Best Bluetooth earbuds
Last Updated : August 11, 2016
We added a few corrections to the reviews and prices and reworked the article structure to ease the navigation. We also integrated a new table design and a what others think section.
February 9, 2016 : We updated the article to integrate the amazing Jaybird X2, replacing the Jaybird Bluebuds X
The best Bluetooth earbuds in 2016 : our list
Brands are well aware of this and they are constantly developing new technologies to improve their wireless earbuds : better battery, better design, better sound,... They are often using strong marketing punchlines in order to sell you their product and with the thousands of models available it can be overwhelming to look for the best
In this post, we maintain a constantly updated list of the best
Scroll down to read our best bluetooth earbuds reviews or check our related articles :
bluetooth earphones overview
The best you can find with a very good sound quality and an excellent autonomy
Great bluetooth earbuds for sport with a good sound and a excellent fit
The best midrange priced earbuds with a good sound and lots of accessories
The best cheap bluetooth earbuds with an excellent sound for their price
Excellent cheap bluetooth earbuds with a sport oriented design
Table of Contents
bluetooth earbuds reviews
Jaybird X2, simply the best bluetooth earbuds
Jaybird came up with an upgraded version of the still available Jaybird Bluebuds X that have been on the market for years. The Bluebuds X were already very good and they managed to do better with the Jaybird X2 thanks to a few ameliorations.
The first thing you will notice is that now you can choose from not less than 6 colors, according to your taste: Alpha, Charge, Fire, Ice, Midnight and Storm. I personally opted for the classic black style : Midnight.
The design is excellent, allowing you to wear them in 2 different ways : normally and over the ear. They fit perfectly in your ears and they securely stay there, whether you run, jump, move,... They revamped the secure fit design and it's far better than the bluebuds X.
The X2 are thin, maybe the thinnest Bluetooth earbuds available and it helps a lot with the feeling when you wear them for long sport sessions. On top of that, they are really lightweight, you won't feel their weight at all ! Jaybird included great range of options with the comfort in mind : 3 different memory foam eartips (they are excellent), 3 different silicone eartips and 3 different sizes of earfins.
The sound quality is really impressive! Jaybird did really better with the X2 and the sound quality is on a different level. This is partially due to the better fit I have with the X2 that improved the noise isolation. The only drawback I have with the sound is that they might lack a bit of bass, a usual thing for thin earbuds. It's not a big problem in my opinion but some people might not like it.
The battery life is just exceptional for the weight : 7 to 8 hours during my tests. I am using them only for sport and they last a week without any problem.
The Bluetooth connectivity is great and the X2 works up to 8-10 meters from the source . At the gym, you can just leave your phone around and the earbuds work seamlessly. You can control the volume, answer calls and skip songs from the inline remote. There is also a mic and it works very well, I answered a few calls using it and I had no problem at all.
They are also sweat proof and Jaybird includes a lifetime sweatproof guarantee, a real plus for sport addicts that will sweat everyday on them. They are shipped with a carrying case (bigger than the one shipped with the bluebuds X) and a small usb charging cable.
Jaybird X2 final thoughts
With the X2, Jaybird brought us an excellent pair of Bluetooth earbuds that are actually surpassing the bluebuds X. Their fit is great for sport and the sound quality stands out of most Bluetooth earbuds. For this price range, they are the best Bluetooth earbuds you can find.
$129 - $139
Beats Powerbeats 2, excellent bluetooth earbuds
In the audiophile world, Beats has a bad reputation. They tend to favor style, design and marketing over sound quality. As a result you often end-up with an overpriced product in regards of the sound quality. Well, let me tell you I have been pleasantly surprised with the Powerbeats 2, the sound quality is good and they are fairly priced.
You can choose from 8 different colors when ordering them : black, pink, red, white, cobalt blue, flash blue, shock yellow and siren red. As I prefer sobriety I got my hands on the black version.
As most Bluetooth earbuds, they are designed for athletes and thanks to their flexible earhook they fit securely. I like this kind of design that allows a very secure fit with a great comfort. They stay in place whatever happens! They weight 24 grams which is very lightweight and perfect for sport. I wore them for 5 hours straight during my tests and didn't feel any unease or discomfort. They also feel solid with their premium plastic and strong enough to endure any form of work-out while wearing them.
Now let's talk about the sound ! My first thought when I wore them for the first time was "are these Beats earbuds ?". I was expecting overwhelming bass and crappy mids and highs but I was wrong ! They are actually pretty decent, with well-balanced and clear mids and highs, even in high volumes. They are far better than other Beats earbuds or headphones I tried and on par with the best Bluetooth earbuds.
The battery will last 5-6 hours, definitely not the best but enough for a few days of work-out. The Bluetooth range is fine, like other products it allows you to freely use them in the 10 m range. There is an inline remote on the cord close to the left earbud that can be used to completely control the soud and answer calls.
In the box alongside the earbuds you will find a hard-shell carrying case and a short usb cable. A bit thin compared to the Jaibird X2.
Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless final thoughts
Overall the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless are great. Beats worked on the sound quality part and the result is excellent, they are part of the best bluetooth earbuds available. They have a well-designed secure fit that will please the most extreme athletes and at the $130 price range, you can't go wrong if you decide to buy them.
$139 - $159
Photive PH-BTE70, great affordable bluetooth earbuds
Photive is bringing us another pair of Bluetooth earbuds : the PH-BTE70. They are intended for athletes and have a design very similar to the Beats Powerbeats 2.
They are made of quality plastic and are shipped with comfortable silicone eartips. The ear hooks around the ears are flexible and provide a real comfort (even for big ears like mine). They weight just 17 grams, less than the powerbeats 2 that were already really lightweight. The Photive PH-BTE70 is a really comfortable pair of Bluetooth earbuds that fits well and won't fall out. The are also sweatproof and waterproof, again, perfect for sport.
The sound they produce is better than what I was expecting from $50 bluetooth earbuds. The bass is too present but the sound remain clear in medium and high frequencies. Of course, they are not on the level of the Jaybird X2 but for their price, they are really good and will please the majority of people.
You can control volume, skip songs and answer calls directly from the 3 buttons situated on the left earbud. It takes a bit of time to get used to using it but it works well. The pairing with my Bluetooth stuff was painless and quick, nothing to say here. The battery will last 5 to 6 hours, depending of the volume and kind of music you are listening.
The microphone is not the best I have tried… The voice quality when making calls is bad. This is the biggest drawback of these Bluetooth earbuds, you simply can't use them for answering calls unless you shout… Well that's not a big deal for me since I used them only for running but it might be worth looking elsewhere for those who absolutely need the mic.
When you unbox them, you will find 3 different pairs of silicon eartips, a charging cable (micro-USB to USB), 2 cord management clips, a clothing clip (to clip them to your t-shirt) and a carrying bag. A rigid case would have been perfect but it's better than nothing.
Photive PH-BTE70 final thoughts
If you consider their price, the PH-BTE70 are really good Bluetooth earbuds. They target athletes with their design and are perfect for this purpose. Photive did a great job and they are one of the best Bluetooth earbuds for their price
$49 - $59
Soundpeats QY7, the best cheap bluetooth earbuds
The Soundpeats QY7 Earbuds have been specifically designed to be used during exercises. They are sweat proof and they either come in a black-green or all-black color scheme. The Soundpeats QY7 comes with 3 different sizes for earbud tips and two different sets of ear lobe stabilizers. In case you carefully read the directions and experiment using different lobe stabilizers and earbud tips, you’ll likely find a combination that is very comfortable.
The integrated "SignalPlus "technology intends to stop the sound skipping whenever the earbuds are blocked from an audio source by barriers like your body. Practically, the technology works well and it is extremely rare to lose the signal. The QY7 also has the PureSound technology that reduces listener fatigue and white noise effect.
These earbuds have an audible lack of balance : there are too much bass and the highs are thin. You clearly won't get the same quality as hi-end bluetooth earbuds but don't get me wrong here : for their price, these bluetooth earbuds are extremely good in terms of sound performance.
The QY7 also integrate a noise canceling technology for the microphone. This is more a marketing argument than a useful thing : the effects aren’t noticeable.You can answer calls of course but be ready to talk very loud in order to be understood ! This is for from being the best earbuds for calling.
The battery will last for 7-8 hours of continuous music playback or 5-6 hours of talk time. The battery is also capable of staying in standby state for almost a week. The wireless range for the Soundpeats QY7 is normal at about 30 feet with a very clear line to an audio source.
The buttons are minimalistic and simple. On the right hand side (when wearing these earbuds), there’s a rocker switch which increases or decreases its volume when pressed briefly. In addition, it changes tracks forward or backward when it is pressed for about one second. On the left hand side, there’s a function button which controls calls (answer / reject), music (play / pause) and power (ON / OFF).
The earbuds are shipped with three sets of the silicon earbud tips, two sets of the ear lobe stabilizers and a micro-usb charging cable. We would have love to see a carrying case but at the price they are sold, we can't really say anything.
The earbuds are very impressive thanks to the music playback qualities. Although most users buy the QY7 earbud for music, it can also be used to handle calls. In case you don’t expect the noise-canceling microphone to fully cancel any noise, you’ll not be disappointed with its call quality. Just like all earbuds which seal tightly inside the ear canal, the QY7 earbud blocks out all external environmental noises. This is quite great for blocking out any annoying background noise. However, this prevents one from hearing important things in the external environment or even having conversations with people around you.
Soundpeats QY7, final thought
The QY7 compares easily with more expensive earbuds and they are spectacular when you take into consideration their low price. The Soundpeats QY7 earbuds are recommended for any active person who is on a budget or is looking for a cheap first step into the world of Bluetooth earbuds.
$20 - $25
Photive EB200, a cheap alternative
The EB200 are cheap bluetooth earbuds made by the relatively new company Photive. They are offering a pretty decent alternative to high-end earbuds at an unbeatable price.
There are 5 colors to choose from : blue / purple / red / white / black. Their design is similar to the Jaybird X2 with in-ear stabilizers. They are shipped with a huge range of accessories and options : you can choose from 3 different sizes pairs of silicone ear tips, 3 different sizes of standard ear fins and 2 pairs of big ear fins for a more secure fit. That's a lot and your are sure to find the perfect fit.
Their design and the fact that they are sweat-proof is perfect for running, fitness or any sport you plan to do with them.
The performance is good. You will be surprised by the quality of the bass that are generally lacking on bluetooth earbuds. The mids and highs are a bit flat, but the overall sound performance is great for this price range. I would say they are on par with the QY7.
The battery will last 5-6 hours. Others do better but that's good enough for most people and loading them with the included USB cable will take a bit more than 2 hours.
They are shipped with a small carrying bag that makes it easy to store them with all their accessories, the 3 pairs of ear tips, the 5 pairs of ear fins, a USB to micro-USB cable and a clothes-pin.
Photive EP200 final thoughts
These cheap bluetooth earbuds have some serious arguments to make you fall for them. All the accessories included and their extremely low price make them an excellent choice for people looking for good entry-level bluetooth earbuds.
$89 - $99
How to choose the best bluetooth earbuds
Bluetooth earbuds are increasingly growing in popularity thanks to the fact that they offer consumers an easy-to-use wireless experiences. While a lot of people use these earbuds for work, more individuals use the Bluetooth earbuds at the gym or during their commute.
With a wide range of Bluetooth earbuds available, many models are specifically designed to cater to professionals while other models focus on athletes or travelers. These earbuds have different features and also vary in terms of cost. The earbuds are being sold in big box stores, audio specialists, electronics retailers and online marketplaces. Consumers should always understand what they want the Bluetooth earbud for and the features that might benefit them.
Picking the right set of Bluetooth earbuds might seem simple. However, this actually comes with challenges that are unique to all earbuds. Here is a complete guide what to look for when buying bluetooth earbuds.
Design & Comfort
There are different form factors and different sizes. They all share the fact that they are lightweight, that you can easily carry them and of course they are all wireless. The way you plan to use them will have a great influence on the design you may choose :
- Some models such as the Powerbeats 2 are intended to be used for sport and integrate a secure fit around the ear. Their procure a very stable fit that guarantees you they will stay there, even in extreme situations like playing basketball but they put more pressure on your ears than others.
- Others opt for a more classical design with the just the eartips fitting in your ears. They tend to be more comfortable than those with a secure fit but they will fall from your ears more easily.
- There are also hybrids like the Jaybird X2 that take the best of both worlds with an ingenious design. They are a good compromise of comfort and fitting that will suit most uses.
These different styles allow you to choose from a vast range of form factors and designs. Some brands will give you many color choices in order to satisfy your tastes. Depending on what you want to use them for, you can choose the best design for your needs.
In the recent years, bluetooth earbuds brands managed to greatly improve the sound quality of their products. The first bluetooth earbuds that came on the market were really bad with the sound performance but it changed thanks to technology.
With the recent adoption of bluetooth 4.1, music can now be streamed at a higher rate, avoiding signal compressing and loss of quality. Now the best bluetooth earbuds can be compared to their wired equivalent. Of course, at an equivalent price, wired earbuds will give you a better sound but unless you are a music professional, you will hardly notice any difference. The difference is more noticeable at entry level prices where the sound quality between equivalent priced wireless earbuds and wired ones is obvious.
Thanks to their thin design, bluetooth earbuds tend to naturally attenuate external noise. They passively reduce outside noise far better than any headphones thanks to their fit. With their thin form factor, bluetooth earbuds tend to have less bass. The fact that they are using batteries to be powered make brands to choose smaller speakers in order to limit the consumption and improve the battery life.
Most bluetooth earbuds for sport integrate a microphone, allowing you to answer calls and talk freely without having to reach your phone. Generally, the microphone quality is cheap and you voice ends up being transmitted thin and computerized-sounding to the person you are talking to. This is not heir main purpose and if you need eabuds to make calls all day long, you would better look at wired earphones with mic that will do significantly better while being cheaper.
There is not much variation in terms of range of operation. Most Bluetooth earbuds are limited to the theoretical range of 33 feet. This is one of the limitations of Bluetooth technology. Normally, you can go a good 10-15 feet before hiccups and gaps start to creep in although a few earbuds can make it to the 20 feet mark.
You can find wireless earbuds ranging from a 2 hours autonomy up to 10 hours. It all depends of the design you choose. Bulkier and heavier models integrate a bigger battery while the smaller ones focused on lightness will have a reduced battery life. The best wireless earbuds will last for 8-10 hours and the autonomy tends to increase with time thanks to better batteries.
Again, choose according to what you need. If you are a marathon runner, you will want to grab bluetooth earbuds with a huge battery life to be sure to not run at of power while running. On the other hand, if you are just going to the gym, 2h of battery life is generally enough for your daily work outs.
Bluetooth earbuds drain less battery than wired ones. This is due to the fact that bluetooth was designed to be a power efficient wireless technology and that they integrate their own batteries.
What others think
Lauren at thewirecutter recommends the JLab Epic 2 Bluetooth, a pair of Bluetooth headphones that we will soon be reviewing. She also mentioned the Jaybird X2 as her second choice.
Matt at heavy.com also loves the X2! It's his favorite pair of
Bluetooth earbuds are becoming more and more affordable and widespread. They clearly make your life better if you are an athlete or even if you just want to enjoy your music without that annoying cords.
With everything that is included is this epic bluetooth earbuds comparison post, I hope that you found the ones you need. If you have any question or suggestion, feel free to post a comment here, I will do my best to answer rapidly.