Wireless earbuds have been increasingly popular due to their portability, convenience and handy extra features. Oddly enough, most “wireless earbuds” you see today are not fully cordless. This is because in order to create stereo sound through 2 separate earbuds, there is usually a short cable, neckband or headband for a wired connection so the sound simultaneously emits to both sides.
If you discard these wires you have completely wireless earbuds. The market was taken by storm with models like The Dash and now fully wireless earbuds are everywhere. These are not only perfect for listening to your favorite music, but also have a ton of smart features.
If you are intrigued by truly wireless earbuds, here are the top 5 pairs you can order right now from brands including Earin, Bragi, Samsung, Sony and Jabra. We’ve made a comparison chart for you that takes into consideration features, design, sound quality, fitting, and noise isolation/sound leakage.
- Best Totally Wireless Earbuds
- The Others
- True Wireless EarBuds Buyer’s Guide
Best Totally Wireless Earbuds
True wireless earbuds don’t have a long battery life – currently the longest battery life is more or less 5 hours.
- Best Totally Wireless Earbuds
- The Others
- True Wireless EarBuds Buyer’s Guide
Best Totally Wireless Earbuds
|True wireless earbuds don’t have a long battery life – currently the longest battery life is more or less 5 hours.|
Here’s our comparison table, you may want to look at the Buyer’s Guide later in this post.
|Name/Picture||Size/Weight||Battery Life||Accessories||Additional Features|
|The Headphone||4.5/5||6 hours||Foam eartips||Mic, transparency feature|
|Apple Airpods||4.5/5||5 hours||Included quick charge case||Automatically connect Apple devices|
|Sony WF-1000X||4/5||3 hours||Eartips, earhooks||Water-reistant, active noise cancelling|
|Samsung’s Gear IconX (2018)||4/5||5 hours||Eartips, silicon jackets||Fitness tracking, 4GB internal memory, touch control|
|Jabra Elite Sport|
|3.8/5||4.5 hours||Eartips, silicon jackets||Fitness tracking, water resistant (IP 67), transparency feature|
Sony WF-1000X | Release date: 2017 | Style: Earbuds with wing tips | Weight: 6.8 grams | Play Time: 3 hours | Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: Yes | Fitness tracking: No | Sound signature: Natural sounding |[/su_spoiler]
Apple Airpods | Release date: 2017 | Style: Unsealed | Weight: 4 grams (each) | Play Time: 5 hours | Bluetooth version: 4.1, W1 chip | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: No | Touch control: Yes | Sound signature: Natural sounding |[/su_spoiler]
Apple finally released their first Bluetooth earbuds, the Airpods. They are outfitted with the new Apple W1 chip that provides excellent Bluetooth audio and connection. The Bluetooth connection is reliable and strong, with a working range of up to 50 feet. The built-in infrared and accelerometer sensors will detect when the headset is worn and touched so you can control playback.
|The charging case provides 5 full charges for Airpods|
People buy Airpods because of their advanced features rather than the true sound quality. Unfortunately, the sound from the Airpods isn’t much better than wired lightning EarPods, and they aren’t integrated with fitness tracking features.
Samsung Gear IconX 2018| Release date: 2017 | Style: Earhooks, eartips | Weight: 8 grams (each) | Play Time: 5 hours | Internal storage: 4GB |Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: Yes | Touch control: Yes | Sound signature: N/A |
Samsung Gear IconX 2018 highlights
- Smaller charging case
- Longer lasting battery life
- Fit discreetly in the ear
|Samsung Gear IconX can play music without being connected to a device and it can track your fitness|
The battery of the Gear IConX was upgraded, so the buds can play for roughtly 5 hours when paired and streaming music from your phone, or more than 7 hours if they played as an Mp3 player using the 4 GB internal storage. When not in use you cans store them in the portable charger which provides one full charge.
Like the first generation, the 2 earbuds are independent, meaning your phone will connect to each earbud separately. The stereo audio they deliver is quite impressive with crisp bass and clear, detailed vocals. If you choose to play music from the internal storage, you must store the music on both earbuds so you don’t get mono sound from one side.
The Gear IconX focuses on fitness, so they are very comfortable and lightweight. They are also easy to fit and lock in place with high noise isolation capacity. Note that the Gear IconX has a transparency feature. Once you turn this mode on you can hear ambient sounds and vent the bass if you feel like there is too much bass present.
To track fitness metrics like heart rate, distance traveled, steps taken, and calories burned, Samsung built sensors in the Gear IconX. The data collected is synced directly to Samsung’s app. Unfortunately, these features are only available for Android users.
Navigation tracking and volume adjustment are done by tapping on the right earbud.
Jabra Elite Sport Wireless
Jabra Elite Sport Wireless | Release date: 2017 | Style: Earhooks, eartips | Weight: 7.3 grams L, 7.8 grams R | Play Time: 5 hours | Internal storage: No |Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: Yes | Touch control: No | Sound signature: N/A |[/su_spoiler] Along with the Samsung Gear IconX and the Motorola Verve One, Jabra has joined the totally wireless earbud competition with Elite Sport. These earbuds are compact with a sport-focused, rugged design. They feature water resistance (IP67), silicon jackets with wingtips for a secure fit.
The Elite Sport earbuds have sensors to track fitness metrics like VO2 Max and heart rate. The data collected is sent directly to the Jabra Life App. The app also features an equalizer so you can customize the sound. The real-time coaching feature from the app also gives suggestions based on the fitness data which tells you how to optimize your workouts.
The earbuds can be used as a headset with great call quality. There are two microphones on each earbud: one for capturing your voice and the other for filtering surrounding sounds.
Recently Jabra upgraded the battery of Elite Sport so it will last 4.5 hours compared to 3 hours in the previous model.
Bragi The Headphone | Release date: 2017 | Style: Eartips | Weight: 9 grams each | Play Time: 5 hours | Internal storage: No |Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: No | Touch control: No | Sound signature: N/A | [/su_spoiler] Bragi was among the first startup to release truly wireless earbuds. Their first generation of headphones, called The Dash, were built with a lot of smart features such a heart rate monitor and transparency, but these features didn’t work as well as they had hoped. Bragi’s recent release, The Headphone, fixed these issues but they focus on a music listening experience rather smart earbuds. Unfortunately, their sound didn’t beat out the competition. Overall the sound is decent with rich bass and passable but pleasant treble.
You can take calls, navigate tracks and control playback with buttons on the right earbud. The call quality is good but still presents hiccups sometimes.
Cheap Truly Wireless Earbuds, Are They Worth It?
Most cheap truly wireless earbuds are outsourced from factories in China. Their prices often range from $20 to $40.
By searching Google images it is easy to find a pair that is listed on Amazon which is also sold on Aliexpress or Alibaba. We ordered some of these to test and found that they sound average with enough bass thumping. They are a good choice for those who just need a cable-free running experience. Because these knock-offs are built with huge, cheap lithium ion batteries they are usually much larger and more uncomfortable than their high-end competitors.
Models like SmartOmi True Wireless or Soundmoov 316T Mini Wireless Earbuds can easily be found online. These and other Chinese companies have developed their own products with unique designs, features and performance. Sellers on Amazon can be confident about the quality of products they outsource so consumers don’t have to pay a significant sum of money for a pair of wireless earbuds.
Based on our research, there are at least 17 different companies that make totally wireless earbuds (two startups, Kanoa and Doppler Labs, have shut down), including big names like Apple (Airpods), Samsung and Motorola. Meanwhile, here are some other pairs you might be interested in.
Crazybaby Air Nano
Crazybaby Air Nano | Release date: 2017 | Style: eartips | Weight: 0.14 ounces (4grams) | Play Time: 3 hours | Internal storage: No |Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: No | Touch control: No | Sound signature: N/A |[/su_spoiler]
Crazybaby Air Nano are the smallest truly wireless earbuds you can find. They are fairly comfortable and have good noise isolation that is fine for listening in noisy environments.
These earbuds are pretty small and if you drop them chances are you will lose them. Compared to other competitors, Crazybaby Air Nano don’t sound all that impressive because of their tiny sound and weak bass.
When not in use, they are stored in a small tube that looks like a pill case and works as a charger which can provide 4 full charges. Due to their small size, Air Nano only have 3 hours of battery.
A single button allows you take calls and trigger voice assistants such as Siri or Google assistant.
JayBird RUN True | Release date: 2017 | Style: Wingtips, Eartips | Weight: 0.22 ounces (6.2 gram) each | Play Time: 4 hours | Internal storage: No |Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Active Noise cancellation: No | Fitness tracking: No | Touch control: No | Sound signature: N/A | Sound customization by App: Yes |[/su_spoiler]
Designed for sports, these sweat-proof earbuds provide a tight seal and fit securely in most ears with the support of sports fins and eartips. They might not be as comfortable as the Bose SoundSport or Apple Airpods, but they are still a great pair of headphones.
It is quite easy to connect Run Free with any phone whether they run on Android or iOS. However, if you frequently commute in places where there is a lot of wireless communication such as a subway or busy street, the Bluetooth connection might have interference. As a result the left or right earbud can drop in-and-out, causing an annoying lag in your listening experience.
A tight seal keeps bass from venting, so these earbuds sound better than un-sealed earbuds like Apple Airpods. You can also adjust the sound levels using the app, giving you the freedom to fine tune the bass, treble or mid-range depending on the kind of music you are listing to.
The Beoplay E8 stand out from the crowd for their sound, but the battery leaves something to be desired as it only lasts a sub-par 4 hours between charges. The sound isolation is so good that if you want to hear your surroundings you must switch on the transparency function to allow some external noise in.
The Jabra Elite 65t offer refined sound and excellent call quality, and they are cheaper than other Jabra earbuds in the same category. Unfortunately, they do not have a heart rate monitor function.
With a single button you can control AI voice assistants, call functions and playback options. The Jabra Elite feature a transparency feature that allows users to let ambient sound in when they need to. Users can also fine-tune sound levels using the Jabra app.
This is another product that features a charging case, omnidirectional mic, and superior sound. The earbuds are only 4 grams, fit snugly in the ear and are almost invisible to others.
If you have heard of some of the best wired earbuds under $100, Erato Apollo 7 are very close in terms of sound quality, but they are truly wireless. They offer solid bass, clear treble and an overall balanced sound profile.
They fit comfortably for most ear shapes and with a one button control it is simple to navigate tracks and adjust the volume. They also have a solid Bluetooth connection up to 10 meters.
While Apollo 7 earbuds have a great build quality, they are very expensive compared to other sets such as Airpods or The Dash Headphones, and their calling functions aren’t as good as others.
Earin offers a truly engaging, wireless listening experience, but it comes at a premium price. The Earin has a simplistic design with two ultracompact earbuds which are well built and light weight. The Earin earbuds fit comfortably and snugly in the ears, and use Comply foam tips which provide a high level of noise isolation. The included wing tip stabilizers provide an extra level of security for your workout.
Setting up Earin is surprisingly easy. As soon as they are fully charged and out of the carrying case, they enter pairing mode and you can instantly pair them with your phone’s Bluetooth settings.
To keep these earbuds as small as possible, Earin chose to equip them with a tiny battery which has a battery life of about 3 hours. When not in use, the earbuds are stored in a carrying case which also work as a charger that can provide 3 full charges.
In terms of sound quality these earbuds are powered by balanced armature drivers, so they sound accurate over all ranges and tune the tight, clean sound with an enjoyable transient response and satisfying amount of bass. The Earin earbuds are not some kind of gimmick. They are a genuine breakthrough in wireless technology, and a great-sounding one at that.
- Smallest and lightest on the market
- Rich, full sound
- Easy to use
- Impressive sound quality for a truly wireless in-ear headphones
- Low battery life
- No playback controls or mic for calls
- Balance shifts sometimes from left to right
Bragi is one of the most ambitious brands on the wireless earbud market, and their new model The Dash does not disappoint. It is an independent 4GB media player, fitness tracker with a step counter and heart rate monitor, and all around great earbuds with decent sound quality. While these are clearly designed with active people in mind, features like audio transparency and swipe/touch controls are quite refreshing and appealing to anyone looking for high-end earbuds.
The Dash earbuds sit comfortably and snugly in your ears. Even while running there is no risk of these earbuds falling out. An interesting feature is that if you want to change a song, you simply tap twice on the right earbud. Tapping the left earbud provides you with fitness tracking metrics. There are several silicon skins included to accommodate a broad range of ear sizes.
The Dash also comes with a transparency feature that comes in handy for runners. Normally, when you are using your earphones, the last thing you want is to hear external sounds. However, it is important to be aware of your surroundings when running outdoors. This transparency feature allows you to choose the level of external sound you want to hear so you can stay safe while running.
The only weak link of the The Dash is that the fitness tracking feature only tracks running. The only measurements you get are heart rate, steps and duration of workout. Nevertheless, these earbuds are fully waterproof so they support swimming and the app will soon have cycling features.
Lastly, the Dash can work as a Bluetooth headset, but doesn’t offer great call quality.
- Stellar noise isolation
- Touch controls
- Fitness tracking
- Integrated 4GB MP3 player which holds up to 1000 songs
- Great build quality
- Fitness tracking needs more functions
- Bluetooth connection has problems outdoors
- Sound lacks clarity
Bragi announced the second generation of The Dash called The Headphone. Check out this post to find out how The Dash compares to The Headphone.
Audio makers have been struggling to figure out how to make Bluetooth headphones sound as good as wired headphones. One recent innovation was better connectivity using Aptx. The Hearnotes utilize Kleer technology, which is said to extend battery life and deliver outstanding sound without losing clarity because of a digital connection. The range of Bluetooth is also better than other wireless earbuds that are in the same price range.
Hearnotes are an innovative audio project aimed at developing earphones that are truly wireless. These ground-breaking earbuds hook securely over your ears with no wires between the two earphones. The Baton transmitter is then plugged into your device of choice to transmit sound directly to the earbuds. Included with purchase is a wireless portable case that will recharge your earphones on the go.
- Premium sound through KLEER Technology
- Longer range of Bluetooth connectivity
- Sleek look
The latest wireless earbuds from Earin were introduced at CES 2017. The Swedish company claimed the M-2 are lighter and smaller than any other truly wireless earbuds available. The M-2 has a built-in mic for calls and touch sensors for playback control and call functions.
The first model from Earin encountered some problems related to connectivity. To solve this, Earin has utilized a dual antenna and near-field magnetic induction (NFMI) for a solid connection to any Bluetooth devices.
FreeWavz incorporate a lot of useful features including active noise cancellation, tracking your performance and voice guidance. For sound, you can change the frequency response to match your taste of sound.
Forget about buying a fitness tracking device or a smartwatch to track your stats as you work out. Instead, the FreeWavz wireless earbuds will keep track of your workout while you listen to some motivating music. Also, the design of the FreeWavz make them comfy to wear, and should be able to withstand tough workouts.
The fitness stats that FreeWavz can monitor include steps taken, average speed, distance covered, duration, calories burned and heart rate among others. These stats are generated in real-time and delivered to your connected device through a paired app that allows you to customize and enhance your overall fitness experience.
There is also the “Heads Up” feature that allows you to communicate with FreeWavz using voice command prompts so that you can schedule meetings, check calendars and much more. Also, these earbuds are sweat resistant and water resistant as they are entirely sealed inside a soft rubber housing.
- 4 hour battery life
- Great fitness features
- Easy to use
- Quite large and bulky compared to other models in this list
- The extra features reduce playtime significantly
True Wireless EarBuds Buyer’s Guide
It is worth noting that the sound quality of these models is not comparable to their wired companions, and their battery must be recharged often. Bluetooth earbuds are built with a lot of practical features. Here are the top five big challenges audio makers face when they design their wireless earbuds.
Short battery life: Due to their compact size wireless earbuds are not able to incorporate a larger, longer lasting battery, making them have lower battery capacity. This can be solved by getting a portable charging case which gives earbuds a full recharge once they are stored.
Easily to get lost if they fall out: If you wear these devices in public transportation, and one of your earbuds accidentally falls out in a crowd, the chance that it will be broken or lost is high. If they are not shock proof, the incident may even cause the drivers to break.
Sound quality: Wireless audio doesn’t attract too many audiophiles. The big issue with wireless earbuds is low sound quality. They sound lacks details and the frequency response is not as full as wired earbuds.
Connectivity issues: One of the major problems is that your phone has to connect to ear earbud separately, and then they must sync to each other. So they may not sustain connection stability, causing the audio to lag or the connection to drop.
Apps: You can monitor your activities, including heart rate and steps taken by companion apps synced with bio-sensors. However, the information obtained is not always accurate.
Heart Rate Monitor
Smart watches and other wearables like heart rate monitor wireless earbuds are built with heart rate sensors. Though these wearables don’t provide 100% accuracy, heart rate measurements collected in the app can tell a lot about your health. According to research conducted by Cardiogram and UCSF, the heart rate data recorded from smart watch users can predict diabetes with 85% accuracy. Apple has already released the Heart Study app, which sends notifications to users if it finds irregular heart rate patterns indicating atrial fibrillation.
Which pair of wireless earbuds will be right for you? They can replace a wrist band and earbuds, combining everything you need for your workout into single in-ear device. Here are the top 6 things truly wireless earbuds may have in the future:
- Hearing Aid: IQbuds has been making the product
- Sound customization: Included apps that allow you to adjust the equalizer
- Real-time translation: Google has already released a prototype
- Find my earbuds app: Many
- Optical sensors to monitor sugar levels in blood.
- Thermal sensors to track body temperature.
- Can play snoothing sounds making you sleep better (ANC Bose sleepbuds)
- Voice assistant: Google voice, Alexa, Siri, Cortana are everywhere. Google developed their Pixel Buds, Apple did with Apple Airpods and Microsoft will soon announce their first pair of earbuds too.
- Wireless charging: the reason why most true wireless earbuds go with a charging case because it is difficult to build micro-charging port on the earbuds, adding weight and nuisance for users. Without charging case you can’t charge earbuds. Wireless charging has been used for phones, Bluetooth mouses and it soon will be a feature for true wireless earbuds. At the end of the day, you just leave it on the charging station and they are ready to use for the next day.
- Built-in sensor can detect which location/direction user is looking or heading to.
It is possible that they will overcome the connectivity problem like Bluetooth connection cutting out and pairing complication. For the sound quality do they sound better than Bluetooth earbuds or behind the neck Bluetooth headphones? Personally, I think my wearable’s battery life should be more than 4 hours.
Check out this post to see how did we pick? Which wireless earbuds above are worth buying please leave your comment below!
For under $100 you can get some really good earbuds.
Updated on 02/08/2018
Which features do you need the most please answer the survey below:
Click here to view the result: Touch control is the most important feature for true wireles earbuds, which accounts for more than 80% rating score from 7, while HRM feature is the least important 43.5% people rated this feature with rating score 1.