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Best wireless earbuds for 2020

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

The best wireless earbuds deliver more than just freedom from wires. You should expect a comfortable fit, long battery life and crisp audio quality, whether you're listening to music, enjoying a podcast or watching Netflix on your device. 

If you're willing to splurge, you can get active noise cancelling wireless earbuds, which can help drown out the racket around you. More premium buds also offer an ambient listening mode so you can hear the world around you without taking out the earbuds.

Wireless earbuds have often been compared negatively to the best wireless headphones in terms of quality, comfort and ease of use. But improvements in Bluetooth technology and battery life have made them a must-have purchase for many listeners.

But finding the best wireless earbuds can be a daunting task, since the market has exploded with options in recent years. The heavyweights, like Apple and Jabra, continue to offer excellent products, but there are also great choices from other manufacturers. If you’re scratching your head over which wireless earbuds to guy, Tom’s Guide is here to help you with our recommendations.

What are the best wireless earbuds?

The technology behind wireless earbuds has improved markedly, and now they have become as ubiquitous as wired headphones. The very best wireless earbuds offer long battery life, great sound, and call quality and some noise cancellation, as well as water- and sweat-resistance, so you can use them for working out without worrying about damage. And the best wireless earbuds rise to the top of the list fit comfortably within your ears and don’t budge while you’re running or working out.

After reviewing dozens of models, the best set of wireless earbuds overall is the Jabra Elite Active 75t thanks to its customizable fit, personalized sound, passive noise cancellation, and waterproof protection. The AirPods Pro is a close second with built-in active noise cancellation, seamless iOS integration, easy-to-use controls, and sweat resistance. Get more details on AirPods Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t and how they stack up against each other.

But there are other wireless earbuds you should check out as well. The new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus offers improved battery life and call quality from its predecessor, as well as innovative features. Beats Powerbeats Pro features well-balanced sound and a stable, comfortable fit perfect for fitness junkies. For extremely effective noise cancellation, try Sony’s WF-1000XM3 Earbuds. If you’re an avid Android user, the Google Pixel Buds 2 is worth a look for its seamless Google integration and solid audio.  

Also, make sure to bookmark this page to stay up on the latest and most popular releases. We’re on the lookout for the all-new Microsoft Surface Earbuds, which features incredible Microsoft Office 365 integration and up to 24 hours of battery life, along with the rumored AirPods Pro Lite.

The best wireless earbuds to buy now

Best wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t

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

1. Jabra Elite Active 75t

The best wireless earbuds overall

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

Crisp and well-balanced audio
Sleek, waterproof design
Strong battery life
Companion app with lots of sound personalization settings
Effective passive noise cancelation
Newer features unavailable at launch

At the top of the list is Jabra’s latest release, the Elite Active 75t. This sportier alternative to the critically acclaimed Elite 75t beats the AirPods Pro in nearly every category: battery life, durability, sound, and special features just to name a few.

The design is conveniently comfortable and reinforced with IP57 certification, making the buds waterproof and resistant to dust and sweat. Music sounds clear, balanced and vibrant, plus you also have the option of personalizing your audio experience by manually tweaking the built-in EQ or selecting one of several presets in the Jabra Sound+ app. Passive noise cancellation might not match that of the AirPods Pro ANC performance, but is still effective at minimizing ambient noise. Lastly, you have up to 28 hours of portable juice at your disposal. All of that, plus the Jabra Elite Active 75t’s moderate price, make them the best wireless earbuds in the market.

Read our full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

Best wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro

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2. Apple AirPods Pro

Best wireless earbuds for Apple users

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

Great active noise cancelling
Easy to use controls
Comfortable fit
Great sound
Battery life could be longer

The AirPods Pro improve on Apple's iconic wireless buds with a water-resistant design and a wide range of handy touch controls. Battery life could be longer but the noise cancellation features are top-notch. Turn on ANC and the AirPods Pro do a great job blocking out everyday noise, but you can switch to the useful Transparency Mode when you want to be aware of your surroundings.

Apple's high-end buds also include three pairs of swappable silicone ear tips, making it easy to find a great fit. The stems themselves are also shorter than the ones found on the original AirPods. And of course, if you’re an iPhone user, the AirPods Pro work seamlessly with iOS. Blend all of these premium features with clean, powerful audio that suits all genres of music, and you have the company’s best audio product to date.

Read our full Apple AirPods Pro review.

Best wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Excellent feature-laden Android buds

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

Solid overall sound
Lengthy battery life (on a single charge)
Improved call quality
Innovative wireless features
Charging cases only offers one extra charge
No aptX or multipoint functionality

Samsung’s sequel to the popular Samsung Galaxy Buds serves as the best wireless buds for Android users. After the company retooled the design, audio performance is a highlight with dual AKG-tuned drivers pumping out crisp, neutral sound that gives instruments and vocals prominence. The call quality could be better, but you get improved battery life (nearly six hours) and a wider set of controls than the AirPods. 

The companion mobile app is also user-friendly, making it seamless to adjust the ambient-listening levels, cycle through EQ modes, and customize the touch controls. And, of course, the earbuds are beautiful as well as comfortable, and come with an aesthetically appealing, pill-shaped charging case that supports reverse charging to juice up the buds when placed on the back of your newly purchased Samsung Galaxy S20.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review.
  

Best wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite 75t

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

4. Jabra Elite 75t

Versatile functionality in super-compact form

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

Best-in-class charging case
Dynamic sound with customizable EQ settings
Long battery life
Passive noise cancellation 
Calls sound extremely low
Digital assistant needs work

Jabra manages to squeeze its powerful drivers, strong passive noise cancellation, and more battery life into a compact design with the Jabra Elite 75t, which is one of the best wireless earbuds and the best AirPods alternative. Jabra made the Elite 75t earbuds 20% smaller than the Elite 65t without compromising on specs. The gel tips fit securely and comfortably. They are IP55-certified, meaning the buds are dust and water resistant, but not sweatproof.

Listeners can expect bass-forward sound that is customizable through the Sound+ app, which also has extra presets and other unique features; Soundscapes is amazing for drowning out distractions and regaining focus. What you’ll really want the Elite 75t for is its near-perfect charging case that holds up to 20.5 hours of portable juice and takes up very little space in any pocket.

Read our full Jabra Elite 75t review.

Best wireless earbuds: Beats Powerbeats Pro

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5. Beats Powerbeats Pro

Top-tier fitness earbuds with energetic sound

Size and Weight: 1.1 x 1 x 0.9 inches, 0.7 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 9 hours; 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Magically seamless setup
Long battery life
Well-balanced sound
Comfortable, stable fit for running
Bulky charging case

The best wireless earbuds for working out, the Powerbeats Pro from Beats combines water- and sweat resistance, a low-profile design and signature Apple-y integration, making them a no-brainer. Beats headphones tend to be bass-heavy, but the Powerbeats Pro features very well-balanced sound. Pairing the earbuds and using the controls are almost frictionless experiences. And the Powerbeats Pro also offer longer battery life than the AirPods at up to 9 hours of listening time. 

The ear hooks give the set a very stable, secure fit. They come with a medium-size set of silicone tips attached, and three additional options in small, medium and large sizes.If you're looking for a pair of sweat-resistant earbuds that you can wear to the gym, on the trail, on the train or at work, the Powerbeats Pro is worth the money. 

Read our full Powerbeats Pro Review.

Best wireless earbuds: Apple AirPods (2019)

6. Apple Airpods (2nd Gen)

Affordable AirPods with great performance

Size: 1.6 x 0.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 0.14 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 13 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Fast connection on iOS devices
Hands-free Siri integration
Good audio quality
Limited controls
Lacks ambient listening mode

If you're fully committed to Apple's ecosystem and need earbuds to keep you entertained on the move, the 2nd Gen AirPods are the best wireless earbuds for the money. Less expensive than the AirPods Pro, they feature near instantaneous connection speeds that have gotten even faster thanks to the new W1 chip.

Launching Siri is even more convenient thanks to voice activation. Simply call out for Siri and you can have it read incoming messages and answer calls hands free. The audio quality hasn't improved, but call quality has. The buds still offer an 5 hours of battery life, but now comes with an optional wireless charging case. The AirPods 2 may not have noise cancellation nor are they sweat-resistant, but the .14-ounce buds are comfortable and lightweight. If your budget won’t stretch to the AirPods Pro, the 2nd Gen AirPods are a great choice for iPhone users.

Read our full Apple Airpods review.
 

Best wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 65t

7. Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Earbuds

Stellar buds for working out

Size: 1.2. x 1.1 x 0.9 x inches | Weight: 0.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours; 15 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Secure, comfy fit
Great sound customization
Quick-charge feature
Not the best control scheme
Charging case is tough to open

The Jabra Elite Active 65t are a pair of extremely comfortable earbuds that deliver up to 5 hours of battery life and are also resistant to water and dust. The company took the previous model and made a ton of improvements, without raising the price much. The Elite Active 65t earbuds are small, sleek and unobtrusive and fit snugly in your ears, making them a great option while running or working out.

Using Jabra’s free app, you can choose which digital assistant you want to use, as well as adjust the equalizer and call volume. You can select from a number of EQ presets or customize the settings to your liking. The audio produces clear vocals and and warm, lively instrumentals. For budget-conscious earbud shoppers, the Elite Active 65t are a great value. 

Read our full Jabra Elite Active 65t review.
 

Best wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000xM3

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8. Sony WF-1000XM3 Earbuds

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

Stellar audio performance
Great noise cancellation
Serviceable app with lots of features
Touch controls could use some work
Poor call quality

Boasting an estimated six hours of battery life (with ANC on) and a stylish, elegant design, the Sony WF-1000XM3 richly deserve a spot on our best wireless earbuds list. They successfully combine great audio quality with impressive noise cancellation.  Deep, rich bass and tonal balance give the buds an edge over the competition. 

The Sony WF-1000xM3 is built specifically for casual listening, not fitness, since the casing doesn't support water-resistant protection. Still, the earbuds are incredibly comfortable, with each bud weighing practically nothing at 0.3 ounces. While the tap gestures don’t operate as well as they do on AirPods, Sony does offer a great free app. Listeners have the option to play with the built-in EQ and create their own sound profile or choose from nine different presets as well as adjust the ambient sound levels. 

Read our full Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds review.

Best wireless earbuds: Google Pixel Buds 2

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

9. Google Pixel Buds

Smart buds with excellent Google integration

Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 0.18 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 300 feet (91 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Works flawlessly with Google's ecosystem
Ultramodern design
Vastly improved sound
Same  battery life as the AirPods 
Buggy contols

It might be new to the scene, but Google’s first-ever true wireless model has impressed the critics, including us, enough to be featured on our best wireless earbuds list. The Pixel Buds 2 live up to the promise of what the original should have been, Android-friendly buds that offer an amazing Google experience and nail the basics. Google made several upgrades on both the inside and outside, going completely wireless with a stylish, comfy design that sits flush on the ears, while creating custom-designed 12mm dynamic drivers that pump out warm, rich sound. Though their biggest selling point is the flawless Google integration that grants users access to Google Assistant (and its hundreds of commands) and Translate wherever they want, as well as instant pairing to Android devices.

It’s a bummer to see these buds share the same battery life as the AirPods Pro (with ANC on), but the attractive 24-hour charging case and insane quick-charging technology (10 minutes = 2 hours) helps remedy this.

See our full Google Pixel Buds 2 review.  

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

10. Sony WF-SP800N

Solid workout buds with noise cancelation

Size: 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 0.5 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 9 hours, 18 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 90 feet (27 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Wide, customizable sound
Strong battery life (on a single charge)
Modest active noise cancelation
Lacks several Sony signature features
Lots of bugs in the system

The WF-SP800N is a superior upgrade that outperforms its predecessor, the WF-SP700N, in numerous areas, including audio, battery life, and most importantly, noise cancelation. Music sounds lively, as Sony’s bass-forward signature feeds your ears impactful lows that play nicely with mids and highs to produce warm, well-rounded sound. Access to the Sony Headphones app opens the lane to personalize sound by customizing the EQ or selecting from different music presets.

ANC is a step down from the WF-1000xM3, but still serviceable for blocking out distractions at the gym. The adjustable Ambient Mode setting also lets you control the level of ambient sound entering the earbuds, so you can be better aware of your surroundings; it’s a great feature for outdoor runners. We’re just a bit disappointed these buds are missing some key Sony features, including NFC and the QN1 processor that optimizes sound and noise cancellation.

Read our full Sony WF-SP800N review.

How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you

With so many wireless earbud options to choose from, you may find it difficult to settle on one. There are several factors to weigh, and which one is most important depends on personal preference.

One factor to consider is fit. How comfortable is the earbud in your ear? Do the earbuds come with different sized tips so you can adjust them to your ear? The fit of wireless earbuds becomes even more crucial if you want to use them while working out. And if that's the case, water and sweat-resistance is another factor to consider.

Battery life is also key in choosing the best wireless earbuds. Check out the rated battery life and whether any carrying case comes with the earbuds to provide additional power. Then there's sound quality of both music and phone calls, which you can determine from reviews by professional testers and people who've bought the earbuds.

And of course, price is a big consideration. If you can splurge, you have a wider array of choices. But if you need to be budget-conscious, you may want to go with lower-priced brands or with older generations of wireless earbuds.

How we test wireless earbuds

In determining the best wireless earbuds, we consider fit, battery life, sound quality, design and value (are they worth the price?). We also factor in features like how well the controls work and how easily the earbuds pair with phones.

In terms of audio, we listen to many sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. We also make phone calls to assess both call quality and microphone performance.

During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for hours at a time throughout the course of a week. Reviewers will make note of battery life and how well it matches the rated battery life provided by earbud makers. 

We evaluate earbuds based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded an Editors' Choice badge.