Top wireless earbuds in 2023

Top wireless earbuds in 2023

The Best Wireless Earbuds: A Comprehensive Guide

Earbuds

Companies continue to amaze us with their innovations in the world of true wireless earbuds. Apple’s AirPods definitely set the trend, but now there are plenty of other options that offer reliable connectivity, great sound, and active noise cancellation (ANC) in increasingly smaller form factors. Even mid-range devices now come with features that were once only available on premium models. With so many options available, we’ve compiled a list of the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, highlighting noteworthy features for each.

What to Look For

When shopping for earbuds, the first thing to consider is the design or wear style. Do you prefer a semi-open fit like AirPods, or do you want something that completely closes off your ears? The latter is recommended if you’re looking for earbuds with active noise cancellation, but there is a case to be made for the former if you want to wear them all day or in places where you need to be aware of ambient sounds. The overall shape, size, and weight of the earbuds also play a role in ensuring a comfortable fit.

Connectivity has greatly improved in wireless earbuds. Bluetooth connectivity is more reliable now, and companies are continuously adding more features in smaller designs. When selecting earbuds, carefully consider the features and functionalities that are essential to you, such as automatic pausing and multipoint connectivity. Also, take note of the volume controls and how they can be adjusted, as certain features may require sacrificing other functions.

Battery life is an important consideration. On average, wireless earbuds last about five hours on a single charge. However, there are options available that offer longer battery life. Additionally, it’s worth checking how many extra charges the case provides and if it supports wireless charging.

Companies often make claims about call quality in wireless earbuds. However, the reality is that most earbuds still fall short, leaving you sounding like you’re on speakerphone. While there are some sets that deliver on call quality, it’s best to rely on reviews to confirm these claims.

Sound quality is subjective, so it’s recommended to try out the earbuds before buying if possible. While online shopping makes it challenging, many retailers have return policies that allow you to return earbuds you don’t like. Taking a few minutes to listen to the earbuds can help you avoid buyer’s remorse.

It’s also worth paying attention to features like Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, and 360 Reality Audio, as not all earbuds support these immersive formats.

How We Test Wireless Earbuds

Testing

We take our testing process seriously to provide accurate and reliable reviews. We wear the earbuds for at least one to two weeks, listening to a variety of music and podcasts, and using them for voice and video calls. We drain the battery by playing looping music at a comfortable volume to test the battery life.

Audio quality is judged by listening to different genres and noting any differences in sound profiles. We test at both low and high volumes to check for consistency in tuning. Call quality is assessed by recording audio samples with the earbuds’ microphones and having third parties call us.

We thoroughly review companion apps, testing each feature, and comparing improvements or regressions from previous models. We also spend time with older models and competing earbuds to provide a comprehensive assessment.

Best Earbuds Overall: Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony has raised the bar with the WF-1000XM5. These earbuds offer great sound, effective ANC, and handy features. They are Sony’s best and most comfortable design yet, with upgraded drivers, new chips, and significant improvements to sound quality. However, they do come at a higher price compared to other options. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 8 hours, up to 24 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Read our full review of the Sony WF-1000XM5 here.

Runner Up: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

If sound quality is your top priority, then the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is the best choice. With excellent sound and a top-notch listening experience, these earbuds offer the basics at a lower price than previous Momentum models. Some key features include Adaptive Noise Cancellation and True Response transducers. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 7 hours, up to 28 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Best Earbuds for Noise Cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

When it comes to blocking out background sounds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II take the lead. These earbuds offer the best noise cancellation performance, improved ambient sound, and solid audio quality. However, they lack some basic features like multipoint connectivity and wireless charging. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 6 hours, up to 24 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Read our full review of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II here.

Best Budget Earbuds: Anker Soundcore Space A40

Anker Soundcore Space A40

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 offers features that are typically found in more expensive earbuds. With ANC, multi-device pairing, wireless charging, IPX4 water resistance, and up to ten hours of battery life, these earbuds provide great value for the price. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 10 hours, up to 50 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Best Earbuds for iOS: Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

The latest Apple AirPods Pro have improved sound quality and active noise cancellation. They offer convenience, seamless integration with iPhone, iOS, and Mac, and impressive features like transparency mode. With fast pairing, hands-free Siri, spatial audio, good battery life, and a wireless charging case, these earbuds are an excellent choice for Apple users. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 6 hours, up to 30 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Read our full review of the Apple AirPods Pro here.

Best Earbuds for Android: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google has made significant improvements in their true wireless earbuds. The Pixel Buds Pro offer deep bass, solid ANC performance, reliable touch controls, and wireless charging. They also come with added convenience features for Android and Pixel devices, such as Google Translate Conversation Mode. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 11 hours, up to 31 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Read our full review of the Google Pixel Buds Pro here.

Best Earbuds for Workouts: Beats Fit Pro

Beats Fit Pro

For those looking for workout earbuds, the Beats Fit Pro offers most of the features found in AirPods with the added benefits of balanced and punchy bass, good noise cancellation, an IPX4 rating, and comfortable silicone ear tips. These earbuds are also Android-friendly. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 6 hours, up to 24 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Read our full review of the Beats Fit Pro Wireless Earbuds here.

Honorable Mention: Sony LinkBuds S

Sony LinkBuds S

Sony presents the LinkBuds S, a smaller and lighter follow-up to their previous open-wear design. These wireless earbuds offer premium features like high-res listening support, ANC, and transparency mode. The LinkBuds S deliver punchy sound and customizable settings, making them a notable option in the mid-range price category. Here are the specifications:

  • Battery Life: 6 hours, up to 20 hours with the charging case
  • Water Resistance: IPX4
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Multipoint: Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sound quality better on headphones or earbuds?

Comparing sound quality on headphones and earbuds is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Over-ear headphones usually offer more immersive sound, but earbuds like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 offer outstanding audio quality as well.

Which wireless earbuds have the longest battery life?

Battery life varies among earbuds, and new models are continually being released. Among the longest-lasting earbuds we’ve reviewed are Audio-Technica’s ATH-CKS5TW, offering 15 hours of use. However, it’s important to note that technology and features have improved since these earbuds were released. Currently, the Master & Dynamic MW08 and JBL options offer 10 to 12 hours of battery life.

What wireless earbuds are waterproof?

Water resistance in earbuds is determined by an IP (ingress protection) rating. To ensure waterproofing, look for an IPX7 rating, which means the earbuds can withstand full immersion in shallow water for up to 30 minutes. It’s important to note the IP rating before purchasing, as it indicates the level of moisture protection.

Which earbuds stay in ears the best?

Earbuds’ secure fit varies from person to person since all ears are different. Design features like wingtips or fins can help in keeping the earbuds in place, especially in fitness models. Ultimately, the best way to determine the fit is by trying on the earbuds and, if necessary, returning them if they don’t fit well.

What wireless earbuds work with PS5?

The PlayStation 5 does not support Bluetooth audio without an adapter or dongle. However, universal options exist that allow any headphones, headset, or earbuds to be used with a PS5. These adapters can be plugged into a USB port on the console, enabling pairing with wireless earbuds.