Bluetooth earbuds have made great strides in sound quality, comfort, and reliability recently. The dizzying array of options, however, can make choosing a quality pair difficult for all but the most serious sound enthusiasts.
The Shure SE215-CL-BT1 wireless earbuds are first on our list. If you’re familiar with Shure headphones, you know they have a reputation for quality and clear, lifelike sound reproduction. Here are the main features of these earbuds:
- 30′ Bluetooth connection range
- 8 Hours of use per charge
- Included microphone and remote control
- Sound isolating sleeves rated to block up to 37 dB of ambient noise
- Bluetooth 4.0 for compatibility with the latest devices
The first thing that you’ll notice when using these earbuds is the quality of the sound. Once you’ve correctly fit the earbuds into your ears (make sure that you squeeze the foam tips and let them expand in your ear) you’ll experience a sound quality that rivals much more expensive headsets. While Bluetooth earbuds are never quite as good as a wired connection, the difference is minimal for most applications.
The noise cancellation is effective and the sound is blended with clarity in mind. The bass response is tight and crisp, but not overwhelming. The midrange is prominent, so the vocal ranges are kept clear and bright. The high end doesn’t always cut through as forcefully as it should, but it’s doubtful that anyone other than the pickiest audiophile notice the difference.
The Bluetooth connection is stable and easy to set up, and the device supports up to two pairings so you can seamlessly move between devices as you travel. The built-in microphone performs well and allows for clear phone conversations and accurate voice controls. They’re priced relatively well and provide quality performance on all fronts.
V-Moda’s Forza Metallo Wireless earbuds are a stylish option for the active user. They’re a bit pricey but ultimately worth it. This is especially true if you’re a runner or like to work out while listening to music. They include:
- 33′ Bluetooth Connection Range
- 10 Hours of use per charge
- 15 Minute “quick charge” mode for up to 2 hours of battery life
- Noise-cancelling microphone array
- Detachable sport fins for a more secure fit
- Water resistant design
These earbuds feature great sound quality with a crisp, well-rounded tone at all ranges that works well for a variety of music types. They’re balanced in a way that makes them sound expansive and produce a more natural feel that can almost make you forget you’re using earbuds. The battery life is Bluetooth performance are excellent. Like the Shure model above, these can be paired with up to two devices for easy mobile and home use.
These headphones really shine for active users. The included detachable sport fins provide a snug fit, even while running. They’re comfortable, sharply designed, and can be fitted with customizable 3D printed caps for the style conscious. The only downside is that the connecting wire is a bit long, and can potentially pull the earbuds free depending on how you wear them.
Following a history of audio excellence stretching back to 1945, Sennheiser’s made a powerful entry into the Bluetooth earbud market, confidently bringing their years of audio expertise into the arena against steep competition. The Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless system includes:
- Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity
- Fast charging – 1.5-hour charge for 10-hour battery life
- Leather-wrapped ergonomic around-the-neck design
There’s plenty to like about the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless earbuds. True to Sennheiser style, they offer extraordinary sound clarity with a well-balanced, pleasing sound blend. Neither the highs nor lows will blow you away, but they’ll produce an accurate and faithful reproduction of your music. Unfortunately, these earbuds lack sound cancellation technology, but that’s to be expected with Sennheiser’s history of open headphones and preference for natural environmental sound integration.
Design wise, these earbuds aren’t for everyone. The leather-wrapped neckband that houses the electronics looks sharp. Red stitching provides a nice highlight on an otherwise black design. The design isn’t great for runners, however, as the weight of the neckband can be a bit heavy and could get uncomfortable while in motion. The Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and multi-device pairing works well and has a decent range, but the earbuds themselves aren’t quite as snug as some users might like. They’re somewhat expensive, but worth it if you value style.
The BeatsX wireless in-ear headphones come with a particular pedigree – that of an Apple product. They share the custom Apple W1 chip, which is also featured in the recently released AirPods, and are the first Beats model to be designed with the help of Apple’s design team. They feature:
- 8 Hour battery life
- Fast Fuel – a quick charge system that gives you 2 hours of play time from a 5-minute charge
- Removeable secure-fit wingtips
- Seamless setup with Apple devices
BeatsX represents Apple’s neck-banded counterpart to their flagship AirPods. They’re a versatile set of earbuds that seek to find the middle ground as far as sound quality is concerned. They’re solid in all ranges, but not amazing. Unlike previous Beats headphones, they’re not flashy at the expense of sound quality. They provide excellent clarity with a deep, rich tone that’s pleasing and well-rounded.
The included tips and removable secure-fit wingtips make the BeatsX earbuds secure and well suited for running or exercise. While not officially classified as noise-canceling, the tight fit creates noise isolation that blocks out most ambient sound. The biggest selling point here is for owners of Apple products. The W1 chip makes connections to other Apple devices seamless and easy. The pairing process for non-Apple devices works well also and won’t be an obstacle for the average user.
Compared to the previous choices we’ve covered, the Erato Apollo 7 earbuds stand in a class of their own. As fully wireless earbuds, they’re smaller and more lightweight than most other options. They prove “good things come in small packages” with features like:
- Ultra lightweight design: just 4 grams
- Built-in omnidirectional microphone
- Included charging case for charging on the go
- Single touch multifunction control button
These truly wireless earbuds are more expensive than other options, but deliver an impressive set of features. The most important feature, however, is their sound. Despite weighing only 4 ounces, they deliver surprisingly rich sound but are far from perfect. The highs tend to be a bit over-expressed, and the midrange tones are more prominent than they should be.
They’re best used at 75% volume to avoid distortion, but that’s understandable given their small size. They also only offer passive noise canceling, but it’s adequate for most environments.
Each earbud has Bluetooth technology built in, and they pair in a unique way. First, you pair one of the earbuds to your device (your choice, either will do), and then the other earbud links to the connected one. You can use only one earbud as a phone headset if you like. Battery life is only 3 hours, but the included charging case will give you two full charges on the go. They’re also water resistant and include detachable wings to secure them in your ear, making them a decent option for a workout.
We’ve reviewed and rounded up the best Bluetooth earbuds for running, working out or exercise which highlight features like sweat resistance, comfort and secure fit. The earbuds on this list either hook over your ears or fit securely into your ears with wing tips. They also sound good, but may not beat out the competition for best sounding earbuds.