Which earbud brand is better?

Since true wireless earbuds went mainstream about six years ago, companies including Tozo and JBL have gone to great lengths to improve their audio quality and wireless connectivity. In fact, it’s great for consumers that longtime audio equipment manufacturers such as JBL are seeing good competition from upstart companies including Tozo.

The pros and cons between the two companies are pretty significant, and one of them is almost certain to offer Bluetooth earbuds that meet your needs. The most important things to pay attention to when deciding between them are price and advanced features such as noise canceling and Bluetooth codecs, or digital data-stream decoding.

Tozo earbuds

Tozo was formed in 2015 but took until 2017 to release its first true wireless earbuds. Since then, its various models haven’t broken major ground in terms of advanced technology, but they have delivered good wireless audio to the masses at a low price.

While many Tozo earbuds sound good and should last a while, the lowest-end options tend to underperform, even for the price. Never fear, though — the most popular Tozo earbuds rival many midrange options from better-known brands but don’t cost a fortune.

Tozo earbud pros

  • Impressive price-to-performance ratio: It’s tough to beat the low cost of Tozo’s most popular earbuds. There are few alternatives with such a good track record at prices of $40 or less.
  • Lightweight construction: Most Tozo earbuds are so light that you’ll barely feel them in your ears. This especially important feature helps keep them in the right place while you listen, which prevents the degraded sound quality and poor bass response that result from loose earbuds.
  • Powerful water resistance: Some of the most worthwhile Tozo earbuds sport IPX6 water resistance, which means they’re even safe if you drop them in the water. But don’t expect to use them while swimming, since Bluetooth signals can’t penetrate liquid.

Tozo earbud cons

  • Poor Bluetooth codec support: If you’re looking for something that delivers lossless-quality audio using the high-end Qualcomm aptX HD or Sony LDAC, look elsewhere. Few Tozo models offer them.
  • They’re not meant for audiophiles: If terms such as high-end roll-off and total harmonic distortion mean anything to you, there’s a chance you won’t be satisfied with Tozo. They just can’t compete with the premium components and technologies the best models use.
  • Somewhat chintzy feel: Tozo earbuds make noticeable compromises in the quality of materials used.

Best Tozo earbuds

Tozo NC2

Tozo NC2

While they won’t put you in absolute silence, these are just about the least expensive earbuds to offer active noise cancellation.

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Tozo T6

Tozo T6

These waterproof earbuds are great for any weather and sound far better than their low price would have you believe.

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Tozo A1

Tozo A1

Wireless in-ear headphones don’t get much smaller, lighter or less expensive than these.

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Tozo T12

Tozo T12

The drivers inside this midrange pair are larger than average, which helps with both low-end response and high-end accuracy.

Sold by Amazon

JBL earbuds

JBL has been a respected manufacturer of premium sound equipment for several decades. It was once part of the renowned Altec Lansing company and there’s a good chance that the last time you went to a live music show, you were listening to at least a few JBL speakers.

JBL’s studio and live performance equipment runs the gamut from budget-friendly to premium. When it comes to headphones, JBL sticks true to its high-end roots, delivering several excellent wireless earbuds with relatively high prices but also impressive feature sets.

JBL earbud pros

  • Great sound quality: JBL does its best to deliver premium sound quality, and most of its earbuds hit the mark. They’re especially good for iPhone owners, who can take advantage of the high fidelity and efficiency of the AAC codec.
  • Effective noise canceling: Some JBL models offer active noise canceling in addition to the passive isolation that earbuds are known for.
  • Premium construction: The materials, seams and durability of JBL earbuds are nearly as good as they get.
  • Above-average phone call performance: Many JBLs sport multi-microphone arrays that make it easy for your voice to be heard on the other end of a call.

JBL earbud cons

  • Disappointing Android Bluetooth codec support: You’d expect JBL earbuds to support high-resolution codecs including aptX and LDAC, but interestingly, that’s not the case. Android users are stuck with AAC if they want to get better quality than the baseline SBC codec. While AAC sounds good, some Android phones don’t play nicely with it and will see notably increased battery drain.
  • Relatively high cost: You’ll have to pay a decent amount for a good pair of JBLs. This is an especially important consideration if, like plenty of others, you have trouble keeping track of a pair of tiny in-ear headphone.

Best JBL earbuds

JBL Tune 230NC

JBL Tune 230NC

Boasting active noise canceling with an optional ambient mode, these midrange earbuds offer JBL’s best bang for the buck.

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JBL Club Pro+

JBL Club Pro Plus 

This premium pair offers a battery life of over seven hours with active noise control enabled, but they also cost quite a bit.

Sold by Amazon

JBL Reflect Flow Pro+

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Plus

Shipped with four sizes of flared ear tips, these are some of the best-supported options for working out or other strenuous activities.

Sold by Amazon

JBL Tune 125

JBL Tune 125

A remarkably long battery life and dependable wireless connectivity make this pair one of the best choices in the $100 range.

Sold by Amazon

JBL Live Pro+

JBL Live Pro Plus

Thanks to their stem-style construction, they do an even better job of picking up your voice than JBL’s other offerings. They even offer built-in Alexa and Google Assistant support.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get Tozo or JBL earbuds?

Tozo and JBL each make great earbuds, but they’re meant for very different buyers. JBLs are known for their above-average sound quality and some for their powerful noise canceling. They’re engineered to satisfy demanding listeners, but most cost quite a bit.

On the other side of the coin, Tozo manufactures several good pairs of earbuds, and most cost relatively little. They don’t deliver the same high-resolution clarity of JBLs, but they’re perfect for music fans on a budget. They’re also a better choice if you tend to lose earbuds often, which isn’t hard to do. Some even boast reasonably effective noise canceling, although not at the level of more high-end brands.

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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