Three Things To Know Before You Buy Wireless Earbuds

Hate those cords on your earphones? So do we. Here are three things to consider before choosing a pair of wireless replacements.

Apple earpods
Apple makes great wireless earbuds, but there are lots of alternatives to consider.Photo by Howard Lawrence B on Unsplash

We’re all too happy to kick as many wires as possible to the curb. If you’ve ever pulled a rat’s nest of cables out of your pocket, or had an earbud ripped out of your ear because the cord caught on something we think you’ll agree. There are a lot of factors to sort though, though, when it comes to finding the right wireless buds for you. Here are three things to help you narrow it down.

1. Longevity

Boltune Bluetooth V5.0 in-Ear Stereo Wireless Headphones
These fully wireless Bluetooth 5.0 buds can deliver six hours of play time by themselves, and you can extend that an impressive 34 hours with the charging case (with quick charge)Boltune

This one seems like a no-brainer: Longer battery life is better, right? Well, that’s true, but it may come at the price of bulk, or a higher price. Many wireless buds solve this problem by including a little case with a built-in battery that can recharge your buds on the go. Think about it, though, do you take a lot of 6+ hour flights? Maybe you’ll want a pair that you don’t have to pull out and recharge midway through your in-flight movie. Some cases have quick charge options, too.

2. Audio Quality

Tozo Earbuds
These buds are built for bumping bass, with 8mm drivers. They support Bluetooth 5.0, and should provide 3.5 hours of listening time with another 9 hours from the charging case.Tozo

Look for earbuds that support the newer Bluetooth 5.0 protocol (or above). Bluetooth 5.0 has four times the range and double the speed of Bluetooth 4.0. That should translate to higher audio fidelity, and fewer of the dreaded “dropouts” (where your music starts cutting in and out). It’s also worth looking at the number of drivers (aka speakers) in each bud, and how big they are. Generally, more drivers will deliver clearer tones.

3. Design

LETSCOM Bluetooth Headphones
These affordable buds are built for workouts. IPX7 means they’re sweat-proof, and the lightweight design has an over-ear loop and a rear cable to keep them securely in your ears.LETSCOM

There is a lot of variation here. Some wireless buds truly have no wires at all, whereas some have a cord connecting the two buds behind your neck. That may sound like a disadvantage, but it may provide an added layer of security if you’re planning on using them for workouts. Some buds are controlled by swipe gestures to adjust volume and skip tracks, whereas others have physical buttons. Some are big and heavy and may not fit your ears properly, so take a good look in the mirror and see if you think they’ll work. And, of course, there’s always style to consider.