Best Products Audio 29 29 people found this article helpful The 10 Best Earbuds of 2020 Shop for the best budget, exercise, and sound quality earbuds by Jason Schneider Writer Jason has been writing for tech and media companies for nearly 10 years. He is also a current and past contributing writer to Greatist and Thrillist. our editorial process Jason Schneider Updated on August 11, 2020 Audio Earbuds Headphones Speakers Home Theater Instruments Accessories Tweet Share Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: Apple AirPods Pro at Amazon "Almost any pair of wireless earbuds work with the iPhone, but none are this perfect." Runner-up, Best Overall: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds at Amazon "With wireless charging and an improved IP-rating, the Elite 75ts built on the last gen in very meaningful ways." Best Wired: 1More Quad Driver at Amazon "Built to last, sound great, and won’t fail you where wireless earbuds can." Best for Comfort: Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones at Amazon "A pair of Bluetooth buds our reviewers rate highly for the dreamy sound signature on which Bose made its name." Best for Workouts & Durability: Skullcandy Push Ultra at Amazon "The IP rating and excellent fit of these headphones make them ideal for workouts and adventures. The muddy sound quality makes them lackluster for audiophiles." Runner-Up, Best for iPhone: Apple AirPods at Amazon "Battery life here is actually better than the AirPods Pro at a rated five hours, with another 24 hours available from the case." Best Cheap Wired: Linklike Classic 2 at Amazon "A quality pair of buds at an ultra-affordable price." Best For Android Smartphones: Samsung Galaxy Buds+ at Amazon "Their compact and ergonomic design allows for a comfortable in-ear fit." Best Sound Quality: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 at Amazon "With a pair of graphene-based 5.8mm drivers, the earbuds provide a crisp soundstage with meaty bass." Best AirPods Alternative: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 at Amazon "Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air can deliver you to the true wireless promised land for less cash." in this article Expand Our Picks How We Tested About Our Trusted Experts The Ultimate Earbuds Buying Guide The earbud market is now more complicated than it ever has been. Now there are tons of categories to choose from: Do you want full sound quality with high-end wired earbuds? Do you want the full freedom of true wireless headphones? Or do you want to save a few bucks and grab Bluetooth headphones that opt for a single-wire design? Even once you make that decision, there’s still so much to go through. Here, we’ll break down our favorites based on category, outlining common features you should expect (decent battery live, great sound quality, and a durable build) and some features that are the cherry on top (wireless charging, active noise cancellation, and customizable apps). Best Overall: Apple AirPods Pro 4.5 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on Apple What We Like Active noise cancelation Premium Apple build qaulity Excellent battery life What We Don't Like Exoensive Only one color option Slightly lackluster IP-rating Apple AirPods Pro Review There isn’t a lot to say about AirPods Pro that you don’t already assume: the build quality is top-notch, the sound quality is up there with the best, and the design is about as ubiquitous as you could expect from any brand of earbud. The Pro version of the AirPods serves as an answer to all the negatives thrown at the first-gen AirPods. The Pros come with a silicone ear tip design, making them much more secure in your ears. Even though the “stem” design is still there, it’s much shorter, making the design a little more subtle than the earlier gen. There are also two impressive marquis features brought in for the pro model—active noise cancellation and IPX4 waterproofing. The former makes for a really solid option for business travelers and those on the go, and the latter feature, while not quite as secure as sportier earbuds, gives you some degree of reliability in light precipitation and during sweaty workouts. The battery life also manages to stay near the top of the market, offering almost 5 hours of listening in the earbuds themselves and up to 24 hours when you factor in the battery case. That case also supports Qi wireless charging, making the whole package convenient and intuitive. There are lots of fancy marketing terms thrown around about the sound quality (like adaptive EQ and custom amplifiers), and while that doesn’t tell you much about the nuts and bolts of the sound quality, these are among the most popular earbuds on the market for sound quality. These are top-of-the-line features, and at this price, you’ll certainly pay for them. "Apple’s AirPods Pro have the dual benefit of Active Noise Cancellation that rivals over-the-ear headphones but with in-ear comfort." — Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief Runner-up, Best Overall: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy What We Like Great sound quality Nice build and design Impressive IP-rating What We Don't Like No noise cancellation The fit can feel a little tight The Jabra Elite 75t lives up to its elite name with one of the most premium packages of features on offer. The look of the 75ts fits much more with something like Samsung Galaxy Buds than it does with the stem-based design of the AirPods line—and for fans of this kind of earbud, that can be a very good thing. The entire housing sits almost flush with your ear, and the eartips themselves form a very nice seal—though for some, this fit might be a little too stuffy and isolating. There’s IP-55 water and dust resistance, making these among the most durable headphones on the market (second only to specific, workout-designed earbuds). The 6mm drivers of the headphones are on-par with much of the market, and while Jabra does state that the headphones cover the full spectrum of human hearing, they aren’t going to be particularly effective on the bass end. What you do get is a well-rounded sonic response, with tons of detail and clarity, and an excellent 4-mic array for phone calls and ambient noise pass-through. The battery life is also borderline absurd, with 7.5 hours in the earbuds themselves, and almost 30 hours when factoring in the battery case. What is perhaps most impressive is how customizable the experience is when you pair these with the Jabra app—allowing you to create custom sound profiles based on where you are in your day as well as controlling the EQ. Plus, all these features aren’t going to break the bank. Best Wired: 1More Quad Driver Earbuds 4.8 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on B&H Photo Video What We Like Four drivers for solid sound Durable, stylish build Nice-fitting ear tips What We Don't Like No Bluetooth connectivity A little pricey ONly one color option 1More is one of the first brands that comes up when you search earbuds on Amazon, and that’s for good reason. While many companies are diving headlong into the Bluetooth space, 1More is doubling down on the concept of “wired headphones give you better sound quality." In fact, they’re kind of quadrupling down, considering they’ve included a quad-driver build in each bud. At the core of that package is a carbon driver that acts as your more traditional speaker, but 1More is pairing that system with three balanced armature drivers. Each of these four units is, at least on a spec level, dedicated to one specific section of the hearing range—meaning that each one only has to focus on highs, mids, or lows, respectively. This gives you better control over the entirety of the spectrum, and the sound quality delivered by these headphones is impressive. The reason wired earbuds are so much better than Bluetooth begins and ends with one thing: keeping your source audio file intact. Bluetooth headphones, by definition, have to compress your audio in order to more seamlessly transfer it wirelessly, whereas wired units can play your file totally unchanged. This leads to higher definition audio. The earbuds round out their package with a durable kevlar-core wire, a nice aluminum housing that is durable and stylish, cone-like ear tips that allow for solid fit and breathability in your ear, and a really nice leather travel case. These feel a little pricey for non-Bluetooth earbuds, but if sound quality is your main focus, you really won’t be disappointed here. 1More Quad Driver Review Best for Comfort: Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones 4.3 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on Bose.com What We Like Secure fit Comfortable to wear Great price point What We Don't Like No IP-rating Limited battery life Unprotected carrying case Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones Review The Bose SoundSport wireless headphones hold a very specific place on the market. Many Bluetooth earbuds have gone the way of true wireless, and to be fair, Bose also has a SoundSport free option. The single-wire design of the SoundSports here might feel a little dated, but it actually presents you with some great features. First off, because these aren't the marquis offering in Bose’s earbud line, you won't pay too much—and because they sound every bit as good as the true wireless version, this gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The other benefit of a single-wire design is that these headphones are a little safer when being worn around town. You won’t need to worry about a single free earbud falling from your ear and succumbing to damage because the wire will be around your neck. This factor also adds to the comfort, because it takes some of the pressure off of putting all the components into the earbud itself. On the comfort front, Bose’s StayHear+ tips sport one of the most unique designs on the market. Rather than a perfectly round silicone tip, these earbuds use a flattened cone-like design and soft rubber wings to grip the inside of the ear. This allows the earbuds to sit outside the ear, giving you breathability, without fear of them falling out. The battery life leaves a bit to be desired, with only 6 hours of play on a single charge, and the plush case they come with doesn’t add a whole lot of protection. There also isn’t any billed waterproofing to speak of, at least not on an IP-rating level, which is a shame considering these are marketed, at least in part, toward the sporty consumer. In short, they aren’t the most full-featured or the most modern headphones out there, but they sound great and feel even greater. "We were easily able to wear these for long periods of time with relatively little fatigue." — Jason Schneider, Product Tester Best for Workouts & Durability: Skullcandy Push Ultra Buy on Amazon Buy on Skullcandy.com What We Like Excellent durability Ultra-secure fit Superb battery life and wireless charging What We Don't Like Clunky design Lackluster sound quality The Skullcandy Push Ultra true wireless earbuds aren’t hiding the fact that they take serious design cues from the PowerBeats Pro. For fans of this style of earbuds, that isn’t a problem. With soft-touch, moldable, over-ear wings, these are some of the most secure headphones on the market—allowing for workouts and high energy days. Skullcandy has also outdone itself with an IP-67 water and dust resistance rating, which is one of the highest ratings we’ve seen on the market for this class of earbuds. This means that you can bring these on dirty hikes and out on rainy runs with basically no fear of any damage or complication. This makes these a clear pick for the best workout headphones. Don’t let the rugged-looking case fool you, as these headphones pack plenty of high-tech punch. With up to 40 hours of listening when you factor in the battery case, and the capability to charge up that case wirelessly, these headphones feel like a premium offering, not just a sporty one. Skullcandy has even partnered with Tile to build in their proprietary GPS locating feature to make sure you don’t lose these earbuds. The sound quality is probably the aspect of these headphones that lacks the most. That isn't’ to say they sound bad, especially with some EQ control built into this Ultra model, but Skullcandy is not known for balanced, detailed sound, so if you’re looking for that, you might need to look elsewhere. The design itself, though with plenty of color options, also seems a little bigger and clunkier than we’d like. Runner-Up, Best for iPhone: Apple AirPods 4.3 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on Walmart What We Like Great build quality Wireless charging option Great battery life What We Don't Like No noise cancellation A bit pricey Somewhat insecure fit Apple AirPods Review Many people would agree that AirPods should be credited with bringing the concept of true wireless headphones fully into the mainstream. After launching just a few years back, the market has absolutely exploded with true wireless options. That legacy, however, does not change the fact that these headphones have their limitations. The fit, without any silicone tips or ear wings to speak of, isn’t exactly the most secure. The sound quality, while totally passable, is not premium by any stretch. There isn’t any water resistance officially billed on them either. However, there are things to love about these headphones. Apple’s S chip system makes them perfectly seamless for the Apple ecosystem—no need to fumble awkwardly in Bluetooth menus. The battery life (24 hours with the battery case) might feel middle-of-the-road with the rest of the offerings out there, but these are some of the most reliable on the market. And, if you opt for the configuration present here, you’ll get wireless charging built into the case. For the feature set, the price can feel a little high, but with the premium build quality you’d expect from an Apple product, we’re guessing that price isn’t your biggest concern. "They have a decent, punchy response for the size of the headphones, but lack a lot of bass character." — Jason Schneider, Product Tester Best Cheap Wired: Linklike Classic 2 4.5 Buy on Amazon What We Like Great price Reasonable sound quality Audiophile features What We Don't Like Muddy extra bass No silicone eartips Tacky design Linklike is one of those brands that pop up on Amazon all the time, looking eerily similar to headphones from other companies and lacking any truly distinguishing features. However, as far as wired headphones go, you get a lot of great sound quality for a truly impressive price point. For this budget price, you get a quad-driver setup with four color options and a long durable cable. What does that four-driver setup actually mean? Well, there are four completely separate speakers (that Linklike has chosen to build out of rigid carbon fiber), and each of those drivers is tuned to their own section of the spectrum—meaning that none of them are doing too much work. This results in a good balance across the spectrum and tons of resolution and detail. One minor gripe is that Linklike is billing these earbuds as “Extra Bass," which always results in thick, muddiness at this end of the price range. If you’re listening to basic podcasts or top 40 radio, that’s totally fine, but if you want the purest experience with your music, you’ll have to dig into more expensive options. But Linklike does promise good coverage across the whole 20Hz–20kHz spectrum, and they’ve even broken out gold plated connectors for a more premium wired experience. The four color options, though flashy, are nice to see for customization purposes, but the design itself seems like it doesn’t allow for the best fit, as there aren’t any silicone ear tips. Linklike Classic 2 Review Best For Android Smartphones: Samsung Galaxy Buds+ 4 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on B&H Photo Video What We Like Great sound quality Wireless charging case Premium design, with options What We Don't Like A little pricey No noise cancellation Limited IP-rating All things considered, Samsung was pretty late to the true wireless earbud game, but the first generation of the Galaxy Buds actually presented a really excellent option for those who wanted to avoid AirPods. The Galaxy Buds+ are tailor-made for the Android user, packing in tons of premium features and excellent design. Each bud houses both a tweeter and a woofer, meaning there is plenty of body to the sound alongside a lot of detail on the higher end. And because this is the latest installment of the partnership between Samsung and AKG, these headphones have an audiophile edge. There’s some adaptive sound built-in, and the mic array also passes through some ambient noise, if you choose. The wireless charging case provides a total of 22 hours of play on a single charge—not the best we’ve seen, but considering these are dual-driver earbuds, it’s actually not that bad. The IPX2 water resistance is nice to see, but will only actually provide light resistance to sweat and rain, so you should still be careful with them. The four-color options paired with the ultra-slim design make these headphones some of the best-looking on the market. And, if you have a Galaxy device to pair them to, the experience is very similar to the auto-pairing offered between AirPods and Apple devices. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Have Awesome Battery Life and a Great Fit Best Sound Quality: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 3.7 Buy on Amazon What We Like Solid Bluetooth codecs Excellent battery life Graphene drivers with nice sound What We Don't Like No noise cancellation Basic design Cambridge Audio is one of those glossy UK brands, attempting to position themselves at the high end of the audio market. Their entry into the true wireless space, however, still has to operate under the same restrictions as the rest of the Bluetooth field. For starters, Bluetooth audio is naturally a little lossy due to the compression required to transmit the audio. The Melomania 1s do offer the best codecs around (including aptX’s HD option), meaning they do their best to leave most of your source audio file intact at the end of the line. And Bluetooth 5.0 means that there’s plenty of stability and range for the connection. But at the end of the day, these earbuds are still limited to the Bluetooth space. Cambridge Audio has gone with 5.8mm graphene drivers here, meaning that the durability and strength of sound will be pretty impressive, but we would have liked to see some dual-drivers on-board. The battery life is really impressive here, too, with up to 9 hours of listening in the earbuds themselves, and almost 40 hours when you factor in the battery case. There’s IPX5 water resistance, which puts these right in the middle of the pack as far as being workout- and precipitation-friendly. The bullet-style design is also really interesting, even if it is a little plane. Though, they will occupy a somewhat smaller footprint in your ear than many of the other premium options out there. The best part? Even with this solid sound quality and high-fidelity Bluetooth codecs, you can still get a pair for a wallet-friendly price. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds Review Best AirPods Alternative: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 3.7 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on Walmart What We Like Great price point Solid feature set Flashy HealD EQ options What We Don't Like Cheap-feeling case Lackluster sound quality Look, we get it: AirPods are expensive. Not everyone has room in their budget for a pair of AirPods Pro, or even the considerably cheaper AirPods 2. But that doesn’t mean you should have to go without a pair of quality earbuds. Anker's Soundcore Liberty Air can deliver you to the true wireless promised land for less cash. And it’s not just the hanging pipe design that makes them great AirPods alternatives. They're a hit for sound quality thanks to dual 5.8mm drivers made of graphene. The lightweight material responds more accurately to vibration, making for a more full and accurate sound. The Soundcore Liberty Air even has a leg up on the AirPods 2 with a silicone seal that provides a comfortable, secure fit and helps keep noise out. Unfortunately, there is no active noise cancelation for listening, but Anker includes dual noise-canceling microphones for voice calls and virtual assistant needs. Touch controls are included to help you manage those calls and music playback. You’ll get about five hours out of the Soundcore Liberty Air before you need to drop them into the case, which adds up to 15 more hours. Again, you'll have all this for significantly less than you'd pay for AirPods. Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Review: An Able, Affordable Airpods Alternative Final Verdict Giving the AirPods Pro first place and the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds second place was a tough decision. These are sort of two sides of the same coin. Both have great sound quality, wireless charging, and decent durability. AirPods Pro offer noise cancellation and seamless integration with Apple products, meaning that the convenience factor puts them over the edge for us. But the customization and design of the Elite 75ts put them into a very close second place. How We Tested Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate earbuds based on design, audio quality, comfort, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases—exercising, commuting, and working at home or in an office setting. We also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer. About Our Trusted Experts Jason Schneider has been reviewing audio products for over a decade. With a degree in Music Technology and previous publication in Greatist and Thrillist, he's our premier audio expert and has covered just about everything from earphones and speakers to earplugs and keyboards. He's like both the Bose Soundsport Wireless and the original Airpods for their solid audio quality and easy pairing. Lance Ulanoff is Editor-in-Chief of Lifewire. He has over three decades of experience in the tech industry and has covered a huge range of consumer products, particularly Apple products. He reviewed the Airpods Pro and found their noise cancellation to compare favorably to the headphones he typically uses. The Ultimate Earbuds Buying Guide Earbuds come in a variety of different styles, brands, and types, and they also come in prices ranging from less than five bucks to several hundreds of dollars. With so many options at prices all over the map, how do you decide which earbuds to buy? Aside from the cost, factors like design, battery life, charging, audio quality, noise-canceling, controls, range, water resistance, and compatibility may all play a role when choosing the best pair of earbuds for you. We break down everything you need to know in this earbuds buying guide. Earphones vs. Earbuds Earbuds sit on the outside of the ear canal, while you gently insert earphones (or in-ear headphones) into your ear canal. In spite of this difference, some brands will market earphones as earbuds or “in-ear earbuds.” Although you may see earphones labeled as earbuds, there’s a clear distinction in the design of the two. Earphones usually fit more securely in the ears, and they may produce better audio quality, while earbuds are easier to clean and may offer benefits in terms of durability. Wired Earbuds You know those wired EarPods you get when you buy an iPhone, like an iPhone 8 or iPhone XR? Those are wired earbuds. You’ll also see wired earbuds where the bud portion is circular instead of shaped to fit the geometry of the ear. Wired earbuds have a cord you plug into your phone or device. The other end of the cord will have some sort of connector, like a 3.5 mm audio jack or a lightning cable that plugs into your device. Wired earbuds offer several benefits over their wireless competitors, including a lower price point, better audio quality, compatibility benefits, and the ability to operate without a battery. On the other hand, wired earbuds come with the drawbacks of having to deal with cords that can tangle and leave you tethered to your device. You can’t set your device down and walk away from your phone while listening to wired earbuds like you can with a good pair of wireless earbuds. True Wireless Earbuds Bluetooth is the most common wireless technology for earbuds, and Bluetooth earbuds and in-ear headphones come in different styles. You can find neckband style earphones that have a thick band that goes around the back of the neck, and wires that connect to each in-ear headphone or earbud. You can also find earbuds that connect to each other with a thin wire, but they connect to your device via Bluetooth. The neckband style is popular among runners and gym-goers because the band or wire can help promote additional stability. Also, many users say they don’t even notice the thin connector wire once they get used to it. Although these neckband style earphones and earbuds are wireless in the sense that they don’t connect to your device with a wire, they’re not true wireless earbuds. True wireless earbuds have no external wires whatsoever, and you get a separate earbud for each ear. These are earbuds like Apple AirPods, Samsung GalaxyBuds, and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds. When it comes to finding a pair of true wireless earbuds, you have a few different style options. If you like the bud and stem look, you can find several true wireless earbuds that have a similar style to AirPods, where they have the small bud that sits in the ear and then a stem that hangs down and may include a microphone. If you like more subtle earbuds, you can go with a smaller design, like Samsung Galaxy Buds. These are rounded with no stem, so they’re more inconspicuous when you’re wearing them. If stability is your top priority, and you don’t want to worry about your buds falling out of your ears, you may want to go with an over-the-ear design. Although the over-the-ear design is more common with in-ear headphones, you can find earbuds in this design as well, like the JLab AudioJBuds Air Sport True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. True Wireless Earbuds vs. Bluetooth Headsets Wireless earbuds come in a pair and are optimized for sound quality and music playback. Bluetooth headsets are optimized for conversation, and they often come as a single earpiece that goes in one ear. Also, a Bluetooth headset will always have a microphone, while earbuds may or may not have a microphone (though more and more earbuds are also including inline microphones). Lifewire / Jason Schneider Sound Quality When shopping for earbuds, you’ll see a few specifications that can help determine sound quality. Driver Size The driver is primarily responsible for converting the signal coming from your device into audible vibrations. It’s basically a loudspeaker composed of a voice coil, magnet, and diaphragm. Earbud drivers usually range in size from around 4 mm to 15 mm. Larger drivers are generally more powerful than smaller drivers, but a larger driver doesn’t necessarily mean better sound quality. Other factors, like tuning, materials, and build quality all impact sound performance. Sometimes, the manufacturer won’t even indicate the driver size, but that’s OK. You can use other specs to help determine your earbud’s sound quality. Sound Mode The sound mode will say something like “mono,” or most often, “stereo.” Stereo sound mode means it has a right and a left sound channel, so it gives the audio depth. Mono means it only has a single channel, so you’re hearing the same sounds in each ear. If a pair of headphones has a “surround sound” mode, this means it sounds like it has several channels (5.1 or 7.1), so you can hear several layers of sound and even more dimension than you can with stereo sound. Frequency Response Frequency response measures the earbuds’ ability to reproduce high and low tones. Sub-bass and bass frequencies are between 20 and 250 Hz, while higher tones are in the kHz ranges. The Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds have a minimum frequency response of 20 Hz and a maximum frequency response of 20 kHz, which covers the full range of human hearing. Impedance Impedance measures resistance, and lower numbers are generally better because it means the earbuds require less power and amplification to produce a clean sound. You’ll usually see an impedance number of around 16 ohms for earbuds. It may go higher for headphones. Sensitivity This is a measure of efficiency. It indicates how much sound the earbuds can produce with a given amount of power. If the earbuds or earphones indicate a sensitivity rating, it will often be 100 decibels or higher. Sound Isolation If the earbuds or earphones have sound isolating, this means they have some means of blocking outside noise. It’s basically a type of noise canceling. By blocking off your ear canal from other sound waves, it focuses on the sound coming from the earbud or earphone. Active Noise Canceling If the earbuds have active noise canceling (ANC) technology, this means they produce sound waves to counteract background noise and cancel out the external sound. If noise canceling is a priority, you may want to seek out earbuds with ANC. Bluetooth Connectivity and Codecs When you examine the connectivity specifications for a pair of earbuds, you’ll often see information on the Bluetooth version and codec. Typical wireless earbuds will be Bluetooth versions 4.0, 4.1, 4,2, or 5.0, but newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible, so most Bluetooth earbuds will work with most phones. You’ll also want to be mindful of the earbuds’ Bluetooth range, which tells you how far you can travel away from your phone while wearing your earbuds and still experience a stable connection.The codec (stands for compression/decompression) tells you how Bluetooth is transmitted from your phone to your earbuds. It’ll say something like AAC and/or SBC, and most earbuds will have a compatible codec for Android phones and iPhones. Lifewire / Don Reisinger Earbud Controls Most earbuds have some sort of volume controls, as well as controls for music functions like play, pause, previous, and next song. If the earbuds have a microphone built-in you’ll also have buttons for answering and rejecting calls. Some of these buttons may double as more than one function. For instance, the “play” button may double as the “answer call” button, or the “decline call” may double as the “stop” or “pause” button. Some earbuds have touch controls, while others have physical buttons. Many earbuds, like AirPods, are controlled by taps. Examine the controls, and see if the controls will be comfortable and easy to access.Battery Life Typically, wireless earbuds will indicate the battery capacity in milliampere hours, or mAh. This is a formula that determines a battery’s storage capacity, and it’s the time a battery lasts times the discharge current. To use a real-life example, the Jaybird - RUN XT Sport True Wireless In-Ear Headphones have an 80 mAh battery and the battery lasts for four hours. This means the headphones draw 20 milliamperes of power (80 mAh divided by 4 hours = 20 mA).Wireless earbuds should take between 60 minutes and five hours to reach a full charge, and most earbuds last for between four and 12 hours on a single charge. Twelve hours or more is generally considered very good. However, you can find devices with an extended battery life, or devices that come with a charging case. Charging Cases If you plan on using your earbuds regularly, it’s a good idea to find a pair of earbuds that come with a charging case you can take with you on-the-go. These cases provide an additional two or more full charges without connecting to an outlet, so you can charge your buds while you’re away from home. You can find a number of earbuds that include a charging case like Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds, and even earbuds from a number of lesser-known brands. Water Resistance Water-resistant earbuds are particularly important for those who plan on using them outdoors or while exercising. Water resistance prevents the earbuds from getting destroyed when they come into contact with rain, sweat, or water splashes. If the earbuds are water or sweat resistant, you’ll see that feature in the product description. You should also see a water resistance rating, like IPX5, IPX6, or IPX7. The higher the number at the end, the more resistant the earbuds are to water. A water resistance rating of IPX5 means the product can withstand sustained, low-pressure water jets. If it has a water resistance rating of IPX6, this means the earbuds can resist heavy-pressure sprays of water. Once you get up to IPX7 water resistance, this means the earbuds can be submerged in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. However, because water resistance doesn’t mean waterproof, it’s probably not a good idea to go swimming with your earbuds even if they have a water resistance rating. Voice Assistants and Companion Apps If you want a voice assistant available to you at all times, you may want to go with a pair of earbuds like Echo Buds or Google Pixel Buds.Many earbuds have a companion app, where you can adjust the controls, enable and disable features, and even view health information. The Bose Connect App, for instance, lets you view your real-time heart rate. Lifewire / Jason Schneider Brands and Manufacturers You have countless options when it comes to choosing a brand of earphones or earbuds. Here are a few of those options, and what they have to offer. Off-brand Earbuds Earbuds are different from other tech-like phones and tablets because you can actually get a pretty good pair of off-brand earbuds for a very low price. The lower-priced earbuds may even offer similar features and functionality to the higher-priced options. You may not get the latest features like a voice-assistant, but you can get touch controls, water resistance, and noise isolation in a pair of earbuds or earphones that cost less than 50 bucks. On the other hand, shelling out a bit more cash may promote longevity and better overall quality. Let’s not forget about style either. Earbuds have become a trend, and having the right pair of earbuds—a pair that looks good—is key for some people. Apple Apple AirPods and Apple AirPods Pro have become extremely popular for their style and ease of use with the iPhone. However, AirPods are costly, especially when you compare them to competitors that offer similar features at a lower cost. Google Google Pixel Buds are small and stylish with decent battery life. You can take Google Assistant everywhere you go and ask the assistant to turn up your music when you don’t have a free hand. The latest Pixel Buds can even translate conversations in real-time. However, the new Pixel Buds have some design quirks, and the controls aren’t very intuitive. Jabra Jabra makes several different earbud and in-ear headphone models, including the Jabra Evolve 65t, Jabra Elite 65t, the Jabra Elite Sport, and more. Jabra products are generally well-built, and most of their earbuds have pretty good battery lives. Some of the higher-end Jabra earbuds even have Alexa built-in, but you’re going to pay a pretty penny for the best Jabra earbuds. Accessories You may see some earbuds, earphones, or over-the-ear style buds that come with additional ear tips, ear hooks, or cases. Sometimes the manufacturer will offer different sizes of ear tips or ear hooks, so you can get the best possible fit. You can also purchase aftermarket accessories, like a strap to connect your AirPods or an extra charging case. Conclusion When picking out a pair of earbuds, keep in mind how, when, and where you’re going to be using them. If you’re going to be working out or frequently using your buds outdoors, look for features like stability, a good water resistance rating, good build quality, and good battery life. If you’re listening to music and making calls, look for the best audio quality, noise-canceling, and advanced microphone technology. Buying the most expensive pair of earbuds doesn’t guarantee you’ll be happy with your purchase. It’s best to carefully examine the design, features, and sound quality to determine the best buds for your individual lifestyle.