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Companies continue to find new ways to impress with true wireless earbuds. There’s no doubt the popularity of Apple’s AirPods helped make them a mainstay, but plenty of others offer reliable connectivity, great sound and active noise cancellation (ANC) in increasingly smaller form factors. You can also get features that used to be reserved for premium models on mid-range devices. Of course, the popularity means that new earbuds are popping up all the time and the list of options is longer than ever. To help, we’ve compiled the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, including noteworthy features for each selection.
News Brig’s picks
Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony keeps its top spot on our list for its combination of great sound, powerful active noise cancellation and a long list of features no other company can compete with. Just like its headphones, Sony manages to pack a ton of handy tools into its flagship true wireless model. The basics like wireless charging and battery life improvements are covered, but company-specific features like Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing, Adaptive Sound Control adjustments based on movement or location, 360 Reality Audio and a customizable EQ are icing on the cake. Plus, DSEE Extreme upscaling helps improve compressed tunes over Bluetooth.
Runner up: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
If sound quality is your primary concern, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is your best bet. You won’t get the truckload of features that Sony offers, but Sennheiser does the basics well at a lower price than the previous Momentum earbuds. A new Adaptive Noise Cancellation setup continuously monitors ambient sounds to suppress them in real time. Inside, the company’s True Response transducer is paired with 7mm dynamic drivers for top-notch audio.
Best noise cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
When it comes to blocking out the world, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the best at the task. Bose introduced a redesigned set earlier this year and the smaller buds deliver a more comfy fit. The company also managed to improve ambient sound and maintain its track record of solid audio quality. However, the real star here is the ANC performance which is hands-down the best you can get right now. The QC Earbuds II don’t have some basic features like multipoint connectivity and wireless charging, so that might factor into your decision.
Best budget pick: Jabra Elite 3
Jabra packs a lot into a set of earbuds for under $100. The Elite 3 don’t have ANC, automatic pausing or wireless charging, and the EQ changes are limited to presets. However, these affordable buds have impressive sound quality, good battery life, reliable on-board controls and a very comfy fit. If you’re looking for something that just gets the job done, the Elite 3 is more than capable.
Best for iOS: Apple Airpods Pro (2nd-gen)
Apple’s latest AirPods Pro are a huge improvement over the 2019 model. The company managed to improve the sound quality and ANC performance while keeping all of the conveniences that make AirPods the best option for iOS and Mac. To me, the most impressive feature is the transparency mode, which is more natural sounding than any other earbuds by a mile. You can leave these in during a conversation and it’s like you’re not even wearing them. Of course, fast pairing, hands-free Siri and wireless charging (MagSafe or Apple Watch chargers) will also come in handy.
Best for Android: Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google has hit its stride when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Every new model the company introduces is an improvement after its first attempt failed to impress. With the Pixel Buds Pro, Google offers deep, punchy bass, solid ANC performance, reliable touch controls and wireless charging. Plus, there are added convenience features for Android and Pixel devices including Google Translate Conversation Mode.
Best for workouts: Beats Fit Pro
Most of the best AirPods features in a set of workout earbuds? That’s the Beats Fit Pro. Thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, these buds offer one-touch quick pairing, hands-free Siri and Find My tools. They’ll also allow you to use Audio Sharing with an Apple device and another set of AirPods or Beats headphones for tandem listening or viewing. Balanced and punchy bass will keep the energy up during workouts while good noise cancellation and a comfy fit make these a solid option outside of the gym too. And there’s plenty of support for Android, so these aren’t just a good buy for iOS users either.
Honorable mention: Sony LinkBuds S
One of the biggest surprises this year wasn’t Sony’s unique open-wear LinkBuds, it was the more mainstream follow-up. With the LinkBuds S, the company debuted a more “traditional” design akin to its premium WF-1000XM4, only this model is much smaller and lighter which leads to a much more comfy fit. These tiny buds muster some punch when it comes to sound quality too and support for high-res listening (LDAC and DSEE Extreme) are both onboard. Capable ANC lends a hand with environmental noise and transparency mode can keep you tuned in when needed. What’s more, handy Speak-to-Chat is here and Adaptive Sound Control can automatically change settings based on activity or location. That’s a lot of premium for features at a mid-range price.