Let’s face it: Wireless earbuds are now a mandatory part of daily life. Trends like endless Zoom calls, solo exercise, and streaming video aren’t going away any time soon, and thanks to incredible advances in sound quality, battery life, and signal strength now is the perfect time to buy.
That said, the wireless earbuds market has become cluttered with cheap Apple knockoffs and scammy internet sellers. Even well recognized brands are rushing to roll out subpar product that just isn’t worth your hard earned dollars. That’s where we come in…
If you’re thinking of buying new wireless earbuds for Zoom calls, this list (updated monthly) will help you make the best choice with a focus on sound and call quality, features, and overall value for your money.
Mifo O5 Plus Gen 2 Touch: Editor’s pick for best headphones for Zoom calls – $109.99 at Mifo.us
Where to buy the Mifo O5 earbuds
The best wireless earphones for Zoom calls 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.
- Editor’s Note: The new edition of the O5 Plus Gen 2 Touch is not available on Amazon or other channels at the time of publishing. The original O7 Dynamic is available for the similar pricing plus tax on Alpha XR here, but does not include enhanced features for Zoom.
So what makes the Mifo O5 the best work from home earbuds?
The best earbuds for everyday use, period. The Mifo O5 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 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 for an entire work day. The O5 earbuds themselves will play continuously for 10+ hours, a feat we tested over several days. Not only that, but the included USB-C charging case offers an additional 36 hours of play time. That level of power combined with rapid recharging is essential to a busy day that can easily go 10 or more hours.
Excellent sound with on call noise canceling and multiple mics you have to hear to believe. The O5 has some of the best microphone and software technology in any true wireless earbuds we have tested. That’s particularly helpful if you switch between Zoom calls and streaming or other audio sources during the day.
You won’t be able to hear any outside noise, thanks to CVC noise canceling. Similarly, your calls will sound crystal clear and block out ambient noise for listeners. We’ve never seen a premium feature like this is sub-$200 earbuds before, and it is truly impressive.
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. Audited Mifo reviews can be found at Judge.me.
Jabra Elite Active 75t: Solid but pricey Zoom 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 the Mifo O5, but offer a more generalist approach to the format.
Why Jabra makes the list of best earbuds for video calls at the nexus of value and features
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 call-specific features. While Jabra does an excellent job with form factor, we aren’t typically working out while taking or making calls. So we were surprised to find that the 75t does not add at least the same features to make the calling experience better.
Bose Sports Earbuds: Work 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 performance to value on calls
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 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 – 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 – 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 at 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.