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I tried 5 Apple AirPods alternatives. This one is my clear favorite.

Apple AirPods alternatives
Amazon / Amazon

Apple AirPods may always top the list of the most popular earbuds of the year -- but they aren't the only earbuds worth buying. We've tested earbuds from a variety of popular brands to tell you which ones are really worth your money this summer.

I'm a big fan of Apple products, and I do love AirPods. But I also love finding a good deal or discovering a new, innovative product. So I set out to try several non-Apple earbuds (and yes, Beats earbuds are an Apple product) to find the best AirPod alternatives on the market.

Top 5 Apple AirPods alternatives that we tested

These AirPods alternatives all impressed our CBS Essentials experts but the best fit for you may depend on your budget and how you primarily use your earbuds. Here are our top picks:

Keep reading for a more in-depth review of each selection.

First, meet the standard: Apple AirPods Pro 2

There's no question that the Apple AirPods Pro 2 are the best earbuds you can buy from Apple. 


The latest Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds have an upgraded wireless chip for improved audio functionality, a new low-distortion driver for clearer audio and improved active noise cancellation. Apple AirPods Pro 2 provide truly custom sound: You can use your iPhone's camera to analyze your unique ear anatomy and find the perfect audio settings for you.

The design of the AirPods Pro 2 is fairly similar to the previous generation, but Apple has introduced touch control to the AirPods Pro 2 to help users more seamlessly control their AirPods.

The second-generation Apple AirPods Pro (2022) have a list price of $249 (though they are on sale now at Amazon), so they are a bit pricey. Hence, my search for a high-quality alternative.

Best Apple AirPods alternatives I tried myself

Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to earbuds, so before we dive in, here is what I looked for: solid sound quality, easy Bluetooth connectivity, decent battery life and a comfortable fit. My biggest pet peeves are earbuds that don't charge evenly, have difficulty connecting to my iPhone or feel uncomfortable in the ears. I've used all of these earbuds several times and will not include any earbuds that I personally wasn't satisfied with. 

Best Apple AirPods alternative: JBL Tune 130NC true wireless earbuds


These JBL earbuds feature advanced noise-canceling technology for a solid price. You can connect the earbuds to the JBL app to activate noise-canceling or ambient-aware noise-canceling. They offer a 40-hour battery life without noise-canceling or 32 hours of battery life with noise-canceling engaged.

They are designed to offer JBL's pure bass sound, though users can easily adjust the sound to fit their preferences in the app. The earbuds are also water-resistant and sweat-proof.

I bought these during an Amazon Prime Day sale because I wanted noise-canceling earbuds without the AirPod Pro or AirPod Max price tag. I think that these earbuds do an excellent job with both the active noise-canceling and ambient noise-canceling features. They connect easily and offer a long battery life, plus the sound quality is about the same as Apple AirPods. 

They're a great AirPod alternative if you want all of the features of the AirPod Pros at a price far lower than the least expensive Apple AirPods.

Best Apple AirPods alternative for fitness enthusiasts: Treblab X3 Pro earbuds with earhooks


These Treblab earbuds were an unexpected favorite. Historically, I haven't enjoyed wearing earbuds with earhooks, but these fit great and were incredibly comfortable. I hadn't heard much about this brand before but was incredibly impressed with the sound quality as soon as I put them on. These earbuds offer crisp, clear sound, and I truly felt as though I were able to hear all of the details and layered sounds in every song.

The Treblab X3 Pro earbuds are also waterproof and very secure. I tested these out on my dog walks earlier this month while California was having a lot of rain and wind. They performed well and stayed securely on my ears. I would definitely recommend these for runners or other fitness enthusiasts. These are my current go-tos when I'm going on a hike or running around at the park with my dog.

Best budget Apple AirPods alternative: Jlab Go Air Tones


I've tried several budget earbuds, but these are the only models under $30 that you'll see on this list. That is because affordable earbuds like this tend not to perform well for me. 

They often have charging or connectivity issues, poor sound quality or feel cheap and don't quite fit right. That was not the case with these Jlab Go Air Tones though. These earbuds worked very well, connected to my phone easily and provided good sound quality for the price point.

These are also a great look-alike for the Beats x Kim Kardashian earbuds if you prefer nude-toned headphones but don't want to shell out big bucks for them.

Best premium Apple AirPods alternative: Yamaha TW-ES5A true wireless earbuds


Yamaha products generally offer a bass-heavy sound, which I'm a fan of. The sound quality is great on these, as is the noise-canceling functionality. These are the sports earbuds design, which I found more comfortable and secure than Yamaha's other earbud-style (some of their other styles tend to fall out of my ears a bit too often).

These earbuds also have a nice, long battery life. They are advertised as lasting nine hours per charge, whereas AirPods and many similar earbuds only have a four-hour battery life without the charging case. 

Best Apple AirPods alternative for gaming: Logitech G Fits 


These Logitech G Fit earbuds are an interesting AirPod alternative for gamers. The sound on these earbuds is optimized for gaming and it includes a high-quality mic if you like to game with others.

The setup process for these was very unique. You have to download the Logitech G Fits app and go through a quick setup process to mold the earbuds to your ears. You can feel the earbuds warm up and physically mold themselves to the shape of your ear. I loved this because I am kind of picky about the fit and feel of earbuds. This is the most comfortable and secure fit I've ever gotten from earbuds. 

I've had these for more than a year now, and they still work very well and offer a great fit and solid audio quality.

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