Are Wireless Earbuds Worth It For Travel – Best Wireless Earbuds 2022

If you’re like me and rely on a good pair of headphones to get work and exercise done, you’ve probably been wondering if it’s worth replacing your current headphones with wireless earbuds. Are wireless earbuds worth it for travel and fitness? Do they really live up to the hype? I’ve done all the hard work for you and tested some of the best true wireless and wireless models in my quest to find the perfect earbuds for my digital nomad lifestyle.

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. I only recommend products and brands I personally use and trust that I think you would love too! 

Wireless earbuds are trending right now, as they’re relatively new technology that offers incredible freedom from annoying cables, and the sound on some of these tiny buds is pretty darn impressive.

As we all know when it comes to new tech gear – it can be plagued with problems and glitches, lacking in essential features, and it most likely sports a high price tag. But the good news is, it can only get better for wireless earbuds from here on.

The most popular true wireless earbuds are still Apple’s Air Pods, which (believe it or not) came out way back in 2016. But many of the world’s top audio brands now have equally as good, or better, wireless earbuds out there – such as Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser’s CX true wireless and CX Sport range.

Let’s take a look at the differences between wireless and true wireless earbuds, and if wireless earbuds are worth it for your personal needs.

What’s the difference between wireless earbuds and true wireless earbuds?

Wireless headphones, buds, regular wireless earbuds, true wireless headphones….it’s easy to get confused about all the different headphone options that are out there now. This should clear things up for you:

Wireless headphones 

These are traditional over-the-ear headphones. The two speakers for your ears are attached by a band that goes over your head, and they don’t have a wire you need to connect to your devices.

These are the two most popular models of wireless headphones that you’ll recognize.

I own the Sonys, and while I absolutely love them for their sound quality, comfort, and noise-cancelling abilities – as a full-time nomad they take up a lot of precious space in my backpack. They’re also bulky and cumbersome when I want to just carry a daypack to use on planes and buses, or in coworking spaces.

And if I wear them for more than a couple of hours at a stretch, they also tend to leave me with a banging headache from the band pressure and weight – which made wireless earbuds worth it for me.

Wireless earbuds 

These have been around pretty much since the dawn of Bluetooth technology. These regular wireless earbuds don’t physically connect to your devices, but they still have a wire or a band that connects both earbuds to each other that goes around your neck. These are battery powered and need to be charged between uses.

True wireless earbuds

These are simply two earbuds with zero wires that you push into your ears. Because the buds aren’t phyically connected to each other, they give you you absolute freedom from wires and excess weight. They’re light, small, and if they’re a good fit – you’ll totally forget you’re wearing them.

So when you hear people talking about “true wireless headphones” – chances are they’re actually talking about these true wireless earbuds.

Different types of connectivity for wireless earbuds


Most wireless earbuds use the popular Bluetooth connection, which will most likely be supported by all of your devices. The problem with this connection type is that the range between your audio source and earbuds is limited (between 33 feet for Class 3 Bluetooth and 328 feet for Class 1 Bluetooth), so there can be sound issues if you move further away than the range specified on your earbuds.

KleerNet (Kleer)

This is new audio technology that’s becoming known for its lossless sound transmission. This means you can enjoy super high quality audio up to 328 feet away from your audio source. Kleer earbuds also use less battery power and can last up to 4 times longer than Bluetooth earbuds.


These wireless earbuds rely on infrared waves to send audio. Much like your standard TV remote. Audio signals are transmitted to your right and left earbuds separately, which gives you a fantastic audio experience. The downside with these earbuds is that you need direct line of sight to your audio source, and the range typically only reaches up to 25 feet.

Radio Frequency

If you think you’ll be roaming up to 300 feet from your audio source, this type of wireless earbud connection can work for you. Radio frequency buds function as you’d expect – like a tiny radio station. They tend to have better overall sound than Bluetooth wireless earbuds.

Who are wireless earbuds best suited for?

Travelers and digital nomads

As I mentioned above, if you’re a regular traveler or a digital nomad, you’ll find wireless earbuds worth it for a bunch of practical reasons.

Their noise cancelling capabilities let you focus on work free from distractions in loud environments, and give you peace from your noisy neighbours on long haul flights.

They also take up a fraction of the room of standard headphones, and weigh next to nothing – which is a huge advantage if you only travel with a carry-on.

Fitness and outdoor enthusiasts

Wireless, form-fitting, and sweatproof – if you’re a fitness fiend, wireless earbuds should already be in your back pocket.

Some of these earbuds can also track your fitness progress, syncing seamlessly to your watch or phone apps. Getting sweaty in these doesn’t affect the sound quality of your buds, and due to their construction, they won’t fall out of your ears when things get strenuous.

Are wireless earbuds better than wired earbuds?

There’s pros and cons for each of these, and good reasons as to why you might need both types depending what you’re using them for. Here’s some elements for you to compare when you’re deciding whether wireless earbuds are worth buying.

Sound Quality

This is one of the most important things we all buy headphones for. And there can be a big difference between sound in wired vs. wireless earbuds due to the way audio frequencies are transmitted and processed from their source to your ears.

Wired earbuds

  • Have a direct connection between the sound source and your ears
  • Generally excellent sound quality

Because of the direct connection to your audio source, wired earbuds tend to beat wireless for sound quality.

Wireless earbuds

  • The audio gets compressed, and a digital signal is transmitted to your earbuds via Bluetooth, infrared, or other wireless connectivity methods
  • This digital signal needs to be converted to analog in the earbuds so you can hear it
  • There can be sound issues between the audio source and your wireless earbuds depending on the distance you are from the source, and differing audio codecs

If you travel a lot, or spend time being active in the outdoors or at a gym, chance are you’ll find going wireless a huge benefit, as you’re not tethered directly to your audio source.

Because they need to fit snugly in your ears, wireless earbuds also tend to be more comfortable and less likely to fall out as you’re moving. I used to run with wired earbuds and one of them had a tendency to fall out every couple of minutes…which on a 45-minute daily run was a massive pain in the butt.

Easy to lose

If you regularly lose everything from your keys, to your phone, to your wallet….true wireless earbuds might become your biggest problem. And at the price point of some of the top range models, these tiny buds might become an expensive habit if you need to replace them every few months.

Many wireless earbuds now come with tracking systems so you can find them from another device, which can solve this very annoying issue. And some companies are also offering discounts for replacement earbuds if you lose them.

Once this problem of frequently losing earbuds is a distant memory, then I’d say hands down, you’ll find wireless earbuds worth it!

Fit and comfort

While wireless earbuds are specifically designed for fit and comfort, not all models will fit comfortably in all ears. And there’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting earbud.

If you’re planning to get out and be active with your earbuds, make sure you get a sporty model that’s designed to stay put, with controls that are easily accessible on the go.

You’ll also need to think about the weight of your earbuds. If the battery life is longer, wireless earbuds tend to be bigger and heavier, and possibly more uncomfortable for longer wear.


As wireless earbuds are still relatively new in terms of their tech, the cost of buying them is higher than the established, wired models. While you can still get okay sounds from cheap earbud brands, you always get what you pay for in the end, so it’s a good idea to steer away from cheap wireless earbuds and buy the best ones you can afford.

So if you’re set on buying any top of the range wireless earbuds, make apologies to your credit card in advance.


Like any tech, earbuds can be glitchy. Always check the warranty when you purchase these. And if you’re buying online, make sure the store has good customer service and that there’s a clear warranty policy on the website for returns, replacement, and after sales service.

Battery life

Listening time and battery life can be a big downside for wireless earbuds. There’s nothing more annoying than grabbing your earbuds to do some listening, and finding that they’re flat.

Remembering to keep your earbuds charged at all times can be a challenge when you get busy or simply forget about it.

Water resistant

If you’re traveling in hot or rainy climates, or you spend a lot of time exercising – make sure your wireless earbuds are sweatproof or have some level of water resistance.

If your earbuds aren’t waterproof to any degree, loss of sound quality or permanent damage to your buds can occur. To make your (expensive) wireless earbuds worth it, being waterproof and sweatproof is something you should pay close attention to.

Benefits of wireless earbuds (and the drawbacks)

Pros of wireless earbuds

  • No more tangled cables
  • No more annoying wires to deal with while you work or exercise
  • They look more stylish and minimal than wired headphones
  • Fantastic noise cancelling abilities
  • No more problems with headphone jacks or different device ports
  • Simple, fast pairing to your devices

Cons of wireless earbuds

  • Battery life is never long enough!
  • They can get lost and stood on easily
  • Sound quality issues the further you get from your audio source
  • Expensive compared to wired headphones

Which wireless earbuds are worth buying?

There’s a ton of true wireless earbuds and wireless earbuds out there now, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the benefits, differences, and cost-to-features ratios of all of them.

Your specific needs might be different from the other people you ask for advice on what to buy, so it’s best to do your own research on these – especially if you’re looking at the pricey, high-end earbuds.


Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is top of my list for performance and comfort. These are the wireless earbuds I decided on, despite my other devices being Apple-centric. I love my original Sony noise-cancelling headphones, and the earbuds did not disappoint.

If you’re looking for earbuds that tick all the boxes, these ones are definitely worth their slightly eye-watering price tag. They’re light, comfortable, and have an app which makes it simple to adjust and personalize your earbuds for your sound preferences.


  • Noise canceling with Sony’s new Integrated Processor V1
  • Amazing sound quality with the supporting LDAC codec
  • Clear call quality, even when you’re in noisy environments
  • Speak To Chat technology that reduces volume during conversations
  • Battery life – 8 hours
  • IPX42 Water resistance
  • Alexa enabled with one-touch activation
  • Easy wireless charging
  • App for Android and iOS
  • Great for fit and comfort


  • The app makes life easier
  • Sound is better than most wireless earbuds out there
  • Don’t fall out of your ears when you exercise


  • Battery life could be better
  • Noise cancelling not as complete as other brands

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it

Are Bose QuietComfort earbuds worth it? Yep – they’re everything you’d expect from this company.

The only reason I chose Sony over the Boses is because I love my Sony over-ear headphones, and I was reluctant to switch brands. Other than that, these were my second choice of earbuds.

With high-fi audio, a stylish and super comfortable fit, and stellar noise cancelling abilities, these Boses should absolutely be in your must-try list.

They’re also weatherproof and sweat resistant, making them suitable for pretty much everything you intend to use your headphones for.


  • Noise cancelling
  • High fidelity audio with volume-optimized Active EQ for constantly crisp sound
  • Super comfortable fit
  • Silicone tips
  • Easy touch controls to pause, play, and adjust volume right from your earbuds
  • Comes with its own app for iOS and Android
  • Noise-rejecting microphones  for filtering surrounding noise
  • Battery life – 6 hours
  • Charging case gives you an additional 12 hours of battery life
  • USB-C cable or wireless charging
  • Weather and sweat resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.1 provides
  • Perfect audio up to 30 feet from your source


  • Fantastic noice canceling ability
  • Crisp and clear audio
  • Very comfortable
  • Water resistant


  • Expensive!
  • Bulky charging case
  • Earbud controls could be more functional

Air Pods Pro

are wireless earbuds worth it

When you think about true wireless earbuds, the iconic Apple AirPods are likely the first thing that springs to mind. Unsurprisingly, they’re also one of the top-selling true wireless earbuds. So if you’re buying on popularity alone, it makes these wireless earbuds worth it.

A huge improvement on the original AirPod models, these new Pro earbuds nestly snugly in your ear canal with silicone tips. This means great fit, great sound, and excellent noise cancelling ability.

They’re sweatproof and water resistant, and if you love your Apple products, these are pretty much a no-brainer if you’re choosing between AirPods and anything else (despite their hefty price tag!)


  • Noise cancelling
  • Transparency mode
  • Three different sizes of soft silicone tips for a perfect, customizable fit
  • Sweatproof and water resistant
  • Adaptive EQ automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear
  • Super easy setup and intergration with other Apple devices
  • Access Siri simply by saying “Hey Siri”
  • Charging case gives you more than 24 hours of battery life


  • Solid audio performance
  • Great noise cancellation
  • Comfortable fit
  • Summon Siri hands-free
  • Wireless charging case
  • Water resistant


  • Expensive!
  • No volume controls on your earbuds
  • The ANC and EQ aren’t adjustable on these

Sennheiser CX True Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it

The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are one of several earbud models offered by this legendary audio brand. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds are also incredibly popular.

This CX model comes in at an affordable price point for the features it offers. They’re lightweight, with a design that’s a little chunkier than some other brands, but the earbuds are comfortable and secure. They have 4 types of ear tips to ensure you get the right fit for your ear shape. This is important because they don’t have external ear hooks to keep them in place.

These earbus don’t have active noise cancelling, so they won’t be for you if that’s your main reason for buying wireless buds.


  • TrueResponse transducers
  • Wide range of Bluetooth codec support (AAC, aptX, and SBC)
  • Battery life – up to 27 hours of music play
  • Charging case
  • Passive noise cancelling
  • Light and comfortable
  • 4 ear adapter sizes
  • Smart Control App for iOS and Android
  • Smooth pairing
  • Fully adaptable controls for music, calls, and voice assistant
  • Bass Boost for more intense bass
  • IPX4 splash resistance


  • Amazing sound quality
  • Rich bass
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Solid connectivity


  • Uncomfortable for smaller ears
  • No active noise cancelling
  • EQ function could be better

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Following on from the popular Galaxy Buds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 encompass a lot of great new features driven by customer feedback on the initial earbud models.

These true wireless earbuds have a low-profile appearance that’s sleek and stylish, with everything up to scratch for sound quality and connectivity as you’d expect from Samsung. The charging case is also a great design that’s easy to carry in your pocket and keeps your buds secure.

Despite the great audio quality and features contained in these buds, they are not waterproof or sweat proof, so keep this in mind when you’re making a buying decision


  • Improved sound quality
  • Comfortable and light
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Active noise cancelling
  • Low latency ambient sound
  • 10% smaller and lighter than previous Galaxy Buds
  • Three microphones
  • Noise reduction technology
  • Control your music and answer calls with one touch
  • Auto switch feature moves effortlessly between your Galaxy phone, tablet, or watch
  • Battery life – 7 hours


  • Ambient sound
  • Comfortable fit
  • Excellent call quality
  • Simple, functional app


  • Battery life could be longer
  • Missing some advanced features
  • Tap feature often doesn’t work
  • No sub-bass response
  • Low IPX2 rating for water resistance

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it

Cambridge Audio is a high-end British audio brand that hasn’t been synonymous with wireless earbuds – until now.

The initial Melomania 1 earbuds are still strongly regarded as some of the best wireless earbuds on the market, due to their incredible audio performance.

The latest Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ earbuds have even better audio performance, long battery life, great connectivity, and are super simple to use.

Despite having no active noise cancelling ability, they’re an incredibly strong contender in the true wireless earbud race.


  • USB-C fast charge
  • Light and comfortable
  • Silicone tips
  • Melomania App
  • High Performance audio mode
  • Battery life – 45 hours


  • Amazing audio
  • Great battery life
  • “Find Earbuds” feature – never lose your buds again!
  • Sweatproof and water resistant


  • No transparency or ANC mode
  • Call quality is poor
  • Expensive

Skullcandy Indy Evo True Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it for travel

Hip and hugely popular, Skullcandy joins the wireless earbud party with their Indy Evo True Wireless Earbuds.

While they fit into the “affordable” wireless earbuds category, they still offer a great feature set and audio quality for this price point – and as you’ll note from the thousands of Amazon reviews, this model is incredibly popular.


  • Battery life – 30 hours plus rapid charge
  • Full controls on each earbud
  • 3 EQ modes for music, podcasts, and movies
  • Sweatproof, waterproof, and dust resistant
  • Built-in Tile Technology


  • Affordable
  • Good sound quality for the price
  • Stylish


  • Call quality isn’t great
  • Frequent issues with the “one bud” function – where both buds can function independently of each other

Anker Soundcore Life P2

With over 20 million happy customers, the Anker Soundcore Life P2 true wireless earbuds are well worth checking out.

Among the best budget wireless earbuds, the P2 design is essentially a copy of Apple’s AirPods (something the makers quite openly admitted).

On-earbud controls are relatively simple, with on/off, track skipping, and pairing, and they charge with the latest USB-C cable, which is an advantage over some other wireless earbuds.

Battery life is also excellent on these, with 40 hours of use if you’re listening and charging on the go.


  • Perfect for remote work, travel, and commuting
  • Noise reduction
  • cVc 8.0 technology for vocal enhancement background noise reduction
  • BassUp technology enhances bass by up to 43%
  • aptX audio for lossless transmission between your buds and audio source
  • Battery life – 40 hours, with fast charge
  • 10 minutes of charge gives you one hour of playback
  • Top rated for sweatproof and waterproofness (is that a word?)


  • Comfortable and light
  • Great sound quality
  • Simple to use


  • Limited controls
  • Not very stylish


Sennheiser CX Sport Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it for travel

Another great earbud offering from Sennheiser, the CX Sport places a firm focus on…sport.

As you’d expect, they’re light, comfortable, and moisture resistant, giving clean and balanced sounds whether you’re going hard at the gym, or working at your desk.

A little on the pricey side, these are worth it if you’re looking for earbuds that don’t chafe, as the connecting wire is adjustable for the perfect fit. Included are different types of tips and find to ensure the perfect fit for your ears.


  • Sennheiser proprietary transducers for balanced, clear sound on the move
  • Sweatproof and splash resistant
  • Battery life – 6 hours
  • A 10 minute charge gives you 1 hour of battery life
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Pairing with 8 devices
  • Simultaneous connection with 2 devices
  • 4 sizes of ear adapters
  • 3 sizes of ear fins for a personalized fit
  • Super comfortable


  • Perfect for the gym and sports
  • Super customized fit for any ear size and shape
  • Comfortable
  • Sweat and water proof


  • Expensive
  • Sound quality could be better for the price

Bose SoundSport Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it for travel

Bose hasn’t forgotten its legions of sporty fans who love exercise as much as they enjoy good sounds.

The SoundSport earbuds are some of the best wireless earbuds to workout with. They’re designed to stay in place, and are perfect for intense gym sessions. They’re sweat resistant, and have a solid 6 hours of battery life.

Bose has reliably great sound, and the design of these earbuds means you’ll get excellent sound performance. They’re worn by some of the world’s top athletes, so you know they’re up to the task of delivering great audio, even when you’re lifting heavy or running a marathon.


  • Bose’s reknowned high quality audio
  • Active EQ
  • Easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing with voice prompts
  • Comfortable and light
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Battery life – 6 hours


  • Great sound
  • Great fit
  • Great connectivity
  • Sweat and waterproof


  • Chunkier than other similar sports earbuds
  • Battery life could be longer
  • Not as comfortable as some of the other wireless earbuds out there

Beat Powerbeats High-Performance Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth it for digital nomads

Beats have a few different options for earbuds, but the Powerbeats wireless earbuds are at the front end of the pack.

There’s no ambient sound mode on these, so you can still hear the outside world. This is handy if you’re running and need to hear where the traffic is, or if people are yelling at you to get out of the traffic etc.

If you’re looking for good noise cancelling headphones, these probably aren’t for you. Additionally, some people have found the cord on these to be a little snug, and this can chafe on your neck while you’re exercising.


  • Battery life – 15 hours
  • Adjustable ear hooks
  • Comfortable and light
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Uses the Apple H1 headphone chip
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Class 1 Bluetooth for better range and connectivity
  • On-earbud controls for music and calls
  • 5 minutes of charge gives 1 hour of playback time
  • 4 eartip size options
  • Built-in microphone
  • Lightning to USB-A charging cable


  • Great audio quality
  • Good bass level
  • Long battery life
  • Very comfortable
  • Sweatproof


  • No auto-pause when you remove your earbuds
  • No active noise cancellation
  • I found the neckband annoying (your mileage may vary)

NuraLoop Wireless Earbuds

asre wireless earbuds worth buying

Not to be confused with Elon’s brain implant chip, the NuraLoop wireless earbuds are a popular choice due to their audio quality, features, and competitive price.

With active noise cancelling, fully customizable controls, and a super comfortable fit, these earbuds are a solid choice whether you’re listening to YouTube at home, or hitting the gym.

While they’re wireless, you can also use them with a wire if you’re so inclined.

The only big downside to these earbuds is the connector. If you thought it was annoying trying to connect all your old USB stuff to USB-C, the NuraLoop takes it to a new level with their proprietary connector. It’s weird, and the cable is short, which can be a problem when it’s time to charge up.


  • Active noise cancelling
  • Immersive Bass settings
  • Battery life – 16 hours
  • 10 minutes of charge gives you 2 hours of playback
  • Automatic on/off function
  • Personalized sound that automatically learns and adapts to your hearing
  • Gel tips
  • App for iOS and Android
  • Bluetooth 5.0


  • Noise cancelling
  • Customizable ANC and audio
  • Can be used either wirelessly or with an auxiliary cable
  • Light and comfortable
  • Affordable


  • Design is a bit chunky
  • Needs a weird charging cable

Beats Flex Wireless Earbuds

are wireless earbuds worth the money

An honorable mention goes to another model in the Beats range. The Beats Flex sets the record straight when it comes to its audio performance, and they’re among the best budget wireless earbuds out there.

With past models a little lacking in the sound department, the Flex uses the Apple W1 headphone chip to ensure great audio – especially for movies and podcasts.

The Bluetooth 1 connectivity ensures fantastic range and lessens the chance of audio glitches when you’re moving away from your source, and the tangle free cable ensures a secure, comfortable fit.


  • Battery life – 12 hours
  • Flex Form tangle-free cable
  • 4 ear tip sizes
  • Apple W1 headphone chip
  • Auto play and pause
  • Wirelessly share audio with AirPods or other Beats headphones
  • Class 1 Bluetooth for steady connection and longer range
  • On-earbud controls for music, calls, and voice assistant
  • Microphone
  • Compatible with iOS and Android


  • Good battery life
  • Stable connectivity
  • Excellent call quality
  • Intuitive controls
  • Great sound quality for movies and podcasts
  • Affordable


  • Sound quality not as good as it could be for music

Are wireless earbuds worth it? We think so!

If you’re a digital nomad, frequent traveler, or love hiking, running, or blasting your quads at the gym – then yes, you’ll find wireless earbuds worth it!

They reduce the bulk, discomfort, and weight of standard headphones, and without annoying cable tethered to your devices, you’re free to move around as much as you need to without pesky wires getting snagged on stuff. Plus – you’ll never have to deal with cable tangle rage again!

Seriously, how do headphone cables form such complex knots within five seconds of taking them off?

While the cost of wireless earbuds can still be an issue if you’re budget conscious (especially if you’re prone to quickly losing things this small right after you buy them), the comfort and performance of this style of headphone is worth it. They give you a sense of freedom of movement that other headphones can’t match.

True wireless earbuds are still relatively new, so there’s huge room for improvement in this technology. If you’re on the fence about buying them – I recommend stopping in at an Apple store and trying out their Air Pods (yes I know, it’s a little gross, but they’re totally sterilized between tests) to give you a sense of what a wireless earbud feels like, and whether it’s for you or not.

As with any piece of tech, the more you spend, the better the sound and functionality will be. It’s always tempting to get a cheap model, but the sound on these is generally terrible.

I recommend you get a mid-range pair of earbuds if you can’t afford the top range models. That way you can still enjoy relatively decent sound, good battery life, and most of the functionality that wireless earbuds are known for.

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rachael freelance copywriter digital nomad taco and bean

Author bio
Rachael is a full-time digital nomad and freelance copywriter for B2B and SaaS companies. She’s worked with brands like Unbounce, Biteable, Datacom, Viddyoze, and Owler.

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