Although wireless headphones are relatively new to the market, they have managed to evolve substantially over the last couple of years. In fact, they are more than a trend now, they are becoming a new standard.
The fact that Apple and Google flagship phones do not have a headphone jack tells you the story. This only means that soon, the wired, tangled headphones will be a thing of the past as other mobile phone makers will follow the trend.
If you are in the market for a new pair of earbuds and are finally ready to cut the cord – you are in the right place as we review some of the best wireless in ear headphones in 2021.
We have tested multiple various headphones and have shortlisted a handful to suit your needs and your budget.
If you are looking for the open back headphones – please check out our open back headphone review where we compare the latest and the greatest amongst open-back design head sets.
Best Wireless In Ear Headphones – Our Top 5 Picks
|Image||Frequency / Battery Life / Weight / Waterproof|
|Best Fit – NuForce BE Sport4 (Editor’s Choice)|
|Perfect for exercise, fitness, gym, any active use or even general commute. Comfortable design and great sound quality deliver an unbeatable value.|
|Best For Running – Jaybird X4|
|Decent sound quality, ergonomic and comfortable design. ‘Speed Cinch’ is one of the most secure fit on the market. A tad pricey.|
|Best Sound – Sony WF-1000X (Editor’s Choice)|
|The best sounding true wireless earbuds on the market today. Mediocre battery life and a slightly bulky case however.|
|Best iPhone Integration – BeatsX|
|If iPhone integration with instant connectivity is important to you, BeatsX will excite you. Android users better look elsewhere.|
|Best Cheap Earbuds – Senso ActiveBuds S-250|
|Best budget earbuds we could find. Under $30 get you a fully waterproof design, decent battery life and great sound quality.|
|Best Comfort & Style – V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless (Editor’s Choice)|
|One of the best looking and most comfortable earbuds we have ever tested. Be ready to pay the premium though.|
|Top 6 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds|
NuForce BE Sport4 is the updated version of the exceptionally successful NuForce BE Sport3 that has sold in huge numbers. In fact, they have done more than that as they have set a new trend of what the sports wireless earbuds should be.
Replacing successful earphone models is always challenging as the successor needs to live up to the benchmark set by their older sibling.
NuForce BE Sport3 has managed to become one of the most acclaimed earbuds for fitness and active sports on the market.
So, can NuForce BE Sport4 live up to the expectations? Let’s find out!
As soon as you open the box of NuForce BE Sport4 you are greeted with a huge number of earbud accessories that range from a USB cable to charge them, a handy carry case and different tips that will suit any ear.
The design has been slightly updated from the previous model and now features bright green details and a different housing shape. They are made of aluminum with a matte finish and sit quite comfortably in your ears.
You can wrap the cord around your neck like a necklace for the earbuds to snap together as they have built-in magnets into each earbud. The cable of the earbuds is sturdy with adjustable length to get that perfect fit.
Fully charged, the headphones will give you around 10 hours of battery life. There is also a handy “fast-charge” option where you can get two hours of playback on a 15 minutes charge.
The headphones support Siri and Google Now, yet that experience felt somewhat fiddly. To trigger the virtual assistant you need to press the main and volume up buttons at once, which is not exactly convenient.
Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 has also improved its waterproof rating and now features an IPX 5 certification making it water and sweat resistant. Although earbuds have been designed with the ‘working out’ in mind, nothing prevents a casual, day-to-day use.
The overall sound quality is clean and crisp, especially given that the in-ear headphones are under $100. Bass is present but not overpowering, which is common in Bluetooth headphones. Mids also feel balanced with vocals and drums being reasonably clear. The treble fits the sound signature nicely without any harshness to it.
The inbuilt microphone is decent quality so if you need to make some voice calls while exercising; you won’t be disappointed.
Finding a good fit at first may take some time and feel a little awkward, especially if you are using the wingtips. However, once you get used to it, the fit feels natural with headphones staying in place even at times of the most intense workouts.
Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 is not the most sophisticated pair headphones you can buy, but they do a fantastic job at what they were designed to do. NuForce has managed to get the important things right with the previous model (i.e., NuForce BE Sport3) and this time around they have decided to stick to the winning formula. With no major changes, Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 is an excellent incremental upgrade in the right direction.
Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 are one of the best sports in-ear headphones we have ever come across. They have a great build quality, tight fit, amazing sound, and superior noise isolation. Despite being very targeted for fitness or active sports, the earbuds can be easily used for your daily commute. If you are looking for the best activity or workout earbuds, the gem is right in front of you.
- Design 80% 80%
- Features 70% 70%
- Sound 80% 80%
- Battery Life 100% 100%
- Value 90% 90%
|Good battery life|
|Earbud strap could be tricky to adjust|
|Class-leading noise isolation|
|IPX 5 water and sweat resistance|
|Neon color range may not be for everyone|
|Siri and Google Now integration could have been better|
Jaybird X4 is a natural evolution of the Jaybird’s highly successful X3 model. The company did not try to redefine, but rather refine an already winning formula, listened to their users and addressed their main pain points.
The changes introduced specifically target fitness applications to further reinforce Jaybird’s positioning as one of the best workout headphones on the market.
First, the headphones now feature an official IPX7 water resistance rating that avid runners were waiting for. This means that earbuds are not only sweat resistant but can withstand any weather conditions you may throw at them.
In fact, they can now be submerged underwater for up to one meter for 30 minutes. Not a significant change for gym enthusiasts, but definitely a welcome one for avid runners and hikers.
Jaybird has also redesigned the tips and the ‘Speed Cinch’ cord management system to make the fit even more secure. Although the fit was great on the previous model, Jaybird X4 takes it up a notch. So if you had trouble wearing earbuds comfortably behind your head, there is a good chance X4 has a fix for you.
The wings, foam and silicone tips that come in the pouch ensure that almost all ear shapes will find a good fit and seal that will hold. Foam tips result in great sound isolation, yet rubber tips I found to be a lot more comfortable.
Being gym and running focused, Jaybird X4 comes with decent sound quality, especially in the price range.
Tonal balance feels quite neutral with perhaps little emphasis given to the mids. They come across clear and relatively detailed. At the same time, the details may start to lose themselves when the track gets too busy, but you have to push for it.
Like with X3s, the great thing about X4s is the brilliantly executed mobile phone app. It allows you to tweak the sound profile to your liking adjusting sound modes and levels. It won’t make X4s produce an audiophile-grade sound, but it will deliver better sound quality than any other pair of exercise earbuds in the price range.
The control module has not changed compared to X3 and still represents three buttons that are easy to locate and press even when running.
Connection strength and stability is decent, but not spectacular. You can expect to remain stable at 30 feet range. At the same time, we found that running in busy urban areas crowded with WiFi and other interferences may result in occasional dropouts.
If you already own X3s, you may want to consider if the updates are worth the price. For anyone else looking for a new pair of comfortable, secure and water resistance in-ear headphones for active sports, Jaybird X4 are worth your every look.
Jaybird X4 is not big, but a welcome step forward in the right direction. The updates improve comfort, fit and introduce water resistance to an already winning sports earbud formula. If you are into running, hiking or going to the gym and need a secure fit coupled with decent sound quality – Jaybird X4 is one of the best earbuds for fitness use around.
- Design 80% 80%
- Features 80% 80%
- Sound 70% 70%
- Battery Life 80% 80%
- Value 90% 90%
|One of the best workout earbuds on the market|
|Jaybird MySound mobile app is brilliant|
|Waterproof, IPX7 certified|
|Good passive noise isolation|
|Super secure fit|
|May loose connection in busy city areas|
|We hoped they’d use Bluetooth 5.0|
The Sony WF-1000X represent what is termed as truly wireless headphones as they are not interconnected by a physical wire.
This trend has been started by the release of the original Apple AirPods and now we are seeing other headphone makers joining the competition.
Although the competition for the truly wireless niche is not as hot as other headphone niches, Sony WF-1000X has managed to establish itself as a strong contender in the premium wireless headphone league.
The earbuds connect to each other wirelessly using the tiny antenna located in the translucent front section of the headphone piece.
Sony claims that this approach improves audio quality and connection stability. In fact, talking about competition – when the Apple AirPods came out, their focus was on getting the connection issues resolved. When Jabra Elite Sport came out, they focused on making it work for sports. It is Sony’s turn now, and the focus is audio quality!
The design of Sony WF-1000X is surprisingly subtle as it mostly sits in your ear. There are two classic types of ear tips that come in the box – silicone, and sponge. It does not take too long to pick the ear tip that suits you best, and once you have them on, they feel light. Actually, they feel so light that at times you forget that you are wearing them.
The fit for me was perfect, and although these earpieces are not designed for sports use, no matter how hard I shook my head they stayed in place firmly.
The WF-1000X has demonstrated strong connection quality and signal reliability which is second to only Apple AirPods.
In terms of audio performance, the Sony WF-1000X was a revelation for me. I quite frankly did not know that the wireless earbuds could sound so good. I would even go as far as saying that some of the wired sets are no match for them. It is the first pair of wireless headphones that I did not feel that I had to compromise the sound quality over convenience.
The WF-1000X is the first and only example in my experience which demonstrates that you could have both – total freedom of movement and exceptional sound quality.
The tonal balance is typical to Sony where all frequencies are presented in a natural, non-exaggerated way. The sound is so detailed, precise, balanced and textured that it emerges you and brings a whole new level of experience never seen in wireless headphones before.
Not only the WF-1000X can be praised for their sound quality but also their ability to cancel the noise. The earbuds come with Adaptive Sound Control, which I was hugely skeptical about, but as the practical test showed – it works like magic! In short – this feature adapts to the environment you are in and adjusts the sound and noise levels to provide the best experience possible. For example – in a quiet space, the ‘Staying’ mode is engaged where noise cancellation is on, but letting voice through. When walking in the street – the ‘Walking’ mode is triggered letting in some selective ambient sounds and allowing you to hear cars. When on the train, the ‘Transport’ mode applies 100% of noise cancellation.
Battery life is the only real flaw we found with WF-1000X as it only lasts 3 hours on a full charge. The docking station can hold a battery charge for additional 6-hour use. Combined, you get 9 hours in total with two charges in between.
Should you buy Sony WF-1000X? It depends – if you are after excellent wireless connectivity, amazing noise cancellation and simply incredible audio performance, look no further. In fact, the audio quality is so good, that we believe there are no other Bluetooth headphones to match it. Yes, the price tag bites, but if you were certain that you were buying the best sounding Bluetooth earbuds in the world, would it make a difference?
- Design 90% 90%
- Features 90% 90%
- Sound 100% 100%
- Battery Life 60% 60%
- Value 80% 80%
|The best sound quality ever tested in wireless headphones|
|Adaptive Sound Control, noise cancellation|
|Reliable and solid Bluetooth connection|
|Carry case doubles as a charger|
|Modest battery life|
|Carry case is a little flimsy|
BeatsX is the latest addition to what’s now an Apple line-up of audio accessories.
In fact, they are the first new Beats headset created under Apple’s ownership.
So, should you expect an Apple-like quality paired with the Dr. Dre. sound signature?
Not exactly, the BeatsX took a more conventional approach favoring the balanced over the bass-focused sound, yet let’s take one step at a time.
The headphones come with a lightning charger cable which makes them Apple-centric, at least for the time being.
The presence of the two integrated batteries on the cord technically make those speakers neckbuds, which is a whole new niche in the wireless headphones space. When the first neckbuds (Beats call them Flex-Form cable) came out, I could never justify a good enough reason to have them as they looked unorthodox. Yet, it only took one real-life practical try, and I’ve realized that they are quite comfortable to wear, do not tangle and are pretty reliable.
You will also notice that pairing with the iPhone is a breeze since BeatsX is only a third device to feature an integrated W1 chipset from Apple. This chipset allows the devices to pair almost instantly and have a faster and more stable connection. Using Siri on iPhone featured the fastest, close to instant connection speed, which gives BeatsX a unique selling proposition. Don’t get me wrong, you can use those earbuds with Android devices too, yet the experience is not as streamlined or rich.
The battery has a solid life of up to 8 hours, yet what stands out is the Quick Charge feature, which adds 2 hours of playtime on a 5-minute charge.
As for the sound quality – it sounds a little less Beats-like. You still have sufficient levels of bass, yet it is not the same deep signature Beats bass. You won’t find shimmering highs and sparkling mid-ranges with BeatsX either. The overall sound is a lot more balanced, and I would generally say that in a nice sense, but with Beats it is different. In fact, it feels strange saying that Beats headphones have a balanced sound palette with highs, mids, and lows being on the same keel. So if you are a bass lover – this is probably not a headphone for you (we can’t believe we are saying this).
So, are BeatsX a pair of earbuds for you? Well, it depends if you are an iPhone or an Android user. We believe they are best fitted for iPhone users who want seamless Bluetooth integration as well as a fast and reliable Siri connection above all else. For Android users – it is almost the other way around. We struggle to justify the price tag and suggest checking other headphones in our review. They are likely to offer better integration and value overall.
- Design 80% 80%
- Features 80% 80%
- Sound 60% 60%
- Battery Life 80% 80%
- Value 70% 70%
|Comfortable fit, great for daily use|
|The W1 chip allows for better and faster connection with Apple devices|
|Decent battery life|
|Quick Charge feature|
|Beats character and energy is missing|
|Too expnsive for what they are|
|Not for Android users. Pairing is awkward and lightning cable is requried for charging|
We have also received multiple requests to review the budget line of wireless speakers, and we thought this to be a perfect opportunity to do it.
We did not have any expectations when unboxing the earbuds as they are the cheapest pair of earbuds in our review.
We were genuinely surprised when we have discovered the build quality to be solid and the headphones quite rugged overall.
As you get to know ActivBuds S-250 better, you realize that they come with some pleasant surprises such as being IPX7 certified. This allows the headphones to get submerged in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. Quite impressive for a budget pair of headphones.
The headphones are using Bluetooth 4.1, which ensures a better, faster and more reliable experience at a distance of up to 10 meters.
For sound quality, ActivBuds S-250 have packed rich lows with clear mids and highs providing a balanced sound experience across the board. It is not a premium grade sound, but one that is usually found in a more expensive middle range earbuds.
The noise suppression is easily the best we have seen in this price range as the earbuds come with a CVC 6.0 noise cancellation technology. In practice, they get the job done quite well, as listening to the music or podcasts while walking down the crowded street provides a great experience with only little external noise coming through. Overall, I believe the balance to be quite right as you do not want to be completely isolated.
The headphones also come with a clip to help you manage the cable. Although it works, the design is not as nice or practical as the one that comes with Jaybird X3. The cable tends to rub on clothes and pull the earbuds to the side.
Testing the battery life, we have managed to get over 8 hours of playtime from a single charge. This is an exceptional result shared by much more expensive headphones in our review. Moreover, it comes with a Quick Charge feature that charges the battery in 1.5 hours.
Overall, ActivBuds S-250 is an amazingly capable pair of budget headphones. They have pleasantly surprised us on multiple occasions as they offer a great sound experience, decent build quality and good level of noise isolation. It also comes with a great range of accessories such as the case, a tiny convertible lightning/micro USB cable, and a dual-port car charger. If you are looking for an entry-level pair of headphones that won’t break your bank – ActivBuds S-250 represent the best value you can get.
- Design 60% 60%
- Features 80% 80%
- Sound 80% 80%
- Battery Life 80% 80%
- Value 90% 90%
|Great sound for the price|
|Waterproof, IPX 7 certified|
|Quick Charge feature|
|May feel too bulky for some ears|
|Some customers find difficulties pairing|
I have been following V-Moda for some time now as I like watching them taking the fashion-focused angle in the audio niche.
We have previously used the wired cousin – Forza Metallo and were very impressed with the results.
Is the wireless version just as impressive? Let’s find out.
V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless look stylish, as you would expect from a Milan based designer brand.
The headphones come in a hexagonal box in black and Lambogini orange colors.
Yay, this is already an exciting start! The hexagonal lines can be seen everywhere as they are integral to V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless design. You can find them on the box, earbuds, controls, and even the battery pack.
The build quality is excellent as the whole set feels like one solid piece. The headphones feature quality materials such as anodized aluminum and premium plastic and rubber bits.
Forza Metallo Wireless is by far the most comfortable pair of earbuds we have ever tested. The neckband is designed to fit seamlessly underneath your collar, which vibrates when your phone rings. This feature may seem unnecessary at first, yet it has proven to be very useful for reducing missed calls. I guess it depends on personal use, but most of my calls get missed when my phone is on silent, sitting on my desk. With Forza Metallo Wireless around your neck – it is almost impossible to miss a call now. I think V-Moda may have just found a great solution to a common problem!
Coming back to comfort, it is well beyond just how it feels in your ears, the ergonomic design underpins the whole product. The buttons on the controller have an amazing tactile click found in Apple products, there are no moving or wobbly bits, and everything just feels solid.
There are two control modules, one on each side of the cable. The left module has a button to power on the headset, yet the right module is responsible for volume control and other functions. Each module has a built-in noise-canceling microphone. The microphone tandem registers the voice with an exceptionally crystal clear quality. In fact, the quality was so good that the people on the other side of the line did not realize I was using the headset rather than the phone.
Although Forza Metallo Wireless does not have an official IPX certification, the company claims the earbuds to have a nano-coating which repels water and sweat. This makes the headphone a viable option for working out. In terms of the reach and connection strength, the headphones have left us with a bag of mixed feelings. The connection seems to be stable when you stay within 10 feet from the phone, yet when you push the distance to 15 feet or have a wall in-between the sound starts to skip and lag.
The battery life is another strong side of Forza Metallo Wireless as it is very comparable to Optoma NuForce BE Sport4, our battery life benchmark. A single charge can give you up to 10 hours of playtime and sometimes, even more, depending on your usage patterns. In addition, you get a QuickCharge feature adding 2 hours of use with a 15 minutes charge.
The audio experience is right amongst the best in the class. The highs are very clear, and the bass is deep and punchy. Although the mids are also clear and can cope with almost anything you throw at them – they are not exactly rich.
V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless is a great pair of earbuds for everyday use offering the best comfort levels we have seen in wireless earbuds. They are versatile enough to be used when commuting to work, going to the gym or doing any other recreational activity. The battery life is amongst the best we have seen and the sound quality is great. It is hard to flaw Forza Metallo Wireless as it really represents a very solid, all-around package. The most stylish and comfortable wireless headphones we have ever tested.
- Design 90% 90%
- Features 80% 80%
- Sound 80% 80%
- Battery Life 90% 90%
- Value 70% 70%
|Stylish Italian design|
|Clear, detailed and rich sound|
|Solid and balanced bass|
|Mid-range is a little plain and characterless|
|A little too pricey|
Best Rated Wireless In ear Headphones – Feature Comparison
|Optoma NuForce BE Sport4||Jaybird X4||Sony WF-1000X||BeatsX||Senso ActiveBuds S-250||V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless|
|Frequency Range||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||N/A||20Hz – 22kHz||10Hz – 22kHz|
|Weight||0.5 oz||0.63 oz||0.24 oz||0.8 oz||0.16 oz||0.8 oz|
|Battery||< 10 hr||< 7 hr||< 3 + 6 (case) hr||< 8 hr||< 8 hr||< 10 hr|
|Operating Range||< 10 m||< 10 m||< 10 m||< 12 m||< 10 m||< 10 m|
|Ear Tips||7 pairs||6 pairs||8 pairs||4 pairs||3 pairs||8 pairs|
How do we test?
You may find that the way we do reviews is entirely different to other review websites on the internet. Although we do believe the first impressions of using the new product are essential – the real customer feedback is just as crucial. In our reviews, we consider both and provide an honest, practical and complete review to help you choose the best wireless in ear headphones of 2020. The main five aspects we consider when reviewing headphones are:
- Battery Life
Reviewing wireless headphones is a pretty tricky job. Most of the wireless headphones on the market are quite frankly terrible unless you are ready to spend north of $200.
The reasons are countless – short battery life, poor sound, connection issues, and interference to name a few. Amongst the many options available today, we have found a couple of gems that seem to be breaking that stereotype and deserve your attention. At the same time, if you are after headphones for your little ones, check our our latest review of the best kids wireless headphones.
Above, we have summarized the best wireless in-ear headphones available on the market today. Please share your thoughts and comment – we hope you’ll enjoy it and find it useful.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Charge My Headphones?
How Long Does It Take To Charge Earbuds?
How to Pair Bluetooth Speakers and Can I Pair Multiple Speakers?
Can I Use WIreless Headphones with My iPod?
Why Do I Hear White Noise In My Earbuds?
- Stay within a 10-meter range from your device.
- Ensure there is nothing blocking the signal between your headphones and your device.
- Avoid proximity to microwaves, other devices and Wi-Fi.
- Keep your headphones and your device on the same side of your body.
- Ensure your headset and your device are sufficiently charged.