Best wireless earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up of the best wireless earbuds you can buy in 2019.
There’s never been a better time to make your move into the world of wireless earbuds. The market is booming with what feels like millions of models on offer. One big appeal is the freedom. With no cable tying your headphones to your phone, wireless earbuds won’t restrict your movement one bit. That’s especially great for doing sport and activity, but also pretty handy for commuting and general day-to-day life.
Some are true wireless designs too. These don’t even have a cable or headband connecting the earbuds, meaning they look just like ear plugs. Other extras include noise-cancelling tech, a carry case that can double as a portable charger, and a heart rate monitor (the ear is a good place to measure your pulse).
But there’s more. Some come with handsfree access to personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Just speak your request, and they’ll do your bidding.
With all this tech on offer, it’s no wonder so many companies are releasing wireless earbuds. More choice is always good for consumers, but it makes finding the right pair for you a minefield.
Thankfully help is at hand. We’ve rounded up the best Bluetooth earbuds on the market, drawing on our extensive back catalogue of in-depth reviews. So whether you want a pair offering hands-free calls, a smart assistant, brilliant battery life or just great sound, we’re sure to have something for you.
The best true wireless earbuds just got better! Building on the previous generation (see below), the Sony WF-1000XM3 buds offer an all-new Bluetooth chip which sharpens up music synchronization and a noise-cancelling processor which claims to bring a 40 per cent upgrade on its predecessor. Everywhere else, pretty much everything has improved, from the fit, to the battery life, to the sound quality. YOu’re looking at the best wireless earbuds we’ve heard in 2019 so far.
Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3
Cambridge Audio isn’t just about hi-fi separates. The Melomania 1s are the 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 a neat design and doubles as a charger adding an extra 36 hours of battery life to the nine hours you get when the in-ears are fully juiced.
The fit can be a little tricky depending on your ears, but once you’ve got them in place and your ears are isolated, the sound quality at this level is something else. The connection between earpieces is stable and you’re treated to a detailed and rhythmic sound, packed with detail.
Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
The Momentum Frees are essentially a streamlined version of Sennheiser’s Momentum In-Ear Wireless – the design has been pared back a bit, and the battery life dropped from 10 hours to six. But the sound quality hasn’t been compromised one bit – there’s real weight and purpose here, coupled with bags of clarity and detail. Even with more compressed tracks, the earbuds refuse to get bogged down and still manage to carve out bass, mids and highs with expert precision. If you can put up with the slightly shorter battery life, these are a great alternative to the Momentum In-Ear Wireless, and a fine pair in their own right.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Free
With the Sonys, not only do you get truly great sound quality, with punchy drums and fantastic insight, they also pack noise-cancelling tech and both Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri personal helper. Nine hours of battery (three per charge and an extra six provided by the charging case) is decent, and the selection of six ear tips should fit pretty much any wearer. The only downside is our test unit tended to drop out every now and again – and there’s a new and improved model (see top of the page), which ups the ante all-round. But otherwise they remain a fine pair of wireless earbuds. Given they’ve since been superseded by the WF-1000XM3, these Sony’s won’t be around much longer.
Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X
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 dropping 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 they’re easy to use too. Highly recommended.
Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Wireless
Considering these are Sennheiser’s debut in the field of true wireless earbuds, they’re very impressive. The design is suitably no-nonsense (as we would expect from Sennheiser), while they boast a healthy feature set and long battery life. Best of all, sound quality is very balanced, highlighting nuances that others tend to miss. It’s just a shame about that price. If you absolutely have to have them, wait until Black Friday or another big sale and hope that the price drops.
They might not sound quite as peachy as the 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, while a recent software update has improved their stability too. The earbud-mounted controls are very useful and save you taking your phone out (because we could all do with a bit less of that). Sonically, the Bose deliver a bold, balanced sound, with rich, weighty bass and crisp highs. Whether you’re in the gym or stuck on a bus, these in-ears are a great companion.
Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Free
Whether you consider yourself a serious athlete or just enjoy a weekend jog in the park, the Jaybird Vista wireless earbuds should be auditioned. They’re true wireless, so it’s an earbud for each ear and the fit is brilliant. With IPX7 water- and sweat-proofing you also know they’ll withstand intense training sessions and the odd downpour, too.
Power up the clever Jaybird app and besides pairing you can also customise their sound for your ears and also customise the controls on each earbud. There’s USB-C charging – a five minute ‘super-charge’ will give you one hour, while a full charge gives you six hours plus an additional 10 thanks to their charging case. And this is all topped off with an exciting, entertaining sound and a big dollop of bass.
Read the full review: Jaybird Vista
If you think all gym accessories are as appealing as a middle-aged man in lycra, check out the Sennheiser CX Sport. Sure, they have neon yellow accents, but they’re not ‘all the gear no idea’: they sound satisfyingly solid, with a powerful delivery that should get you going for one more squat. And the bass is pumping enough to keep you going through tough workouts. Plus they’re hardwearing, and feel like they’ll withstand a life lived in the bottom of a gym bag. The perfect pair for your active lifestyle.
Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport
The original, truly wireless Apple AirPods were a tech marvel, but let down by distinctly average sound quality. Again, this second-generation version packs in the features, while pairing and switching connections is completely painless. They’re powered by Apple’s new H1 chip and you’ve now got the option of a wireless charging case. The big news, though, is there’s been a boost in the audio department with the AirPods producing louder and more sophisticated sound. If you’re an Apple fan, there’s plenty to like.
Read the full review: Apple AirPods (2019)
True wireless earbuds are all the rage now and RHA has got in on the act with the talented £150 TrueConnects. They’re a comfy fit with good noise isolation and come with their own charging case which can prolong battery life for an extra 20 hours on top of their standard five-hours. They’re easy to pair and various short presses on either earpiece control music playback and volume. Their even balance and solid level of insight makes them a good alternative to rivals such as the Apple AirPods.
Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect
At just £35, these are the most affordable wireless earbuds on the list, and the best value for those on a budget. The sound is full and fun, and while it won’t trouble a high-end pair, it’s very impressive given the price. It’s a shame the feature set is a little thin. But the design is enjoyably low-key, and they tick all the boxes when it comes to performance. Considering they’re a fraction of the price of a premium pair, they come highly recommended.
Read the full review: Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless
These true wireless buds boast a healthy battery life and superior sound – while there is some coarseness through the midrange and treble, the balance of the frequency range is among the best we’ve heard in a true wireless pair. There’s also a generous helping of bass to help proceedings. Samsung has (very thoughtfully) given them 3.4GB of onboard storage so you can listen to tunes without taking your phone along for the ride. Now that’s what we call truly wireless.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear IconX
These Sennheisers have a neckband design to keep them more stable, and to house the battery and Bluetooth receiver. This means that the battery life is an impressive 10 hours, and the earphones themselves are less bulky that a true wireless pair. Though for some, the neckband will be too cumbersome and chunky. Sound is very good indeed, with a sense of space and openness that few wireless earbuds can match. If you can get on with the design, these will reward you handsomely. And if not, check out the very similar Momentum Frees instead.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless
When we first clapped eyes on these true wireless earbuds from Philips, we were impressed but not bowled over. Sure, they pack plenty of bass, and while the detail is a little lacking, the sound boasts plenty of energy. But at £100, they were a three-star product. Fast forward a couple of years, and the price has dropped to around half that. Which makes them a different proposition altogether. Be under no illusions, these are not the finest-sounding earbuds around. But if you’re after a bargain and like music that’s heavy on head-nodding bass, they’re definitely worth a look.
With a marathon 20-hour battery life, these are the longest-lasting in this list by a country mile. They’re splashproof too, and they sound great: there’s enough weight, space and detail to more than justify the price. Its just a shame they’re not as dynamic as they could be. But they’re a comfortable, elegant pair that don’t cost too much and perform well on the daily commute.
Read the full review: SoundMagic E11BT
If you want to block out background noise, these Libratones are the pair for you. They offer four levels of noise cancellation, and automatically adjust depending on your surroundings, so you can forget about distractions and focus on the music. Their splashproof design is built for exercise, and they’re lightweight enough to take on the treadmill. And the sound? Suitably dynamic for a sporty pair. Definitely one to sling in your gym bag.
Read the full review: Libratone Track+