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9 things to consider before buying wireless earbuds

9 things to consider before buying wireless earbuds

Truly wireless earphones or as they’re more commonly called, wireless earbuds are growing increasingly popular every year ever since the ‘boom’ of Apple’s AirPods back in 2016. Every headphone manufacturer since has rushed to get a pair on the market as fast as possible and continue to release newer models as the technology grows alongside them. Now, there are a large number of brands and models to choose from and that pool will only get bigger overtime.

Not all wireless earbuds are amazing as they look, you can’t compare a cheap $20 model to a high-end $300 model, there’s usually a lot of significant difference between them. Just like every other product on the market, there are some absolutely fantastic models and there are some terrible models. However, if you do just a bit of research before pulling the trigger on one, you can avoid getting some of the worst ones out there, which is what this article aims to achieve. Finding the best-suited earbuds for yourself. Earbuds are something that people use every day, whether it be on their commute to work, for exercising, phone calls, plane trips (oh how good they are for planes!), or a number of other reasons, it’s worth finding a really good pair that will last you.



I don’t like the phrase “you get what you pay for”, but when it comes to earbuds in most cases… You get what you pay for. A decent pair of wireless earphones may set you back a few extra dollars but in the long run, it’d be much cheaper than buying a cheap one you have to replace constantly.

One thing to consider when it comes to the cost, however, is the brand itself. If it’s a relatively well-known brand, chances are you’re at least getting some decent quality earphones, but that’s not always the case. Personally, my experience with the Bose SoundSport Wireless (Approximately $250 AUD) was terrible. The Bluetooth had a 1-second delay, so I couldn’t watch videos with it unless I wanted to watch them out of sync. For me, that was a huge deal breaker and Bose claimed these were not faulty, it’s normal, however, I’ve tried $25 earbuds and they worked swimmingly with video and audio compared to the Bose ones.

So, for a start, they need to have a good-quality Bluetooth chip like a Qualcomm chip, and they need to have decent battery life in order for them to work for longer than an hour between charges, especially if you intend to use them for long sessions. Good quality doesn’t usually come cheap so be prepared to pay enough to get something decent. In saying that, there are a few gems out there, such as the Edifier TWS200 True Wireless Earbuds or the Realme Buds Air.



Codecs for a lot of people isn’t something to consider, but when it comes to wireless audio, it may be pretty important, especially on the devices you intend to use them with. A lot of basic models will support SBC which is a codec with low transmission speed, essentially meaning the sound you’ll get out of it is very ‘flat’ and doesn’t support high-resolution audio.

If you’re an Apple user, It’s important to find something that supports AAC codecs. Apple devices only support SBC and AAC for high-quality audio, so buying a pair of earbuds that only support SBC, aptX or LDAC is a waste of your time and money.  

If you’re an Android user, there’s not too much to worry about. The latest Android versions support the majority of Bluetooth audio codecs, including the Hi-Res aptX HD, which sounds absolutely amazing compared to anything else.



Besides the audio quality itself, this is one of the most important things to consider when looking for wireless earbuds. Some ear-tips can be too small or too shallow, this means they won’t form a good ‘seal’ around your ear canal, meaning you’ll never get great sound quality and you’ll have a lot of outside noise leak into your ear, resulting in less than favourable audio. A lot of people don’t like the Apple AirPods for this reason, however, has been revised with the Apple AirPods Pro with their silicon tips, making it a lot better than the previous generation AirPods.

I do like finding different ear-tips, most ear-tips have a universal design, so if your earbuds use traditional silicon tips, then there’s a high chance you can buy 3rd party ear-tips. I really like memory-foam tips myself, they keep your ears warm and they’re extremely comfortable. However, in a lot of cases, this can be difficult since wireless earbuds charge in a case, if you get some tips that are bigger or just don’t fit the size of the case, then you may not be able to close the case or even charge the earbuds.

So, in saying that, try to find a pair of wireless earbuds that come with decent tips, included. Some earbuds also include small ‘ear-fins’ that helps to keep the earbud in the ear, especially good for those who use them for exercise. Fit and comfort are definitely some of the most important aspects of wireless earbuds, after all, you don’t want something that will hurt your ears after 20 mins of use, or fall out as soon as you start running.


Battery Life

Most earbud manufactures boast a playing time of 3-5 hours, in reality, you may get around 2.5-3 hours for the majority of models on the market. Once you’ve drained the power out of the earbuds and they need a charge, simply place the earbuds back in their charging case to top up their charge by using the power of the battery that’s built into the charging case. Most charging cases can give you 3-5 full charges for your earbuds, before having to charge the case itself.

Be aware, some manufactures won’t list the playing time of the earbuds themselves, however, will boast something along the lines of “12-15 hours playing time”, which usually indicates that it’s the charging case that will allow you to get that much playtime out of the charging case before you have to charge it. So it’s important to find out what the battery life of the actual earbuds are and as well as the case you charge them in.



Some of the higher-end models have controls on the earbuds, in the form of buttons or touch panels that you can swipe or press, to control the volume, skip or skip-back a track, taking calls, enabling/disabling noise cancelling, etc. Cheaper wireless earbuds often won’t have any controls, which means you need to have your smartphone close at hand for adjusting the volume or skipping a track.

Some of the best earbuds can even pause music automatically the moment you pull an earbud out of your ear, which is what I love about my Sony WF-1000XM3. Take your time, see what controls the earbuds offer if that’s something that matters to you, as you’ll either not touch your smartphone at all, or constantly use it to control your music/videos.


Noise Cancelling / Ambient sound control

Some wireless earbuds offer ‘noise cancellation' (NC) which use well-designed ear-cups or ear-tips to seal out external noises. 'Active noise cancellation' (ANC), which uses the microphones and speakers on the device to cancel outsides noises and can be turned on or off at your choosing. Finally, some offer ‘ambient sound control’ (ASC) which uses the microphones to allow you to hear ambient sound and as well as listen to your music, to keep you aware of your surroundings or hear someone without having to remove the earbuds.

These features do take up more power from your batteries so bear in mind that you probably won’t get longer listening times with these features enabled. This can also result in larger earpieces in order to be able to accommodate these features.


Charging Case

Without a charging case, you won’t be able to charge your earbuds, so it’s important to find one that has a really good battery life and is robust especially if you’re going to be taking them with you everywhere. Check out the case itself, check the build quality, most importantly, check the hinge as that could be the most fragile part of most charging cases. After all, you don’t want to break the hinge as that may result in you not being able to charge the earbuds, some cases require them to be closed in order to charge the earbuds. A lot of more popular earbuds such as the AirPods can have 3rd party cases such as the Twelve South AirSnap Twill Case. No matter how robust your charging case is, I will highly recommend a case to give it that little bit of extra protection. Plus most of these cases come with a clip so that you can place them on your belt, bag or wherever you want to hand it. Some models also support wireless charging, if that’s something you’re into.



Volume is a little bit tricky because not all earbuds are created the same. For example, with my Sony earbuds at 70% volume, they’re almost equivalent to Apple AirPods at 100% volume. Unlike traditional wired earphones/headphones, you aren’t able to use an amplifier to boost the volume. So what you get, is what you’re stuck with (until you buy a different model of course). I do recommend checking out any reviews of the product you’re after to see how the volume levels are if you like your sound louder than normal.


Waterproofing/water resistance

This is a feature that’s important to consider if you’re looking to buy it for exercise. You don’t want your earphones to short-circuit just because you got a bit of sweat on them. What you’re looking for is an IP rating of IPX5 or higher if you’re looking to use it for sport. The “X” can sometimes have a different number in its place which indicates “solid protection” and the 2nd number, in this case, is the ‘5’ indicates the liquid protection. So you may see some that have an IP rating of IP65, which means it’s protected from dust (6) and the second number indicates it’s protected from water splashing at any angle (5). Refer to the graphic above for more information in regards to liquid IP ratings.


Wireless earbuds are fantastic for music, work, play and even exercise without having any wiring getting in your way. They’re ideal if you’re on the move a lot, or just simply want some extra freedom when using any type of earbud. So before purchasing any earbuds, go through this list, double-check everything to make sure you’re happy with what you’re getting and finally, happy listening!

We have a whole range of wireless earbuds, so feel free to check them out here.

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