Select Page
The Best Wireless Earbuds for Every Need

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Every Need

wireless earbuds are one of those ideas that sounded like a dream at first: Pop a little headphone into each ear and listen to music or take calls untethered from everything. The first wireless buds were gigantic, died after a few hours, and had a bunch of other problems. Luckily, times have changed. There are tons of new models that sound fabulous and work perfectly. After testing dozens over the past four years, these are our favorite wireless earbuds right now, in a wide range of styles and prices.

For more top picks, check out our other product guides, like the Best Wireless Headphones, Best Noise-Canceling Headphones, Best Cheap Headphones, and Best Workout Earbuds.

Updated September 2022: We’ve added the Google Pixel Buds Pro, Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro, and Astell & Kern UW100.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones to Escape Reality

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones to Escape Reality

Shaking off the world and sinking into a new album can feel like a train ride through the countryside … unless you’re sharing that seat with two young toddlers. Or your neighbor’s dog is constantly barking. Come to think of it, there are a lot of sounds that can ruin a good song in the work-from-home era. That’s why we have headphones that isolate and actively cancel out noise. Below are the best noise-canceling cans and buds you can buy, handpicked and tested by the Gear team here at WIRED.

Not seeing something you like? Be sure to check out our other guides, like the Best Wirefree Earbuds, Best Workout Earbuds, and Best Wireless Headphones.

Updated February 2022: We’ve added the Beats Fit Pro and Jabra Elite 7 Active.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Working Out

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Working Out

Luxurious over-the-ear headphones are plush and comfortable, and they sound great. But for most everyday activities—working out, traveling, and wandering around my house pretending to put things away—I much prefer a pair of convenient, durable, wireless workout buds. Since I started testing them, their sound and comfort have improved dramatically. I trail run, hike, work on my yard, lift weights, and watch mildly embarrassing barre and yoga videos on my laptop, all while testing the best wireless workout headphones around.

If you like listening to music while scrambling up stony slopes or mowing your lawn, here are a bunch of WIRED’s favorite pairs. We’ve worn and sweated on all of them. Don’t see anything you like? Check out our Best Wirefree Earbuds, Best Cheap Headphones, Best Bluetooth Speakers, or any of our other buying guides for more.

Updated February 2022: We removed older picks and added new ones, like the Shokz OpenRun Pro.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

The prices for both Samsung foldables have come down considerably, with the Fold3 going for $1,799 and the Flip3 starting at $1,000. If you preorder the Fold3, you’ll get $200 in Samsung Credit for Samsung.com, and it’s $150 if you snag the Flip3. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic

Samsung watches

The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (left, in blue) starts at $250. The Watch4 Classic (right, in white) starts at $350.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Samsung is going in a new direction with its smartwatches. Rather than relying on its bespoke Tizen operating system and asking developers to create versions of their apps that only run on Samsung devices, it’s embracing Google’s Wear OS operating system. The company codeveloped the software alongside Fitbit, the Google-owned wearable maker. That means Samsung watch fans gain access to more useful apps, such as Google Maps. And, given the popularity of Samsung’s smartwatches, the move could potentially encourage more developers to build apps for Wear OS, something Google has always struggled with.

The new Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic have user interfaces that look and feel very much like previous Samsung smartwatches, but there are many changes under the hood and some subtle tweaks that make them easier to use. For example, tapping the button on the side of the watch lets you access recently-opened apps. Both watches are powered by a 5-nanometer Samsung processor, and they have higher-resolution screens, 16 gigs of storage, up to 40 hours of battery life, and wireless fast charging.

More importantly, Samsung’s BioActive smartwatch sensor has been redesigned to sit closer to the skin, thereby improving the health tracking abilities of the watches. The sensor can still measure electrocardiograms, blood pressure, and VO2 Max readings, but it’s faster at automatically recognizing workouts. It also offers more accurate calorie counts, and it now includes bioelectric impedance analysis, which lets you see granular body composition data such as skeletal muscle, body fat, and fat mass.

Samsung says sleep tracking on its watches has improved too. The watches work with Samsung’s Galaxy phones for snore detection (using the phone’s mics to pick up the sound of you sawing logs) while collecting blood oxygen data via the watch’s sensor once per minute for more detailed sleep analysis.

The base Galaxy Watch4 replaces Samsung’s previous Active line. The new watch doesn’t have a mechanical bezel, but rather a digital one. (You can slide your finger around the edge of the screen to scroll through the interface.) I think it’s better looking than the Classic, and it has a tantalizing price: It starts at $250 for the Bluetooth version but adding LTE connectivity costs $50 more. It comes in 40- or 44-mm sizes. 

Amazon’s New Buds Make It Easier to Summon Alexa Than Ever

Amazon’s New Buds Make It Easier to Summon Alexa Than Ever

If you’re in love with Alexa, Amazon’s first-generation Echo Buds were a great pair of headphones. Sure, they didn’t have the same sound quality or noise-canceling abilities as premium options from Apple and Samsung, but they were cheap, decent, and worked better with Amazon’s voice assistant than any other pair.

With its second generation, the Seattle-based tech giant refines its buds to something even more competitive. Wireless charging and noise-canceling join a brand-new pair of 5.7-mm drivers and beamforming microphones to create what’s probably the best overall experience in wireless earbuds below $150.

Add to that some of the best app integration available today, and the new Echo Buds are some of my favorite jack-of-all-trades headphones.

New for Gen Two

The new Echo Buds don’t really resemble their predecessors, apart from being made from the same matte plastic. The old case was more flat than tall, with the earbuds sitting at an angle inside, while the new wireless charging case is tall and thin.

They look and feel more streamlined. The buds themselves are now totally round on the outside, and what previously were two shiny, raised touch controls are now indistinguishable from the rest of the headphones, save for the Amazon arrow logo.

Noise-canceling chips, new mics, and better drivers mean the new Echo Buds feel a touch bulky, though they’re still 21 percent smaller than their predecessors. Still, I had no problem with them in my average-sized earholes; they land firmly in the post-Frankenstein’s Monster era of wireless earbuds.

Finding the right fit is a big priority for Amazon. Pop open the case, pair them to the Alexa app on your phone, and it’ll make sure that you’ve chosen the right ear tip size (Amazon includes four options, as well as two sizes of silicone earfins), thanks to a fit test inside the app.

Amazon Echo Buds and ear tips
Photograph: Amazon

I like the Echo Buds’ fit a bit more than AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends), because they don’t have the little elephant trunks of the AirPods, but I’ve got to hand it to Apple on noise-canceling. Even with the wrong size of eartips on Apple’s flagship earbuds, they reduce background noise noticeably better than these Amazon buds. Still, the Echo Buds beat AirPods Pro on battery life (5 hours with noise-canceling to Apple’s 4), and they come with a quick charging capability that will get you 2 hours of listening with a 15-minute trip to the wall.

As with most non-Apple headphones, the Echo Buds work better with Android phones than iPhones, though they are compatible with Siri and Google Assistant, in addition to Amazon’s own helper. I spent the vast majority of my listening time using a Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G that Samsung provided me on long-term loan, and they worked flawlessly. I even paired them to my Galaxy Watch with ease.

Alexa Onboard

If you like Alexa. the best part about the buds is how easy they make it to summon Amazon’s AI assistant. I liked using the Echo Buds to set timers, check the weather before runs, and check my schedule with my hands free.

Obviously, your mileage will vary based on how much you like voice assistants and Alexa in particular, but it’s worth trying the voice-activation feature before you turn it off.