The Best Earbuds for 2023

The best earbuds put you in the sound! Enjoy every listening moment with your pick of our top earbuds.

Earbuds are a type of portable audio device that can be worn in the ear to listen to music, make phone calls, or use for other audio purposes. There are several reasons why people opt for good earbuds over headphones any day. First of all, it is convenient. Earbuds are small and lightweight, making them easy to carry with you wherever you go. They can be easily stored in a pocket or bag, so you can always have them on hand when you need them. Secondly, earbuds are designed to be worn in the ear, which means you can use them while on the go, such as when running or traveling. They are a great option for people who are always on the move and need a convenient way to listen to music or make phone calls. Lastly, many earbuds now come with high-quality audio drivers, which can produce clear, crisp sound. This makes them a good choice for people who value good sound quality and want to enjoy their music to the fullest. Earbuds are also fully compatible with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets. This makes them a versatile and convenient audio solution for people who use multiple devices. However, picking which earbuds to buy and knowing which of them suits your exact needs is not an exact science. That is why our guide provides a selection of hand-picked earbuds with all the features you may need for whatever budget you have.

How We Picked

  • Audio Quality and Controls

    Several factors can affect the audio quality of earbuds, including the type and size of the drivers, the design of the earbuds, and the materials used in their construction. Some earbuds are designed with noise canceling technology, which can help to reduce background noise and improve the overall listening experience. In terms of controls, most earbuds come with built-in buttons or touch-sensitive controls that allow you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, answer phone calls, and perform other actions. Some earbuds also come with a built-in microphone, which allows you to make phone calls or use voice commands with virtual assistants.

  • Wired or Wireless

    Both wired and wireless earbuds have their own benefits and drawbacks, and which one is the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Wired earbuds are connected to a device, such as a smartphone or music player, using a physical cable. They offer several benefits such as the need not to worry about battery life, consistent sound quality, and lower cost. On the other hand, wireless earbuds offer several benefits, such as convenience, ease of use during sports and exercises, and additional features, such as noise-canceling technology and built-in microphones, which are not always available on wired earbuds.

  • Comfort and Fit

    Comfort and fit are important factors to consider when choosing earbuds. If the earbuds are not comfortable or do not fit well, you may not want to wear them for long periods of time, which can be frustrating. For this, we considered the shape and design of the earbuds and then looked for earbuds that come with multiple sizes of ear tips and wing tips. We also paid attention to the materials used in the earbuds. That is because some materials, such as silicone, may be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time than others.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    We considered the features that you will need and looked for earbuds that have the features that are important to you, such as noise-cancellation, water resistance, and long battery life. We also considered earbuds within several price ranges and selected the best from each price ranging from premium to basic, selecting those that offered the features that were needed and that provided what you paid for without any extra cost.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Noise-canceling and high-quality

Sony WF-1000XM4 in-ear headphones are a pair of high-quality listening and speaking devices that live up to their hype. It guarantees crystal-clear audio. It has an in-built microphone and other attractive additional features. It is also water-resistant so no worries about using it when it is raining.

Buy Now for $228.00

Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Headphones with Alexa Built-In.

Runner Up

Bose QuietComfort

With the newly incorporated state-of-the-art noise suppression technology, Bose's noise cancellation may be adjusted to your liking.

These wireless earbuds are equipped with a proprietary Volume-optimized Active EQ that ensures the sound is rich and well-balanced regardless of the volume setting. Everything that comes into contact with your ear on these earphones is made of pliable silicone, making them ideal for all-day use. These truly wireless earphones don't have any physical controls, instead relying on a capacitive touch interface. Like a touchscreen smartphone, you can tap and press the surface to navigate the interface and its contents.

Buy Now for $199.00

These sleek wireless earbuds are designed with breakthrough acoustic innovations and Bose Acoustic Noise Canceling technology.

Most cost-effective

Creative Outlier Air V3

The Creative Outlier Air V3 has the best battery life in the series, with up to 40 hours of total playtime possible and 10 hours of gameplay per charge.

The Creative Outlier Air V3, equipped with powerful 6 mm Bio-cellulose drivers and the latest Bluetooth® 5.2 technology, lets you carry high-quality audio with you wherever life takes you thanks to its IPX5 water resistance classification. The charging case is Qi-compatible and supports wireless charging, so you can simply set the device down on its own charging pad to recharge.

Buy Now for $39.99

The Creative Outlier True Wireless series--now comes with Ambient Mode and Active Noise Reduction.

Almost made the cut

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The new AirPods Pro are powered by Apple's own H2 chip, which improves upon the already impressive audio quality.

With Adaptive Transparency, you can hear your environment clearly while having loud noises like sirens or construction toned down in real-time. There are four interchangeable silicone ear tip sets provided, with a new extra-tiny option for those with the tiniest ears. Noise is blocked and AirPods Pro stay put thanks to the tips' acoustic barrier. Through the use of a proprietary algorithm, Personal Spatial Audio creates an acoustic environment tailored to your own preferences. Using dynamic head tracking, you may get a more complete experience of your favorite films and music.

Buy Now

Engrave a mix of emojis, names, initials, and numbers to make AirPods unmistakably yours. Only at Apple.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Noise-canceling and high-quality

$228.00

Buy Now

Runner Up

Bose QuietComfort

With the newly incorporated state-of-the-art noise suppression technology, Bose's noise cancellation may be adjusted to your liking.

$199.00

Buy Now

Most cst-effective

Creative Outlier Air V3

The Creative Outlier Air V3 has the best battery life in the series, with up to 40 hours of total playtime possible and 10 hours of gameplay per charge.

$39.99

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The new AirPods Pro are powered by Apple's own H2 chip, which improves upon the already impressive audio quality.

Buy Now

Who This Is For

Earbuds are often used as an alternative to traditional headphones. They are a good choice for people who want a compact, portable listening device that is easy to carry and use on the go. Some people may find earbuds more comfortable to wear than larger headphones, especially if they have smaller ears. Earbuds are also a good choice for people who are looking for a discreet listening option that is less noticeable than larger headphones. Overall, they can be a good choice for anyone who wants a convenient, portable audio device for listening to music, podcasts, or other audio content on the go. They are particularly well-suited for people who are looking for a lightweight, discreet listening option that is easy to carry and use while on the move.

When selecting earbuds, it is important to choose a size that fits comfortably in your ear. If the earbuds are too small, they may not provide a secure fit and may fall out easily, while earbuds that are too large may be uncomfortable to wear. To determine the right size earbuds for you, you can try on different sizes at a store or look for earbuds that come with multiple sizes of ear tips. Many earbuds come with small, medium, and large ear tips, so you can choose the size that fits best in your ear. You can also measure the size of your ear to get a general idea of what size earbuds you need. To measure the size of your ear, you can use a soft tape measure or a piece of string. Start by wrapping the tape measure or string around the widest part of your ear, which is typically just above the earlobe in centimeters. You can then use this measurement to determine the size of earbuds that will fit comfortably in your ear.

 

It is also worth noting that the fit of earbuds can vary from person to person, so it may take some trial and error to find the right size for you. If you are purchasing earbuds online, it may be helpful to look for a model that comes with multiple sizes of ear tips or that has a good return policy in case the size you choose does not fit properly.

Wired vs Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are earbuds that do not have any wires connecting them to a device, such as a smartphone or a laptop. They use Bluetooth technology to connect to a device and allow the user to listen to music or make phone calls wirelessly. Wireless earbuds are convenient because they do not have any cables that can get tangled or that you have to untangle before using them. Wired earbuds, on the other hand, are earbuds that are connected to a device by a wire. These earbuds are often less expensive than wireless earbuds, and they do not require a battery to function. However, they can be less convenient to use because the wire can get in the way or become tangled. Some people prefer wired earbuds because they are often less expensive and do not require a battery. Others prefer wireless earbuds because they are more convenient and allow for more freedom of movement. 

Why You Should Trust Us

The earbuds we selected were evaluated based on a number of different factors, including sound quality, comfort, durability, and features. The sound quality was evaluated based on a number of factors, including frequency response, distortion, and dynamic range. To evaluate comfort, we used specialized equipment like head and ear models, later we asked users to wear the earbuds for extended periods of time to determine how comfortable they were. We also tested them for durability to ensure that they can withstand the rigors of everyday use. This included testing for things like water resistance, drop resistance and wear and tear. Then we considered the core performance of the earbuds by evaluating the various features that they offer, such as Bluetooth connectivity, noise canceling, and voice control.

How We Picked

Audio Quality
A good pair of earbuds should be able to produce clear, detailed sound with minimal distortion. The quality of the audio can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of drivers used, the materials used in the earbuds, and the overall design of the earbuds. Some factors to consider when looking for earbuds with good audio quality include:

Driver size and type: The size and type of drivers used in earbuds can affect the overall sound quality. Larger drivers generally produce a better bass response, while smaller drivers may be more suitable for treble-heavy music. Dynamic drivers are typically used in earbuds and are known for their balanced sound and good bass response, while balanced armature drivers are often used in higher-end earbuds and are known for their detailed sound and fast response times.

Frequency response: The frequency response of earbuds refers to the range of frequencies that the earbuds can reproduce. A wide frequency response, typically 20 Hz to 20 kHz, is generally considered to be desirable for good audio quality.

Noise isolation: Earbuds that have good noise isolation properties can help to block out external noise and improve the overall listening experience. This can be achieved through the use of noise-canceling technology or through the use of earbuds that fit snugly in the ear and block out external noise.

Build quality: The overall build quality of earbuds can also affect their audio quality. Earbuds that are poorly constructed or use low-quality materials may produce a sound that is distorted or lacks clarity.

Volume Controls
Volume controls can be an important consideration when purchasing earbuds. The ability to easily adjust the volume can allow you to tailor the listening experience to your personal preferences and the environment in which you are using the earbuds. There are several ways that earbuds can include volume controls:

Physical buttons: Some earbuds have physical buttons on the earbuds themselves or on the cable that can be used to adjust the volume. These buttons can be convenient, but they may be difficult to locate and use if you are wearing the earbuds while moving around.

Touch controls: Some earbuds have touch-sensitive panels that allow you to adjust the volume by tapping or swiping. These controls can be more convenient to use than physical buttons, but they may be less reliable and may require some practice to use accurately.

Voice controls: Some earbuds have built-in voice assistants that can be activated by saying a specific command. This can allow you to adjust the volume or perform other tasks hands-free.

Remote control: Some earbuds come with a separate remote control that can be used to adjust the volume and perform other functions. This can be convenient, but it may be less convenient to carry around a separate device.

Noise-Canceling
Noise-canceling technology can be a useful feature to have in earbuds, as it can help to reduce background noise and improve the overall listening experience. There are two main types of noise-canceling technology: active noise-cancellation (ANC) and passive noise isolation. Active noise-cancellation (ANC) uses microphones to pick up ambient noise and then generates an “antinoise” signal that is the opposite of the ambient noise. This antinoise signal is then combined with the audio signal, effectively canceling out the ambient noise. ANC is most effective at canceling out low-frequency noise, such as the rumble of an airplane engine or the hum of traffic. Passive noise isolation is achieved through the use of earbuds that fit snugly in the ear and block out external noise. Passive noise isolation is generally less effective at canceling out ambient noise than ANC, but it can still provide some level of noise reduction.

Wired or Wireless
Both wired and wireless earbuds have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Wired earbuds are connected to the audio source (such as a phone or music player) via a physical cable. Some advantages of wired earbuds include:

Generally better sound quality: Because the audio signal is transmitted via a physical connection, there is less potential for interference or loss of quality.
No need to charge: Because wired earbuds do not require a battery, you do not need to worry about recharging them.
Generally cheaper: Wired earbuds tend to be cheaper than wireless earbuds, especially at the high end.

However, wired earbuds also have some disadvantages:

Limited mobility: The cable connecting the earbuds to the audio source can be a hindrance if you are trying to move around or be active while wearing them.
Tangling: The cable can become tangled or knotted if it is not stored properly.

Wireless earbuds, on the other hand, use Bluetooth technology to connect to the audio source. Some advantages of wireless earbuds include:

Greater mobility: Because there is no physical connection to the audio source, wireless earbuds offer greater freedom of movement.
No tangling: Because there is no cable, there is no risk of the earbuds becoming tangled or knotted.
Better for phone calls: Many wireless earbuds have built-in microphones and support for phone calls, which can be convenient if you need to take calls on the go.

Wireless earbuds have also become more fashionable with longer battery life, making them the most popular choice.

Battery Life
Battery life is an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because it determines how long you can use the earbuds before needing to charge them. If you plan on using the earbuds for long periods of time or frequently throughout the day, you’ll want to choose a pair with longer battery life to avoid having to stop and charge them. On the other hand, if you only plan on using the earbuds occasionally or for short periods of time, shorter battery life may not be as much of a concern. In addition to the convenience of being able to use the earbuds for longer periods of time, a longer battery life may also be necessary if you plan on using the earbuds while traveling or in situations where it may not be easy to access a charger.

Charging Speed
Charging speed is an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because it determines how quickly the earbuds will charge after they have run out of battery. A faster-charging speed can be particularly useful if you need to use the earbuds frequently and don’t have a lot of time to wait for them to charge. For example, if you use your earbuds on your commute to work and need to charge them during the day, a pair with a faster-charging speed will allow you to get them charged and ready to use again more quickly. In addition to being convenient, a faster-charging speed may also be important if you plan on using the earbuds while traveling or in situations where you may not have easy access to a charger. In these cases, being able to charge the earbuds quickly can help ensure that you have enough battery life to last throughout the day.

Connectivity
Connectivity is an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because it determines how well the earbuds will connect to your device and how stable the connection will be. Good connectivity is important because it ensures that the audio quality of the earbuds is high and that there are no interruptions or dropouts in the audio. There are a few different factors that can affect the connectivity of earbuds. One of the main factors is the type of wireless technology that the earbuds use. For example, earbuds that use Bluetooth technology may have a stronger and more stable connection than those that use older wireless technology. In addition to the type of wireless technology, the distance between the earbuds and the device they are connected to can also affect the connectivity. Earbuds with a longer range may be able to maintain a stable connection even when the device is further away, while those with a shorter range may experience dropouts or interruptions if the device is too far away.

Built-In Microphone
A built-in microphone is an important feature to consider when buying earbuds because it allows you to use the earbuds for hands-free calling and voice commands. This can be particularly useful if you use your earbuds for activities such as running or cycling, where it may not be practical to hold a phone or other device. In addition to hands-free calling, a built-in microphone can also be useful for voice commands. Many earbuds with a built-in microphone support voice assistants such as Siri or Google Assistant, which can be activated by voice commands. This can allow you to perform tasks such as making a phone call or setting a reminder without having to touch your phone or another device.

Price vs Quality
In general, earbuds with a higher price tend to have more features and better performance, such as better sound quality, longer battery life, and more stable connectivity. However, this is not always the case, and it is important to carefully consider the features and performance that are most important to you before making a decision. We determine the best balance of price and quality by reading customer reviews and comparing the features and performance of different earbuds. This helped us get a better understanding of the value that different earbuds offer and made it easier to find a pair that meets your needs and budget.

Comfort
Comfort is an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because it determines how comfortable the earbuds are to wear for long periods of time. If the earbuds are not comfortable, you may find it difficult to use them for extended periods of time, which can be frustrating and may even affect your enjoyment of the earbuds. There are a few different factors that can affect the comfort of earbuds. One of the main factors is the size and shape of the earbuds. Earbuds that are too small or too large may not fit comfortably in your ears, while those with a shape that doesn’t match the contours of your ears may be uncomfortable to wear. In addition to the size and shape of the earbuds, the materials used to make the earbuds can also affect their comfort. Earbuds made with soft, flexible materials may be more comfortable to wear than those made with hard or rigid materials.

Fit
Fit is an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because it determines how well the earbuds stay in place and how secure they feel in your ears. If the earbuds do not fit well, you may find that they fall out or become uncomfortable to wear after a short period of time. There are a few different factors that can affect the fit of earbuds. One of the main factors is the size and shape of the earbuds. Earbuds that are too small or too large may not fit securely in your ears, while those with a shape that doesn’t match the contours of your ears may be prone to falling out. In addition to the size and shape of the earbuds, the design of the earbuds can also affect their fit. Some earbuds are designed to fit snugly in the ear, while others may have a more relaxed fit. The type of earbud that is the most comfortable and secure for you will depend on your personal preferences and the shape of your ears.

Bud Sizes
Bud sizes are an important factor to consider when buying earbuds because they determine how well the earbuds will fit in your ears and how comfortable they will be to wear. If the earbuds are too small or too large for your ears, you may find that they are uncomfortable to wear or that they fall out easily. Different earbuds come in a range of different bud sizes, and it is important to choose a size that is appropriate for your ears. In some cases, earbuds may come with multiple sizes of bud covers, which allows you to choose the size that fits the best. It is also worth noting that the shape of the earbuds can affect their fit and comfort, in addition to the size of the buds. Earbuds with a shape that is not well-suited to the contours of your ears may be less comfortable to wear, even if they are the correct size.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Sony WF-1000XM4

Best Pick

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Noise-canceling and high-quality

Sony WF-1000XM4 in-ear headphones are a pair of high-quality listening and speaking devices that live up to their hype. It guarantees crystal-clear audio. It has an in-built microphone and other attractive additional features. It is also water-resistant so no worries about using it when it is raining.

Buy Now for $228.00

Who it is for

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are designed for users who are looking for high-quality audio, active noise canceling, and long battery life in a compact and portable design. They are suitable for a wide range of users, including commuters, travelers, and people who use earbuds for work or leisure.

Why it is great

When it comes to genuine wireless earbuds, Sony's latest offering checks all the boxes with its smart, effective noise canceling, high-quality sound, and other practical extras. Those who have used previous generations will note right away that Sony has made some nice improvements to the design in this fourth generation.

Potential flaws

There is no way to pair many points, and finding the right size can be difficult. Although this issue rarely occurs, we recommend that if you prefer another option, you should consider the Bose Quiet Comfort earbuds.

Other features

The WF-1000XM4 is a complete makeover that makes them smaller and more aesthetically pleasing than their forerunners. The improved aesthetics are hardly the beginning of the enhancements made to these vehicles. With better ANC performance, the QN1e chip has been swapped out for the Integrated Processor V1, and the 6mm speaker drivers have had minor adjustments made to them to produce deeper bass. The Bluetooth version has been updated to 5.2, and in addition to SBC and AAC, Sony's Hi-Res LDAC codec is supported by the earbuds.

Quite a list, and it doesn't end there either. There is now a wireless charging case, the buds are water-resistant to the IPX4 standard, and Sony's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) has been improved to upscale lossy audio formats. Additionally, the Sony WH-1000XM4's greatest features are incorporated into the earbuds as well. New features include "Speak to Chat" and environment-aware noise cancellation, where your earbuds will adapt to your frequent haunts. The charging case is smaller than before, another improvement. Among the XM3's minor flaws was a bulky case, thus this reduction is very appreciated. Surprisingly, there has been no change to the combined battery life of the buds and the carrying case. If you turn on both ANC and Bluetooth, you can still listen to music for up to 24 hours. The separation of the buds and the casing has shifted slightly, though.

The WF-1000XM3 could play music for up to six hours on a single charge, and it came with enough power for three full charges in the carrying case. WF-1000XM4 headphones can play for up to eight hours on a single charge. The WF-1000XM4 are comfortable enough to wear for long periods if you've achieved a proper fit, but you probably won't be using them for eight hours straight. The included ear tips are not the usual soft silicone but rather polyurethane foam, and they took some getting used to. The foam did not put any uncomfortable pressure on my ears, and it performed a good job of blocking out ambient noise.

The WF-1000XM4's earphones are more aesthetically pleasing and are smaller than their predecessors, while the charging case is also much more portable. The WF-1000XM4 is powered by a new Integrated Processor V1 and has support for Hi-res audio via Sony's LDAC Bluetooth codec, resulting in a fantastic listening experience regardless of the source material. Even more striking is the noise suppression, which can be customized to adapt automatically to your environment and activities. There is hands-free compatibility for Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, and features like Speak-to-Chat, which pauses audio as soon as your voice is recognized, help raise the user experience above that of any other earbuds on the market.

Product specifications

Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth 5.2
Special Features: Microphone Included, Sweatproof
Music control buttons: Yes
Weight: 6g per earbud
Charging case: 41g
Battery life: 24hrs
IP rating: IPX4

Runner Up - Bose QuietComfort

Runner Up

Bose QuietComfort

With the newly incorporated state-of-the-art noise suppression technology, Bose's noise cancellation may be adjusted to your liking.

These wireless earbuds are equipped with a proprietary Volume-optimized Active EQ that ensures the sound is rich and well-balanced regardless of the volume setting. Everything that comes into contact with your ear on these earphones is made of pliable silicone, making them ideal for all-day use. These truly wireless earphones don't have any physical controls, instead relying on a capacitive touch interface. Like a touchscreen smartphone, you can tap and press the surface to navigate the interface and its contents.

Buy Now for $199.00

Who it is for

The Bose QuietComfort earbuds are designed for users who are looking for high-quality audio and active noise canceling in a portable and comfortable design.

Why it is great

The earbuds detect ambient noise with both built-in and external microphones, then use destructive interference to cancel it out. Bluetooth 5.1 allows for a cordless connection from your device, and they are compatible with the two most popular audio codecs, SBC and AAC. In case you get caught in the rain or sweat a lot during your workout, don't worry; the IPX4 certification means they can withstand both conditions.

Potential flaws

When we tested these earbuds, we found that they had weak battery life with few interactive options. For those who prefer to save up for some extra features, we would recommend that you go for the top pick or the Apple Airpods Gen 2.

Other features

The QuietComfort, just like other truly wireless earbuds, have a charging case that can be carried anywhere. It delivers two full charges of the buds, with a stated six hours of battery life, so you'll get around 18 hours of playtime in all, which is a touch disappointing in comparison to modern standards. It takes three hours to fully charge the case through USB-C, but just 15 minutes will give you another two hours of use. For those who have a compatible Qi charging pad, it can also be charged wirelessly. These earbuds are larger and heavier than most, at 8.5g each, with a housing that is almost 3 centimeters in length and 2 centimeters in width.

The in-ear pieces are made using a silicone ear tip and wingtip combination that seals off your ear canal to give superior passive noise cancellation and a secure fit. Since the ear tip and wingtip are integrated into one unit, you can't swap them out for a different size, although I found the medium size to be the most comfortable. The design isn't terribly bulky, but these aren't the earbuds for you if you like something more subtle and refined. The accompanying charging case is nearly as large, measuring in at just under 9 centimeters across, 5 centimeters deep, and 3 centimeters tall; you'll need to reserve part of your pocket space for it whenever you head out. The case's charge state is indicated by five tiny LEDs, and the headphones can be put into pairing mode and connected to a different device by pressing a Bluetooth connection button located inside the case.

A touch of your finger to the upper two-thirds of either earpiece will activate the touch controls. The controls aren't as comprehensive as I'd like, and there's no option to adjust the level or go back to the beginning of the track. You can play and pause your music with a double tap on the right earpiece, and cycle through three user-customizable ANC profiles with a double press on the left. You can assign the same action to either "Hear Battery Level" or skip the next track by pressing and holding the right earphone to call upon your chosen voice assistant. The right earbud has a microphone array responsible for picking up and transmitting your voice during phone calls. You can expect a few more surprises from your QC Earbuds. When you pull out one earbud and put it back in, the music will automatically pause and resume, and you can use the Bose Music app to access even more features. There are ten distinct ANC settings available, with 0 serving as a transparent mode that restores full acoustic transparency. If you turn up the volume, only the loudest and highest-pitched noises will be able to penetrate the noise cancellation at level 10.

Product specifications

Connectivity Technology: Wireless
Special Features: Built-in microphone
Music control buttons: Yes
Weight: 8.5g per earbud
Charging case: 76g
Battery life: 25hrs
IP rating: IPX4

Most cost-effective - Creative Outlier Air V3

Most cost-effective

Creative Outlier Air V3

The Creative Outlier Air V3 has the best battery life in the series, with up to 40 hours of total playtime possible and 10 hours of gameplay per charge.

The Creative Outlier Air V3, equipped with powerful 6 mm Bio-cellulose drivers and the latest Bluetooth® 5.2 technology, lets you carry high-quality audio with you wherever life takes you thanks to its IPX5 water resistance classification. The charging case is Qi-compatible and supports wireless charging, so you can simply set the device down on its own charging pad to recharge.

Buy Now for $39.99

Who it is for

The Creative Outlier Air V3 earbuds are designed for users who are looking for high-quality audio and long battery life in a compact and affordable package. They are also best for users in need of long battery life and those who spend long hours in the gym.

Why it is great

The drum-shaped enclosures are nearly identical to their predecessors, although this time around they come in a dark green metallic finish rather than a blue one. Each bud has a 6mm bio-cellulose driver instead of a 5.6mm graphene-coated driver diaphragm and an additional microphone. However, at 5.2g compared to 6g for the V2's earbuds, the V3s are lighter and cheaper.

Potential flaws

Those who used these earbuds agreed that the charging case is bulky, there is no in-ear detection, and SXFI is still not widely available. However, it offers decent features for its cost. Yet, if you want a better listening experience, we would recommend our top pick as the best option.

Other features

With the V3, Outlier introduces ambient and "active noise reduction" modes to their lineup of headphones. While the former type of headphones uses feedforward microphones to lessen the effect of ambient noise on the listening experience, the latter type of headphones filters external sound into the buds, allowing you to maintain one ear on the world around you. You may quickly toggle between these modes by double-tapping the left earbud. The touch controls are easy and effective just like the V2, but now you can tweak them to your liking with the Creative mobile app. The controls still don't respond to single taps, much like on the V2, so you won't accidentally activate features when you're just trying to adjust the headphones. As a result, you may personalize the controls to your liking by assigning different actions to double taps, triple taps, and long holds across both headphones. While the Air V3's overall battery life is the longest of any Outlier model, the in-ear headphones' run time is significantly shorter.

The V3's 6mm bio-cellulose drivers replace the V2's 5.6mm graphene-coated diaphragms and produce a sound that is on par with or even slightly better than the V2's. When left at its factory settings, the sound profile provides expressive mids and clean, bright highs. However, low-end frequencies are given the most playtime, with powerful, impactful bass standing out across musical genres. The app also allows you to turn on and off the ambient and noise-canceling modes. The quality of the noise suppression is acceptable even at the maximum level. The Outlier Air V3 maintains compatibility with Creative's Super X-Fi holographic audio technology, which was introduced with the V2 (SXFI). This ingenious function takes measurements of your head and ears to create a personalized sound profile that simulates the effect of having many speakers placed all around you. Once you've downloaded the app, setting it up is straightforward.

Product specifications

Connectivity Technology: Wireless
Special Features: Built-in microphone
Music control buttons: Yes
Weight: 5.2g per earbud
Charging case: 69.8g
Battery life: 40hrs
IP rating: IPX5

Almost made the cut - AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

Almost made the cut

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The new AirPods Pro are powered by Apple's own H2 chip, which improves upon the already impressive audio quality.

With Adaptive Transparency, you can hear your environment clearly while having loud noises like sirens or construction toned down in real-time. There are four interchangeable silicone ear tip sets provided, with a new extra-tiny option for those with the tiniest ears. Noise is blocked and AirPods Pro stay put thanks to the tips' acoustic barrier. Through the use of a proprietary algorithm, Personal Spatial Audio creates an acoustic environment tailored to your own preferences. Using dynamic head tracking, you may get a more complete experience of your favorite films and music.

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Who it is for

These earbuds are best for iPhone users looking to complete their iPhone package with top-notch noise canceling earbuds.

Why it is great

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 includes some significant changes, including enhanced noise cancellation (ANC), longer battery life, a better fit, and easier charging. And while they aren't quite as feature-packed as other competitors, they should still be near the top of your purchase list if you own an iPhone.

Potential flaws

However good Apple boasts the sound quality of their Earbuds to be, they do not surpass those made by Sony. Also, the battery life is terribly poor in comparison to others on our list and they only pair with iPhones, making it exclusive to iPhone users. It is for these reasons that we recommend the Sony WF-1000XM4 which is a more versatile alternative.

Other features

The buds' physical design is identical to that of the previous iteration, with short stems extending from an oval body, a number of black sensors and grilles scattered around the body of each, and ear tips that clip on and off with a satisfying click. However, many other aspects have been enhanced or added. Apple has moved the external microphone ports to the earbuds' stems to enhance noise cancellation and voice pickup, and introduced a touch-sensitive volume control that works by swiping up or down the stem of either earbud. Apple has improved the H2 chipset inside the buds to provide more potent computational audio and adaptive transparency.

More generally, battery life has improved. A total of 30 hours of playback time is available when using the charging case in addition to the buds' improved battery life of up to six hours with ANC enabled (compared to the original AirPods Pro's 4 hours and 30 minutes) or five hours and thirty minutes with spatial audio and head tracking enabled. And lastly, charging may be done through the Lightning port or wirelessly using MagSafe or Qi-enabled chargers. In addition, the Apple Watch may be used to recharge the case. The Apple AirPods Pro 2 continues to provide unparalleled comfort and is protected from moisture and splashes thanks to an IPX4 rating. AirPods Pro 2 includes a ton of functionality. To be expected, the earbuds feature wears recognition and pauses the music or podcast when removed from the ear. Moreover, the earphones' stems feature pressure- and touch-sensitive controls that allow you to navigate your music library. With a single squeeze, you can pause and play, with two you can skip forward, and with three you can skip back. Squeezing and holding the phone toggles between ANC and the new Adaptive Transparency mode, and "Hey Siri" will summon Siri.

The most notable update to the controls is the ability to change the volume by sliding your finger up and down the stem. There are no equalization controls, but you may decide whether activating Siri or noise control with a long squeeze on either earbud, and you can even select between three levels of noise control (Noise Cancellation, Transparency, and Off) for the latter.

Product specifications

Connectivity Technology: Wireless
Special Features: Built-in microphone
Music control buttons: Yes
Weight: 5.4g per earbud
Charging case: 50.8g
Battery life: 30hrs
IP rating: IPX4

Care and maintenance

Clean before and after use

To clean your earbuds before and after use, you can follow these steps:

 

  • Wipe the earbuds and the charging case with a dry, lint-free cloth to remove any sweat or other moisture that may have accumulated during use.
  • If the earbuds or charging case are particularly dirty or sweaty, you can use a cloth dampened with a mild soap and water solution to gently wipe them down. 

 

It’s important to keep your earbuds clean to prevent the buildup of dirt, sweat, and other contaminants that can affect their performance and lifespan. By cleaning them regularly, you can ensure that your earbuds are always in good working order and ready for use.

 

Wire maintenance

There are several steps you can take to maintain the wire of your earbuds:

 

  • Avoid pulling on the wire: When removing your earbuds from your ears or storing them, be careful not to pull on the wire. This can cause the wire to stretch or become damaged over time.
  • Keep the wire untangled: When not in use, store your earbuds in a case or wrap the wire around the earbuds to keep it untangled. Avoid wrapping the wire tightly or in a way that could cause it to become damaged.
  • Avoid exposing the wire to water: Keep your earbuds and the wire dry to prevent rust or other damage. If the wire does get wet, dry it thoroughly before using the earbuds again.
  • Handle the wire carefully: Avoid bending or twisting the wire too much, as this can cause it to become damaged or break.

 

By following these steps, you can help to extend the lifespan of your earbuds and keep them in good working order. If the wire becomes damaged, you may need to have it repaired or replaced.

 

Do not share buds

It is generally not recommended to share earbuds with others due to the risk of spreading germs and bacteria. Earbuds can come into contact with the ear canal and other areas of the body that can harbor germs and bacteria, and sharing earbuds can allow these germs and bacteria to be transmitted to other people. If you do need to share earbuds with someone, it is important to clean them thoroughly before and after use to reduce the risk of transmission. You can clean the earbuds by wiping them down with a dry, lint-free cloth, or by using a cloth dampened with a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before and after use. To minimize the risk of spreading germs and bacteria, it is generally best to use your own earbuds and not share them with others. If you need to share earbuds, be sure to clean them thoroughly and take other precautions, such as washing your hands before and after use.

 

How to connect to audio devices if wireless

To connect wireless earbuds to an audio device, you will need to follow these steps:

 

  • Turn on your earbuds: Press and hold the power button on your earbuds for a few seconds until the LED indicator light turns on.
  • Put your earbuds into pairing mode: Depending on the model of earbuds you have, you may need to press and hold the power button for a few seconds, or you may need to press a specific pairing button. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for details on how to put your earbuds into pairing mode.
  • Enable Bluetooth on your audio device: On your audio device, go to the settings menu and enable Bluetooth.
  • Search for and select your earbuds: Your audio device should display a list of available Bluetooth devices. Select your earbuds from the list to connect to them.
  • Enter the passcode, if prompted: Some earbuds may require you to enter a passcode to complete the connection. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct passcode.

 

Once you have connected your earbuds to your audio device, you should be able to use them to listen to music or other audio content. If you are having trouble connecting your earbuds, try checking the manufacturer’s instructions or contacting the manufacturer for assistance.