Top Rated Bluetooth Earbuds 2021: Review and Comparison

If you are looking for the best Bluetooth headsets of 2021, you came to the right place. Below we provide a comparison and review of several of the best Earbuds on the market. We give you information on noise cancellation, in-ear detection, Bluetooth version weight, and size. All these features are related to in-ear headphones and should help make your purchasing decision a bit easier.

This product category, especially true wireless, along with other wearables such as smart bands and smartwatches, is becoming increasingly popular. Unsurprisingly, alongside traditional audio industry brands, tech greats are also focusing on the sector (Apple, Google, and even Amazon). These are no longer accessories for listening to music or for making calls, but real technologically advanced gadgets full of features that allow us to control various aspects of our life (especially if you think about those that integrate voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri).

Need Fast Facts? Consult the table below and click on the item you are interested.

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Best Bluetooth Earphones 2021 Comparison Chart

Product Reviews

Features you should look for when choosing Bluetooth headsets

This comparison is focused on true wireless models, with a comparison chart of mid-to-high-end models.

Among the best wireless Bluetooth headsets we present: 

⦁ Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

⦁ Jabra Elite 75t Active

⦁ Sennheiser Momentum 2 Wireless

⦁ Sony WH-1000XM3

⦁ Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

⦁ Apple Aipods Pro

Model comparison of the best wireless Bluetooth Earbuds:

Top Wireless EarBudsBluetoothActive Noise CancellationCustomizable EQIn-Ear Detection (auto play / pause)WeightDimensionsProduct Link
SamSungGalaxyLive
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
5.0YesFactory SettingsOnly if both buds removed1.41 oz2.42 x 5.55 x 7.01 in.Product Link100
Jabra Elite 75t
Jabra Elite 75t Active
5.0NoYesYes1.62 oz0.86 x 0.76 x 0.64 in.Product Link100
SennheiserMomentum2
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
5.1YesYesYes0.5 oz0.882" x 0.737" in.Product Link100
SonyWF1000xm3
Sony WF-1000XM3 (TWS)
5.0YesYesYes0.6 oz1.31" x 0.723" in.Product Link100
BoseQuiteComfort
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
5.1YesNoYes0.6 oz1.336" x 0.786" in.Product Link100
AppleAirPods
Apple AirPods Pro
5.0YesYesYes3.8 oz0.86" x 1.22" in.Product Link100

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: the earphones with an innovative (and comfortable) design.

Rated best design Bluetooth earphones

Other features: IP class: IPX2 | Driver : 12mm | Battery Life : 6 h, 21 h in total (case)

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are the company’s new Bluetooth earphones, successors of the now-famous Buds and Buds Plus. The most interesting aspect certainly concerns the innovative bean-shaped design, which makes them among the most ergonomic and comfortable on the market. 

The aesthetics are in fact designed to overcome the limits of the classic in-ear design: just insert them in the ear and rotate them to find the most suitable position. The headset is very light and the seal is stable, even while running.

Unfortunately, however, like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, these earphones are not water-resistant (only to sweat) and have an IPX2 protection class (protected against falling drops of water with a maximum inclination of 15 °). 

Compared to previous versions, Buds Live offers active noise cancellation, which remains at unconvincing levels, especially when compared to other earbuds (see Sony). However, they do a decent job on calls. The sound performance, with their 12mm drivers, is clean and satisfying, with very powerful bass although. We will say that audio quality is not exactly its strong point, considering the list price.   

One positive aspect is full compatibility with Android and iOS ecosystems (Samsung Wearable app), which makes them an ideal choice for Apple users as well. Through the app, you can customize a series of settings. For example, you can choose the most suitable equalization profile for the type of music you are listening to (6 presets, manual customization not possible) or decide what to control by pressing and holding (the only customizable touch control).

As for the supported codecs, in addition to AAC and SBC, Buds Plus supports the Samsung Scalable Codec (a proprietary codec of Samsung smartphones similar to aptX) but not aptX. On Samsung smartphones, it is also possible to invoke the Bixby voice assistant. 

As for battery life, the declared one is 6 hours; with the charging case (wireless is also supported) it should reach about 20 hours in total.

PROS:

  • Comfortable and innovative design
  • Good battery life and supported wireless charging
  • Bluetooth 5.0, AAC support
  • Compatible with both android and iOS systems

CONS:

  • IPX2 class
  • It does not support aptX and can be improved audio quality / price ratio

Approximate Price: $109.99

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Jabra Elite 75t: versatile true wireless

Other Features: IP class: IP55 | Driver : 6 mm | Battery Life : 7 h, 28 h in total (case)

Among the best true wireless earphones, we find Jabra Elite 75t, the upgraded version of the 65t (they are more compact and offer more battery life than the latter). Suitable for every need, they are among the most versatile, as they offer a good combination of audio quality, comfort, smart functions, and phone call quality. 

The design is very discreet but gives them an air of premium quality, confirmed by the use of quality materials. These wireless Bluetooth headsets are resistant to water, sweat and dust (IP55 protection class).

With 6mm drivers, we can define the overall audio performance as rather good and suitable for any type of music: the sound is strong and clean and the bass is really amazing. Music can be heard even with the softest profiles. It is also possible to customize your listening experience through the equalizer in the app.

The noise cancellation, even if passive, is excellent and it is also possible to activate (from the app) the Hear Through function which allows you to limit the isolation and hear environmental noises (while running, etc.).

Using the Jabra Sound + app you can control other features, including choosing a voice assistant, adjusting the volume of calls, and activating automatic pause/play when the headphones are removed/worn. 

The battery life is about 7 hours and the case allows 4 recharges, so we are talking about 28 hours in total. Finally, the possibility of associating the headphones to two devices at the same time is also good (although sometimes the operation is not quite fluid).

For sports enthusiasts, the company offers a valid (slightly older) alternative dedicated to sport that also features the heart rate monitor, Jabra Elite Sport .

PROS:

  • Good battery life 
  • Good audio quality, with deep bass
  • Resistance to water and dust (IP55)
  • Pairing with 2 devices at the same time 
  • Great functionality (auto stop / resume playback, customization of equalization, etc.)

CONS:

  • It does not support aptX
  • It has no active noise cancellation 

Approximate Price: $149.00

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2: the top-of-the-range music earphones best top-of-the-range true wireless earphones.

Other Features: IP class: IPX4 | Driver : 7 mm | Battery Life : 7 h, 21 h in total (case)

Music lovers will undoubtedly appreciate the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. The new version of these wireless Bluetooth earphones features a more compact and lightweight design, better battery life, and excellent sound quality. One of the best features is the active noise cancellation, which works quite well even if it does not reach Sony levels. 

The design is very refined with a rounded shape, a fabric case, and materials that immediately give the idea of ​​great build quality. They are in fact resistant to sweat and splashes (IPX4 class).

As for ergonomics, these are very light and rather comfortable earphones, even if they could be unsuitable and a bit bulky for those with small ears. The touch controls are quite practical even if the default ones may appear less fluid; however, it is possible to customize them in the dedicated app. 

With 7mm drivers, the sound performance is excellent, rich, and balanced, with an excellent soundstage and a detailed sound without particular predominance between bass, mids, and highs. In the app, you can customize the equalizer, as well as activate the Transparency Mode, which allows you to pass the surrounding environmental noises (useful during a run or walk in the city, for example). Good call quality although not as great as with other models.

In terms of battery life, the Sennheiser Momentum earphones offer 7 hours of continuous playback, while the charging case offers an additional 21 hours (wireless charging not supported). 

The connection is also very stable thanks to Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and the support for advanced audio codecs such as AAC and aptX is also very popular. 

PROS:

  • Bluetooth 5.1, support advanced codecs (AAC and aptX)
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Excellent audio quality 
  • Comfortable and light
  • Sophisticated design

CONS:

  • Price

Approximate Price: $249.00

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Sony WF-1000MX3: among the best in ear headphones for reliability

Other Feature: IP class: not waterproof | Driver: 6 mm | Battery Life: 6 h, 24 h in total (case)

These Sony WF-1000XM3 are the TWS version of the very popular Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth over-ear headphones, among the best with active noise cancellation. Of course, you will never have total noise suppression (this not even in over-ear headphones), but they manage to isolate the surrounding noises well.

These wearables also have a refined design and great structural solidity, although they do not have any coating that protects them from sweat/water. Thanks to their peculiar shape they are very comfortable, even after a few hours; supplied are various rubber pads (4 in silicone and 3 in memory foam).

As for the audio quality, superb, even without noise-canceling enabled. The sound is rich, deep, well defined, with soundstage and separation of the instruments being clear and detailed.

In the app, among other things, you can configure the equalizer, customize the controls and set the adaptive sound (which adapts the ambient sound/noise canceling according to the surrounding environment). Thanks to the proximity sensor, even these wireless earphones are able to stop/resume the music when they are removed or worn, making the user experience pleasant and immediate. The quality of the microphones and calls is quite satisfactory.

In terms of battery life, the declared length is 6 hours (in practice it easily reaches 5 hours), which can increase up to 8 without the ANC activated. The case guarantees 3 recharges (therefore 24 hours of playback in total).

Excellent connection stability (Bluetooth 5.0); pity instead for the absence of support for aptX (lack mitigated however by the excellent sound quality).

PROS:

  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • Excellent overall audio quality
  • Good functionality and level of customization
  • Fluid and intuitive touch controls
  • Sophisticated yet comfortable design

CONS:

  • They don’t support aptX
  • Not water resistant
  • A little bulky case

Approximate Price: $228.00

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Best Noise Canceling Bluetooth Earphones

Other Features: IP class: IPX4 | Driver : nd | Battery Life : 6 h, 18 h in total (case)

New to the market, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds can be considered the best Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation.

With a design that already allows for good passive noise reduction which denotes an excellent build quality, they are ideal for sport and racing, given the IPX4 protection certification. The Bose Earbuds are very comfortable and stable in the ear, even on the move.

Of course, given the larger footprint compared to other models, these are not suitable earbuds for everyone. The case also has large dimensions but a plus in this sense is the possibility of wireless charging. The battery life is about 6 hours and the case should guarantee two more recharges for a total of 18 hours. 

On these wireless earphones, there is no physical button, so the controls are entirely touch: it is possible, for example, to go on with the songs, answer calls, play/pause but not adjust the volume. Through the Bose Music app for Android and iOS, it will be possible to select the noise-canceling levels to be recalled with the quick command (left earphone), activate the voice assistant of the smartphone, and enable/disable the proximity sensor. 

As for active noise cancellation, 10 levels are available (however, only 3 can be stored as default) and the performance in this sense can go beyond that of rivals. It follows that the audio quality is also top of the range, with a very balanced rendering and a rich and clean sound on all frequencies (the bass is very powerful); a performance quite comparable to the Sennheisers described above. On the other hand, the consumer pays a considerable price for audio like this. 

The call quality is pretty good even if it doesn’t reach the performance of the Airpods Pro (we will see them in the next lines). Like the Sony, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds also have a Bluetooth 5.1 connection (very stable) but do not support aptX. 

PROS:

  • The best active noise cancellation (as well as passive thanks to the particular design)
  • Build quality and water resistance (IPX4)
  • Excellent, top-of-the-range audio quality
  • Comfortable and stable

CONS:

  • They don’t support aptX
  • Bulky design and case
  • Touch control compartment in some ways improved 

Approximate Price: $279.00

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Apple AirPods PROS: Best Bluetooth Earphones for iPhone apple airpods pro best true wireless

Other Features: IP class: IPX4 | Driver : nd | Battery Life : 4.5 h, 24 h in total (case)

If you have a high budget and want to push the limits of the classic version offered by the Cupertino company, the Apple AirPods Pro are definitely the best Bluetooth headphones for iPhone.

Compared to the AirPods 2, the AirPods Pro offers a series of features that make them complete and among the best TWS ever (even if it is a product obviously recommended for Apple users in the first place ).

First of all, they are resistant to water and sweat (IPX4 certification) and have silicone pads and therefore different adapters/rubber pads as well as a renewed design. They are in fact more stable and comfortable, even during physical activity.

A key feature then concerns active noise cancellation. As we explain in the second part of the guide, these earphones are therefore able to perceive external noises and send an opposite signal capable of canceling them: isolation is guaranteed.

The sound quality is far superior to the Airpods 2, with an adaptive equalization that makes the sound balanced and pleasant. The bass gains depth, also thanks to the noise cancellation.

Call quality (already good in the standard version) is improved.

Apple AirPods integrate a pressure sensor that you can press to activate Transparency mode and let external sounds through.

In terms of connection, setup, and overall performance, the standards are high, just like in the previous model. As can be expected, the integration with Siri and iPhone is unrivaled. 

The battery life remains almost unchanged: 4.5 hours with a charge, more than 24 hours overall with the wireless charging case supplied.

PROS:

  • Active noise cancellation
  • Comfortable and water resistant, suitable for sports
  • Excellent audio quality
  • The best for Apple and Siri users

CONS:

  • Price
  • It does not support aptX

Approximate Price: $249.00

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How to choose Bluetooth headsets

Design and Ergonomics

The first factor to consider before purchasing these devices is a direct consequence of the design, namely ergonomics. Bluetooth headsets, like Bluetooth headphones, are real objects of wearable technology and, as such, they must be comfortable.

In other words, the wearer of the earphones must not perceive an annoying object inserted in their ear canal. The shape of the latter, in fact, differs from person to person.

Therefore, earphones may be comfortable for one person, while another may perceive them as annoying and bulky. Also for this reason, different rubber pads / adapters are often supplied.

In-ear vs in-ear canal

The first element to evaluate the comfort of the earphones is undoubtedly the type of in-ear canal earphone. In fact, we can distinguish between in-ear earphones and in-ear canal earphones.

The former remember how Apple AirPods form. Therefore, they must not be inserted deep into the ear canal. They are therefore very comfortable (almost not perceived by the ear), but certainly not very stable and with limited acoustic insulation.

In contrast, canal in-ear headphones are inserted deeper and are currently the most popular product sub-category.

This type of earphones offers excellent stability and improved sound insulation.

Dimensions

Among the most relevant factors to evaluate the comfort of the earphones are the size and weight of the devices.

These may vary from model to model, but most of the products on the market are very small. However, headsets with physical controls turn out to be, as a rule, larger than those with touch technologies.

Performance

Of course, audio performance plays a major role in the choice. Unfortunately, manufacturers provide less and less technical information on earphones, making it quite difficult to judge devices based on objective data. Often, it is necessary to rely on the reputation of the brand itself and on the feedback available online.

The audio performance of Bluetooth wireless headsets is determined by several criteria. Let’s see the most important ones below.

Frequency Response

For any device that uses a standard speaker driver, the Hz-KHz value is the range of audible sound vibrations that the speaker can produce. It’s generally labeled as the “frequency response” and expressed in hertz, with kilohertz being a thousand hertz. So the typical frequency response for headphones, twenty hertz to twenty thousand hertz, is quite full indeed. More expensive models can go even higher and lower

Best In-Ear-Headphones: Frequency Response

Source: howtogeek.com

Any sound belonging to this range is audible, although other factors must also be taken into account, such as the age of the subject. In fact, with the passing of the years, hearing loses the ability to detect sounds with higher frequency, also influencing any judgment on the performance of a pair of Bluetooth headsets.

When purchasing Bluetooth headphones, it is advisable to choose models that have a frequency response within the range mentioned above.

Impedance

Another criterion for evaluating the audio performance of Bluetooth headsets is certainly impedance .

This indicates the resistance that the audio signal encounters in the coil located inside the headset. It is measured in Ohms and, generally, higher impedance values ​​correspond to better sound quality.

On the contrary, the value of the impedance is inversely proportional to the performance in terms of volume (the greater the obstacle the sound must overcome, the more difficult it is to reach high reproduction volumes).

To make the right choice, we recommend that you focus on products that have an impedance of at least 30 Ohms. This should indeed be sufficient to offer good audio quality.

Driver

Drivers, such as when buying Bluetooth soundbars and speakers , are one of the most decisive factors. This is the physical element placed inside the earphones, capable of transforming the electrical signal into sound. In other words, they are the speakers placed inside the ear-plugs.

Obviously, the larger their size, the more powerful the sound will be. However, today’s drivers are able to achieve excellent performance, while maintaining rather small dimensions (15 mm ca).

Functions

The Bluetooth headsets, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, connect to our smartphone (“pairing”) and offer the possibility to manage some of its functions.

In fact, this type of earphones has physical or touch controls (in the first case we often talk about a button placed on the plug itself).

Of course, the features change based on the headset model chosen, but in most cases they include:

Turn on / off the earphones

Change song being played

Answer / end calls

Activate the voice assistant

Raise / lower volume

Enable NFC

Microphone and calls

True wireless headphones are also devices capable of making our calls more comfortable when we are on the move, obviously thanks to the integrated microphone.

In addition, the physical or touch commands of the device allow you to answer or close the line easily, without putting your hand on the phone. To evaluate the quality of your phone calls, you need to focus on the power of the microphone , the noise isolation and the stability of the Bluetooth connection.

Additional Features and Control Apps

Apart from the functions that can be managed directly from the earphones, it is also good to consider the presence of apps to be associated and the additional features they offer.

In fact, the brands of the best Bluetooth headsets offer dedicated apps where you can directly control the settings from your smartphone, adjust the equalizer, customize the buttons or access some additional information.

For example, some models dedicated to sportsmen (see Jabra Elite Sport) integrate accelerometer and heart rate monitor and allow you to track physical activity directly in the app, just like in other specialized fitness tracking apps.

Batter Life and Recharge

Bluetooth headsets are powered by a rechargeable battery. Charging takes place via the supplied bases or micro-USB cables, or, in the case of true wireless, thanks to the portable case that guarantees further battery life, even when you are away from home.

In this case, once the earphones are placed in the special compartments, the devices will enter charging mode. Obviously, in order to carry out this operation, the case must be previously charged by connecting it to the power supply.

The greater the capacity of the battery built into the case, the more energy it will be able to deliver to the earphones. The cases of the best true wireless models can store energy equal to 15-20 hours of playback.

Batter Life Bluetooth Earphones

True wireless Earphone Charging Case

Speech apart from that on the battery life of the earphones themselves. The best true wireless Bluetooth headsets are able to reach very high autonomies, even over 8 hours of continuous use. Going down in price, there are still satisfactory solutions, with a battery life of about 2-3 hours.

As for the non-true wireless models, charging varies from 5 to 8 hours.

Also in this case, it is necessary to understand what your needs are and the use you intend to make of the product, in order to choose the best Bluetooth headset for your needs.

Of course, thanks to the presence of the charging case, it is advisable to choose true wireless models if you are looking for a longer range.

Noise Cancellation

The noise cancellation or noise canceling is a much sought after feature in headphones and earphones in the last generation. However, a first distinction needs to be made between passive and active noise canceling.

Passive noise-cancellation, otherwise known simply as noise isolation, is the method of filtering out noise by relying purely on the hardware alone. Headphones designed to make a tight seal around the ears to drastically reduce noise would be an example. Active noise-cancellation (ANC), on the other hand, is more effective in dealing with constant, repetitive low-frequency noise, such as the buzzing sound of an airplane engine, or the humming noise of a refrigerator, using the headphone’s software and mics.

Source: Screenrant.com

In other words, the earphones with ANC integrate a microphone capable of detecting the frequencies of external sounds, in order to cancel them by emitting opposite frequencies.

This is particularly useful in situations with fairly uniform and persistent background noise, for example on public transport or on an airplane.

ANC technology still belongs to high-end models, but it is a feature that can profoundly change the judgment on a Bluetooth headset.

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