The 10 Best Bluetooth Earbuds
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in February of 2015. It's not hard to free yourself from wires while still enjoying your music, videos, and games. These Bluetooth earbuds are lightweight and convenient, and deliver premium sound without the cords, so you can workout or dance to your heart's content without getting tangled up. We've included a variety of styles, from top-tier models to budget-friendly ones suitable for everyday, casual use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 12, 2020:
Right now is an excellent time to buy headphones. On the budget side of things, they don't get much cheaper than the Mpow Flame S and Mpow M12, and while neither is terribly advanced, casual listeners will probably be totally satisfied. For just a little more, though, even critical buyers would appreciate the SoundPeats Truengine 3 SE, which have dual drivers and support for the almost unmatched aptX Adaptive codec. The Sony WF-XB700 are a similarly good value, especially considering that most of the Japanese tech giant's products are exorbitantly priced.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are highly lauded and a great mid-range option that punches far above its cost. If you're willing to invest a little more, though, the Beats Powerbeats Pro really have a lot going for them. They're definitely some of the nicest earbuds for working out, and in fact some Android users prefer them to even the advanced Apple AirPods Pro.
There are three top-notch options worth looking at if you have a collection of high-res music to play. The Bose QuietComfort check just about every box in terms of high-end headphones, and their call quality and noise canceling are surpassed by just about nothing else. The Master & Dynamic MW07 Go come from a renowned audiophile-grade manufacturer, and while they look bulky, they're actually shockingly light. Then there are the Nuarl N6 Pro, which aren't well known at all, but pack some of the most impressive wireless technology and acoustic tuning into a package that actually costs a little less than most other premium models.
December 04, 2019:
This ranking required a very significant overhaul, as the majority of models on our previous list have been upgraded by their companies, while others have been phased out of the market entirely. Given the well-deserved popularity of the new Apple AirPods Pro and the Beats Powerbeats Pro, there was no way we were going to exclude them, especially considering the Apple product's undeniable added value as a status symbol. From a more important perspective, they also happen to offer some of the most effective noise cancellation you're going to find in an earbud.
The best value on our list might come from the Audio-Technica Solid Bass, however, thanks to booming 10mm drivers and a low profile design that isn't intended to draw the kind of attention that Apple and Beats want drawn to their products. Audio-Technica also creates some of the most realistic sound stages in their headphone design of anyone out there, and even their buds can make you feel like you're in the studio with your favorite musicians.
Most of these buds are built to withstand workouts, as well, so we placed some emphasis on their IP rating. At the end of the day, though, the most important thing for a set of bud in the gym is how firmly they'll stay put, and things like the loops on the Audio-Technica model, as well as the Monster True Wireless, go a long way toward that degree of stability.
Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch Cambridge is responsible for a range of audiophile-level amplifiers, so it's no surprise that their earbuds are also of top quality. They don't have extra features such as active noise canceling, but are instead tightly focused on sound quality, with the aptX Adaptive codec allowing for variable bit rates and nearly lossless transmission. cambridgeaudio.com
Over The Wireless
Bluetooth is essentially just a specific band of radio frequencies that ping outward in overlapping shifts many times per second.
As long as headphones have had wires running to their sources, I couldn't run in them. That is to say, I always found it impossible to go jogging with that chord endlessly slapping me, its weight slowly pulling the buds out from their place in my ears. No matter the sound quality, the physics of the buds never quite lined up.
Outdoors, this is not much or a problem. When I'm up in the hills by my home, I like having the sounds of nature all around me, so I don't find I need music to power me through. I also have an irrational fear of mountain lions and rattle snakes waiting for me at every turn, so I like to keep all my senses about me.
The gym is a very different story, though. Without the beauty of nature around me, surrounded only by the clanging of metal weights and the grunting of oversized men, I need all the distractions I can get. That's why I bit the bullet on a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that stay in place better than anything I've ever owned, and that sound good while they do it.
Bluetooth is essentially just a specific band of radio frequencies that ping outward in overlapping shifts many times per second. By doing so, the odds that the Katy Perry song the person on the treadmill next to you is enjoying will cut into your audio book on quantum mechanics are slim to none.
Beyond the ability to receive a Bluetooth signal, these buds are designed with all the trappings of the finest earbuds on the market, with advanced ergonomics to fit snugly and comfortably in your ear, and tiny speakers with powerful drivers to boost the bass against all the bones in your ear. The result is phenomenal sound quality, and unsurpassed security and comfort.
Sounds Like Fun
There was a time when the long white cord associated with Apple's signature earbuds was a kind of status symbol. They even had a rather annoying commercial for their iPods that featured a bunch of dancing silhouettes, the only visible feature their dangling white cords. I feel like the only people I see wearing those earbuds anymore wear them while driving, and that's just a combination of a dangerous driving situation and an increasingly passe fashion statement.
That said, if you are interested in the clearest sound, established brands like Beats and JBL are likely to be your best bet.
As you look up and down our list of top rated Bluetooth earbuds, it wouldn't hurt to take the appearance of them into consideration as much as anything else. All the models on our list are exceptionally durable, so the only variables you really want to consider are fit, sound, and look.
Gym fashion has, in the past decade or so, reached well outside of the gym, and it's perfectly acceptable in our current times to go straight to brunch from yoga without so much as reapplying deodorant, let alone changing out of your workout clothes. As such, attire made for exercise has become significantly more fetching, and your earbuds are going to become an integral part of your ensemble.
As for the fit, that's a tough one to measure without sticking these things in your ears, since human ears are as variegated as fingerprints. For now, in addition to the look, you'll want to read up on the sound quality.
An audiophile probably wouldn't want to enjoy the third movement of their favorite symphony in the middle of a treadmill 10K, so manufacturers aren't trying to create mind-blowing audio experiences with their earbuds. They are, however, trying to maximize the quality you can get in a small, simple design for not too much money. That said, if you are interested in the clearest sound, established brands like Beats and JBL are likely to be your best bet.
Listening To The Past
Earphones of any kind weren't a common household item until the 1970s, when home stereo systems became more customized and better-equipped to reproduce the quality of the recordings waiting there on all that vinyl. Before that, they were almost the exclusive property of studio engineers, musicians, telephone company employees, and the military.
It, too, very quickly became a technology we could scarcely live without, whether for connecting our iPods to our earphones or for linking our cell phones to our car stereos.
It was the advent of the Walkman, however, that caused earphones to explode around the country and around the world. That portable cassette deck came with a very specific pair of headphones. They were cheap pieces of metal and plastic, drastically uncomfortable and miserable to listen through, but everybody had to have them.
More expensive headphones, like those associated with the music industry, made their way further into the culture at this point, but the field remained relatively stagnant until Apple came along with their iconic headphones in 2001. From there, all bets were off, as portable music became all but a human right made doctrine.
Around this time (a little earlier, in fact), Bluetooth technology found its way into a few appliances, most notably laptop computers and cell phones. It, too, very quickly became a technology we could scarcely live without, whether for connecting our iPods to our earphones or for linking our cell phones to our car stereos.