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BEST BLUETOOTH EARBUDS OF 2016

Jaybird X2 ($105.99)

Shocker (not really), we went with the Jaybird X2’s here. People can argue (and rightfully so) that the X2’s aren’t the best in any one category, but they’re top contenders in basically every category and that’s what makes them the best all-around. They have a good sound, they’re lightweight and durable, they easily fit into most ears thanks to the multiple ear and wing tip combinations, and they’re also sweatproof so you can use them while exercising. The X2’s are the successors to the beloved Bluebuds X wireless headphones and they didn’t miss their mark, quickly overtaking the originals in terms of popularity.
The X2’s look similar to their predecessors unless you know what to look for. For one, these have a slightly more minimalist design even though they’re available in a few more color options. They lost the glossy look and instead adopted more subtle matte colors. There’s also a few more improvements behind the scenes. Battery life has also been increased with the X2’s actually reaching the projected 8 hours that Jaybird claimed for the Bluebuds X (which we only got around 6.5 hours with). This is impressive considering that the earbuds are relatively similar in size. It seems like Jaybird taught these headphones how to sip a little less battery life while in use which is always a good thing.
Jaybird not only fixed some of the connection issues, but they also included two pairs of Comply memory foam ear tips to go along with the myriad of other sized silicone ear tips and wing tips that come included with the headphones. If you want to dig deeper into the specifics of these earbuds we pinned them against the Bluebuds X in our versus video, or you can also check out the full review. Either way, there’s a reason people love these. The next time we update this list the X3’s and Jaybird Freedom ‘buds will likely be released so we’ll see if either one of those is good enough to knock the X2’s out of the top spot.
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 Bang for your buck: SoundPEATS QY7 ($19.99)

oundPEATS might not be a name you’re familiar with, unless you’re one of the almost 6,000 people who gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Overall, they have a 3.9 which is still impressive. The QY7’s are a wireless pair of earbuds that have been impressing people in terms of connection, fit, and sound. They’re mainly considered a great pair of running earbuds, but there are plenty of people that seem to get along just fine using them for day-to-day activities. That said, they are also sweatproof so you can definitely use these to go for a run too and you’ll be just fine. The most important feature of these headphones is probably their price tag. The prices vary depending on the color you choose, but the cheapest can be yours for only $19.
hey have a unique teardrop shaped design with the majority of the earbud covering the outside of your ear. They’re nowhere near as small or discrete as the X2’s but for the price, does it really matter? If you have problems getting them to stay in they also come with ear hooks meant to stabilize them while moving. These have a built-in mic as well so you can answer calls hands-free. The built-in battery will get you around 5 hours of battery which isn’t the greatest by any means, but as long as you remember to charge them between uses you shouldn’t have a problem.
On the bright side, SoundPEATS claims that these come with fast charging technology, so if you have the right charger you can get a significant boost in battery life in a short amount of time. Of course, we haven’t had the chance to fully review that feature so take that with a grain of salt. On the ‘buds are also some playback controls that let you control the volume as well as gives you the ability to skip between tracks so you won’t have to reach for your source device while using them. That said, there have been a few complaints regarding the connection beyond 15 feet and that they stop working completely after 2 or 3 months. But again, at only $20 it might be worth the risk considering how many people seem to love them.
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Best for Running

Money is not an object: Jabra Sport Coach ($148.49)
Few brands have aligned themselves with fitness so completely as Jabra. The moment Bluetooth became good enough for mainstream headphones, it seemed like Jabra began putting out fitness headphone after fitness headphone. One that’s seems to have found a home with with runners is the Jabra Sport Coach. Partly because of sound quality and fit, and partly because of the extra workout features that Jabra packed into them.
so dropping them in a pool will pretty much destroy them, but anyone who has ever been caught in a rainstorm while running knows how essential weather proofing is for electronics. Like many headphones meant for running, these come with multiple sizes of ear tips and ear wings. Finding the perfect combination of the two provides a great fit that’s essential for a good experience.
Not only do they keep the earbuds firmly in place, but they also provide a good seal which muffles outside noise significantly. This is good if you want to focus solely on the music while running in an area like a gym, but if you tend to run outdoors in the streets you may want to keep the volume low so that you can remain aware of your surroundings. These come with a fairly modest battery life of 5.5 hours as well, which should be enough to last the average runner for a few days before charging.
The Jabra Sport Coach get their name from their primary feature, which is a built-in “coach”. They collect data and provide real-time coaching via the headphones directly into your ears. With the app you can set goals, track your progress, map your runs, and even track weight training exercise if you choose to. Of course, they also take care of the basics like distance, pace, steps, and calories burned. If you already have a fitness tracker this might not seem too impressive, but if you’re looking for your first one these could be a great two-in-one option. There aren’t too many headphones that will talk you through your exercise goals, and then go back to playing your music seamlessly while you run. These have a overall score of 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon and with so many fitness options it’s easy to see why.
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Bang for your buck: Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 ($70.95)

If you don’t think you need a small motivational voice whispering your progress into your ear, you can always opt for the Plantronics Backbeat Go 2. There are a newer version of these that just came out, but that just means that the Backbeat Go 2’s got a significant price drop making them perfect for the bang for your buck running pick. They have small gel ear stabilizers that keep them securely in your ear during physical activities. That said, the design of the BackBeat Go 2’s aren’t exactly unique. They look very similar to the originals, with the two ‘buds being connected by a flat wire that has a small control module on it.
The control module has three buttons: a plus, a minus, and a square button in the middle. All of these buttons are technically multifunction buttons, giving you different controls depending on how many times they’re clicked and how long they’re held down. The plus button will raise the volume as well as skip to the next track, while the minus button does the opposite. It will either lower the volume or return to the previous track that was played. The middle button will pause/play the music or answer and end phone calls depending on what you are doing. One thing to note is that these take no special steps towards making sure that call quality is top notch. It’s a simple microphone that works well enough, but don’t expect amazing call quality on these. If you need a pair of headphones with a great microphone you might want to pass on these.
The headphones have a battery life of roughly 4 hours, so if you tend to go on longer runs you might want to charge these often. Another option is to purchase the model that comes with the charging case. You can store your headphones and charge them up at the same time, and that boost is supposed to add another 14.5 hours to the battery life. Of course if you forget to charge the case itself then you’re out of luck, but if 4 hours just isn’t acceptable for you then this is one way around that. Another decent feature that the Plantronics Backbeat Go 2have is a “DeepSleep” hibernation mode. This allows the headphones to keep a single charge for up to 6 months, so when you feel inspired to go running for the first time in months you won’t have to waste that moment of inspiration by waiting for your headphones to charge up.
In terms of sound quality these are known to have a lackluster bass, but on the flip side they have decent mids and highs so if you listen to a lot of vocal music while exercising these might be worth a look. Plantronics also made it a point to say that these have a P2i military-grade nano-coating which protects the headphones from moisture and spills. Overall, these are a decent pair of headphones that own their new price range. For around $80 you can get the headphones with the charging case, and experience first hand why these have a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
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Best Work Out

Money is no object: UA Headphones Wireless ($180.00)
Under Armour is one of the most trusted brand in workout apparel, so when they decided to team up with JBL for a pair of headphones we knew that we had to check them out. Though they do have their flaws (like any pair of headphones), the pros heavily outweigh the cons. For one, the UA Headphones Wireless have a fairly unique way of making sure that they don’t fall out of your ears. Instead of relying on external wing tips or ear hooks like some other audio brands, they decided to give these JBL’s new TwistLock technology. Basically this means that you insert the earbuds into your ears, and then twist them so that they lock in place. This essentially wedges the earbuds in your ear for one of the strongest grips we’ve seen in a pair of earbuds. Of course, everyone has different shapes ears but we had no problem with these. Especially since they wouldn’t fall out regardless of how hard I shook my head.
On top of that these have an IPX5 certification meaning that they can survive a rainstorm with no problem, so sweat from a workout shouldn’t be a problem. JBL also put internal and external stress reliefs on wires of the headphones, so if they accidentally get snagged on something you won’t have to worry about any of the wires snapping. Of course we weren’t able to test this in the full review, but considering how hard it is to rip these out of your ears it’s comforting to know that JBL took measures to ensure that these won’t break easily.
The control module has up and down buttons that let you raise or lower the volume respectively, but also has a multifunction button in the middle that gives you a few more options like playback control and accessing Siri or Google Now if you hold it down. Many companies seem to be content with averaging around 6 hours of playback time when it comes to wireless earbuds, luckily JBL isn’t one of them. These come with a battery life that lasted us about 8.5 hours during testing. It still hasn’t found it’s way into double digits, but the battery life of the UA Headphones Wireless are still a solid hour or two better than most of their competitors. Charging time is also just as long as their competitors at around 1.5 hours, so you can have a solid 2 hour workout four days out of five before you’ll need to recharge these.
One of the downsides of these headphones is probably the bass. It doesn’t have the amount of low-end that we’ve come to expect from headphones designed for exercise, but it does have solid mids. These headphones also come with an extra set of ear tips, a soft shell carrying case, and a free 1 year subscription to the MapMyFitness app. If you need a durable pair of ‘buds that won’t fall out of your ears, these are the way to go.
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Bang for your buck: Jabra Sport Pace ($79.99)
Of course, not everyone is a fan of straight up in-ears when it comes to workout headphones. Some people prefer earbuds of the clip-on variety and one pair that does it well are the Jabra Sport Pace Wireless. These have the earbuds attached to a hook that hugs the outside of your ear, and at only 22 grams they’re light enough that you’ll barely even notice they’re there. These also come with three different sizes of silicon ear tips so as long as you find the right pair you won’t have to worry about these accidentally falling off of your ears.
Jabra knows what it takes to make a good pair of workout headphones, so of course these come with an IP54 rating. That means that they’re rain, sweat, and dust resistant. Like the previous pair of Jabra headphone that made this list the Sport Pace Wireless come with an integrated training app that can provide you with a short summary of your progress during your workout. They’ll tell you your pace and distance if you’re running, along with calories burned and the duration of your workout. It’s not exactly the specialized coaching that comes with the Jabra Sport Coach earbuds, but if you just want occasional updates on your workouts the Sport Life app should do fine.
Like many of the other wireless earbuds on this list, the Jabra Sport Pace come with a small mic and control module built into the cable. Unlike other earbuds on this list, that cable comes with a reflective coating so the wearer is easily visible. The control module itself is fairly standard, providing basic playback functions like volume control and skipping tracks. It also has a multifunction button so that you can answer phone calls, but the most interesting button is probably the one that is located on the outside of the headphones. Pressing it allows the headphones to communicate with the app in a variety of ways, including tracking your workouts and informing you how much battery is left during usage.
Speaking of battery, these have a less amazing battery life than the UE Headphones Wireless at only about 5 hours. Knowing that battery life was not a strong point of these headphones, Jabra included a feature that I wish was included in every pair of headphones which is rapid charging. Plugging these in for a quick 15-minute charge is enough to provide you with an hour of constant playback. Simply plugging these in while doing some pre-workout stretches should give you enough juice for a solid workout. If you enjoy a strong low-end these might be for you. We found that the bass was quite powerful in our full review and that didn’t really get in the way of the other frequencies either. You can get these for around $79 in blue, pink, and yellow on Amazon, where they have a score of 3.3 out of 5 stars.
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Best Comfort

Money is no object: Beats Powerbeats2 ($138.77)
eats has been around long enough at this point that people have begun to realize not all of their products are bad. Whether or not they’re overpriced is still a topic of debate but they do make a few pairs of headphones that are surprisingly good at what they do, the Powerbeats2 being one of them. When it comes to exercise, accurate sound often takes a backseat to other features that are more desirable than others. The Powerbeats2 for example come with an emphasized low end which is preferred by a good amount of people, but they also have another thing going for them. They’re very, very comfortable.
If you’re not familiar with the Powerbeats2, they too utilize ear clips to easily fit around your ear. The cable is flat to avoid awkward tangles, and the control module on the wire has all of the usual suspects in terms of playback control but they clearly prioritized volume over track skipping. You can raise or lower the volume with a few clicks and the multifunction button in the middle will pause/resume playback and skip or return to songs if you have an iOS device. If you’re using Android then the middle button is only used for answering and ending phone calls. This is a little weird since usually the source device doesn’t matter when it comes to Bluetooth headphones, but it’s worth mentioning since that is not the case here.
Besides that the battery life is a decent 6 hours and similar to the Jabra Sport Pace headphones we previously mentioned, these also have rapid charging. Letting them charge for only 15 minutes will get you an hour of listening time. Some people may disagree, but I think that’s a fair trade to make for such an average battery life overall. One thing that we’re glad to find in most Bluetooth headphones is sweat and water resistance. These have an IPX4 certification meaning that spilling drinks on them or sweating buckets during a workout won’t destroy them. Even if you don’t plan on using these for exercise, they’re perfect for average usage just because of how comfortable they are.
As someone who commutes though the NYC subway system everyday, these are one of the more common pairs of wireless headphones you’ll see. Few headphones have pushed into the mainstream in the way that thePowerbeats2 have and thankfully, they’re not as bad as some other products the company has released. Quality always wins. The Powerbeats2 come in a myriad of different color options and have a score of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 50% of the over 3,600 reviews being a perfect 5.
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Bang for your buck: Sol Republic Shadow Wireless ($86.18)
There are plenty of things that are subjective when it comes to headphones, like sound for instance. But even sound quality can be generally agreed upon if the product is genuinely great or terrible. One thing that’s just as subjective as sound quality is comfort. What one person might find extremely comfortable, another might find to be unbearable. So if you don’t trust audio companies and other customers to decide what’s comfortable, maybe you’ll trust NASA.
The Sol Republic Shadow Wireless are a pair of Bluetooth headphones that were designed using anatomy research performed by NASA. Whether or not they think these are the most comfortable pair of headphones is up for debate (but if you or someone you know happens to work at NASA please let us know!), but if they can send people into space I’m sure understanding the human neck was laughably easy. The “biomorphic” neckband is made of a soft and flexible plastic that rests easily around your neck, and the two earbuds come with a few extra pairs of ear tips for a good fit. Similar to other headphones that use this design, the Shadow Wireless have the battery and all of the controls built into the neckband.
On the neckband you’ll find the volume buttons and multifunction button embedded under the soft plastic of the neckband. Using these three buttons you can pause/play music, answer phone calls, adjust the volume, and skip between tracks. Because Bluetooth headphones are perfect for exercise, these headphones (like many others on this list) are sweat and water resistant. In the neckband is also where you’ll find the battery, which has enough juice to give these a solid 8 hour battery life.
If you want a pair of headphones that will adjust to the shape of your neck for the best fit possible, the Shadow Wireless are worth checking out. These have a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and you can usually find them in black for almost half the price of the Powerbeats2.
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Best Sound

Money is no object: LG Tone Platinum ($199.99)
ven though wireless headphones are great for exercise, they’re also great for people who just don’t like wires. Many people in office settings often turn to Bluetooth to avoid any annoying cables, and in these cases it probably doesn’t matter whether or not the headphones can survive a 5K run. What does matter is how good they sound, and when it comes to that the LG Tone Platinum headphones are one of the best we’ve tested.
These are the newest Bluetooth headphones in LG’s Tone series, which you probably already noticed if you’re familiar with any of their previous headphones. Like the rest of the headphones in the series, they have everything built into the neckpiece, but the Platinum’s aim to give listeners a more premium experience. Not only do they look pretty with a sleek design and retractable earbuds, they also have Qualcomm’s new aptX HD codec which lets you stream 24-bit audio to compatible devices like the LG G5. Otherwise you’ll have to settle for standard CD quality streaming at roughly 16-bits with compatible devices. The Platinum’s also have the Harman Kardon stamp of approval right on the neckband.
LG also figured out a way to stuff a battery large enough to last up to 10 hours in these, which is more than enough juice to get you through the average work day and then some. They also have dual noise-canceling microphones so your calls will be clear in noisy environments. The controls on the Tone Platinum’s are fairly unique in that they add sliders as well buttons to help you control your music. On the left is a multifunction button that lets you answer phone calls and a slider that lets you check the battery life of the headphones or toggle vibrations. The right side is where the playback controls live, with buttons that let you pause/play music and another slider that lets you switch between tracks. If you download the app you can even set custom actions for some of these sliders and buttons, like having the headphone read you your most recent SMS message.
It’s clear that LG packed these headphones with some useful features, but none of them overshadow the sound quality. If you don’t really care about fitness tracking and would prefer to hear more detail in your favorite songs then the Tone Platinum’s should be on your shortlist. Unfortunately, they’re not available for purchase everywhere just yet, but they will be widely available soon.
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Bang for your buck: Sony SBH80 ($82.99)
When it comes to good quality audio, Sony is always a name that’s mentioned. The company is pushing their own Hi-Res audio players, audio files, headphones, and even listening stations at Best Buy. Though the SBH80headphones might not have those newest advancements, they do have some other great technologies like HD Voice and aptX designed to make the audio as crispy clean as possible whether you’re talking on the phone or listening to music.
The SBH80’s are have a slightly unusual design compared to some of the other wireless headphones we’re used to seeing. It does have the familiar neckpiece with the two earbuds attached to it, but there are two control modules on each wire. One of the modules lets you answer and end phone calls while the other has all of the playback controls on it. But separation of power isn’t the only reason for the dual modules, they also both have microphones built into them. This lets your voice come through clear regardless of which direction your head is turned. In terms of sound these also have the aptX codec responsible for CD quality streaming assuming you have a compatible device.
If you’re not a big fan of scrolling through Bluetooth settings to connect to your devices, the SBH80 headphones also have NFC. Simply tap a compatible device to the NFC logo on the back of the neckband to automatically pair the two devices. If you’re interested in hearing for yourself why these have a 3.8 out of 5 star rating on Amazonyou can pick one up for yourself via the link below.
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