Where once were wires, now Bluetooth reigns. And if it’s cordless audio you’re after, this is the list to listen to: from accessible in-ears to premium earphones, we’ve ranked the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now. And whether you’re tired of tangled wires or upgrading to a port-free phone, there are buds for every ear and budget.
The top options go light on your lugs but are sizeable on sound, offering sonic capabilities to rival any cabled competitor. Many also augment the listening experience with in-app adjustments and active noise cancellation.
Every pair of earbuds is tested extensively by our keen-eared team. Trialled in real-world conditions and challenged with a range of genres to rival your average Glastonbury line-up, you can be sure that the wireless earbuds below all cut the musical mustard.
If you’re looking for Apple-rivalling wireless earphones, check out the best AirPods alternatives, or, if you’re looking specifically for gym buds, check out our dedicated list of the best wireless in-ears for sport.
What are the best wireless earbuds?
The Sony WF-1000XM5 (check price) continues its record of being the best true-wireless earbuds you can buy. The 5th gen buds deliver a listen that’s as punchy as it is detailed, spacious and balanced. They also cancel outside sounds effectively, with the option to tweak ANC levels in the outstanding partner app.
Other wireless earbud recommendations
If the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds aren’t quite right for you, here are four other recommendations:
The AirPods Pro (2nd gen) (check price) are comfortable, clever and equipped with active noise-cancellation. From Spatial Audio to automatic device-switching, the feature set is smart from start to finish.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (check price) are improved in almost every way over the first generation, these are smaller, lighter and more comfortable. The 9.3mm full-range drivers deliver bass that feels bold yet controlled.
The Beats Fit Pro (check price) pair AirPods tech with sporty styling, making some of the finest fitness earbuds around. With the help of flexible wingtips, their fit is equal parts comfortable and unshakeable.
The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 (check price) are bold by design, machined caps contribute to a premium finish. Not the smallest or lightest, each earbud harbours dual drivers and two individual amplifiers, producing incredible separation.
The Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds (check price) are a sleek pair of buds that offer fantastic noise cancellation, a great battery life and personalised features, all for a bargain price
The best wireless earbuds you can buy today:
1. Sony WF-1000XM5
With convincing sound, outstanding features and excellent ergonomics, the WF-1000XM5 continue Sony’s proud tradition of building the best true wireless in-ears
- Exceptional ANC abilities
- Superb sound quality
- Companion app could be easier to get around
- Some materials don’t feel as luxurious as others
|Sony WF-1000XM5 specs|
|Battery life||8 hours/16 hours (ANC on, buds/case)|
|Weight||5g (buds) 36g (case)|
Continuing its record of true wireless winners, the WF-1000XM5 show once again that Sony knows how to make excellent earphones. Successors to the brilliant WF-1000XM5, the upgraded earbuds deliver a listen that’s as punchy as it is detailed. Spacious and balanced, we found they’re endlessly engaging in the ear. Besides their convincing sonic talents, the WF-1000XM5 cancel outside sounds astonishingly well, with the option to tweak ANC levels in the outstanding partner app. That’s also where you can tinker with EQ levels, touch controls and more.
During our review we found battery life is par for the course, but the trade-off is a tidy design that’s smaller than before – mirrored by a charging case that’s more pocket-friendly. The WF-1000XM4 remain better value, but the WF-1000XM5 set a fresh bar for in-ear superiority.
- Read more: Sony WF-1000XM5 review
2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Smaller and more comfortable than before, these premium earbuds offer a feature-packed app, wind-beating ANC and sonic fidelity to spare
- Poise, detail and fidelity to spare
- Great noise-cancellation, especially where wind noise is concerned
- No multi-point connectivity
- Bass attack could be considered slightly tentative
|Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 specs|
|Battery life||7 hours/28 hours (ANC on, buds/case)|
|Weight||5.8g (buds) 66.4g (case)|
With a few simple improvements, the third generation of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless in-ears cement their place among the best. Build quality feels as bomb-proof as before, while a 16% size reduction and means the updated ‘phones look less chunky. Each earbud features a touch interface, customisable through the feature-packed app. Taps can be set to cycle through ANC settings, which include effective transparency and anti-wind modes.
We found the battery life is acceptably average at seven hours from the earbuds, but superlative audio performance makes up for it: fire up the 7mm drivers and they treat your ears to a poised recital. Favouring balance and fidelity over punishing bass, the Momentums demonstrate remarkable sonic control. Detail is engrossing across the range, with a spacious and tonal soundstage.
- Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review
3. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
With exemplary ANC and engaging sound, Bose’s second-gen earbuds are a pricey but seriously competitive package
- Exemplary noise-cancellation
- Big, detailed and engaging sound
- Bog-standard battery life
- Short of outright dynamism
|Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II specs|
|Battery life||6 hours (buds, ANC ON) 18 hours (case)|
|Weight||6.2g (buds) 59.8g (case)|
The original Bose QuietComfort Earbuds were already some of the best wireless earbuds with a five-star Stuff review no less. We think their successors improve the recipe in almost every way. Smaller, lighter and less conspicuous, the second-gen Earbuds are also more comfortable. In testing, we found the swappable tips and stability bands ensured a snug fit. Stems are short, but still accommodate responsive touch surfaces which can be customised through the feature-packed app.
To our seasoned ears, the 9.3mm full-range drivers delivered bass that felt bold yet controlled. An expansive soundstage is matched by stacks of detail across the range. Others might make big dynamic variations more obvious, but the QuietComfort Earbuds II don’t want for nuance. And they excel when it comes to ANC: deploying four mics per earbud, they deal decisively with ambient noise, with no hint of in-ear pressure. So while six hours of onboard battery is bettered by rivals, the QCE II are Bose’s best noise-cancelling earphones to date.
- Read more: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review
4. Beats Fit Pro
Competitive battery life, rich sound and a lock-tight fit put the Beats Fit Pro among the finest fitness headphones around
- Good battery life & fast rapid charge
- Excellent stay-put fit
- Bulky case
- Lacks customisation
|Beats Fit Pro specs|
|Battery life||27 hours; 6 hours (buds), 21 hours (case)|
|Weight||5.5g (buds), 54g (case)|
Pairing AirPods tech with sporty styling, we think the Beats Fit Pro are some of the finest fitness earbuds around. With the help of flexible wingtips, their fit is equal parts comfortable and unshakeable. We found the sound quality is excellent, courtesy of Apple’s H1 chip and 9.5mm drivers inside: bass is predictably punchy, but overall output also proves rich, crisp and clear. Spatial audio support means sonic immersion with compatible tracks, plus Adaptive EQ tweaks sound to suit your surroundings.
ANC and transparency modes ape the AirPods Pro, even if noise-cancellation isn’t the strongest. Battery life is competitive enough at 30 hours, while wear-detect sensors pause the playlist when you can’t hear it. The earphones reward iOS users with seamless connectivity, although the Android app also offers welcome customisation.
- Read more: Beats Fit Pro review
5. AirPods Pro (2nd gen)
Feature-packed and comfortable to wear, the AirPods Pro are the smartest noise-cancelling earphones for Apple fans
- Even better than the excellent originals
- Nicely improved feature set
- We don’t like the swipe volume control
- Very Apple centric
|AirPods Pro (2nd gen) specs|
|Battery life||6 hours / 30 hours (buds/case, ANC on)|
|Weight||5.3g (buds), 51g (case)|
Comfortable, clever and equipped with active noise-cancellation, Apple’s first AirPods Pro were a stellar set of wireless in-ears for iPhone fans – and the sequel is even better. From Spatial Audio to automatic device-switching, the feature set is smart from start to finish. Find a good seal with assistance from Apple’s fit test and the AirPods reward you with a personalised listen: Adaptive EQ attunes audio output to suit your ear, while ANC monitors noise hundreds of times per second.
The latter makes a notable difference in removing unwanted interruptions, while the former ensures a consistently rich, warm and detailed listen. We find it annoying that the smarts are restricted for Android users, and the AirPods Pro are easily beaten on price. But they’re an enticing choice for iPhone owners, with lightweight, ergonomic and neatly familiar packaging.
- Read more: AirPods Pro (2nd gen) review
6. Technics EAH-AZ80
Excellent all-rounder wireless in-ears that balance clean sound with convincing ANC, and deliver a secure yet comfortable fit.
- Punchy yet balanced audio
- Effective noise cancelling
- ANC on battery life not the greatest
- LDAC and multipoint don’t play nicely together
|Technics EAH-AZ80 specs|
|Battery life||4.5 hours/16 hours (ANC on, LDAC codec, buds/case)|
|Weight||7g (buds), 50g (case)|
These bulbous buds want to do it all: comfort, clarity and clear comms. Technics is well versed in the second part, and parent company Panasonic knows a thing or two about voice calls thanks to decades of DECT phone production. A bit of research into ear shapes and boom: the AZ80 really is a single pair of true wireless buds that can be all things to every listener.
We found they stay comfortably locked in our ears, even while working out, have clean-sounding microphones with effective wind noise reduction, and LDAC Bluetooth for high-quality music playback. The tuning is top-tier, and active noise cancellation is very good too – if not quite as good as Sony or Bose. Multipoint connectivity and very respectable battery life make them a wonderful alternative to the long-established WF-1000XM4.
- Read more: Technics EAH-AZ80 review
7. Bowers & Wilkins PI7
Mighty expensive but mighty impressive: apart from their mediocre battery life, these premium hi-fi ‘phones do plenty to please audiophiles
- Exquisite sound quality
- Clever Bluetooth charging case
- Mediocre battery life
- Really quite expensive
|Bowers & Wilkins PI7 specs|
|Battery life||4 hours (buds) 16 hours (case)|
Ask any audiophile and they’ll tell you the Bowers & Wilkins name carries certain expectations of audio excellence. Luckily, the British hi-fi brand’s debut wireless earphones emphatically fulfil them. Bold by design, machined caps contribute to a premium finish. Not the smallest or lightest, each earbud harbours dual drivers and two individual amplifiers, producing incredible separation.
Lows are deep but refined, while mids are given the freedom to breathe, with incredible detail across the range. Which we think is lucky, because there’s no option to tweak the EQ. Noise cancellation is impressive, if not quite at Bose’s level for total blackout. Battery life should be better for the eye-watering price, but that’s countered by the clever charging case: retransmission tech means it can broadcast non-wireless signals via Bluetooth.
- Read more: Bowers & Wilkins PI7 review
8. Denon AH-C830NCW
What they lack in features and functionality, these well-built and balanced Denon earbuds make up for in expert sonic performance
- Balanced, realistic sound
- Nice build and finish
- Some gaps in specification
- Ordinary battery life
|Denon AH-C830NCW specs|
|Battery life||5 hours (buds) 20 hours (case)|
|Weight||5.4 g (buds), 43 g (case)|
Adopting a dangly stem design, Denon’s first true wireless in-ears don’t upset the status quo. But with well-made, ergonomic shells, they represent a relatively stylish example of the form. They also benefit from ANC, although performance is decent, rather than outstanding. With muting smarts enabled, the AH-C830NCW deliver around five hours of battery life, plus a further four from the charging case.
Each earbud features a touch surface, although you can’t use it to control the volume. Nor do you get an app, EQ or voice-assistant support. But these boldly old-school earbuds do have solid audio chops: bass frequencies are deep and textured, yet nicely balanced against an expressive mid-range and well-judged high frequencies – something not all wireless earphones are brave enough to deliver.
- Read more: Denon AH-C830NCW review
9. Sony LinkBuds S
With a comfortable fit and enjoyable audio performance, Sony’s featherweight ‘phones are excellent everyday all-rounders
- Audio quality a little lacking
- Great extra features
- No wireless charging
- App needs polish
|Sony LinkBuds S specs|
|Battery life||6 hours (buds), 20 hours (with case)|
|Weight||4.8g (bud), 35g (case)|
Lighter and smaller than Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM4, the LinkBuds S are miniature earbuds for all-day audio. Barely there at 4.8g per bud, Sony reckons they’re the world’s lightest noise-cancelling wireless earphones and they’re certainly some of the best wireless headphones. We found they require a little practice to position, but silicone tips seat them securely and comfortably, while tap controls are easy to master.
Relatively small drivers mean the LinkBuds S can’t compete with the WF-1000XM4 on energy. But while we found them a little lacking at higher frequencies, bass is decent and the listen is broadly balanced and enjoyable. Battery life could be better at six hours with ANC, but the overall experience is easy to live with. Sony’s Headphones app offers adaptive ambient sound control, while noise-cancelling excels when it comes to silencing wind during calls.
- Read more: Sony LinkBuds S review
10. Jabra Elite 5
Fitness-friendly true wireless in-ears with decent (if not class-leading) ANC and solid sound, but the Elite 5 feels a little lost in Jabra’s extensive line-up
- Energetic yet detailed sound signature
- Decent battery life and convenient wireless charging
- ANC could be stronger
- Adds to an already bulging earphone range
|Jabra Elite 5 specs|
|Battery life||7 (buds, ANC active) 28 hours (case, ANC active)|
|Weight||5g (buds), 40g (case)|
Comfortably resting between the company’s entry-level Elite 4 and excellent premium Elite 7 Active, we think the Jabra Elite 5 are truly some of the best wireless earbuds, offering superb call quality, physical controls, and all manner of codecs to keep Apple and Android users sweet, including AAC, SBC and aptX.
Sound is punchy, and you can tweak things to your liking using the equaliser settings in Jabra’s app. Noise cancellation, while not the best around, is suitably decent, and the seven-hour battery life is respectable, if not mind-blowing. Given its mid-range price and solid overall design and performance though, this is a great choice for those looking for a respectable all-rounder with particularly excellent call performance.
- Read more: Jabra Elite 5 review
11. Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds
A sleek pair of buds that offer fantastic noise cancellation, a great battery life and personalised features, all for a bargain price
- Finely balanced audio quality for the money
- Great battery life
- Lots of features, but not all of ’em are worthwhile
- Comfort could be better
|Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds specs|
|Battery life||10 hours (buds), 50 hours (case)|
|Weight||19 g (case)|
Soundcore has cemented itself a reputation for solid sound and sturdiness, with a price range that won’t break the bank. This is true in the soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds, a pair of elite buds for under $100/£80. The Liberty 4 NC buds offer spectacular noise cancellation. It reduces outside noise by up to 98.5% and is tailored to the listener’s ears. 11mm custom-tuned drivers, Hi-Res wireless capabilities and LDAC technology deliver a crisp and clear sound, while a 10H/50H battery will ensure the music doesn’t stop after a day of listening.
As is to be expected with Soundcore products, the Liberty 4 NC earbuds offer some great personalisation features through its app. Audio can be sculpted to the listener’s ears through the HearID 2.0 feature. This feature assesses your hearing profile to find the perfect sound. There’s also a fully adjustable EQ, and 22 presets to choose from. And on top of that, the Liberty 4 NC buds look pretty sleek too, and fit snuggly into a smooth flip-top case.
- Read more: Soundcore Liberty 4 review
12. Shure AONIC Free
Designed for audio quality above all else, these premium earbuds make up for bulky dimensions and average battery life with outstanding sound
- Outstanding across-the-board sound quality
- Great control app
- Big earbuds, big charging case…
- Disappointing case battery life
|Shure AONIC Free specs|
|Battery life||7 hours (buds), 14 hours (case)|
Big and borderline gawky, Shure’s AONIC Free are some of the best wireless earbuds because they focus on sonic perfection over fashionable impressions. Robustly built and comfortable to wear, there’s no escaping their heft. Nor are the dimensions justified by a comprehensive feature set: there’s no ANC, the interface uses physical buttons and battery life is average at seven hours. So why are they on this list?
Simple: they offer outstanding sound quality across the board. Few earbuds at any price can match their combination of accuracy, detail, punch and fidelity. The soundstage is large yet well-defined. Dynamic potency is considerable, rhythmic expression is naturalistic, and the overall tonality is entirely convincing. In short: if you’re willing to ignore their shortfalls in exchange for the best possible sound, you need to hear the AONIC Free.
- Read more: Shure AONIC Free review
How to choose the best wireless earbuds
When buying the best wireless earbuds, there are several important factors you need to consider to ensure you make the right choice. Here are some key considerations to, err, consider.
The most important aspect of choosing earbuds is sound quality. We’ve chosen wireless earbuds that deliver excellent sound quality with a balanced range of highs, mids, and lows.
Closely behind sound quality is comfort and fit. This is crucial for an enjoyable listening experience so you’ll want earbuds that come with multiple sizes of ear tips. This allows you to customise the fit to ensure your wireless earbuds are secure and comfortable. This is especially important if you’re going to be using your wireless earbuds to work out with, as you don’t want them falling out when you’re running/moving vigorously around.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is between noise-cancelling and non-noise-cancelling buds. Noise-cancelling wireless earbuds will offer you greater ability to block the outside world, but often have shorter battery life and don’t sound quite as good. Whereas non-noise-cancelling buds will offer longer battery life and improved sound quality. This decision all comes down to how you plan on using your buds.
Sweat resistance, battery life and extra features
Another key feature to look out for when you’re working out is water and sweat resistance. Getting some earbuds with an IPX4 or higher rating ensures durability and protection against moisture damage.
Now, there isn’t too much room in true wireless earbuds for a large battery, so battery life can often be an issue when shopping (especially if you’re buying for a long-haul flight). We’ve selected buds which offer decent battery life so there’s no need to worry there. If you do need to use your earbuds for a long period of time, then opt for some buds with the best battery life.
Perhaps more important than bud battery life is the capacity of the charging case. These are an essential accessory for wireless earbuds as they ensure your buds are always topped up and ready to use. The size and weight of the case are important, too. You’ll want it to be portable enough to carry with you at all times, and one key feature to look for is quick charging.
Finally, a few extra features to consider are touch controls, EQ customisation, virtual assistants and transparency mode which, although not necessary, are nice to have.
How we test the best wireless earbuds
We’ve reviewed dozens of wireless earbuds over the years, so you can trust our recommendation on which pair to buy.
We usually spend a week or longer reviewing a set of earbuds, testing out the comfort and fit, sound quality, battery life and connectivity.
We’ll also use any new software features. These could include EQ customisation, virtual assistants and transparency modes to see if they’re worth the extra money they’re no doubt commanding.
Once we’ve experienced every aspect of the earbuds, we’ll compare them with rivals, give them a star rating and add them to this buying guide.
For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.