Best earbuds for making phone calls for 2023

We’re betting that most of you have taken a phone call using a crummy pair of earbuds. Between the hissing, stunted noise isolation, and/or lack of intuitive controls, it can make a simple family catchup or an important work call a nightmare. OK, maybe not that bad. But still pretty bad.

Fortunately though, we know what goes into a great set of earbuds, and we know how important it is for audio to be crystal clear during a phone or video call. This is why we’ve applied our years of expertise to the vetting and testing of numerous headphone products that we believe are the best for any and all conversations. All of our findings can be found in the list below, and we’ve got options for everyone!

AirPods Pro 2 with MagSafe Charging Case (USB‑C)
Jabra Elite 5
Shokz OpenFit earbuds

Shokz OpenFit

The best for hearing yourself and those around you

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Google Pixel Buds Pro
Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5

The best for sound quality and battery life

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Galaxy Buds2 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

The best for Samsung Galaxy owners

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Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
Between 3ANC

Status Audio Between 3ANC

Be stylish while talking on the phone

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apple airpods pro 2 usb c magsafe review with and

Zeke Jones /

Apple AirPods Pro 2

The best for iPhone users

Pros

  • Excellent noise canceling
  • Best conversation mode we’ve tested
  • Solid audio quality
  • Capable of wireless lossless audio
  • Yes, USB-C

Cons

  • Best features only for Apple products
  • Still no biofeedback

Regardless of whether you get the original 2nd generation of the Apple AirPods Pro or the latest and greatest USB-C version, the AirPods Pro 2, offer some of the best noise cancellation and calling features of any pair of earbuds on the market. The AirPods Pro line has always featured excellent active noise cancellation and transparency mode, but the second-generation model takes it one step further with improved ANC and a new Adaptive Transparency mode that adapts to the sounds around you.

This means your calls will be crystal clear, and you don’t have to worry about traffic noises or background sounds disturbing your important discussions. Our in-depth review found the call sound quality has improved too, as hardly any background noise was heard, especially in indoor settings. Loud, outdoor settings may muffle your voice slightly, but it’s still clear enough to understand.

Apple has also improved the battery life on the second-gen AirPods Pro, which now offer up to six hours per charge. This figure will be lower if you use ANC continuously. Our reviewer got a solid five hours during a noisy motorcycle trip, so you know it’ll be sufficient for most calls on the go. Plus, a quick five-minute charge will give you back an hour of listening time.

The biggest issue, however, is that Android users miss out on many of the cool features, limiting the AirPods Pro 2 largely to iOS users. They’re also a bit on the pricier side compared to other earbuds with decent calling functions, but if you love Apple, this is the best pick for you.

AirPods Pro 2 with MagSafe Charging Case (USB‑C)

Apple AirPods Pro 2

The best for iPhone users

jabra elite 5 review 00021

Simon Cohen /

Jabra Elite 5

The best for noisy or windy conditions

Pros

  • Small and comfy
  • Very good sound quality
  • Very good ANC/transparency
  • Custom controls and EQ
  • Hands-free voice assistants
  • Excellent call quality
  • Very good battery life

Cons

  • Not the best sound for this price

What really makes the difference when it comes to taking phone calls is a set of precision-tuned earbuds. After all, we want our in-ear companions to deliver as much clarity as possible, right? This is why we’re shining a light on the Jabra Elite 5. There are plenty of reasons to stand behind these buds, but their major calling card are the six far-field mics that go above and beyond when it comes to conversational clarity.

Thanks to a hybrid ANC system, the Elite 5 is intelligent enough to dial down common environmental sounds like traffic, HVAC systems, and office chitchat, while also working to enhance your voice during phone calls so everyone can hear you clearly. With this powerful combination of tech, you’ll be able to hear your caller more articulately, while doing away with all types of distracting noise.

These are also exceptional earbuds when it comes to overall sound quality. From one genre to the next, your music is going to sound rich and detailed, too. And if you’d like a little bass boost or a kick in the midrange, you can always download the Jabra Sound+ app to fine-tune your Elite 5’s performance.

Jabra Elite 5

Jabra Elite 5

The best for noisy or windy conditions


Simon Cohen /

Shokz OpenFit

The best for hearing yourself and those around you

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable and secure
  • Stay fully aware of your surroundings
  • Very good call quality
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Not great for noisy locations
  • No wireless charging

Open-ear earbuds may not be as popular as other earbud designs, but we’re starting to see more and more of these models hitting shelves. If you want to invest in this tech, but need a solid pair of buds for calling family, friends, and colleagues, look no further than the Shokz OpenFit.

Right off the bat, we’re dealing with an air-conducive design, which means the OpenFit aren’t going to form the same type of seal as a more traditional product like the AirPods Pro 2. But this also means that our ear canals get a break from stubby silicone eartips, and Shokz was sure to build in plenty of AI noise processing to the OpenFit. When taking a phone call, your own voice is pronounced, but not overwhelming, and the person on the other end sounds crisp and clear.

We’re also big fans of the fact that these earbuds support Bluetooth Multipoint, which allows for some rather seamless switching between devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.

That being said, if you’re into the whole open-ear earbuds thing, but want to have other options to choose from, definitely consider the Sony LinkBuds and Oladance OWS Pro. Both offer exceptional sound quality, as well as terrific phone call quality.

Shokz OpenFit earbuds

Shokz OpenFit

The best for hearing yourself and those around you

google pixel buds pro review 00012

Simon Cohen /

Google Pixel Buds Pro

The best for Google fans

Pros

  • Compact and comfy
  • Very good sound quality
  • Very effective ANC/transparency
  • Wireless charging
  • Bluetooth Multipoint

Cons

  • No real EQ adjustments
  • No high-quality/low-latency codecs
  • Still no iOS Pixel Buds app

If you’re an Android user, the Google Pixel Buds Pro are a good option for calling and overall use. Along with a gorgeous look in vivid colors, the Pixel Buds Pro impress with great ANC and clear sound quality, especially when you’re indoors. They aren’t excellent in super noisy conditions but still maintain decent sound clarity.

The Pixel Buds Pro are always compared to the AirPods Pro and do fall short in terms of noise cancellation and overall sound quality, but this doesn’t mean the Pixel Buds Pro are bad. The transparency features are top-notch, and switching the ANC on and off is fairly easy. Android users also get Bluetooth multipoint connection and Google’s renowned voice assistant features that make both calls and music easier and more enjoyable to listen to.

The biggest plus point here may be the battery life that beats the better-sounding AirPods Pro 2. You typically get seven hours of use with ANC and an impressive 11 hours with ANC off, making the Pixel Buds Pro an ideal pick for people making calls on the go.

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google Pixel Buds Pro

The best for Google fans

sony wf 1000xm5 review 00037

Simon Cohen /

Sony WF-1000XM5

The best for sound quality and battery life

Pros

  • Small and comfortable
  • Top-notch sound
  • Excellent noise canceling
  • Superb call quality
  • Bluetooth multipoint with LDAC

The Sony WF-1000XM4s and the WF-1000XM3s before them have featured prominently in our best earbuds lists for ages because of their rich sound quality and excellent features. Like their predecessors, the XM5s feature support for the high-quality LDAC Bluetooth codec, and as we found in our review, sound quality has even improved over the XM4s. This all means that you’ll enjoy smooth calling, as well as being able to hear the finer details when listening to music.

The noise cancellation and transparency mode has also gotten a significant upgrade with the inclusion of a new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN2e, which our reviewer says has improved things from 10% to 15%. ANC and transparency modes still let you seamlessly switch between paying attention to the call and being aware of your surroundings. In fact, the earbuds automatically detect when you begin speaking and pause the music so you don’t need to remove the earbuds if a friend stops by. All of these settings are also easy to customize through the app, making these one of the most easy to use pairs of earbuds for calls that you can find.

For the XM5s, Sony has thrown a ton of tech at call quality. Along with its new processor, there are also six mics and a bone conduction sensor in each earbud that uses an AI algorithm that has been trained by 500 million voice samples. Your voice is fed to the AI that Sony says intelligently separates it from background sounds. And it works like a charm. Traffic, construction, wind, and more are hushed on both ends of the call.

The battery life hasn’t changed, and still doesn’t disappoint. They run for eight hours with ANC on and 12 hours with ANC off, putting them far ahead of competitors like the AirPods Pro 2. Fast charging, however, has improved, giving you an hour of playback after just three minutes plugged in (for the XM4s, it took five minutes, so take that with some skepticism).

The downside is the price. They’re the most expensive earbuds on this list, setting you back $50 to $100 more than other popular models.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5

The best for sound quality and battery life

samsung galaxy buds 2 pro review 1

Phil Nickinson/

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

The best for Samsung Galaxy owners

Pros

  • Excellent fit and feel
  • Plenty of features
  • They look great
  • Acceptable battery life

Cons

  • “360 Audio” is not good
  • Head tracking isn’t great

If you’re a Samsung Galaxy user, this one’s a no-brainer. Going with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will give you good call quality and easy pairing with Galaxy phones. The Galaxy app also makes everything easy to adjust, giving you full control over the noise cancellation and transparency mode, which is ideal for making sure your call sounds right.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro aren’t the best in the market, but you get some cool features like 24-bit audio, 360 Audio (its version of spatial audio), and head tracking for an improved listening experience. The automatic voice detection is also quite useful, turning the transparency mode on and lowering the volume if you start talking to someone in front of you. The five-hour runtime with ANC on won’t last you through long journeys, but it’s more than enough for everyday calls during your commute or at the office.

The extra features like 360 Audio aren’t top-notch, but they don’t really affect the call quality that much, so you’re fine. They are a bit expensive, though, considering some of the features are subpar compared to other similarly-priced earbuds.

Galaxy Buds2 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

The best for Samsung Galaxy owners

anker soundcore liberty 4 nc review 00020

Simon Cohen /

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

Best for call quality on a budget

Pros

  • Thoughtful design
  • Great sound
  • Impressive noise-canceling
  • Very good call quality
  • Superb battery life
  • Bluetooth Multipoint

Cons

  • Mediocre transparency mode

For a more than reasonable $100, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC are earbuds that offer handsome looks and great features, including impressive sound, really good ANC, and stellar battery life at a budget price.

We’ll expand on those features in a second, but you came here looking for earbuds that are great at making calls, and the Liberty 4 NCs are just that. They boast ANC that ‘ Simon Cohen says rivals the Apple AirPods Pro 2. The Liberty 4 NCs feature adaptive noise canceling that you can either set to environmental detection mode that adjusts perfectly on its own, or you could opt for a handful of “transportation” modes, or tweak it manually to your liking with a slider in the app. All this translates to call quality that excellently blocks loud outside sounds and compresses your voice so it sounds clear in any situation.

When listening to music, the Liberty 4 NC perform well too, with excellent bass response, clear mids and highs (although a bit sibilant, Cohen reports) and low distortion. They are fully packed with eight-band EQing in the Soundcore app. Additionally, the Liberty 4 NCs have support for the hi-res LDAC Bluetooth codec that Android users can enjoy, although you probably can’t notice the difference. There’s also Bluetooth multipoint support so you can pair to two devices at the same time — think watching videos on your laptop while still being able to answer calls from your phone.

Battery life on the Liberty 4 NCs is pretty great for that $100 too, netting you eight hours with ANC on and 40 hours in the case. Turn ANC off and it’s still not bad at 10/50, and a quick 10-minute top-up will deliver four hours of non-ANC listening time.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

Best for call quality on a budget

status audio between 3anc review 00011

Simon Cohen /

Status Audio Between 3ANC

Be stylish while talking on the phone

Pros

  • Super comfortable
  • Unique design
  • Great battery life
  • Amazing call quality
  • Powerful sound

Cons

  • Slightly harsh high frequencies
  • No wear sensors
  • No hi-res Bluetooth codecs

You might not have heard of Status Audio, but the small audio company has already turned heads with its unique-looking and stylish Between Pro wireless earbuds. While the Between Pros are a lower-priced $169 set of buds, the 3ANCs add ANC and a significant price bump, putting them on par with the likes of the $249 AirPods Pro, which may or may not bode well for the young company.

When we reviewed the Between 3ANCs, we appreciated their stylish, if slightly obtrusive rectangular shape. But they’re comfortable and secure as heck (runners will like them), and their three-driver design delivers excellent sound that’s well separated, meaning the lush low end, clear and punchy mids, and precise highs (if a bit sibilant, our review found) all cleanly run in their own lanes. There are also some great EQ options in the companion app for dialing the sound in to your precise liking. For this price range, though, we’re a little bummed that they don’t offer anything other than the basic SBC and AAC codecs.

Status Audio’s first stab at ANC is pretty impressive too, doing a great job at blocking out noisy restaurants and city streets. Transparency mode is not bad either, letting you hear just the right amount of outside noise. Which brings us to the call quality — which our reviewer, Simon Cohen, says is “amazing.” With six microphones, Cohen says that the environmental noise canceling “totally erases background sounds — even fairly loud ones.” While he does mention that the ANC does sometimes cancel out your voice too, in situations where the background noise is substantial (like a noisy truck or something), the problem is rare. But otherwise, voices sound excellent and “almost studio-like.”

The Between 3ANCs also feature Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, easy-to-use gesture control on the buds themselves that can be configured in the companion app, and bountiful battery life — eight hours with ANC on and 12 with it off. The charging case boosts this to 24 and 36, respectively, putting them in the race with the big boys like the AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 7, and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s. Not bad for a second outing.

Between 3ANC

Status Audio Between 3ANC

Be stylish while talking on the phone






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