The best true wireless earbuds deliver more than just freedom of wires. They give you a comfortable fit, clear audio for media streaming and phone calls, and a hands-free experience for interacting with your smartphone via a digital assistant. And while some are often negative compared to the best wireless headphones, improvements in Bluetooth, microphone technologies and battery life make them a must-have for people who like to consume their music on the go.
Finding the best true wireless earbuds can be a daunting task, especially as the market has exploded with options in recent years. Current champions, such as Apple and Jabra, continue to release outstanding products, but there are also great choices from other manufacturers. If you’re scratching your head about which wireless earbuds to buy, we are here to help you with our top choices.
Best True Wireless Earbuds
As a quick refresher, true wireless earbuds have no cable to connect to your phone or another device – and, unlike wireless earbuds, there’s no cable to connect each button to the other. This makes true wireless earbuds extremely flexible and convenient – it also means you have to be careful not to lose any.
The best earbuds right now
The Sony WF-1000XM3 is the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2020, hands down. Considering the fact that it is still rare to get noise cancellation in wired earbuds, the fact that Sony managed to wrap it in a pair that is not only wireless but true wireless is very impressive. While models like the AirPods Pro have tried to replicate this, Sony is still at the top of the true wireless table.
That’s because the Sony WF-1000XM3 is able to offer a level of noise cancellation that is exceptionally good for a pair of earbuds – they do not offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear headphones, but are a worthy trade-in for that slimmer form. Sony really hit the ball rolling with the WF-1000XM3, with a fist-turning musicality and sleek design. The battery life is above average, and that compact charging case is also pretty smooth.
Continuously improving, a recent update has brought the volume control of the buds themselves, as well as the support of Amazon Alexa. These earbuds might get even better in the near future; on March 5, the earbuds appeared briefly on the Qualcomm website, suggesting that the Sony WF-1000XM3 is about to get aptX HD support – and thus Hi-Res Audio support as well.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Decent sound and noise cancellation
The sound quality, battery life, and design of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are truly brilliant – and they’re a really good alternative to the Sony WF-1000XM3, especially if you prefer a more flashy design when it comes to genuine wireless earphones. We did find that people with smaller ears sometimes find them a bit uncomfortable, and their high price only keeps them from reaching the top of this round. Different? Sennheiser has pretty much knocked it out of the park with these earbuds, offering great noise cancellation in addition to smart looks and great sound.
Apple AirPods Pro
Perfect earbuds for Apple fans
Apple’s noise-canceling, true wireless earphones, the AirPods Pro, offer a much better fit and improved design compared to the original AirPods. However, at $249, they’re also pretty pricey, and as such, you can’t call them the very best true wireless earbuds in terms of value for money – but they may be the best true wireless earbuds for Apple fans.
These tight-fitting earbuds offer great sound, and the additional microphones provide strong noise cancellation (especially when commuting), as well as a useful Transparency Mode that really lets the outside world in. Apparently, there’s a new AirPods model that connects the original tops with the newer pros. Rumor has it that the AirPods Pro Lite is a new, cheaper variant of the company’s popular genuine wireless earbuds, and they could be released this year.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
Truly exceptional performance
Cambridge Audio is known for its high-end audio equipment, but until last year had not ventured into the world of true wireless earbuds. Step into the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s: with an excellent battery life of 45 hours, they combine the award-winning technology of the brand with the convenience of true wireless listening. For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational. It even competes with some of the best over-ear headphones.
They may not have the noise cancellation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless earphones, but they’re $100 cheaper – and they have superior battery life. They certainly outperform the Apple AirPods (2019) in every way except for the lack of a wireless charging case. However, this is a small price to pay for that exceptional sound quality, and we think they offer a lot more value for the money, making them the best true wireless earbuds for audiophiles.
An affordable option
You may not have heard of the up-and-coming audio brand Lypertek, but expect to hear a lot about it soon – the Lypertek Tevi is one of the best true wireless earbuds we’ve tried, especially considering their low price tag. With USB-C charging, well-balanced sound, long battery life, and waterproofness, they tick every box you could ask for, from what are basically a few budget tops. Surprisingly, the Lypertek Tevi can just blow you away, with a punch far above their weight and rival tops from some of the biggest audio brands in the world.
Jabra Elite 75t
Decent sound performance and battery life
The Jabra Elite 75t true wireless earbuds improve their predecessor, the Jabra Elite 65t, in almost every way – except tonal balance. The headphones and charging cases are much smaller, battery life takes a huge leap and overtakes the competition, and the customization options we’ve enjoyed in the 65t remain. While they don’t have the best sound quality and lack active noise cancellation, the Jabra Elite 75t is also no longer a solid pair of genuine wireless earbuds to use, especially if you’re calling regularly with your headphones on.
Beats PowerBeats Pro
Impressive workout earbuds
The PowerBeats Pro wireless headphones are something special – they’re extremely comfortable, sound decent, and never seem to fall out. They may not be the best true wireless earphones in Apple’s audio arsenal now that the AirPods Pro are here, but they’re the most premium Apple headphones, and they’re the best we recommend to most athletes. That’s thanks to features like the pressure-reducing microlaser barometric vent, long battery life, and good sound quality. If we had to choose between wearing these and the original AirPods in the home, office, or gym, we would wear them. Overall, this is one of the best true wireless earbuds right now.
Microsoft Surface Earbuds
A premium true wireless earbuds
In terms of features, the Surface Earbuds cover most – but not all – of what we’ve come to expect from a premium pair of true wireless in-ears: they have app-based adjustable EQs, aptX Bluetooth connectivity, and responsive touch controls. Plus they play impeccably beautifully with virtually all Microsoft hardware and software. However, they have no active noise cancellation, and the way they fit means they leak ambient noise.
The sound is captured by relatively large full-range drivers. Of course, in another life ‘relatively large’ can be the official model name of the Surface Earbuds: a 25mm diameter is large with in-ear standards, 7.2g is heavy with in-ear standards, and their charging case isn’t exactly slim either. Despite these large numbers, however, the Surface Earbuds prove comfortable and safe in situ, for hours on end. The ‘twist-to-fit’ arrangement keeps them nice and stable even during mild exercise.
B&O Beoplay E8 2.0
Wonderful sound experience
Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy right now. The sound quality is undeniably excellent and you can customize the sound to your liking with the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS. Even without tinkering with ToneTouch, the E8 2.0s sounds clear and crisp, with spicy bass frequencies. However, there is no noise cancellation that can be a deal-breaker for music lovers.
The best bass and battery life
With promising battery life and well-managed bass enhancement over Audio-Technica’s usual neutral sound, the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW true wireless earbuds have a lot in store for them. They have one of the most complete and well-rounded sound profiles we’ve seen of genuine wireless earbuds, although they’re a little let down by their fit. The number of miles will of course vary depending on your favorite bud style and the size of your ears, but everyone will notice that the case will be annoying over time. Still, the quality of the sound here can be a worthy variety.
Decent noise-canceling earbuds that perform well
Sony’s latest true wireless earphones, the Sony WF-SP800N, are a triple threat. They are IP55 certified to be sweat and dustproof, but they’re also pretty good for commuters because they have active noise cancellation built-in – which is rare for a workout pair of earbuds – and work well for demanding music lovers thanks to their support for Sony’s new spatial audio format, 360 Reality Audio. However, they can be a little uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and the bass is a little muddy to our taste – yet these are one of the best true wireless earbuds.
Sennheiser CX 400BT
An affordable option from Sennheiser
After establishing his credentials as a high-end true wireless earbud front-runner with two generations of his Momentum True Wireless, Sennheiser’s now focused his attention on the less tenuous area where Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and all the rest duke it out. Fortunately, the CX400BT is specified to compete. They have aptX Bluetooth connectivity, with SBC and AAC codecs also provided; they have app-based EQ customization; they have responsive touch controls (which can be customized in the app); they can be controlled using Google Assistant or Siri.
Earbuds for gym lovers and athletes
The Jaybird Vista earphones are some of the best true wireless headphones out there – and it’s not hard to see why. With a sleek, compact design, and features that are squarely focused on real and budding athletes – with the ability to appeal to the less dedicated fitness nuts among us as well. With the Jaybird Run True – and waterproof Run XTs – the Jaybird Vista earbuds are very compact fitness earbuds with the water and sweat resistance to handle all levels of indoor and outdoor workouts. Overall, this is one of the best true wireless earbuds that you can buy right now.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Most innovative true wireless earbuds
Say what you want to say about the bean-shaped design of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, but they may be the most innovative new true wireless earbuds of the year. Like the standard AirPods, they have an open design — you don’t jam earbuds in your ear — and they’re quite comfortable to wear and fit my ears more securely than the AirPods. That said, they don’t fit everyone’s ears equally well. These wireless knobs are discreet and basically sit flush with your ear without a small white pipe sticking out.
They deliver good sound and work well as a headset for making calls, with good background noise cancellation so callers can hear you clearly, even when you’re in a noisier environment. Although they feature active noise cancellation, it’s mild compared to earbuds with a noise-canceling design. In other words, buy them for their design and sound, not for their noise cancellation features.