The best truly wireless earbud
There are many wireless earbuds on the market, but not all of them are truly wireless -- with no wires whatsoever. Truly wireless earbuds allow you maximum freedom, whether you are walking, working out, or commuting to work.
These earbuds vary in their charging functions, compatibility with virtual assistants, and sound quality. Our buying guide will break down the basics and help you find the perfect pair of truly wireless earbuds. We will also list a few of our favorites, like Apple's simple and reliable AirPods.
Considerations when choosing truly wireless earbuds
What makes earbuds "truly" wireless?
Many wireless earbuds are only wireless in that they connect to your device via Bluetooth. A wire often connects the two earbuds to each other, meaning that it's still possible for them to become tangled. Truly wireless earbuds, on the other hand, have no wires connecting anything. This makes them extremely comfortable and convenient, though they do run out of power fairly quickly.
While the core concept of truly wireless earbuds is constant -- two devices that wirelessly connect to your smartphone, laptop, or other device -- their additional features are not. Depending on your needs, the lack of certain features like digital-assistant compatibility or noise cancellation may be a dealbreaker.
There are two types of noise cancellation: active and passive. Passive noise cancellation simply relies on the materials of the earbuds to physically block out external sounds. Active noise cancellation, which is more expensive and far more effective, uses small microphones that "listen" to external sounds and send signals to the earbuds to emit sound waves that cancel out unwanted noise.
Battery life and power source
Truly wireless earbuds each have a small battery that typically provides a battery life of anywhere from two to six hours. This is not an incredibly long time, especially if you plan to use your earbuds at work. If long-listening capability is a priority for you, look for earbuds that fall on the higher end of the scale, but be prepared to pay extra for it.
Some truly wireless earbuds require a charging stand, while others can charge in their carrying case. While you will need to charge the carrying case separately, this is a convenient way to keep your earbuds going, allowing you to effectively double their battery life while you are on the go.
Almost all wireless earbuds with microphones can be used with virtual assistants, but some models may have a touch button to quickly activate your virtual assistant of choice. While this is a small detail, it can be convenient. If virtual-assistant compatibility is a low priority for you, consider a pair that doesn't have a built-in microphone.
Truly wireless earbuds prices
Basic truly wireless earbuds can be found for $100 or less and offer decent performance and few features. For $100 to $250 earbuds have higher-quality sound and may have additional features like charging cases and active noise cancellation.
Q. How can I keep from losing my truly wireless earbuds?
A. Your best bet is to keep them in their case at all times when you aren't using them. These tiny gadgets aren't cheap, but they are small and fairly fragile. As long as you are careful, you should be able to keep track of them as you would with regular earbuds. But remember you know your ability to lose things best.
Q. Are truly wireless earbuds compatible with any smartphone?
A. Usually, yes. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't check before you buy. Compatibility depends on the type of Bluetooth signal your phone uses and the signal your earbuds can receive.
Truly wireless earbuds we recommend
Best of the best: Apple AirPods
Our take: One of the most popular pairs of truly wireless earbuds offers reliable sound quality and construction.
What we like: While these earbuds are compatible with smartphones from several manufacturers, they work best with Apple products due to their excellent Siri integration.
What we dislike: Some people find these earbuds uncomfortable, and they are fairly expensive compared to the competition.
Best bang for your buck: TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds
Our take: For its price, this pair of earbuds is an excellent value and ideal for those on the go.
What we like: With a charging case capable of storing nine hours of charge, this is a great affordable choice for anyone who listens to music at work or during their commute.
What we dislike: Audio may cut out if the device is more than a few feet from the earbuds.
Choice 3: Samsung Galaxy Buds
Our take: A slightly cheaper alternative to Apple AirPods with similar sound quality.
What we like: These earbuds sport an impressive six-hour battery life, and the charging case adds another seven, making these a great option for long stretches of listening.
What we dislike: Customers have experienced some issues with the touch controls and with maintaining a connection.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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