What are the best true wireless earbuds?
True wireless earbuds are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason.
They offer great, cable free listening making them an ideal companion for commutes or gym workouts. 2019 saw manufacturers flood the market with new pairs at a frenzied pace. 2020 has seen the announcement of even more. That makes knowing which to get a tricky task.
If you’re an active user who likes to go for a run, you’ll want a pair with a good fit, as well as an IP certification rating. If you’re someone who wears a pair for the morning commute, then a wireless earbud with a rock solid connection will help matters and, if you can push your budget up, one with active noise cancellation.
If great audio quality is what you want, the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Apple AirPod Pro are excellent picks. Can’t afford those pricey headphones? Then you don’t have to sacrifice audio for affordability if you settle cheaper pairs such as the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, Lypertek Tevi or SoundMagic TWS50
The following list is a summary of our top picks, but you can scroll down to see summary of each one.
- Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM3
- Best budget: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- Best battery life: Lypertek Tevi
- Best Affordable ANC: Sony WF-1000X
- Best fit: Apple AirPod Pro
- Best for comfort: Libratone Track Air+
- Best for style: B&O BeoPlay E8 3rd Gen
- Best design: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
- Best connectivity: Apple AirPods (2019)
Scroll down to see our other picks of the best true-wireless earbuds 2020, or read our guide to the best noise cancelling headphones.
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The best-sounding wireless earbuds
- Great musical sound quality
- Super noise cancellation
- Snug, comfortable fit
- Rock solid wireless connectivity
- Great with all types of music
- Adaptive Sound Control can be intrusive
- No aptX
The WF-1000XM3 build and improve upon the original WF-1000X. Sound is superbly musical, with the WF-1000XM3 a dab hand with any genre of music you give it. Active noise-cancellation is the best we’ve experience on a true wireless pair, with customisation of ANC levels available through Headphones app. Wireless connectivity has also proven to be rock solid.
Battery stamina is around the average for most sets at 24 hours, while the omission aptX and LDAC for higher-quality Bluetooth streaming is a disappointment. Still, for features and sound quality, this is as good as it currently gets in the true wireless arena
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
A great debut
- Great battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Poised, energetic sound
- Grey finish is a bit austere
- Touch controls take some getting used to
Cambridge Audio’s first pair of true wireless earbuds are a resounding success – great sound, super-long battery life and all of this for less than £100.
Their bullet-shaped design and grey finish aren’t the most attractive of looks, but look elsewhere and they’re a much more compelling recommendation. Battery life is excellent at nine hours of a single charge and 45 in total, which is more than enough for a week. They also support aptX HD for high-quality Bluetooth streaming, a feature some more expensive wireless earbuds don’t have.
Put all that with an energetic sound with great integration across the frequency range and they hit the sweet spot of performance and price.
- Confident, lively sound
- Polished build quality
- Long battery life
- Comfortable to use
- Not much at this price
Lypertek part of a wave of “Chi-fi” products – that’s Chinese audio brands – entering the market. Their Tevi true wireless are an affordable pair of buds that deliver an audio performance that belies their price.
They are one of more assured and confident listens under the £100 mark. Their sound is smooth and lively, boasts excellent timing and can summon up plenty of power.
They’re comfortable enough to wear for prolonged listens and the battery life ensures you can keep listening to them for a long time. They’re also available in a new pink finish that’s more distinctive than the original black version.
The Tevi show that great true wireless performance doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Still great and even cheaper
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Adaptive noise cancelling totally works
- Comfortable, stable fit
- Great sound
- Charging case is a little chunky
Three years old and the WF-1000X remain a great pair of wire-free earphones, with great wireless performance and excellent sound.
Audio is balanced and refined, offering finesse and detail. They come with lots of features, including active noise cancellation. Battery life has been surpassed by others and the charging case is on the large, but as they’re now available for less than £100, they’re a great cheap alternative to the WF-1000XM3.
Apple AirPods Pro
A pricier, more feature-rich AirPod earbud
- Much improved design over original AirPods
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Well-integrated with the Apple ecosystem
- So comfortable
- ANC strength can’t be manually altered
The AirPods Pro are evidence that Apple is getting to grips with its audio products, with cracking sound across a range of efforts.
The Pro offers deeper bass than you’d get from the standard AirPods, with better detail is better and clarity. ANC is also very good, though could stand with being more customisable. Thanks to some neat design touches, they’re one of the comfortable earbuds at any price.
They’re fall still short in terms of sound and power compared to the Sonys, but Apple has really stepped up its game here. If you’re an Apple user, these are a no-brainer.
Libratone Track Air+
Danish design and top-notch features
- Big sound
- Smart noise cancellation
- Stylish design
- Super-comfortable fit
- Audio quality not as good as some others
- Not the most nuanced of listens
There’s plenty to like about the Track Air+, from their thoughtful design and many features.
The most notable is active noise cancellation, which can either be set to any level you want or if you switch on ‘smart’ noise cancellation, adjusts depending on the amount of noise it can detect. It’s very effective.
They’re also very comfortable to wear, feature a slick companion app and look great. The Track Air+ are a very appealing true wireless pair.
Likable and affordable
|SoundMAGIC TWS50 True Wireless Earbuds Bluetooth 5.0 Earphones in-Ear Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones IPX7 Waterproof Touch Control Headset with Portable Charging Case||$69.99|
- Light, compact and comfortable
- Detailed, informative and coherent sound
- Convincing tonality
- Direct rivals offer better battery life
- Not the most out-and-out dynamic listen
SoundMagic have been putting out great budget headphones for a number of years. The TWS50 marks their first attempt at a true wireless, and once again, they turn up trumps.
Though the tadpole-like design is a bit odd, the TWS50 are a light, compact and comfortable fit. For the price you aren’t getting much in the way features, but battery is 30 hours and they support Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX for good-quality streams and connectivity.
Sound quality is pretty entertaining, with a detailed, well-defined soundstage and a convincing sense of tonality. There are better sounding performers, but not as cheap.
Jabra Elite 75T
A solid pair of earbuds
|Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds – Alexa Built-In, True Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case, Titanium Black – Bluetooth Earbuds with a More Comfortable, Secure Fit, Long Battery Life and Great Sound Quality||$179.99|
- Comfortable, solid fit
- Great battery life
- Dynamic sound
- Mic quality could be better
The Elite 75T are the latest wireless earbuds from Jabra and offer pretty rock solid performance in nearly all areas.
Design is more compact than the 65T making them more comfortable to wear and pocket-friendly. Battery life is just shy of 30 hours and there’s support for Bluetooth 5.0 and voice assistants. Be wary though, we found the quality of the built-in mics made it difficult for Alexa to pick up our voice.
There’s no aptX, but the Jabra’s sound quality is very good with solid tonality, dynamism and bass extension.
B&O Beoplay E8 3rd Gen
Plenty of style
- Decent fit
- Premium design
- Great audio
- Lengthy battery life
- No active noise cancellation
The Beoplay E8 3rd gen are as the name implies, the third iteration of B&O’s very pricey true wireless.
And not a lot has changed with the latest versions, with B&O taking the route of evolution instead of revolution. Changes have been made to the design so it can fit a wider range of ears. They’re also smaller than before and weigh less, contributing to that all important noise-isolating seal.
The sound is detailed and clear, the low-end precise and tonal balance consistent. At this price, the lack of ANC can’t be ignored, so while the E8 gets yet another recommendation, you can get more for much less.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
Technically accomplished earbuds
- Good spatial imaging
- Rich sound Good core
- Bluetooth performance
- Some inter-earpiece blips
- The price is high
Sennheiser has an excellent pedigree in the sound department and the Momentum True Wireless are another great example.
They sound great and Bluetooth 5 performance is generally solid. With ambient sound monitoring, listeners can hear what’s around them and the design is slickly done.
But, they’re expensive and battery life, both in the earbuds and charging case, are average. They’re also not the most intuitive pair either, with all the various LED indicators necessitating a peak back to the manual to decipher their meaning.
Apple AirPods (2019)
Great wireless connectivity
- Great battery life and charging case
- Wireless charging a nice addition
- Fantastic connection
- Doesn’t address problems with the first-gen product
- Wireless charging case costs extra
- Fit might be dodgy for some
The AirPods (2019) are a case of small upgrades. They’re far from the best-sounding pair on this list, with weak and messy bass; the design contributing to a lack of a good seal. However, they have some good points.
Battery is decent at five hours and 24 hours in total. The wireless charging case is neat and the connectivity is arguably the best of any earbud on this list.
Flawed, but Apple owners won’t mind one bit.
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How to choose the best for you
When buying true wireless earbuds you need to consider what exactly you want them for.
- If you’re after something you can use on the morning commute, then a pair with ANC is a good option, especially as they now offer ambient sound modes which allow the listener to hear what’s around them.
- If you’re after a set for the gym, then you’ll want a pair with a selection of tips for a comfortable fit and water/sweat-resistance.
- Then finally you have to think about price. After all, there’s no point spending oodles of cash on a set with a heart-rate monitor or getting a top-end set with ANC if you’re just a casual listener looking to enjoy the benefits of wire-free headphones.
After all that, you should ask, ‘do I really need a true wireless set?’ After all, as the tech is fairly new, every pair comes with a fair mark-up on price. If you don’t 100% need a completely cable free set you could be better off checking out a over-ear wireless set.
You can check out our selection of the best in our guide to the best wireless headphones.
How we test true wireless earbuds
We use every set of true wireless earbuds for at least a week before scoring. While testing we use them in a variety of different environments as well as quiet lab conditions to ensure we check how they work in the real world, not just a lab environment. They’re also tested using a variety of music genres.
Also see our guide to the best headphones of all types.