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Best wireless earbuds: the top Bluetooth buds for wire-free listening

A woman wearing the Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Sony )

The best wireless earbuds bring you great quality audio and a comfortable fit in a fuss-free design that means no more getting tangled up in wires. This is why wireless earbuds are a much more convenient way to listen to music on the move and the good news is, audio performance is (mostly) as good as a pair of wired headphones these days.

However, there are many different wireless earbuds on the market at the moment, which means it can be tricky to figure out which you should buy. Finding the best wireless earbuds and the best headphones depends on a number of factors, including your budget, if you’re interested in advanced features, like noise-canceling, and whether you want a pair of wireless or true wireless earbuds — which means they’re not connected to your phone or each other. 

In this guide, we’ll round up the best wireless earbuds and true wireless earbuds you can buy today. Take a look at our buying recommendations at the bottom of the guide — if you’re still not sure which pair of wireless earbuds is right for you. 

The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 wireless earbuds with their charging case

(Image credit: Lypertek)

1. Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0

The best all-rounder wireless earbuds

Noise cancelling: No
Battery life: 10 hours (80 hours including case)
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm Graphene drivers
Reasons to buy
+Good value compared to rivals+80 hours battery with case
Reasons to avoid
-No noise cancellation-Ambient mode could be better

If you’re looking for an all-rounder pair of true wireless earbuds for under £100/$100, then the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 buds are a great option for you. 

There's a good 10 hours of battery life in the buds, which becomes a huge 80 hours with the portable charging case. They bring you fantastic audio performance for the price with bold, clear sound that can be ramped up with LDX Audio, a tuning option that can be switched on to widen the soundstage. 

The buds are lightweight and comfortable with a simple design and different eartips to choose from. There’s no noise cancellation, but they provide a snug fit so ambient sound shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

The SoundMagic E11BT wireless earbuds

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

2. SoundMagic E11BT

The best budget wireless earbuds

Noise cancelling: No
Battery life: 20 hours
Weight: 27g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Drivers: 10mm Dynamic neodymium
Reasons to buy
+Cheap compared to rivals+Comfortable design+Good sound for the price
Reasons to avoid
-Fit could be more secure-Some issues with build quality

On a budget? These wireless earbuds from SoundMagic are a good option. They’re wireless rather than true wireless, which means the buds connect to each other via a neckband and then connect to your phone via Bluetooth. 

They bring you good quality sound and 20 hours of battery life, which is great at such an affordable price. They’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time and have an IPX4 rating water-resistant rating, which makes them good for workouts. Although they can fall out of your ear canal with more rigorous exercise. 

Some online reviews comment on issues with build quality, like the inline remote breaking or one bud breaking after long-term use. This isn’t a problem across the board but is worth considering.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

The best premium wireless earbuds

Noise cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 12 hours (24 hours including case)
Weight: 41g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz(44.1kHz sampling) / 20Hz-40,000Hz(LDAC 96kHz sampling, 990kbps)
Drivers: 6mm drivers
Reasons to buy
+Great noise cancellation+Fantastic sound quality
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life not as great as rivals-Some rivals have better ANC

Sony is one of the top brands to consider if you’re looking for the best wireless earbuds and best headphones more generally. The WF-1000XM4s are minimal true wireless earbuds that come in black and white with gold details. 

They offer noise cancellation, top-quality audio performance, water-resistance and a decent (but not fantastic) best case scenario 12 hours of battery life in the buds and 24 hours with the case. 

There are better options if you want the best of the best ANC or a superbly comfortable fit, but these buds are the best premium all-rounders offering good sound, good comfort and good noise-canceling on-board that should suit most people who want to splash out on a highly-recommended pair of true wireless earbuds from a trusted brand.

4. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

The best budget true wireless earbuds

Noise cancelling: No
Battery life: 9 hours (45 hours including case)
Weight: 46g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.8mm Graphene drivers
Reasons to buy
+They sound great+The app works well
Reasons to avoid
-No noise cancellation

If you’re looking for an affordable pair of true wireless earbuds — that’s no wires whatsoever — we recommend the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus. These simple and comfy earbuds have excellent reviews across the board and the best news is they’re available for under £100/$100. 

They don’t have ANC on-board, which is a shame, but that’s the only major difference between this pair of buds and a premium pair that you’d have to pay double the price for. 

They bring you fantastic sound quality that supports high-res audio, a great battery — especially if you carry the case with you — and a set-up process, controls and app that are all easy-to-use. 

Apple Airpods Pro with charging case

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Apple AirPods Pro

The best wireless earbuds for Apple fans

Noise cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 4.5 hours (24 hours including case)
Weight: 5.4g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Drivers: Dynamic
Reasons to buy
+Noise cancellation works well+Great Apple design
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive compared to rivals-Battery life could be better

Apple fans, listen up! If you own a lot of Apple products then these are probably going to be the best buds for you. 

Confusingly, there are a number of Apple AirPod models available these days. But the Pro model in this list is, for the most part, the most advanced. That’s because it has excellent noise cancellation on-board, an improved design compared to previous models and some additional features, like Conversation Boost — this helps you to hear face-to-face conversations more clearly when you’re using them. 

They fit well and have added hearing health features that alert you when sounds could be damaging. 

However, they’re not cheap and come with a bunch of iPhone-specific features, which means they’re a good option for those that love Apple products and the distinct AirPod look, but everyone else could get a better value pair from another brand.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

6. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

The best wireless earbuds for style points

Noise cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 7 hours (28 hours including case)
Weight: 6g
Frequency response: 5Hz-21,000Hz
Drivers: 7mm
Reasons to buy
+Stylish design+Good ANC
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive compared to rivals-Fit might not be great for everyone

If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds that don’t look bulbous or stick out with long stems (we’re looking at you, AirPods) then the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are a great option with a sleek design and nice silver detailing. 

They also boast excellent sound, good battery life (especially with their case) and noise cancellation, which provides a truly immersive listening experience. 

Unfortunately, they are some of the most expensive earbuds on the list and you can get a similar experience from rivals at nearly half the price. However, if you’re looking for the full package and have the budget to match the premium price tag, these are a great pair of earbuds.

7. Beats Powerbeats Pro

The best wireless earbuds for sports

Noise cancelling: No
Battery life: 9 hours (24 hours including case)
Weight: 20g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Drivers: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Great fit+Top sound for working out
Reasons to avoid
-No ANC-Case could be smaller

You could wear any of the earbuds on this list if you want to workout. But some might not provide a super snug fit, which means they could fall out mid run – this isn’t ideal and it’s the reason true wireless earbuds often go missing. Enter the Beats Powerbeats Pro. 

They’re a pair of earbuds designed specially with ear hooks for working out, running and sports with an incredibly comfortable fit, water resistant design, and audio performance that provides the perfect soundtrack to your workouts. You will find better sound, ANC and full waterproofing from other brands, but if you’re looking for the best all-rounders for sports, these are for you.

How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you

Finding a pair of wireless earbuds is down to personal preference. The first consideration is budget. When it comes to tech you often get what you pay for. But there are some great cheaper options if your budget can’t stretch too far, like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus.

Consider which design is right for you. Many people prefer the convenience of true wireless earbuds, which are not connected to your phone or each other, especially for running and working out. However, these can get lost and tend to cost more than regular wireless earbuds, so you might be better off finding a pair that doesn’t connect to your phone but does connect to each other with a neckband or wire, like the SoundMagic E11BT.

Many of the best wireless earbuds have noise-canceling tech built-in. That means when you’re wearing them, all ambient sound is blocked out and you can focus solely on the sound. This is a great feature to have because you can be fully immersed in your music, audiobook, or podcast. You can also switch the feature on and off, which is helpful if you want to save battery or be more aware of your surroundings. However, noise-canceling tends to come in the more expensive earbuds, like the more premium Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds.

It’s also worth comparing the battery life of earbuds. Many of them come with charging cases, which can juice up your earbuds for hours and hours. But if you don’t like charging them often or need them to be fully functioning for long periods of time, it pays to pick the earbuds with the longest battery life, like the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 earbuds, which have 80 hours with their charging case. 

There are more specifications and features to compare, but these key considerations should help you to find a pair of wireless earbuds that are right for you. 

Becca Caddy

Becca has been writing about consumer tech and popular science for over ten years. She’s covered all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll all experience the overview effect one day, but she’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She's contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture and spending way too much time floating through space in virtual reality.