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The best wireless earbuds and wireless headphones of 2021

The best wireless earbuds include everyday use, fitness-forward and budget-friendly options from Apple, Samsung, Jaybird and more.
Shop the best wireless earbuds and wireless headphones of 2021, including true wireless earbuds and Bluetooth earbuds from Samsung, Apple and more.
“True wireless” refers to Bluetooth-enabled earbuds that have zero wires whatsoever. While some Bluetooth in-ear headphones still have a wire connecting the two earbuds to each other, true wireless 'buds are literally two standalone earbuds.Courtesy Samsung

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If you’re not used to working from home, you may realize it can come with some unexpected distractions. Due to stay-at-home orders and new work-from-home policies, there are increasingly more people navigating what may be uncharted waters. Instead of tackling your to-do list amid noisy interruptions, you can use a pair of headphones to improve your focus. We found some of the most popular true wireless earbuds on the market that may improve your your day at home. Whether you need to hone in on a work project or get in a quick workout, these headphones are worth considering.

What are 'true wireless' earbuds?

“True wireless” refers to Bluetooth-enabled earbuds that have zero wires whatsoever. While some Bluetooth in-ear headphones still have a wire connecting the two earbuds to each other, true wireless 'buds are literally two standalone earbuds. That means you have zero chance of ending up with tangles in your pocket. It also means you can move your head any which way while wearing them without the concern of pulling or tugging on the wire connecting them. They are, in other words, truly wireless.

They also virtually always come housed in a small case that, on top of storing them for you when you're not using them, doubles as a charging pack. This case, then, charges them for you as soon as you take them off and pop them into it. There are many benefits to this approach, not least of which is allowing you to use your earbuds for most of the day — and even draining their batteries — without needing an outlet to charge them.

Best wireless earbuds overall: Jabra

1. Jabra Elite 75t

If you want a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound great and work well without totally breaking the bank, the Jabra Elite 75t is widely regarded as one of the best all-around sets you can buy. They’re small, light, and have a bevy of touch controls so you can skip tracks, answer calls, and activate your phone’s voice assistant without reaching for your phone. They come with a “transparency mode” designed to allow in ambient sound, letting you hear oncoming traffic (or your spouse or partner calling you from the next room). The 75t has a water resistance rating of IP55, which means they can handle rain and some sweating, but their warranty doesn’t cover damage from perspiration, so they aren’t ideal for hard workouts. They also have some active noise-cancelling features, though if that's important to you, you may be better off with the Elite 85t instead — or one of the high-end earbud picks

Best high-end earbuds for iPhone users: AirPods Pro

2. Apple AirPods Pro

Unlike their over-ear counterparts, earbuds are designed for easy, on-the-go listening, which means convenience features are just as important as sound quality. And a pair that integrates well with your phone can make a huge difference in this regard, which is why Apple's own AirPods have become so popular with iPhone users. The AirPods Pro come with Apple's H1 chip inside, which means quick, reliable pairing that improves on traditional Bluetooth's clunky experience. Combined with active noise cancelling, easy-to-use touch controls and "spatial audio" designed for watching movies and playing games, it's hard to go too wrong. They even have an adaptive EQ that tunes music to the shape of your ear.

Best high-end earbuds for Android users: Galaxy Buds Pro

3. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

The Galaxy Buds Pro aren't just Samsung's answer to AirPods — they're one of the best sounding, most feature-filled earbuds I've ever used. Thanks to tuning by Samsung-owned AKG, the Galaxy Buds Pro sound almost perfectly balanced, with just enough bass thump to get you grooving without overpowering the rest of the audio, or feeling too flat. On top of that, the Galaxy Buds Pro contain a host of extra perks — its noise cancelling is adjustable, so you can turn it down if the feature tends to give you headaches, and a "voice detect" feature will automatically switch the earbud into transparency mode when you start talking to someone nearby. You do, however, need an Android phone to make use of these features through the Galaxy Wearable app, and the "spatial audio" feature meant for movies and gaming will only work on the latest Galaxy S21 — even if you have a non-Samsung Android phone, these are the high-end earbuds I'd buy.

Best fitness wireless earbuds: Jaybird

4. Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Sport Earbuds

When you’re headed out for a run and need some tunes — or podcasts or any streamable content — to go with you, you want something like the Jaybird Vistas. They come with IPX7 water resistance, meaning they’re water-tight even when immersed in up to one meter for as long as 30 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend dunking them in the water, but if you tend to sweat a lot while exercising, these’ll hold up well. And if they don't, Jaybird's warranty covers damage from perspiration. Couple that with a small hook on each 'bud that keeps it in your ear while moving around, and you’ve got a workout buddy that won’t quit on you. Just be sure to stay aware of your surroundings, since they will block noise like nearby traffic — if you're jogging outside, I'd probably recommend something like the Aftershokz OpenMove instead.

Best affordable wireless earbuds: Aukey and Anker

Most of the earbuds on this list are well over $100 — and substantial investments for those looking to make them — because wireless buds have a lot more tech packed inside compared to their wired counterparts. But if you’re on a budget and really want to ditch the cables, you have options.

5. Aukey EP-N5

I've tested dozens of budget-oriented earbuds over the years, and Aukey surprises me every time with their comfortable shape, balanced sound quality, and easy-to-use controls. The EP-N5 is their noise-cancelling option, and it's the model I'd recommend even if you aren't interested in the feature, thanks to their sound quality. If you want to spend less, the EP-T21S skip the noise cancelling and lower the sound quality a bit for earbuds anyone can afford.

6. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

For something more workout-focused, Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Neo come in at less than $50 and sport a lightweight build with comfortable, secure ear wings and IPX7-rated water resistance (so sweating while wearing them is okay). They won’t sound quite as good as the premium options above but they’ll certainly do the job.

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Megan Foster contributed.