The best true wireless earbuds offer some of the most advanced audio tech we've ever heard. These days, ditching the wires no longer means sacrificing on sound quality either. Some of the discreet earbuds here even rival our pick of the best over-ear headphones when it comes to audio quality – although not if you prioritise that 'I'm wearing headphones, don't talk to me' look.
True wireless earbuds are sometimes referred to as TWS earbuds (True Wireless Stereo) and unlike the best wireless earbuds, they don't have the cable connecting one bud to the other, making them much more convenient and flexible – if slightly easier to lose. If you're looking for the best running headphones or the best workout headphones, you may still want to consider something with a cable.
We've tested hundreds of earbuds before picking out the best choices for you, your needs, and your budget.
Some of the best true wireless earbuds in the list below are rather, ahem, high-end (ie. with a similarly premium price tag) however, the growing market of cheaper wireless earbuds means that some more wallet-friendly models are creeping into this list. Take a look at our best budget wireless earbuds guide for more of those.
For now though, each pair of true wireless earbuds below come with a range of great features. These can include hands-free voice control, active noise cancellation and support for Hi-Res Audio codecs such as aptX, aptX HD and aptX Low Latency.
If you're only interested in the very best sound quality, we recommend you check out models such as the Bowers & Wilkins PI7, Grado GT220 and the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, which are there to cater to your inner audiophile.
Still not sure if you should buy Apple's latest Apple AirPods 3? We recommend you check out the competition first. Of course, the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro are also a great shout, but there are plenty of fantastic AirPods alternatives below too if Apple doesn't appeal.
- AirPods Pro 2: what we want to see from Apple's true wireless earbuds
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The best true wireless earbuds
Sony is largely responsible for the rude health of the active noise-cancelling earbuds market, and with the WF-1000XM4, the company has combined performance, ergonomics, and build quality more effectively than ever before.
Compared to their predecessors, the Sony WF-1000XM3, we found that the new wireless earbuds offer enough quality-of-life features to make them worth upgrading to, even if they are more expensive.
A more compact design means that the WF-1000XM4 are more comfortable than their predecessors, while their accompanying control app makes it easy to adjust their EQ settings for a personalized sound.
The audio quality is among the best you'll get from a pair of wireless in-ear headphones, and DSEE Extreme upscaling means you'll get an approximation of high-resolution sound from standard-definition digital audio files.
While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – noise cancellation, for example – no other model comes close to offering such excellent quality across the board. That’s why the Sony WF-1000XM4 are hands-down the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today.
Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM4 review
For nearly two years, the Sony WF-1000XM3 were best true wireless earbuds you could buy – until they were usurped by the WF-1000XM4.
However, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are still worth considering, not least because you can usually find them discounted to around $170 / £150 / AU$200.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's exceedingly good for a pair of earbuds, fist-pumping musicality, a sleek design, and a decent battery life.
They may not be the best for using while participating in sport, but their unobtrusive design will appeal to anyone who's unconvinced by the look of the Apple AirPods. We also found that they're also comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Google Assistant and Alexa support means you're covered if you want to control the buds using your voice alone, though the on-ear controls are easy enough to use.
Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3 review
The NuraTrue are perhaps the most personalized wireless earbuds you can buy today – and they’re among the best-sounding, too.
They’re the first true wireless earbuds from Australian audio brand Nura, following in the footsteps of its NuraLoop earphones – which, incidentally, are our pick for the best wireless earbuds available right now.
The NuraTrue are another success for the company, offering unbeaten levels of customization that allow the earbuds to be tuned to your ears exactly. The accompanying app even analyzes how well the buds fit into your ears.
The end result is outstanding audio performance that reveals superb levels of detail in your music, and a wide soundstage that enables every instrument to sing. Listening to Princes' Gang Gang Dance, we were impressed by the space afforded to each element of the track, and the power of the subby bass lines.
In case you think these earbuds are made with only audio in mind, they in fact come with plenty of features that will appeal to anyone who wants a cheaper alternative to popular models such as the AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4.
These features include decent noise cancellation, an IPX4 water-resistance rating, fast charging, and support for hi-res audio too.
Read the full review: NuraTrue review
Cambridge Audio may be best known for its high-end audio equipment, but the past couple of years has seen the British company branch out into the world of true wireless earbuds.
Its first offering, the Melomania 1, earned a place among the best wireless earbuds thanks to their stellar sound quality, However, the new Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are a worthy upgrade, putting many other earbuds in the shade for audio performance, battery life, and ease-of-use.
While the design of the Melomania 1 Plus hasn’t deviated too far from its predecessors, there’s a clear step up in terms of audio performance, with levels of detail and clarity that could rival some of the best over-ear headphones.
A helpful app, easy controls, and excellent connectivity just made us love them even more when we reviewed the Melomania 1 Plus. The only downside is that there’s no active noise cancellation. However, when these earbuds sound this good, we doubt you’ll miss it much.
What's more, the the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus have been given a permanent price cut, which means they're extremely good value for money.
They cost $139.95 / £119.95 at launch, but the audiophile-friendly earbuds have now been reduced to $99.95 / £99.95 – a fixed discount of $40 / £20.
Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are the latest wireless earbuds from the German audio giant. Picking up where the CX 400BT before them left off, they’re cheaper than their predecessors, despite including a host of upgraded features that comprises a longer battery life and better connectivity.
Audio quality is exactly what you’d expect from Sennheiser, with a wide soundstage, clear mids, detailed trebles, and powerful bass frequencies - and while audiophiles may prefer a less pronounced low end, we were still surprised by how good these earbuds sound for the price. Hi-res audio support is included, too, for those who want to eke out every last bit of detail from their music.
The controls and accompanying app are very easy to use, and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity ensures a stable connection with your device.
Thanks to a recent firmware update, you can now customize the touch controls via the Sennheiser Smart Control app, which is a handy feature that makes these buds feel a little more personal.
Our only real bugbear is the CX True Wireless’ design, which we found far too bulky for our ears. We’re hesitant to judge Sennheiser too harshly for this, since most users will probably be able to use them without issue.
Read the full review: Sennheiser CX True Wireless review
When we first reviewed the original Lypertek PurePlay Z3 true wireless earbuds (then known as the Lypertek Tevi), we were blown away. The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 true wireless earbuds are their successors.
They’re very similar to the originals, with a few key improvements, and yet still come in at the same affordable price point the originals did – $99 / £99.
This gets you everything we loved about the original PurePlay Z3 including a detailed, well balanced sound, and a whopping 80-hour total battery life from its petite USB-C charging case.
New features include wireless charging, a powerful new LDX Audio mode, improved app functionality and a hear-through ambient mode.
Our own issue is that app connectivity is patchy at best, and the ambient hear-through mode is pretty much useless in comparison to the competition from the likes of Sony’s noise cancelling WF-1000XM4.
Yet, with the price still so low, and nothing to detract from the quality standard the originals set out, they remain must-have earbuds, more than a match for headphones two or three times the price.
Read the full review: Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review
On paper, the GT220 seem to have their work cut out. $259 / £250 / AU$365 for small, humdrum-looking true wireless in-ears with no active noise-cancelling and no control app.
But, by performing with absolute confidence and assurance, they stand head and shoulders above the majority of true wireless earbuds on the market today.
They extract every shred of information from digital files of your favorite music and deliver it with such authority, and in such a complete and coherent manner, that it sounds fresh even if you’ve heard it a thousand times before.
As there's no control app, there's no way to fiddle around with the EQ settings, but we didn't miss this feature as the GT220 sound so good as they are.
The large surface area of the earbuds' housings mean that the touch-sensitive controls are easy to use, and they allow you to control your music playback, adjust the volume, and summon your device's voice assistant, whether you use Google Assistant or Siri.
A 36-hour total battery - while not as impressive as the Lypertek Pure Play Z3 2.0 - means the GT220 have enough staying power to get you though a week's worth of commuting.
Read the full review: Grado GT220 review
The sound quality, battery life, and design of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are truly brilliant – and they're a really good alternative to the Sony WF-1000XM4, particularly if you prefer a more flashy design when it comes to the best true wireless earbuds for you.
Sennheiser has pretty much knocked it out of the park with these earbuds, offering great noise cancellation alongside smart, sophisticated looks and stunning sound.
We liked the fabric covered charging case, which feels well-made and robust enough to properly protect the earbuds - that case provides 21 hours of battery life, and you get seven hours from the buds themselves.
There's support for hi-res audio support thanks to the aptX codec, and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity means the Momentum True Wireless 2 are super easy to pair with your devices.
Like the CX True Wireless, those with smaller ears may find these earbuds a little uncomfortable, as the housings are quite rigid and large.
We'd still recommend them for most users though, especially now that the Momentum True Wireless 2 are a little older and are often discounted.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review
The fact that the Bowers & Wilkins PI7, with their sky-high price-tag, a control app that’s more style than substance, an incomplete suite of touch controls, and humdrum active noise-cancelling and battery life, must sound incredible to come this close to a five-star review.
A thoroughly engaging and convincing sound makes the PI7 a pleasure to listen with, and aptX Adaptive support means you get smooth synchronization between audio and video, as well as support for hi-res audio files.
They’re a genuinely unique pair of wireless earbuds too, with a charging case that doubles as an audio retransmitter. It’s a remarkable facility, bringing wireless connectivity to all kinds of previously unavailable sources: an in-flight entertainment system, for instance, or some games consoles.
As you might expect from a pair of buds that cost $399 / £349 / AU$599, we found the build quality of the PI7 to be outstanding, and they look and feel like a premium product.
However, they do fall down when it comes to their active noise cancellation feature, which doesn't come near models like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or the Sony WF-1000XM4.
Their 20-hour battery life also leaves a lot to be desired (even the Apple AirPods do better than that), and the inability to adjust the volume of your music using the on-ear controls is quite the oversight.
Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins PI7 review
It’s Bose’s second attempt at a set of true wireless headphones, and the QuietComfort Earbuds are leaps and bounds better than the older SoundSport Free.
Not only is the design a lot better, but the noise cancellation is also exemplary, in fact, these are the best noise-cancelling earbuds you can buy right now.
Bose has taken a leaf out of its Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 playbook and added 10 levels of ANC to the QC ‘Buds as well. And at maximum, you’re practically cut off from the rest of the world, encased in a cocoon of sound that’s made entirely up of your favourite tunes.
The sound quality is also really very good – albeit a touch less bassy as compared to Sony – with superb clarity.
We found them incredibly comfortable and well balanced too, despite their bulky form factor. You get a selection of eartips with the QuietComfort Earbuds, each equipped with a flexible fin that holds the buds in place
Unfortunately, the battery life of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds isn't as impressive as their other features. You get a respectable six hours of playback from the buds themselves, but only two further charges from the charging case for an 18-hour total battery life. That's far less than most of the true wireless earbuds in this guide, so it's worth bearing that in mind if you routinely forget to top up your buds.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review
If you like Sony earbuds but can't afford the WF-1000XM4, the Sony WF-C500 are a fantastic alternative.
Costing just $79 / £89 / AU$149.95, these earbuds are more affordable than many of the models in this guide, but refreshingly, Sony hasn't made too many concessions to achieve this lower price.
A rapid, detailed and thoroughly engaging sound belies their low price, even if the soundstage is a little narrow for our tastes. The bass is a little recessed too, so if audio performance is your top priority it might be worth spending a bit more.
A light and comfortable design makes the WF-C500 a pleasure to wear. And, in spite of their small size, the touch-sensitive housings are easy to use, allowing you to adjust your music playback, take calls, and summon your device's voice assistant.
If you prefer, control is also available via Sony’s exemplary ‘Headphones Connect’ app. This is where you can adjust EQ settings, set your Bluetooth priorities, let the app have a good look at the shape of your ears (the WF-C500 are compatible with Sony’s ‘360 Reality Audio’ spatial audio algorithm) and toggle the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine on or off.
At 20 hours, the all-in battery life is a little disappointing. However, 10 hours from the buds alone isn’t all that bad and will suit anyone who enjoys long listening sessions.
Read the full review: Sony WF-C500 review
Apple's noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro, deliver a much better fit and an improved design compared to the original AirPods.
However, at $249 / £249 / AU$399, they’re pricey too, and as such can’t be called the very best true wireless earbuds in terms of value for money – but they may be the best true wireless earbuds for Apple fans, and they're among the easiest buds to use that we've ever tested.
These snug-fitting earbuds offer a great sound, and the additional microphones provide strong noise-cancelling (particularly when commuting), as well as a useful Transparency mode, which really does let the outside world in.
The Apple AirPods Pro have recently become even better, too. A slew of new upgrades have come to the earbuds since the iOS 15 update in September 2021.
These upgrades include Conversation Boost, which is designed to help you hear face-to-face conversations more clearly when you’re using them, as well as the ability to announce notifications with Siri, and integration with Apple's Find My app, among many others.
Rumors continue to swirl regarding a new AirPods model known as AirPods Pro 2 but while we still wait, these are a good option.
Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro review
The Beats Studio Buds are rock-solid true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and support for Apple’s Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos format. They sound great, with a lively sound quality that elevates the highs and lows of your music, and feel supremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
They're not without some drawbacks, though. Chief among them is their lackluster call quality and lack of the H1 Wireless Chip that makes other Beats earbuds work so well within the Apple ecosystem.
Saying that, by using a proprietary headphone chip, Beats has made the Studio Buds suitable for Android users as well as iPhone owners - so don't feel as though you can't buy these buds if you're not an Apple lover.
We loved the design of Studio Buds - they're small and sleek, and they come in a bright red color as well as the usual black and white options, which really helps them to stand out from the crowd.
Battery life with either ANC or Transparency mode turned on is pretty disappointing at only five hours (15 hours with the case), and their noise cancellation isn’t exactly class-leading, either.
Saying that, they're cheaper than the AirPods Pro and their predecessors, the Powerbeats Pro, making them a more budget-friendly option if you want to buy a pair of Beats earbuds.
Read the full review: Beats Studio Buds review
The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) represent a big step up from their predecessors in terms of audio performance, connectivity, and design.
They're a little pricier than the AirPods 2 (which have been given a permanent price cut), but cheaper than the AirPods Pro. The main trade off here is that the AirPods 3 don't come with active noise cancellation, and their semi-open design means you'll hear quite a lot of your surroundings while wearing them.
Still, features like Spatial Audio support and Adaptive EQ set these buds apart from the competition. We found the Spatial Audio to be particularly impressive, giving our music, films, and TV shows a more immersive feel - and if you don't like your music to be spatialized, you can turn this feature off.
While the AirPods 3 do look like the original AirPods, a more subtle, contoured design with shorter earstems makes the new buds look more sophisticated than their predecessors.
The new design also brings force capacitive sensors to the true wireless earbuds, allowing you to control your music by squeezing the stems.
The AirPods 3 are unsurprisingly optimized for use within the wider Apple ecosystem, so Android users miss out on a lot of the extra features that set them apart from other true wireless earbuds on the market.
Read the full review: Apple AirPods (3rd generation) review
The Sony LinkBuds are the strangest true wireless earbuds we’ve seen. They’re the world’s first open-ring in-ear headphones, a design that leaves your ear canals totally free to hear your environment while you enjoy music, listen to podcasts, or take phone calls. A great option for listening on-the-move to stay aware of your surroundings or in a shared office space.
They’re also Sony’s smallest earbuds to date, much daintier than the Sony WF-1000XM4. They boast ingenious controls that mean you don’t have to fumble with the miniature housings to adjust music playback. Instead, you can tap your face to skip tracks, change the volume, and take calls.
The audio quality is exceptional, with a remarkably wide soundstage that gives every instrument in your favorite songs the room they need to shine. Detail, clarity, and rhythmic accuracy are also excellent.
The open fit does come with some drawbacks, though; the bass response isn’t particularly powerful, and being able to hear your environment means the detail you get from the LinkBuds can be obscured by whatever’s going on in the background.
Read the full review: Sony LinkBuds Review
The Jabra Elite 85t deliver impressive performance thanks to some great audio quality, effective noise cancellation and decent battery life.
Audio has been vastly improved compared to the Elite 75t, thanks to a new pair of 12mm in-built speakers, which are twice the size of those on the 75t buds and offer a wider and more well-balanced soundstage. This, alongside even deeper bass, adds more depth to your favorite tunes.
Unfortunately, the larger drivers does mean these buds are much more bulky than their predecessors and don't fit as snugly as we'd like.
Battery life comes in seven hours from the buds themselves, which can be extended to 31 hours with the charging case. Bear in mind, though, that playback time does drop to a 25-hour combined battery life if you have the active noise cancellation feature switched on.
Jabra often updates its wireless earbuds, so they have longer lifespans than many of their rivals – in fact, a recent update for the Jabra Elite 85t allows you to turn off ANC when you want to tune into your surroundings.
They're also discounted fairly often, especially now that they've been usurped by the Jabra Elite 7 Pro (which we're yet to review). We'd still heartily recommend the Jabra Elite 85t, though – especially if you're on a budget.
Read the full review: Jabra Elite 85t review
The PowerBeats Pro true wireless Beats headphones are something special – they’re supremely comfortable, sound decent and seem to never, ever fall out.
They might not be the best true wireless earbuds in Apple's audio arsenal now that the AirPods Pro are here, but they are Apple’s most premium play into the world of running headphones, and they're the buds we'd recommend to most workout enthusiasts.
That's thanks to features like the pressure-reducing micro-laser barometric venting hole, their long battery life and good sound quality. If we had to choose between wearing these and the original AirPods around the house, office, or gym, these are what we’d wear.
They come in a huge range of colors, too, including pink, red, blue, yellow, black, ivory, moss, and navy.
The Powerbeats Pro launched at $249 / £219 / AU$349, but now that they're a little older, they're often discounted, so are worth checking out if you're looking for a good deal.
A new model may be on the cards, too – the Powerbeats Pro 2 are the rumored follow-up to these Beats true wireless earbuds, although it's been a bit of a long wait so far.
Read the full review: Beats PowerBeats Pro review
In terms of features, the Surface Earbuds cover off most – but not all – of what we’ve come to expect from a premium pair of true wireless in-ears: they have app-based adjustable EQs, aptX Bluetooth connectivity, and responsive touch controls.
Plus, they play impeccably nicely with virtually the entirety of Microsoft’s hardware and software ranges. They don’t have active noise-cancellation, though, and the way they fit means they let ambient sound leak in.
Sound is served up by relatively large full-range drivers. Of course, ‘relatively large’ could, in another life, be the Surface Earbuds’ official model name: a 25mm diameter is big by in-ear standards, 7.2g is heavy by in-ear standards and their charging case isn't exactly slim, either.
Despite these big numbers, though, the Surface Earbuds prove comfortable and secure for hours on end. The ‘twist-to-fit’ arrangement keeps them nicely steady, even during mild exercise.
Battery life is an alright 24 hours all-in (eight hours in the Earbuds themselves, plus two more full charges from the case). That's better than some of the Microsoft's competition in this space, but many true wireless earbuds in this guide last far longer.
Overall, the Surface Earbuds are a very welcome addition to the ever-increasing list of worthwhile true wireless in-ears, and while their distinctive looks won’t be for everyone, they deliver in two areas that count: functionality and sound quality.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Earbuds review