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Best Earbuds Right Now

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When looking for the best earbuds, various key factors must be considered. First, consider the sound quality. Look for earbuds with balanced audio, clear highs, and punchy bass if you enjoy a fuller sound. Comfort is also crucial, especially if you plan to wear them for longer periods. Look for earbuds with various ear tip sizes or customizable fit options.

Additionally, pay attention to the battery life and charging case if you prefer wireless earbuds. A long-lasting battery ensures uninterrupted listening, while a fast-charging case adds convenience. For those interested in fitness, consider earbuds with an IPX rating for sweat and water resistance. Lastly, look for additional features like active noise cancellation (ANC) for a more immersive experience or transparency mode to stay aware of your surroundings. This list will help narrow down your options based on your priorities and preferences, making sure you find the best earbuds to suit your needs.

Best Earbuds 2024:

Sony WF-1000XM5

The Sony WF-1000XM5 stands out as one of the top noise-canceling earbuds available today, though they come with a hefty price tag of $299.99, making them less ideal for budget-conscious buyers. However, if you prioritize features like active noise cancellation, excellent sound quality, and robust software support, the WF-1000XM5 justifies its premium cost and ranks among the best wireless earbuds you can invest in.

For those who already own the Sony WF-1000XM4, the decision to upgrade may not be straightforward. While the WF-1000XM5 does offer some improvements in sound quality and noise cancellation, these enhancements might not be significant enough to warrant the $300 expense. However, if you’ve struggled with the fit of the WF-1000XM4 and find the improved comfort of the WF-1000XM5 appealing, the upgrade could be worth considering.

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent ANC and Isolation
  • Comfortable
  • SBC, AAC, and LDAC support
  • Great app support
  • Great battery life

Reasons to not buy:

  • Price
  • Default sound too bassy

Bose QuietComfort Ultra

While it’s difficult to wholeheartedly endorse a nearly $300 product with a limited lifespan, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds make a compelling case for their price. Bose has addressed many of the major issues with previous models, making the Bose QC Ultra Earbuds a worthy investment. Despite the temptation to opt for the discounted Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, the improvements in the newer model are significant enough to justify the higher cost.

For iPhone users, I still recommend the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) over the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. However, if you’re an Android user with a newer device, these earbuds are among the top choices in this price range. Features like Snapdragon Sound and Bluetooth 5.3 may not seem groundbreaking now, but they pave the way for future enhancements that could enhance your experience. While the default sound profile may not be perfect, it can be adjusted using the included app or third-party alternatives.

Reasons to buy:

  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • ANC
  • Battery life

Reasons to not buy:

  • App
  • Price
  • Too bassy

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

For iPhone users in need of new earbuds, the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) are a solid choice. They offer better performance than the first generation, with both versions originally priced at $249. Those starting fresh will find the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) to be a worthwhile investment, especially with the improved active noise cancellation (ANC) making them a delight to use, even during air travel. However, if you already own the first-gen AirPods Pro, upgrading may not be necessary.

While Apple’s U1 and H2 chips bring new features and enhancements, the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) don’t make the first generation obsolete, despite Apple discontinuing the first-gen model. For those looking to save money and still enjoy most of the features discussed in our review, we recommend sticking with the original AirPods Pro.

Reasons to buy:

  • Active noise canceling and Adaptive
  • Transparency modes
  • Great auto-wear detection
  • Water-resistant buds and case
  • Good fit with four ear tip options (XS-L)

Reasons to not buy:

  • Many Apple-exclusive features
  • No way to customize the EQ without third-party app

EarFun Free Pro 3 (Budget Pick)

These earbuds are quite impressive for around $80. It’s easy to see why they are popular online—they offer reliable performance at a surprisingly low price. While they do have some quirks, their solid app and decent hardware make them a good purchase.

I wouldn’t recommend these to frequent international travelers due to their limitations, but for the majority of people looking for a budget-friendly set of earbuds, the EarFun Free Pro 3 shouldn’t be overlooked. Sometimes, you just need the best and cheapest tool for the job, and these earbuds might fit the bill. While there are better earbuds available, few are as affordable as these.

Reasons to buy:

  • Sound quality
  • Price
  • Ear tip options
  • Small case
  • App

Reasons to not buy:

  • Transparency mode
  • Weak ANC
  • Battery life

Beats Fit Pro

The Beats Fit Pro represents another positive step for Beats and Apple, offering a comfortable fit and a pleasing bass-boosted sound. If you can avoid the ANC issues that some users have reported, you’ll find these earbuds work seamlessly on both Android and iOS (excluding spatial audio). The impressive automatic play/pause feature and fast charging are particularly useful for active individuals. Those seeking a stylish, compact pair of earbuds will likely be satisfied with the Beats Fit Pro.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. At $199, these earphones are pricier than some instances of the AirPods Pro and certainly more expensive than competing workout earbuds. The reported noise canceling issue, while not universal, is a significant concern. Despite these shortcomings, the Beats Fit Pro caters to those who switch between iOS and Android devices, representing another avenue for Beats to expand its target audience.

Reasons to buy:

  • Android and iOS compatibility
  • In-app ear tip fit test
  • IPX4 rating

Reasons to not buy:

  • Price
  • Fairly large case
  • Known ANC and update issues

Jabra Elite 8 Active

The Jabra Elite 8 Active is a great choice for both workouts and daily use. These earbuds offer good sound quality, a secure fit, and a durable design with an IP68 rating for the buds and an IP54 rating for the case. However, if you prefer touch controls over physical buttons, these might not be the best option for you.

In terms of features, the Elite 8 Active includes Dolby Atmos support, in-ear detection, and sidetone for clearer calls. The noise cancellation is effective, although it may struggle with high-pitched background noises. Battery life is impressive, and the lightweight, pocketable case is convenient.

The main downside is the price, which might seem a bit high compared to other options. Nevertheless, if you need earbuds for exercising and prefer a design that doesn’t require over-ear hooks or stabilizers, the Jabra Elite 8 Active is a solid choice that can also blend well in office settings.

Reasons to buy:

  • ShakeGrip coating keeps the buds in place
  • IP68 (earbuds) IP54 (case)
  • Battery life
  • Frequency response
  • Useful equalizer

Reasons to not buy:

  • Three ear tips is not enough for workout earbuds
  • Buttons can be heard and felt when actuated

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

When it comes to budget-friendly earbuds, there are often some reservations, but the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC are simply good, value-priced earbuds that satisfy most needs. They offer nearly 10 hours of battery life with ANC on and feature responsive touch controls.

While they may not be the ideal choice for intense workouts, their IPX4 rating means they can handle some sweat, similar to Apple’s AirPods Pro. The Soundcore app is comprehensive, allowing you to check your fit, adjust ANC with more granularity than some flagship models, and remap commands. Additionally, you have a wide range of EQ presets to choose from or can use the eight-band equalizer for a customized sound experience.

While some of Anker’s previous efforts were let down by their cases, the Liberty 4 NC comes with a nice case. The only drawback to these earbuds is their average comfort rating—they’re not unpleasant, but they may not be the most comfortable for extended wear. Overall, they’re a solid choice for anyone looking for affordable earbuds that deliver good performance and features.

Reasons to buy:

  • Price
  • ANC
  • Battery life
  • LDAC, AAC, SBC codecs
  • IPX4
  • Fast pair
  • Wireless charging

Reasons to not buy:

  • Chunky case
  • Many EQ presets are too bassy

Razer Hammerhead HyperSpeed

The Razer Hammerhead Hyperspeed true wireless gaming earbuds offer exceptional value, delivering a surprisingly wide soundstage and impressive audio quality. However, it’s the array of features that truly sets them apart. With active noise cancellation (ANC), dual-connectivity, and a robust battery life, these earbuds are a compelling choice for those seeking a versatile and immersive audio experience.

Priced at $149.99 / £149.99, the Razer Hammerhead Hyperspeed earbuds utilize a 2.4GHz connection and Bluetooth 5.2. They feature 10mm drivers for crisp sound across a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz. The earbuds also come with omnidirectional microphones and additional ear tips in sizes S, M, and L. With touch controls and impressive battery life (6.5 hours with RGB and ANC off, 4 hours with them on, plus additional hours in the case), these earbuds are compatible with PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices, offering a compelling blend of performance and convenience.

Reasons to buy:

  1. Premium aesthetic and feel
  2. Low latency Hyperspeed connection
  3. Dual Bluetooth and 2.4GHz
  4. Wide soundstage with excellent balance
  5. Particularly strong dialogue performance

Reasons to not buy:

  1. Tap gestures are too unreliable
  2. Additional setup steps on PC

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