Ever wonder which is the best option for you to achieve the best sound quality of the audio? You may be wondering about the differences between a pair of headphones and a pair of earbuds thinking about what gives the best audio quality, detailed sound, decent battery life, and active noise cancellation feature. It is obvious that headphones are more expensive than the two and much-packed features, but both have strong points. For some, they serve the same purpose anyway. If you are on a budgeted side, we have compiled a list of the best sounding wireless earbuds perfect for you without compromising your wallet. However, if you want the best sounding wireless earbuds, be prepared to spend a significant amount of money, or might buy headphones as well.
It is actually hard to compare ear headphones and earbuds. For you to make a decision, you need to know first what you actually want from them.
Let’s first take a look at the factors you need to look at before purchasing an ear headphone or earbuds, though there are some cons and pros for both audio devices, it will still depend on your preference and budget.
Every music enthusiast deserves to know the quality of sound they are getting when purchasing a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds. This is the number 1 factor to consider if you want a headphone or earbuds. Sound quality is dependent on the model, and both feature models can outperform the other, but for the same price, headphones will usually perform better.
Also, a bigger physical design has a bigger effect on the sound, do headphones produce better bass than earbuds. But there are many advanced earbuds nowadays that give excellent sound quality just like headphones.
This factor depends on many factors, one of which is a lifestyle. If you are the type of person that wants to carry lightweight materials and regularly travels, you would want to opt on earbuds. Headphones can become tiresome to carry and wear due to it being bigger and weight wise. Earbuds are more discreet and light and can take less storage space on your bag.
Noise isolation or active noise cancellation measures how well the headphone or earbuds blocked the outside noise. So the better the device to block the noise, the better its sound quality. Headphones are better for excellent isolation of noise because of the ear pads that hug around the ears to create sealing, however, some earbuds deliver quite good passive isolation.
Nobody wants to be uncomfortable when listening to music or your favorite podcasts. Comfort here means the feeling you feel when the device is wrapped around your ears. When you feel some pressure around, it’s a sign that the device is uncomfortable to wear. So the foam in headphones is suited for everyone who wants ample breathability and comfort, while for earbuds, it may give comfort but not for too long.
Both devices are safe to use but may change depending on how you use them in your daily routine. Listening to high volumes for a long period of time can cause damage to the ears. Meanwhile, according to a study, earbuds may cause more harm due to being closer to your ear canal. But it can be prevented if used under moderation and not for too high volumes.
Each type of wireless headphones and earbuds has models on the opposite ends. There are the cheaper ones for each device and very sophisticated expensive ones for another. It really depends on the model, but comparing the two, earbuds are cheaper with good audio quality, because of the size and the materials that were used to make them.
What are the best wireless earbuds?
Now that you know the factors in choosing which device you preferred to buy, let us run down some of the best sounding wireless earbuds on the market, and we suggest buying a pair of earbuds from a trusted store with a decent return policy like Amazon. If you still prefer to buy a pair of headphones, head on to Wireless Headphones to check for a list of the best headphones in the market.
Below is a list of the best earbuds with features, performance, sound quality, hours of battery, and how comfortable the earbuds are.
Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds
We know that it is rare for earbuds to get an active noise cancellation technology, but another exception for Sony that true to its brand has an impressive active noise cancellation feature. It has a dual-microphone array that combats external noise. Bass frequencies are great at the middle of the frequency response, so vocal masking from low-end sound is minimal.
The design and comfort it brings are superb, and its spatial audio is consistent. It is also one of the best-looking true wireless earbuds in the market, and a hands-down for its battery life of 6 hours on a single charge, and a weight of 7 grams. It has a wireless range of 30 feet and a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz and has an amazing audio quality.
|Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds Headset/Headphones with...
Bowers & Wilkins PI7
The design of these earbuds is amazingly pretty with its gold accents on the side that complement the white and black finish of the buds.
It has an excellent battery life of 20 hours, but some say it can have improved battery life. It also has a wireless charging feature, with a USB-C charging type and 15 minutes should be sufficient for two hours of music time. This Bowers & Wilkins pair of buds are also awesome consisting of six mics arrayed across the pairs. Best for taking calls, communicating with voice assistants, and assessing ambient conditions for its effective noise cancellation.
The wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.0 with adaptive capability. It has a smooth synchronization, and connection reliability is constantly optimized.
|P7 Wireless Over Ear Headphones by Bowers & Wilkins, Black
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
A serious candidate for best-in-class earbuds. True to its name of QuietComfort, it has become synonymous that Bose lives to its name of noise-cancellers over the years. That excellent noise-canceling allows impressive sound quality to shine through.
The body of the earbuds is at least a curvy one, so it blends to the side of your head. It has a premium finish and feels lightweight enough. When used, it provides a dynamic sound for a few hours at a time. These QuietComfort earbuds are sweat resistance and water resistance so best to use outdoors.
Bose is truly reliable in terms of battery to any of its products. These Bose QuietComfort Earbuds claimed to have 18 hours of battery usage from a single charge. That’s a decent amount, but as compared to other earbuds that have 20 hours of battery usage and more battery life, this value can also be improved in the future. Another special feature of this earbud is you can actually touch and hold your finger on the touchpad of the right earbud to access voice virtual assistant, like the google assistant, while touch and hold your finger on the left earbud to skip a track or check the battery level.
|Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds – True Wireless Earphones with Voice Control, White
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
With the number of premium and affordable models of earbuds with active noise cancellation, it is good to see Sennheiser Momentum as one of the top brands. When on, you can actually hear the stellar sound of the music without outside noise, or background chatting. Sony WF-1000XM3 has the edge, but this Sennheiser Momentum True wireless 2 is closer to it.
It has touch controls that carry out a range of functions. The left touchpad handles playback, one tap to it to play/pause, double-tap to skip forwards, triple tap to skip back. For the right touchpad, a combination of taps to enable voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, turn the Transparent Hearing on and off or turn the ambient mode.
For the volume controls, press and hold the surface of the left earbud to lower down the volume, and turn it up by doing the same thing on the right earpiece.
The battery life is 7 hours, and a whopping 28 hours if with the charging case. It also has Bluetooth 5.1, so an upgrade to the other competitors using Bluetooth 5.0. This earbud is similar to Sony WF-100XM3s, but it is smaller, and isn’t quite as discreet and featherweight as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
|Sennheiser Consumer Audio Momentum True Wireless 2 - Bluetooth in-Ear Buds with Active Noise...
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung’s new Galaxy true wireless earbuds always have been a favorite of mine. The Galaxy Buds Plus is a great match for my ears and has since been one of the better true wireless values, with prices as low as $100 on the internet. And the Galaxy Buds Live, which has been discounted since their initial release, has a discreet and imaginative “open” design that I love to wear while running and biking. Now they have released a compact design active noise canceling model with upgraded audio quality, so another Samsung device to love.
These earbuds fit perfectly to your ears and perfect to use while workouts and distance running, and speaking of workouts, these Samsung Galaxy earbuds are IPX7 rated for sweat resistance.
It also has touch-sensitive panels for both earbuds that cover the typical range of playback controls. It has a similar control to Sennheiser Momentum on the tapping mode to each earpiece.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro uses Bluetooth 5.0, and supports codecs like SBC, AAC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec. These codecs provide adjustments to improve both audio quality and connection stability. If you are an iPhone user, you can still use this earbud and enjoy high-quality audio over the AAC Bluetooth codec.
Battery life is 5 hours on a single charge for this Samsung galaxy earbuds, with about 13 hours additional charge in the case. It can last up to 4 hours with ANC.
|SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds Pro, Bluetooth Earbuds, True Wireless, Noise Cancelling, Charging Case,...
Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds have been considered to be the best sounding wireless earbuds in the market since its release, but the downside of it is not being sweated or water-resistant. So those who love running and workouts won’t be amused with this brand.
Sony thought of upgrading its device. They add IP55 certification for dust and water resistance and even extend the battery life to 9 nine hours with ANC enabled. What’s more fantastic is that it is $30 less than the 1000XM3’s launch price.
The design has a glossy texture, and you will see a microphone, a Sony logo, and a touchpad for gesture controls. The right earbud is for track controls, and the left is for toggling noise cancellation and ambient sound mode.
Sony WF-SP800N has three sizes of silicone ear tips so you could choose what’s best for your ears. What is comfortable for one person might cause soreness over time for someone else, so better to have options in choosing ear tips.
|Sony WF-SP800N Truly Wireless Sports In-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones with Mic for Phone Call...
Jabra Elite 75t
Apple AirPods pro contender has been improved over time. It has better sound than the AirPods pro according to many reviews online. This Jabra Elite 75 never disappoints, and it now has noise-canceling, better voice calling via firmware updates, water, and dust resistance, and offered at a lower price that is why it is hailed as CNET Editor’s Choice in 2019. Even though there have been a lot of earbuds coming out of the market since then, this Jabra elite is still one of the top wireless earbuds in the market.
The Elite 75 is smaller than the 65t, and has boosted its battery life and now a USB-C charging. It’s their goal to make it smaller but increase battery life. It is rated to have 7.5 hours of usage, and an additional 20.5 hours of battery life when charged with the case.
It has four microphones–two in each earbud. The right earbud can be used for music playback or for calls, and when you remove the left earbud while listening to music, the music will automatically pause, then you have to press a button to resume mono playback in the right earbud.
|Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, Sienna – Wireless Earbuds for Running...
Apple Airpods Pro
Apple users who want true wireless earbuds will benefit more from this Airpods Pro and this is the best earbuds for the latest generations of iPhones. This too has a noise-canceling feature just like the competing brands.
It has a nifty feature of transparency mode where you can long-press the stem that allows outside noise to pump in. Best for conversation. A single press on the stem will pause or play your favorite music, a double press will skip the song, and a triple press will go to the next song.
The Apple Airpods Pro is water-resistant too with an IPX4 rating. It is also known to have very good use in phone calls, both in listening and speaking.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
Although it somehow lacks noise-cancellation and limited noise isolation, Apple said that it is their premium product than Airpods Pro for workout enthusiasts, as it is supremely comfortable, and has a very good quality of sound.
The design is more of a sporty look with a hook around your ears. The design assures you that there won’t be an ear pressure while listening to your favorite music, that is because of a micro-laser barometric venting hole in the front chamber. Not only that it reduces ear pressure, but also improves the bass response. Moreover, the nozzle is slim unlike other brands in the market, and this somehow contributes to the excellent comfortability it brings. It has a battery life of 25 hours, a longer battery life compared to Apple Airpods Pro.
|Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth Headphones, 9...
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
Cambridge Audio is one of the brands that have a passion for music. It is no surprise for Cambridge to name the true wireless earbuds Melomania, meaning “crazy about music”.
The earbuds are quite long like the Samsung Galaxy Buds, so they do stick out on your ears when you wear them. It supports Bluetooth 5.0, AAC, and aptX codecs. This means a more stable signal, and Hi-Res Audio over a wireless connection.
Battery life is outstanding for a total of 36 hours within their charging case, and 9 hours without the charging case. That is the double value of Apple Airpods battery life. It doesn’t have a noise cancellation feature but has a superior battery life, and fantastic sound quality.
|Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ Earbuds, True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0, Hi-Fi Sound, in-Ear Stereo...
Grado has been a crowd favorite among audiophiles with its signature mini-drivers and a perfect tune for every sound profile. Every tune is well-balanced with a bass touch of tone and nice sparkle in treble. Just like the Cambridge Melomania 1, it supports Bluetooth 5.0, AAC, aptX codecs and an IPX4 rating, only splashproof, not waterproof.
Grado prides their wireless earbuds to have great battery life. They advertise the earbuds to have 6 hours of usage without the case and can be recharged more than five times moreover in the case, so it has a total of 36 hours. It also supports wireless charging too.
GRADO GT220 True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Bluetooth in-Ear Headphones/Ear-Buds
Klipsch T5 True Wireless
The design of the Klipsch case is the first thing that you will notice. It has an aluminum charging case and looks lighter, and that’s the goal of the designers for this Klipsch True Wireless earbuds. The charging case is also a USB-C fast charging and 3 white LEDs that display the capacity of the earbuds.
The earbuds are designed to have a long sound tube, perfect for passive noise isolation, but may be uncomfortable to some. It delivers the best audio sound which is branded for Klipsch–detailed, warm, and never harsh even on rock music. They are compared to Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless in terms of the bass.
|Klipsch T5 True Wireless Headphones, Silver, 1067567, Small
Tribit Flybuds C1
The budget option for audiophiles, Tribit Flybuds C1, has a top-notch sound, punchy bass, and with a good noise reduction. It has 2 microphones on each earbud and a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your own voice when making a call.
IPX4, splash resistant, and has Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, Qualcomm QCC3040 chip, that includes aptX. Though they don’t have active noise cancellation, they do a good job of passively sealing out ambient noise.
The design is just like the Apple Airpods and has a vertical rather than sitting on your ear. It has an outstanding 12 hours battery life on a single charge, not bad for budgeted earbuds. This value is also the outstanding value for an earbud.
|Tribit Wireless Earbuds, Qualcomm QCC3040 Bluetooth 5.2, 4 Mics CVC 8.0 Call Noise Reduction 50H...
So these are the best sounding true wireless earbuds for 2021. It really depends on your preference, lifestyle and also your budget. However, if budget is not a problem, you can go to the most quality ones like the Sony, Sennheiser and Bose.
True wireless earbuds are perfect for everyday use and active lifestyle.
Geralt has held various positions in the professional audio industry since 2016 and has been a specialist author, translator, and editor. In addition to making music, he is also interested in recording studio technology and wireless headphones.
Last update on 2023-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds
- 2 Bowers & Wilkins PI7
- 3 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
- 4 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
- 6 Sony WF-SP800N
- 7 Jabra Elite 75t
- 8 Apple Airpods Pro
- 9 Beats Powerbeats Pro
- 10 Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- 11 Grado GT220
- 12 Klipsch T5 True Wireless
- 13 Tribit Flybuds C1