With great battery life, a wireless charging case option, and “Hey Siri” hands-free calling, you can see why true wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods are so popular. But if you want an AirPods alternative, what’s the best pair? If you’re looking for a sporty, cheap, or great-sounding headphone, then this site is for you.
1. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II True Wireless
The best AirPods alternative we’ve tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless. These in-ears rival the premium Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, with better active noise cancellation (ANC) to block out more background noise across the range. They feature a U-shaped sound profile that adds bass and adds extra boom and boom to your audio, making them perfect for genres like EDM or hip-hop. Your companion app offers three ANC settings and a graphic EQ with presets for ultimate personalization.
Although their stems are thicker, this is a small benefit as the control surface is also larger, making input easier. These headphones also have a similar level of comfort, so you can wear them for long periods of time without getting tired. They’re also slightly sturdier, which means they’re less likely to come off during exercise. While the AirPods’ battery life is shorter than the Bose’s 6.7 hours of playback time, the AirPods have an extra charge in their charging case, which means they last slightly longer overall.
2. JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless
The best AirPods Pro alternative we’ve tested in the mid- to high-end price segment is the JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless. These lightweight in-ears feature the same design as the AirPods, and once you find a snug fit with the included eartips, they’re surprisingly comfortable and stable. They are IPX4 rated for dust and water resistance and are durable enough to withstand accidental drops, making them ideal for fitness enthusiasts and hikers.
Out of the box, their sound profile has a more bass-heavy sound profile than the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) Truly Wireless, adding pop, rumble, and boom that will please bass-heavy things like EDM and hip-hop Genre fans. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize it with the companion app’s parametric equalizer and presets. While JBL’s ANC system does a good job of blocking out ambient noise, the AirPods do a better job of blocking out more overall noise.
3. Sony WF-1000XM4
With the new WF-1000XM4, Sony has managed to build on the massive success of the WF-1000XM3 (below), producing a pair of blockbuster AirPods alternatives.
Dynamics and detail in spades, it’s a well-balanced performance with tight, precise bass notes and refined, complex vocals. They couldn’t help but be carried away by their musical sense.
Anyone who relies on the battery life of an AirPods alternative will find Sony’s promised eight hours more than enough. The wireless charging case extends that for another 16 hours.
The Sony headphones are also comfortable to wear, with touch-sensitive controls and ear tips that offer excellent sound isolation. Add to that the excellent noise cancellation brought about by Sony’s V1 onboard processor, and the WF-1000XM4 can’t be faulted.
Includes IPX4 water resistance, and smart features like Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat, allowing you to carry on a conversation without removing the earbuds. If you’re shopping for a pair of AirPods replacements this year, go for the WF-1000XM4.
4. Panasonic RZ-S500W
When you think of the best AirPods alternatives, the Anasonic brand doesn’t immediately come to mind. But maybe that’s the way it should be. The RZ-S500W is the company’s first foray into the market and offers an amazing value for money.
The specs are well-rounded, with noise-canceling technology, ambient mode, dual microphones for voice calls, and a total battery life of 19.5 hours (6.5 hours with the earphones and 13 hours with the charging case). 15 minutes of USB-C fast charging can provide 70 minutes of playback. The touch controls on each earbud are responsive and intuitive, letting you control your music and switch between noise-canceling modes with ease.
You also get five sizes of ear tips for an improved fit. We’ve found that to be a bit of a gamble, so we’ll definitely experiment and consider mixing sizes if it means achieving a more secure fit.
Noise cancellation and sound quality are both excellent. There’s a lot of flexibility in the bottom end, and a lot of texture in the frequencies. Music sounds clear and with a lot of refinement, which is welcome at this price point. All in all, these Panasonic AirPods alternatives are great value for money.
5. OnePlus Buds Pro
The OnePlus Buds Pro are a super chic pair of earbuds that look great, are comfortable to wear, and come with a premium charging case that allows for incredibly fast charging, with up to 10 hours of playback on a 10-minute charge.
It also sounds great, handling a variety of sources and styles, and offering multiple modes to tweak your listening profile. But the feature that really stands out is its active noise-canceling performance, which isn’t exactly better than the best noise-canceling headphones, but it’s better than the AirPods Pro in this regard. Additional services for OnePlus users include Game Mode and Quick Pair. If you have a OnePlus phone, this is a great option.