Bluetooth earbuds are the Goldilocks of the mobile audio world: not too fussy, not too expensive—juuuust right.
As Bluetooth earbuds don’t need to be plugged into a smartphone or tablet, you’ll have more freedom of movement untethered from your device, and needn’t worry about getting tangled up in the cord while you’re typing, working out at the gym, or grooving to music while making dinner.
Where corded earphones can only connect to one device at a time, Bluetooth devices can seamlessly switch between one audio source or another or even listen to multiple audio sources at the same time. Additionally, as the death knell sounds for audio jacks in mobile hardware, investing in a set of Bluetooth cans ensures you’ll be living a dongle-free, future-proof life for years to come.
Best Bluetooth earbuds 2020
- JayBird X4 Sport Wireless Earphones: Best overall; best for working out [amazon.com]
- Aukey EP-B40 Latitude Wireless Headphones: Best budget option [amazon.com]
- Shure SE535-V+BT1 Wireless Sound Isolating Earphones: Best for audiophiles [amazon.com]
- Bose QuietControl 30: Best for noise-canceling [amazon.com]
Truly wireless earbuds? We love them too (and even have a few favorites), but traditional Bluetooth earphones tend to be a better deal. While they’re not completely cable-free, Bluetooth earbuds typically offer better battery life and similar sound and features as truly wireless cans for a fraction of the price.
To help you find the perfect set of Bluetooth earphones, we’ve spent weeks researching and testing every set you’ll find included in this review hub. Regardless of whether you plan to use them for listening to music or podcasts or making hands-free calls, we’ve got you covered. Read on for justifications of our top picks, and scroll to the bottom for a list of all the Bluetooth earbuds we’ve reviewed.
Best overall Bluetooth earbuds
Jaybird’s X4 wireless sports earphones are reasonably priced, sound great, and boast enough features that most people will find a lot to like about them. (Read our full review here.) With their IPX7 rating, they can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes and still come out swinging. So go ahead and get caught in the rain, cover them in mud, or sweat at the gym. Once you rinse them off, you’ll be ready to use them again. The silicone ear caps and ear fins that ship with with make them crazy comfortable to wear and allow for a measure of situational awareness. Alternatively, you can use a set of included Comply foam ear tips with the X4s for some serious passive noise cancellation.
The Jaybird X4s make most types of music sound great. Thanks to Jaybird’s free MySound iOS app, users can tune the sound of the earphones to suit their particular tastes. The only knock against them is that the X4s use a proprietary charging cable to connect to its waterproof pogo port—but that’s a small issue for a largely outstanding set of earphones.
Best cheap Bluetooth earbuds
If you’re looking for a set of inexpensive earphones that won’t leave you embarrassed or frustrated, Aukey’s EP-B40 Latitude wireless earbuds are your huckleberry. Available for under $30, these surprisingly solid earbuds boast sound quality that bests headsets three times their price. Their subtle, mature styling belies their low price and, provided your audio source supports it, they’ll let you listen to your music using Qualcomm’s aptX technology. For the price, the EP-B40s’ audio performance can’t be matched.
Just keep in mind that these low-cost earbuds only provide between six and seven hours of use between charges. Additionally, we experienced a few minor connectivity problems during testing. As the EP-B40s only cost $28, though, these are easy issues to forgive.
Best Bluetooth earbuds for working out
Jaybird’s X4 wireless sports earphones aren’t just the best Bluetooth earphones for most people—they’re also an outstanding choice for anyone in need of a pair of earbuds to work out with. As they’re waterproof, they’ll stand up to sweat, mud, and even a rinse-off in the sink after your workout. They sound great and their adjustable equalizer lets you easily crank up the bass, and they offer adequate situational awareness for roadwork or while working out in a gym. Most importantly, they have a tendency to stay in your ears while you’re working out.
Best Bluetooth earbuds for audiophiles
At $399, Shure’s SE535+BT1 buds are far more expensive than most people are willing to pay for earphones, Bluetooth or otherwise. But they sound exceptional, offering full bass, a wide soundstage, and aural separation that makes listening to complex, layered music a joy.
These buds also ship with a wide variety of foam and silicone ear caps that provide a comfortable fit and a high level of passive noise cancellation. In contrast to most earphones, the earbuds can be popped off of the cables they’re attached to, making it easy to extend their life.
We don’t have a lot of unkind things to say about these earphones: At moderate volumes, they’ll only provide between six to seven hours of playback. As the amount of fidelity they offer is so high, you’ll be able to hear the flaws in subpar audio of the likes you’ll find embedded in YouTube videos or while streaming from SoundCloud. Additionally, they’re a little more difficult to put on than most earphones you’ll run into. But man, do they sound great.