Companies keep coming up with new ways to make true wireless earbuds stand out. There’s no doubt that the AirPods’ success helped make them a mainstay, but there are plenty of other headphones that offer reliable connectivity, great sound, and active noise cancellation (ANC) in smaller and smaller packages.
You can also get extra functions on mid-range devices that used to only be on high-end ones. Because earbuds are so popular, of course, new ones come out all the time and there are more options than ever. To help, we’ve put together a list of the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, along with the most important features of each.
Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony stays at the top of our list because it has great sound quality, great noise cancellation, and a long list of features that no other company can match. Like its headphones, Sony’s best true wireless earbuds have a lot of useful features. Basics like a wireless charging case and longer battery life are taken care of, but company-specific features like Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing, Adaptive Sound Control changes based on movement or location, 360 Reality Audio, and a customizable EQ are the icing on the cake. Plus, DSEE Extreme upscaling helps make compressed music over Bluetooth sound better
Runner up: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
If sound quality is the most important thing to you, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is your best bet for great music and a great listening experience all around. You won’t get as many features as Sony, but Sennheiser does the basics well and the new Momentum earbuds cost less than the old ones. A new system called Adaptive Noise Cancellation constantly listens to the sounds around it to block them out in real time. Inside, the company’s True Response sensor and 7mm dynamic drivers work together to make high-quality sound
Best noise cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the best noise-canceling earbuds on the market right now. They are the best at blocking out background noise. Bose released a new set of active noise-canceling headphones earlier this year. The smaller size of the earbuds makes them more comfortable to wear. The business was also able to improve ambient sound and keep the good audio quality it had been known for. The real star of this show, though, is the ANC act, which is the best you can get right now. The high-end QC Earbuds II don’t have some basic features, like being able to connect to more than one device at once or being able to charge wirelessly, so that could affect your choice.
Best for workouts: Beats Fit Pro
Most of the best things about AirPods are in a set of earbuds for working out. The Beats Fit Pro is this. Thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, you can pair these headphones with just one touch and use Siri and Find My without using your hands. You can also use Audio Sharing with an Apple device and another pair of AirPods or Beats wireless headphones to listen to or watch something together. Balanced and punchy bass will keep your energy up during workouts, and good noise cancellation, an IPX4 grade, and comfortable silicone ear tips make these a good choice outside of the gym as well. There is also a lot of support for Android devices, so it’s not just iOS people who should buy these.
Honorable mention: Sony LinkBuds S
The mainstream follow-up to Sony’s open-wear LinkBuds was one of the biggest shocks of the year. With the LinkBuds S, the company introduced a more “traditional” style similar to its high-end WF-1000XM4, but this model is much smaller and lighter, which makes it much more comfortable to wear. The sound quality of these tiny wireless earbuds is also pretty good, and both LDAC and DSEE Extreme are on board for high-res listening. Capable ANC helps with background noise, and the transparent mode keeps you tuned in when you need to be. Also, the useful Speak-to-Chat feature is here, and Adaptive Sound Control can change the settings automatically based on what you are doing or where you are. That’s a lot of high-end functions for a price that’s in the middle.