The best wireless earbuds in 2022: AirPods, budget, and more

Joel Loynds
Best Wireless Earbuds
Dexerto

Looking for the best wireless earbuds in 2022? Look no further as we’ve done the hard work and tested some of the best on the market so you can choose which ones are right for you, and what to look out for while shopping.

Choosing the right earbuds can be a bit tricky. Do you go all in on the pricier options to get features you don’t really understand or do you go nasty and cheap, risking a bad earache down the line?

Well, earbuds luckily no longer just sit at the Apple brand, as we’ve got some recommendations that might suit those in the Apple ecosystem, as well as those who want some game with or get the highest listening experience with.

Contents

The best wireless earbuds we’ve tested: JBL Quantum TWS

Quantum Dongle
Dexerto
The review would have looked too funny if we wrote Quantum Dongle.

Key specs:

  • IP Code IPX4
  • Active Frequency Response 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Bluetooth version 5.2
  • 2.4GHz connectivity
  • Active noise canceling, ambient mode, and talk-through modes
  • Battery:
    • Charge time: 2 hours
    • Talktime with Bluetooth: 4 hours
    • Music playtime with Bluetooth with ANC on: up to 6 hours
    • Music playtime with Bluetooth with ANC off: up to 8 hours
    • Music playtime with 2.4GHz dongle with ANC on: 3.5 hours
    • Music playtime with 2.4GHz dongle with ANC off: 4 hours
  • USB-C charging
  • Price: £129/$149

Included in the box: USB-C cable, extra earbuds, charging case, and USB-C dongle.

Our top recommended wireless earbuds are the JBL Quantum TWS, which not only come in as one of the better deals you can get on the market right now but provide a great feature set, alongside its excellent audio.

The JBL Quantum TWS are marketed as gaming earbuds, but don’t let that deter you from jumping in with them. They’re perfect for music, with a fantastic suite of noise canceling features, including ‘talk through’. This dims your audio so you can talk with someone without having to take them out.

JBL has crafted an excellent all-around piece of kit, that also comes with a 2.4GHz USB-C dongle, eliminating Bluetooth from devices like the Steam Deck, Switch or PC.

You can buy the JBL Quantum TWS earbuds from JBL direct for $150.

Alternatively, you can get the JBL Tune 230NC ($99) or Live FreeNC+ ($159) for a similar overall experience, just without the dongle.

Best budget wireless earbuds:

ASUS ROG Cetra

Key specs:

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Driver diameter: 10mm
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20Khz
  • Battery life: (ANC on): 21.8 hours, (ANC off): 27 hours
  • Features: Omnidirectional microphone, capacitive touch controls, active noise cancellation, low-latency gaming mode, wireless charging case
  • Price: £89.99
ASUS ROG Cetra TWS in charging case
Dexerto

When we reviewed the ASUS ROG Cetra, we loved the way they fit in our ears, as well as the good experience while listening to music and gaming. There’s an app to adjust your settings to your liking, which was easy enough to use.

For the relatively low asking price, in a sea of low asking priced earbuds, these are premium on the budget end. We couldn’t in good conscience recommend something dirt cheap, as it’d just be a detriment to your enjoyment.

The battery life is where these come into their own, with an extraordinarily long shelf life with a fully charged case, which charges in about 10 minutes for an hour of listening. It even comes with great noise canceling to mute the wider world from your music.

You can get the ASUS ROG Cetra from Amazon UK.

Beats Studio Buds

NICKMERCS Beats Studio Buds outside of the case
Dexerto/Beats

The Beats Studio Buds are an impressive piece of kit. With an iconic logo and Apple behind them, you can expect great sound quality, flawless pairing for iOS devices, and even IP4X sweat resistance for use while in the gym.

We checked out the Nickmercs edition buds not too long ago, and were impressed by the audio quality, and the battery life of the buds. It should be noted however that there’s no wireless charging included, which is disappointing. However, you definitely won’t be disappointed with them, should you choose to pick a pair up.

You can get the Beats Studio Buds from Best Buy

Google Pixel Buds (A-Series)

Google Pixel Buds A Series
Google

Key specs:

  • ‘Sweat and water resistant’ IPX4
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • 12mm driver
  • Passive noise reduction
  • Spatial vent for pressure reduction and spatial awareness
  • Dual microphones
  • 5 hours listening time, 24 hours in case
  • USB-C
  • £99/$99

Google does this thing on the regular, where they’ll try to undercut everyone in price and end up actually producing an incredibly decent device. Then, they’ll kill it off in favor of something a little more expensive or just never refresh them.

No, we don’t understand Google, but we understand a good deal when we see one. The Pixel Buds A-Series is getting rave reviews all over and with good reason. The low price doesn’t deter Google from producing some great-sounding earbuds, with these being excellent entry points or even rivals to Apple and Samsung’s buds.

While there’s no volume control or even noise canceling, it has major upsides in being comfortable to plug into your ears and having that excellent Google stamp of quality.

The Google Pixel Buds are available directly from Google or from Best Buy with $4 off (as of 07/26/22).

Best wireless earbuds under $250: Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro
Apple

Key specs:

  • IPX4 water and sweat resistance
  • Frequency response: 100Hz to 10kHz
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Active noise canceling, talk-through modes, Adaptive EQ
  • Lightning charge port
  • Battery lasts up to 24 hours of charge via the case, 4 hours of listening time with no case
  • $250/£239

Do we need to say any more? There’s a reason these things are in everyone’s ears and even on Android, they’re still being used. A great quality sound, combined with a genuinely comfortable fit, these are our recommendations over the non-pro AirPods.

Apple keeps improving its headphone technology, with these giving you an expected, good sound across the board. Perfect for those on iOS, the AirPod Pros come with a myriad of features, including microphones to detect noise to assist with noise cancellation.

Apple touts its battery life and in most cases, we’ve experienced that 24-hour battery life actually hit that peak on multiple occasions throughout the week.

The AirPod Pros are available for $220 (but are on sale for $180 as of 07/26/22) from Best Buy.

At the moment, if you get the AirPods Pros via Best Buy, you also get 6 months of Apple Music for free.

Best premium wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds

Sony XM4
Sony

Key specs:

  • IPX4 water resistance
  • LDAC Bluetooth for higher quality audio
  • Noise cancellation
  • 8 hours of battery life without noise cancellation
  • Swift Pair for macOS and PC
  • Wireless charging or USB-C
  • 6mm driver
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz/40kHz (with LDAC)
  • Bluetooth 5.2

Regardless of where you stand on Sony’s console output, their headphones and sound devices are phenomenal. They’re unparalleled in actually delivering on the price that they charge for things, with everything from their sound department pretty much on our hypothetical recommendation list.

Succeeding from the excellent XM3 earbuds, these $280 earbuds provide a near-perfect sound, along with a bevy of features that just add to the prize.

Sony claims the battery life is around 8 hours off a single charge from the case, with an additional 16, with noise canceling not included in those figures. You could expect to knock off about an hour or so from that battery life.

While we doubt that Windows will play nice with Bluetooth, there’s ‘Swift Pair’ to counteract its fussiness about Bluetooth devices, as well as access to your phone’s voice assistant.

Like on the AirPod Pros, a microphone is positioned on each bud, allowing for the XM4s to work better on noise cancellation by actually listening to the world around you.

The main selling point, although an often overlooked one, is the inclusion of LDAC. LDAC allows earbuds and headphones to transfer far more data over the airwaves, allowing for higher quality audio to be heard. While this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to listen to lossless audio, higher-quality audio files will still come out better.

The Sony WF-1000XM4s are currently available at Best Buy for $280.

What to look for when buying wireless earbuds

Wireless Earbuds are tough to pick out. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to their shape, size, color, and more. But, when it comes down to it, nothing can really beat trying a pair out for yourself. It is a shame if you get bogged down with the specifics, only to buy what you think is the perfect pair, only for them to be super uncomfortable.

But you also need to look at other factors, these things can include things like if the earbuds themselves have a wireless charging case, features like a transparency mode, or active noise cancellation. However, one of the most important things to look out for would be battery life. There’s no use in getting a pair if they die, and the charging case holds minimal charges for them, or if you have to attach an annoying wire if there are no wireless charging capabilities.

Just pay careful attention to the specs, features, and battery life, and give them a go. There are so many on the market that there’s bound to be a set that’s just right for you.

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