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Best Wireless Earbuds 2022: Amazing true wireless sound

True wireless earbuds are hugely popular among headphone buyers and 2022 will bring many more options to the market.

To help sort the wheat from the chaff, we’ve chosen only the best for this list. Our team of experts get through a vast number of wireless earbuds every year, from the most affordable choices to the three figure premium options, and from these tests, we’ve listed what we consider to be the best.

We’ve made sure to choose pairs that hit different price points, in a way that reflects different use cases and different buyers. This list will cater to those who want affordable wireless earphones, noise cancellers, and those after the best audio experience money can buy.

They’ve all been through the same experience of rigorous testing where we listen to a range of music genres, as well as key features such as battery life, comfort, noise cancellation and, ultimately, their sound quality..

We’ll be updating this page on a regular basis, adding new models if they deserve to knock our current kings of their perch. If a true wireless earphone is not what you’re after, we have lists for the best wireless headphones, best running headphonesbest noise cancelling earbuds and best headphones.

How we test

How we test headphones

Not just anybody can review a pair of headphones. You don’t need superhuman hearing to tell what’s good, but you do need to know what to listen out for.

Our headphone tests are done by some of the best and most prolific reviewers in the industry, with years of experience listening to everything from the plasticky freebie earbuds that come with your smartphone, to five-figure beasts of glass and marble. We love music and we want your tunes to sound good, too.

So we listen every pair of headphones we can get on or in our ears. We use a variety of sources, from basic MP3s playing on a laptop to high-quality tracks on dedicated hi-res audio players.

Our test tracks are wide-ranging to give headphones a thorough challenge. They’re also familiar, so we know every track backwards, and we know which bits might trouble the lesser performers.

We listen again and again, and we do that for weeks in case the sound changes – because it usually does. Then we’ll listen to similarly priced rivals and come up with a verdict that reflects the performance and features for the money.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Best sounding true wireless
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Pros

  • Impressively rich sound
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Compact design
  • IPX4 rating
  • Comprehensive feature set

Cons

  • Beaten by Bose for noise cancellation
  • More expensive than before
  • Call quality suffers in noisy areas

If it’s the absolute best audio quality you’re after, then the Sony WF-1000XM4 are one of the best sounding wireless earbuds we’ve tested thus far. 

The audio on offer here is fantastic, tonally it’s well balanced with refined highs and a rich and vibrant mid-range and measured bass performance. During testing, we found them to be an agile performer, coping well with everything from Regina Spektor’s As My Guitar Gently Weeps to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. Instruments are presented naturally and convincingly, while the XM4’s description of vocals carry more emotion than Bose’s flagship QuietComfort Earbuds can offer.

It’s not only the audio here that’s great as the WF-1000XM4s feature an improvement in battery life over the WF-1000XM3, 12 hours with ANC, 8 with it on. More improvements come in the form of the earphones, which are more compact than the previous generation offering a more robust fit and tighter seal. The finish of the black model, with its copper gold accent lends it a stylish, minimalist look, the case is smaller than before but hold more charge thanks to its new V1 processor. 

The ANC on offer here is also impressive with most noise blocked out with no issue at all. In line with this, the transparency mode on offer makes you feel as if you’re not even wearing earbuds with great levels of detail and clarity. Despite this, when it comes to noise cancellation, Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds still wins out.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Sony WF-1000XM4

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Best noise cancelling true wireless
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Pros

  • Class-leading noise cancellation for an earbud
  • Neutral sound quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Excellent transparency mode

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • No higher quality Bluetooth codecs
  • Design affected by wing noise

If it’s best in class ANC you’re after, then look no further than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

During testing, we found they blocked out virtually all the noise around us, with traffic brought to a hush and large crowds across a road reduced to barely more than murmur. This mostly came without playing any music, although when music was playing, it seemed as if you wouldn’t even have heard a pin drop.

Speaking of music, the audio quality with the QuietComfort Earbuds offers plenty of power alongside a generally clean and neutral sound that packs lots of detail. The bass here is powerful but not overbearing, while the top end offers a certain brightness and vibrancy that’s become Bose’s signature sound. They’re not as music as Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3 or the WF-1000XM4, but the Bose’s presentation is still a very good one.

They also proved comfortable to wear, the StayHear tip structure offered a good seal to passively block sound out passively, as well as prevent the earbuds from suddenly falling out. We found that seal and ear-tips also makes the QuietComfort Earbuds a good option for exercise, their IPX4 rating that keeps sweat and water at bay a further indication of its potential for workouts.

Compared to other premium earbuds, the Bose have a relatively low battery life, especially for a pair as expensive as they are. The QuietComfort Earbuds only offer 18 hours in total, which is 6 hours less than the WF-1000XM4 and ten hours fewer than Sennheiser. They could survive regularly use across a day, but will need charging fairly often as a result.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Edifier NeoBuds Pro

Best affordable ANC true wireless
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Pros

  • Engaging and vibrant sound
  • Very powerful sub-bass
  • Great active noise cancellation

Cons

  • The battery will run down in standby if you’re not careful
  • One mode spoils the sound

The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are a fantastic choice if you’re after the powers of ANC at a more affordable price.

Our reviewer found the sound here to be fantastic, one of the most fun and dynamic-sounding earbuds we’ve tested for a less than £100. The dynamic driver delivers real bassy power, with some textured and refined bass which isn’t something you’d usually find in sub-£100 earbuds. The soundstage is described with width and that comes with some excellent vibrancy and engaging stereo imaging.

The ANC is also great, as demonstrated during testing where low-frequency noise was almost completely nullified, while a decent proportion of mid-range noise disappeared, with the seal of the silicone tips helping to remove high frequency sounds too. The performance isn’t as good as what you’d find on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, but it surprised us how close the managed to get to the premium options. There are two ANC modes here – Low and High – and we’d recommend the Low setting as High can increase bass to the point where it is overbearing.

The apps for the NeoBuds Pro is decent enough with access to features such as a Game Mode, customisation of the touch controls and, intriguingly, the ability to increase the signal quality from your phone with 400-, 560- and 900kbps channels to choose from. The higher ones offer better quality at the expense of a reliable signal.

The NeoBuds Pro also feature good battery life with 24 hours matching more expensive options such as WF-1000XM4. The small caveat is that in standby mode the battery drains, so if you leave them unattended you’ll have less battery than you might expect. A battery saver mode or auto turn off after a certain amount of time had elapsed wouldn’t have gone amiss here.

Overall, the construction is pretty good, with the NeoBuds Pro comprised of pretty sturdy plastic. The advantage of plastic is that even those these buds are quite large, they don’t feel weighty, which our reviewer felt help to make them particularly comfortable and meant they weren’t at risk of falling out when taken took on runs. The Edifier buds also feature an IP54 rating and an IPX7 water resistance rating, so even the sweatiest of workouts shouldn’t be an issue.

The only thing that would give us momentary pause in wholeheartedly recommending these earphones is that Edifier is about launch the NeoBuds S that offer several improvements for a higher price.

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full Review: Edifier NeoBuds Pro

Back Bay Tempo 30

Best affordable workout true wireless
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Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Energetic, rich sound
  • Good fit and seal
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Appear to be restricted to SBC playback
  • Bass can overwhelm

Back Bay is a Boston-based audio company that’s not well known in the UK, but they’ve been pumping several good headphones and Tempo 30 are one of its best yet.

For a cheap true wireless, we found the finish to be attractive with its marble-like look that looks great in (or out) of the ear) marble-like finish that certainly looks fantastic. The fit is very snug, which made them ideal for use on our runs and workouts, their IPX7 rating makes them both waterproof and sweatproof). With six different types of ear-tips, there are plenty of choices to find the best fit to block out external noises. The nature of the ear-tips can also affect the sound of the Tempo 30 as well.

For instance the default ear-tips offer crisp, detailed tones with less bass, while swapping them out for another brings a fuller sound with more weight, which is what we preferred. The audio here is energetic and vibrant with some good detail and good sense of scale that isn’t always present for earbuds at this price. The bass extension and power of those lower-end frequencies are where the Tempo 30 shine, making for a fun listen that we think runners and those on the move a lot will enjoy .

The battery life here is also excellent, with 8 hours for each earbud, and 32 hours in total – more than double the length of the Bose Sports Earbuds, which are much more expensive. At this low price, sacrifices have to be made with no wireless or fast-charging support, and only SBC Bluetooth quality.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Back Bay Tempo 30

Grell Audio TWS/1

Best mid-range true wireless
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Pros

  • Poised, muscular and detailed sound
  • Impressive spec, with battery life a highlight
  • Built and finished to a high standard

Cons

  • App could be more comprehensive
  • ANC is ‘good’ rather than ‘great’
  • Level of competition is feral

Axel Grell is one of the most respected names in the headphone space, best known for his work at Sennheiser and with the TWS/1 he has embarked on his creating his own premium wireless earbuds

During testing we found the TWS/1 to proffer an expansive and well-defined soundstage, with excellent balance across the frequency range. The lows have impressive depth, while the mids feature plenty of detail and character, and the top end of the TWS/1 sounds crisp and substantial. They boast an energetic performance with a good level of dynamism.

While the audio here impresses, the ANC is not quite as good and certainly not Bose QuietComfort Earbuds level of suppression. They can reduce ambient noise a fair whack, although when compared with the industry leaders from Sony or Bose, they leave us wanting more. It’s less a case that these cancel out noise, but simply reduce it down to a more tolerable level.

On the front of design though, the TWS/1 look decent, with a premium feel to both the earbuds and their aluminium charging case. We also found them to be rather comfortable to wear, the vast range of foam and silicone ear-tips provided should mean most can find their comfort level.

The battery is pretty good, the TWS 1/ able to last for 34 hours with ANC on, which is better than the AirPods Pro and WF-1000XM4. Charging is a choice of USB-C and via any Qi-enabled wireless charging pad, and with the IPX4 resistance against moisture, you can consider these as an option for runs and workouts, too.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Grell TWS/1

Apple AirPods Pro

Best Apple true wireless
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Pros

  • Much improved design over original AirPods
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Well integrated with the Apple ecosystem
  • So comfortable

Cons

  • ANC strength can’t be manually altered

For Apple users, the AirPods have become the go-to choice for wireless earbuds, although for the best iOS experience, we’d recommend the Apple AirPods Pro.

They offer a slight variation on the look of the standard AirPods with a squatter charging case and earbuds with a smaller stem and more bulbous housing. We found this resulted in a much tighter seal to block out noise, and it also meant the AirPods Pro are better suited for workouts, the IPX4 water resistance ensures there’s protection from a light drizzle or sweat.

The AirPods Pro’s audio sees Apple up its game, and while these don’t better the likes of the WF-1000XM4 or Momentum True Wireless 3, they still sound very good. We found there to be noticeably deeper bass than on the standard AirPods, alongside a warmer tone, detailed vocals, an crisp treble. The big upgrade is the ANC, which we found to be effective on commutes with little noise creeping in while we listened to an audiobook. The only downside is that isn’t adjustable – it’s either on, off, or in Transparency Mode.

The integration with Apple devices is seamless, with instant recognition from an iPhone as soon as we flipped the case. Sign in to the same Apple ID on all devices you use, and there’s no need to constantly re-pair them, which is handy. The AirPods Pro also make use of H1 processor, which offers faster switching between devices and a stable and strong connection between the Pro and your device, as well as enabling features such as calling for Siri.

The AirPods Pro’s stamina is decent overall, but 4.5 hours per earbud is less than Sony and even the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. We found Apple’s battery claims largely rang true, although the gains received when turning ANC off proved minimal. Charging here is taken care of by a Lightning cable, or you can use Qi wireless charging if you want to go cable-free.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full Review: Apple AirPods Pro

Urbanears Boo Tip

Best eco friendly true wireless
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Pros

  • Well balanced, natural sound quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Solid battery life
  • Good Bluetooth connectivity
  • Admirable sustainability goals

Cons

  • Loose fit results in average noise isolation
  • Thin on the ground for features

The Urbanears Boo Tip are a topical pair of earbuds for those of us looking to be environmentally-conscious with their headphone picks.

They’re comprised from recycled plastic materials, in a similar vein to the more expensive Sony LinkBuds. The composition here is 91% recycled plastic, but they’re lightweight and feel comfortable enough to wear according to our reviewer, although they are fit a little on the loose side, which meant that their noise isolation wasn’t always the best during testing.

That said, the fit was secure enough that the buds never felt they were going to fall out, with an IPX4 resistance that deals with splashes of water and sweat, so these could be used for exercise if you wanted to. The case itself is nicely compact and can be slipped into our pockets with ease, which helps with portable use. 

With regards to sound quality, we found the Boo Tips to offer crisp vocals and a decent sense of brightness and clarity in the higher frequencies alongside a natural portrayal of instruments in the mid-range and a fair amount of punch. The looser fit here did impact the extension and depth of the bass, although there’s a nice sense of width to the soundstage here with a good amount of separation between voices and instruments.

Battery life is total of 30 hours with the case, with 4.5 hours per bud, and because of that long overall stamina we didn’t need to charge the case as often as we thought we would. You don’t get fast charging or any form of wireless option that you can get with similarly priced EarFun Free Pro 2 or Creative Outlier Air V3 but to emphasise their eco-outlook the charge can be limited to 80% to help prolong use.

When it comes to connectivity, the Urbanears utilise Bluetooth 5.2 for a strong tether between the buds and our smartphone, with minimal drop outs in overly crowded areas. The dual mic set-up for calls offered decent clarity but apart from that, there is not much in the way of features. These Urbanears keep things simple.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Urbanears Boo Tip

JLab Go Air Pop

Best cheap true wireless
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Pros

  • Bright, surprisingly versatile sound
  • Built-in charging cable
  • Useful onboard EQ modes

Cons

  • Harsh-sounding at top volume
  • Controls can be fiddly
  • Not particularly stylish

The JLab Go Air Pop are the cheapest wireless earbuds on this list, but even with their immensely low price in mind, they still offer some great quality.

The design is not the most stylish not, but the Go Air Pop are functional and offer a comfortable fit. During 1-2 hour stints of testing them, we found the fit to be great with no discomfort at any point. There is the choice of small, medium or large ear-tips in the box to fit a range of ears, too, and changing these proved to be nice and easy. The fit of these buds also meant we could use them for HIIT workouts without fear of them falling out. Touch controls did prove to be fiddly, but generally speaking they’re never going to be as precise or reliable as physical buttons.

You won’t find ANC here, but that’s not expected at this price. What you do get is great battery life that punches above their weight, as during testing we found JLab’s claims of 32 hours total playtime to largely ring true. They should be good for a week’s use before you need to plug them in, an easy feat with the built-in charging cable.

Of course, the audio from a $24.99 / £19.99 pair of earbuds is not going to set the world alight, but as wallet-friendly pairs go these sound great. Their ‘Signature’ sound mode delivered a warm bass and smooth mids without any noticeable harshness until you crank the volume up. Doing so made the top end a little harsh, although not enough that it made the Air Pops unlistenable. There’s also a Bass Boost sound mode designed for working out, and a Balanced mode for classical music and spoken word audio that we found worked well with good detail and separation.

Reviewer: Mike Sawh
Full Review: JLab Go Air Pop

We also considered…

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FAQs

What are the best wireless earbuds for iPhone?

The Apple AirPods Pro are the best earbuds for the iPhone. They have features that allow them to work seamlessly with an iPhone that covers connectivity and features such as Spatial Audio.

What are the best wireless earbuds for Android?

Sony’s latest WF-1000XM4 true wireless feature fast-pairing with Android devices and also supports the ‘Find My’ feature in case they go missing. LDAC support also means they support higher quality music playback on Android devices.

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