What are the best true wireless earbuds?
True wireless earbuds are becoming popular for good reason. They offer great, cable free listening that makes them ideal for commutes or gym workouts. 2019 saw many manufacturers flood the market with new pairs, and 2020 has seen the introduction of even more.
If you’re an regular gym goer or runner, you’ll want a pair with a good fit and IP certification. If you wear them on the morning commute or around the city, then a rock solid connection will help, as will a pair with active noise cancellation/transparency mode.
If great audio is what you need, the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are excellent picks. Can’t afford them? You don’t have to sacrifice audio with cheaper pairs such as the Cambridge Melomania 1, Lypertek Tevi and 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 sound: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- Best budget: Cambridge Melomania 1
- Best wireless: Shure Aonic 215
- Best battery life: Lypertek Tevi
- Best Affordable ANC: Sony WF-1000X
- Best Android true wireless: Cleer Audio Ally Plus
- Best iOS true wireless: Apple AirPod Pro
- Best for comfort: Libratone Track Air+
- Best water resistance: SoundMagic TWS50
- Best mic quality: Shanling MTW100
- Best noise isolation: Jabra Elite 75T
- Best style: B&O BeoPlay E8 3rd Gen
- 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.
1. Sony WF-1000XM3
The best overall 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 are a superbly musical pair of headphones, able to take any genre of music you give them and deliver an impressive sound. The ANC performance is the best we’ve experienced on a true wireless, with customisation available through Headphones app. Wireless connectivity has proven to be rock solid.
Battery stamina with ANC is a pretty good 24 hours, though the omission of aptX and LDAC is a disappointment. For an overall pair of true wireless and sound, they’re as good as it gets.
2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- Expressive, lush sound
- Good fit
- Robust feature set
- ANC and Transparency Mode tax battery life
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are the venerable audio brand’s second true wireless, and introduce the ANC and better battery life, along with a more ergonomic design.
ANC isn’t the strongest, but reduces cars and buses to a less noticeable hum. The audio is the real star; rich and textured, with warm, deep bass and detailed treble. They are, quite possibly, the best-sounding true wireless set.
3. 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
The bullet-shaped design and grey finish of the Melomania 1 is not the most attractive look (they do also come in black), but they’re much more compelling than they look.
Battery life is excellent at nine hours off a single charge and 45 in total. They have aptX HD for high-quality Bluetooth streaming, a feature some premium wireless earbuds don’t include. With its energetic sound and great integration across the frequency range, they hit the sweet spot of performance and price.
4. Shure Aonic 215
Excellent audio performance
- Open, balanced, detailed, punchy and all-around splendid sound
- Decent battery life
- Robust wireless connection
- Flat-out odd looks
- App updates can’t come soon enough
The Aonic 215 certainly look unique compared to other headphones on this list. However, while the design might raise a few eyebrows, they deliver when it comes to audio quality, with deep bass and treble that offers plenty of shine and bite.
Throw into the mix Bluetooth 5,0 connectivity, aptX and an impressive 32 hour battery life, and you have a formidable pair of headphones.
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5. Lypertek Tevi
Excellent budget performance
- Confident, lively sound
- Polished build quality
- Long battery life
- Comfortable to use
- Not much at this price
The Tevi are one of more assured and confident listens under £100. Their sound is smooth and lively, with excellent timing and can call up plenty of power when needed.
They’re comfortable enough to wear for prolonged listens and the battery life ensures you can keep listening for a long time. They’re also available in a new distinctive pink finish. The Tevi show that enjoyable wireless performance doesn’t have to cost the earth.
6. Sony WF-1000X
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 first gen WF-1000X stand the test of time, with great wireless performance and excellent sound.
Audio is balanced and refined, offering finesse and detail. Features are plenty, with active noise cancellation included, and while battery life has been surpassed, they’re still available around £100 making a cheap budget alternative to the WF-1000XM3.
7. Cleer Audio Ally Plus
Fantastic for Android users
- Great audio for the price
- Effective ANC
- Solid battery life
- Good call quality
- Fit note solid enough for gym use
The Ally Plus are an all-round great set of wireless earbuds. The come kitted out with useful features, including active noise cancellation, aptX for higher quality Bluetooth streaming and Fast Pair 2.0, which induces super-fast connection to any available Android device nearby.
With an impressive 30-hour battery life and excellent, well-balanced audio, most users will find little to complain about.
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8. 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 Pro offers deeper bass than you get from the standard AirPods, with better detail and clarity. ANC is very good, though could stand with being more customisable. Thanks to some neat design touches, they’re a very comfortable pair to wear.
They fall short compared to the Sony in terms of sound quality, but Apple has stepped up its game here. If you’re an Apple user, these are a no-brainer.
9. 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 useful features. The active noise cancellation is effective, able to be set to any level you want. You can also switch on ‘smart’ noise cancellation, which adjusts itself depending on how much noise it detects.
Like the AirPods Pro, they are comfortable to wear; the companion app is slick and they look great. They aren’t the most nuanced of performers, but with a big and warm sound, they’re enjoyable.
10. SoundMagic TWS50
Likable and affordable
- 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, and they’ve done it again with the TWS50.
The tadpole-like design is a bit odd, but the TWS50 are a compact and comfortable fit. Battery is 30 hours and they support Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX for good-quality streaming and connectivity. Sound quality is appealing with a detailed, well-defined soundstage and a convincing sense of tonality.
11. Shanling MTW100
A great affordable pair
- Neutral, crisp sound
- Comfortable design
- Excellent all-rounders
- No voice-assistant functionality
- Flimsy case
- Not widely available
The MTW100 are Shanling’s first wireless earbud, and they have the look and sound of a much more expensive pair. For less than £100, you get touch controls, 24 hours of battery and a wireless connection that is rock-solid. Note that these are the balanced armature version, not the cheaper dynamic driver variant.
The sound is impressively well-rounded; bass is warm and detailed, while treble performance is full of energy. They are a good fit for most musical genres.
12. Jabra Elite 75T
A solid pair of earbuds
- 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 rock solid performance in nearly all areas.
The design of Elite 75T are more compact than the 65T, which makes 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. The quality of the built-in mics aren’t the best, and there’s no aptX, but the Jabra’s sound quality is very good, with solid tonality, dynamics and bass extension.
13. B&O Beoplay E8 3rd Gen
Plenty of style
- Decent fit
- Premium design
- Great audio
- Lengthy battery life
- No active noise cancellation
Not a lot has changed with the Beoplay E8 3rd gen, with B&O opting for evolution not revolution. Changes to the design are intended to make it fit a wider range of ears and they’re 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 is irritating, so while the E8 gets another recommendation, there are more feature complete options.
14. 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. Nass is weak and the design contributes to a lack of a good seal.
Battery is decent at five hours and 24 hours in total. The wireless charging case is neat and the connectivity, at least with iOS devices, is arguably the best of any on this list apart from the AirPods Pro and the Shure. Flawed, but Apple owners won’t mind one bit.
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How we test the best true wireless earbuds
We use every set of true wireless earbuds for at least a week before scoring. 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.
Still looking for a headphone to buy? If you’re interested in delving deeper into other types, here are other pages that go into greater detail.