Best earbuds for work and play in South Africa

Prominent brands like Apple, Sennheiser, Jlabs, Sony, Samsung, and Huawei make some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy in South Africa, with water-resistant models available for between R1,500 and R7,000.

Wireless earbuds can be critical pieces of tech for those with active lifestyles or those who work in noisy offices, allowing wearers to block out background noise to focus on work, or sweat as much as they want in the gym without damaging their earbuds.

In the second week of the new year, many South Africans are already back at their workplaces — which can be noisy.

Wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) capabilities will stand workers in such environments in good stead.

The start of the year also means new year’s resolutions, many of which likely relate to fitness goals. Several wireless earbuds suitable for exercising are available from prominent brands at various price points.

MyBroadband compared some of the best wireless earbuds suitable for various fitness activities and noisy offices on their battery life, noise cancellation capabilities, and water resistance ratings.

We only considered wireless earbuds that meet the following criteria:

  • Total battery life (buds and charging case) of more than 18 hours;
  • Active noise cancellation; and,
  • Sweat resistance at the minimum (IPX4).

The battery life requirement of at least 18 hours should be more than enough to last a full workday and a before- or after-work workout.

Gear Patrol recommends that customers who wish to use wireless earbuds in the gym or for other strenuous activities without destroying them with sweat should look for models that are at least IPX4-rated.

For reference, IP or Ingress Protection ratings use benchmarks to determine how resistant a piece of tech is to dust and water.

The first number after the “P” represents the rated protection against solids, while the second indicates water resistance. If either figure is an X, no data is available to specify a protection rating.

For example, an IPX4 rating means the device hasn’t been sufficiently tested against damage from solids but is resistant to water splashes.

The cheapest model listed is Huawei’s FreeBuds 5i, which provides a battery life of up to six hours on the buds themselves, with an additional 24 hours of charge provided by the charging case.

The earbuds feature IP54 water and dust resistance and are available for R1,499.

Two other options are available under R2,500: Anker’s Soundcore Space A40 and JLabs’ Jbuds Air Sport ANC, priced at R2,019 and R2,280, respectively.

These two models offer the most impressive battery life of the lot, with the JLabs Jbuds promising up to 70 hours on a single charge.

The JLabs earbuds also have an impressive water and dust resistance rating of IP66 for the price point.

The IP66 rating indicates that the earbuds are wholly dust-tight and are resistant to powerful water jets. However, it should be noted that they still aren’t suitable for swimming.

Only one of the sets of earbuds listed could be considered suitable for swimming, provided you don’t dive lower than one metre.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro2 feature an IPX7 protection rating, which indicates that although they haven’t been sufficiently tested against dust, they are protected from immersion in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes.

Samsung is currently running a promotion on the wireless earbuds, knocking R500 off the R3,999 price tag.

The most expensive model listed is Sony’s WF-1000XM5, which costs R6,999. The earbuds offer up to 32 hours of battery life, adaptive ANC, and IPX4 water and dust resistance.

The table below compares the best wireless earbuds in South Africa regarding price, battery life, and features.

Best wireless earbuds for work and play in South Africa
Earbuds Battery ANC Features Price
Huawei FreeBuds 5i Up to 6 hours (buds); up to 30 hours (charging case) Yes IP54 water and dust resistance R1,499
Anker Soundcore Space A40 Up to 10 hours (buds); up to 50 hours (charging case) Yes IPX4 water and dust resistance R2,019
JLabs Jbuds Air Sport ANC Up to 15 hours (buds); up to 55 hours (charging case) Yes IP66 water and dust resistance R2,280
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro2 Up to 5 hours (buds); up to 19 hours (charging case) Yes IPX7 water and dust resistance R3,499
JBL Tour Pro+ Up to 8 hours (buds); up to 24 hours (charging case) Yes IPX5 water and dust resistance R3,995
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 Up to 7 hours (buds); up to 28 hours (charging case) Yes IPX4 water and dust resistance R4,839
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd-generation) Up to 6 hours (buds); up to 30 hours (charging case) Yes Magsafe, IP54 water and dust resistance R5,699
Sony WF-1000XM5 Up to 8 hours (buds); up to 24 hours (charging case) Yes IPX4 water and dust resistance R6,999

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Best earbuds for work and play in South Africa