The best wireless earbuds 2024: top AirPods and alternatives, chosen by experts

The best wireless earbuds promise comfort, a secure fit, great sound quality and reliable Bluetooth connectivity all packaged in a compact design. Our reviewers have tested hundreds of earbuds – from wired earbuds to the best true wireless earbuds models – so we know exactly what you can get for your money, and which are the best value.

When looking at the best wireless earbuds, we consider audio quality, battery life, comfort, and extra smart features, including active noise cancellation. Every pick in our list below is worth your time – many even feature in our ultimate best headphones guide – and we think there's a pair to suit everyone here, no matter whether you're looking for the best earbuds for Android or iPhone.

The most popular style of headphones today by a long way is true wireless earbuds, and our list consists entirely of these products. AirPods are the best-selling model of them, but they're not so great if you don't have an iPhone, so you'll find the best AirPods alternatives based on our testing in this list. There may be models you have in mind that aren't on this list – it doesn't mean we haven't tested them, or we hate them, it just means we think these are better.

The quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out which wireless earbuds are the best? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices. You can also jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

Written by
Becky Scarrott
Written by
Becky Scarrott

I've reviewed over 150 audio products since becoming a tech journalist, ranging from super-budget earbuds to high-end Hi-Res Audio music players. Before joining TechRadar, I spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing everything the world of audio had to offer; before that, I was a professional dancer. My love of music ties it all together.

Recent updates

March 21, 2024
Removed Sony WH-1000XM4 due to stock running extremely low. Moved Technics EAH-AZ80 as our new #1, and reordered other products to round out our selections.

The best wireless earbuds of 2024

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The best wireless earbuds overall

The best wireless earbuds for excellent sound and future-proofed features

Specifications

Weight: 7g
Frequency response: 40-20,000Hz
Drivers: 10mm
Battery life: (Up to) 7h (earbuds); (up to) 25h (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Poised, revealing sound
+
Triple-point connectivity
+
Outstanding reliability and comfort

Reasons to avoid

-
Noise cancelling and battery life are more average
-
Not the smallest or lightest buds
BUY THEM IF

✅ You like a neutral, natural sound: These impressively coherent, organized and true-to-life earbuds, that will really suit those who want to hear all the detail in their tracks.

You want to switch between devices easily: The triple-point connectivity is the first time we've seen it, and makes it seamless to move between phone, tablet and laptop without re-pairing.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want huge battery life: The longevity here isn't as impressive as some options – it's fine, it's just not above average.

You need the best noise cancellation: Again, they don't do this badly at all, but the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 at #4 on the list clearly do it better.

The Technics EAH-AZ80 obviously have incredibly tough competition in the form of the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, or Apple AirPods Pro. But the famous audio brand stands out as our general favorite among all those, thanks to the rich combination of features, audio quality and design.

The sound these earbuds make is also highly accomplished – it's both swift and accurate, as well as balanced and detailed. There’s nothing artificial about the way the Technics EAH-AZ80 sound, they offer convincingly realistic and coherent listening in all circumstances. It perhaps could be more energetic and fun, but that's a minor complaint.

In terms of features, their triple-point connectivity is a first in a product of this type, and means you can seamlessly move between three different devices without repairing. It proved stable and useful in testing, too. And thanks to ‘Just My Voice’ technology, we found these earbuds to be far less prone to wind-noise interference than any number of rivals. The active noise cancellation overall is behind the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 at #4 on the list, but they're still strong compared to almost everything else.

They're well-designed, too. They come with a broad range of silicone ear tips to make sure they have a secure fit. We said in our review that "the EAH-AZ80 should stay comfortable no matter the size or shape of your ears".

The battery life is average rather than great, but as a total package, they're incredibly impressive and future-proof, with support for next-gen Bluetooth on top of their great app control and rich, involving sound. We rate them as the ultimate all-rounder, though this does all come at a fairly premium price – though still a very competitive one compared to other equivalent earbuds.

Read our full Technics EAH-AZ80 review

The best mid-range wireless earbuds

The best wireless earbuds around $100 / £100

Specifications

Weight: 4.6g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 5mm
Battery life : 7.5 hours (buds) 7.5 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Strong noise cancellation
+
Top-class audio for the price
+
Great Sony app support

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much battery from the case
-
No higher-res Bluetooth support
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want small and light buds: These earbuds are among the most comfortable, light and secure we've ever used, regardless of price – and are great for smaller ears.

You want audio bang for your buck: These offer effective ANC paired with the most exciting and fun sound we've heard at this level.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You don't want to charge them very often: You only get one charge of the buds from the case here, but you get 2-4 charges from most buds.

You want ear detection: This won't auto-stop the music when you remove them. It won't matter for everyone, but not having it may be a dealbreaker for some. 

The Sony WF-C700N take a surprising amount of the features and quality of Sony's higher-end buds, and make them smaller, lighter and cheaper. They're as good as earbuds for under $100/£100 can get today. The active noise cancellation is really impressive, for example – in our review, we said: "When ANC is on, at my desk, all but the loudest noises are softened, leaving me immersed in my playlists. It's a feat and no mistake."

It's the same story for the sound quality, which we described as "one of the most expansive, three-dimensional and fun soundstages I've heard from a set of earbuds", also noting that "we get an extra ounce of detail and texture through the high end, too, compared to the competition". More expensive earbuds manage to provide even more detail (and there's no support for CD-quality sound here through aptX, Bluetooth LE Audio, or Sony's LDAC wireless systems), but it doesn't fundamentally matter: you have to spend twice as much to get even a bit better sound, really.

There's full support for Sony's app too, through which you can customize the sound and the noise cancelling profiles. There's no auto-pause when you remove them from your ears, but we can live with that. Especially since the buds are so small and comfortable, unlike most that are so feature-packed.

Read our full Sony WF-C700N review

The best budget wireless earbuds

The best wireless earbuds for a super-low price

Specifications

Weight: 7.4g
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
Drivers: 6mm
Battery life: 8 hours (buds) 32 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Light, small, comfy design
+
Sounds great for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Odd fitted charging cable
-
Not the last word in sonic brilliance
BUY THEM IF

✅ Your budget is about $30 / £30 / AU$50: No other earbuds deliver such a good combination of spec and audio quality at this price.

You want a long battery life: The 32 hours of playtime here are impressive for any earbuds, let alone such an affordable pair. Even AirPods Pro 2 only offer 30 hours…

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want noise cancellation: It's not exactly a complaint given their price, but if you need ANC, stretch your budget a little further to the Earfun at #5 on this list

You want USB-C charging: The built-in cable means you're stuck using old-school USB for charging – everything else here uses USB-C. Much more efficient. 

The JLab Go Air Pop only cost around $25 / £25 / AU$49.95, which is incredibly cheap and would have been unheard of just a few years ago. Fast-forward to now, and JLab is bringing out durable listening gear at rock-bottom prices. The big question is: can earbuds this budget-conscious actually do a good job?

We found that the JLab Go Air Pop are actually pretty good generally in our testing – and are emphatically unbeatable for the money. 

They sound great for the price. As we detailed in our review: "Stream Hootie & the Blowfish's Let Her Cry and the different guitars present themselves to each ear in a relatively expansive, open soundstage too. Listen to Prince's Kiss and while you'll get all of the bass funk in the intro, the artist's inimitable vocal comes off a little harsh." The relatively easy-to-distort treble makes it hard to rave about the sound unqualified, but at this price, we're amazed they're as good as they are – we can easily forgive it. 

We also weren't impressed with the design of the charging case. The charging cable is built in, rather than the case just offering you a port. That obviously does have advantages – you won't forget your cable, ever – but it also limits what kind of cable you use, and where you can charge it.

So although you won't get world-class sound with the JLab Go Air Pop, or noise cancelling or other high-end features, in our review we were so impressed by the "reliable Bluetooth connectivity, killer battery life, comfortable and light earpieces and solid music on the go." As we said then: "It would be churlish to expect more."

If your budget maxes out quickly for non-essentials (let's face it, true wireless earbuds are a luxury), then you'll find a reliable product here. For another cheap option, but with active noise cancellation, take a look at the Earfun Air Pro 3 further down in our list.

Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review

The best wireless earbuds for ANC

The best wireless earbuds for sheer noise-cancelling power

Specifications

Weight: 6.24g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 9.4mm
Battery life: 6 hours (buds) 24 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Smaller, more comfortable design
+
Best-in-class noise cancellation
+
Beautiful sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Call quality could be better
-
No support for high-def wireless codecs
-
No wireless charging
BUY THEM IF

✅ Noise cancellation is vital: These offer simply the best noise stopping power for the price (the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds maybe do it even better, but they cost a load more).

You like a finely balanced sound: Whatever Bose's CustomTune does inside your ear, it works really well. The sound is very well balanced.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want a slim, light bud: These are about as bulky as mainstream earbuds get in this day and age, and their case is pretty large. AirPods Pro 2 (#6 on this list) or Sony LinkBuds S are much slimmer and lighter.

You’d want higher-quality Bluetooth: No LDAC, no aptX – you're on average-quality streaming only here. 

If your number one priority is active noise cancellation, then these are our top pick. There's an argument that the newer Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are actually better for ANC, but they're significantly more expensive (especially since these buds have had some great price drops) and the difference isn't so large that we think it's necessary to go for the 2023 model – the ones we're recommending are still ahead of everything else here.

The best news is that this excellent noise cancellation isn't at the expense of sound quality. In our review, we wrote: "We can’t stress this enough – the sound is very well balanced, with a heck of a lot of details and textures coming through. And if you still find you need to tweak it, you can via the EQ in the app."

The buds are quite bulky, which will not suit everyone, though they do feel quite secure in ear. Too secure, some might feel, especially those with smaller ears. The six hours of battery from the buds with 18 more from the case is also pretty average – not bad, not great. There's also no high-res audio option, spatial audio or multi-point pairing, but the Ultra model does offer those if you want them.

Not everyone needs all mod cons. Some people want one in particular, and if blocking as much outside sound as possible at a reasonable price is your goal, these are you new best friends.

Read our full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review

The best wireless earbuds for cheap ANC

The best wireless earbuds if you want noise-blocking on a budget

Specifications

Weight: 5.2g
Frequency response: