceling, sound customization options or little quality of life features, like music auto-pausing when you pull an earbud out. The balanced audio driver also means that while audio is accurately reproduced on a technical level, these are not bass-heavy and some people may find the sound a bit clinical. Still, considering that these offer seven hours of battery life on a single charge and have a case that supports the wireless Qi charging standard, these are an amazing option when it comes to budget wireless earbuds for Android phones.
5. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Earbuds
BEST FOR AUDIOPHILES
If you’re looking for the best possible audio quality you can get out of a pair of wireless Android earbuds, look no further than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, which offer Android users AptX encoding, Bluetooth 5.1 compatibility, six hours of battery life and noise cancellation. But what really helps these sing are the 7mm drivers, which are larger than the 6mm drivers found in your typical pair of wireless earbuds, which gives them more oomph on the low end of the audio spectrum. While Bluetooth audio has yet to fully meet the high bar set by audiophiles, these are a pair that have come the closest to clearing it.
6. Skullcandy Jib True Wireless Earbuds
BEST BUDGET OPTION
For those who just need a pair of really cheap, no-frills earbuds that just work, the Skullcandy Jib wireless earbuds come in at an amazingly low $30. While there is nothing in the way of unique features or superlative performance, these headphones have a bass-forward design and audio quality which exceeds the price. While these certainly won’t meet the standards of audiophiles, these are so cheap that it won’t be the end of the world if you break them or lose one.
7. Bose Quiet Comfort Wireless Earbuds
BEST NOISE CANCELLING
Bose is one of the companies that have opted to forgo AptX compatibility in their earbuds, but they still earn a spot on the list of best wireless earbuds for Android due to the fact that the Quiet Comfort earbuds are the ultimate when it comes to noise cancellation. If you are frequently on planes or in a noisy environment where you need to concentrate, you should look no further than Bose. These earbuds promise to reduce all the clamor around you to a hush, letting you concentrate on the task at hand. But they’re no one-trick pony: these earbuds also have excellent audio quality and battery life, dust and water resistance, and batteries that last up to six hours on a single charge.
8. Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds
BEST FOR WORKING OUT
If you use your earbuds to workout a lot, or simply live somewhere wet like, say, Seattle, you’re going to want a pair of waterproof earbuds. The Jabra Elite Active 75t may not have AptX support, but they are IP57 rated, which means they’re waterproof and resistant to dust. Add to this a nice, compact design, software-based noise cancellation, fully-customizable audio and a battery that lasts seven hours, and these are the best wireless earbuds for Android you can buy if you’re active.