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 you 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 to Apple’s little white buds — or even cost less.
But before we start, let’s just clarify what makes an AirPods or AirPods Pro alternative, because they are very different earbuds. For AirPods alternatives, we’ll suggest earbuds that have the same semi-open fit, and for AirPods Pro, we’ll show you those with a similar fully sealed, silicone fit. ANC and Transparency mode are other major distinctions between the AirPods Pro and the AirPods, the latter of which lacks these quietening features. But bear in mind that there are alternatives on the market in the sealed and semi-open styles that have both features as well. With that in mind, here are the best Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro alternatives.
Marshall Minor III
Best overall alternative to AirPods
- Stylish pick
- Excellent sound
- Wireless charging
- Wear sensors
- IPX5 water resistance
- Active noise cancellation
- 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 semi-open 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.
Additionally, Marshall recently added a sweet new burgundy color to the Minor III’s lineup.
Best AirPods alternative with Siri
- Style and sound at an affordable price
- Comfortable to wear
- Wireless charging
- Siri and Google Assistant support
- Battery life isn’t great
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.
JBL Tune 225TWS
Great AirPods alternative for bass
- Excellent bass
- Snug fitting
- Google Fast Pair feature
- Can use just one earbud or both
- Battery life could be better
- No ANC or transparency mode
It’s hard to go wrong with most things made by legendary American audio maker JBL, and the Tune 225TWS true wireless earbuds are no exception. With a similar semi-open style as the AirPods, the Tune 225TWS fit comfortably and create a decent seal that’s just the right amount to let enough of the outside world in.
JBL’s main selling features here are the Tune’s ample Pure Bass Sound, the Google Fast Pair feature that connects to an Android device (no iOS, sorry) quickly when you open the case, and Dual Connect, which lets you listen to one or both earbuds — handy if you want to listen with someone else or take one out while ordering your morning coffee.
While they’re not water resistant and they don’t have any noise cancellation or transparency mode (not uncommon for this style of earbud), the JBL Tune 225TWS sound great, and their battery life is comparable to the 2nd generation AirPods at 5 hours on a charge, with an additional 20 stored away in the charging case — for $30 less.
The JBL Tune 225TWS support Google and Alexa voice assistants and are available in six different colors. They can be personalized with text and designs if you buy them through the JBL website.
Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS
Best AirPods alternative with hi-res audio
- Excellent features for the price
- Support LDAC hi-res audio codec
- Excellent EQ features
- Battery could be better
- Glossy case is a fingerprint magnet
If you know that you’re a fan of the semi-open design of earbuds that are similar to the AirPods, then you really should take a serious look at the Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS. For this price, the features, combined with the LDAC-support sound bump that you get, are hard to beat.
You don’t usually see support for high-resolution audio in earbuds, period, let alone in a pair of buds that don’t have tighter-fitting silicone eartips. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t sound great, and the Air3 Deluxe HS are proof of that. Because of their semi-open design, you don’t get that immersive, inside-your-head depth of sound, but that open style makes for a big, open air-like sound that many people prefer, with just the right amount of outside sound coming in. And with LDAC support for hi-res streaming from services like Quobuz and Tidal, you’ll also get more definition in the sound, especially in the mid and higher frequencies, for crisp detail. One thing to consider, though, is that although the Air3 Deluxe HS deliver five hours of listening time per charge (20 hours with the case), that gets reduced with LDAC on.
Semi-open earbuds can sometimes be lacking in bass, but the Air3 Deluxe HS make up for this deficit with a bunch of equalization presets and a 10-band graphic equalizer to not only add your desired bottom end, but also tweak to your heart’s content.
And the features don’t end there for your $50. You can use the Air3s one at a time with their single-bud mode, and their ear detection stops and starts the music when you put them in and take them outut. Touch controls on the earbuds are easy to use and can be configured in the accompanying app, and there’s even a gaming mode you can activate that delivers a latency of under 100 milliseconds.
While an IPX4 rating makes the Air3 Deluxe HS earbuds sweatproof and splashproof, the looser fit might not be ideal for rigorous workouts. But for the price, it’s hard to beat these feature-rich AirPopds alternatives.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Best AirPods Pro alternative for ANC
- Very comfortable
- Very good sound quality
- Outstanding noise cancellation
- Very good transparency
- Adjustable EQ modes
- 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 generation), 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 — 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 get these Bose buds.
Like AirPods Pro, but with hi-fi sound
- Excellent sound quality
- Very comfy and secure fit
- Effective noise cancellation
- Keeps your voice clear (indoors)
- Kills bacteria with UV light
- 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.
Earfun Air Pro 3
Another budget AirPods Pro buster
- Very comfortable
- Big, dynamic sound
- Customizable controls
- Bluetooth Multipoint
- Great battery life
- 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.
Best-sounding AirPods Pro alternative
- Great sound quality
- Good battery life
- Great noise cancellation
- LDAC Bluetooth codec
- Wireless charging
- IPX4 water resistance
- 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).
Jabra Elite 7 Pro
Amazingly customizable AirPods Pro alternative
- 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.
Best AirPods Pro alternatives with spatial audio
- Very comfortable
- Fun spatial audio feature
- Lots of EQ adjustments
- Good noise cancellation
- Decent call quality
- Slightly muddy sound
- Limited control options
- Can’t disable head-tracking
Spatial audio is a generic term that means that the music you’re listening to has been engineered to have a three-dimensional sound to it, providing a sense of 360-degree width, height, and depth that standard stereo sound does not offer. Add to that the extra dynamic of head-tracking — where the earbuds use sensors to make it sound as though the singer or instruments stay in the same place while your head turns — and the tech makes for some wild, immersive listening.
While Apple has done a good job with ushering those experiences in for users of its AirPods Pro, 3rd-gen AirPods, and AirPods Max, this fun feature isn’t exclusive to them and can be enjoyed with earbuds that cost much less — such as the excellent $110 1More Aero.
Head-tracking spatial audio sounds great on the 1More Aero, and is easily turned on within the earbuds’ app. The only caveat is that when turned on, it applies the feature to all your audio, regardless of whether it’s a spatial audio track, such as those with Dolby Atmos that are properly designed for the feature, so you might want to turn it off when listening to standard tracks. The 1More Aero earbuds sound terrific, with a surprisingly wide soundstage and 12 EQ presents for you to find your perfect tonal balance.
The 1More Aero’s ANC and transparency mode, while not on par with the AirPods Pro, holds its own and gets the job done, especially considering the price. Outside noises like traffic and ambient indoor sounds like crowded restaurants are reasonably quieted, and these buds are especially good at reducing wind noise. Touch controls on each bud are easy to use and can be customized in the app, too.
Lastly, let’s talk battery life: The 1More Aero deliver an acceptable seven hours of listening time per charge with ANC turned off, and five with ANC on. The charging case brings that up to 28 and 20 hours, respectively — these numbers are from our review, listening at 50% volume.
The 1More Aero are comfortable, nice-sounding true wireless earbuds with lots of features and spatial audio for a price that Apple can’t compete with.