Who doesn’t have a pair of wireless earbuds nowadays? If you’re not a AirPod kind of person, never fear, neither are we. When it comes to wireless gear, headphones are pretty much what first pops into mind for many of us. Wireless everything, let alone headphones have become extremely popular the last five years or so (even more with the latest iPhone 7 release and news). We’ll give credit to the Beats by Dre models in marketing over and over the benefits and superiority wireless over-ear headphones have to consumers. However, what about earbuds? There are many benefits to rocking earbuds as we all know, whether you’re exercising, traveling, or listening to music in general. But what about wireless earbuds and their overall quality? Are they worth it? We think so. Let’s check out the top 10 best.
The benefits of wireless earbuds
We all have a pair of headphones. Actually, many of us have numerous pairs depending on the different uses we may see fit for them. Today, you’re most likely here because you know the convenience you’ll be getting with any type of wireless gear. Combine that with some music listening and we’ve got our topic for today — wireless headphones. But what about earbuds in particular? As opposed to over-ear and on-ear headphones, earbuds are great for activities that won’t quite work with headphones that have a headband or ear cups. Earbuds are convenient because they stay inside of your ear a bit easier, weigh less, are easy to travel with, and ultimately generally less hassle free. They’re also quite cheaper that most builds of headphones.
There is some scrutiny out there when it comes to wireless earbuds in particular. Technically, there is still a wire included in the unit (in most of them) — as you’ll see in the photos, there has to be a way to connect one earbud to the other, and this is typically done so with a single wire that goes behind your head. This mechanism also helps keep the earbuds place, since sticking some buds in your ear most likely won’t stay in there if you’re moving around a lot. This is why a lot of earbuds are for “sport”, as they have an outer ring or other mechanism to lock into your ear — but we would never merely stick to just using them for sports, as they work for merely any activity besides a professional recording setting.
How to choose your wireless earbuds
- Your budget. We know this is always at the top of our checklists, but we all know the reason. When it comes to wireless earbuds in particular, there’s a decent range of prices (albeit relatively lower in terms of budget compared to some other gear). We found all price-points to give you options.
- Intended use? How will you be using the earbuds? Exercise? Heavy cardio or merely weightlifting? Leisure lifting? Travel? All of the above? There are some specific models that pertain to an exact use, while others can go a bit broad in terms of any activity.
- Desired aesthetics. Let’s be real — look is important (to some). There are some that come in simple black or white, while others in numerous colors and style choices. To a few of you it may make or break a purchase and to others it really isn’t a big deal. That’s up to you.
- Additional accessories? Do you want a case? Replacement ear-tips? Ear clips? Most come with all, some with a few, and others without any additional accessories. It’s up to your personal choice.
- Extra features – Waterproof headphones, sweat proof, some fins to help keep the buds to your ears (great for exercise), longer time without needing to charge, special codecs for audio quality boost, and more. We saw some even more advanced technology in our noise cancelling earbuds or noise isolating earbuds articles but those come with a price — perhaps it’s what you’re looking for? We’ll list the highlights of each below.
The top 10 best wireless earbuds in the market
We went through a large amount of wireless earbuds and determined the 10 best. After chugging a lot of coffee, reading reviews and our personal experience, we were able to sift through the rubble — there are a lot of unknown brands and knockoffs out there. Be sure to check out our best wireless headphones article if you think you need to take some over-ear (we do have a mixture of all types in there) options into consideration as well.
JayBird BlueBuds X
First off, JayBird is a high-quality brand with a ton of reviews around the internet praising their wireless gear. They’re considered “sport” and come with the beloved fin, but you can always take that off and rock them as normal earbuds if you aren’t going to be moving around much. You get a nice 8 hours of play time (pretty high for earbuds), a control center on the unit itself to skip between tracks, and it’s sweat-proof to ensure it doesn’t fail on you. The audio quality is great because it has a built-in codec (they coin their own term for it so it’s not worth mentioning), so it’s a lot higher quality than most other cheaper wireless earbuds you’ll find in the market.
This is just an overall high-quality Bluetooth connected earbuds. If you have the cash for it, we say go all in. It’s one of the best pairs out there in terms of quality and overall features (the control center is huge in our opinion, we don’t like any pair that doesn’t have this personally). Engadget rated them pretty high in their JayBird BlueBuds X review. We don’t see a reason to go elsewhere unless the price is a concern, and if that’s the case, continue reading. The JayBird BlueBuds X is our top pick for the best pair of wireless earbuds, and the only reason you should steer away from is it if it’s out of your budget range (it’s a bit higher than most, but for good reason).
JAM Audio’s Transit line of headphones are known for being of decent quality while remaining in a budget-friendly price point. There are more colors than we can count available in this model. You get 30 feet of Bluetooth connectivity, around 6 hours of play time, and a nifty magnetic connection that keeps the earbuds together if you take them off and lay them on your neck. If you’re exercising, they’re especially great since they’re sweat proof, but they can go for all activities. The left ear has a control center for pause\play and track skipping, so you’re really not missing much with this model.
We’d recommend going with this if you want to save some money as opposed to the BlueBuds X previously spoken about. These are about half of the price (don’t quote, make sure you check the websites to see the current price), although it depends on which ‘Bluetooth’ version you go for it (increases as you go up, of course). They also come with some ear hooks if you need them. Their over-ear headphones made it into our best wireless headphones under $100, and their earbud version is no different in terms of being a great bang for your buck. The JAM Transit wireless earbuds are another very high-quality pair to check out.
Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
We’ve been wearing Plantronics headphones since our gaming days nearly 10 years ago, so when we see their name we can’t help but be at least a little swayed into their direction. These are built extremely well and look very slick, we just love the matte black style. It also comes with a charging case so that’s what is upping the price with an otherwise average sound quality (which isn’t bad). They’re not only sweatproof but waterproof as well, so if you swim or are just plan paranoid (like us) they’re great to keep your heart warm and fuzzy. Comes with a few eartip options to ensure a nice fit, and the battery goes up to 14 hours (almost twice as much as a lot of pairs out there). When you hook it up to the charging case, it takes only 20 minutes to add-on an hour to your battery life, so that’s super convenient for those who travel for a long period of time (especially on a plane).
Lastly, and to top off the complete package, we get a control center on the connecting wire to take calls (yes, built-in mic as well), skip tracks and control the volume. We don’t see anything wrong with this pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds, and we don’t see any reason not to get them besides price, although they’re not even the most expensive in this article. Engadget rated them highly in their BackBeat Go 2 review. The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 are highly rated everywhere and are around half the price as the previously listed JayBird earbuds (albeit less audio quality).
You’ll get some noise isolation along with the decent sound quality, treble and bass reportedly clear. In terms of additional accessories, you get a cloth case, some replacement fins and eartips, as well as a USB cable to charge it up. An all-around decent choice for those on a budget — although there’s not many color choices available. The Photive PH-BTE50 are very solid.
This brand is pretty unknown among the market but they’re super cheap and of pretty good quality for the price. In fact, they have over 2,000 ratings and are #1 in the Audio Headphones category on sites like Amazon, so you know that has to mean something. You’re getting about 6 color choices to pertain to your stylistic preferences, a decent 5-hour playtime, sweat-proof, battery meter built into the screen, and around 150 hours standby time.
The sound quality isn’t obviously ground breaking or anything, but you’re still getting CD quality type of sounds so it will be feasible to most. Works with any smart device out there, and it’s one of our favorite budget-friendly Bluetooth connected wireless earbuds in the market right now. It also made it into our best earbuds under $100 article. The Soundpeats Qy7 are great for those looking to save some money on a strict budget.
So here’s a different twist to earbuds. As we had said previously (and we’re sure you’ve noticed thus far), there’s usually a wire that connects each bud to one another; however, the DBPOWER Mini doesn’t have that. Connect them via Bluetooth to any device that supports the technology, decent noise cancellation, and a built-in mic. You’re not getting crazy quality here honestly, around average at best, but what do you expect for around a twenty-spot? We’d be skeptical about them if it wasn’t for all of the user reviews, and most of them praise the earbuds for their small size and comfortable fit.
You get what you pay for. We like this solution if you want the different spin as opposed to other more popular wireless earbuds in the market, especially if you want to save some money and get a quick answer. Keep in mind they are typically sold separately so you’ll have to buy two.
They’re sweat proof, come with a USB charger, small medium and large ear gels, and have some pretty fancy technology included (which justifies the price). There’s “NFC” (Near Field Communication) so it gives some extra strength when you pair the earbuds with a smart device. A relatively average 8 hours of listening time but you get an on-screen battery meter to let you know.
Built-in mic and all that, so with this model it’s pretty average but if you want the latest technology it’s the pair to grab. This is for those with a few extra bucks to spend and need the fresh tech. The DinoTwin T2 are a bit more expensive than some models due to the Bluetooth 4.0 tech included, so if you want the latest and most fresh technology available in a pair of wireless earbuds, this is one of the buds to grab.
JayBird’s one of our favorite brands in the earbuds market, so we have to mention them twice in this top 10. It gives us a built-in mic, shake and sweat proof, and one of the most important features in our opinion, a control station: phone answer or reject, as well as music play, pause, and track skipping. It comes with some extra ear tips in case you want a more snug or loose fit and you get a decent 6-hour play time (wish it were more, but this is pretty standard for ear buds).
Takes about two hours to charge (via USB, which it comes with), so make sure you fully charge it before you go out. Just a solid pair of earbuds that connect via Bluetooth for a decent, middle price-point. The Jaybird Freedom Bluetooth earbuds are a lot better quality than the cheap models out there, so if you have a few extra bucks, just stick with one of the higher end models.
The Jarv NMotion also has Bluetooth 4.0, but only provides around 5 hours of listening and talk time and has less sound quality than the previously mentioned model. However, it’s very affordable, so if you want a BT 4.0 pair that has a mic, volume control and call answering, take a look at these. There are more than enough user reviews on this to back them up, and although you’ll see the stereotypical complaints about sound quality and build, just realize the price and that they’re well worth the money.
You all know how reluctant we are to include a Beats by Dre pair of headphones in our articles. For those who are disappointed, we’re sorry. However, let us state our case here. We know the Beats Powerbeats2 are a bit overpriced due to their giant marketing campaigns with celebrities and movie stars, but hey, they’re actually pretty good quality if you have the money. Not to mention they’re going to give you the style that B with a circle gives everybody else around the gym and bus station.
We aren’t necessarily haters of Beats, but when it comes to audiophiles, it’s just not going to go well with us. However, still take this into consideration because when it comes to wireless earbuds things can get sketchy, especially if you’re shopping around Alibaba or eBay. You get sweat proof here, a hard shell carrying case, pretty solid audio quality and more. Try it out if you want. CNet’s Beats Powerbeats2 review deemed them “decent”.
Sony Walkman NWZ-W273S
Here’s a different spin on a wireless pair of earbuds, and we wanted to include it last since it isn’t for everybody. The Sony Walkman NWZ-W273S is an MP3 music player itself, so you upload music into the earbuds in order to bypass needing a smart device. You can create playlists in iTunes before hand and merely drag it into the device once it’s recognized on your computer. It’s waterproof, so this is especially nifty for swimmers — you don’t have to hassle with your phone and can merely wear the earbuds while you swim.
You can choose between quite a few colors as well as memory (4 or 8 GB). Relatively affordable, too. You get up to 8 hours of battery life to boot. A pretty handy piece of technology here if it’s what you’re looking for.