TV and Audio

The Best Earbuds in 2021. Bluetooth and Wired Models

best earbuds


Are you in search of the best earbuds that you can take with you wherever you go? Once you find the right pair of earbuds for your needs, you’ll be able to comfortably enjoy audio with the convenience of portability, discretion and noise isolation.

If you want the best quality earbuds for your investment, there are several different sizes and styles of earbuds that come with various features and extras. With all these options, finding the right pair of earbuds can be a challenge – that’s why we’ve created this guide to help you discover the best in-ear headphones that can enhance your audio experiences, whether you’re a music lover, gamer, traveler or someone with a busy, active lifestyle.

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Last update on 2021-10-22 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon

How to Choose the Best Earbuds

Comfort

There’s no denying that earbuds are revolutionary devices that can offer us audio freedom and practicality like no other headphones. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty wearing earbuds because they are designed with ear tips that go inside your ears, rather than over them (hence the name “in-hear” headphones). Trying on a pair of earbuds that do not fit you properly can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant; luckily, many of the best earbuds in today’s market come with additional earbud tips so that you can find one uniquely fitted to your specific ear size and shape.

If you plan on using your earbuds to listen to music while running or working out, you should invest in a pair that is designed specifically to be sweat and weather-proof. While the price point for these types may be higher, you will find that anything less will lack in durability and reliability with each use.

Finding comfortable earbuds may take some trial and error – it’s also important to remember that earbud size and shape will play an important role in how the earbuds isolate and reproduce sound.

Sound Quality and Noise Cancellation

You may think that, because earbuds are smaller and more compact, they won’t produce as high quality of sound as other headphones, such as the best noise-cancelling headphones with over- or around-ear designs. As technologies for speakers and dynamic drivers advance, earbud creators are producing products with clearer, higher-quality and customizable audio like never before.

Some in-ear headphones sacrifice a little bit of sound quality in order to remain more stable in your ears. For example, some earbuds have a wing to prevent movement, even through rigorous activity. There are also many in-ear headphones that rely on dynamic drivers to produce more accurate sound waves using airflow rather than natural sound travel.

If you want the best earbuds with the highest quality sounds, look for innovative earbuds with advanced drivers and sound balancing-materials, such as stainless steel or tungsten. If you’re a music lover or audiophile (someone passionate about high-performance sound reproduction), you should also be looking for earbuds with more than one driver.

How Earbud Fit Effects Sound Quality

If earbuds don’t fit right, it doesn’t matter how great their audio performance or noise cancellation technology is – they won’t sound good if you’re not wearing them correctly. Once you find earbuds with ear tips that you can comfortably and securely wear, this can improve the sound quality of the earbuds enormously.

Earbuds come with different “tips” – tips have different shapes and designs that make a big difference when it comes to sound protection from outside influences.

What makes ear tips different from one another? A lot of it has to do with the material because this has an effect on how sound travels from the earbuds to your ear.

  • Silicone: Silicon rubber is one of the most popular and comfortable ear tip materials.
  • Memory foam: One of the best materials for noise isolation is memory foam – this will dampen all noises attempting to penetrate your ear. The problem with memory foam is that it can irritate some people’s ears as well as lose its shape after a certain period of time.
  • Plastic: Beware of earbuds with plastic casing. While plastic earbuds may hold their shape for longer and have more durability, they provide very little noise isolation compared with other materials.

The shape of earbuds also plays a large role in the quality of sound you hear. Older, “traditional” style earbuds were made to sit in your ear (resting on the ridges). While this is generally comfortable for most people, it means that the earbuds can easily loosen and fall out of your ears. Traditional earbuds also lack in sound quality compared with newer styles.

Newer earbuds, more properly called “in-ear headphones or in-ear monitors”, are earbuds that include a tip that goes inside the ear canal. The best in-ear headphones work by sealing your ear canal in order to block out noise from your surroundings. The shapes and sizes of earbud tips vary depending on the brand and manufacturer.

What makes in-ear headphones so great? They can provide a clearer range of sound, from bass to mids to treble. However, some in-ear headphones are better at sealing out sound than others. This is where fit comes into play – if your in-ear headphones don’t fit properly, you’re going to experience a lower quality sound spectrum. To alleviate this issue, most earbuds come with different size options so that you can find something that fits your individual ears.

Best Earbuds

Powerbeats Pro

The Ideal Earbuds for Everyday Life

powerbeats pro
While they are mostly designed for athletes, the Powerbeats Pro earbuds also work for the office lifestyle. They come with an elegant design, a secure fit around the ear with multiple eartip options, and a close-to-perfect sound balance.

They are powered by the Apple H1 headphone chip, support Class 1 Bluetooth technology, and deliver up to 9 hours of complete musical bliss. With the right eartip size, you have a perfect isolation from the outside world and can enjoy your favorite tunes in the gym or on a noisy train.

Furthermore, the Powerbeats Pro are designed to be water and sweat resistant, which means you can wear them regardless of your level of activity.

To make sure there are no connectivity issues, the earbuds connect individually to your device. They also feature a speech-detecting accelerometer and come equipped with multiple microphones that focus on transmitting your voice without the noise around (during phone calls).

Finally, the Powerbeats Pro are delivered with a charging carry case that contains them when not in use and prolongs the battery life to 24h. This way, you won’t miss your favorite tunes, and you can carry the earbuds in a backpack or purse.

Pros:
  • Easy to wear during sportive activities
  • The design is a good fit for offices as well
  • Good phone call capabilities
  • Each earbud connects to your device
  • Charging carrying case
  • Good battery life
  • Powerful and balanced sound
  • Connectivity is easy, fast, and reliable
Cons:
  • The price tag is a bit high
  • The case is rather big and bulky
  • After a while, you start feeling them on your ears

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SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2

A Budget-Friendly, High Performing Earbuds

samsung galaxy buds 2

SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2 are affordable and highly capable earbuds that, in contrast to its low price, offer a long list of features that would outshine even much pricier earbuds on the market. To be exact, these earbuds bring a good-quality build and support for AAC, SBC, and Samsung’s Scalable codecs. Moreover, they are comfortable to wear and have an IPX7 water resistance rating.

Above all, they are fitted with a decent battery that should give you at least five hours of playback, which can be extended up to 7.5 hours when the active noise cancellation is turned off.

In addition, SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2 support wireless charging and offer a compact build that makes them super portable. These earbuds are available in white, dark gray, green, and purple. More importantly, they produce a very good audio quality, keeping the bass and treble in standard values, which is pleasing to most of the audience.

Voice reproduction is even better – it offers clear and crisp audio, while the overall performance is reliable, giving these earbuds an excellent value for the money. In short, they are a great option for anyone looking for affordable, yet good-quality earbuds.

Pros:
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Small
  • Very good audio quality
  • They support wireless charging
Cons:
  • Not the best water resistance
  • Not the best ambient sound mode

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Bose QuietComfort 20

Enjoy High-end Sound in Public Spaces

bose quietcomfort 20
The QuietComfort 20 are the first in-ear noise canceling headphones ever designed by Bose. And they did a fantastic job with the ANC module that has two positions: reduced outside noise mode and aware mode. Moreover, the tips are soft and comfortable, creating a natural seal that adds to your moments of privacy in public.

Bose QuietComfort 20 deliver a deep and clear sound that’s natural and engaging. This is possible due to the TriPort technology and Bose Active EQ.

The headphones work well with all Apple devices and users can control volume and tracks via the in-line remote control. Finally, the tips are specially designed to fit most ear shapes and sizes, so they won’t fall off while you move through your day.

Pros:
  • Comfortable tips & durable materials
  • High-quality sound
  • Impressive ANC
  • Aware mode that lets sounds in
  • Easy to control
  • Good battery life
Cons:
  • The in-line controls tug on the cords
  • The battery pack can’t be removed
  • Cables are a bit short
  • A bit on the pricey side

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Sennheiser CX 300S

The In-Ear Earbuds that will Rock your World

sennheiser cx 300s
Sennheiser doesn’t disappoint even with the tiniest of their headphones! As such, the CX 300S are equipped with transducer technology (18-ohm transducers) that allows for a detailed sound with enhanced bass. Adding to this, the eartips fit snug in your ear canal (delivered with four sizes of silicone ear adapters) so you are isolated from the rest of the world. True, the effect is not as effective as with ANC, but it does a decent job.

These eartips are wired, but Sennheiser used a flat wire, to avoid it getting tangled in your bag or pockets. On the wire, there is a one-button smart remote that lets you control the music without fumbling with the phone.

Due to the 3.5mm jack, these earbuds are compatible with a wide range of devices from smartphones to laptops and PCs.

Pros:
  • Easy to use and understand
  • Wired earbuds for better audio quality
  • Equipped with transducers for better sound
  • Personalized fit
  • Perfect for working out
Cons:
  • The wire can get tangled with your clothing
  • They’re not for audiophiles

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EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds

Everything You Need from Earbuds

earfun air true wireless earbuds

EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds are high-quality earbuds with the IPX7 water resistance rating. More importantly, they provide excellent performance that makes them suitable for every occasion and age.

These earbuds are easy to use and include numerous enhanced functions. For example, the ability to automatically pause playback when one of the earbuds is removed from the ear, as well as the touchpad controls that allow you to control your calls, playback, or volume, with a simple button press.

EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds support both wireless and wired USB-C charging and offer some three to four hours of playtime. However, that time can rise to 35 hours when the charging case is included in the count.

Moreover, these earbuds come with four ear tip sizes, which makes finding the perfect fit much easier. Also, there are four microphones (each earbud has two of them) that provide noise cancellation and bring an excellent voice call experience, as it should be the case with one of the best earbuds out there.

Pros:
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Automatic music pause when one of the earbuds is removed from the ear
  • Touchpad commands
  • Wireless charging
Cons:
  • Not the best battery life
  • Questionable waterproof characteristics

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Bose Sport Earbuds

One of the Best Earbuds out There

bose sport earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds are comfortable and feature-rich earbuds that offer accurate sound, with well-balanced bass and mids. These earbuds come with Bluetooth 5.1 connection, feature four beamforming microphone arrays that clear your voice from external noise, and offer touch controls that make them practical for every type of user.

Moreover, Bose Sport Earbuds support fast charging and come with a solid battery life of 5 hours that can be extended to up to 15 hours in total with the help of the charging case. In addition, these earbuds also bring the IPX4 water resistance rating, provide active EQ and offer support for SBC and AAC codecs.

Bose Sport Earbuds are fitted with three different sized StayHear Max tips that allow for easy finding of the perfect fit. Also, they come with the Bose Music app support that can help you control and set up these earbuds in the proper way.

Therefore, if you are after a more than solid pair of earbuds that will bring you good-quality sound and multiple features, Bose Sport Earbuds are more than a logical choice for you, of course, if the high price tag isn’t an issue for you.

Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Active EQ
  • Fast charging support
  • IPX4 water-resistance
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
Cons:
  • No active noise cancellation
  • Pricey
  • No aptX codec support

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Sony WF-SP800N

Very Good, Feature-Rich Earbuds

sony wf-sp800n

Sony WF-SP800N are good-quality earbuds that bring a neutral frequency sound, with emphasized, punchy bass that offers very good audio performance as a result.

These earbuds come with plenty of features that involve IP55 splash proof rating, touch controls, and adaptive sound controls. To make things even better, Sony WF-SP800N also features noise cancellation, a built-in microphone, as well as voice controls that allow their use along with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Also, these earbuds provide a lightweight build (each earbud weighs 9.8 grams) and have a BT 5.0 connectivity. Furthermore, they come with a decent battery that should give you some nine hours of autonomy (18 hours with the charging case), or 13 hours (26 hours with the charging case), when the noise cancellation is turned off.

Sony WF-SP800N earbuds provide soft cushioning, so they are comfortable to wear. They are compatible with both AAC and SBC codecs, have a 360 Reality Audio format supported, and altogether bring a pretty good overall package, as it should be the case with one of the best earbuds available on the market.

Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Decent battery life
  • The good noise cancellation feature
  • Lightweight
  • 360 Reality Audio format
Cons:
  • No aptX codec support
  • Not the best noise cancellation
  • Touch commands may lack the consistency

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Sony WF-1000XM4

The Best There Is

sony wf-1000xm4

Sony WF-1000XM4 are exceptional, premium-quality earbuds that bring nothing other than the best. To be exact, these earbuds, with their V1 integrated processor, bring outstanding noise cancellation performance, LDAC codec support, as well a very good battery that gives you some eight hours of playback.

Moreover, they are IPX4 water-resistant, and offer Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, as well as the support for quick charging. Also, these earbuds have an extremely comfortable build and are fitted with multiple enhanced features. Most importantly, 360 Reality Audio support and beamforming microphone.

However, that’s not everything, because there is also a bone-conduction sensor, as well as the Speak-to-chat technology that automatically adjusts volume during calls. On top of that, Sony WF-1000XM4 provides exceptional performance and brings exceptional audio reproduction, with strong bass and clear voice that impresses everyone.

Also, these earbuds come with the BT 5.2 support, they have a lightweight build (each earbud weighs 7.3 grams) and probably present the best earbuds you can find on the market, except for the price that is seriously over the top.

Pros:
  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • 360 Reality Audio support
  • LDAC codec support
  • Quick charging support
  • Clear bass
  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • No aptX HD support

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Anker Life P3

Ideal Entry-Level Earbuds

anker life p3

Anker Life P3 are decent-performing, highly comfortable earbuds that bring a ton of features and deliver more than a good value for the money.

To be exact, these earbuds come with 11mm composite drivers that, together with the BES2300Y processor, create a very good sound experience, with decent mids and treble and strong bass.

Anker Life P3 is available in five different colors (black, red, white, navy blue, and sky blue), it offers an IPX5 waterproof rating, and is fitted with the BT 5.0 connectivity. More importantly, these earbuds are compatible with Google Assistant and Siri and they offer exceptional multi-mode active noise cancellation that is neck and neck with the best earbuds available.

Anker Life P3 earbuds are equipped with six microphones that bring a solid voice clarity, while the decent-quality battery allows for seven hours of playback that can be extended to 35 hours with the help of the charging case. Moreover, these earbuds come along with the Soundcore app that offers multiple customization options, and a high amount of EQ presets and sound modes, such as game mode, sleeping mode, transparency mode, and so on.

All in all, Anker Life P3 is a pretty good deal, and these earbuds have everything needed for a pleasant user experience. For that reason, if you are after one of the best entry-level earbuds, you may be sure that these will fulfill your every need and much more.

Pros:
  • Wireless charging
  • Comfortable
  • Very good noise cancellation
  • Beamforming mic
  • Fast charging support
  • Warm sound
  • Good battery life
Cons:
  • Not the best call quality

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Apple AirPods Pro

Style & Advanced Technology in the Same Product

apple airpods pro
There’s no secret that Apple products strive for the perfect blend between style and technology, and you can see this clearly in the AirPods Pro!

The earbuds are slim and look nice in your ear (no bulkiness) while packing some serious technology! Under the case, you’ll find a custom speaker driver, a high dynamic range amplifier, and they’re all controlled by Apple’s famous H1 chip. As a result, the sound is immersive and it adapts to the shape of your ear for perfect customization (due to Adaptive EQ that kicks in automatically).

The BT connectivity is reliable and allows users to keep in touch with Siri or take phone calls without taking the phone out. Also, the battery will last for about 4.5h on one charge but, with the charging case, you can get up to 24h.

Lastly, the AirPods Pro earbuds have a good ANC system with built-in Transparency mode that allows access to the outside world. Overall, these earbuds can be the perfect companion for working out or travel.

Pros:
  • Slim & elegant design
  • Easy to control with or without access to your phone
  • BT connectivity & access to Siri
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to wear them in various scenarios
Cons:
  • A bit expensive
  • The battery could be better

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Wireless, Comfortable, and Amazing!

sennheiser momentum true wireless 2
Bespoke drivers, customization at the touch of your finger, and impressive battery life – these are some of the most amazing features available in the Momentum True earbuds.

The bass is deep, the treble is balanced, and the mids feel natural and clear. Sennheiser managed to create a truly audiophile-oriented product by introducing their 7mm dynamic audio drivers that create flawless stereo sound. Also, The BT connectivity is reliable and lets users connect with the Smart Control App for further customization of the audio experience.

Overall, these earbuds are more than just for listening to music! The Active Noise Cancellation module is good enough to help you separate from the noise of the crowd. Of course, the silicone eartips also ensure passive isolation, so you have your pick. You can also use them for voice calls and streaming your favorite Internet radio or app.

Lastly, the earbuds come with a charging case that gives you up to 28h of listening time. However, without the case, you still get up to 7h on a single charge, so it’s still good.

Pros:
  • The earbuds fit perfectly in your ears
  • Great audio quality
  • BT range is reliable
  • Up to 28h battery life
  • Solid build & decent ANC module
Cons:
  • ANC drains the battery faster
  • They are a bit difficult to use (at first)

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Jabra Elite Active 75t

Perfectly Designed for Modern Life

jabra elite active 75t
The Elite 75t from Jabra earbuds are great for the challenges of modern life. They are durable (IP55 durability rating), the sound quality is more than decent, and you can use them to make high-quality voice calls and keep in touch with your favorite voice assistant.

This is possible due to the 4-microphone call technology that allows for crystal clear calls without dropouts or interruptions. In addition, the battery lasts for about 7.5h on one charge and the charging case can give you up to 28h of playback time. There’s also a fast-charge option that gives you an extra hour of battery on a 15-minute charge.

When you connect them with the Jabra MySound app, there is the possibility to create your own audio profile, customized to your specific needs. So you get complete customization with the latest technology!

Pros:
  • Great fit
  • Decent audio quality
  • Advanced mic technology for perfect phone calls
  • Impressive battery life
  • IP55 durability rating
Cons:
  • No built-in ANC technology
  • They feel rather bulky in your ear

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Tribit 100H

Earbuds with an Exceptional Battery Life

tribit 100h

Tribit 100H are well-built, affordable earbuds with exceptional five-hour autonomy that can be extended up to 100 hours when the charging case with a 2600 mAh battery is also included in the equation. In addition, these earbuds feature Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, IPX8 Waterproof Rating, and one-step pairing that allows you to easily pair these earbuds with the device of your choice.

More importantly, these earbuds provide a powerful Hi-Fi stereo sound, with a strong bass that proves its value in both calls and playback reproduction.

Tribit 100H comes with six ear tip options and offers touchpad controls. Also, it provides support for both Siri and Google Assistant and delivers a solid audio experience, although it isn’t really impressive. However, it offers clear voice and audio reproduction at every frequency, making a solid overall option in the entry-level department.

In other words, Tribit 100H is a solid, budget-friendly earbuds option that offers exceptional autonomy and brings more than enough value for the price. For that reason, if you are after the best earbuds in the budget-friendly area, Tribit 100H is one of the best deals out there.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Very good battery life
  • Easy to use
  • IPX8-rated waterproof
  • Strong bass
Cons:
  • No App
  • Not the best audio reproduction

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Whether you’re listening to music on your smartphone or the best MP3 player, everyone needs a pair of reliable and comfortable earbuds for listening to audio and answering calls while working, traveling, exercising or relaxing at home. No matter your lifestyle, earbuds, noise cancelling headphones and wireless headphones will deliver the sound, voice and entertainment you need to get you through your day.

About author

TheTechLounge editorial team consists of versatile tech enthusiasts. Each of us specializes in the specific area (from photography to virtual reality).
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