Everyone loves headphones, and nothing’s more popular among consumers than Apple’s AirPods. Without question, it single-handedly helped all of us to adopt the idea of truly wireless earbuds into our lives — the kind that untethered traditional wired earbuds from one another. Since its release in 2016, we’ve been given several other models, including the over-the-ear styled AirPods Max, but the tried and true form factor of Apple’s wireless earbuds continues to be a prized seller.
However, not everyone is stoked about the AirPods. Style-wise, not everyone shares Apple’s peculiar design language, mainly how they stick out when worn. Or perhaps you use an Android smartphone and would prefer an AirPods alternative worthy of it? Whatever the case, we have you covered because there are plenty of options to choose from that give the AirPods a run for its money.
The selections below closely match the features set and price point of the most current iteration of the popular wireless earbuds — the Apple AirPods (3rd Generation). If you’re looking for noise-cancellation, the AirPods Pro would be the logical choice for Apple fans, while the AirPods Max is ideal for those that prefer an over-the-ear option.
Jaybird Vista 2
BEST FOR SPORTS
If you’ve ever worn the AirPods, then you know how they can quickly feel loose in your ear while working up a sweat. You won’t ever have that problem with the Jaybird Vista 2, which features interchangeable ear hooks that keep them secure and comfortable for those with an active lifestyle. They’re designed for people who love to work out, also evident in its IP68 waterproof construction that makes it sweatproof, dustproof, and impact resistant. You’ll spend less time fussing around keeping them in your ears and more on the music.
Jabra Elite 85t
BEST FOR ALL-AROUND
Nothing’s more useful than a pair of earbuds packed with rich features that cover the gamut. If you’re looking for an option with a diverse set of features, look no further than the Jabra Elite 85t. This pair of true wireless earbuds has everything you need, whether you’re an audiophile that appreciates quality or an office worker that needs one for those frequent phone calls. Its notable features include its 25-hour battery life, noise-cancellation, and HearThrough mode that lets you still hear your surroundings while they’re worn.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
While Apple etched out an iconic design with the AirPods, they do stick out like a sore thumb when worn — which is why not everyone is a fan of the design. If you prefer something more discrete while still delivering crisp audio and access to Google Assistant on your smartphone, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series is the choice for you. With its lightweight construction and in-ear design, people may not notice you’re wearing earbuds because they don’t stick out. Best of all, you can simply say “Hey Google” to ask the voice assistant to do a host of functions.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
On the other end of the spectrum, some folks actually love the AirPods’ iconic looks. If you’re one of them, then the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 closely matches its distinctive design. Specifically, the microphones are located on each earbuds’ end to provide crystal-clear phone calls by reducing background noise. The nice thing is that the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 looks like the AirPods but are more affordable — while still offering additional features such as custom equalizer settings and a mono mode for one earbud use.
BEST NOISE CANCELLING
Even though there’s a newer model, the Sony WF-1000MX3 is still one of the best AirPods alternatives that feature incredible noise cancellation. Better yet, it closely matches the AirPods in price! Sony’s pair of true wireless earbuds ensure that you won’t be disturbed by distractions around you because the noise-cancellation mutes what’s around you so that you’re left undisturbed by those distractions. Even with all the new models out there, the Sony WF-1000MX3 still shows it’s a class-leading contender in the noise cancellation space.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
There’s just so much hardware that companies can cram into tight spaces inside earbuds before they become weighty, which can often lead to some uncomfortableness when worn for long periods. Well, you won’t have to worry much about that with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 because it’s the lightest pair of earbuds that Samsung has made to date. Even with its lightweight construction, you’ll be treated to heart-pounding bass and crystal clear treble with the help of its two-way dynamic speakers.
Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)
Spending money on AirPods can be costly for some people, but spending less doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing features or performance. The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) has all the same core features but at a fraction of the cost. Sure, the cookie-cutter design doesn’t scream stylish, but at least the in-ear design stays snug. What’s worth mentioning, too, is that if you religiously chat with Amazon Alexa at home through your smart home devices, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) are made to get you in touch with Alexa hands-free while you’re on the go.