The best wireless earbuds for 2023

Companies continue to find new ways to impress with true wireless earbuds. There’s no doubt the popularity of Apple’s AirPods helped make them a mainstay, but plenty of others offer reliable connectivity, great sound and active noise cancellation (ANC) in increasingly smaller form factors. You can also get extra features that used to be reserved for premium models on mid-range devices. Of course, the popularity means that new earbuds are popping up all the time and the list of options is longer than ever. To help, we’ve compiled our top picks for the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, including noteworthy features for each.

Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM4

Best overall

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony manages to pack a ton of handy tools into its flagship true wireless model, including wireless charging, Speak-to-Chat, Adaptive Sound Control and customizable EQ.

Sony keeps its top spot on our list for its combination of excellent sound quality, powerful active noise cancellation and a long list of features no other company can compete with. As with its headphones, Sony manages to pack a ton of handy tools into its flagship true wireless earbuds. The basics like a wireless charging case and battery life improvements are covered, but company-specific features like Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing, Adaptive Sound Control adjustments based on movement or location, 360 Reality Audio and a customizable EQ are icing on the cake. Plus, DSEE Extreme upscaling helps improve compressed tunes over Bluetooth.

Read our Full Review of Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

Runner up: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Runner up
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Sennheiser Consumer Audio

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

If sound quality is your biggest concern, Sennheiser’s buds are the way to go thanks in part to their True Response transducer and 7mm dynamic drivers.

If sound quality is your primary concern, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is your best bet for excellent sound and an overall top notch listening experience. You won’t get the truckload of features that Sony offers, but Sennheiser does the basics well at a lower price than the previous Momentum earbuds. A new Adaptive Noise Cancellation setup continuously monitors ambient sounds to suppress them in real time. Inside, the company’s True Response transducer is paired with 7mm dynamic drivers for top-notch audio.

Best noise cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best noise cancellation
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose’s redesigned wireless buds are, hands-down, the best available right now if you want to block out the world as much as possible.

When it comes to blocking out background sounds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the best the best noise-canceling earbuds available right now. Bose introduced a redesigned active noise canceling set earlier this year and the smaller pair of earbuds deliver a more comfy fit. The company also managed to improve ambient sound and maintain its track record of solid audio quality. However, the real star here is the ANC performance which is hands-down the best you can get right now. The high-end QC Earbuds II don’t have some basic features like multipoint connectivity and wireless charging, so that might factor into your decision.

Read our Full Review of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best budget: Anker Soundcore Space A40

Best budget
Anker Soundcore Space A40

Photo by Jeff Dunn / Engadget

Anker Soundcore Space A40

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 offer the kind of features you’d expect from wireless earbuds that cost twice as much: ANC, multi-device pairing, wireless charging, IPX4 water resistance, a transparency mode, eight to ten hours of battery life and LDAC support.

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 offer the kind of features you’d expect from wireless earbuds that cost twice as much: ANC, multi-device pairing, wireless charging, IPX4 water resistance, a transparency mode, eight to ten hours of battery life and LDAC support. Their warm sound should please many out of the box, but Anker’s companion app makes it easy to customize the EQ curve if needed. And while their ANC isn’t quite as strong as our top picks, it’s still effective for a noisy office or long flight. For $80 or so, this is a superb value. – Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer

Best for iOS: Apple Airpods Pro (2nd-gen)

Best for iOS
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Apple managed to improve the sound quality and ANC performance on the 2022 AirPods Pro, while keeping all of the conveniences that make them the best option for Apple fanatics.

Apple’s latest AirPods Pro are a huge improvement over the 2019 model. The company managed to improve the sound quality and active noise cancellation while keeping all of the conveniences that make AirPods the best earbud option for iPhone, iOS and Mac. To me, the most impressive feature is the transparency mode, which is more natural sounding than any other earbuds by a mile. You can leave these in during a conversation and it’s like you’re not even wearing them. Of course, fast pairing, hands-free Siri, spatial audio, good battery life and a wireless charging case will also come in handy.

Read our Full Review of Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Best for Android: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Best for Android
Google Pixel Buds Pro

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Google Pixel Buds Pro

These are the best wireless buds Google has ever made, and they offer deep, punchy bass, solid ANC performance, reliable touch controls and wireless charging.

Google has hit its stride when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Every new model the company introduces is an improvement after its first attempt failed to impress. With the Pixel Buds Pro, Google offers deep, punchy bass, solid ANC performance, reliable touch controls and wireless charging, all in an IPX4-rated package. Plus, there are added convenience features for Android and Pixel devices including Google Translate Conversation Mode.

Read our Full Review of Google Pixel Buds Pro

Best for workouts: Beats Fit Pro

Best for workouts
Beats Fit Pro

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Beats Fit Pro

These buds’ balanced and punchy bass will keep the energy up during workouts while good noise cancellation and a comfy fit make these a solid option outside of the gym, too.

Most of the best AirPods features in a set of workout earbuds? That’s the Beats Fit Pro. Thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, these buds offer one-touch quick pairing, hands-free Siri and Find My tools. They’ll also allow you to use Audio Sharing with an Apple device and another set of AirPods or Beats wireless headphones for tandem listening or viewing. Balanced and punchy bass will keep the energy up during workouts while good noise cancellation, an IPX4 rating and comfy silicone ear tips make these a solid option outside of the gym too. And there’s plenty of support for Android devices, so these aren’t just a good buy for iOS users either.

Read our Full Review of Beats Fit Pro Wireless Earbuds

Honorable mention: Sony LinkBuds S

Honorable mention
Sony LinkBuds S

Sony

Sony LinkBuds S

These tiny buds muster some punch when it comes to sound quality, and support for high-res listening (LDAC and DSEE Extreme) are both onboard.

One of the biggest surprises this year wasn’t Sony’s unique open-wear LinkBuds, it was the more mainstream follow-up. With the LinkBuds S, the company debuted a more “traditional” design akin to its premium WF-1000XM4, only this model is much smaller and lighter which leads to a much more comfy fit. These tiny wireless earbuds muster some punch when it comes to sound quality too and support for high-res listening (LDAC and DSEE Extreme) are both onboard. Capable ANC lends a hand with environmental noise and transparency mode can keep you tuned in when needed. What’s more, handy Speak-to-Chat is here and Adaptive Sound Control can automatically change settings based on activity or location. That’s a lot of premium features at a mid-range price.

FAQs

Is sound quality better on headphones or earbuds?

Comparing sound quality on earbuds and headphones is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. There are a lot of variables to consider and the differences in components make a direct comparison difficult. Personally, I prefer the audio quality from over-ear headphones, but I can tell you the sound from earbuds like Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3 is also outstanding.

Which wireless earbuds have the longest battery life?

With new models coming out all the time, tracking the hours of battery life for each this can be difficult to keep tabs on. The longest-lasting earbuds we’ve reviewed are Audio-Technica’s ATH-CKS5TW. The company states they last 15 hours, but the app was still showing 40 percent at that mark during our tests. The only downside is these earbuds debuted in 2019 and both technology and features have improved since. In terms of current models, Master & Dynamic’s MW08 offers 12 hours of use on a charge with ANC off (10 with ANC on) and JBL has multiple options with 10-hour batteries.

What wireless earbuds are waterproof?

There are plenty of options these days when it comes to increased water resistance. To determine the level of protection, you’ll want to look for an IP (ingress protection) rating. The first number indicates intrusion protection from things like dust. The second number is the level of moisture protection and you’ll want to make sure that figure is 7 or higher. At this water-resistance rating, earbuds can withstand full immersion for up to 30 minutes in depths up to one meter (3.28 feet). If either of the IP numbers is an X, that means it doesn’t have any special protection. For example, a pair of wireless earbuds that are IPX7 wouldn’t be built to avoid dust intrusion, but they would be ok if you dropped them in shallow water.

Which earbuds stay in ears the best?

A secure fit can vary wildly from person to person. All of our ears are different, so audio companies are designing their products to fit the most people they can with a single shape. This is why AirPods will easily fall out for some but stay put for others. Design touches like wing tips or fins typically come on fitness models and those elements can help keep things in place. You’ll likely just have to try earbuds on, and if they don’t fit well return them.

What wireless earbuds work with PS5?

PlayStation 5 doesn’t support Bluetooth audio without an adapter or dongle. Even Sony’s own gaming headsets come with a transmitter that connects to the console. There are universal options that allow you to use any headphones, headset or earbuds with a PS5. Once you have one, plug it into a USB port on the console and pair your earbuds with it.

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