the best Apple AirPods alternatives for 2023

Apple has done more than most companies when it comes to advancing the popularity and technology of in-ear true wireless earbuds. Not only has their glossy white design profile become an immediately recognizable status symbol, but Apple has fostered technologies such as active noise cancellation (ANC), voice-assistant support with Siri, and some pretty advanced and immersive surround sound with its Spatial Audio.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of wireless earbuds and are considering either the Apple AirPods (the latest version is the 3rd generation) or Apple’s flagship AirPods Pro (2nd-gen), we’re sure you’ve already discovered that all that tech and cachet comes at a premium price — $169 and $249, respectively (or $129 for a pair of 2nd-gen AirPods).

Well, we’re here to tell you that AirPods are not the only wireless earbuds in town. Whether you’re looking to break free of the Apple ecosystem or like some of the features it offers, but would rather not dip your toe in altogether, we’ve rounded up the best AirPods alternatives that are similar in features and price point — or even cost less — to Apple’s little white buds.

Marshall Motif ANC true wireless earbuds.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Marshall Minor III

Best overall alternative to AirPods

Pros

  • Stylish pick
  • Excellent sound
  • Wireless charging
  • Wear sensors
  • IPX5 water resistance
  • Active noise cancellation

Cons

  • No Siri or other voice assistants

Marshall combines its bold style with a true wireless earbud design that has a whole lot more in common with AirPods than you may think at first glance, including a no-eartip design and highly portable charging case (with a better grip than the AirPods case has). Thanks to Marshall’s devotion to big sound, these earbuds also really deliver on audio quality — we think they sound better than the AirPods 2nd generation, and we bet you will, too.

There’s also ANC (active noise cancellation) here, as in the AirPods Pro, plus a transparency mode, although the tech can’t really compare to the ANC created in Apple’s labs. However, it is nice to see other welcome features here, including IPX5 water resistance for outside use, wear sensors for automatic pausing, and a nice EQ. The price has come down on the Marshall Minor IIs, and they are now cheaper than the 3rd-gen AirPods.

Marshall Minor III

Marshall Minor III

Best overall alternative to AirPods

bose quietcomfort earbuds ii review 00013

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best AirPods Pro alternative for ANC

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Very good sound quality
  • Outstanding noise cancellation
  • Very good transparency
  • Adjustable EQ modes

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • No Bluetooth multipoint
  • Poor outdoor call quality

As far as active noise cancellation goes, Bose is a pioneer of the technology and has consistently sat at the top of the heap with the likes of Apple, Sony, and Jabra. And with its QuietComfort Earbuds II, Bose has outdone itself yet again with a pair of outstandingly quiet and comfortable true wireless earbuds that best the AirPods Pro while (currently) coming in at par with them in terms of price.

Smaller and lighter than the previous generation, and with improved eartips that ensure a secure fit (even at the gym) while also barely sticking out from your ears (also an improvement from the last gen), the QC Earbuds II are a joy to wear and use, with the tap and swipe controls still easy to use on the outside of each bud.

We won’t go into too much detail about the sound quality here, because it’s Bose and, as expected, the QC Earbuds II sound fantastic, with a wide soundstage, lush bass, and crystal clear mids and highs. We will mention the QC Earbuds II’s newest trick though. That’s their CustomTune system that, as our reviewer Simon Cohen describes, “performs a nearly instantaneous test of your ears, measuring how they channel sound to your eardrum.” They do this each time you wear them, and you don’t even notice it. Bose says that this feature helps to improve the sound, the ANC, and the transparency mode, which are all top-notch.

Battery life on the QC Erabuds IIs hasn’t improved over the previous gen, but it’s still a respectable six hours per charge (24 with the charging case), just shy of the AirPods Pro’s 30 hours. The Bose QC Earbuds II do lack a couple of common features, however, like wireless charging and Bluetooth multipoint, which isn’t a deal breaker for us, but you might decide otherwise. Either way, if ANC and great sound are what you’re looking for, then you could easily look past the AirPods Pros and go these Bose buds.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best AirPods Pro alternative for ANC

1more comfobuds mini review 00012

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

1More ComfoBuds

Great budget AirPods alternative

Pros

  • Tiny, lightweight earbuds
  • Very comfortable
  • Wireless charging
  • Wear sensors
  • IPX5 water resistance

Cons

  • Lack of high-frequency clarity
  • No EQ adjustments
  • Limited control options
  • Muffled call quality

If you’re looking for an AirPod alternative at a lower price, the 1More buds are a great choice. Since 1More had already caught our attention as the creator of some of the best budget headphones you can find, it’s no surprise that its earbuds are similarly impressive. These buds are comfortable, versatile, and cost around $100, making them the perfect way to save.

We’re especially impressed with the compact charging case — even smaller than anything AirPods have had so far — and the easily customizable controls, an AirPods advantage that’s difficult to give up once you’ve tried it.

There are some sacrifices made for this low price, though, including rather wimpy bass levels, no EQ options for adjusting your sound, and battery life that falls a bit short at around four hours a charge. But none of these are deal breakers for those looking for a serious value, and we think that the 1More Comfobuds can hold their own in most situations.

1More ComfoBuds Mini

1More ComfoBuds

Great budget AirPods alternative

audio technica ath twx9 review 00022

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Audio-Technica ATH-TWX9

Like AirPods Pro, but with hi-fi sound

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Very comfy and secure fit
  • Effective noise cancellation
  • Keeps your voice clear (indoors)
  • Kills bacteria with UV light

Cons

  • Erratic multipoint behavior
  • Limited control customization
  • Shorter than average battery life

Audio-Technica is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to high-fidelity sound in its headphones, speakers, turntables, and microphones, so it’s not surprising that its latest wireless earbuds, the ATH-TWX9, are on offer for a premium price of $299 — $50 more than the AirPods Pro.

So should you fork over the extra dough? If sound quality is your top priority, and you don’t want AirPods, then yes. DT’s Simon Cohen breaks it down: “Punchy and resonant bass, detailed midtones, and crystal clear highs are all evident from the start. The soundstage is rendered with precision,” he writes, adding praise for their handling of 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos sound. The ATH-TWX9 also support up to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio with aptX Adaptive content on a compatible device, but iPhones don’t support this, so you’ll have to be an Android use to take advantage (many people won’t notice the difference between aptX Adaptive and Apple’s AAC on an iPhone though). An in-app customizable EQ further enhances the ATH-TWX9 experience to your liking.

Active noise cancellation is aces here too, with five different presets to choose from depending on your situation — including planes, trains, and automobiles. And like the Bose QC Earbuds II, the TWX9s also have a calibration tool that analyzes fit for an optimized ANC experience based on your surroundings.

In the spirit of offering an alternative to AirPods’ white buds, the ATH-TWX9 look and feel nothing like AirPods, with a sleek textured matte finish that is just the right amount of grippy. They also fit well and are comfy enough to wear for long stretches at a time — which tops out at up to six hours per charge with ANC enabled and a total of 18 hours with the wireless charging case. That’s a fair bit less than the AirPods Pro, so take that into account.

Audio-Technica ATH-TWX9

Audio-Technica ATH-TWX9

Like AirPods Pro, but with hi-fi sound

earfun air pro 3 review 00014

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Earfun Air Pro 3

Another budget AirPods buster

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Big, dynamic sound
  • Customizable controls
  • Bluetooth Multipoint
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No wear sensors
  • So-so noise canceling
  • Imprecise touch controls

For $80, you just can’t go wrong with the Earfun Air Pro 3 wireless earbuds when stacking them up against a pair of AirPods. Earfun has a stellar reputation for great-sounding earbuds and headphones, and the company has only made some minor adjustments to the Air Pro 3s.

First, though, can we acknowledge that for the price, it’s pretty rare to find wireless earbuds that have ANC, which neither the second- nor third-generation AirPods have. That’s not to say that it’s amazing, but our reviewer said that the Air Pro 3s did a decent job at canceling out street noise while letting is just the right amount of outside sounds with their transparency mode.

Another surprise with the Earfun Air Pro 3s is that they support Bluetooth LE Audio and aptX Adaptive (Android only though), meaning less power consumption (the “LE” stands for Low Energy) and better sound quality when listening wirth supported devices. They also support Bluetooth Multipoint, so you can connect your phone and laptop to them at the same time.

Sound quality is good for a set of true wireless earbuds at this price, with punchy, big bass, and clear mids and highs that can all be tweaked to your liking with an in-app EQ.

Battery hits up to nine hours per charge with ANC off (45 hours with the case), and up to seven hours with ANC on (37 with the case), besting the AirPods and AirPods Pro.

EarFun Air Pro 3

Earfun Air Pro 3

Another budget AirPods buster

sony wf 1000xm4 review featured

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Sony WF-1000XM4

Best-sounding AirPods Pro alternative

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Great noise cancellation
  • LDAC Bluetooth codec
  • Wireless charging
  • IPX4 water resistance

Cons

  • May not fit small ears
  • Slightly lacking in high-end detail
  • No Bluetooth multipoint

If you’re looking for a pair of true wireless earbuds that come closest to the AirPods Pro, you want Sony’s WF-1000XM4. The Sony XM3 were the first major earbuds offering active noise cancellation (ANC), and they’re still among the best (if you can get your hands on a pair).

The improved Sony WF-1000XM4 also have fantastic sound, ranking among the top of their class. Across the entire soundstage, the buds deliver, from rich and powerful bass to detailed mids and treble (although we think the XM3 have the XM4 beat when it comes to higher frequencies). Sony has even managed to improve its already incredible ANC capabilities with the XM4, thanks to the built-in Integrated Processor V1 chip delivering industry-leading cancellation with next to no hiss when there’s no audio playing.

With Alexa and Google Assistant on board, along with eight hours of playtime with ANC enabled, the Sony WF-1000XM4s are a stellar audio investment for music devotees, frequent phone callers, and those seeking a comfortable set of buds that will stand up against a solid gym workout (the buds are IPX4 rated for ultimate sweat resistance).

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Best-sounding AirPods Pro alternative

jabra elite 7 pro review 00018

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Jabra Elite 7 Pro


Amazingly customizable AirPods Pro alternative

Pros

  • Super comfortable
  • Great sound quality
  • Excellent call quality
  • Very good ANC and transparency
  • Good battery life
  • Wireless charging
  • Tons of customization options
  • Excellent water/dust protection

It’s not often that we hand out perfect scores to the products we test at Digital Trends, which is why a perfect 10 out of 10 for the Jabra Elite 7 Pro is such a big deal. But trust us: Jabra more than backs up eraningour top laurel.

For starters, the Elite 7 Pro buds are smaller and tinier than previous Jabra buds, as well as extremely comfortable, too. Design-wise, this is also the first Jabra product to use a new charging case with integrated wireless charging (a feature you had to pay extra for with older generations) and a front-facing USB input for more streamlined recharging.

In terms of audio quality, both music and calls sound incredible. Rich bass and articulate mids and highs make for top-notch sound staging, while integrated ANC is strong and essentially flawless. Plus, if you think you want a little more “something” in your sound, you can always adjust EQ settings in the Sound+ app.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro

Jabra Elite 7 Pro


Amazingly customizable AirPods Pro alternative

A woman wearing the Oddict Twig earbuds.

Oddict Twig

Best AirPods alternative with Siri

Pros

  • Style and sound at an affordable price
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Wireless charging
  • Siri and Google Assistant support

The Oddict Twig earbuds are a fascinating combination of value for your money and an interesting aluminum design that can match the AirPods for style and even beat them, especially if you prefer darker tones compared to the blanched white of AirPods.

There’s also a lot going on inside these earbuds, and we like it: The 12mm carbon drivers produce excellent sound, there’s an EQ app for making adjustments, and the IPX4 weatherproofing means you don’t have to fear taking them along for workouts or in the rain. The Twig also has a number of premium features you rarely see at this low of a price, including great touch controls with not only Siri but also Google Assistant, plus quick charging to get your battery life back fast. There’s also built-in wireless charging in the storage case, which sports a fashion statement design of its own.

While the Twig earbuds may be pretty close to perfect at this price, they aren’t flawless. The design, particularly of the charging case, isn’t for everyone, and battery life isn’t that impressive at just three hours, despite the quick-charging options. Still, they tick so many boxes, we happily recommend them to anyone looking beyond AirPods — and you may want to take a look at the Pro version too. They’re not much more expensive, have a five-hour battery, and support Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive audio codec for up to 24-bit-96kHz resolution music.

Oddict Twig

Oddict Twig

Best AirPods alternative with Siri

samsung galaxy buds 2 review

Caleb Denison/Digital Trends

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Best for Android fans

Pros

  • Compact
  • Comfortable
  • Effective ANC
  • Good sound
  • Solid battery

Cons

  • Annoying touch controls
  • Many Android-only features

While the Galaxy Buds may not be the best bet for iOS device owners, the extremely comfortable and great-sounding Galaxy Buds 2 may have Apple devotees reconsidering what buds they swear allegiance to.

They’re a little bit bass-heavy, but this makes for a punchy and vibrant audio experience, especially for genres like hip-hop, EDM, and Top 40 pop tracks. ANC and ambient listening are also the best they’ve ever been for a set of Samsung buds.

While we found the touch controls to be a little too sensitive and some of the more advanced features are locked behind an Android wall (the Galaxy Wearable app with EQ adjustments and other customization is only available for Android devices), we think that fans of the Android platform are going to love the latest addition to the Samsung wireless earbud family.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Best for Android fans

amazon echo buds 2 review featured

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Amazon Echo Buds 2

Best AirPods alternative for Alexa fans

Pros

  • Hands-free Alexa
  • Good sound quality
  • Top-notch call quality
  • Excellent transparency

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Mediocre ANC

Building upon the original Amazon Echo Buds, the company’s latest generation of wireless listening come with a whole host of improvements, particularly when it comes to comfort and fit. The Echo Buds 2 have taken cues from some of the leading earbud makers of today, which is evident in the addition of bud vents to help pass air through the ear canal, creating a more comfortable fit overall. We also appreciated the inclusion of single- and triple-tap controls for playing and pausing music, answering calls, and toggling ANC and transparency on and off.

While we think the Echo Buds 2 have decent sound quality for listening to tunes and podcasts, and phone call quality is excellent, the real standout feature is the integrated Alexa voice assistant. Using simple voice commands, you can adjust volume, skip through tracks, toggle ANC and transparency, and launch your favorite music streaming platform, all without lifting a finger.

While battery life isn’t much to write home about (five hours on a single charge with ANC and Alexa enabled), bonus add-ons like being able to use the Alexa app to locate your lost buds with location services, and a built-in accelerometer for those of us without a wearable, make the Amazon Echo Buds 2 a solid addition to our roundup.

Amazon Echo Buds 2

Amazon Echo Buds 2

Best AirPods alternative for Alexa fans

Editors’ Recommendations






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