When you think of true wireless earbuds, the first thing that comes to mind are those little white stems pointing downward from each ear. When Apple first introduced its wireless earbuds, the world was aghast at the awkward design, which was almost universally seen as a rare misfire from Apple’s product design geniuses. Yet the lure of Apple earbuds was impossible to resist, and now these audio devices are everywhere.
If the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist, then surely his second greatest was convincing the world AirPods look cool, actually.
But what about the best AirPods alternatives? Can they really compare to Apple’s premium earbuds? No doubt AirPods, especially the AirPods Pro, are one of the most popular and sought after wireless earbuds on the market in 2020. Yes, AirPods Pro sound great, and they have unique features like ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) and transparency mode, which allows you to hear the outside world without taking out one of your earbuds.
One of the only downsides of the original AirPods was the one-size-fits-all design. But that issue has been addressed with the AirPods Pro with in-ear tips. All of those features, sound quality and comfort make AirPods Pro a fantastic choice if you are looking for earbuds that cost $250.
As fantastic as AirPods are though, they aren’t your only option for a premium wireless earbud experience. As AirPods paved the way for true wireless earbuds done right, many companies have excelled in creating quality Bluetooth earbuds that can hold their own against Apple AirPods Pro.
So what are the best AirPods alternatives? Our favorite wireless earbuds are less expensive than the AirPods Pro yet don’t compromise sound quality, comfort or noise-cancelation.
1. Jabra Elite 75t
The Jabra Elite 75t improves upon the already great 65t by upping the battery life by 2.5 hours for 7.5 hours of total use. On top of that, the charging station stores 28 hours worth of battery life (that’s roughly four full charges). The sound quality is already great, but you can also make adjustments using the Jabra Sound+ app to customize the sound. Plus, they’re almost $100 cheaper than AirPods Pro.
We’ve written about the Jabra Elite 75t many times before. The sweat-resistant Jabra Elite Active 75t were a big hit at CES 2020, and we’ve named these earbuds one of the best tech gifts of 2020. We’ve found that these earbuds are easy to pair with any Bluetooth device, have intuitive controls and a great microphone. They’re also very comfortable in the ear, and Jabra provides several sizes of ear tips and replacements. Most companion apps are a waste of data, but the Jabra Sound+ app is a useful addition that lets you fine-tune the audio settings to your liking. The only downside? We’ve found that the audio sometimes skips slightly, like a scratched CD on a Walkman. That being said, this problem is extremely rare, and may have more to do with your devices than the earbuds themselves.
If you’re looking for the best AirPods Pro alternatives, we strongly recommend the Jabra Elite 75t.
2. Samsung Galaxy Buds
These earbuds are so tiny you might forget you have them in your ears. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds come in a handful of different colors, and they’re great for casually listening to music and podcasts while you’re cleaning around the house or commuting to work. While the six-hour battery life is short of the Jabra Elite 75t, it is still impressive. It’s obvious why 80% of Amazon reviews give the Galaxy Buds four or five stars. These wireless earbuds offer sweat-resistance and a sleek design. Plus, like all of the best noise-canceling earbuds, they have an Ambient Aware mode that lets you tune into the world around you as needed.
At half the price of Apple’s latest earbuds, Samsung’s offering is a worthy alternative to the AirPods Pro.
3. Bose Soundsport Free
GREAT FOR RUNNING
Using StayHear+ Sport tips to keep these earbuds snuggly in your ears, the Soundsport Free is a good option for the active type. There is a water-resistant mesh that helps block sweat and rain, so you can go hard at the gym without having to worry. These are good for about five hours of battery life while the charging case holds about two full charges before it needs a fill-up.
4. TrebLab xFit
Even though TrebLab is a bit of an unknown player in the earbud world, the xFit earbuds are great sounding buds without premium pricing. They fit snuggly in your ears and come with three different tips. You can expect about five hours of battery life and about an hour to charge them back to full capacity. While you’ll lose out on advanced active noise-cancellation, the difference is negligible in most cases. Don’t overlook the TrebLab xFit earbuds, especially since they are only $50.
5. Sony WF-1000XM3
The best wireless earbuds feature active-noise canceling, but nobody does ANC better than Sony, which offers ANC that’s good enough to use on a plane. If you’re looking to truly drown out the world around you, the Sony WF-1000XM3 delivers unbeatable audio quality. Plus, like the Jabra Elite 75t, these Sony earbuds allow you to shape the sound you hear by using the EQ feature on the Sony app. Expect about six hours of use with the ANC rolling, and even better battery life without it. If you’re into creating your own private listening environment, these are a great AirPods alternative. At $200, they only cost a smidge less than AirPods Pro, but with a great battery life, sleek design and superior audio quality, they’re a more than worthy alternative to the AirPods pro.
6. Beats Powerbeats Pro
BEST BATTERY LIFE
Athletes will appreciate the lengthy nine-hour battery life combined with the ear-hook styled earbuds. Once you put them on, they aren’t going anywhere. To keep you motivated while you’re working out, the bass-thumping sound profile make rap and EDM music slap. If you’re tired of your AirPods falling out during workouts, give Beats Powerbeats Pro a go, doctor’s orders. We previously named these the best overall hook earbuds, and they’re a great choice for athletes and music lovers alike.
7. SoundPeats True Wireless Earbuds
You can buy eight pairs of SoundPeats for the price of one AirPods Pro. You can expect over three hours of battery life, while the small and portable carrying case holds three full charges. Don’t be scared by the affordable price tag, as 78% of Amazon customers have given the SoundPeats four or five stars with more than 5,000 reviews and counting. That’s a lot of happy listeners. Sure, you’ll have to forget about ANC and other advanced playback features, but if you want cheap earbuds that will last, this is a solid option.
8. Jaybird Vista
Labeled as “Earthproof,” the Jaybird Vista earbuds sport a IPX7 dust, scratch, and water-resistant rating, meaning you can go running in the rain, drop your earbuds off a small cliff, and accidentally kick one down the road, and it would still work fine (although we don’t recommend that). You could run a marathon before the six-hour battery life runs out. Okay, maybe you couldn’t do that, but someone could. These earbuds are lightweight, durable and provide solid sound quality, what else do you really need?
9. Sennheiser Momentum
The sound quality is top-notch in the Sennheiser Momentum wireless earbuds, and they are about $70 cheaper than AirPods Pro. They even feature transparency technology to hear your surroundings while your earbuds are still in. The four-hour battery life could be better, but you can always go with the Momentum 2, which has seven hours of battery life (they cost almost $300). However, the predecessor sounds just as good and is a better overall value. Make no mistake, these are premium earbuds that can compete with the best audio devices from Jabra, Apple and Sony. Even though there’s a newer version of this product for sale, we still think Sennheiser Momentum is one of the best AirPods alternatives available in 2020.
10. Google Pixel Buds
NEW FROM GOOGLE
The first iteration of the Google Pixel Buds still had that pesky wire that tethered the two earbuds to one another. Now, free of all wires, the Pixel buds are as small and comfortable as ever, plus they come in a handful of fun colors. The sound quality rivals AirPods Pro, and they’re $70 cheaper. Hey Google, not bad. With a design that’s clearly reminiscent of your AirPods charging case, these are one of the best new alternatives to the AirPods and AirPods Pro.
11. Apple AirPods
There’s one more alternative to the AirPods Pro to consider. While the latest generation of earbuds from Apple will cost you about $250, the original model only costs $140. While the new and improved Apple earbud provides superior audio quality, noise-cancelation, and a better design (these still look like Q-tips dangling from your ears), there’s no denying that this is still a high quality product from one of the world’s best tech companies. If you’re looking for affordable alternatives to the AirPods Pro, these OG earbuds are still worthy of consideration.