Wireless earbuds are all in the rage right now. They’re great for you if you like to listen to music while relaxing in your room, hear an audiobook while dealing with heavy traffic, play energizing tunes while working out, or make phone calls or video calls. Adding their compact size, cordless design, amazing smart controls, and seamless connectivity, it’s no surprise that they continue to rise in popularity and get more advanced as technology gets better.
With that, many headphone manufacturers are getting frantic to release a pair in the market. While it’s a good thing to have many options available, not all their products are made equal. Some of them are good, but there are also really terrible ones. As such, it’s important that you devote extra caution to avoid having a dreadful unit.
But ease your worries, though! We’ve collated this guide to help you select the best wireless earbuds. All these will help you make the task less daunting and confusing and ensure that you’ll end up successful in your quest of finding the perfect pair. Let’s get going.
Benefits of Wireless Earbuds
Before anything else, it’s important to know why choosing wireless earbuds is a good decision. While you can always opt for their corded earphones or overhead headphones, wireless earbuds offer a lot of incredible benefits that topple their counterparts.
1. No more wires
Wireless earbuds eliminate the hassle of tangling cords and the tether to your smartphone. They get rid of the wide array of inconveniences that interconnecting cables brings, especially at the gym where having cords is extremely the worst. Wireless earbuds are almost ready to be used quickly as soon as you take them out, making things a whole lot more convenient. Plus, modern phones are now also ditching away the 3.5mm headphone jacks, so they’re also now evolving to be a genuine necessity.
2. More freedom of movement
Having no wires also means more freedom of movement. You can exercise, dance, work, do the dishes, sort out the laundry, or do any other tasks without the need to hold your smartphone. You have the freedom to move around the gym, the house, or the great outdoors without the worries of the cords getting snarled on anything. In other words, you can listen to your favorite music, answer calls, and resume playback whenever and wherever you want to.
3. Comfortable and Secure
Most wireless earbuds are ergonomically designed to provide the utmost comfort and the best, secure fit. That means that you can enjoy a scary movie in the middle of the night, or listen to music while walking your dog in the park without your ears hurting or your wireless earbuds constantly falling off.
4. Excellent Sound
Along with the wonders of technology, wireless audio is ceaseless in its advancement. Gone are the days when high-quality sound was only achieved by wired devices. Now, you can listen to robust, high-quality sound from wireless earbuds. Pull off your wireless earbuds and immerse in the excellent sound they provide.
5. Awesome functionalities and features
Aside from boasting great sound, good quality wireless earbuds also come with a number of incredible functionalities and features like noise canceling technology, EQ presets, bass boosting options, and amazing controls and gestures, making it more ideal to go wireless given all the incredible add-ons and capabilities these devices offer.
Tips for Selecting Wireless Earbuds
With all those benefits, it’s enticing to visit your favorite online store and purchase any random wireless earbuds model that you see. As mentioned, not all these products are the same, and getting and maximizing those advantages entails choosing the right pair. To do that, here are our tips for selecting the best wireless earbuds.
1. Consider the brand and price
Among the most important things you need to do is check the price and the brand. Note that wireless earbuds require a good-quality Bluetooth chip to deliver excellent sound and a good-quality, high-density battery to last longer.
As such, expect those decent and reliable units won’t carry a bargain basement price tag. You need to shell out a few bucks to get something decent. Cheaper models usually incorporate low-quality Bluetooth chips that cause a huge lag in the audio transmission, which can be quickly noticeable when playing games and watching videos on your smartphone.
Remember, if you buy something extremely cheap and then get disappointed with the sound quality it offers, you not only waste your money but your precious time as well.
To get the best of your money’s worth, always check out the brands that you trust. Brands that have been in the industry for years and have ample experience are most likely to offer a good line-up of good quality and reliable audio products. Afterward, you can start comparing prices and look for one that suits your pocket. Don’t forget to check out discounts, special offers, and sales.
2. Discover the codecs
A codec is a complex algorithm that determines how audio is transmitted from the source (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) to the wireless earbuds. They encode and decode audio into small packets of digital signals for faster and more reliable wireless transmission.
The catch is that not all wireless earbuds support all codecs. Cheaper models only usually work with SBC (low-complexity sub-band) codec. SBC divides frequencies into several bands and processes them separately. Thus, resulting in slower audio transmission. Sounds that come from devices that only use SBC codecs are not in high resolution and usually sound flat.
So, when purchasing wireless earbuds, make sure to discover what codecs they support. If you’re an Android user, good quality models will support different codecs like LDAC 900, aptX, and the high-res aptX HD, which deliver spectacular sound.
If you’re an Apple user, check if the wireless earbuds support the brand’s proprietary AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) codec. Devices from Apple only support the low-quality SBC and the higher-quality AAC. Buying wireless earbuds that only support SBC, LDAC, and aptX is a waste of time and money.
3. Check the battery life
Wireless earbuds have tiny batteries to power them up for ideally between three to five hours. In reality, you’ll most likely enjoy 80% of the quoted battery life. Once the battery is drained, you need to place them back into their charging case to give them their much-needed boost. The charging case has its own built-in battery that can recharge the wireless earbuds three to four times before it needs to be recharged itself.
Be wary that some manufacturers will try to deceive buyers by claiming unrealistic playback time. If a device shows that it has a battery life of 10-15 hours, it’s not for continuous listening on a single charge. With that, it’s always crucial to check the actual battery life of the model you’re planning to buy. Plus, opt for more recognized brands as the basic wireless earbuds usually have a lower quality, which wears out quickly and dramatically shortens the device’s lifespan.
4. Aim for the perfect fit
One of the most essential parts of wireless earbuds is the ear-tips. Silicone ear-tips fit your ear canal and give it a decent sonic seal for you to hear your favorite pieces of music without being messed up by any unwanted noises. Plus, they also help ensure that the earbuds securely and snugly sit in your ear, preventing the device from falling off.
With that, you must always aim for the perfect fit. If you get ear-tips that are too shallow or too small, you’ll never achieve a sufficient seal and your wireless earbuds will most likely occasionally fall off. If you purchase ear-tips that are too big, they can be painful to wear, especially for longer periods.
Try to look for wireless earbuds that have replaceable ear-tips in a range of sizes. Some even have added mechanisms like ear hooks and ear fins to make sure that the device sits comfortably in the bowl of the ear. That way, you can get a pair of wireless earbuds that you’re comfortable wearing and the perfect fit for optimal performance.
5. See the available controls
Controls are a great addition to wireless earbuds. Some models will feature buttons or pads on the earpieces that allow you to control music, skip a track, increase volume, give voice commands, or receive phone calls. Others even have functionality that stops the music automatically should you pull the device from your ears, helping save battery life. Note that these controls usually come in more expensive models, but control options are definitely worth having given all the convenience and comfort they provide.
6. Find a model with active noise cancelation
A few years ago, the noise cancelation feature was only offered on wired earphones. Today, many wireless earbuds are also already sporting noise cancelation. This technology uses electronic circuitry that cancels ambient noise. It shuts down the sounds around you such as those coming from car engines, people chatting, or the railway track, allowing you to experience flawless sound quality.
Through that, you can also bring down the volume to enjoyable and comfortable levels, as you no longer need to drown the noise out. Some models that have the noise-canceling feature also have a “Hear-through” feature. With a press of a button, you can hear what others are saying without having to remove the earbuds.
Just be mindful that though the noise-canceling feature can improve your audio experience, it can quickly drain the device’s battery.
7. Check the volume levels
Wireless earbuds also vary in terms of volume levels. Some pairs’ maximum volume levels are only 50% of the volume that other pairs can deliver. When buying wireless earbuds in an audio shop, try to compare different units and check their volume levels. Remember that the volume that the device can pull through is as is. If you’re not satisfied after a purchase, you can no longer do anything about it unlike on wired earphones that can be boosted by portable amplifiers.
8. Shoot for durability
Wireless earbuds can be practically worn and brought anywhere, whether on the train listening to your favorite playlist, at school playing an audiobook, in the gym getting fired up by the latest upbeat songs, or at your home office attending a conference call. That’s why it’s vital that you choose a model that’s tough enough to handle such tasks.
Look for a model with a sturdy protective case to protect it from outside elements. Next, make sure that the model is IPX4 certified, which means that it’s water-resistant and sweatproof. With that, you don’t need to fret because of sudden rain or sweat a lot from a rigorous workout.
What to Prioritize When Selecting Wireless Earbuds?
While it’s best to take all the above-listed steps when selecting earbuds, there are ones you need to specifically prioritize depending on your needs, activities, and lifestyle.
- For Office Users: Having a noise canceling feature is a must in an office setting, so you can clearly hear during Zoom meetings and phone calls. As you also need to communicate, make sure that the wireless earbuds you’re getting also include a microphone.
- For Commuters/Travelers: With all the ambient noise outside, the noise canceling feature is also important for travelers and commuters. Noisy environments in the airport, on the bus, or on the train can easily affect your listening pleasure. Apart from that technology, you may also want to have a model that has impressive battery life as you’d most likely be using your device for long stretches of time.
- For Active Users: If you’re planning to use your wireless earbuds while jogging, running, or during your strenuous cardio, you must get IPX4-certified models to ensure they’re protected from sweat. Moreover, see to it that they perfectly fit, so they won’t fall off while you’re on the move. Luckily, there are devices specifically designed for active users, making it easier to find one that will suit you.
Wireless earbuds are becoming more of a staple item in our daily life right now. So, it’s always great to devote extra effort to find the perfect pair that hits all the right notes. Use all these tips in doing so to get a model that you can enjoy to the fullest. Happy listening!
You may also read our Guide to Choosing Earbuds for some of the best recommendations.