May 21, 2022


Best wireless earbuds 2022

By Ted Kritsonis published about 23 hours ago

We chose the best pairs to plug your ears with rich sound.

Included in this guide:1

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Jabra Elite 7 Pro

JabraElite 7 ProCHECK PRICE2

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Galaxy Buds Pro

SamsungGalaxy Buds ProCHECK PRICE3

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Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

SonyWF-1000XM4 Wireless EarbudsCHECK PRICE4

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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

SennheiserMomentum True Wireless 2CHECK PRICE6

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

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Google Pixel Buds A-Series

GooglePixel Buds A-SeriesCHECK PRICE8

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Beats Studio Buds

BeatsStudio BudsCHECK PRICE9

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Jaybird Vista 2

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Apple AirPods Pro

AppleAirPods ProCHECK PRICE11

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Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

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Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro

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best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Marco Miranda / Android Central)

The best wireless earbuds need more than just great sound. We’ve reviewed a sizeable number of models available and rated the absolute leaders of the pack based on every important metric: comfort, battery life, noise cancellation, water resistance, phone and assistant integration, and so on. These tiny headphones from companies like Jabra, Samsung, Sennheiser, Sony, and others are almost as important as the phones in our pockets. Our buyer’s guide for the best wireless earbuds for Android and iPhone will help you find the pair that suits your needs and sounds the best, regardless of what you like listening to.

What are the best wireless earbuds you can buy today?

Like any pair of headphones, which earbuds or wireless headphones are fitting for you is subjective in a few key ways. They have to fit right, feel comfortable over more extended periods, and produce a pleasing sound to your ears. If audio fidelity is paramount for you, there are good options for that, just as there are options for being active or present great value without breaking the bank.

Topping our list for the best wireless earbuds are the Jabra Elite 7 Pro because they strike the right notes where it counts. We’re talking about excellent sound quality, excellent comfort, solid microphones, and accessibility — and all at a pretty reasonable price. Slightly bigger and more expensive but better-sounding are the Sony WF-1000XM4.

If sound really matters — and money is no object — the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are so good they could rival many over-ear headphones with their clarity. It won’t matter what genre you like most, and with improved battery life to boot, these are premium earbuds worth a look.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are the best when noise cancelation is a priority, but they don’t skimp out on sound quality. As a result, they are among the best available if audio clarity is on your must-have feature list. Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series play nice with any Android phone or tablet, and you’ll probably find them to be among the most comfortable to wear for long periods. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have seen price drops that make them solid value for what they bring to the table. Even the tightest budget can still find something within reach in this list.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro
(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Jabra Elite 7 Pro

Best wireless earbuds overall

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IP57Bud battery life: 8 hoursCase battery life: 30 hoursCase size: SmallDigital assistant: Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AACSpeaker size: 6mm driversWireless charging: YesOther features: ANC, HearThrough, equalizerTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Excellent audio quality with solid ANC+Better fit and comfort+Outstanding call quality+Pretty good durability+Reliable button controls

REASONS TO AVOID

-Custom ANC shouldn’t be mandatory-Too few codecs

The Jabra Elite Active 75t are still available as one of the best value wireless earbuds you can wear right now, and they ultimately set the stage for what the Elite 7 Pro bring to the table. As an experienced hearing aid company, Jabra has shown a consistent ability to find balance in how it approaches both comfort and sound. These earbuds feature a nicely balanced sound signature that you can easily adjust in the excellent Sound+ app available for Android and iOS. The Elite 7 Pro also share these design and functionality principles with the Elite 7 Active, delivering smooth mid-range and treble frequencies that won’t hurt your ears, even during piercing high notes. It’s just a shame it didn’t add other Bluetooth codecs to round out a great audio package.

While there is good active noise cancelation (ANC), it’s a bit annoying Jabra forces you to customize it to your ear before you can even use the feature. What helps, even more, is that there’s excellent passive noise isolation here, which helps further the cause, owing to the excellent build that makes these so comfortable to wear, even for more extended periods.

As for battery life, you get up to eight hours per charge, with ANC on. You can stretch that further if you leave it off. The included case nets three additional charges for an overall total of around 30 hours. The case itself charges via USB-C or Qi wireless charging, including a fast-charging option where plugging in for five minutes can get you up to 60 minutes of playback.

The Elite Active 7 Pro are also IP57 water and dust-resistant, which means they’ll have little issue with sweat, rain, snow, or other water-absorbing activities. So they actually provide the same level of protection compared to the Elite 7 Active, except they don’t have the same rubberized coating the Active pair does.

These earbuds are also incredible for making calls because of Jabra’s MultiSensor Voice Technology. In our tests, the receiver on the other end told us it was among the clearest phone calls they’d ever heard from a pair of headphones. There’s also an included “transparency” mode available at the tap of a button — did we mention there are physical controls here? — that pumps in sound from the outside world through one of the three included microphones. That makes it easier to talk to people or hear the outside world without removing the earbuds. Not to mention a handy mute button when you need a moment.

Jabra also finally addressed an omission from the start by updating the firmware in January 2022 to bring in multipoint support, letting you connect to two devices simultaneously. You can also use a single earbud in mono mode for those times you don’t want to plug both ears.

For more information on why there are the best wireless earbuds available today, check our Jabra Elite 7 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Best value wireless earbuds

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IPX7Bud battery life: 8 hoursCase battery life: 28 hoursCase size: SmallDigital assistant: Bixby, Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AACSpeaker size: 13mm driversWireless charging: YesOther features: ANC, HearThrough, 360 Audio, Voice DetectTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Excellent sound+Effective ANC+Rugged water and sweat resistance+Comfortable design+Spatial 360 Audio+Reliable microphone quality

REASONS TO AVOID

-Lower battery life than before-Finicky touch controls-Needs custom EQ

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro take the best features from the previous Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Live wireless earbuds and make a stand as one of the best wireless earbuds we’ve tested. It’s a distinction the company has wanted from the start, but it took several attempts to get to this level of respectability.

The design borrows heavily from the past, yet puts a different twist on these earbuds to accommodate all the extra tech inside. They’re small and nimble, but they have more girth to pack in the active noise cancelation (ANC) and other sensors that bring in the new features. They also have larger drivers to pump out crisper sound by default, with the option to choose among six equalizer presets in the Galaxy Wearable app. It’s just too bad there’s no custom EQ to add your presets to the list.

ANC has two settings (high and low) and four Ambient mode settings, but both can work together uniquely. Voice Detect lowers the volume of the audio you’re listening to and turns on Ambient once you start talking to make it easy to hear a conversation. The audio comes back when there are no voices for up to 10 seconds. Samsung claims the ANC can cut out up to 99% of background noise, but that’s primarily accurate for low-frequency sounds. Higher pitches could still break through.

With 360 Audio inside using Dolby Head Tracking technology, the Galaxy Buds Pro are also great for watching content coded in 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. It’s a virtual spatial audio effect that enhances the reverb of a movie or show, though it’s a shame you can’t listen to music from streaming services with the same effect.

Samsung also managed to continue its steady improvement in call quality. In our Galaxy Buds Pro review, we were impressed with how clear calls were, with those we spoke to not realizing we were using earbuds. The one caution to handling these earbuds is the overly responsive touch controls, where accidental taps can often happen when adjusting them in your ears.

The good news is that they’re more rugged than you might expect. With an IPX7 rating, the level of water and sweat resistance means the Galaxy Buds Pro are perfectly suited to a run or workout. Certainly a better option that way when compared to the Galaxy Buds 2.

These features come at the expense of battery life, where you max out at up to five hours per charge when ANC is on. It goes up to eight hours if you keep ANC off, but those numbers aren’t as good as some competitors. The included case will get you three extra charges, which you can charge via USB-C or wireless charging pads. A quick five-minute charge through USB can get you up to an hour of playback.

Sony WF-1000XM4
(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Sony WF-1000XM4

Best upgrade pick

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IPX4Bud battery life: 8 hoursCase battery life: 24 hoursCase size: MediumAssistant support: Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AAC, LDACSpeaker size: 6mm driversWireless charging: QiOther features: ANC, Ambient sound, equalizer, 360 Reality AudioTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Outstanding ANC performance+Stellar sound quality+Amazing battery life+Wireless charging case with USB-C+LDAC and 360 Audio support+Solid app support

REASONS TO AVOID

-Touch controls need work-Smaller ears may not feel comfy-Single-bud mode only in right buds

At this point, ANC has found its way into more true wireless earbuds, but they won’t match the level attained here with the WF-1000XM4, which are world-class by comparison. Their predecessors, the WF-1000XM3, were among the best wireless earbuds available and can still hold their own, but when it comes to an upgrade, it’s hard to top this pair. As we said in our Sony WF-1000XM4 review, they won’t win accolades for beauty, but are very effective at doing what they’re supposed to.

Sony didn’t have to play too much with the existing sound profile, but did maintain a consistent design approach. Rather than skew the default sound stage to push more bass, Sony preferred to keep it more neutral, leaving plenty of room to customize it through the equalizer settings in the Headphones Connect app. That helps the mid-range breathe and come through with greater detail, while the highs maintain a warm signature. Of course, if you want bass, you can get it from the app, including through the Extra Bass feature.

Battery life is excellent, with up to eight hours alone and an additional 24 hours with their charging case. Sony chiseled that case down 40% to make it a lot more portable, which is great considering how cumbersome the previous one tended to be. Along with ANC, the WF-1000XM4 have an ambient sound mode that also performs well. And then there’s 360 Reality Audio for listening to content with a spatial effect. The LDAC codec allows you to listen to hi-res audio tracks through services that support them.

There’s a lot to like about these earbuds, and though they are among the best noise-canceling pairs available, they aren’t without some drawbacks. The fit may not be for everyone, and the Adaptive Sound Control mode still feels like a work in progress. And while the IPX4 rating does offer some water and sweat resistance, you will need to be careful not to submerge them in water and wipe them down after a run or workout to keep them clean.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Best balanced fit

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IPX2Bud battery life: 7.5 hoursCase battery life: 29 hoursCase size: SmallAssistant support: Bixby, Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AAC, ScalableSpeaker size: 11.5mm driversWireless charging: YesOther features: Active Noise Cancelation, Ambient SoundTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Bold sound+Effective ANC+Very comfortable fit+Good battery life+Nice color options

REASONS TO AVOID

-IPX2 rating isn’t very durable-Microphones are so-so-Finicky controls

For Samsung, the Galaxy Buds 2 don’t replace the Galaxy Buds Pro, but rather complement them by replacing the Galaxy Buds+. In doing so, the company engineered a worthy combination of performance and comfort that, while forcing some compromises, delivers a pretty solid experience once you put them on.

Shaving off 10% in size compared to the Galaxy Buds+ makes these earbuds feel more diminutive, making them more nimble once you place them in your ears. It makes for a nice balance, though you have to wear them, accepting that they don’t really have water and sweat resistance. So don’t get these if you plan to sweat a lot while working out.

The comfy fit pays immediate dividends because of the ability to create a tighter seal to retain as much of the audio as possible. These do sport different drivers from the Galaxy Buds Pro, yet the audio output doesn’t always feel dramatically different, only adding to the value of what you get when you start listening to content. While there may be slightly more sibilance and subtle mids, the sound profile is clear and crisp. Use the Galaxy Wearable app, and you can use one of the six EQ presets to try and boost it further.

Bringing in ANC is excellent because it brought the Galaxy Buds 2 closer in feel and quality to the Galaxy Buds Pro. The latter does block out slightly more background noise, but our Galaxy Buds 2 review found it to be a surprisingly even race between the two. The onboard mics do okay with Ambient Sound, though the ones on the Buds Pro generally perform much better. That’s also why phone calls on the Buds 2 are much better in quieter surroundings.

Battery life isn’t as high as previous pairs, but you can still expect up to 7.5 hours with ANC off or five hours with it on, depending on volume levels. You get three extra charges from the case, topping it up via USB-C or wireless charging.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best sound quality

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IP55Bud battery life: 7 hoursCase battery life: 21 hoursCase size: MediumAssistant support: Alexa, Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: aptX, SBC, AACSpeaker size: 7mm driversWireless charging: NoOther features: ANC, Ambient mode, equalizerTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Great comfort+Great audio quality+Excellent ANC performance+Improved battery life+Companion iOS and Android app

REASONS TO AVOID

-Onboard controls need work-No official sweat resistance-Expensive

Sennheiser got the sound part right with the first Momentum True Wireless, only to struggle in delivering adequate battery life. The Momentum TW2 does a much better job staying on for longer periods, and, coupled with the excellent sound, they pump out. It’s hard to argue with them being the best for audio quality. Battery life is now up to seven hours per charge, with 28 hours coming from the nifty charging case. It features USB-C for wired charging but lacks wireless charging, which is disappointing at this price.

Another significant addition was including ANC support. While not necessarily the best in the business in that particular aspect, they are no slouches in keeping background noise to a minimum. The Momentum TW2 manages to punch above their relative weight in reducing ambient noise to a level close to the best ANC performance.

As for the sound, the bass-forward profile should acclimate well to any pair of ears. It has an elegant feel to it, matching the physical design. The bass is pronounced without feeling overbearing, even if it slightly overtakes the mids, while the high notes are clear, crisp, and warm throughout. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app lets you use the onboard equalizer to customize how you want them to sound if the default profile doesn’t work for you.

The earbuds themselves are larger than others on this list, so not every pair of ears will feel like a natural fit. Thankfully, that’s not a big problem considering how good they sound for their size, especially compared to on-ear or over-ear headphones. If you do tolerate the fit, they could be the best wireless earbuds solely in terms of sound.

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

Best noise-canceling

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IPX4Bud battery life: 6 hoursCase battery life: 18 hoursCase size: LargeAssistant support: Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AACSpeaker size: 6mm driversWireless charging: QiOther features: ANC (adjustable with 11 levels)TODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Superb sound quality+Outstanding ANC performance+Solid ambient mode+Comfortable fit+Wireless charging case

REASONS TO AVOID

-Larger by comparison-Case is much bigger-App needs an EQ-Pricey

ANC is slowly but surely finding its way into more true wireless earbuds, including at different price points, but the pair to beat is now the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. The Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are the toughest competitors in this arena, yet Bose has something good enough to compete. They’re an easy choice for this list, even if they won’t win accolades for beauty. They’re still effective at doing what they’re supposed to.

Bose chose to keep the sound profile neutral, avoiding any significant bumps toward the bass. That helps the mid-range breathe and come through with greater detail, while the highs maintain a warm signature. The bass is less thick than you might expect, but it’s not necessarily missing. The only issue is: There’s no way to customize it because Bose’s app doesn’t have an EQ to tune the sound — a thoughtless omission in this price range.

Battery life is pretty good, though it varies when ANC is on. You’re more likely to get just above five hours when it is and an additional 18 hours with the charging case. For a pair of true wireless ANC earbuds, the QC Earbuds are a cut above the WF-1000XM3, making them elite in this particular category. As with most ANC headphones, the QC Earbuds have an ambient sound mode that reverses the ANC microphones to allow the outside world in, removing the need to take off your earbuds if you’d like to hear what’s going on around you.

There’s a lot to like about these earbuds, and though they are the best noise-canceling pair available, they aren’t without some drawbacks. The fit may not be for everyone, and the case will not be as easy to pocket as others are. There’s also the price, which is expensive by any true wireless standard, so you have to really want the best ANC available.

Google Pixel Buds A-Series
(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

Best for Android users

SPECIFICATIONS

Water-resistance: IPX4Bud battery life: 5 hoursCase battery life: 24 hoursCase size: SmallAssistant support: Google Assistant, SiriAudio codecs: SBC, AACSpeaker size: 12mm driversWireless charging: NoneOther features: Adaptive Sound mode, translationTODAY’S BEST DEALS

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REASONS TO BUY

+Wireless charging case & USB-C wired charging+Integration with Android and Google Assistant+Good sound+Lightweight build+Fantastic media controls

REASONS TO AVOID

-Lacks active noise cancelation-Battery life could be longer-Comfort might not be great for everyone-No wireless charging case

Google gave the 2020 Pixel Buds a makeover from the original Pixel Buds that worked on several levels. The Pixel Buds A-Series follow up on that at a more affordable price. And more importantly, they largely function the same way, meaning you don’t have to deal with a reduction in audio quality. As before, they’re tailor-made for Android just as AirPods sync so well with iOS. Open the case the first time, and with one tap, your Pixel Buds will pair to most modern Android phones.

Unless you’re using a Pixel device, where the settings are within the phone’s system settings, you can download the companion app during setup on other Android handsets to access some of the extras available. Customize the touch gestures and use the “find my buds” feature if you misplace one or both. You lose out on the swiping gestures to adjust volume, though. Nevertheless, the touch controls are among the best and most consistent of any pair of earbuds we’ve tested to date.

The same audio features do still largely apply, otherwise. Adaptive Sound Control will raise or lower playback volume depending on how much noise is around you. It’s the only alternative available instead of ANC or an ambient mode. You can toggle on Bass Boost to add some extra focus on the low-end (they do need it), but Google still hasn’t added a proper equalizer to customize sound further.

The translation features, which are already quite good, got their boost by adding Transcribe mode to help Spanish, French, Italian, and German speakers translate into English. The move, in turn, also improves how English speakers get translations from those languages. Finally, sharing Detection lets you share one of your earbuds with someone, where each of you can control volume individually. You might need to share a bud if it’s an important phone call or you’re listening to the same podcast.

As our Pixel Buds A-Series review explained, the biggest reason to buy them over anything else is the always-on Google Assistant option. You can activate it via a touch gesture or verbally using the hands-free trigger word, so you can keep your phone in your pocket while you get information or call family.

The charging case is smaller than most others, though you need to keep it handy because the Pixels Buds aren’t battery stalwarts. At least you get quick charging through USB-C and wireless charging convenience.

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