True wireless earbuds are all the rage in the audio industry right now, as evidenced by their huge market growth.While convenient, most wireless earbuds suffer from poor battery life and quickly become unusable.This forces you to buy a new pair sooner or later and further damages our already compromised environment.
This raises the question: why do TWS earbuds degrade so quickly?Especially since wireless circumaural headphones and neckbands last significantly longer.Next, we'll explain all of this and give tips for extending the battery life of wireless earbuds.
Why wireless earbuds have bad battery life
When it comes to battery life, your true wireless earbuds are fighting physics -- and losing.First, an earbud is already too small to hold a large enough battery.
Manufacturers can't make the case larger because then it won't fit easily in your pocket, and they can't make the earbuds themselves larger because then they won't fit comfortably in all ears.In other words, convenience and comfort require sacrificing battery life.
Plus, most of the best high-end wireless earbuds, including AirPods, Galaxy Buds, Pixel Buds, and more, have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency Mode.These features are useful, but they put extra work on your earbuds and drain their battery faster.
Another issue with TWS earbuds, however, is charging.It's harder to implement on earbuds than on smartphones due to the heat generated by fast charging.After all, no one wants their earbuds to be hot when they come out of the box.This is an immediate red flag for any user.
While irritating, this isn't a huge problem on a phone, where the phone rests in your hand, rather than in your ear, which is more sensitive.Wearing warm earplugs in your ears can cause skin irritation and pose health risks.
Why wireless earbuds aren't worth buying
We saw why wireless earphones have bad battery life; now, let's see why they degrade so quickly and are a downright poor buy.As you probably know, all modern gadgets use lithium-ion batteries, which naturally degrade over time.But this degradation happens faster with earbuds than with your smartphone.Let's explain why.
These batteries are best kept at 50% charge when idle (not charging or in use).If you're curious why, we explain in depth how lithium-ion batteries work.Basically, the longer your battery remains fully charged (or completely unloaded) and the more charge cycles it goes through, the faster it will degrade.
If you've noticed, wireless earbuds are exactly that.Given their design, they're always either in use, charging, or idling at 100% inside the case.All of these conditions are detrimental to battery health and will cause rapid battery degradation.
Granted, it's convenient because you want your earbuds to last for hours at a time, and people buy earbuds for convenience anyway.However, its side effects cannot be ignored.Over time, the cost of buying a new pair of earbuds every year or so will add up to a considerable amount.
Smartphone batteries are big enough to be reliable at 50-80% charge, but the earbuds need to be fully charged all the time to not cause trouble.And, if you use wireless chargers for your earbuds, you're minimizing their performance, since wireless charging is super inefficient and generates unnecessary heat, so try to avoid it.
Here's why wireless earbuds aren't worth buying, and why wired headphones are better than wireless alternatives by most standards.But of course, given the rising sales numbers, we don't expect the trend to change anytime soon.
People will continue to buy wireless earbuds, no matter how unsustainable they are.why?Because in addition to convenience -- let's face it -- earbuds are also a fad.Having the AirPods stick out of your ears will instantly earn you some serious street cred.This is similar to what has happened with Beats headphones in the past.
How to Extend the Battery Life of Wireless Earbuds
If you own a pair of wireless earbuds, you still have ways to extend its battery life and slow its degradation.Here are four simple tips to help you do just that:
Turn off ANC
Turning it off instantly increases battery life by an hour or two.As an alternative to ANC, you can switch from silicone ear tips to foam ear tips that offer better passive noise isolation.
Avoid wearing headphones in warm weather
Avoiding wireless charging works fine, but you need to avoid another huge heat source: the sun.Using your wireless earbuds in sunny weather can sometimes heat them up, causing the battery to degrade faster and reducing the maximum charging capacity.
Use one earbud at a time
If you can live with the loss of a little convenience (and sound), a great temporary solution to extending battery life is to use only one earbud at a time.This is helpful if you don't have power but still want to use the earbuds continuously.
switch your bluetooth codec
High bitrate Bluetooth codecs like LDAC, LHDC, and aptX Lossless sound better, but they consume more battery because more data is encoded and decoded each time.If saving battery life is a priority, you should change the bluetooth codec on your phone to a lower bit rate like SBC.
Wireless earbuds are trendy but not sustainable
We love new technology as much as everyone else, but even as wireless earbuds improve every year, their poor battery life and poor battery health are still a key reason to avoid them.If you don't want to deal with cables, a wireless neckband or over-ear headphones may be better for you.
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