Bulky headphones are dead, and discreet earbuds are the way forward. With a solid pair of earbuds, you can chat on the phone, relax to music and audiobooks, or simply tune out the bustling world around you. Plus, if you want to add burpees to your fitness routine, you have to untether from wired devices.
There are countless different earbuds on the market right now, and some are quite expensive. When you’re making a significant investment, buying the wrong pair could be an annoying, costly mistake.
To help you cipher through the earbud market, ZDNET experts rounded up the top wireless earbuds so you can start listening hands-free today.
The newest Apple AirPods Pro are an upgrade from the previous generation’s features. Thanks to Apple’s new H2 chip, these AirPods significantly upgrade performance via high-band connectivity and a low distortion audio driver with a custom amplifier. The technologies combine to ensure clearer audio across a wider range of sound frequencies.
These new AirPods feature two times more noise cancellation with a 33% longer battery life. Plus, a new feature allows you to personalize spatial audio settings to create your ideal sound experience (using iOS 16).
Active noise cancellation
Pairs with Sound+ app
Sweat and dust proof
Pair two devices at once
Features: Four color options | Adjustable noise cancelation | Battery life: 5.5 hours
The Jabra Elite Active 85t earbuds look good in both the gym and office. The comfortable earbuds offer high-quality sound and active noise cancellation for those times when you need to block out the world.
The battery life lasts 5.5 hours, but the charging case extends that time to 25 hours between full recharges.
When it comes to durability, the Elite 85t buds are sweatproof, featuring an IPX4-rated design for water resistance. Plus, they come with a two-year warranty against sweat and dirt damage, so you can keep doing everything you love to the sound of your own playlist.
Built-in ear pressure relief
3D surround sound
Limited earbud controls
Features: Four color options | Triple-point ergonomic shape | Battery life: Eight hours
The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds provide crystal clear sound, fantastic active noise cancellation, and high-quality microphones to ensure your important calls go smoothly. The buds’ eight-hour battery life extends to 32 hours when paired with the charging case.
More importantly, you can comfortably wear them for 32 hours if needed thanks to different sizes that offer a personalized, pain-free fit. You can choose between four ear tip sizes and four ear wing sizes to ensure your new buds stay secure and comfortable all day long.
While the battery life on the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds is phenomenal, these wireless buds are quite amazing in general — you cannot go wrong with this choice.
Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri
Features: Two color options | Battery life: Five hours | IPX4
Want to bring Alexa with you everywhere? There’s no better way than with the 2nd-generation Echo Buds by Amazon. These buds are everything you’d expect from Amazon — solid hardware at a decent price.
The Amazon Echo Buds last five hours per charge, and that time extends to 15 hours with the charging case. Plus, a 15-minute charge provides up to two hours of listening time for your favorite playlist or latest audiobook. These earbuds are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri assistant, so you can use whichever assistant you prefer.
Intuitive touch interface
Large carrying case
Call quality not as great as music quality
Features: Three color options | Battery life: Six hours | Noise-cancelling microphones
Bose’s Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology provides true quiet within these quality headphones. Hidden microphones in the earbuds monitor surrounding sound and emit an anti-sound wave to cancel out external noise.
If you decide to tune back into your surroundings, Aware Mode allows you to hear your music and surroundings simultaneously at a lower level. Whether you want to block sounds of your neighbor’s construction or simply focus at work, the Bose QuietComfort earbuds are an excellent option.
The AirPods Pro 2 are the latest and greatest from Apple and top our list of the best wireless earbuds. Depending on your budget, you may prefer another pair, however, or you may prioritize other features such as battery life, size options, microphone quality, etc. In that case, have a read through our guide to see which is right for you.
ZDNET experts considered a variety of factors when analyzing the best wireless earbuds, including: Comfort, battery life, noise cancellation, price, and design. Picking an overall best wireless earbuds proved impossible. Each pair offers a different key proposition, so you can decide which earbuds work best for your lifestyle.
Choose these wireless earbuds…
If you want…
Apple AirPods Pro 2
Apple’s latest AirPods and the best wireless earbuds overall
Jabra Elite Active 85t
Water and sweat-resistant wireless earbuds
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
Wireless earbuds with the longest battery life
Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)
Wireless earbuds with voice assistants
Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds
The best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds
ZDNET experts tested and extensively used each product on this list based on battery life and sweat/dust/waterproof claims. While everyone’s ears are different, we’ve weeded out the worst earbuds to bring you the best. Plus, this list features versatile earbuds, so you can find a pair that works for your flexible lifestyle.
There are plenty of wireless earbuds on the market right now. Here are a few other options to consider: