Best wireless earbuds and headphones in 2020 to shop for

The best wireless earbuds include everyday use, fitness-forward and budget-friendly options from Apple, Sony, Jaybird and more.
Portrait of mature businessman listening to music with bluetooth earbuds
“True wireless” refers to Bluetooth-enabled earbuds that have zero wires whatsoever. While some Bluetooth headphones — or in-ear buds or earbuds or 'buds — still have a wire connecting the two earbuds to each other, true wireless 'buds are literally two standalone earbuds.Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61
By Whitson Gordon

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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.

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In this article

  1. Best all-around wireless earbuds
  2. Best fitness wireless earbuds
  3. Best noise-cancelling earbuds
  4. Best wireless earbuds for Apple users
  5. Best affordable wireless earbuds

What are 'true wireless' earbuds?

“True wireless” refers to Bluetooth-enabled earbuds that have zero wires whatsoever. While some Bluetooth headphones — or in-ear buds or earbuds or 'buds — 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 all-around: Jabra

1. Jabra Elite 75t

If you want a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound great and work well, 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.

Best fitness wireless earbuds: Jaybird

2. 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 running, and you’ve got a workout buddy that won’t quit on you.

Best noise-cancelling earbuds: Sony

3. Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

While many earbuds merely isolate and block out noise using a "seal" in your ear canal, active noise canceling (or ANC) operates differently. It relies on microphones that record the noise around you and then play back a negative waveform of that sound into your ears — making it sound like you’re in a quiet room with your music. It’s effective in many ways, like drowning out the loud hum of an airplane (especially constructive while you're inside of it). And Sony has some of the most powerful noise canceling on the market in its WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds. If you’re looking to truly block out the world, this is the right pair for you.

Best wireless earbuds for Apple users: AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Powerbeats Pro

4. Apple AirPods

Apple didn’t just bring true wireless technology into the mainstream — they made their own AirPods very easy to use. Bluetooth has always had some quirks, for example, and Apple’s H1 chip smoothed out the pairing process and stabilized its connection. You can even activate Siri with your voice (as long as you’re pairing your earbuds to an iPhone, iPad, or Mac).

5. AirPods Pro

If you have a bit more to spend, the AirPods Pro come equipped with active noise canceling technology and a version of Sony's transparency mode.

6. Powerbeats Pro

Another step up, the Beats Powerbeats Pro emphasize better touch controls and an around-the-ear hook for a more secure fit.

Best affordable wireless earbuds: Anker and TaoTronics

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.

7. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Neo come in at less than $50 and sport a lightweight build that is IPX7-rated water resistant (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.

8. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53

TaoTronics’ SoundLiberty 53 are similarly-priced alternatives that add touch controls with a more AirPods-esque “stick” shape.

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Megan Foster contributed.