Best true wireless earbuds for 2021

True wireless earbuds are all the rage. Here are the top wire-free models you can buy right now.

The search for the best true wireless earbuds gets more challenging with every passing month. The category used to begin and end with Apple’s iconic AirPods, the best-seller in the category. These days, however, several rivals now offer superior audio quality, performance and battery life — not to mention compatibility with technology outside Apple’s device ecosystem. And with even more contenders on the way, the market for true wireless earbuds is getting seriously competitive.

This list focuses on the overall best wireless earbuds. (We also have lists for wireless headphones, the best-sounding true wireless earbuds and the best cheap true wireless earbuds.) For optimal performance, the best wireless earbuds need to feel comfortable, have an ergonomic design, and fit right with a tight seal. If you can’t get a snug earbud fit with in-ear headphones, you’ll be sadly disappointed and feel ripped off, which is why I suggest buying your pair of wireless earbuds from a vendor with a decent return policy, such as Amazon. This also helps if the earbuds don’t meet other expectations, from ambient sound cancellation to touch control to how long they last on a single charge. I’ll update this list regularly as we review new wireless earbuds.

Best noise-canceling earbuds Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

It took Bose quite a while to get them into stores, but the new $279 noise-canceling QuietComfort Earbuds are finally here. In many ways, they’re excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and noise canceling, which is arguably the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. Performance-wise, they clearly have a leg up on Apple’s best-selling AirPods Pro true wireless noise-canceling buds. However, the AirPods Pro’s smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are.

Noise-canceling Samsung Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s recent Galaxy true-wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds Plus fit my ears really well and have become one of the better true-wireless values, sometimes selling for less than $100 online. And the Galaxy Buds Live, also discounted a bit since their original debut, feature a discreet and innovative “open” design and I like to use them for running and biking. Now the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro — Samsung’s long-awaited active noise-canceling model — have arrived with upgraded sound and high expectations. (Yes, the Buds Live also have noise canceling, but it’s rather modest.)

The Buds Pro are mostly impressive, although just how good you think they are will ultimately depend on how well they fit your ears. The other caveat is that Samsung’s new 360 Audio virtual surround feature (similar to Apple’s spatial audio) only works with Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 models. I do expect that over time firmware upgrades will offer small improvement and we’ll see some discounts sooner rather than later.

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