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The best true wireless earbuds: these are the top AirPods-alternatives today

best true wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Steve May)

The best true wireless earbuds of 2021 boast some of the most advanced audio technology around today. This means they’re just as good as almost any pair of wired earbuds on the market. Some of the earbuds in this list could possibly even rival our selection of the best over-ear headphones – and given these are all sans-wires, that’s really saying something.

True wireless earbuds news

status between pro

(Image credit: Status)

The latest earbuds that we've tried out are the Status Between Pro, which impressed with their comfortable fit, great audio, and easy controls, earning them a place on this list.

In other true wireless earbuds news, we're hearing the first reports of the Sony WF-1000XM4, the follow up to the best wireless earbuds of 2021. Meanwhile, Apple AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 rumors continue to circulate.

True wireless earbuds used to be a risky bet until fairly recently, due to limitations with Bluetooth and wireless music streaming. However, there’s never been a better time to cut the cord. In the guide below we’ve selected the best pairs of true wireless buds to help you choose the right pair for your budget and your needs.

In case you need a refresher, here's what true wireless earbuds are all about. Most importantly, they have no cable at all to connect to your phone or any other device. However, what sets them apart from wireless earbuds is there’s no cable to connect each bud to the other either. What this does is makes true wireless earbuds extremely convenient, as well as flexible for a whole range of environments and uses. But there's one big downside: you need to be extra careful not to lose one. 

The best true wireless earbuds of 2021 in the list below are all high-end – and most have a price tag to match, though there's a growing market of budget wireless earbuds that prove you don't have to break the bank in the quest for excellent audio. 

Each pair in this guide comes with a whole bunch of impressive features built-in, including active noise cancellation, hands-free voice control, and support for Hi-Res Audio codecs. Of course, if you're just after stellar sound quality, we recommend you check out models like the Grado GT220 and the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, which are there to cater to your inner audiophile.

One of the first mainstream pairs of true wireless earbuds that went truly mainstream were the Apple AirPods, which were launched back in 2016. However, things have moved on since then, and Apple's earbuds were given their own update in 2019. These days there are far better options out there, including the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro. Before you buy a pair of old-school 'Pods, check out our selection of the best true wireless earbuds and AirPods-alternatives you can buy in 2021. 

[Update: Skullcandy has announced its latest budget wireless earbuds, and they could be a super cheap alternative to the Apple AirPods.

Costing just $29.99 / £29.99 (about AU$40), the Skullcandy Dime are a basic pair of true wireless earbuds that could be ideal if you're on a strict budget, want a backup pair of buds to sling in your bag, or want to try the form factor for the first time.] 

Our top true wireless earbuds

best true wireless earbuds Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds

Noise-cancelling true wireless headphones that made our dreams come true

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 7g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm
Driver type: Dome Type
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 6 hours
Battery life (charging case): 18 hours
Wireless range: 30ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Efficient noise-cancellation+Inconspicuous looks+Great fun to listen too
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for sports

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2021, hands down.

Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

While models like the AirPods Pro have tried to replicate this, Sony is still top of the true wireless table. 

That's because the Sony WF-1000XM3 manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's exceedingly good for a pair of earbuds – they won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear headphones, but its a worthy trade off for that sleeker form. 

Sony has really knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3, with fist-pumping musicality and a sleek design.

Battery life is above average, and that compact charging case is pretty slick too. Constantly improving, a recent update has brought volume control to the buds themselves, as well as support for Amazon Alexa.

These earbuds might be getting even better in the near future, too; on March 5, the earbuds briefly appeared on the Qualcomm website, suggesting that the Sony WF-1000XM3 could be about to get aptX HD support – and therefore, support for Hi-Res Audio

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM3 review

[Update: We've been hearing rumors that the Sony WF-1000XM4 will launch imminently – and they could swipe the top spot of the best true wireless earbuds from their predecessors.]

best true wireless earbuds sennheiser momentum true wireless 2

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Great-sounding and noise-cancelling

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 6g
Frequency response: 5 - 21,000Hz
Drivers: 7mm
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 7 hours
Battery life (charging case): 28 hours
Wireless range: 30ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Incredible sound+Sleek design+Support for Hi-Res Audio
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than rivals

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-1000XM3, particularly if you prefer a more flashy design when it comes to the best true wireless earbuds for you.

We did find that those with smaller ears sometimes find them a little uncomfortable, however, and their high price just stops them from taking the top spot of this round up. 

Otherwise? Sennheiser has pretty much knocked it out of the park with these earbuds, offering great noise cancellation alongside smart looks and stunning sound. 

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

best true wireless earbuds cambridge audio melomania 1

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

3. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Mind-blowing sound without the wires

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 9.2g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.8mm
Driver type: Dome Type
Sensitivity: 9.8dB
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 9 hours
Battery life (charging case): 36 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding audio quality+Good value for money+Comfortable design
Reasons to avoid
-Control buttons can be annoying to use

Cambridge Audio is known for its high-end audio equipment, but until last year, hadn’t ventured into the world of true wireless earbuds. Enter the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s: with an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, they combine the brand’s award-winning engineering with the convenience of true wireless listening. 

For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational. In fact, it rivals that of some of the best over-ear headphones.

They may not have the noise cancellation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds, but they are $100 / £100 cheaper – and they have a superior battery life.

They certainly outperform the Apple AirPods (2019), in all respects apart from the lack of wireless charging case. This is a small price to pay for that exceptional audio quality, though, and we think they represent much better value for money, making them the best true wireless earbuds for audiophiles.

Read more: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 review

[Update: Check out our Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch review, where we get up close and personal with the latest buds from the audio brand. While they deliver on sound quality and battery life, their flakey touch controls and temperamental connectivity means they haven't landed a spot on this list.

The brand has also recently announced the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+. They look to enhance the feature set of its predecessors, by adding customizable EQ settings, app control to check battery level (and to locate your earbuds should you lose them), and an “innovative” High Performance Mode. Some quality-of-life upgrades are also present, including USB-C fast charging and a variety of memory foam ear tips.]

best true wireless earbuds lypertek tevi

(Image credit: Lypertek)

4. Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi)

Incredible, affordable buds

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm
Driver type: Graphene
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 10 hours
Battery life (charging case): 70 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Incredible value+Neutral audiophile-like sound+Great battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Design is a bit plain

Formerly known as the Lypertek Tevi, the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 are among the best true wireless earbuds we’ve tried, especially given their low price tag ($130 / £99 / AU$185).

With USB-C charging, a well-balanced sound, lengthy battery life, and waterproofing, they tick every box you could ask for, from what are basically a pair of budget buds. 

The Lypertek PurePlay Z3, surprisingly, might just blow you away, punching well above their weight and rivaling buds from some of the biggest audio brands on the planet. 

Consider us pleasantly surprised.

Read more: Lypertek Tevi true wireless earbuds review

[Update: If you're looking for something a little cheaper, check out our Lypertek SoundFree S20 review. These excellent budget-friendly buds deliver great sound, a long battery life, and a comfy fit without breaking the bank.]

best true wireless earbuds grado gt220

(Image credit: Grado)

5. Grado GT220

Few true wireless earbuds sound this good

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 8mm
Driver type: Polyethylene terephthalate full-range
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: 32 ohms
Battery life (on-board): 6 hours
Battery life (charging case): 36 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Hugely impressive sound in every respect+Responsive touch- and voice-control+Light and fairly comfortable
Reasons to avoid
-No active noise-cancelling

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.

Read more: Grado GT220 review

best true wireless earbuds Bose QuietComfort earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

6. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Noise cancellation in the true wireless market just got serious

Specifications
Acoustic Design: Closed
Weight: 0.3 oz each
Frequency Response: N/A
Drivers: N/A
Driver Type: N/A
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery on-board: 2 hours
Battery case: 3 hours
Wireless range: 30ft
NFC: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class ANC+Rich, clear sound+Secure, comfortable fit+Wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks on-board volume control-Bulky charging case-Case could offer more charge

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. Sound quality is also really very good – albeit a touch less bassy as compared to Sony – with superb clarity. They’re incredibly comfortable and well balanced too, despite their bulky form factor.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review

best true wireless earbuds klipsch t5

(Image credit: Klipsch)

7. Klipsch T5 True Wireless

Audiophiles will love the Klipsch T5’s sound and build quality

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: N/A
Driver type: N/A
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 8 hours
Battery life (charging case): 24 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Incredible build quality+Warm, detailed sound+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Deep fit may be uncomfortable

The Klipsch T5 hold their own against the very best true wireless earbuds – in fact, we'd argue that they're among the best models on the market right now. That's because they offer stellar sound, high build quality, long-lasting battery life, and one of the coolest cases we've ever seen.

Featuring the signature Klipsch sound, these buds sound warm, clear, and never harsh. Acoustic music is lush and detailed, with that clarity extending to the highs as well, allowing the headphones to sing in the higher registers without ever being sibilant. 

Battery life is rated at eight hours per charge with the case providing an additional 24 hours – not bad at all.

Read more: Klipsch T5 True Wireless review 

[Update: The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless offer the same excellent build quality as their predecessors, alongside a great bass response that’s ideal for electronic and pop music. However, sibilance in the trebles and the lack of noise cancellation means they can’t beat the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3, and haven't quite made it onto this list.]

cheap AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

8. Apple AirPods Pro

The perfect earbuds... for Apple fans

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.4g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: N/A
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): Up to 5 hours
Battery life (charging case): 24 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Good noise cancellation+Better fit than AirPods (2019)
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than better rivals-USB-C charging cable in box

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 pretty 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.

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.

Apparently, there's a new AirPods model set to join the original buds and the newer Pros. The AirPods Pro Lite are rumored to be a new, cheaper variant of the company's popular true wireless earbuds, and they could be released this year.

Read more: Apple AirPods Pro review

status between pro

(Image credit: Status)

9. Status Between Pro

Supreme comfort and a warm, inviting sound

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 10mm
Driver type: Dynamic and Balanced Armature
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 12 hours
Battery life (charging case): 36 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent comfort and design+Strong battery life+Warm and detailed sound
Reasons to avoid
-Almost too quick to connect-No noise cancelling

The oblong design may throw you at first, but the Status Between Pro prove to be among the most comfortable true wireless earbuds we’ve ever used. And while the lack of noise cancellation is a shame, the overall audio quality is wonderful to listen to.

An unusual shape also has other unexpected benefits – the larger size allows for a more capacious battery, squeezing 12 hours into the the ear buds themselves and a further 36 hours in the charging case for a total of 48 hours playback. It also allows for an easy-to-squeeze physical playback control button on the top of each bud.

A lack of active noise cancellation is a shame, and the charging case can be a bit fiddly to slot the earbuds back into, but given the reasonable pricing, they’re small foibles in what are otherwise among the best true wireless earbuds you can buy.

Read more: Status Between Pro review

jabra elite 85t

(Image credit: Jabra)

10. Jabra Elite 85t

A worthy successor to the Elite 65t

Specifications
Acoustic design: Semi-open
Weight: 7g
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: 12mm
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 7 hours
Battery life (charging case): 31 hours
Wireless range: 33ft
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable active noise cancellation+Elegant design
Reasons to avoid
-Much bulkier than the 75t-Fit isn’t perfect

While they don’t quite cut it like their predecessors the Jabra Elite Active 75t buds do owing to a slightly bulkier design, the Elite 85t deliver impressive performance thanks to some great audio quality, effective noise cancellation and decent battery life. 

Audio has been vastly improved 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. 

Read the full review: Jabra Elite 85t review

[Update: The Jabra Elite 75t now have active noise cancellation thanks to a firmware update – which could make them a potential rival for the AirPods Pro, and a cheaper noise-cancelling alternative to the Elite 85t.]

beats powerbeats pro

(Image credit: Beats)

11. Beats PowerBeats Pro

Impressive-fitting workout ‘buds from Beats

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: N/A
Driver type: N/A
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 9 hours
Battery life (charging case): 16 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Easy pairing with iOS+Immaculate fit
Reasons to avoid
-Case is fairly bulky-Limited noise isolation

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.   

A new model may be on the cards, too – the Powerbeats Pro 2 are the rumored follow-up to these Beats true wireless earbuds.

Read more: Beats PowerBeats Pro review

microsoft surface earbuds

(Image credit: Microsoft)

12. Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Anything Apple can do, Microsoft can do slightly differently

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 7.2g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 13.6mm
Driver type: N/A
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 8 hours
Battery life (charging case): 16 hours
Wireless range: 10m / 33ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Eloquent, detailed sound+Comfortable, secure fit
Reasons to avoid
-Design is... distinctive-Battery life isn't class-leading

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 in situ, for hours on end. The ‘twist-to-fit’ arrangement keeps them nicely steady, even during mild exercise.

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 the only two areas that count: functionality and sound quality.

Read more: Microsoft Surface Earbuds review

earbuds

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

13. Sennheiser CX 400BT True Wireless

‘Affordable’ Sennheisers have Apple AirPods firmly in their sights

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.6g
Frequency response: 5-21,000Hz
Drivers: 7mm
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 8 hours
Battery life (charging case): 16 hours
Wireless range: 10m / 33ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Empty List
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Having established its credentials as a high-end true wireless earbud front-runner with two generations of its Momentum True Wireless, Sennheiser’s now turned its attention to the less rarefied area where Apple, Microsoft, Sony and all the rest duke it out. At £169 / $199 / AU$299, the CX400BT are pitched right into the thick of the action.

Happily, the CX400BT are specified to compete. They have aptX Bluetooth connectivity, with SBC and AAC codecs catered for too; they have app-based EQ adjustment; they have responsive touch-controls (which can be customised in the app); and they can be operated using Google Assistant or Siri.

Read more: Sennheiser CX 400BT review

true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Jaybird)

14. Jaybird Vista

Near-perfect fitness earbuds

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 6g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm
Driver type: N/A
Sensitivity: 103dB
Impedance: 23 Ohm
Battery life (on-board): 6 hours
Battery life (charging case): 10 hours
Wireless range: N/A
NFC: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Instant connection+Premium sound+IPX7 water resistance
Reasons to avoid
-Limited battery life

The Jaybird Vista earbuds are some of the best true wireless headphones out there – and it's not hard to see why. With a sleek, compact design, and features squarely aimed at real and budding athletes – with the ability to appeal to the less committed fitness nuts among us too.

Coming off the back of the Jaybird Run True – and waterproof Run XTs – the Jaybird Vista earbuds are highly compact fitness earbuds with the water and sweat resistance to deal with all levels of indoor and outdoor workouts. As true wireless earbuds, too, you won't find any cables getting in your way.

bang & olufsen Beoplay E8 Wireless Earphones

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

15. B&O Beoplay E8 2.0 Wireless Earphones

Pricey wireless earbuds that sound absolutely wonderful

Specifications
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 13g (combined)
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.7mm
Driver type: Electro-dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life (on-board): 4 hours
Battery life (charging case): 8 hours
Wireless range: 100ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Good audio quality +Exceptional design +Easy to setup 
Reasons to avoid
-Can feel a bit snug 

Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are some of the best-looking and most expensive true wireless earphones you can buy at $350 / £300 (around AU$570).

Audio quality is undeniably excellent, and you can tweak the sound to your liking using the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS.

Even without tinkering around with ToneTouch, the E8 2.0s sounds crisp and clear, with punchy bass frequencies. There's no noise cancellation, though, which may expect from true wireless earbuds at this price.

If one of the main reasons you need a new pair of headphones is to work out or run, then you might want to consider the sport-friendly alternatives to the E8 2.0s, which are called the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport. They're a pair of stylish buds that deliver bright sound and are designed to get sweaty with.

Read more: B&O Beoplay E8 2.0 Wireless Earphones review

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

16. Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW

Big on bass, big on battery life

Specifications
Acoustic design: closed
Weight: 8g
Frequency response: 5Hz - 40kHz
Drivers: 10mm
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: 110 dB
Impedance: 16 ohms
Battery life: 45 hours (with case)
wireless range: N/A
NFC: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Sound great+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Weighty-Fiddly case

With a promising battery life and well-managed bass enhancement over Audio-Technica’s usual neutral sound, the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW true wireless earbuds have a lot going for them. 

They sport one of the most complete and well-rounded sound profiles we've seen from true wireless earbuds, although they are let down a little by their fit.

Mileage will vary of course depending on your preferred bud style and the size of your ears, but all will find the fiddly case fit will annoy over time. Still, the quality audio here may be a worthy trade-off.

Read more: Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW review

sony wf-sp800n

(Image credit: Sony)

17. Sony WF-SP800N

Spatial audio and noise-cancelling smarts

Specifications
Acoustic design: closed
Weight: 9.3g
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: N/A
Driver type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: N/A
Impedance: N/A
Battery life: 18 hours (with case)
wireless range: N/A
NFC: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Basic noise cancellation+Water-resistant and sweatproof+Support for 360 Reality Audio
Reasons to avoid
-Tight in the ear

Sony's latest true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-SP800N, are a triple-threat. They’re IP55-rated to be sweatproof and dustproof, but they’re also pretty good for commuters because they have active noise cancellation built in – which is rare for a workout pair of earbuds – and work well for demanding music lovers thanks to their support for Sony’s new spatial audio format, 360 Reality Audio.

They can be a little uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, however, and the bass is bit muddy for our liking – still, these true wireless earbuds are well worth a look.

Read more: Sony WF-SP800N review

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

18. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung’s best yet... but not the peak of perfection

Specifications
Acoustic Design: Closed
Weight: 6.3g
Frequency Response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Drivers: Dynamic 2-way drivers
Driver Type: Dynamic 2-way drivers
Sensitivity: 105 dB
Impedance: 36 Ohms
Battery Life: 18 hours (with case)
Wireless Range: 35ft
NFC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+IPX7 waterproof+Basic noise cancellation+Simple touch controls
Reasons to avoid
-Flat, cramped sound-No Google Assistant / Siri support-Bulge out of the ear

The latest true wireless buds from Samsung are a big step up from the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. These new Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro offer better sound and microphone quality with multipoint pairing and spatial audio support. 

It's worth nothing that they don’t offer the same level of noise cancellation as over-ear headphones or the sound quality of some of the other high-end earbuds on this list, but for their price they offer just enough of both to be competitive and deserving of a place on our best wireless earbuds list.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review

RHA truecontrol anc

(Image credit: RHA)

19. RHA TrueControl ANC

A near personalized listening experience

Specifications
Acoustic Design: Closed
Weight: 8g
Frequency Response: 10 - 20,000 Hz
Drivers: 6mm
Driver Type: Dynamic
Sensitivity: 100 dB
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Battery Life: 20 hours (with case)
Wireless Range: 33ft
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Almost a personalized fit+Good sound quality+Effective touch controls
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre battery life-Can take a while to find the perfect fit-ANC isn't perfect

The RHA TrueControl ANC offer so many ear tips you'll feel like you're enjoying a personalized fitting session. It's worth it too, vastly enhancing the sound quality and the ANC. Just watch out for the battery life, which isn't particularly long, coming in at 20 hours in total.

They're also pretty pricey, but if you struggle to find earbuds that fit you correctly, they could be a sound investment. 

Read more: RHA TrueControl ANC review

All about the AirPods

What about the Apple AirPods?

apple airpods

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirPods (2019)

The ones to beat

Specifications
Acoustic design: Open-back
Weight: 4g (38g with case)
Driver type: Dynamic **Battery life (on-board):** 5 hours
Battery life (charging case): 20 hours
Wireless range: 10m
NFC: No
Reasons to buy
+Faster pairing+Wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
-Wireless charging case costs extra-Audio hasn't improved

In March 2019, Apple upgraded its popular true wireless earbuds, the Apple AirPods.

The second generation Apple AirPods, the AirPods (2019), aren't a huge improvement on their predecessors, but they still sport some cool features, that may make them worth buying if you're an iPhone user in particular. 

They still feature the iconic design of the original AirPods (a good or bad thing depending on your point of view), and sound quality hasn't changed at all – it's lively, but not on par with the best true wireless earbuds in this guide. The bulk of the upgrade comes from the new H1 headphone chip, which improves connectivity and battery life, and allows for a new ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation feature.

The AirPods (2019) also come with an optional wireless charging case means you can use a Qi-compatible charging mat to power the case, rather than sticking a cable into the Lightning charging port in the bottom of the case. 

Like their predecessors, they are super easy to pair, but they are very much optimized for using with iPhones – and a new auto-switching feature makes it easier to swap between iOS devices. However, the best true wireless earbuds give you more flexibility when it comes to your device of choice, and can offer superior sound quality – as well as sleeker designs. 

There’s also no getting away from the fact that these are an expensive pair of headphones, and for that kind of money we think that you can find better products elsewhere – especially if you're looking to pair with anything other than an iPhone. 

Read more Apple AirPods (2019) review

True wireless explained

True wireless vs wireless: what's the difference?

Wireless headphones are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband. To learn more, head to our round up of the best wireless headphones.

Wireless earbuds have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too. Check out the best wireless earbuds for more.

True wireless earbuds - the focus of this guide – have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, true wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. 

Best true wireless earbuds at a glance

  1. Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds
  2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
  3. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
  4. Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi)
  5. Grado GT220
  6. SoundMAGIC TWS50
  7. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  8. Apple AirPods Pro
  9. Status Between Pro
  10. Jabra Elite 85t
  11. Beats Powerbeats Pro
  12. Microsoft Surface Earbuds
  13. Sennheiser CX 400BT
  14. Jaybird Vista
  15. B&O Beoplay E8 2.0 Wireless Earphones
  16. Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW
  17. Sony WF-SP800N
  18. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
  19. RHA TrueControl ANC

True wireless earbud deals