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Best wireless earbuds 2020

best wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The best wireless earbuds afford you many of the same perks that an elite pair of wired or wireless headphones would, maybe even more. They free you of cables, letting you consume music on the go without being physically tethered to your portable devices: smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Even better, they pack lots of performance – great sound, call quality, and special features – into a compact design.

As the category continues to grow in popularity, so does the demand for wireless earbuds, especially with modern smartphones slowly doing away with the headphone jack. Le sigh. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped tech staples like Sony, Samsung, and even Apple from releasing stellar cordless buds. We’re also seeing other popular electronics brands such as Jabra and Anker jump on the wireless earbuds’ bandwagon, releasing superior products that hold their own against the top dogs.

In compiling a list of the best wireless earbuds, we take many variables into account, from battery life to connectivity to design to sound. Other notable hallmarks such as mobile app support, setup, and special features are factored into the equation as well.

After testing the market’s top offerings, we’ve ranked the best wireless earbuds based on budget, performance, and style. Scroll down to see which ones best suit your listening needs.

What are the best wireless earbuds?

The Apple AirPods Pro currently stand as the best wireless earbuds due to their enhanced fit, seamless iOS/MacOS functionality, and surprisingly good active noise cancellation. We’ve found these cordless danglers to be the ideal companion for all Apple devices. They also work with Android and Windows devices via Bluetooth, though the setup process can be a bit arduous. 

Coming in a close second is the recently launched Jabra Elite Active 75t, which earned a perfect score on our sister site, Tom’s Guide, for its remarkable all-around performance. While designed for fitness use, it is still an excellent everyday pair of wireless earbuds with dynamic sound, solid battery life, and lots of personalized features that enhance functionality.

Those on the hunt for Android-friendly wireless earbuds may want to look at all-new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. They have better battery life and sound than the AirPods Pro and plenty of neat features. Not to mention they work well across all OS platforms.

Sony’s game-changing WF-1000xM3 is the best noise cancelling model in the category, offering first-class sound and ANC in a deluxe package. These earbuds also have cool features like adjustable ambient listening to hear your surroundings more clearly and NFC support for instant pairing to compatible devices.

Contrary to popular belief, the best wireless earbuds don’t always come at a premium. There are a handful of models – the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 and gamer-centric Razer Hammerhead to name a few – listed under $100 that make for great AirPods’ alternatives as well.

Whether you’re a business traveler who requires complete silence in flight or just an avid music lover who wants amazing sound in a tinier form, there’s a model on our list of best wireless earbuds tailored to your ears.

The best wireless earbuds you can buy today

best wireless earbuds: Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

1. Apple AirPods Pro

The best wireless earbuds overall

Size: 1.2 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud) | Battery life (Rated): 4.5 hours, 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 800 feet | Digital assistant support: Yes

Effective active noise cancelation
Adaptive EQ
Clean, balanced sound
Lower battery life than the AirPods 2
No companion app

Apple made almost every change necessary to make the AirPods Pro the best wireless earbuds that money can buy. Fans wanted active noise cancellation and got just that, which is superbly effective, thanks to Apple’s multi-mic system that uses two mics on each bud to analyze ambient sound and cancels it out before reaching the soundstage. The technology is intuitive and blocks out about 85% of street noise. 

The included ear tips also make a world of difference in fit and sound. They create a comfy, tight seal around the canal that ensures the Pods don’t slip out when rushing to catch the bus. It’s this personalized fit, along with Apple’s all-new Adaptive EQ, that also makes music sound fuller. Gym rats and gamers who sweat profusely no longer have to worry about damaging their buds either, as Apple made the AirPods Pro water and sweat resistant.

Read our full Apple AirPods Pro review.

best wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

2. Jabra Elite Active 75t

Practically perfect wireless earbuds

Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud) | Battery life (Rated): 7.5 hours, 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Energetic soundstage
Waterproof design
Solid overall battery life
Newly announced features currently unavailable
Can get too loud at max volume

We didn’t think Jabra was capable of improving on near-perfection, but they definitely showed out with their latest release. The Elite Active 75t takes everything that made its predecessor, the Elite Active 65t, one of the best wireless earbuds for casual listening and fitness and turned the performance knob up to 11. Jabra shrunk the design by 22%, while nearly doubling the battery life on both the buds and charging case. The waterproof coating is also great for exercising and does a phenomenal job of absorbing wetness to prevent slippage.

What’s even more remarkable is how powerful the audio is on these sporty buds; sound is lively and lends itself well to all music genres. Access to the Jabra Sound+ app broadens the buds’ sonic capabilities by allowing you to play with the EQ or select from one of five band presets.

best wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

(Image credit: Future)

3. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

The best wireless earbuds for Android users

Size: 0.7 x 0.75 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 0.22 ounces | Battery life (Rated): 11 hours, 22 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 120 feet (36 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Industry-leading battery life
Crisp, balanced sound powered by AKG-tuned drivers
Handy companion app
Touch controls can be unresponsive at times
Same design as the original Galaxy Buds

Want a great pair of wireless earbuds that operates smoothly across multiple platforms? Here it is. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus doesn’t just play nicely with iOS and Android devices, but also offers more battery life, better sound, and cooler wireless features (e.g. reverse charging with any compatible Samsung Galaxy phone) than the AirPods Pro. Having 11 hours of playtime on a single charge is such a huge deal, giving users lengthier playtimes in between charges. The pill-shaped charging case doubles that number and supports faster quick charging to get you 1 hour of use on a 3-minute charge.

AKG’s dual-tuned speakers pump out clean and lively audio. The buds also have their own iOS and Android apps, which lets you personalize the sound and touch controls, though the latter blesses you with more perks such as Spotify integration and a Gaming mode with dedicated EQ.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review

Google Pixel Buds 2

(Image credit: Future)

4. Google Pixel Buds 2

The wireless buds finally live up to the hype

Size: 0.8 x 0.8 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 0.18 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours | Bluetooth range: 120 feet (36 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Rich, precise audio
Stylish, durable and comfortable design
Seamless translation technology
Lacks active noise cancelation
Volume is a bit quiet
No equalizer

Google’s back and the Pixel Buds 2 are better than ever. First off, they’re actually wireless this time around. Next, they’re comfortable and sound good, not exactly on a par with the leading brands, but not far off either. Best of all, at $179, it’s cheaper than most of the competition. But the Pixel Buds 2 claim to fame is its seamless translation services by way of Google Translate, which allows you to have a conversation with real-time translation. 

The earbuds also offer near-instant pairing, a solid Bluetooth connection and nearly 5 hours of battery life. You also get Adaptive Sound, which automatically adjusts volume depending on your surroundings. The Buds are immensely comfortable and offer a smidgen of durability with its sweat and water resistance.  If you’re searching for a pair of attractive, affordable truly wireless earbuds, you can’t go wrong with the Google Pixel Buds.

Read our full Google Pixel Buds 2 review

best wireless earbuds: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

(Image credit: Anker Soundcore)

5. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

An awesome AirPods alternative for cheap

Size: 2 x 2.2 x 1 inches | Weight: TBD | Battery life (Rated): 7 hours, 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 35 feet | Digital assistant support: Yes

Sound better than all AirPods models
Adaptive listening features
Impressive call quality
Touch controls are wonky
Same unattractive long-stem design as the AirPods

There’s nothing wrong with being labelled an AirPods clone, especially when the product grants better audio, battery life, and more color options (White AND Black) for under $100. Anker went all out stuffing the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 with as many powerful specs as possible: including 4 mics with noise reduction technology, diamond-coated drivers, personalized sound features, and a 7-hour battery.

You’ll experience some nice clarity and depth when listening to music, which also carries over to phone calls. It’s also cool that you can use the buds in stereo or mono mode. The Soundcore app extends functionality to customize the controls and sound; you can choose from multiple presets or select the HearID feature to have the buds create a sound profile based on your hearing sensibility. How many models do you know in the same price range that can pull that off?

best wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000xM3

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

6. Sony WF-1000xM3 Wireless Earbuds

The best noise cancelling wireless earbuds

Size: 5.6 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 0.3 ounces | Battery life (Rated): 6 hours (NC on), 8 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Best-in-class ANC
Full, vibrant sound
Strong battery life across the board
Finicky touch controls
Call quality isn't great

If you’re the type who looks to enjoy their Apple Music library with fewer outside distractions, then it’s the Sony WF-1000xM3 you want. These aren’t just the best wireless earbuds for noise cancelation – they happen to be one of the best-sounding models as well. The combination of a dual-mic system and Sony’s HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1e works incredibly to neutralize noise from all angles. Those who want to be more mindful of their surroundings can enable the Ambient Sound Control option, which can be adjusted in the companion app to let in as much background noise as you want.

Bass remains at the heart of Sony’s sound signature, and while it’s boomy, it creates enough room for detailed mids and highs to serenade your ears. Multiple presets are programmed into the app that you can select; each one is fine-tuned and complements their respective music genres. With ANC known for sucking up lots of power, the WF-1000xM3 holds an impressive 6-hour charge (8 hours with ANC off), which is perfect for round-trip flights.

best wireless earbuds: Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

7. Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW Wireless Headphones

Entry-level buds with amazing sound

Size: 0.87 x 0.68 x 1 inches | Weight: 0.17 ounces | Battery life (Rated): 6 hours, 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 10 feet (33 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Warm sound profile
Fantastic noise isolation
Attractive and lightweight charging case
Quality craftsmanship
Buggy touch controls
No way to customize audio or controls

For those looking to make the leap into the true wireless space without breaking the bank, the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW is one of the best wireless earbuds for its price. These affordable buds don’t hold back on bass response, smacking your ears with impactful lows that blend beautifully with crisp-sounding mids. Establishing the proper fit boosts audio performance, as the tips insulate sound well to give what’s coming out of the 5.8mm drivers a full-bodied presence.

Something else that stands out is the design. Audio-Technica’s minimalist approach with embossed logo gives the buds an executive look, while the charging case features a slanted docking system that displays the buds handsomely when flipping the top open. It doesn’t hurt that the case features an additional 24 hours of juice, as well has an auto power function that powers the buds on instantly when removed and powers them off when docked.

best wireless earbuds: Razer Hammerhead

(Image credit: Razer)

8. Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds

The best wireless earbuds for gaming

Size: 3.11 x 1.4 x 1.02 inches | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Battery life (Rated): 4 hours, 16 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (33 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Consistently good sound
Gaming Mode lowers Bluetooth latency
Reliable comfort and fit
Water-resistant IPX4 design
Short battery life
EQ options muddles bass

Gaming on your iPhone or Nintendo Switch with a wireless gaming headset can seem a bit encumbering. That’s where the Razer Hammerhead serves its true purpose, helping gamers streamline their portable gaming setup by delivering detailed audio and stable connectivity in a less cumbersome design. Razer developed a special Game Mode that lowers latency, so you won’t have to worry about audio stuttering when playing your favorite titles. It makes a noticeable difference when playing fighting games. 

The 13mm drivers emphasize mid-range and make vocals more prominent, which is great when indulging in dialogue-heavy content (e.g. gaming cutscenes, movies, podcasts). This allows for clear-sounding calls too. Razer programmed a few EQ modes into these buds, though you’ll want to stick with the default profile since the others hinder audio performance. It’s also worth noting they look sleeker than the AirPods (the black and neon-green color scheme is striking) and share the same IPX rating to repel sweat and splashes of water.

best wireless earbuds: Edifier TWS NB ANC

(Image credit: Edifier)

9. Edifier TWS NB ANC Earbuds

Impressive noise cancelation with even better sound

Size: TBD | Weight: TBD | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours (NC on), 11 hours (NC off), 33 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 10 feet (33 meters) | Digital assistant support: Yes

Hi-fi sound quality
Commendable noise cancelation for the price
Secure in-ear fit
Relatively affordable
Earbuds and charging case are chunky
Companion app needs work

Edifier’s TWS NB is proof that you can get solid noise cancelation from a pair of wireless earbuds that cost half the price of the AirPods Pro. Unlike most noise-cancelling headphones, Edifier’s ANC technology doesn’t produce background hiss when enabled and keeps environmental fracas to a minimum without affecting the soundstage; loud humming and traffic noises go unnoticed. Audio performance is another highlight on these buds, producing clean, deep sonics that lets listeners pick up on some of the slightest nuisances in recordings.  

The charging case isn’t pretty, nor is it small or sturdy, but the fact that it holds three full charges is a plus. You also get more juice out of the buds (11 hours) and case (33 hours) when ANC is turned off. A recent markdown to $120 places them right below the sub-luxury mark, making them more accessible for budget audiophiles.

How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you

Battery life is most crucial when searching for the best wireless earbuds. Most models offer 4 to 8 hours on a single charge. Make sure the buds come bundled with a charging case too, so to keep them charged and stowed away during commutes. Charging cases can provide multiple charges and hold anywhere between 12 to 40+ hours of additional playtime.

Design is just as important. Ideally, you want a pair of buds that offer personalized fit and comfort, along with multiple ear tips to accommodate different ear shapes. Durability and water-resistant protection shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Next up is audio, which applies to all media formats (e.g. music, videos, games) and phone calls. Explore models with powerful drivers and customization settings that allow you to tweak sound profiles to your liking.

Let’s not forget wireless functionality. Many wireless earbuds come programmed with Bluetooth 5.0, which gives users faster connectivity, increased range (est. 120 meters max), longer battery life, and multipoint pairing to connect to two audio sources simultaneously. Digital assistant support (Siri, Google, and Alexa) falls under this section as well.

We’re seeing more wireless earbuds boast advanced features like an adaptive EQ and active noise cancellation. These are features well worth spending on extra on, if engineered properly, and will be more common as the category evolves.

How we test the best wireless earbuds

When testing for the best wireless earbuds, Laptop Magazine evaluates several factors: design, comfort, sound, and value just to name a few. Our reviewers also compare these models to similar products in the category in terms of features, fit, and pricing.

Wireless earbuds are worn over the course of a week for 2 to 3 hours at a time. During this period, we assess comfort, ease of use, and audio quality. We listen to several sample tracks across a number of music genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, and classical, while analyzing clarity, depth, and volume. Audiobooks, games, podcasts, and videos are also taken into consideration.

Our reviewers also test battery life, Bluetooth range, digital assistant support, ease of setup, and any app-enabled features compatible with laptops, desktops, and all portable devices like smartphones and tablets.

Furthermore, we test streaming music services that offer hi-res audio. To learn more about how these services can improve the sound quality on your laptops and mobile devices, here is an expert audio codec FAQ on everything you should know about FLAC files, MP3s and all other audio file codecs.

Once our testing is completed, every model is rated based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Any product that is truly exemplary is awarded an Editor’s Choice.