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Best wireless earbuds in 2021: Portability meets quality

August 20th, 2021 at 10:46 AM
Best Wireless Earbuds

A great pair of headphones can change the way you listen to music. Not only can it make your music sound much better and more immersive, but it can make listening to music more convenient too.  Earbud-style headphones are especially convenient considering how small they are — but there are tons of them out there. We’ve put together this guide to help you find the best wireless earbuds.

There are a number of things to consider before buying a pair of wireless headphones. For starters, you’ll want to think about the type of wireless headphones you want. Some have a small wire that connects the two buds behind your head. Other so-called “true wireless” headphones don’t connect at all, and come with a small charging case that you’ll keep them in when you’re not using them.

Of course, it’s also important to think about extra features. Some wireless earbuds offer noise cancelation, while others, like Apple’s AirPods, have different connectivity features and other integrations with Apple products. And, of course, you’ll want to consider your budget.

Without further ado, here are the best wireless earbuds. Alternatively, check out our guides on the best true wireless headphones, and on the best headphones in general.

Best wireless earbuds overall: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 Main
Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones on a Galaxy S21. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pros: Excellent audio quality, smart features, comfortable fit, noise-canceling

Cons: Expensive

Looking for a great pair of wireless earbuds that offer tons of smart features and excellent audio quality? Look no further. The Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones look good, sound great, and offer a range of smart features that you can control straight through the accompanying app.

Sony has made many of the best consumer headphones over the last few years, and these headphones are no exception to that rule. They offer an excellent build quality with a pocketable charging case, and they sound great, with deep bass response, well-tuned mids, and detailed high frequencies.

As mentioned the headphones also offer plenty of smart features that can be controlled in the Sony Headphones Connect app. Notably, you can control the noise cancelation, as well as a transparency mode, tweak the EQ, and even enable the speak-to-chat feature. The app is available on Android and iOS, and works pretty well.

There’s a cost to all these features. These are among the more expensive true wireless headphones out there. If you can afford them, they’re worth the cash — but there are great cheaper options too. Also, it should be noted that if you’re a tried and true Apple user, it’s worth looking at the AirPods Pro instead, thanks to their Apple-specific features.

Read our full review

Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Headphones Price:$278.00 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Best wireless earbuds for Apple fans: AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro Case
Apple AirPods Pro true wireless headphones Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pros: Works extremely well with Apple devices, good sound, great fit, noise-canceling

Cons: Expensive, not great for non-Apple users

If you’re an Apple fan, then the best wireless earbuds for you are the AirPods Pro. Not only do these earbuds look and sound good, but they also offer all the smart features that you would want from Apple-built products.

Like what? Well, the headphones support Apple’s new Spatial Audio tech, which makes movies and some music more immersive. And, they support Automatic Switching, which means that they can automatically connect to your iPhone, Mac, iPad, and so on, depending on what you’re doing. It’s also easy to do things like enable or disable noise cancelation and change their controls, straight from the iOS Settings app.

Even if they didn’t offer Apple-specific features, these would be great headphones. One of the best things about them is how well they fit. The AirPods Pro come with three different ear tip sizes, and the shape of them ensures that they remain in your ears comfortable. The charging case is small enough to fit nicely in a pocket or bag too, which is handy.

The AirPods Pro are great for Apple users, but non-Apple users should probably stick with the Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones. Also, keep in mind that these are Apple’s higher-end headphones — and as a result, they’re a little more expensive. Still, if you can afford it, the headphones are absolutely worth buying.

Read our full review

Apple AirPods Pro True Wireless Earbuds List Price:$249.00 Price:$199.00 You Save:$50.00 (20%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Best budget wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus headphones Image source: Samsung

Pros: Inexpensive, well-designed, excellent battery life

Cons: Sound isn’t as good as others

Just because you don’t want to spend a ton of cash on a pair of true wireless headphones, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get something of high quality. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus offer a nice design, the ability to charge wirelessly, and a great battery life — plus they come in at under $100.

The battery life in particular is helpful for a pair of headphones in this price range. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus offer a battery life of up to 11 hours on a single charge, which is excellent. The charging case gives the headphones one full charge — so in total, you’ll get 22 hours.

The headphones sound pretty good too. Samsung boasts a dual-driver system in the Galaxy Buds Plus, which basically means that they can handle high and low frequencies separately, giving them a deeper bass response, and better clarity in the high end. Ultimately, the bass response is a little scaled back on these headphones, but most will still appreciate the fact that they sound flat and natural.

The headphones offer some other features too. In the app you can tweak the EQ, meaning that you can at least somewhat remedy the lack of bass. You can also tweak the controls, and use a “Find My” type feature that’s aimed at ensuring you don’t lose the headphones.

So what are the downsides? Well, namely, the headphones are a little bulky out of the ears, and as mentioned, the sound isn’t as great as some of the other options on this list. But if your budget is around $100, then you can’t really do much better than these headphones.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Wireless Earbuds List Price:$149.99 Price:$99.99 You Save:$50.00 (33%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Best cheap wireless earbuds: JLab JBuds Air

JLab JBuds Air
JLab Audio JBuds Air Headphones Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pros: Inexpensive, good sound-quality, water-resistant

Cons: A little bulky, battery life is mediocre

Looking for a pair of super-cheap earbuds that still offer solid quality? The JLab Audio JBuds Air are the way to go. These headphones may be cheap, but they still have a lot to offer — including solid sound quality, and the ability to tweak some settings to your choosing.

Usually, headphones in this price range sacrifice sound quality, but these headphones still sound pretty good. They offer a somewhat bass-forward sound, but most will like that, and you can choose from three EQ settings to find the best sound profile for your preferences.

The JLab JBuds Air offer a solid design too. The headphones are a little bulky, but most will get used to that. They are, however, IP55 water-resistant, which means that you can use them in the rain without worrying about the headphones breaking. And, they’re available in a few different colors, so you can find something that fits your needs.

Apart from the slightly bulky design, the other main issue is the fact that the battery life isn’t great. You’ll get around four hours on a single charge. The charging case offers an additional 12 hours, or three full charges. That’s not bad — and most probably won’t use the headphones for more than four hours at a time anyway.

JLab JBids Air Cheap True Wireless Headphones List Price:$49.88 Price:$49 You Save:$9.90 (20%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Best wireless earbuds for working out: Beats PowerBeats Pro

Beats PowerBeats Pro
Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless headphones Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pros: Good fit, solid audio quality, works well with Apple devices

Cons: A little pricey

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to take running, then you need something that fits well and stays in your ears even during heavy movement. That’s where the Beats Powerbeats Pro headphones come in. These earbuds offer an over-the-ear hook design and a well-designed bud shape that ensures that they stay nicely in your ears, even when you’re out running and working out.

The headphones sound pretty good too. They’re definitely bass-forward, but that’s probably what you want from a pair of headphones you use when you’re working out. Generally, the high frequencies also sound pretty good. Again, it’s not the most natural sound out there, but most will appreciate it.

The headphones are built by Apple, and as a result they integrate pretty well with your other Apple devices. Notably, you’ll get features like Automatic Switching, which means that they’ll seamlessly switch between your iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and iPad, depending on what you’re doing. That means that you don’t have to re-pair the headphones every time you use them.

So what are the downsides to the headphones? Well, they’re a bit expensive. If you’re looking for a great pair of Apple-focused headphones, it’s probably worth going for the standard AirPods, or AirPods Pro, instead. But if you want something to use for sports, then these are the way to go.

Beats PowerBeats Pro True Wireless Earbuds Price:$199.95 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Best-sounding wireless earbuds: Master & Dynamic MW08

Master and Dynamic MW08 Earphones
The new Master & Dynamic MW08 Earphones on a stylized background. Image source: Master & Dynamic

Pros: Great design, excellent sound-quality, noise-canceling

Cons: No EQ control, expensive

If your top priority is getting a pair of headphones that sound great, then the Master & Dynamic MW08 headphones are the way to go. These headphones offer an exciting frequency response with nice, deep bass, and detail in the high-end. And, they also have noise cancelation to help you hear your music even better. There are a few different noise cancelation modes to choose from.

The headphones also offer a solid design. The design is a little different from some other true wireless headphones. But, it still ensures that they fit nicely in your ears, without fear of them falling out under normal activity. The charging case offers a nice glossy finish, along with LED indicators to help you know how much battery is left.

Speaking of battery, you’ll get a hefty 10 hours of battery life on a charge, with noise cancelation enabled. That’s pretty stellar. The charging case gets you a massive 30 hours of use too. So, in total, you’ll get 42 hours of use before having to charge the headphones. That’s excellent.

There are some issues to consider here. Notably, the headphones are quite expensive. And, while they sound great, you can’t tweak that sound to your preferences with an EQ. Still, if you can afford to spend the cash, and want the best-sounding true wireless headphones out there, then the Master & Dynamic MW08 headphones are well worth considering.

Master & Dynamic MW08 True Wireless Headphones Price:$299.00 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission



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