The best true wireless earbuds you can buy right now have the most advanced audio technology around today baked-in. This means they’re just as good as almost any pair of wired earbuds on the market.
Looking for the best true wireless earbuds? Your choices don’t stop at Apple’s iconic AirPods, hands-down the best-seller in the category. Several contenders now offer superior performance, audio quality and battery life — not to mention compatibility with technology outside the Apple device ecosystem — making the market for true wireless earbuds truly competitive, with more rivals on the way.
We’ve rounded up the best wireless earbuds on the market, drawing on our extensive back catalogue of in-depth reviews of Bluetooth in-ears. So whether you want the comfiest pair on the planet, one with brilliant battery life or just want the wireless earbuds with the best sound on the market, we’re sure to have a pair of buds for you.
10 Best True Wireless Earbuds 2021:
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2021, hands down.
Considering it’s still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed.
While models like the AirPods Pro have tried to replicate this, Sony is still top of the true wireless table.
That’s because the Sony WF-1000XM3 manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that’s exceedingly good for a pair of earbuds – they won’t offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear headphones, but its a worthy trade off for that sleeker form.
Sony has really knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3, with fist-pumping musicality and a sleek design.
Battery life is above average, and that compact charging case is pretty slick too. Constantly improving, a recent update has brought volume control to the buds themselves, as well as support for Amazon Alexa.
- Efficient noise-cancellation
- Inconspicuous looks
- Great fun to listen too
- Not suitable for sports
2. Grado GT220
Known for its excellent sounding, retro-designed, open-back wired headphones, Grado has long been a favorite among audiophiles, earning extra points for building many of its headphones by hand in Brooklyn, New York, for over 60 years. But with the world moving to wireless audio, the company has slowly shifted into the Bluetooth headphone arena, first with its GW100 on-ear model (in 2018) and now with its first true wireless earbuds, the GT220 ($259, £250, AU$365). Grado says it’s been working for two years to fit them with its “signature” mini-drivers and tune them accordingly. The good news is they sound fantastic — for true-wireless earbuds anyway — and perform well as a headset for making calls.
Their more penetrating fit (the buds have to be jammed into your ears), which provides very good passive noise-muffling, may not work for everybody. But if you’re OK with it, these are easily among the best-sounding true-wireless earbuds out there — and maybe even the best-sounding.
Audiophile headphones are often associated with more of a flat or neutral sound profile that delivers “accurate” sound. These are well-balanced but they have a more exciting sound profile, with bass that’s a touch more forward and nice sparkle in the treble. They are more revealing and articulate than Sennheiser’s True Wireless Momentum II earbuds, which come across as warmer and a bit more open with slightly bigger sound.
- Incredible sound
- Sleek design
- Support for Hi-Res Audio
- More expensive than rivals
Cambridge Audio isn’t just about hi-fi separates. The Melomania 1s are the company’s first-ever true wireless earbuds and, for the money, they’re pretty special. Available in Black or Stone, the in-ears come with their own pocketable carry case. It’s a neat design and doubles as a charger adding an extra 36 hours of battery life. Added to the nine hours you get when the in-ears are fully juiced, that works out at a whopping 45 hours.
Each bud has a 5.8mm graphene driver, a triple-core processor (with support for AAC and aptX audio codecs), a beam-forming mic for clearer calls or chatting to Siri/Google Assistant, plus Bluetooth 5.0. The IPX5 rating means they’re water and sweat-resistant, too.
The fit can be a little tricky depending on your ears, but once in place, you’ll be rewarded with rich sound. Vocals detailed, while there’s precision and cohesion to the soundstage.
There’s no dedicated app for the Melomania 1s, so you can’t, for example, tweak the EQ settings. But on the upside, pairing is refreshingly simple. Want the best-sounding budget buds around? These are a no-brainer.
- Detailed, rhythmic sound
- Impressive battery life
- Stable Bluetooth connection
- Can be a tricky fit
- More stylish alternatives exist
Apple’s Powerbeats Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are beefier than many earbuds on this list, and that’s by design. They’re made to give a super-secure fit during even your sweatiest workout, which they’ll stay protected from thanks to an IPX4 water-resistance rating.
They sound far better than Apple’s standard AirPods, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live, or almost any pair of Beats you’ve probably heard before. They squeeze an impressive 9 hours of life out of a charge (18 extra hours with the portly 3 x 3-inch square case they come in). One of the most helpful features is their ability to automatically pause or route calls back to your phone if you take one of them out of your ear.
We also love the banded (but still Bluetooth) Powerbeats model (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which have even better battery life, and nearly identical looks and sound. But no, they are not completely wirefree.
- Refined, mature sound
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Nice to use
- Timing can be bettered
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.
- Fun sound
- Strong wireless performance
- Less-than-stellar battery life
The Jaybird Vista are the best truly wireless earbuds for running that we’ve tested. They have a comfortable, portable, and breathable design that’s well-suited for sports, and they’re stable enough to stay in your ear during more intense workouts. Their 5.5-hour continuous battery life should last through your longest runs, and their portable charging case offers around two extra charges for longer days on-the-go.
Out-of-the-box, they have a fairly well-balanced sound profile that’s suitable for a variety of audio content. You can easily customize their sound profile using the parametric EQ and presets available in the Jaybird MySound app. Since they don’t leak a lot of noise, you can crank up the volume on your favorite tunes without bothering the people around you.
Unfortunately, their microphone has a poor recording quality that can make it difficult for whoever’s on the other end of the line to understand your voice. Also, without an ANC feature, they struggle to block out bass-heavy sounds like bus and plane engines. However, this feature may actually be a benefit for athletes who love to run outdoors, as it can help you stay aware of your surroundings.
- Good detail
- Strong bass depth
- Long battery life
- Can be beaten for dynamics
- Carrying case is a bit big
They might not sound quite as peachy as the true wireless earbuds at the top of the list, but these Bose’s still come with plenty to recommend. They don’t burrow into your ears, so are comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Designed with sporty types in mind, the SoundSport Free in-ears are both sweat- and water-resistant, and have a suitably rugged feel to them. The earbud-mounted controls are very useful and save you taking your phone out when pounding the pavement. Talking of which, the earpieces are neatly held in place by Bose’s StayHear tips which feature little wings that rest against the inside of your ear for extra stability.
Five hours of battery life should be enough for a workout, but the solid plastic charging carry case serves up an extra ten hours of power. Not bad, but not a patch on the battery life of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s (above).
Despite all the sporty touches, the SoundSport Frees have more than enough sonic appeal to satisfy commuters. Sound is bold and balanced, with rich, weighty bass and crisp highs. These sporty, feature-packed buds sound great and tick all the boxes.
- Weighty, full-bodied sound
- Deep, powerful bass
- Even tonal balance
- Nothing of note
The Jabra Elite 75t re-enters the rankings for one reason alone: active noise cancellation. But, wait, this model never launched with the feature? That’s correct. However, Jabra released a free over-the-air update that added ANC to these top-notch earbuds, which works surprisingly well, and is better than the noise neutralization update that was given to the Elite Active 75t.
Then there are the other hallmarks that make the Elite 75t a superb option, including the sleeker design, dust and water resistance, and bass-forward sound that can also be customized through the Jabra Sound+ app.
You’ll discover some other cool features in the app as well that enhance the user experience such as MySound and MyControls. The former performs a hearing test that tailors sound to your hearing, while the latter lets you customize and expand the controls on both earbuds. With price drops occurring more frequently as we head into Christmas, you’d be foolish not to gift these to someone, or yourself.
- Active and passive noise cancellation
- Great soundstage via customizable EQ settings
- Smaller, attractive design
- Mediocre call quality
- Digital assistant needs work
You may not have heard of up-and-coming audio brand Lypertek yet, but expect to hear a lot from it soon – its Lypertek Tevi are among the best true wireless earbuds we’ve tried, especially given their low price tag.
With USB-C charging, a well-balanced sound, lengthy battery life, and waterproofing, they tick every box you could ask for, from what are basically a pair of budget buds.
The Lypertek Tevi, surprisingly, might just blow you away, punching well above their weight and rivaling buds from some of the biggest audio brands on the planet.
- Incredible value
- Neutral audiophile-like sound
- Great battery life
- Design is a bit plain
Google’s first-ever true wireless model has impressed the critics, including us, enough to be featured on our best wireless earbuds list. The Pixel Buds 2 live up to the promise of what the original should have been, Android-friendly buds that offer an amazing Google experience and nail the basics. Google made several upgrades on both the inside and outside, going completely wireless with a stylish, comfy design that sits flush on the ears, while creating custom-designed 12mm dynamic drivers that pump out warm, rich sound.
Though their biggest selling point is the flawless Google integration that grants users access to Google Assistant (and its hundreds of commands) and Translate wherever they want, as well as instant pairing to Android devices.
It’s a bummer to see these buds share the same battery life as the AirPods Pro (with ANC on), but the attractive 24-hour charging case and insane quick-charging technology (10 minutes = 2 hours) helps remedy this.
And just recently, 9to5Google discovered that the Google Pixel 5 will have its own automated reverse wireless charging feature that may let you juice up the Pixel Buds by placing the charging case on the back of the smartphone.
- Works flawlessly with Google’s ecosystem
- Ultramodern design
- Vastly improved sound
- Fast, wireless charging
- Same battery life as the AirPods
How we test true wireless earbuds
In determining the best wireless earbuds, we consider fit, battery life, sound quality, design and value (are they worth the price?). We also factor in features like how well the controls work and how easily the earbuds pair with phones.
In terms of audio, we listen to many sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. We also make phone calls to assess both call quality and microphone performance.
During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for hours at a time throughout the course of a week. Reviewers will make note of battery life and how well it matches the rated battery life provided by earbud makers.
Why you should trust us
We’ve had our finger on the pulse of true wireless earbuds since they hit the market and pride ourselves on our ability to show our work and justify why we selected certain products over others. We go to great lengths to make objective, abstract concepts accessible to our readers. We only make money when you find something you like enough to keep it, and we take integrity very seriously.
Everything we recommend is a result of our objective measurements and great subjective experiences. Ultimately, we want you to enjoy your purchase, or at the very least, to exit our site with a little more knowledge about the inner-workings of audio.
We buy most of our test units, so this one got expensive. In order to figure out what to test, we used what we knew from reviewing this category since its beginnings. While most people know only the AirPods, a slew of products you may not know much about have hit the market. We took the units that held up the best in daily use, and rolled with that.