The best wireless earbuds to buy in 2020

Patrick

It’s a good time to buy a pair of true wireless earbuds. Whether your top priority is sound quality, comfort, battery life, voice call quality, or noise cancellation, the current field of products is full of great options. I’ve spent a lot of time testing dozens of wireless earbuds from Apple, Samsung, Jabra, Sony, Anker, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and the best wireless earbuds for you will depend on what you hope to get from them.

There’s no one set of earbuds that is perfect at everything. For general everyday listening, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are the best wireless earbuds. Got an iPhone? Nothing beats the AirPods Pro. If you’re focused on productivity and multitasking during these days of working at home, the Jabra Elite 75t are the best wireless earbuds for those jobs. If you’re after something sportier, that’s where the Powerbeats Pro win out. For people who demand the absolute best sound quality, Sennheiser is the go-to. And if you’re after earbuds that are great for the price, Sony’s WF-XB700s are a favorite.

Remember that getting the most out of earbuds requires a good seal in your ear. Always try the various ear tip sizes that come with whichever buds you purchase — and don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes in each ear. Ears are funny like that. Many of these earbuds have apps you can install on your phone to further personalize their sound and controls the way you want.


The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are the best wireless earbuds.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Best wireless earbuds overall

Samsung got so much right with the Galaxy Buds Plus that they’re an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a dependable set of true wireless earbuds at a fair price. With up to 11 hours of continuous battery life, they can outlast every other set of earbuds in this roundup. And whenever it does eventually come time to rejuice them, you can just drop the case onto a wireless charger.

The Galaxy Buds Plus feel light in the ears but stay seated firmly and are comfortable to wear for extended periods. They come in a range of colors — unlike Apple’s AirPods — and the sound quality is noticeably improved over their predecessors. Samsung’s two-way drivers deliver emphatic bass and highlight the mid frequencies in a way that other earbuds often skimp on. Music plays smooth across a variety of genres, from pop to EDM to classical. You can personalize that EQ tuning (and adjust ambient sound preferences) using Samsung’s companion mobile app, which is available on both Android and iPhone.

Samsung also improved the microphone system in the Galaxy Buds Plus; these are much better at handling voice calls than the original Galaxy Buds were. Their sweat resistance doesn’t quite reach par with other earbuds in this price range, and they lack noise cancellation, but those are about the only knocks I can direct at the Galaxy Buds Plus.


The AirPods Pro, the best wireless earbuds for people who use Apple products, pictured next to an iPhone 11 Pro Max and MacBook Pro.

If you use Apple products, the AirPods Pro are the best wireless earbuds you can get.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Best wireless earbuds for iPhone owners

If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, there’s no beating the AirPods Pro. From the seamless setup to quickly switching between your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the experience is fantastic. The AirPods Pro fit more ears than the regular, one-size-fits-most AirPods, and the active noise cancellation helps to drown out your surroundings when you only want to hear your tunes. When it does come time to hear what’s happening around you, Apple’s transparency mode offers the most natural-sounding amplification of ambient noise that I’ve heard yet.

The AirPods Pro are known for balanced, clear audio. They can’t compete with Samsung, Jabra, or others (including Apple’s own Powerbeats Pro) in the bass category, however. With 4.5 hours of battery life with noise canceling on, battery life is decent if not a class-leader — but the case has enough juice to recharge them several times. Voice call quality is second to none, so these (and the standard AirPods) are the go-to pick if you’re often chatting with people through your earbuds.

Apple plans to update the AirPods Pro with new features this fall, including seamless, automatic switching between Apple devices. (Don’t worry: incoming iPhone calls will always take priority even if you’re doing something on your iPad or Mac.) The other new addition is spatial audio, which will use head tracking to deliver a “theater-like” surround sound experience.

Here’s a tip: if none of the included ear tips get you a perfect seal, I recommend a set of memory foam tips like those from Comply or Dekoni.


Jabra’s Elite 75t, the best wireless earbuds for multitasking, pictured on a table.

The Jabra Elite 75t are the best wireless earbuds if you want to pair with two devices simultaneously.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Best wireless earbuds for multitasking (and lots of bass)

Jabra’s earbuds have an advantage that remains rare among true wireless earbuds: you can use them with two devices simultaneously. Every other product on this list requires you to switch from one paired device to the other, but with the Jabras, you can listen to tunes on your laptop while staying connected to your phone in case a call comes in.

The Elite 75ts offer full-bodied, powerful sound with an extra dose of bass. You can adjust the EQ using Jabra’s app, which also includes numerous other features for tailoring the earbuds to your liking. Their physical controls are easy to use, and the 75ts are comfortable over lengthy periods of time. Jabra backs them with a two-year warranty, a longer period of support than most, in the event you experience any hardware issues. (One of my 75t buds recently stopped taking a charge out of nowhere, so it can happen.)


An image of the Powerbeats Pro, the best wireless earbuds for fitness.

The Beats Powerbeats Pro are the best wireless earbuds for working out, running, and other fitness activities.
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Best wireless earbuds for fitness

There’s still no beating the Powerbeats Pro if you’re looking for a set of earbuds for your workouts or runs. Their ear hook design keeps them planted on your ears during intense exercise, they can endure your sweatiest workouts, and the nine hours of continuous battery life should get you through just about any marathon. And the sound quality is killer, with plenty of bass and an immersive soundstage that will keep you motivated through every set.

This spring, Apple released a new batch of Powerbeats Pro colors. Though the company didn’t make any significant hardware changes, I haven’t run into some of the annoyances — like one earbud failing to charge or not turning out when removed from the case — that I have with my original pair. Maybe it’s luck, or maybe Apple quietly made some fixes.


A side profile shot of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, the best wireless earbuds for sound quality.

Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 are the best wireless earbuds in terms of sound quality.
Photo by Jon Porter / The Verge

Best wireless earbuds for sound quality

If you deem yourself an audiophile and rank pristine sound above everything else, it’s worth taking a look at Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds. The audio is lush, detailed, and sublime. Active noise cancellation helps keep you lost in your favorite albums, even if the Sennheisers fall behind our other top picks in areas like battery life and ease of use.

The bigger downside is that Sennheiser charges a premium price for such premium sound: the True Momentum Wireless earbuds cost $300, which puts them on a higher pricing tier than everything else on this list.


An image of the Sony WF-XB700, the best wireless earbuds for around $100, in someone’s ear.

The Sony WF-XB700 are the best wireless earbuds if you’re not looking to spend much more than $100.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

6. Sony WF-XB700

Best wireless earbuds on a budget

Sony’s entry-level earbuds were released without much fanfare a few months ago, but I think they’re a real standout. They’ve already seen sale prices of below $100, and for that, you get a pair of earbuds that can kick out powerful bass and latch into your ears with remarkable stability — no support fins or hooks required. There are no frills here: these earbuds don’t have an ambient sound mode, they won’t pause your music when you take them out, and they lack any kind of mobile app support for EQ adjustments.

But in the time I’ve spent using them, I haven’t really cared about any of that. The WF-XB700 earbuds sound downright terrific for the price, the connection stability is rock solid (with no audio sync issues when watching videos), and their ingenious charging case always makes clear that everything is charging as it should, thanks to a slightly transparent lid. You can’t really ask for better battery life than the nine hours you’ll get from these, and they’re IPX4 water and sweat resistant. The textured finish probably won’t appeal to everyone, but it means you won’t have to put up with scratches or smudges on the earbuds or case.

I can’t call them the best true wireless earbuds you can get, but I think a lot of people would be perfectly content with the WF-XB700s if they wanted to save some money. They’re a real gem and nail that price / performance balance terrifically.



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