AirPods And So Much More

The Best Wireless Earbuds of 2019 – Which Is Right for You?


August 26, 2019 Buying Guides By Photo by Chandler Bondurant

This definitive guide to the best wireless earbuds of 2019 explores everything you need to know before buying your next pair of wireless earbuds, including what to look out for and which options are best.

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Editor’s Picks

Best Overall: Apple AirPods (2019)

AirPods have been the most popular wireless earbuds since late 2016, and for good reason: they pair effortlessly with any iPhone. As of early 2019, Apple launched the second-generation AirPods that are slightly better in every way. They pair faster, have better battery life and they have better mics so calls sound better. They also cost the same ($159), although you can now buy them with a charging case that wirelessly chares for $200.

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Video: Apple Airpods (Generation 2) Review

Watch more of This Week In Gear video reviews.

Best for Running: Powerbeats Pro

The Powerbeats Pro are the best option for anybody with an iPhone and wants wireless earbuds to run or exericise with. The Powerbeats Pro are essentially redesigned adn sweatproof AirPods. They have a similar look and fit of the Powerbeats3 Wireless ($200), which are Beats’ wireless (but not true wireless) earbuds, but they also have the same H1 chip that are in Apple’s second-generation AirPods, meaning they can pair super fast with any iOS device. If you’re not worried about price, these are sweatproof alternatives to AirPods that you’ve been waiting for.

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Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum TW

Sennheiser’s first wireless earbuds demand a hefty fee, but once you actually listen to them, you see why. The sound quality of the Momentum TW is second to none. Throw in an elegant case, an above average battery life and the ability to charge via USB-C and you have the best wireless earbuds for users who place a premium on sound quality.

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Best Noise-Canceling: Sony WF-1000XM3

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the true wireless versions of the company’s hugely-popular Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones. The two share an app, have similar features and they both sound really good, too. They’re also really the only good noise-canceling wireless earbuds that you can buy right now.

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Introduction

The first true wireless earbuds date back to 2014, but it was the release of Apple’s AirPods in 2016 that really fired them into the mainstream. True wireless means that there isn’t any kind of cord tethering the two earbuds together, as opposed to just wireless earphones like the Powerbeats3 Wireless or Google’s Pixel Buds, and they are the next natural progression of wireless earbuds. Fewer and fewer people want wires of any type, and it’s as simple as that.

Not all true wireless earbuds are the same. In fact, now that there are so many on the market, a lot of true wireless earbuds are very different. So which ones are right for you? The answer: it depends. It depends on what you’re going to using them for. It depends on the type of smartphone you have. And it depends on how much you’re willing to pay. But the biggest factor, and you really don’t have this problem when dealing with over-ear or on-ear headphones, is that your true wireless earbuds have to fit in your ears. And fit well. You’re never going to love them if you’re constantly worried about them falling out.

Apple’s AirPods have set the benchmark for wireless earbuds up to this point. They’re fantastic wireless earbuds — and now in their second generation — and that’s why every pair that’s since been released has been labeled some sort of “AirPod rival.” But if you have an Android smartphone, or if you plan on running or working out with your wireless earbuds, AirPods might not be the best option for you. Depending on what you’re looking for, we’ve broken down all our favorite wireless earbuds and what they’re each good for.

Buying Guide

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

What are they? The Soundcore Liberty Air are Anker’s newest wireless earbuds. They look like AirPods with their long stem but lack the H1 chip that allows AirPods to quickly pair with your iPhone or iPad. The Liberty Air comes with swappable silicon tips so, unlike AirPods, you can adjust the fit and they’re also sweat resistant. As far as features, the Liberty Air is pretty basic — but that might be exactly what you want.

When were they released? Late 2018 or early 2019; Anker tends to release several new wireless earbuds each year, so it wouldn’t surprise us if a new model was released in the near future.

Who should buy? The best thing about these wireless earbuds is that they look like AirPods and yet they come in at half the price. If you’re on a budget, these are arguably the best wireless earbuds you can buy.

Read our full review of the Soundcore Liberty Air, here.

Battery: 5 hours per charge, 20 total with case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Sweat resistant: IPX5 waterproof
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: tap controls, available in black or white colors

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Bose SoundSport Free

What are they? The Bose SoundSport Free is the company’s first wireless earbuds and they utilize Bose’s StayHear+ Sport earwings, which are the same as all other Bose earbuds, so you can expect them to fit securely in your ears. On the flip side, the earbuds stick out of your ears and can look a bit awkward. The deliver signature sound quality and signature punchy bass.

When were they released? September 2017. Bose has already announced that it’ll release two next-generation wireless earbuds, the Bose Earbuds 500 and Earbuds 700, by the end of 2019 and early 2020, respectively.

Who should buy? There’s no denying that these are excellent wireless earbuds, but they’ve been around for a while and Bose is expecting to release new models in the near future. If you can get a deal on them for well under $200, then they are absolutely worth it. Or if you just like deep bass.

Read our full review of the Bose SoundSport Free, here.

Battery: five hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 10 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1
Water Resistance: IPX4
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: quick charge of 15 minutes gives you 45 minutes of playtime; Bose Connect app has “Find My Buds” feature

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Powerbeats Pro

What are they? The Powerbeats Pro combine the design, sweat-resistance and sound of Beats’s wireless sport earbuds, the Powerbeats3 Wireless ($200), with the true wirelessness and functionality of Apple’s second-generation AirPods.

When were they released? May 2019; so you shouldn’t expect a new model to be released in the near future. Also, it’s unlikely to see many deals.

Who should buy? If you own an iPhone and AirPods don’t fit in your ears, or you just want sweatproof alternatives to AirPods, these are exactly what you want.

Read our full review of the Powerbeats Pro, here.

Battery: 9 hours listening time (24 hours with case), 3 hours talk time (18 hours with case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat resistant: IPX4
Charge: Lightning
Key features: Apple’s H1 chip, hands-free “Hey Siri”

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Sennheiser Momentum TW

What are they? The Momentum TW are the Sennheiser’s first-ever wireless earbuds and they are built with 7mm dynamic drivers and deliver excellent sound quality, which is exactly what the company is known for. The Momentum TW have ambient modes and allow users to adjust the EQ settings via a companion app. The last kicker is USB-C charging; you can use the same charing setup as your MacBook to also power these earbuds.

When were they released? September 2018. Don’t expect Sennheiser to release updated models anytime soon.

Who should buy? If you’re looking for the best-sounding wireless earbuds and price isn’t an issue, stop here. The Sennheiser Momentum TW boast the best sound quality of any wireless earbuds we’ve tested.

Read our full review of the Sennheiser Momentum TW, here.

Battery: four hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 12 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat resistant: IPX4
Charge: USB-C
Key features: companion app lets you adjust EQ

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Klipsch T5 True Wireless

What are they? The Klipsch T5 True Wireless are the high-end audio company’s first pair of true wireless earbuds. They lack most of the “techie” features of other true wireless earbuds, and the companion app, which will allow users to tweak the EQ settings, hasn’t been released yet. But these earbuds are some of the best-sounding earbuds that we’ve tested, and they cost less than the alternatives by Sennheiser and Master & Dyanmic.

When were they released? July 2019

Who should buy? People looking for true hi-fi wireless earbuds that cost less than most of the competition. Also, they have to like the look of the Zippo-esque charging case.

Read our full review of the Klipsch T5 True Wireless, here.

Battery: 8 hours per earbud; up to 24 additional hours with the charging case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat resistant: IPX4
Charge: USB-C
Key features: will work with Klipsch Connect App, works with any smartphone voice assistant

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Sony WF-1000XM3

What are they? The Sony WF-1000XM3 are really the first true wireless earbuds to have serious active noise cancellation. They are modeled after the company’s hugely-popular noise-canceling over-ear headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3, and bring over similar audio qualities as well as premium features (companion app, ambient sound mode and capacative touch features) – just in a true wireless form factor.

When were they released? August 2019

Who should buy? Anybody that wants premium-sounding and feature-packed wireless earbuds. Most importantly, however, they should want the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds that money can buy (at least until Bose releases their own versions sometime in 2020).

Read our full review of the Sony WF-1000XM3, here.

Battery: 6 hours per earbud; up to 24 hours of battery life total with ANC turned on (with case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat resistant: None
Charge: USB-C
Key features: noise-canceling, adaptive sound control, Quick Attention, works with Google Assistant

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Master & Dynamic MW07

What are they? Master & Dynamic’s first true wireless earbuds are unlike anything else, mainly because they’re uncompromisingly luxurious. They are made of acetate (which you can buy in seven different colors) and they come in a neat stainless steel charging case. There’s no proprietary app, which is ideal for anybody doesn’t want another app to deal with, and they charge via USB-C.

When were they released? October 2018; don’t expect Master & Dynamic to come out with second-generation versions in the near future. However, every few months they release a new different color acetate that you can choose from.

Who should buy? $300 is definitely expensive for true wireless earbuds, but you’re paying for more style, personality and high-end materials. If you want wireless earbuds that sound excellent and, more importantly, are unlike anything else, the MW07 has no glaring weakness.

Read our full review of the Master & Dynamic MW07, here.

Battery: 3.5-hour per earbud, 10 hours from the charging case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Sweat Resistant: IPX4
Charge: USB-C
Key features: made of acetate and stainless steal, tactile buttons on each earbud

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Jabra Elite 65t

What are they? The Elite 65t have powerful drivers that deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. They work with a companion app that allows you to tweak the EQ or turn on hear-through to hear ambient sounds. They also fit snugly in your ears and offer exceptional noise isolation. Thanks to a four-mic array (two in each earbud), calls are clear and the buttons on the earbuds are easy to use without disrupting the seal.

When were they released? January 2018; you can find some good deals on the Elite 65t and expect Jabra to release some new earbuds within the next year.

Who should buy? If you don’t want AirPods or they just don’t fit in your ears, get these. The Elite 65t work excellently and fit completely different than AirPods. The other big thing is that, with their a four-mic array, they are very good for taking calls. The only downside: with such a tight fit, wearing them for long periods of time may cause ear fatigue.

Read our full review of the Jabra Elite 65t, here.

Battery: five hours per earbud; 10 hours from the charging case
Sweat resistant: IP55
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: Sound+ app lets you customize EQ; four-mic array; works with voice assistants

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Jabra Elite Active 65t

What are they? The Elite Active 65t are sweatproof versions of the company’s Elite 65t. They sound identical and work well for taking calls and exercising. The difference is they have a grippier exterior so that they stay in your ears when you move, plus they offer more sweat resistance.

When were they released? April 2018; you can occasionally find some good deals on the Elite Active 65t.

Who should buy? These are ideal for active professionals. If you like the style and the fit of the Jabra Elite 65t, and you’re cool paying the extra $20, which is essentially just an insurance policy against sweat, then this is a great option. Otherwise, just buy the non-active alternatives.

Read our full review of the Jabra Elite Active 65t, here.

Battery: five hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 10 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat resistant: IP56
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: Sound+ app lets you customize EQ; four-mic array; works with voice assistants

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Apple AirPods (2019)

What are they? The second-generation AirPods look identically to the ones that were released in 2016, and they work almost exactly the same way — but they up the ante in quite a few ways. With the new H1 chip, they pair faster, have better battery life and better mics. And they support “Hey Siri” voice commands, so you don’t need to push any button to activate the voice assistant. Apple also now offers the option of a wireless charging case, as long as you’re willing to pay a little extra.

When were they released? March 2019; don’t expect Apple to release new AirPods anytime soon.

Who should buy? Even with the second generation wireless earbuds, AirPods still have two downsides. You need an iOS device to get the most out of them and they’re not water-resistant, so you probably shouldn’t work out with them. That said, if you have an iPhone these are by-far-and-away the best true wireless earbuds you can buy.

Read our full review of the Apple AirPods (2nd-Generation), here.

Battery: five hours per earbud; charging case holds 24 hours of total charge
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: no
Charge: Lightning, Qi-wireless
Key features: H1 chip allows quick pairing to iPhone or iPad; optical sensors detect play/pause when you place or remove from your ears; hands-free Siri

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Sony WF-SP700N

What are they? The Sony WF-SP700N were the company’s first true wireless earbuds. They have a sweat resistant design with rather large earwings, so they’re optimized for active individuals. Sony has since released the WF-1000M3, which are much more advanced wireless earbuds.

When were they released? Spring 2018; you should expect Sony to release newer and better versions in the near future.

Who should buy? If you can find a really good deal on these earbuds, then the WF-SP700N are worth it. However, the don’t expect noise-canceling earbuds — the noise-cancellation isn’t very good. If you’re waiting for wireless earbuds with noise-cancellation, I suggest waiting for the Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700, which will be released sometime in 2020.

Read our full review of the Sony WF-SP700N, here.

Battery: 3 hours (max)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1
Sweat Resistant: IPX4
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: noise-cancellation, ambient mode

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0

The above photo is of the Beoplay E8, not the updated Beoplay E8 2.0 that supports wireless charging.

What are they? The Beoplay E8 2.0 are basically the same as B&O’s first-generation product, the Beoplay E8, but the “2.0” models can wirelessly charge. They charge via USB-C and support Bluetooth 4.2 and AAC codec. They are built with advanced electro-dynamic drivers and can produce a wide frequency range (20–20,000Hz). You can adjust the EQ and sound signature via a companion app, too.

When were they released? February 2019; don’t expect new wireless earbuds from B&O in the immediate future. However, Bang & Olufsen did release a more sport-focused version, the Beoplay E8 Motion ($350), in May 2019.

Who should buy? As far as sound quality, the E8s are one of the best sounding options on this list. If you like the B&O sound and you want a case to wireless charge, then these are a good option. However, there’s no denying they are expensive and the app can be frustrating to use.

Read our full review of the B&O Beoplay E8, here.

Battery: four hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 8 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Sweat resistant: yes
Charge: USB-C
Key features: companion app lets you adjust EQ

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Noteable Absentees

The above selections aren’t the only wireless earbuds that you can buy. As mentioned before, more and more audio companies are coming out with their own version of wireless earbuds, so we wanted to at least mention some of the other offerings that we haven’t officially tested or written reviews on them at this time.

Jaybird Run XT

Released in early 2019, the Jaybird Run XT are the updated model of the company’s original true wireless sports earbuds, Run. They’re more waterproof and sweatproof, and they offer more sound customization options via Jaybird’s companion app. We haven’t had the chance to test the new models but are looking to do so in the near future.

Jaybird Vista

The Vista are Jaybird’s newest true wireless earbuds; there released in summer 2019. Compared to the above Run XT, they’re very similar in that they use the same app and are designed for athletes, however, Jaybird upgraded the connectivity (Bluetooth 5.0) and greatly slimmed down the profile of the earbuds and the charging case. We’ll have a review of the Jaybird Vista in the coming weeks.

Google Pixel Buds

The Google Pixels Buds aren’t technically true wireless earbuds and we’ve therefore omitted them for this list.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

These are Samsung’s second generation wireless earbuds that were released in early 2019. They are designed to work well with the Samsung Galaxy S10. Key features include wireless charging as well as USB-C. They also are relatively affordable. We have yet to test the Galaxy Buds, but they probably only make sense if you have a Samsung smartphone.

RHA TrueConnect

These are RHA’s first true wireless earbuds that they have the long stem-shape similar to AirPods, but with swapable silicon tips so you can adjust fit.

Best Earbuds Under $50

No, the 3.5mm headphone jack isn’t dead. And it won’t be for some time. Read the Story

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