Anker, Sony, JBL, Beyerdynamic, and more

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Anker Soundcore Liberty 4

Throughout 2022, we’ve reviewed a collection of the latest true wireless earbuds. Including a wide range of brands, form-factors, and price points, we’ve settled on five of our favorite alternatives to first-party offerings from Apple, Google, and Samsung. Including Anker’s new Soundcore Liberty 4, the stylish Sennheiser Momentum 4s, and some utterly unique offerings from Sony, you’ll find all of the best earbuds of 2022 outlined below.

Hands-on with the best earbuds of 2022

The true wireless earbud market has continued to become more competitive over the past few years, and 2022 has pushed that narrative to the extreme. We’ve seen more and more brands get in on the true wireless action for the first time like Marshall and Klipsch to the most recent additions from the likes of Anker, Jaybird, and more.

All told, we’ve reviewed 11 different pairs of true wireless earbuds this year including everything from daily drivers and audiophile-grade offerings to ultra-affordable and high-end models. We also looked at quite a few others that we didn’t ultimately publish reviews on, including some last-minute looks at some options from brands who specifically wanted to throw their hat into the ring. Whether you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution compared to in-house offerings from Apple, Google, and Samsung, or just want a more platform-agnostic solution, 9to5Toys’ best earbuds of 2022 are outlined below.

Best Daily Drivers – Anker Soundcore Liberty 4: $150

To kick things off, we’ve got the best all-around pair of the year. Out of all the earbuds I’ve used, the pair I keep coming back to for everyday use has to be the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4. It’s been tough to decide, but after continually setting out all ten pairs of earbuds I’ve been using lately and seeing which one I’d grab as heading out the door, Anker’s latest has risen to the top at the $150 price point.

The feature set found on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 is as well-rounded as you’d expect and really gives all of the big players in the space a run for their money. It’s the best overall experience for the price that I’ve found, with decide sound quality and robust ANC. There’s also more unique features like Spatial Audio and heart rate tracking. Not to mention, the massive battery life means I hardly ever have to charge them compared to some of the other options in my rotation.

You can fully see just why these are my favorites from the hands-on review I published back after these launched in October.

Best Sounding – Sennheiser Momentum 3: $196

best earbuds 2022

Strip away all of the other features, and the most important aspect of any pair of earbuds is the sound quality. It’s certainly one of the more subjective elements for any audio gear, but bear with me as I breakdown why the new Momentum 3 earbuds are my favorite of the year. I’m not counting the corded Beyerdynamic Xelento with their lofty $1,000 price tag, either.

Right out of the box, these arrive as some of the most well-balanced earbuds out there this year. The audio tuning has a full soundscape that keeps the highs, lows, and mids all distinct while managing to ward off any audio distortion. The bass is also pretty booming without being too overpowering, and the companion app lets you adjust that if you could use more or less ear-pounding lows. 

All of that combines to earn Sennheiser’s latest the title of being my favorite pair of earbuds to rock out to. These have consistently been my go-to when I just want to zone out the world and blast some drum-heavy Hiroyuki Sawano tracks or really feel the flows of Yung Gravy’s latest mesmerizing rhymes. The Sennheiser Momentum 3s also happen to be one of the best looking pairs of earbuds this year, but I’ll leave that claim a little more up in the air. My hands-on review also details what you can expect, otherwise.

Best bang for your buck – JBL Live Pro 2: $75

best earbuds 2022

Value is everything here at 9to5Toys, and if you’re not looking to shell out flagship amounts of cash on a new pair of earbuds, easily the best value I’ve listened to arrives as some of the latest from JBL. The brand’s new Live Pro 2 come packed into one of the more compact charging cases of the batch we’re considering today, delivering some impressive features without the usual lizard price tag. 

These are easily some of the most well-rounded earbuds on the market right now, and the $75 sale price only makes these a better buy. They’re certainly a fair price at the usual $150 MSRP, but the sale really makes these a steal in a sea of other $100+ earbuds that lack ANC and some of the other compelling features found on these. If you’re in search of a hidden gem, I’m here to tell you that your quest should come to an end with the JBL Live Pro 2 earbuds

Most comfortable – Beyerdynamic Free BYRD: $199

Comfort isn’t going to be the most important feature set for many users, but it’s component that I’ve been appreciating more and more as someone who has been jamming with earbuds on for hours on end everyday as of late. So out of all the buds I’ve used this year, I have to give all of the credit to the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. Originally reviewed by our own Jordan earlier in the year, I’ve been personally listening these to the past few weeks and have been loving the experience.

The ear tips are as plush and comfy as you’ll find on the market and take this already passing grade pair of earbuds up to an A+. These were right in the running of being the best sounding pair of earbuds released this year, just narrowly being beaten out by the likes of the Momentum 3s we highlighted above. So if you’re in search of an offering that hardly feels like you have anything in your ears to begin with, look no further than the $199 price point

Most unique – Sony LinkBuds: $148

best earbuds 2022

Out of all of the earbuds that came out in 2022, most of the models I took a listen to were more or less the same. Some prioritize sound over features or implement more novel tech to help standout, but you’re still looking at a pretty standard pair of true wireless buds. Well, every pair except for one of Sony’s more recent debuts that I took a hands-on look at all the way back in March.

Launching at the beginning of the year, the LinkBuds took a bold new step in a world where every branding is delivering transparency mode tech in one form or another. Instead of relying on a combo of software and built-in microphones, Sony’s pair takes the novel road of having a ring-shaped driver that physically lets sound into your ears. 

It’s certainly not for everyone, but as a daily subway commuter I have to say that being able to actually stay in tune with your surroundings has its perks. I really hope to see other brands break the mold in 2023 and deliver more niche releases into the earbud space, especially to help shake up the big players like Apple and Google. Sony’s LinkBuds are the perfect example of that, and are at the very least the year’s most interesting set of earbuds with a $148 price tag.

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