What to Look For in Wireless Earbuds in 2022
The best wireless earbuds allow for complete untethered use of your smartphone, tablet, or computer, allowing you to enjoy high-quality audio and stay connected via Bluetooth.
In determining what to look for with wireless earbuds, you need to consider four main criteria: comfort, audio quality, battery life, and ease of use.
Today, many wireless earbuds come with active noise cancellation that automatically or manually adjusts based on the level of ambient sound. Good earbuds also have settings that can be toggled to eliminate all or some background noise. Other options come with dedicated smartphone apps that allow you to change EQ presets, configuring the audio exactly as you want to hear it.
In addition, the best wireless earbuds come with a long battery life. We recommend wireless earbuds with six or more hours of juice per charge, long enough to not cause annoyance with constant recharges. Kudos for any wireless earbuds that include a charging carrying case, which can hold up to 20 more hours of power.
In terms of comfort, many wireless earbuds come with silicone ring-tips that adjust to your ear’s shape for a snug, comfortable fit. Don’t forget waterproof protection for water and sweat resistance.
With that said, keep reading to learn more about our picks for the best wireless earbuds in 2021.
Best Wireless Earbuds Overall: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
- ✓ Excellent noise cancellation
- ✓ Rich bass
- ✓ Intuitive touch controls
- ✗ Expensive
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds make our top pick for the best overall wireless earbuds thanks to their excellent noise cancellation and superb audio quality.
The biggest draw to the QuietComfort earbuds is definitely the active noise cancellation, complete with three customizable settings. A quick tap of the left earbud activates transparency mode, which allows listeners to hear background noise.
Audio quality with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is simply stellar, reproducing rich bass and powerful detail. Noise isolation with calls is also very pronounced, with both callers’ voices heard clearly despite the amount of background noise.
Lastly, Bose’s earbuds have very intuitive touch controls. A series of taps, holds, and swipes to either left or right earbud can do everything from pausing a song to checking battery levels of rejecting incoming calls. Learning all of the controls will feel like playing a game of Simon Says, but once you get the hang of it you can keep your phone in your pocket.
Best Wireless Earbuds Overall
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
A premium set of wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation, excellent noise isolation for calls, and intuitive touch controls.
Best Wireless Earbuds Under $100: Soundcore by Anker Life P3
- ✓ Compatible with Qi wireless charging
- ✓ Comfortable silicone ear tips
- ✓ Low latency gaming mode
- ✗ So-so battery life
The Soundcore by Anker Life P3 is one of our favorite cheaper options. For starters, the Soundcore by Anker Life P3 offers two adjustable settings configurable through its Soundcore app, including a low latency gaming mode and an Ambient mode with different settings based on different surround noise frequencies. For example, Outdoor Mode cuts out lots of background noise, and an Indoor mode optimizes voice output.
This unit’s battery life is decent, with about 7 hours with active noise cancellation on, 6 hours without, and up to 35 hours with the carrying case. Thankfully, the clamshell charging case has three LEDs to let you know of your power levels at any time.
Just as importantly, the Soundcore earbuds are comfortable. It comes with the choice of five pairs of silicone ear tips in different sizes for everyone. Comfort is just as important as audio quality when it comes to a good pair of earbuds, so this budget option excels in that regard.
Best Wireless Earbuds Under $100
Soundcore by Anker Life P3
These wireless earbuds come with an easy-to-use smartphone app to adjust settings, active noise cancellation, and a clamshell charging case.
Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50: Soundpeats T3
- ✓ Excellent bass
- ✓ Intuitive touch panels on both earbuds
- ✓ Includes three ear tips
- ✗ So-so battery life
- ✗ No low-latency mode for gaming
- ✗ Plastic feels a bit cheap
The Soundpeats T3 is a great pair of cheap wireless earbuds, boasting many of the same features as higher-priced models for a fraction of the price.
Like most, the entry-level Soundpeats T3 offers active noise cancellation, touch controls on both earbuds, and decent sound, especially indoors. However, the bass and lower mid-tones are a lot sharper than higher treble tones, so the audio isn’t quite perfect. It also comes with three ear tips to accommodate different ear sizes, equally comfortable for children and adults to wear.
One knock on the Soundpeats T3, however, is its limited battery life, good for up to 5.5 hours of playtime with ANC on or off. Its charging case is also good enough for two charges, which is less than the usual three or four top-offs from competitors.
For heavy-duty users, longer battery life headphones like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds may be a better option.
Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50
The Soundpeats T3 earbuds offer active noise cancellation, three ear tips, and excellent all-around value.
Best Wireless Earbuds for iPhone: AirPods Pro
- ✓ Intuitive touch controls
- ✓ IPX4 rating for water resistance
- ✓ +24 hours of battery life using carrying case
- ✗ ANC and EQ not adjustable
Apple’s AirPods Pro offer excellent all-around performance, and it makes sense to pair them with your iPhone. It offers active noise cancellation and an easy toggle between transparency mode (allowing in surrounding sounds) and active noise canceling.
In terms of battery life, the AirPods Pro offers up to 4.5 hours of listening per charge with an included wireless charging case for an additional 24 hours of juice.
Another benefit of the AirPods Pro is the earbuds’ stems. Pressure-sensitive controls allow for a quick press and hold to toggle between different modes, whereas a quick squeeze will play or pause your song.
Along with an IPX4 rating for water resistance, this pair of wireless earbuds is equally useful for everyone, from 9-to-5 champs sitting at the desk taking calls all day to avid marathoners.
Best Wireless Earbuds for iPhone
Expect well-rounded performance with these earbuds, featuring active noise canceling, multiple listening modes, and intuitive pressure-sensitive controls.
Best Wireless Earbuds for Android: Nothing Ear 1
- ✓ In-ear detection
- ✓ Lightweight and futuristic-looking design
- ✓ Easy to use smartphone app
- ✗ Only two noise cancellation modes and four EQ presets
The Nothing Ear 1 is a straight-up workhorse, offering high-end features at a decent price for Android users.
One of our favorite features with the Nothing Ear 1 is its near weightlessness and its short, flat stems, and transparent plastic design. It is a welcome change from the matte plastic earbuds we see very often.
With charge times, the Nothing Ear 1 is alright, lasting up to 4.5 hours with active noise cancellation 6 hours without it. It more than makes up for it with an included charging case that is good for 34 additional hours of playback, better than the AirPods Pro.
Another winner with these earbuds is its dedicated smartphone app, ear (1). Its simple interface mimics the earbud’s own style, good for four EQ presets and two noise cancellation modes (light or max). It even offers the option to turn on in-ear detection, which allows audio to stop when the earbuds are removed and for audio to play automatically when earbuds go in your ear.
Best Wireless Earbuds for Android
Nothing Ear 1
These earbuds have a unique transparent design that doesn’t skimp on features, complete with active noise cancellation and smartphone app for setting controls.
Best Wireless Earbuds for Workouts: Jabra Elite Active 75t
- ✓ Active noise cancellation
- ✓ IP57 waterproof rating
- ✓ Six audio presets/three call presets
- ✗ Touch controls too sensitive
If you are a regular 10K runner, decathlon prodigy, or gym-goer, then it can’t get much better than the Jabra Elite Active 75t.
The Jabra Elite Active 75t is quite the force, combining all of the awesomeness of active noise cancellation, quick charging, and intuitive touch controls with a very rugged build. And just in case you test the 75t’s durability limits, a 2-year warranty waits in the wings to get your earbuds fixed up.
An IP57 waterproof rating means it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without taking damage. A texted grip coating also gives it plenty of traction to stay in your ear no matter how much you sweat.
Like the Nothing Ear 1, this unit also comes with a dedicated smartphone app with Jabra Sound+ that allows users to select one of six audio presets and three call presets.
Our only knock is its so-so touch controls. It may be too sensitive for some people, leading to lots of inadvertently paused music.
Best Wireless Earbuds for Workouts
Jabra Elite Active 75t
A rugged build and IP57 rating for dust and water ingress protection makes this an excellent choice for weekend warriors.
Best Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4
- ✓ Excellent battery life (~ 8 hours per charge)
- ✓ Intuitive, tap-based touch controls
- ✓ Charges wirelessly using Qi-compatible pads
- ✗ Not the smoothest pairing process
The Sony WF-1000XM4 is a noise-canceling dynamo. It offers multiple sound modes to control the amount of outside sound to let in based on where you are. Holding slight pressure on the left earbud even lets you change the noise-cancellation settings, so you can let some of your background noise in as needed.
Plus, polyurethane tips mold to your ear canal, providing a perfect seal for even better noise isolation.
To help with noise cancellation even further, the Sony WF-1000XM4’s dedicated smartphone app (Headphones Connect) offers an air-tightness test that provides feedback on fit using a test tone
Best Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds
Enjoy multiple sound modes and comfortable polyurethane tips that mold to your ear canal for even better sealing.
Best Earbuds Overall
Apple Airpods Pro
Best Budget Earbuds
Skullcandy Sesh Evo
Best Earbuds for Travel
Jabra Elite 75t
Best Workout Earbuds
Beats Fit Pro
Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds