Do the best Bluetooth earbuds live up to the hype? Wireless earbuds offer great convenience, but often come with poor battery life. We rank the best and longest lasting Bluetooth headphones and earbuds for power users with current pricing to help you cut the cord for good!
The 10 Best Bluetooth Earbuds of 2021: Longest Lasting Battery Edition
Worried that your wireless Bluetooth earbuds are going to fizzle out mid-use? You aren’t alone. In our reviews of Bluetooth headphones and earbuds we found decent battery life ranging from a pitiful 2.5-4 hours of real world use.
For power users, 3-5 hours of battery life just isn’t enough. If you’re willing to spend a little more you can extend that useable life to 7+ hours. Our testers tried over 45 brand name wireless earbuds, attempting to talk, work out, and listen to music until the fully-charged batteries gave out. The results? Clear category winners for best Bluetooth earbuds. Let’s get to the list!
Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2: Editor’s pick for best wireless earbuds for battery life – $89.99 at Mifo.us
Where to buy the Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2 earbuds
The best wireless earphones for sports including running and all around gym/active lifestyle use come from a brand that is fairly new to the US. But don’t let that scare you off, as these earbuds are easily some of the best we have ever tested.
- $89.99 tax and shipping included at Mifo.us – 2-day delivery
- OF NOTE: New O7 Edition $149.99 at Mifo.us – 2-day delivery
- Editor’s Note: The Gen 2 is not available on Amazon or other channels at the time of publishing. The original O5 Plus is available for the similar pricing plus tax on Alpha XR here, but does not include power bank and upgraded sound quality.
So what makes the Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2 the best “daily driver” for long lasting earbuds?
The best earbuds for everyday use, period. The Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2 includes a bevy of cutting edge features that blow away higher priced brands, beginning with their form factor. Weighing in at just a few grams each, the O5 Plus earbuds feel supremely comfortable, and include 7 silicon ear tip shapes and sizes for that perfect fit. Further, once in it’s nearly impossible to get them to fall out. Readers may remember propensity to fall out was a major problem that prevented us from recommending the Apple AirPods Pro in our last wireless review.
Absurd battery life with power bank feature. The O5 Plus earbuds themselves will play continuously for 7+ hours, a feat we tested over several days. Not only that, but the included USB-C charging case offers an additional 100 hours of play time. No, that is not a typo. We were able to use the earbuds without charging the case for an entire week before it gave out. Not only that, but the case allows you to plug a smartphone in to charge your devices on the go. In our test, we were able to charge an iPhone 11 Pro Max from 0 to 100%. That’s stunning, and makes us wonder why earbuds from other brands costing 3-4 times more have just a third of the battery life.
Excellent sound with passive noise canceling and transparency mode you have to hear to believe. The Mifo O5 Plus packs some of the best bass in any true wireless earbuds we have tested. That’s particularly helpful if you prefer energetic tracks when pushing yourself to the limit.
You won’t be able to hear any outside noise, unless you activate transparency mode. Once activated with a tap, you are able to hear ambient noise around you perfectly, including conversations. That means you don’t have to remove the earbuds when you want to order a coffee or have a quick word. We’ve never seen a premium feature like this is sub-$100 earbuds before, and it is truly impressive.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mifo has released the new O5 Plus Gen 2 Touch with carbon nanotube dynamic drivers, Qualcomm chipset, and touch controls. It carries with it substantial added cost, but may offer a superior experience for $109.99.
US-based customer support. We have been continuously disappointed with true wireless earbuds in the past, even from tech giants like Samsung. Part of that disappointment comes with poor or absent customer service, particularly with regard to bargain and knockoff sellers who do not offer any domestic presence or support. We tested Mifo on several occasions with questions and every time received proper replies within an hour. That demonstrates commitment to the US market and contributes greatly to our award of Editor’s Pick.
Jabra Elite Active 75t: Solid but pricey sports earbuds – Check price at Alpha XR
Where to buy the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds in the US
If you aren’t price sensitive, Jabra may be the brand for you. These true wireless earbuds come with fewer accessories than competitors, but offer a more generalist approach to the format.
Why Jabra makes the list of best earbuds at the nexus of value and features with battery to boot
Good overall quality for true wireless earbuds. Since true wireless earbuds were invented, we have lamented at poor signal quality, dropped calls, and pairing fiascos. Jabra has included top quality chipsets and firmware, and we were pleased with the overall experience.
Excellent marks for sound quality. While bass isn’t as rich as the Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2, the overall high and low tones of the Elite 75t are quite good. We’ll leave it to you to determine if they sound $150 good.
Active noise canceling with some flaws. The active noise canceling (ANC) that comes standard with the Elite 75t is passable, but it did not help in louder ambient environments, and seems to have some difficulty with certain frequencies, causing uncomfortable glitching when enabled. Controls are a bit awkward via the included smartphone app, and we found leaving ANC off improved battery life and did not take away meaningfully from the listening experience.
Limited sports-specific features. While Jabra does an excellent job with calls, we aren’t typically on the phone while working out. So we were surprised to find that the 75t does not add at least the same features found on the disastrous and now canceled Elite Sport.
Bose Sports Earbuds: Earphones that live up to the Bose name, with minor drawbacks – Check price at Alpha XR
Where to buy the Bose Sports earbuds in the US
Bose has delved into the true wireless category by focusing on sports. And while the generic-sounding Sports is an excellent first product, it suffers from an aging Bluetooth chipset and mediocre 5 hour battery life, costing Bose a higher position in our list.
Why Bose gets our approval for Bluetooth earbuds with long battery life
Great sound that comes at a cost. While Bose has engineered a product that is indeed worthy of the name, it does come at a cost. Poor battery life of 5 hours (approximately 4.5 hours in our real world use testing) and Bluetooth 4.1 instead of 5.0 hurt the product and age it to the first generation of true wireless product.
Fun, fitness-oriented colors. Of note are the options to pick from a bright, bold, and just plain fun color scheme. While not strictly to do with features, the Sports earbuds makes going to the gym just a bit more interesting.
Built for sports, but may not work for you. While the Sports earbuds are made for active movement, we found it a bit bulky. If you have smaller ears, you may experience some discomfort or a feeling that the earbuds may fall out. That’s not particularly comfortable when you are trying to focus on your workout. Unfortunately, Bose only includes 3 sizes of ear tips that follow the same shape, which is not adequate at this price point.
Sony WF-1000XM3: Great for sitting at home, tough to use on the go – Check price at Alpha XR
Where to buy the Sony WF1000-XM3 in the US
Sony spent years of research and development on the WF1000-XM3, but may have over engineered an expensive and somewhat clumsy product for movers and shakers. And while the active noise canceling and sound quality are superb, those little annoyances add up with an otherwise excellent product.
The positives include a great sound profile that is well balanced with a light emphasis on lower tones, and an overall simple user interface that anybody can figure out. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end.
Sony stumbles when it comes to features. We gave the WF1000-XM3 a higher rating in 2020, but it’s 2021 now and there are new challenger products that outperform the WF1000-XM3 on nearly every front. That includes battery life (more below), charging capabilities, and overall miniaturization of previously large components.
You’ll get 3 to 4 hours of battery life from the earbuds themselves if you listen at high volume, and the included charging case provides an added 4 charges. That’s fine and good, but not up to par with other earbuds in this price range. In the same vein, the WF1000-XM3 are not water proof and don’t do well with repeated exposure to sweat.
Lack of sports features mode is also a big miss for Sony. The WF1000-XM3 is simply uncomfortable to wear for longer than 10 minutes of movement. The earbuds themselves are too large for small ears, even when using smaller ear tips. They are far too easy to catch with natural arm motion, and tend to fall out when you least expect it.
We also wish Sony would release an updated model with very important features for sports like complete waterproofing, shock proofing, and a more durable charging case standard.
While Sony brings a decent result to the table with the WF1000-XM3, they are hurt by an uncomfortable product that should be redesigned or priced far lower than it is today.
Runners-up: Best Wireless Earbuds for Value to Performance
There are many, many wireless earbuds in the sports market. And while we attempt to test as many as possible for our readers, some units simply don’t make the cut. Here’s a quick peek at sports earbuds that didn’t make the list.
Apple Powerbeats Pro – Check price at Alpha XR
Yes, it’s the marriage of Beats and Apple. Yes, it’s meant to be used when working out. But for the money, you can do better. The Powerbeats Pro are sleeker with better battery life than their predecessor Powerbeats model. But our biggest complaint about the Pro comes from their bulky profile. They tend to get in the way, and you can definitely feel them weighing on your ears after 20-30 minutes of use. That makes them distracting, and unsuitable for longer runs or workout sessions. Did we mention the giant clamshell charging case? Yeesh.
Raycon Everyday E25: Smart marketing with dated tech – Check price at Alpha XR
Raycon exploded on the true wireless scene over a year ago with a hard to ignore celebrity-backed advertising campaign. And while the earbuds are passable, they have been eclipsed in nearly every way by newer earbuds that deliver better sound and more value for the dollar.
Apple AirPods Pro – Check price at Alpha XR
We couldn’t do a roundup without Apple’s latest contribution to the true wireless format. The iconic AirPods now feature a revamped design, active noise canceling, and better integration with iOS. Which raises a major gripe we have with AirPods: The features are only 50% there when using Android. That combined with a stem design that easily catches and falls while moving, and we can’t fully recommend the AirPods Pro for movers and shakers.
Jaybird Vista 2 – Check price at Alpha XR
The Jaybird Vista are the next iteration of the dismal Jaybird Run XT earbuds, and are designed for runners. It’s a shame that these purpose-built true wireless earbuds don’t live up to the moniker. Jaybird has the right idea, but falls short in sound quality and Bluetooth signal strength, making them competitive with other earbuds in the price category, but still too expensive to warrant top marks.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus – Check price at Alpha XR
The Galaxy smartphone is one of the most popular on the planet, and the pressure to create award-winning accessories is high. But from active movers’ perspectives, the Galaxy Buds don’t quite justify their price tag. Samsung tackled the challenge of an all around true wireless earbud, but failed to address runners and gym goers head on. We look forward to Samsung producing a model made specifically for sports.
Soundpeats Sonic: Good for bargain bin earbuds, but left us wishing we spent more – Check price on Alpha XR
While the Soundpeats Sonic earbuds play well in the bargain buds space, the product does not match higher end competitors in terms of build quality, bass levels, battery life, and overall performance. Soundpeats’ deep discounting Amazon-dominating strategies can be tempting, but in the end left us wishing we had the vastly superior performance of a slightly more expensive product.
That’s it for our list of the longest lasting Bluetooth earbuds fellow audiophiles! We hope your wireless experience is better for reading it, because our ears are better for doing it.
Not ready to cut the cord? Check out our monster list of the best tangle fee headphones for 2018 or if you’re looking for wired style our list of the best braided earbuds. New parent? Be sure to read our list of best noise cancelling headphones for babies.
Ready to pile on the wearable tech? Check out our new USB bracelet roundup featuring the many ways you can take storage on the go – and look good doing it!
Additional Questions and Answers on the Best Bluetooth Earbuds for Battery life
How do you test earbuds for battery life?
Our battery life tests aim to simulate typical use patterns for Bluetooth headphones and earbuds. That means a combination of listening to music (both iTunes and streaming apps), podcasts, using apps, and making phone calls. Typical behavior also means periodically connecting to Wi-Fi and cellular networks, as well as using Bluetooth devices. That’s complicated to simulate reliably, so instead we opt for a better approach: Real world testers. Our real world testers are from a variety of demographics, and use the Bluetooth earbuds named in this review throughout the day while carefully timing usage. They report back results, and we check for anomalies. Once the data is as accurate as it can be, we order the earbuds by battery life. Simple!
What are the best Bluetooth earbuds for battery life to buy?
The best Bluetooth earbuds for battery life to buy right now are the Activate BX Wireless Earbuds, taking the top position in our list. These earbuds offer a perfect mix of durability, practical ease of use, and long battery life. We recommend them because the price point is also affordable compared to models that may have slightly better battery life but come at 2-3 times the price.
What are the best true wireless earbuds for battery life?
The best true wireless earbuds (often abbreviated as TWS) for battery life include a portable charging case and earbuds with at least 50 mAh of battery capacity in each earbud. The portable charging case is key. In our real world test scenarios for battery life users typically put the earbuds in their charging case when not in use. Most charging cases are small and able to fit inside a pocket, which passes the smell test for simple and helpful innovation. True wireless earbuds with a battery case performed admirably, lasting through the day with no complications thanks to that case.
What is true wireless earbuds?
True wireless earbuds (sometimes called TWS) are earbuds with absolutely no cords. That means each earbud is an independent device with it’s own processor, sound driver, Bluetooth chipset, and battery. Earbuds in a set can be used together or singly. Wireless earbuds that are not true wireless have a cord connecting the two earbuds. This cord carries a signal from one master earbud to the other. True wireless earbuds are more complex because they require synchronization to each other and a sound source. Software controls the synchronization; currently the aptX standard for compression is used. New Bluetooth chipsets such as Qualcomm’s latest QCC5100 series chips will bring better synchronization and battery life to true wireless earbuds.
How much should I spend on new Bluetooth earbuds with the best battery life?
Bluetooth earbuds are going through a major evolution right now. Older products that rely on the Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2 chipsets are being phased out for Bluetooth 5.0 chipsets that consume far less power. This adds tremendously to battery life. Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds are the best for battery life, and our list includes one of the newest models in top position. Because these products are new, you can expect to see a higher price point than older models. You should plan to spend at least $100 to get Bluetooth earbuds with decent battery life, and up to $200 for the best Bluetooth earbuds.
What are the best wireless earbuds on the market?
That’s a tough question! It depends on what you want to get out of your earbuds and your price point. Try scanning a list of our articles about earbuds to get a feel for what’s out there, and then make your decision based on how you will actually use the earbuds.