The 7 Best True Wireless Earbuds to Buy in 2018

Ditch the wires once and for all

Gone are the days of hopelessly trying to untangle your knotted headphone cable. Bluetooth and battery technology has evolved leaps and bounds to gift us with truly wireless earphones. You no longer need to be tethered to your smartphone or sacrifice sound quality. And with that, comes ultimate freedom.

Today everyone from Sony to Samsung is entering the market, and with an increasing number of handset makers opting to ditch the headphone jack on new devices, it’s clear that truly wireless headphones are here to stay. So whether you seek superior sound or a worthy workout companion, you're sure to find a pair of true wireless earbuds that's just right for you.

Best Controls: Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless Earbuds & Charging Case

While the new Elite 65t drop some fancy features of the previous model, namely a built-in heart rate monitor, the paring down has allowed for a more streamlined design that is smaller and more comfortable. They are noise-isolating, so while they don’t have an active noise-cancelation feature like others, they do passively prevent ambient noise from leaking in. If you’re running or biking with these, you can activate the HearThrough transparency feature via the Jabra Sound+ companion app and adjust the amount of sound you wish to let in.

You can configure your earphones so that music automatically pauses when you remove the buds and resumes when you put them back in. On top of that, controls are a breeze: You can skip and repeat tracks by holding down the volume buttons on the left earbud. It also integrates seamlessly with Siri and Alexa, although unlike on an Amazon Echo, the dual microphones are not always listening, so you have to press and hold a button on the right earbud before you can issue a command.

Best Connectivity: Apple Airpods (Latest Version)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Apple’s AirPods have stellar connectivity. Their controversial design has been the butt of many jokes, but there’s no denying that they have become as iconic as the original wired Apple earbuds. The AirPods sit flush against the side of your face, which helps to keep them in place. While the sound quality isn’t on par with the offerings from high-end audio companies, Apple has hit the good-enough mark. And to be honest, those looking for superior sound quality aren’t generally in the market for true wireless earphones.

They don’t isolate external sound and offer just four hours of playback on a single charge, but their pairing and connectivity are second to none. And no matter how good a pair of wireless headphones sound, if they can’t maintain a connection, they’re useless. That makes Apple’s AirPods a worthy contender. 

Best for Running: Jaybird RUN True Wireless Headphones

For fitness fanatics, secure fit trumps most other features of true wireless headphones. After all, you don’t want to be fiddling with your earbuds every few steps and there’s no cord to prevent them from falling to the ground. The Jaybird RUN headphones solve this with a subtle fin design that hooks into the upper groove of your ear and rests so naturally that you’ll forget you’re wearing them. The sweat-resistant earphones also come with four sets of silicone tips as well as fin accessories, so you can find your perfect fit.

Beyond fit, runners will value the four-hour battery life, bolstered by an additional eight hours via the charging case. (In a hurry? You can get up to an hour’s worth of juice in just five minutes.) It pairs easily with a smartphone via Bluetooth and you can skip tracks by double-clicking the earbud button – though some complain that this gesture uncomfortably jams the bud into your ear canal. Still, they sound great for both music and podcasts and the sound profile can be customized with Jaybird’s mobile app.

Best Battery Life: Samsung Gear IconX (2018 Edition)

The updated version of Samsung’s Gear IconX makes many improvements over the first-generation model. This time, it nails the basics, like quality sound and a strong wireless connection. Where it blows us away, though, is in the battery life category. It boasts seven hours of continuous playback time when listening locally, though this is closer to five hours if you’re streaming over Bluetooth. On top of that, you can get up to an hour of juice in as little as 10 minutes via the charging case.

Samsung also packs on a slew of neat features for athletes, including compatibility with the Samsung Health app. This lets you track your runs through stats like distance, speed and calories burned. There’s also an audio coach that reads your current stats and even relays tips like “Lengthening your stride can increase your pace. Give it a try!” All in all, it strikes the sweet spot on features, making it one of our favorite pairs.

Best Design: B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8

The B&O Play true wireless earbuds have a premium design that doesn’t come cheap. They feature B&O’s signature design details, with no physical buttons but instead touch sensitive pads on each earbud. The leather clamshell carrying case is also a design feat, offering plenty of protection and two full charges beyond the earphone’s promised four hours.

Despite how small they are, they deliver crisp and clear sound with solid bass. We recommend fine-tuning the sound settings to your personal preference via the accompanying app and fiddling with the ear tips to make sure you have a proper seal, but once you’ve done so, you’ll be impressed by the sound this wireless set produces.

Best Fit: Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones - Black

Bose is known for creating comfortable headphones and the SoundSport Free are no exception. They come with three sizes of StayHear+ Sport tips, so you can find your preferred fit, and while they are designed mainly with athletes in mind, they work equally as well for daily use. Some Amazon reviewers find the earbuds to be a bit bulky, but others concede that they just take getting used to.

As far as sound goes, they produce terrific mid-range sound, punchy bass and bright highs. The open design of the wing tips means they don’t create a noise-isolating seal, which can be annoying in a noisy environment but is helpful in staying aware of your surroundings. A single charge will score you an impressive five hours of battery life, and the charging case, albeit rather clunky, will extend that 10 additional hours. Perhaps best yet, you can track lost earbuds with the Bose Connect app's "Find My Buds" feature.

While design, not sound quality, is often a priority of wireless headphones, that’s not at all the case with the Sony WF-1000X. They take noise-canceling to a level that rivals wired headsets. Through the app, you can decide whether you want to shut out all surrounding noises, let some ambient noise in or let only voices in. If you can’t make up your mind, you can make use of their Adaptive Sound Control feature, which calls on the gyroscopes in your smartphone to detect your activity and balance the noise-canceling accordingly.

On the inside, they pack 6mm drivers that deliver crisp, clear and balanced sound. On the outside, the design is subtle but smart. Each bud has one button; the right manages music playback and phone controls while the left handles power, pairing and noise-cancelation. Unfortunately, to adjust the volume, you’ll have to use your phone. Apart from that, it’s hard to find a flaw in the WF-1000X.

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