Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords

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Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires—a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. You no longer have to deal with cords if you don’t want to. True wireless earbuds connect to one another and your audio source via Bluetooth.

True wireless earbuds cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

No wires mean no inline microphones or controls, but truly wireless earbuds sound just as good as traditional Bluetooth counterparts (for better or worse). They also boast all of the features we’ve come to expect from earbuds designed to work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Since Apple’s AirPods became a runaway hit, an endless stream of companies have rolled out their own true wireless earbuds and earphones. As you might expect, not all of them are worth your time or money—so we’ve got your back with buying suggestions to meet a wide variety of needs.

Latest update (10/18/19): Added our reviews of the Ausounds AU Stream ANC and Monoprice True Wireless Earbuds (model 30878), which is our new pick for best budget earbuds.

Best true wireless earbuds

There are plenty of good true wireless earbuds out there in the sub-$200 range, but none quite deliver the “whole package” for iPhone and iPad users like Apple’s 2nd-generation AirPods.

These near-ubiquitous wireless earbuds are unmatched in their compact design and ease of use. They maintain a rock-steady connection, slick design, plenty of comfort, good battery life, and pleasing sound quality. Yes, you can buy similarly-priced wireless earbuds that beat the AirPods in one or two of these aspects, but Apple’s product is placed right in the sweet spot, and nobody offers a better total solution for Apple fans.

Apple has recently replaced the original AirPods with a new second-generation model, which adds a surprisingly useful hands-free “Hey Siri” activation, faster pairing and switching, and better battery life when talking on the phone. You can also get an optional wireless charging case for $40 more, but it’s not really worth it.

If you have very particular needs, like supreme sound quality or a really rugged workout build, you might want to look elsewhere. For the average listener with an iPhone, though, the new AirPods will be tough to beat.