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The best wireless earbuds to buy right now

The true wireless earbuds market has never been more crowded than it is in 2021. With so many to choose from, finding the best Bluetooth earbuds can seem daunting. But the vast selection is actually a good thing: not only are there excellent picks for everyday buds to carry in your pocket, but you’ve also got a slew of options that prioritize things like noise cancellation, fitness, lengthy battery life, and comfort.

Even if you don’t consider yourself any kind of audiophile, it’s important to find a set of earbuds that sound good to you. This means different things depending on the person: do you want head-rattling bass or something more balanced with an immersive soundstage? You’ll want to find a pair with a good, reliable Bluetooth connection — all of the below picks check off that box — and enough battery life to last you through a normal day of intermittent listening.

Remember that getting the most out of earbuds requires a good seal in your ear. Always try the various ear tip sizes that come with whichever buds you purchase — and don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes in each ear. Ears are funny like that. Many of these earbuds have apps you can install on your phone to further personalize their sound and controls the way you want.

If you’re looking for the overall best noise-canceling earbuds, you’ll be thrilled with Sony’s WF-1000XM4. They have best-in-class noise cancellation, terrific sound quality, and set a new bar for battery life in the category.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony’s WF-1000XM4 have the best noise cancellation of any true wireless earbuds, and the sound quality is second to none. With a new design that’s smaller and rated IPX4, the earbuds also can now be charged wirelessly.

But if you’ve got other priorities, there are a range of great options from Apple, Beats, Jabra, Sennheiser, and Ultimate Ears that won’t disappoint. This guide covers higher-end wireless earbuds. If you’re on the hunt for more affordable options, check out the best cheap wireless earbuds to buy.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

1. Sony WF-1000XM4

Best noise-canceling earbuds

Two years after releasing its first set of true wireless earbuds, Sony has returned with the redesigned WF-1000XM4. Now smaller and with an IPX4 water resistance rating, the new buds have the most impressive noise cancellation among all competitors — and they still sound phenomenal. Sony also includes memory foam ear tips that offer excellent noise isolation even before the noise cancellation kicks in.

Battery life is another area where the 1000XM4s set a new bar: they can last for up to eight hours of continuous playback with noise canceling turned on, whereas most other NC earbuds top out at around five hours. The case supports wireless charging, and Sony has included its “speak to chat” feature that automatically turns down your audio and enables ambient sound mode when the earbuds detect that you’re talking out loud. Microphone performance remains the weakest aspect of the 1000XM4s, but it’s totally passable if you’re making calls at home.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

2. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Runner-up noise-canceling earbuds

The QuietComfort Earbuds offer very powerful active noise cancellation, but what’s equally nice about them is how customizable the ANC is. You can choose between 11 different levels of noise cancellation (based on how much of the outside world you want mixed in) and set three favorites to cycle between when you double-tap the left earbud.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

With dynamic, rich sound and the best noise cancellation available in true wireless earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are a terrific pick if you want to listen to your music in peace.

Bose’s premium earbuds put out fantastic audio with punchy bass. Their transparency / ambient mode is second only to Apple in how natural it sounds. And even the voice mics work well, so you really get the whole package — as you should for this kind of money.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

3. Amazon Echo Buds 2

Best noise-canceling earbuds under $150

Even if you never take advantage of their hands-free Alexa capabilities, the second-generation Amazon Echo Buds still offer a ton of other positives for an aggressively low price. The noise cancellation is better than on the original set — even if it can’t measure up to our top picks — and their revamped design makes for a more comfortable fit in your ears.

Amazon Echo Buds (second-gen)

Amazon’s second-gen Echo Buds improve upon the originals with a more comfortable design, improved ANC, and a more natural ambient sound mode. They support hands-free Alexa commands as well.

Sound quality is perfectly good for the price you’re paying, and these earbuds have a vented design like the AirPods Pro to prevent occlusion, which is that plugged-up feeling some people hate. Amazon’s ambient sound mode is also surprisingly natural and works very well.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

4. Apple AirPods Pro

Best wireless earbuds for the iPhone

There’s no beating the interplay between AirPods and Apple’s other devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The AirPods Pro don’t offer the best sound quality of our top picks, but it’s perfectly satisfactory to many people. And the active noise cancellation is right up there with Bose.

But it really all comes together if you’re in Apple’s ecosystem and also own a Mac or iPad. The AirPods Pro can automatically hop between devices based on which one you’re using, and on iPhone or iPad, spatial audio delivers immersive surround sound when watching streaming video apps. They’re fantastic for making calls with, and Apple continues to pull ahead of competitors when it comes to ease of use.

Here’s a tip: if none of the included ear tips get you a perfect seal, I recommend a set of memory foam tips like those from Comply or Dekoni.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s flagship earbuds improve on the regular AirPods with better sound quality, excellent active noise cancellation, and immersive spatial audio.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

5. Apple AirPods

The best wireless earbuds for making voice calls

Thanks to their lengthy stems and reliable microphones, Apple’s open-style AirPods remain the best option if you’re someone who frequently makes calls while wearing your earbuds. They’re a dependable performer whether you’re talking to friends on the phone or co-workers on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The AirPods provide a seamless, near-instant pairing process when used with Apple devices and also support features like audio sharing, spatial audio, and private listening if you’ve got an Apple TV.

Apple AirPods (wired charging case)

Apple’s AirPods have an open-style design that keeps you aware of your surroundings while your tunes are playing. And they provide the best experience of any wireless earbuds when making calls.

By the nature of their design, the bass leaves a little to be desired and the AirPods do let in a lot out of outside noise — but some people prefer having that awareness, even if it means cranking the volume up at times.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

6. Jabra Elite 75t

Best wireless earbuds for multitasking

Jabra is pretty much the only company making true wireless earbuds that support “multipoint” for two simultaneous Bluetooth connections. So you can pair them up with a phone and your laptop or tablet at the same time. Jabra’s mobile app offers a ton of customization over the controls, EQ, and even includes bonuses like white noise or nature sounds if you’ve got situations where they’d be handy.

Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra’s Elite 75t earbuds offer bass-heavy sound, reliable performance, and can connect to two devices — like a phone and laptop — at the same time.

The newer Elite 85t earbuds add more effective noise cancellation to the mix, but the 75ts are on sale so frequently that they’re still the go-to pick if multitasking is important to you. They pack a wallop when it comes to bass — but not to the point where it overwhelms the rest of the mix.

Jabra backs them with a two-year warranty in the event you experience any hardware issues. (I’ve had a 75t bud stop taking a charge out of nowhere, so it can happen.)

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

7. Beats Powerbeats Pro

Best wireless earbuds for working out

Nothing has managed to unseat the Powerbeats Pro as the best fitness earbuds since their release in 2019. Their ear hook design keeps them planted on your ears during intense exercise, they can endure your sweatiest workouts, and the nine hours of continuous battery life should get you through just about any marathon. And the sound quality is killer, with plenty of bass to keep you motivated and moving.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

The Powerbeats Pro are a perfect workout companion with their lengthy battery life, powerful bass, and sweat resistance.

And since Beats is owned by Apple, the Powerbeats Pro can also take advantage of features like audio sharing, auto device switching (like the AirPods Pro), and a dead-simple pairing process.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

8. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Best wireless earbuds for battery life

They can last 11 hours on a single charge. That’s what I consider marathon battery life for true wireless earbuds, and few other companies have managed to keep up with the longevity of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus. They lack active noise cancellation, so that helps them keep playing for longer, but even then, 11 hours is quite a feat. Like the Jabras, these are often on sale and easy to grab at a discount. They make for a good AirPods alternative if you’ve got an Android phone — particularly a Samsung one.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus offer marathon 11-hour battery life, a lightweight comfortable fit, and satisfactory audio quality.

Photo by Jon Porter / The Verge

9. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best wireless earbuds for sound quality

Sennheiser’s second swing at true wireless earbuds improve on the original Momentums with a more comfortable fit and the addition of active noise cancellation. But everything about these earbuds is second fiddle to their sound quality: the Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds put out dynamic, expressive, and wonderfully detailed audio. They’re the sort of buds that will bring out things in your favorite music you haven’t noticed before.


The best earbuds for 2021

Whether you go wired for an old-school experience or wireless for cordless freedom, picking the right earbuds can be tricky — there are so many choices out there. But we’ve tried hundreds of models from a wide variety of manufacturers so you don’t have to.

Want a set of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds? We think Jabra’s $200 Elite 7 Pro represent the very best overall value, combining a super-comfortable fit with a huge array of features like waterproofing, active noise cancellation (ANC), and great sound too.

If you’re looking for a set of wired earbuds, look no further than the 1More Triple Drivers, which offer a sweet mix of style and performance at a reasonable price.

But there are tons of great models out there, some of which really excel in specific areas. So if the Jabra and 1More models aren’t quite what you’re looking for, we’ve got several awesome alternatives.

Don’t forget, we also keep updated lists of the best true wireless earbuds, the best cheap true wireless earbuds, and the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, in case you’re looking for something specific.

The best earbuds at a glance

The best true wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite 7 Pro Man wearing Jabra Elite 7 Pro.

Why you should buy them: They’re tiny, comfortable, and have an incredible array of features that leave nothing out.

Who they’re for: Those who want an outstanding set of true wireless earbuds for a reasonable price.

Why we picked the Jabra Elite 7 Pro:

If you’ve been following this list for a while, you know our previous pick for best true wireless earbuds was Sony’s WF-1000XM4. The XM4 are still superb, and we highly recommend them, but for a lot of folks, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro are going to be a much better value.

Why are the Elite 7 Pro such a good value? It comes down to what they give you for the money, which, in a word is “everything.” If you can think of a feature that would be desirable to have in a set of true wireless earbuds, the Elite 7 Pro are guaranteed to check that box. Active noise cancellation? Check. Transparency mode? Check. Wireless charging? Check. Waterproofing? A fit test? Adjustable EQ? Check, check, and check. They’re so good, we gave them a rare 10/10 rating in our review.

Now if you cruise the seemingly endless list of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds on Amazon, you’ll find plenty of models that make similar claims. But this is Jabra, not some Tier-B or -C brand you’ve never heard of, and that means these features are also well-executed, which is more than we can say for some of those other companies.

Better yet, Jabra has somehow managed to make the Elite 7 Pro even smaller and lighter than its predecessors, the Elite 75t and 85t. So in addition to having all of those features, the earbuds are also incredibly comfortable, even after many hours of continuous use.

But do they sound good? Absolutely. They don’t deliver quite the performance of Sony’s WF-1000XM4 or our pick below for music (the Master & Dynamic MW08) but they’ve got generous amounts of bass and very clear midranges and high frequencies, which makes them flexible enough to handle all kinds of music genres.

The physical multifunction control buttons are the best in the industry, and you can modify what each gesture controls within the Jabra Sound+ app if you don’t like the default arrangement. Misplaced your buds? The app can also help you locate them. And with an IP57 rating (which makes them effectively waterproof and dustproof), there are very few places you can’t take them.

They get about 7.5 to 8 hours of battery life per charge, and their charging case extends that to roughly 30 hours, which is very good for the true wireless category. As a comparison, Apple’s more expensive AirPods Pro only give you about 4.5 hours per charge and just 24 hours of total playtime.

On top of all this, the Elite 7 Pro are stellar for phone calls. Your voice will come through loud and clear, with barely a hint of compression even in windy or very noisy conditions. They’re the first set of true wireless earbuds that give the Bose QC Earbuds a run for their money in this area.

The only downside — and it’s a minor one — is that they don’t have Bluetooth multipoint for connecting two devices simultaneously. Jabra’s previous models all include this, and Jabra says it’s working on bringing it to the Elite 7 Pro too.

Read our in-depth Jabra Elite 7 Pro review

The best earbuds for running: Sony WF-SP800N

A close-up of the Sony WF-SP800N being worn.

Why you should buy them: With astonishing battery life, sound quality, and noise cancellation, they’re great workout companions.

Who they’re for: People who want total wireless autonomy for demanding workouts.

Why we picked the Sony WF-SP800N:

Sony has a reputation for making stellar audio products, and the WF-SP800N take all of Sony’s know-how and squeeze it into a compact set of workout-friendly earbuds. Their IP55 water- and dust-resistant rating means they can take pretty much whatever you can throw at them, and their battery life is enormous: Nine hours if you leave their active noise cancellation on and 13 hours if you turn it off.

Though bulkier than some other workout Bluetooth earbuds like the Elite Active 75t, the SP800N won’t budge once they’re sitting in your ear thanks to their silicone wingtips that provide a secure three-point anchor in your concha.

Sound quality, as you would expect, is excellent, and the Sony Headphones app lets you tweak the equalization to your heart’s content, including turning on and off the ExtraBass feature. If you’re curious about Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format, which can give you the feeling of being at a live performance, the WF-SP800N are compatible with the streaming services that offer it, like Deezer and Amazon Music HD.

The adjustable ANC is also a high point, though this feature tends to work best in non-windy environments. You can engage a transparency mode any time you need it or simply use the quick-attention mode, which automatically switches to transparency and lowers your music volume temporarily while you press the left earbud.

Call quality is very good, whether indoors or outside. Our only real complaint about the WF-SP800N is their charging case. It’s definitely on the bulky side and doesn’t offer wireless charging.

Looking for alternatives to the WF-SP800N? These models are all excellent options:

  • Jabra Elite Active 75t
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • JBL Reflect Mini NC
  • Jaybird Vista 2

Read our in-depth Sony WF-SP800N review

Best earbuds for bass: JVC HA-XC90T

JVC HA-XC90T true wireless earbuds in their case.

Why you should buy them: Their enormous bass is matched with the longest battery life we’ve ever seen.

Who they’re for: Those who want big bass, clear sound, and a battery that will outlast anything else out there.

Why we picked the JVC HA-XC90T:

While some true wireless earbuds attempt to offer something for everyone, JVC’s HA-XC90T (also known as JVC XX) are unapologetic about their mission to provide the biggest bass you’ve ever heard.

The black earbuds with the red rings deliver what can only be described as a subwoofer-grade bass response, and that’s before you engage their bass boost mode, which makes them downright thunderous.

Amazingly, this powerful low end doesn’t prevent the mids and highs from taking their place on the soundstage, though make no mistake: If you’re not a fan of deep notes, the JVC XX are not the buds for you.

Along with that incredible boosted bass is a boosted battery. The JVC XX can go a whopping 15 hours on a single charge, making these earbuds the stamina kings of the true wireless world. The charging case holds another two full charges, which means you can use the JVC XX for almost 48 hours before needing to plug the case into a power cord.

Speaking of the charging case, it’s a big, solid affair made of aluminum. The slide-out tray feels sturdy and locks into place with a satisfying click. There’s no wireless charging option, but given how infrequently you’ll need to grab a USB-C cable, that’s not such a bad thing.

Other caveats include no app for customizing the equalizer or button controls, no active noise cancellation, and no auto-pause when you remove an earbud.

Those are a lot of missing features on a set of earbuds at this price, but they have IP55 protection from dust and water and a “touch and talk” feature, which gives you a temporary transparency mode when you need it.

When you consider that, plus the JVC XX‘s two big benefits (bass and battery), these earbuds still manage to justify their asking price for those who value what they offer.

Read our hands-on impressions of the JVC HA-XC90T

Best earbuds for swimming: Sony Walkman NW-WS413

Man swimming in open water wearing Sony Walkman headphones.

Why you should buy them: You want a water-safe device so you can listen to your favorite tracks while hitting the lap lanes.

Who they’re for: Swimmers and athletes who prefer to leave their phones at home.

Why we picked the Sony WS413 Walkman W-Series:

It doesn’t matter how waterproof you make them, true wireless earbuds won’t be able to play your tunes when you dip below the surface. It’s simple physics: Bluetooth can’t travel through the water like it can through the air. And should an earbud become dislodged while you’re swimming, your odds of retrieving it are slim to none.

That’s why the Sony W-Series Walkman Sports MP3 player wins this category, even though they don’t possess any wireless capabilities at all. Not only can they be completely submerged and continue to play music, but they can operate in salt or fresh water at depths of up to 2 meters — so go ahead and jump in the deep end.

They’ll even stay on after that cannonball, kept in place by both around-the-ear hooks and a tiny band that snugly stretches around the back of your head. The headphones also feature unique earbuds that are designed to keep water from entering the driver casing — which would otherwise ruin the headphones for good.

The Sony WS413 Walkman WS Series is an all-in-one device that doesn’t need to be connected to a phone or other playback source; instead, it has 4GB of storage to hold your music, and you can load up songs and playlists on your PC via the included USB cable.

Sure, 4GB might not sound like much space, but that adds up to about 1,000 to 2,000 tracks, depending on their file size. All playback is controlled with tiny buttons on the sides of each earbud. Speaking of charge, the W-Series Walkman will last up to 12 hours per charge, and Sony claims you’ll be able to charge them in no time via their quick-charge feature.

The WS413 is perfect for swimmers who want total immersion in both the water and their tunes, but sometimes we need to be more aware of our surroundings. Whether it’s being able to hear a swim coach’s instructions, a lifeguard’s warnings, or just other swimmers, earbuds that block out the outside world aren’t always the best tool for the job.

In these circumstances, the $150 Aftershokz Xtrainerz are the way to go. They offer the same 4GB capacity as the Sonys, but they use bone conduction to transmit sound to your ears, which leaves your ear canals open. That means you can hear everything going on around you and your music, plus you can insert your favorite swimming earplugs if you want — and they won’t interfere with the audio.

The best earbuds for iPhone: Apple AirPods Pro

Profile of a man wearing Apple AirPods Pro.

Why you should buy them: As long as they’re synced to an iPhone, the AirPods Pro have features few other devices can match.

Who they’re for: Apple die-hards who want a fully wireless option.

Why we picked the Apple AirPods Pro:

The truth is, there are better-sounding earbuds out there that can work with iPhones, but even so, we still think the AirPods Pro are the best iOS-specific choice thanks to how Apple they are.

For better or for worse, AirPods Pro have all the hallmarks of an Apple product: They’re sleek, feature-rich, and extremely easy to use. The design includes simple controls and no-fuss compatibility with other Apple products. That last point is probably the most important reason why the AirPods Pro are our pick for the best wireless headphones to use with iPhones. Unlike other Bluetooth devices, AirPods Pro are designed to automatically sync with your device.

Perhaps most importantly for Apple users (apart from the iconic style), these earbuds couldn’t be easier to pair and set up. Just open the case, hold the new AirPods next to your iPhone, and you’re ready to listen. Once the AirPods Pro are paired, they’ll also show up automatically on any of your iCloud-connected Apple devices, including a companion iPad or MacBook. Switching can be done with a single click, but if you’re on the latest versions of iOS and macOS, that switching can even happen automatically.

The main difference between the AirPods Pro and the AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case, which used to hold this spot, is the addition of noise-canceling. They also offer a more discreet, fitted design that makes use of silicone tips to, A) keep the Pods firmly fixed to your ears during intense exercise, B) make them more pleasant to wear for extended periods, and C) create the seal that’s required for noise-canceling to function as intended.

They’re also IPX4 sweat-resistant and offer much better sound quality. Earlier in 2020, Apple added spatial audio to the AirPods Pro, making them an intriguing companion for watching movies on Apple’s devices. When iOS 15 launches in the fall of 2021, the AirPods Pro will also be able to offer hearing enhancement in situations where conversations may be more difficult due to competing sounds.

For all these reasons, the Apple AirPods Pro are a solid choice for Apple’s products, especially the iPhone.  But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that every other pair of fully wireless earbuds work great with iPhones too. And you can find a pair that sounds just as good as the AirPods Pro for a bit less money. It’s a big world out there, so before you just jump into the most obvious Apple pairing, we suggest shopping around a bit.

Read our in-depth AirPods Pro review

The best earbuds for Android: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.

Why you should buy them: They’re chock-full of the latest features like ANC and wireless charging, but cost way less than the AirPods Pro.

Who they’re for: Android fans looking for comfortable, great-sounding buds with noise cancellation.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2:

Our previous pick for this category was the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. With their $99 price and virtually all of the features from the $179 Pixel Buds, they were an obvious choice.

But Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 have forced us to change things up. For an extra $50, they offer ANC, transparency mode, and wireless charging — three very desirable features you won’t find on the Pixel Buds A-Series. What’s more, the Galaxy Buds 2 are even comfortable and secure than the A-Series, making them a welcome change for folks who have traditionally struggled to find a good fit.

Sound quality is very good if not quite up to the standard set by the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the Master & Dynamic MW08, and you get several EQ presets within the Samsung Wearables app. That app also provides a fit test to make sure you’ve got the right size of ear tips installed, and there’s a Find My Buds feature for when they inevitably go missing.

Battery life is solid: Five hours per charge and 20 hours total with the charging case if you keep ANC on, and that rises to 7.5/29 hours if you turn the feature off. An IPX2 rating means you probably shouldn’t expose them to much water, but they’ll at least be able to handle a bit of rain and sweat without incurring any damage.

Our only real caveat with the Galaxy Buds 2 is their touch controls. They’re a bit too easy to accidentally trigger when inserting or adjusting the earbuds, but we do appreciate that you can customize these controls or even turn them off entirely within Samsung’s app. Why do we only recommend these buds for Android users? That awesome app just isn’t available for iOS, which drastically reduces the Buds 2’s value to iPhone owners.

Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review

The best earbuds for listening to music: Master & Dynamic MW08

Master & Dynamic MW08 in their case.

Why you should buy them: They have huge battery life, sound incredible, and have a unique, stylish design.

Who they’re for: Anyone who wants a no-compromises listening experience in a set of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Why we picked the Master & Dynamic MW08:

When it comes to true wireless earbuds that deliver audiophile-grade sound quality, it’s a small crowd. Leading that pack are the Master & Dynamic (M&D) MW08, a beautifully crafted set of buds that sound as good as they look.

M&D is no stranger to the true wireless space. Its MW07 and MW07 Plus models were both very well received for their top-notch sound, and the MW08 take the design even further. They’re smaller and more comfortable than the previous models and their battery life is incredible, with up to 12 hours between charges when you turn off active noise cancellation (ANC) and keep the volume level under 50%.

Their stainless steel charging case provides another 30 hours of capacity, for a total of 42 hours before you need to plug them back in using a USB-C cable.

But the real story here is the MW08‘s sultry sound. Across the frequencies, from the lowest lows to the highest highs, these earbuds deliver a crisp and precise response, letting you appreciate each element of a song. Whether it’s the booming bass of hip-hop or the delicate resonances of jazz and classical, the MW08 sacrifice nothing.

M&D has used some pretty exotic materials on the MW08 including ceramics and aluminum, which give them a sophisticated, high-end look and feel that stands apart from the all-plastic designs from Sony, Bose, Apple, and Sennheiser. They also feature physical control buttons instead of touch controls, which are becoming ubiquitous. These controls give you access to every feature, from volume to voice assistants, and have a very precise operation.

Our only real critique of the MW08 is that their ANC isn’t as good as what you’ll find on the AirPods Pro, WF-1000XM3, or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. However, when you consider just how good the MW08 sound, we think it’s worth the tradeoff.

If wireless charging is a big feature for you, the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport edition adds that capability in a much lighter weight Kevlar-wrapped charging case.

Read our in-depth Master & Dynamic MW08 review

The best earbuds for Amazon Alexa fans: Amazon Echo Buds 2

Amazon Echo Buds 2 on a table next to their charging case.

Why you should buy them: They’re very affordable, sound great, and let you summon Alexa whenever and wherever you like.

Who they’re for: Folks who love Amazon’s virtual assistant and want an affordable set of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Why we picked the Amazon Echo Buds 2:

We were already big fans of the original Amazon Echo Buds, so when Amazon released the next version (technically named Echo Buds 2nd Gen) for the same price, but with some nice upgrades, we knew they’d be a solid pick.

What sets the Echo Buds 2 apart from other earbuds (other than Alexa, which we’ll get to) is the sheer value they offer. For $120 ($140 for the version with wireless charging), you get a small and comfortable set of buds, with an equally small charging case. They have active noise cancellation (ANC) and a transparency mode, they auto-pause the music when you pull an earbud out, they can be used independently, and they even have a basic workout tracking feature.

Using the Alexa app (which you pretty much need for all of the advanced features) you can adjust their EQ settings, fine-tune the side-tone (how much of your own voice you hear during calls), and even locate your earbuds if they go missing.

To put that in perspective: A feature set like this would normally cost $180 — the price of the Jabra Elite 75t — so $120 feels like a bargain.

The sound quality is very good. Not quite what you’d get from pricier earbuds, but close enough for folks who just want great tunes or podcasts for their daily commutes.

Being able to simply say “Alexa,” followed by hundreds of different commands (including all of the earbud and playback functions like ANC and call answer) is a major convenience, and the Echo Buds 2 are the only earbuds (other than the original Echo Buds) that let you do this.

Battery life on the buds themselves, at five hours with ANC and Alexa turned on, and 6.5 hours with these features off, is a little better than Apple’s AirPods Pro, but nothing stellar when compared to other earbuds at this price. Unfortunately, the case only holds two full charges, so you may have to adjust your habits accordingly.

We didn’t think that Amazon’s ANC was a big improvement over the previous generation’s Bose tech but given how much more comfortable the new design is, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means and we definitely recommend the Echo Buds 2.

Read our in-depth Amazon Echo Buds 2 review

The best wired earbuds: 1More Triple Driver

1More Triple Driver earbuds.

Why you should buy them: They’re a sweet mix of style, performance, and shocking affordability.

Who they’re for: The discerning listener who craves quality but hasn’t yet landed that corner office.

Why we picked the 1More Triple Driver:

We could have gone many ways for this pick, but 1More’s unassuming Triple Driver just wouldn’t stop popping up into the picture. The 1More in-ear headphones aren’t at the top of the class in performance, but what they do have going for them is unrivaled quality and value at their (very reasonable) price point. The company has created plenty of iterations since, including the recent Dual Driver ANC Pro Wireless, the Quad Driver, and even an over-ear version, creatively called the Triple Driver Over-Ears. But when it comes to value for the money, we always come back to the original wired earbuds.

China-based upstart 1More blew our minds when we discovered how little the company wanted for the Triple Driver headphones, the first pair we’d ever heard from the brand. For this kind of build quality and performance, we’d expect to pay at least double. And while these aren’t wireless earbuds, if you don’t mind some strings attached, they more than make up for their wired constraints with sweet sound for the dough.

So what specifically do the Triple Driver offer your ears? A gorgeous aesthetic, solid construction, and — you guessed it — three drivers within each earbud for excellent sound. That includes one dynamic driver for warm and full bass and a balanced armature driver for both the midrange and treble to create clear and articulate sound. It’s an intriguing design that one might think is a gimmick, but we can assure you that when it comes to the results, it’s anything but.

Along with the earbuds, you get a carry case, an airplane travel adapter, a cable clip, and a huge assortment of silicone and foam ear tips to help you find the perfect fit.

The 1More Triple Driver’s sound signature provides sparkling clarity, smooth and powerful bass, and balanced sound that outdoes everything we’ve heard at a similar price point. These headphones provide exceptional sound for anything you listen to, from electronica to acoustic folk. Unlike many dedicated wired earbuds, the Triple Drivers include an inline mic and playback controls. Oh, and if you’re rocking a new iPhone and you using Apple’s headphone adapter, there’s a Lightning version, too.

If the 1More Triple Driver appeal to you, but you want to spend less, check out the Strauss & Wagner EM205. They sound almost as good but cost half the price. They’re also tiny and very lightweight — perfect for tossing in a backpack. If, on the other hand, you want to level up your wired listening, both the $159 Final Audio A4000 and $199 Campfire Audio Satsuma will deliver gorgeously detailed audio. The only caveat: As true in-ear monitors (IEMs), they do not have a mic for calls or buttons for music control.

Read our in-depth 1More Triple Driver review

Research and buying tips

Can earbuds damage your ears?

Yes, because of their isolation and because the drivers are closer to your eardrums, it is not recommended to listen at higher volumes for extended periods of time. Check out our helpful noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) explainer for how to avoid this from happening.

Are earbuds waterproof?

Many are water-resistant, few can be fully submerged. We recommend checking for an IP rating if you want to make sure you are treating them properly.

Can earbuds sound as good as over-ear headphones?

Yes, at the high end, in-ear monitors can sound as good as virtually any headphones on the market. That said, you’ll have to pay a hefty premium to get top-tier sound.

How should earbuds fit?

Comfortably and securely. You may want to find a pair with ear fins or ear clips if you are planning on working out.

Should I use earbuds when driving?

No. It is dangerous and illegal in many regions.


  • Driver: The unit that produces sound in a headphone, made up of magnets, voice coils, and other materials. Typically, the larger the driver, the more power a headphone has, and bigger drivers inside in-ear headphones generally indicate that a better range of frequencies can be reproduced.
  • Dynamic driver: A single driver capable of covering the entire frequency range. The diaphragm is connected directly to a voice coil in the headphone, with the voice coil moving between magnets to produce sound.
  • Balance armature driver: In a balanced armature driver, the headphone’s diaphragm is connected to the armature, with micro-vibrations producing the sound. Most balanced armature drivers are best within a specific frequency range, which is why many headphones contain multiple balanced drivers, with certain frequencies divided between drivers for full-spectrum sound.
  • Soundstage: The perceived size and depth of the sound coming through the headphones.
  • Passive noise isolation: Noise that is blocked out by the headphone or earbud based on its physical shape and size in your ear.
  • Frequency response: The spectrum of frequencies that a headphone can reliably reproduce. Typically, this is 20Hz-20kHz — a spectrum that is widely regarded as the limits of human hearing. However, some models claim a frequency response as high as 40kHz, which some regard as necessary to reproduce hi-res audio.

How we test

We test headphones and earbuds the way normal people live.

We run every pair of earbuds through a rigorous process over several days. That includes playing them in all sorts of scenarios — be it on a bus, in the listening room, or at the office — and playing back from a wide array of sources. We know most people use their headphones with a smartphone, often with lower quality MP3 resolution tracks, so we test that, too.

We also move up to high-resolution audio files, as well as a wide variety of sources, including plugging in directly to a PC or Mac, using USB DACs (digital-to-analog converters), and employing high-quality dedicated portable players and amplifiers. Finally, we compare the earbuds to some of our go-to models, both in their class and price point, as well as a level or two above, to find out if they can punch above their weight.

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The best wireless earbuds you can buy right now

In the last two years, true wireless earbuds have made quite the leap. There’s no doubt the popularity of Apple’s AirPods helped make these headphones a mainstay, but companies’ ability to offer reliable connectivity, great sound and active noise cancellation (ANC) in an increasingly smaller form factor has hastened widespread adoption. You can also get features that used to be reserved for premium models on mid-range devices. Of course, the popularity means that new earbuds are popping up all the time and the list of options is longer than ever. To help, we’ve compiled the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, including noteworthy features for each selection.

Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony totally overhauled its true wireless earbuds with a new design, more powerful noise cancellation, improved battery life and more. However, the choice to change to foam tips leads to an awkward fit that could be an issue for some people. The M4 is also more expensive than its predecessor, which wouldn’t be a big deal if fit wasn’t a concern.

Billy Steele/Engadget

No one comes close to Sony’s true wireless earbuds with its overall mix of sound and features. That was true of the WF-1000XM3 in 2019 and the company distanced itself even further from the competition earlier this year with the WF-1000XM4. A smaller design offers a better fit, but Sony still packed in the features — from adaptive ANC and wireless charging to 360 and high-res audio support. The company’s app gives you the ability to let the M4s do a lot of the adjustments for you based on activity and location. What’s more, tools like speak-to-chat, although imperfect, are handy when you need to have a quick conversation.

I’m not a huge fan of the new foam ear tips, but based on other reviews, I’m in the minority there. Still, it’s easy enough to find alternatives, and those tips shouldn’t deter you from an otherwise excellent set of buds.

Buy WF-1000XM4 at Amazon - $278Buy WF-1000XM4 at Best Buy - $280

Runner up: Master & Dynamic MW08

With its latest true wireless earbuds, Master & Dynamic continues to refine its initial design. The company improved its natural, even-tuned trademark sound to create audio quality normally reserved for over-ear headphones. There are some minor gripes, but M&D covers nearly all of the bases for its latest flagship earbuds, which are undoubtedly the company’s best yet.

Billy Steele/Engadget

Master & Dynamic typically stands out from other audio brands due its attention to detail when it comes to design. When most companies are using spruced-up plastic, M&D chooses aluminum, ceramic and leather — even for its true wireless earbuds. The leather is reserved for its headphones, but Master & Dynamic still pairs premium elements with a stellar set of features on the MW08. 12-hour battery life, improved noise cancellation and excellent sound quality are the highlights, plus the company reduced the overall size of the earbuds for a better fit.

Buy MW08 at Amazon - $349Buy MW08 at Master and Dynamic - $349

Best budget: Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2


Sure, there are cheaper options, but for $80, it’s hard to beat the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2. These true wireless earbuds are smaller than a lot of the competition which makes them more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Anker also delivers ample bass, which means they can handle hip-hop, electronic and other genres better than many budget buds. They’re also IPX7 rated, so they’ll easily double as your new workout partner.

Buy Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 at Amazon - $80

Best for iOS: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

Billy Steele / Engadget

There’s no denying that AirPods are extremely popular among iPhone owners. And there’s a good reason. The earbuds integrate seamlessly with iOS. Plus, the more recent models offer hands-free access to Siri, on top of core features like quick pairing. In addition to active noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro have one very important thing the “regular” AirPods don’t: comfort. And when you factor in the spatial audio improvements in iOS 14, the Pro model is well worth the extra investment at this point.

Buy AirPods Pro at Amazon - $250

Best for Android: Pixel Buds A-Series

Google Pixel Buds Series A


In 2020, Google debuted redesigned true wireless Pixel Buds. They were a massive improvement over the original model, but they were also far from perfect. Instead of issuing a minor update in 2021, the company took nearly all of the best features and put them in the more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series. Hands-free access to Google Assistant, handy language translation and actionable notifications will help with tasks and productivity while improved sound quality makes the A-Series a better option for music than its predecessor.

Buy Pixel Buds A-Series at Best Buy - $100

Best overall sound quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2


Sennheiser made quite the leap from its first true wireless earbuds to version 2.0. The company figured out the touch controls, extended the battery life and added active noise cancellation. The Momentum True Wireless 2 is also the best sounding set of true wireless earbuds we’ve tested. As we noted during our review, Sennheiser consistently creates an audio profile that highlights minute details of songs, from the subtle attack of acoustic guitar strumming to the deep sub of synths and drum machines. The company’s trademark tone is warm, pleasant and inviting. The downside is these are pricey at around $300 and you can find better battery life (and wireless charging) elsewhere. In terms of pure audio quality though, this is the clear top pick.

Buy Momentum True Wireless 2 at Amazon - $300Buy Momentum True Wireless 2 at Best Buy - $300

Best overall noise cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds


It’s no surprise Bose built a set of true wireless earbuds with impressive active noise cancellation. The company has spent years perfecting its QuietComfort technology to block out the world around you. Most of the time, that’s easier said than done with true wireless, but Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds stand above the rest in the ANC department. The company allows you to select one of 11 levels of noise cancellation in its app and you can assign three of those to the on-board controls for quick access. It doesn’t match the isolation of its over-ear headphones, but Bose is clearly ahead of the true wireless competition when it comes to blocking unwanted noise.

Buy QuietComfort Earbuds at Amazon - $279Buy QuietComfort Earbuds at Best Buy - $279

Best mid-range: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

With the Galaxy Buds 2, Samsung adds active noise cancellation to its most affordable true wireless earbuds. This successor to the Galaxy Buds+ are smaller and more comfortable with premium features like wireless charging and adjustable ambient sound. However, ANC performance is only decent and there’s no deep iOS integration like previous models. Still, at this price, Samsung has created a compelling package despite the sacrifices.

Billy Steele/Engadget

Samsung’s recent Galaxy Buds have all been well-designed — perhaps with the exception of the Galaxy Buds Live — and offer a comfy fit due to their small size. The company merged its noise-cancelling Galaxy Buds Pro with the more affordable Galaxy Buds+ to create the Galaxy Buds 2. At $150, this true wireless model remains tiny and comfortable with improved audio quality, adjustable ambient sound and wireless charging. That combination of features makes the Galaxy Buds 2 a solid option for the Android faithful that won’t break the bank.

Buy Galaxy Buds 2 at Amazon - $150Buy Galaxy Buds 2 at Best Buy - $150

Honorable mention: Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds review

Billy Steele/Engadget

Beats is no stranger to true wireless earbuds, but until recently, the only option was its over-the-ear hook design that isn’t for everyone. With the Studio Buds, the company offers a more “traditional” true wireless fit and surprisingly balanced sound. Plus, the small size keeps things comfortable, even during extended listening sessions. iOS users get hands-free access to Siri and the company offers Android users a similar quick-pairing experience iPhone owners have enjoyed on previous Beats headphones.

Buy Studio Buds at Amazon - $150

Honorable mention: Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds

Billy Steele / Engadget

Jabra’s true wireless earbuds are always a solid option, offering a lot of features for less than the typical premium flagship prices. The company made an impression with its Elite 65t earbuds in 2018 and followed up in late 2019 with the new-and-improved Elite 75t. Jabra redesigned nearly everything, offering smaller buds with a better fit, in addition to improved sound quality, longer battery life and optional wireless charging. The company also added ANC via a firmware update in 2020, so these don’t seem outdated by any means.

Buy Jabra Elite 75t at Amazon - $150Buy Jabra Elite 75t at Best Buy - $150
Best wireless earbuds for 2021

The folks at Jabra scanned thousands of ears to come up with this sleek, comfy design, and it shows. WIRED reviews editor Adrienne So and I have very different-sized ears, and we both found the Elite 85T (9/10, WIRED Recommends) to be super comfortable and stable on our outdoor adventures. The sound quality, noise-canceling tech, and mic quality are excellent, and we also like that the headphones have physical buttons rather than sweat-stifled touch controls. 

The best part? They come with a two-year warranty, and Jabra often continues to sell old models for years, which means you'll have no problem replacing ear tips, the case, or even a bud as needed.

Our other fave: We love the $111 Beats Powerbeats earbuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which get 15 hours of battery life and lock over your ear. They sound amazing. On the downside (or the upside, depending on your point of view), they do have a neckband that connects the earbuds, and they don't come with a charging cradle.


Earphones better buds

Best wireless earbuds 2021: budget and premium

Best wireless earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best wireless earbuds you can buy in 2021.

Wireless earbuds are everywhere, right? Walk down the street and you're virtually guaranteed to bump into a pair. The market has grown so rapidly and exponentially that it's now flooded with earbud options.

The good news is you can now find a pair to fit every budget. Whether you want a cheap pair of wireless earbuds or a premium pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, the market has something for everyone.

But why the appeal? Well, with no wires running between headphones and smartphone, they won't restrict your movement one bit. This newfound freedom is handy for general day-to-day life and great if you're into exercise.

Some wireless earbuds have a cable or neckband connecting the buds together, but many of the options you'll see on the list below don't – you get the buds without the wires. Other extras to look out for include noise-cancelling tech, customisable touch controls and hands-free access to personal assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

If you're currently drowning in a sea of wireless earbuds and just want to be pointed in the direction of the best pairs, help is at hand.

We've rounded up the best wireless earbuds to have passed through the What Hi-Fi? test rooms. So whether you want the comfiest pair on the planet, one with brilliant battery life or just want the best-sounding wireless earbuds on the market, we're sure to have pairs that tick all those boxes and a few more besides...

1. Sony WF-1000XM4

Without doubt the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now.


OS support: Android/iOS

Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 8 hours (24 hours with charging case)

Finishes: 2

Reasons to buy

+Clear, detailed bass performance+Wonderful sense of musicality+Comfortable+Class-leading battery life

Reasons to avoid

-Missing Sony’s Multipoint feature-Lacking ear tip choices-No aptX HD

Somehow, Sony's managed to build on the huge success of the WF-1000XM3 (below) and produce a pair of wireless earbuds that take everything up a notch.

The WF-1000XM4 produce one of the most dynamic, detailed and balanced performances we've heard from a pair of Bluetooth buds. Bass notes sound tight and textured, while vocals ooze refinement and sophistication. Their musical delivery keeps you coming back for more, and also makes you thankful for the eight hours of battery life, which is class-leading in this field.

The Sonys are comfortable to wear too. The new-look earpieces include touch-sensitive controls and a new ear tip design which helps with noise isolation. Combine this with the excellent noise cancelling provided by Sony's Integrated Processor V1 and you've got a pair of headphones that effectively block out the hustle and bustle.

IPX4 water resistance comes as part of the WF-1000XM4 package, as does Sony's clever Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android and clever features such as Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat which both allow you to have a conversation without removing the earbuds. If you want the new benchmark for wireless earbuds, this is it.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM4

2. Panasonic RZ-S500W

A hugely talented and affordable pair of wireless earbuds.


Bluetooth version: 5.0

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 6.5 hours (+ 13 hours from charging case)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Expansive detailed presentation+Excellent noise cancelling+Superb touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-Fit could be an issue for some

Panasonic isn't a brand that immediately springs to mind when you think of the best wireless earbuds. But perhaps it should be. The RZ-S500W are the company's first foray into the market and they're sensational performers for the money.

Specs are thorough, with noise-cancelling tech, an Ambient Mode, twin mics for voice calls, and battery life that totals 19.5 hours (6.5hrs from the buds and 13hrs from the charging case). A 15-minute USB-C quick-charge can deliver 70 minutes of playback. The touch controls on each bud are responsive and intuitive, allowing you to control your music and switch between noise-cancelling modes with zero fuss. 

You also get five sizes of ear tips to help with fit. We found this a little hit and miss, so we'd definitely experiment and consider mixing the sizes if it means getting a more secure fit.

Both noise-cancelling and sound quality are excellent. There's plenty of agility through the low end and loads of texture across the frequencies. Music sounds clear and there's a great deal of refinement on show, which is to be welcomed at this price level. To sum up, these Panasonic wireless earbuds are superb for the money.

Read the full review: Panasonic RZ-S500W

3. Sony WF-1000XM3

These fantastic wireless earbuds are two-time What Hi-Fi? Award-winners.


Connector: N/A

Cable length: N/A

In-line remote and mic: N/A

OS support: Android/iOS

Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 6 hours (24 hours with charging case)

Reasons to buy

+Musical sound+Good noise-cancelling+Excellent battery life+Snug fit

Reasons to avoid

-No aptX HD support-Not sweat-resistant

The WF-1000XM3s offer solid and stable Bluetooth connectivity and stellar noise-cancelling, which places them above most of the competition (apart from their new siblings, the WF-1000XM4).

The fit is excellent, as is battery life and the all-important sound quality. They come with more tip sizes than most rivals, feature intuitive touch controls for playback and volume control and sound wonderfully musical. Despite their tiny proportions, there's a good sense of scale. Instruments sound natural and authentic, with plenty of detail and composure to the performance. 

You get six hours of playback as standard, while the case has enough power for an extra three charges, giving a total of 24 hours when using Bluetooth and noise-cancelling. Plus there's a fast-charge function: 10 minutes of charging breathes 90 minutes of life into these buds.

They might have lost out to the newer WF-1000XM4, but these wireless earbuds represent sensational value for money and should still be on any shopping list.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

4. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

Plus-suffixed sequels with new features and big shoes to fill.


Bluetooth version: 5.0

Noise-cancelling: No

Battery life: 45 hours (low power mode)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Extra dynamic expression+Great clarity+Slick app support

Reasons to avoid

-No noise cancelling

The Melomania 1 Plus have some big shoes to fill given the popularity of the originals (which you'll find further down this list). But we're glad to say that these wireless earbuds hit the spot.

They boast app support, customisable EQ settings and the British audio firm's innovative High-Performance Audio Mode. Your colour options are white and black.

Like the originals, the real selling point is battery life. The 1 Plus provide a whopping nine hours from one charge, and you get an additional four charges from the carry case. That makes 45 hours of total run time. The fact there's no noise-cancelling onboard helps to explain the marathon battery life, as the tech can be a real drain.

The Melomanias deliver an impactful and expansive musical performance. They sound clear and more dynamic than their predecessors and there's a smidgen more detail too. If you want an affordable and accomplished pair of wireless earbuds the Cambridge definitely warrant a closer look.

Read the fullCambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review

5. Google Pixel Buds A-Series

The new Pixel Buds wireless earbuds get an A-grade from us.


Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: No

Battery life: 5hr (+20hr from case)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Well-rounded, clean sound+Comfortable+Reliable connection

Reasons to avoid

-No volume touch control on buds-No noise-cancelling

Google's latest wireless earbuds are packed with features and come in at a very low price which is an attractive package in itself. But how do they sound?

They're light and comfortable, and while they don't offer noise cancelling, they do a good job of isolating you and are aided by rubber fins that keep them secure. They are vented, though, so some background noise inevitably creeps in, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your colour choices are either white or 'Dark Olive'.

Battery life is okay at around five hours, plus another 20 or so from the carry case in four charges. The Pixel Buds A-Series pair with your device very easily indeed, too, especially if you're using an Android smartphone or tablet that boasts the Fast Pair feature. IPX4 water resistance means they should be ok for exercise too.

These wireless earbuds put in an admirable performance come music time, with a clean, balanced sound that doesn't lean too far into any part of the sonic spectrum. This is a great pair of wireless earbuds at a great price.

Read the full Google Pixel Buds A-Series review

6. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Pricey yet refined-sounding wireless earbuds that are well worth a listen.


Connector: N/A

Cable length: N/A

In-line remote and mic: N/A

OS support: Android/iOS

Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 7 hours (28 hours with charging case)

Reasons to buy

+Refined, mature sound+Lightweight and comfortable+Nice to use

Reasons to avoid

-Price-Timing can be bettered-aptX support but not HD

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2s produce one of the most refined sounds we've heard from a pair of wireless buds.

The earpieces are slim, so they don't protrude too much from your ears, and, more importantly, they're comfortable to have in place for long listening sessions. The noise-cancelling works extremely well and is pretty much on par with the Sony WF-1000XM3. They're nice to use too, with touch-sensitive pads on each earpiece which can be customised to control music playback and features.

Battery life is competitive too, with a single charge giving seven hours of playback and the charging case providing an additional three charges, bringing the total battery life at your disposal to 28 hours.

It's all positive and we haven't even touched on the sound quality, which is extremely refined and sophisticated for the money. Highs and lows are composed and controlled but dynamics aren't sacrificed. The Sennheisers present a detailed soundstage with impressive scale and authority. They're a little pricier than other wireless earbuds, but if your budget can stretch, your ears will be rewarded.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

7. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Fantastic wireless earbuds with some brilliant built-in tech.


Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 6hrs (18hrs with charging case)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Exciting, entertaining sound+Superb balance+Impressive noise-cancelling

Reasons to avoid

-Average battery life

If you want a rival to the excellent Sony WF-1000XM4 at the top of this list, look no further than these Bose. They feel lightweight enough for the average commute or exercise session (the QuietComfort are both sweat and weather-resistant) and they're great to live with. Battery life is a claimed six hours from a single charge, with the charging case supplying an extra two charges, making 18 hours in total – a decent reserve, but by no means class-leading. You can customise some features and controls, and adjust the excellent noise-cancellation, in Bose's handy companion app.

The sense of enthusiasm and excitement conveyed by the Bose buds is highly infectious. There’s power, poise and a fantastic sense of dynamism. Bass notes sound full-bodied, go deep and the QuietComfort Earbuds squeeze out lots of detail.

All in all, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are sensational all-rounders, capable of impressive musicality and topped off with excellent noise cancelling. These wireless earbuds are more than a match for any rival at this level, including the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, mentioned above.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

8. Bose SoundSport Wireless

A fine-sounding pair of wireless earbuds, ideal for gym-goers.


Connector: N/A

Cable length: N/A

In-line remote and mic: Yes

OS support: Android/iOS

Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: No

Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to buy

+Comfortable+Fun sound+Strong wireless performance

Reasons to avoid

-Less-than-stellar battery life

Comfortable, great-sounding, splashproof and weather-resistant for sweaty outdoor workouts... these wireless earbuds have it all. They're more versatile than most thanks to their wing tips to keep them in your ears, meaning you can head for a run and not worry about them falling out. 

Sound is superb, full of punchy, powerful bass that should get you running that bit faster. They're reliable too, with no issues with the wireless signal and easy-to-use controls. The neckband cable incorporates a remote housing part-way down, but the power pack appears to live in the earpieces, which may explain the modest six hours battery life.

On the upside, they're IPX4 rated, meaning they can’t be submerged in water but will handle sweat and splashes better than normal earphones. The addition of NFC tech means they're particularly easy to pair with Android devices.

If the rather average battery life isn't a deal-breaker, you'll like these buds – they're comfortable, sound great and enjoyable to use.

Read the full review:Bose SoundSport Wireless

9. JBL Reflect Flow

If you’re after sporty wireless earbuds, these are some of the best around.


Connector: N/A

Cable length: N/A

In-line remote and mic: N/A

OS support: Android/iOS

Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: No

Battery life: 10 hours (30 hours with charging case)

Reasons to buy

+Good detail+Strong bass depth+Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-Can be beaten for dynamics-Carrying case is a bit big

JBL is a heavy hitter when it comes to wireless sports earbuds, and the JBL Reflect Flow is a value-packed effort.

The Reflect Flows are very good indeed, especially if you desire a bass-heavy sound for the gym – without resorting to on-ear or over-ear headphones. You get 10 hours of battery in the buds plus an extra 20 hours from the case, and JBL promises a quick 10-minute charge will provide an hour's playback.

With the right tip and fin combination, they produce a stable fit that holds them securely in place when tackling all manner athletic pursuits, while that extra helping of deep but accurate bass should see you over the finish line.

One notable feature is the ambient mode: press the left bud and the volume decreases, allowing you to hold a conversation without removing the buds. It's worth comparing these to the sporty five-star Jaybird Vistas (below), but for fit and sound, we think the JBL Reflect Flows have the edge.

Read the full review: JBL Reflect Flow

10. Earfun Air Pro

These excellent budget wireless earbuds bring noise-cancelling to the party.


Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Battery life: 7hrs (25hrs with charging case)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Solid, accurate bass weight+Effective noise cancelling+Classy build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-Harsh upper midrange

Earfun builds on the success of its Earfun Air (below) by cramming even more features into a new ‘Pro’ variant, the main addition being active noise cancellation. There is now a 10mm driver and three mics per earpiece, too. But, considering the claims on the spec sheet, the price remains jaw-droppingly low.

They're a solid proposition for the money: they fit securely, connect easily, have reliable controls and feature basic but effective noise-cancelling profiles – for just a small premium on the Air model.

There’s also USB-C charging and wearer detection, plus the sound is pretty decent for the money – well-balanced, relatively transparent, taut and full through the bass, and musically pleasing overall. We haven't come across anything at this level that does everything these Earfuns do, as well as they do it.

Read the full review: Earfun Air Pro

11. Sennheiser CX 400BT

An affordable pair of wireless earbuds that sound great too.


Bluetooth: Yes

Noise-cancelling: No

Battery life: 7hr (+13hr from case)

Charging: USB-C

Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Lively, detailed sound+Lightweight fit+Excellent value for money

Reasons to avoid

-Battery life below the best-Not waterproof

The CX 400BT are a great option for anyone in the market for an affordable, yet extremely musical pair of wireless earbuds.

They're neither water- nor sweat-resistant but the Sennheisers do boast Bluetooth 5.1 support and a companion app. This means you're guaranteed solid Bluetooth connectivity, while the latter gives you EQ adjustment and the ability to customise their touch controls.

Tap the right earbud once to activate your phone’s voice assistant or accept incoming calls, twice to jump forward a track or rejects calls, or hold it down to increase volume. Battery life is seven hours, which is decent for the money but not class-leading.

But it's the sound quality where these Sennheisers excel. They produce an insightful and entertaining sound with bags of enthusiasm. For the money, they're difficult to fault.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX 400BT

EARBUDS AWARDS 2020 [The Very Best True Wireless Earbuds] - AirPods vs Galaxy Buds vs Jabra vs ...

The best wireless earbuds in 2021

The best wireless earbuds are the greatest examples of what remains a relatively new form factor for headphones. In a way that makes them even more impressive — the Apple AirPods may have codified true wireless earbuds, but the models on this list have gone their own way, and are just as deserving of your money. If not more so.

This is a broad church too, so in addition to top-of-the-line earbuds with active noise cancellation and spatial audio features, we’ve also included our favorite mid-range and cheap earbuds. All based on our usual testing, naturally. Keep reading through our picks of the best wireless earbuds and you’re sure to find a pair that fits you.

Editor's Note: The Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for audio have been announced, and the Jabra Elite 85t has won the Best wireless earbuds award! Head to the audio awards page to see all the winners and recommended runners-up.

What are the best wireless earbuds?

The technology behind wireless earbuds has improved markedly, and now they have become as ubiquitous as wired headphones. The very best wireless earbuds offer long battery life, great sound, and call quality, and some noise cancellation, as well as water- and sweat-resistance, so you can use them for working out without worrying about damage. And the best wireless earbuds rise to the top of the list fit comfortably within your ears and don’t budge while you’re running or working out.

After reviewing dozens of models, the best set of wireless earbuds overall is the Jabra Elite Active 75t thanks to its customizable fit, personalized sound, passive noise cancellation, and waterproof protection. The AirPods Pro is a close second with built-in active noise cancellation, seamless iOS integration, easy-to-use controls, and sweat resistance.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 recently launched straight into 3rd place, thanks to its own great sound and ANC, with the new OnePlus Buds Pro a place further back at no.4. If you'd prefer something cheaper, check out the Sennheiser CX True Wireless further down.

The best wireless earbuds to buy now

1. Jabra Elite Active 75t

The best wireless earbuds overall


Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: Active and passive noise cancellation, customizable EQ, fully waterproof

Reasons to buy

+Crisp and well-balanced audio+Sleek, waterproof design+Strong battery life+Active and passive noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-Can get extremely loud at max volume

The market’s best wireless earbuds (and best sport headphones) just got better, thanks to a free over-the-air ANC update that adds active noise cancellation into the mix. Don’t think that you’re going to get Bose-caliber results, or anything close to what the more premium Elite 85t delivers, but Jabra did do an impressive job tweaking its algorithm to block out a good amount of external sounds.

Even before the inclusion of ANC, the Elite Active 75t proved itself as the model to beat, offering better battery life, durability, sound, and special features than its biggest threat: the AirPods Pro. The design remains sleek, though it is sturdier this time around, with IP57 certification granting waterproof protection and dust and sweat resistance. Sound is lively and can be customized through the Jabra Sound+ app, which is loaded with presets and other cool features that enhance both sound and call quality.

Read our full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

2. Apple AirPods Pro

The best wireless earbuds for Apple users


Size: 1.2 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 4.5 hours; 24 hours (with charging case)

Bluetooth range: 800 feet

Special features: Active noise cancellation, “Hey Siri” support, spatial audio

Reasons to buy

+Great active noise cancelling+Easy to use controls+Comfortable fit+Great sound

Reasons to avoid

-Battery life could be longer

It’s pretty amazing how Apple continues to enhance the performance of its noise-cancelling earbuds through software updates, and if it keeps up the good work, then the AirPods Pro could climb its way back to the top of our best wireless earbuds list. Spatial audio is an incredible addition that creates a 3D-like soundscape to enjoy movies and video games a whole lot better. Even simple, but practical, inclusions like auto-switching make a noticeable difference with functionality, allowing users to easily switch between iDevices that are connected to the same iCloud account.

The great news is that without the latest iOS 14 updates, the AirPods Pro still operate at a top-tier level, thanks to improved sound, strong ANC, a more ergonomic design for better comfort and fit, and all of the perks that come with the H1 chip.  If there is any complaint to be made, it’s the same one every Apple fan has voiced since the first-gen AirPods hit the market, that being the subpar battery life.

Read our full Apple AirPods Pro review.

3. Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony's best wireless earbuds yet


Size: 1 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 8 hours (ANC on), 12 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case), 35 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: Active noise cancellation, transparency mode, Speak-to-Chat, customizable EQ, 360 Reality Audio, DSEE Extreme upscaling, LDAC, Bluetooth 5.2, tri-digital assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri), quick charging, wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+Substantial yet balanced sound+Excellent ANC effectiveness+Improved battery life

Reasons to avoid

-Loose fit-Expensive

The Sony WF-1000XM4 improves on just about everything about the old WF-1000XM4, from reworking the design to enhancing ANC and tweaking the sound signature for better frequency balance. That all comes with a higher price, but the WF-1000XM4 sounds good enough to deserve.

This is also a particularly well-featured set of wireless earbuds. There's LDAC support for higher-quality music, a highly customizable ambient listening mode, support for all three of the big digital assistants and full EQ customization. Want to bring back the WF-1000XM4's bass-heavy sound? No problem.

Read our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

4. OnePlus Buds Pro

The best wireless earbuds for OnePlus users


Size: 1.25 x 0.9 inches (per bud), 2.3 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches (charging case)

Weight: 0.15 ounces (per bud), 1.83 ounces (charging case)

Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC off), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC), 38 hours (with charging case, ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)

Special features: Active noise cancellation, fast charging, adjustable ambient mode, IP55 water resistance, voice assistant support

Reasons to buy

+Rich, well-balanced sound+Strong ANC+Handsome, luxe design+Ridiculously powerful charging technology+Unique audio features

Reasons to avoid

-Poor ANC playtime-Some features are unreleased or exclusive to OnePlus devices

Having tested the best OnePlus smartphones over the years, we knew the Android mobile manufacturer could create a solid pair of wireless earbuds. The original OnePlus Buds was a decent effort, but the Buds Pro blows all expectations out of the water. It boasts a handsome design that complements any OnePlus device, along with excellent sound and  some of the best ANC in the category. OnePlus users get the better end of the deal with access to exclusive features such as the low latency mode for mobile gaming and Fast Pair for instantaneous connectivity with brand devices.

There’s also Warp Charge, the strongest charging technology we’ve seen that can generate 10 hours of use on a 10-minute charge. You’re going to need it since ANC playtime is as short as the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours). At least you know it won’t take too long to get these buds juiced up before rushing out the door.

Read our full OnePlus Buds Pro review.

5. Master & Dynamic MW08

The best wireless earbuds for big budgets


Size: 0.8 x 0.8 x 1 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 10 hours (ANC on), 12 hours (ANC off), 42 hours (with charging case)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: Hybrid active noise cancellation, two-level ambient listening mode, Bluetooth 5.2, customizable fit, smart controls

Reasons to buy

+Stylish, durable design+Great sound+Active noise cancellation+Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid


The Master & Dynamic will draw you in with its styling and keep your attention with its performance. ANC and its "Awareness" ambient mode work well, battery life is good even with noise-cancelling, and sound quality is among the best in its field.

The MW08 is, admittedly, an expensive choice: right now it's even more expensive than the AirPods Pro. But you do get a much, much better design in exchange, with earbuds built from ceramic, aluminum and stainless steel instead of plastic. The black color option is nicely understated, but go with the white or blue versions if you really want to stand out.

Read our full Master & Dynamic MW08 review.

6. Jabra Elite 85t

Top-tier sound and noise cancellation


Size: 0.9 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 0.3 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 5.5 hours (ANC on), 7.5 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)

Special features: Adjustable ANC, customizable EQ, wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+Bold, dynamic sound+Strong active noise cancellation+Lots of personalization features via companion app+Robust spec sheet

Reasons to avoid

-Middling battery life

The follow-up to our favorite pair of wireless earbuds is a sonic beast equipped with 12mm drivers that produce loud, well-balanced audio and some of the finest noise neutralization we’ve heard in the category. Jabra’s ANC technology is capable of blocking out 90% of external sounds, allowing for disruption-free listening and audible calls. The Elite 85t connects to the Sound+ app to extend functionality, offering up a plethora of special features that range from adjustable noise cancellation to customizable controls. Connectivity is stable too, thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm’s fast-operating processor. 

We feel Jabra could have done more to increase playtimes, as the Elite 85t falls right in between the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (6 hours). However, the buds have terrific battery management that squeezes every minute out of the battery. The inclusion of wireless charging is appreciated as well.

Read our full Jabra Elite 85t review.

7. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

Superb sound for less than $150


Size: 1.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 7 hours (High Performance Mode), 9 hours (Low Power Mode), 45 hours (with charging case)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: High Performance mode, EQ customization, IPX5 water resistance, voice assistant support

Reasons to buy

+Excellent sound+Long battery life+Elegant, splash-proof design

Reasons to avoid

-No ANC-Mediocre voice call quality

In a field full of excellent AirPods alternatives, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus still manages to stand out. While it lacks ANC there's still plenty about this sleek pair of wireless earbuds to love, not least the superb sound quality. This even gets a boost from the same amplification tech that Cambridge Audio uses in its CX hi-fi stereo amplifiers, should you engage the buds' High Performance mode.

There's also water resistance, full EQ customization and some very reliable voice assistant support, all for less than you'd pair for a set of the most basic AirPods. Battery life deserves a mention too: with High Performance mode on you can expect between 6 and 7 hours of uptime, which jumps to 7 to 8 hours with the Low Power profile.

Read our full Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review.

8. Amazfit PowerBuds Pro

Excellent wireless earbuds with smart fitness features


Size: 1.3 x 0.7 x 0.9 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 5.5 hours (ANC on), 9 hours (ANC off), 19 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 30 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)

Special features: Adaptive noise cancellation, transparency mode, activity tracking

Reasons to buy

+Rich sound+Effective noise cancellation+Doubles as a fitness tracker+Stacked with features

Reasons to avoid

-Loose fit-Fitness features lack accuracy

The Amazfit Powerbuds Pro isn’t just one of the best sport headphones available. Its dynamic sound performance, effective ANC, and unique features also make it one of the best wireless earbuds in general, and a pair that can be had at an attainable price point. While the Powerbuds Pro already sounds great out of the box, you can download the Zepp app to access several presets that let you personalize audio and enable special modes like Motion Beat, which automatically raises bass levels to provide a livelier soundscape.

It’s also cool that the Powerbuds Pro can double as both an activity tracker and heart-rate monitor, though we wouldn’t rely too much on the recorded stats since they won’t be as accurate as what your Apple Watch 5 records. Still, they’re useful enough to gauge your exercise gains when forgetting to charge your go-to fitness tracker.

Read our fullAmazfit PowerBuds Pro review.

9. Edifier NeoBuds Pro

Flagship performance on a budget


Size: 1.3 inches (height)

Weight: 0.19 ounces

Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 6 hours (ANC off), 20 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 24 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 32 feet (10 meters)

Special features: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening, Game Mode

Reasons to buy

+Hi-res audio with LDAC and LHDC support+Powerful ANC and ambient listening+More durable and premium design than the AirPods Pro+Very comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-Mediocre battery life-Lacking some modern features

The NeoBuds Pro not only serves as Edifier’s best release yet, but also one of the best wireless earbuds at its relatively affordable price point. The sound features packed into these long-stem buds are vastly impressive. We’re talking strong 10mm drivers, a customizable EQ with well-engineered presets, low-latency Game Mode, and LHDC/LDAC support for lossless streaming. You’d be lucky to find half of these on a pair of sub-$200 wireless earbuds. ANC is effective to block out 80 percent of incidental sounds and the ambient listening mode is one of the strongest we’ve tested. Comfort is another area where these buds excel, resting pleasantly on your ears for several hours before experiencing any fatigue. 

Battery life won’t have you swooning at 5 hours per charge; this is only 30 minutes more than AirPods Pro. The lack of certain features like on-ear detection and wireless charging is also questionable for such a high-performance model. At the same time, ANC and sound more than make up for any shortcomings.

Read our full Edifier NeoBuds Pro review.

10. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

The best wireless earbuds for Galaxy phones


Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 8 hours (ANC off), 18 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: Adjustable ANC, Ambient mode, Voice Detect, 360 Audio, quick source switching, IPX7 waterproofing

Reasons to buy

+Improved design+Full waterproofing+High call quality+Lots of features

Reasons to avoid

-Some features only work with Samsung Galaxy smartphones-ANC improved, but still not the best

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are easily the best wireless earbuds Samsung has ever made: their design, waterproofing and ANC are all significantly improved over the previous Galaxy Buds Live.

They also challenge the AirPods Pro with a lengthy list of features, such as Voice Detect, which can automatically engage the ambient sound mode when the mics hear you speaking. This is a great pair of buds on the whole, though be warned that some features — like the 360 Audio surround sound mode — only work when paired with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone running OneUI 3.1 or later.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review.

11. JLab Go Air Pop

The best wireless earbuds for $20 or less


Size: 0.9 x 1 x 0.9 inches

Weight: 0.1 ounces (per bud)

Battery life (rated): 8 hours, 32 hours (with charging case)

Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)

Special features: Built-in USB cable in charging case, programmed EQ settings, water resistance

Reasons to buy

+Versatile audio+IPX4-rated water resistance+Ample battery life+Custom EQ settings

Reasons to avoid

-Poor call quality-Controls don't always work

This isn't the first pair of sub-$30 wireless earbuds we've seen, or even tested, but is is the best. Th Go Air Pop is a light, bass-rich, long-lasting set of buds that even throws in IPX4-rated protection against water and sweat. 

There are some drawbacks to going so cheap: the touch controls aren't always reliable, and call quality is so bad you're better off disconnecting and answering on your phone instead. But for everyday music playback, you won't find better value than what the Go Air Pop provides. And certainly not with four fun color options.

Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review.


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Best wireless earbuds: the best Bluetooth earbuds and earphones in 2021

The best wireless earbuds available today deliver reliable Bluetooth connectivity, fantastic audio quality, and a comfortable fit for your ears all rolled into one, often sleek and good-looking, package. In fact, many of the wireless earbuds in this list are so good, they now rival the best wired earbuds. However, knowing what to look for and which brands are the best can be confusing.

Whether you're looking for wireless earbuds that’ll stay put while you work out, or a noise-cancelling pair to block out the world around you so you can focus, we've got you covered with our roundup of the best models you can buy today. 

We've not just gone for the high-end brands here. Yes, we’ve tested the earbuds that sound amazing, but we’ve also included those that offer great battery life, and we've checked out the cheapest too if you're on a tight budget. 

This roundup features both types of wireless earbuds: true wireless earbuds and neckbud-style Bluetooth earphones. The former have no cables whatsoever, while neck buds have a cable that connects each earbud together. Your preference may vary so that's why we've included some of both to allow you to pick and choose between the two styles. After all, neckbud-style wireless earphones might not seem as advanced, but they can offer some extra security, which is useful if you're prone to misplacing an earbud or fearful of dropping one while you’re out and about. 

Read on while we take you through all of the options. There's a lot to take in, but we've narrowed it down to the best of the bunch.

The best-sounding wireless earbuds

The best sounding earbuds are exactly that – earbuds that sound fantastic. These are far from the cheapest earbuds out there but if you're passionate about hearing music at its best, they're the ones you need. 

It's still important to pick earbuds that feel good in your ears so we've focused on that but it's all about sound quality here rather than noise-cancellation or additional features such as waterproofing.

1. Sony WF-1000XM4


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