AirPods Pro And So Much More

The Best Wireless Earbuds of 2020 – Which Is Right for You?


March 4, 2020 Buying Guides By Photo by Chandler Bondurant

This definitive guide to the best wireless earbuds of 2020 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.

Prefer to skip directly to the picks? Click here.

Editor’s Picks

Best Overall: Apple AirPods Pro


What are they? The AirPods Pro are Apple’s first wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation. They have upgraded drivers, so they sound better than AirPods. They have a new design with silicone eartips, so they should stay in your ears better, too. Plus they’re water-resistant, which AirPods are not. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro are simply the best wireless earbuds you can buy.

When were they released? October 2019.

Who should buy? Anybody who wants the best wireless earbuds that Apple has to offer, and are willing to pay extra for it.

Read our full review of the AirPods Pro, here.

Battery: 4.5 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 15 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: IPX4
Charge: Lightning
Key features: new noise-canceling and transparency modes, water- and sweat-resistance, wireless charging case

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Best for Running: Jaybird Vista


What are they? The Vista wireless earbuds were specifically designed for endurance athletes. They’re fully waterproof and sweatproof, and they’re some of the smallest and lightest earbuds that we’ve tested. The neat thing about the charging case is, other than being super compact, is that it conveniently charges via USB-C and can quickly charge the earbuds. In our opinion, the Vista are better wireless earbuds for running than the Beats Powerbeats Pro because they’re more reliable (no connectivity issues), cheaper, lighter, and more rugged.

When were they released? Summer 2019.

Who should buy? The Vista are great for anybody who listens to music while working out. More specifically, they’re designed for long-distance runners, trail runners, mountain bikers and other extreme athletes.

Read our full review of the Jaybird Vista, here.

Battery: 6 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 10 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: IPX7
Charge: USB-C
Key features: adjustable EQ, extreme water- and sweat-resistance, quick charge technology

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Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum TW

What are they? 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, 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.

When were they released? September 2018. It wouldn’t surprise us if the company releases new models (with active noise-cancellation soon).

Who should buy? The Momentum TW sound as good as they look and feel — which is excellent. These are probably the best-sound wireless earbuds that we’ve tested. And they work well with both iPhone and Android.

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

Battery: 4 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 8 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: IPX4
Charge: USB-C
Key features: ergonomic design, Smart Control app, fabric-wrapped charging case

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Best Noise-Canceling: Sony WF-1000XM3


What are they The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the true wireless versions of the company’s hugely-popular 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 truly stellar noise-canceling wireless earbuds that you can buy right now.

When were they released? July 2019.

Who should buy? Anybody looking for the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds on the market. While the AirPods Pro come close, they can’t beat the noise-cancellation and exceptional sound quality of the WF-1000XM3.

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
Water Resistance: N/A
Charge: USB-C
Key features: noise-canceling, adaptive sound control, Quick Attention, works with Google Assistant

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What You Need to Know About True Wireless Headphones

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 original 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.

Other Options

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, sometime in early 2020.

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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Master & Dynamic MW07 (Plus and Go)

What are they? Master & Dynamic’s first true wireless earbuds, the original MW07, were unlike anything else. They were uncompromisingly luxurious, made of acetate (which you can buy in seven different colors) and they came in a neat stainless steel charging case. Master & Dynamic has since antiquated those original wireless earbuds and released two new versions. First, the MW07 Plus look essentially identical to the original MW07, but they have active noise-cancellation and three times the battery life. Secondly, the MW07 Go are sport wireless earbuds that are made of an ultra-durable TR90 composite — not acetate. This allows them to be 15-percent smaller and lighter than the original MW07, but more importantly more water- and sweat-resistant.

When were they released? The second-generation MW07 Plus and MW07 Go were released in late 2019. The original MW07, which can you can still buy, were released in October 2018.

Who should buy? $300 is definitely expensive for truly 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 Plus are great.

Read our full review of the Master & Dynamic MW07, here, as well as the updates on the MW07 Plus and Go, here.

Battery: 3.5-hour per earbud, 10 hours from the charging case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sweat Resistant: IPX4 (MW07 and MW07 Plus); IPX6 (MW07 Go)
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 are the predecessor to Jabra’s newer Elite 75t wireless earbuds. They’re still excellent, with powerful drivers and a great four-mic array (two in each earbud) for superior call quality, but they’re larger and charge via the now-antiquated micro-USB charging cable.

When were they released? January 2018. Jabra has since released the Elite 75t and the Elite Active 75t.

Who should buy? If you don’t want AirPods or they just don’t fit in your ears, these are a good option. 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 downsides are that they really tight fit, so wearing them for long periods of time may cause ear fatigue; plus they are now antiquated.

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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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. Apple has since released the AirPods Pro, which are Apple’s redesigned wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation.

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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Jabra Elite 75t

What are they? The Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds are the next generation of the highly-acclaimed Elite 65t, which many reviewers claimed were the best AirPods alternatives. They are 20% smaller than their predecessors, so they’re a little more comfortable to wear, and they have almost double the battery life. They also finally support USB-C charging.

When were they released? November 2019.

Who should buy? Anybody looking for some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy. They’re great for basically anything and boast excellent call quality. Jabra’s Elite Active 75t are more sweat- and water-resistant, and more designed for working out.

Read our full review of the Jabra Elite 75t, here.

Battery: 7.5 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 13 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: IP-55
Charge: USB-C
Key features: adjustable EQ, long battery life, 4-microphone array

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1More True Wireless ANC

What are they? 1More is an audio company that specializes in hi-fi headphones at affordable prices. The True Wireless ANC are its first pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation. The interesting thing about them, other than price, is that each earbud has two drivers, a dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver, that helps them sound really good.

When were they released? February 2020.

Who should buy? People looking for noise-canceling wireless earbuds, that are more affordable than the AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM3 and Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus.

Read our full review of the 1More True Wireless ANC, here.

Battery: 5 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 18 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: N/A
Charge: USB-C
Key features: active noise-cancellation, dual drivers in each earbud, pass through hearing mode, wireless charging case

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Amazon Echo Buds

What are they? Amazon’s first wireless earbuds have a neat feature: they are built with Bose’s “active noise-reduction” technology. They’re also significantly more affordable than other noise-canceling wireless earbuds on the market.

When were they released? October 2019.

Who should buy? The Echo Buds are a great option for anybody who doesn’t care about a product feeling premium, because they’re all. But their sound and noise-canceling skills are definitely impressive, especially given the affordable price.

Read our full review of the Echo Buds, here.

Battery: 5 hours per earbud; charging case holds an extra 10 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance: IPX4
Charge: micro-USB
Key features: noise-canceling and transparency modes, water resistance, quick charging

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Video: Are Sony’s New Noise-Cancelling Wireless Earbuds AirPod Killers?


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Best Earbuds Under $50

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

Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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