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

April 23, 2024
Swapped Sony WF-C700N for Nothing Ear (a) based on our reviewer's experience with both products. Updated the 'Also Consider' section with information about other recent earbuds that didn't make the list.

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 under $100 / £100

Specifications

Weight: 4.7g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 11mm
Battery life : 5.5 hours (buds) 24.5 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Energetic and expansive sound
+
Good-quality active noise cancellation
+
Small case and cool design

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless charging
-
Middling battery life
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want great ANC for less: These offer maybe the best noise-stopping power we've heard for their price.

You want serious sound quality: The Ear (a) are a seriously fun and zealous listen, aided by their support for LDAC higher-res wireless tech.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want spatial audio support: The similar priced Sony WF-C700N offer this, but you won't find it here.

You want long battery life: 5.5 hours with noise cancellation on is distinctly average – again, the Sony buds mentioned above offer 7.5 hours.

Nothing's latest affordable earbuds are a seriously impressive bit of audio power. In our Nothing Ear (a) review, when tested in direct competition with the Sony WF-C700N, which we previously recommended as our favorite buds at around the $100/$100 price, we said "the Nothing earbuds look more premium and feel more foxy. Their noise cancellation is a touch more robust and the sound is every bit as energetic, detailed and zealous, and (dare we say it?) a tad more expansive to boot."

The sound quality is the star here (though it doesn't have all the limelight to itself). Our review called the sound "meaty and arresting", focused less on a delicate hi-fi listen and more on "fun and energy", and we're very happy with that. Naturally, spending more on the Technics at #1 on the list will get you a clear improvement in sound but, as our review said, "for the money, Nothing has tweaked its recipe to near perfection here."

On top of that, we were seriously impressed with the active noise cancellation, which clamped basically all standard droning noise, with only louder and more chaotic sounds breaking through. And with features such as wear detection (so they auto-pause when you take the out), LDAC hi-res audio support, multi-point pairing, and the Nothing app for tweaking the EQ and other features, they're about as well-specced as anything you can get for this price. The 5.5-hour battery life with ANC on is nothing special, but we're happy to forgive it – and it's the same with the lack of spatial audio support. We don't mind at all, not when you're getting such good value in the essentials, as well as other nice features.

Read our full Nothing Ear (a) 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: Not listed
Drivers: 11mm wool composite dynamic drivers
Battery life: 9 hours (buds) 36 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Great all-rounders
+
Excellent battery life
+
Decent ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
No sensors to detect you’re wearing them
-
Sound is fun but not fantastic
-
Stem design not for everyone
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want affordable all-rounder earbuds: A comfortable fit, reasonable ANC, decent sound quality, future-proof Bluetooth and great battery life – all under $100/£100.

You want a long battery life: There's a lot to like here, but the battery life is near the top of the list. High-end buds don't even get this much life usually. 

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You expect total silence from the ANC: Being cheaper means they're not as noise-blocking as more expensive buds. It helps, but if you spend more, you get more.

You want audio fidelity: The sound quality is fine, but stepping up to the Nothing earbuds at #2 on the list is like night and day.

If you're looking for a solid pair of wireless earbuds on a budget with noise cancelling baked in and some future-proofing, then we highly recommend the Earfun Air Pro 3. 

These earbuds are only $79.99 / £79.99 officially, which makes them excellent value considering they're such all-rounders, and they're the cheapest in our guide with ANC on board – but actually, you'll pay more like $60 / £60, if that, thanks to regular price cuts. 

You get active noise cancellation, good sound, a comfy fit, a whole 45 hours of battery life, and these buds also boast support for the new Bluetooth wireless standard, Bluetooth LE Audio. Right now that doesn't mean much, as few other devices support it – e.g. major smartphones – but that means your buds are ready for when more phones catch up. We can't think of any earbuds that are currently as cheap as this and yet offer such a range of features.

As well as features, the design also has no business looking so elegant and minimal at this price. Although it is worth mentioning they have a long stem design. We found them comfortable to wear with a good seal – vital for ANC – but did knock them out a few times due to the stem, including a problem with them tangling in long hair (which haven't found with most stem designs).

The sound is not the last word in quality in general – you'll get much better fidelity from stepping up to the Nothing Ear (a) at #2 on our list – but in our review we said we "liked their punchy sound and found them fun to listen to". Similarly, the noise cancellation is notably weaker than more expensive models, but does its job of softening background noise so you can actually hear what's going on.

Read the full Earfun Air Pro 3 review

The best wireless earbuds for Apple fans

The best wireless earbuds for iPhone owners

Specifications

Weight: 5.3g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: Custom Apple design
Battery life : 6 hours (buds) 30 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Top-tier active noise cancellation 
+
Great sound quality
+
Lots of very smart features for iPhone

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
No lossless support
-
No good for Android
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want superb sound and noise cancellation: The audio quality is extremely strong, and the noise cancellation is nearly as good as you can right now.

You're in the Apple ecosystem: They've got lots of extra features for iPhone users, including Spatial Audio and Find My support – and they switch seamlessly between all your devices.

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want good battery life: These are distinctly average when it comes to the battery – most buds match or beat them, even with similar features.

You don't have an iPhone: If you're an Android user, you'll miss out on features if you get these compared to other earbuds that have app control on Android.

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 offer rich, detailed and powerful audio performance plus stunning ANC in design that's much smaller and more lightweight than most of the premium earbuds competition. In our testing of both the original model and the new USB-C version, we've found the active noise cancellation to be better than the vast majority of earbuds, blocking out almost all external sounds – though the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 (#4 on this list) have them beat.

Battery life in the buds is distinctly average compared to the other options in this guide, but they're good for a long listening period at six hours – and the 30 hours from the charging case as well is actually quite high compared to other options.

As always with Apple products, these buds are best suited to iPhone users thanks to unique features such as head-tracked Dolby Atmos spatial audio that's extremely impressive, Find My support including ultra-wideband precision location tracking (so you can find them down the side of the sofa), and auto-switching between your Apple devices seamlessly, giving the equivalent of multipoint connectivity on more devices than most. Of course, you need an Apple device to enjoy all of this – ideally all Apple devices.

The price is relatively low compared to premium options such as the Sony WF-1000XM5 or the Technics EAH-AZ80, which is why we think Apple users should be seriously considering them as their pick for a premium pair of buds – but if you're not heavily in on Apple, something more platform-neutral may be better overall.

Read our full Apple AirPods Pro 2 review

The best wireless earbuds for Samsung fans

The best wireless earbuds for Samsung Galaxy phone owners

Specifications

Weight: 5.5g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: Custom Coaxial 2-way
Battery life: 5 hours (buds) 18 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound, and serious Hi-Res skills
+
Strong noise cancellation
+
Classy, comfortable design and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is only average
-
Hi-Res Audio 24-bit is only from Samsung Galaxy phones
BUY THEM IF

✅ You have a Samsung Galaxy phone: The Buds 2 Pro offer smarter pairing and features with Galaxy, and even seriously high-quality audio streaming.

You want Samsung's best audio quality: Samsung's immersive, expressive, head-tracked, 24-bit audio is far better than we ever expected. 

DON'T BUY THEM IF

You want good battery life: Five hours with ANC deployed is below average these days – everything else here lasts longer. 

You use an iPhone: They work fine as basic earbuds with iPhone, but AirPods give you so many more features. 

These are effectively Samsung's equivalent of AirPods, and not just in the sense that they're true wireless earbuds. They come with features that work only with the company's own phones, with two really stand-out features for audio fans. The first is spatial audio with optional head-tracking, giving better immersion in your sound. The second is really for audiophiles, and it's the new 24-bit high-res audio – this is arguably the best high-res audio option of all the earbuds here, even if these aren't necessarily the best-sounding.

These relatively svelte and light earbuds are comfortable to wear, yet are packed full of useful perks such as great active noise cancellation, voice detection to active a transparency mode when you need it, and customizable on-ear controls – all of which work very well indeed – plus IPX7 water ingress protection. 

It's nearly a home run from Samsung, marred by the disappointing five-hour battery life. And these are beaten in certain areas by other buds here – the Technics at #1 on the list are better for sound, for example, and the Bose at #4 are better for noise cancellation. But they're both also much more expensive; much like the AirPods Pro, these are a superb-value package if you have the phone that fully takes advantage of them.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review

The best wireless earbuds for sound quality

The best earbuds for audiophiles that won't break the bank

Specifications

Weight: 104g total
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 13mm
Battery life: 5 hours (earbuds), 15 hours (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Multi-layered, spacious sound
+
Excellent lossless audio support
+
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life isn't great
-
Slightly disappointing app
-
Not everyone will love the look
BUY THEM IF

✅ You want the most elite sound: For a price similar to the best earbuds from Sony and Bose, you get a whole new level of music quality than those offer.

You want to really enjoy higher-res audio: With aptX and Snapdragon Sound support, you can m