Apple AirPods are one of. But they aren’t the only great earbuds to gift this year. We’ve tested earbuds from a variety of popular brands to tell you which ones are really worth your money.
Top products in this article
Best Apple AirPods alternative: JBL Tune 130NC noise-canceling earbuds, $50 (reduced from $100)
Best workout earbuds: Treblab X3 Pro earbuds with earhooks, $60 (reduced from $70)
Best budget: JLab Go Air Tones wireless earbuds, $25
I’m a big fan of Apple products, and I do love AirPods. However, I also love finding a good deal or a new, innovative product. As such, I set out to try several non-Apple earbuds (and yes, Beats earbuds are an Apple product now) to find the best AirPod alternatives and earbud gifts on the market.
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. They’ve been reduced to just $200 during Black Friday at Amazon and Walmart.
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. The 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.
Get the second generation Apple AirPods Pro (2022) for their best-ever price at Walmart and Amazon now.
Apple AirPods Pro 2, $200 (reduced from $249)
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 when testing these: solid sound quality, easy Bluetooth connectivity, decent battery life and a comfortable fit. My biggest earbud 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 be including any earbuds that I personally wasn’t satisfied with.
Keep reading to explore the best AirPods alternatives, as well as some great tech gifting ideas for the holidays.
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 actually bought these during an Amazon Prime Day sale a few months ago 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 cancelling and ambient noise cancelling features. They connect really easily and offer a long battery life, plus the sound quality is about the same as AirPods.
These JBL earbuds are on sale during Black Friday for half off. 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.
JBL Tune 130NC noise-canceling wireless earbuds, $50 (reduced from $100)
Best earbuds 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 water-proof 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.
Treblab X3 Pro earbuds with earhooks, $60 (reduced from $70)
Best budget earbuds: Jlab Go Air Tones
I’ve tried several budget earbuds, but these are the only earbuds under $30 that you’ll see on this list. That is because affordable earbuds like this often don’t 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 dupe for the Beats x Kim Kardashian earbuds if you prefer nude-toned headphones but don’t want to shell out $200.
JLab Go Air Tones wireless earbuds, $25
Best earbud design: Gravastar Sirius P5
These earbuds are one of my favorites on the list for gifting. They come with really unique case designs, which also happen to be interchangeable. I think that this would be a really fun holiday gift or stocking stuffer.
The earbuds themselves also perform well. I like to listen to my music fairly loudly. With these earbuds, I didn’t even have to turn the volume all the way up to get loud, clear sound. The battery life is decent and about the same as AirPods. The fit of these is also very similar to AirPods, and I personally do find this style of earbud very comfortable for longer wear.
Gravastar Sirius P5 multi-case set, $112 after coupon (reduced from $140)
Gravastar Sirius P5 earbuds, $56 after coupon (reduced from $70)
Best premium earbuds: 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 personally found more comfortable and secure than Yamaha’s other earbud style (though the sound quality on the Yamaha E7-B is excellent).
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.
Yamaha TW-ES5A true wireless earbuds, $180
Best earbuds for gaming: Logitech G Fits
These Logitech G Fit earbuds aren’t really an AirPod alternative, but they are a great earbud holiday gift for gamers. 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. The sound is optimized for gaming and it includes a high-quality mic if you like to game with others.
Logitech G Fits gaming earbuds, $230
More Black Friday deals on top-rated earbuds and headphones
Unfortunately, I couldn’t try out every earbud on the market, but there are still plenty of other top-rated earbuds and headphones that would make excellent gifts this year — plus many of them are on sale.
Apple AirPods Pro 2: $230
The latest Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds offer 30 hours of listening time with the included charging case. They have an upgraded wireless chip for improved audio functionality, a new low distortion driver for clearer audio and improved active noise cancellation. The 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. Users will also get a new extra-small tip with their AirPods. The case did get a notable design upgrade with a new lanyard loop and a built-in speaker to help track the location of your AirPods case.
Apple AirPods Pro 2, $230 (reduced from $249)
Apple AirPods with MagSafe case (3rd generation): $159
The latest generation of Apple AirPods are a nice upgrade over the second-generation model. They support 3D spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. You get more listening time, too — up to 30 hours with the included MagSafe charging case.
Apple AirPods are on sale at Amazon and Walmart now. You’ll get a slightly better deal at Walmart.
Apple AirPods (3rd generation), $159 (reduced from $169)
Apple AirPods Max: $450
Apple AirPods Max use active noise-cancellation technology to block out unwanted noise and feature a transparency mode so you can hear what you need to. These headphones feature 20 hours of listening. They come in a variety of colors including blue, green, red and silver. They’re also compatible with Siri.
Apple AirPods Max, $450 (regularly $549)
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: $179
Want to save a little bit of money? The original Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, which once retailed for $279, have now been reduced to $179 at Amazon.
The 4.3-star-rated earbuds offer 18 hours of listening (6 hours of listening time per charge with included charging case), IPX4 water resistance, touch controls and active noise canceling.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, $179 (reduced from $279)
Samsung Galaxy Buds2: $100
Samsung’s highly coveted earbuds, the Galaxy Buds2, are having a sale moment.
Featuring active noise cancelation and ambient sound passthrough, the lightweight Galaxy Buds2 are built for users with an active lifestyle.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2, $100 (reduced from $150)
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: $69
Not to be beaten by the Samsung Galaxy Buds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live earbuds are available at an even deeper discount at Walmart during Black Friday.
Samsung designed these earbuds with 12mm speakers and a form factor that allows them to deliver spacious sound quality, resulting in an immersive, concert-like experience. Fans of live shows may want a pair.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, $69 (reduced from $149)
Beats Solo3: $100
The on-ear Beats Solo3 may be a good fit for music fans looking for a pair of bright-sounding headphones, especially those partial to rock, folk and country tunes.
These headphones support spatial audio for a more immersive listening experience, soft ear foams for comfort, and up to 40 hours of battery life on a single charge.
Beats Solo3, $100 (reduced from $200)
Beats Fit Pro: $180
These noise-canceling earbuds come in four fun colors; stone purple (pictured), white, black and sage gray. The earbuds offer a secure, comfortable fit.
The noise-canceling feature includes three listening modes. They are also compatible with spatial audio.
Beats Fit Pro, $180 (regularly $200)
Beats Studio Buds: $100
These sweat-resistant earbuds are ideal for avid runners or gym enthusiasts. They offer two levels of noise-canceling; active noise canceling and transparency mode.
Meanwhile, the IPX4 water resistance ensures they’re protected even when you’re sweating on them every day.
Beats Studio Buds, $100 (regularly $150)
JBL Live 660NC wireless on-ear headphones: $100
These over-the-ear headphones promise up to 50 hours of battery life and feature noise-canceling and ambient-aware technology.
Phone calls and virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can be managed with the buttons on the ear-cup.
JBL live 660NC wireless noise-canceling headphones, $100 (regularly $200)
JBL Vibe 100 true wireless in-ear headphones: $25
These Bluetooth earbuds promise to provide great sound quality with a deep bass. They offer up to 20 hours of battery life, including five hours in the earbuds themselves.
The ear buds come in three colors.
JBL Vibe 100 true wireless in-ear headphones, $25 (regularly $50)
More early Black Friday 2022 deals to shop now
While there’s still some time to wait until the officialstart, there are plenty of great deals you can get right now. Check out our early Black Friday deal articles.