Wireless earbuds remain the most popular style of modern headphones but which are the best pair? Here we review and rank the best true wireless earbuds you can buy to help you find the right pair for your needs.
As well as the AirPods, there are great wireless earbuds from the likes of Sony, Bose and Samsung as well as brands you might not know so well like Cambridge Audio.
We’re focusing on what are known as ‘true wireless’ earbuds here – ie not ones that are attached to each other with a cable that hangs on your neck like the Google Pixel Buds or Huawei FreeLace Pro – aka neckbuds. You might see them referred to as ‘TWS’ which stands for true wireless stereo.
If you’re looking for general headphones then we have a dedicated chart for that which includes on- and over-ear headphones, too.
Best true wireless earbuds 2023
1. Sony WF-1000XM4 – Best Overall
- Best ANC features
- Amazing sound
- Strong battery life
- Smart features
- A little bulky
If you can afford them and don’t have tiny ears, there’s really nothing to dislike about the WF-1000XM4. Sony has once again created an exceptional pair of wireless earbuds.
Along with solid battery life and quick charging, they offer the best active noise cancelling on a pair of earbuds we’ve tested. Not only does it do a great job of removing unwanted sound, it has unrivalled AI technology that can change the mode and level depending on where you are or what you’re doing.
There’s plenty more tech packed in, too, with Speak-to-Chat, DSEE Extreme upscaling, LDAC support for Hi-Res Audio Wireless as well as 360 Reality Audio spatial audio. And pretty much everything can be customised or switched off when needed.
2. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II – Best ANC Performance
- Superb sound quality
- Astonishing noise cancelling
- Clever ‘Aware’ mode
- Secure fit
- No Hi-Res audio support
- No Bluetooth Multipoint
- No wireless charging
Bose has really stepped up its game with the QC Earbuds 2 with a more compact and modern design that still have wingtips for extra security, excellent touch controls and a better case design.
The already excellent ANC is even better with unbelievable pure performance as well as a clever aware mode. Paird with top-notch sound quality and you’ve got yourself a very decent pair of wireless earbuds.
As previously, Sony is the thorn in Bose’s side here with – if it bothers you – better battery life, a better range of smart features and Hi-Res Audio.
3. Cambridge Melomania Touch – Best Battery Life
- Epic battery life
- Great sound
- User-friendly app
- Comfortable fit
- No ANC
- Slow switching modes
- Slightly awkward case
As long as noise cancelling isn’t a must-have feature, the Cambridge Melomania Touch are one of the best pairs of wireless earbuds you can get.
Not only are they affordable, but they are comfortable and have the best battery life around – able to last for a total of 50 hours if you switch them into low power mode. Even on high performance, they can still go for an impressive 44.
Longevity aside, the sound quality is excellent and you get a lot of control over the sound with a graphic EQ in the app which can also do various other useful things. You can still get the Melomania 1 if you want a bargain.
4. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro – Best for Samsung Users
- Samsung’s best-sounding buds yet
- Comfortable and lightweight
- IPX7 water-resistance
- Fiddly touch controls
- 24-bit audio requires a Samsung phone
- Middling battery life
Samsung has followed up its original Pro wireless earbuds with another solid effort. As well as improved sound quality, they are compact, comfortable and available in a trio of colour options.
As you’d expect from Pro level earbuds, there are features like active noise cancelling, wireless charging and 24-bit audio support – although the latter requires a Samsung phone.
That combined with limited iOS support means these are best for Samsung users and if you don’t need the high-end features then the Galaxy Buds 2 make for a better value purchase.
5. Apple AirPods Pro 2 – Best for iPhone
- Comfortable & compact
- Industry-leading transparency mode
- Impressive ANC performance
- Enhanced Find My functionality
- Many smart features are exclusive to Apple devices
- No lossless audio support
- Only IPX4
The AirPods Pro 2 represent the pinnacle of true wireless earbud performance for iPhone users, with not only impressive audio performance with improved ANC and transparency mode capabilities, but a swathe of smart features that push the AirPods Pro 2 above other third-party options.
It’s not so clear-cut if you’re an Android user, losing out on many of the smarts that make the AirPods Pro 2 what they are, but if you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac, the AirPods Pro are the ideal high-end performers.
While there’s still a basic splash-resistant rating, there’s still one glaring thing missing from Apple’s earbuds and that’s a lossless codec.
6. Google Pixel Buds Pro – Best Touch Controls
- Superb, rounded sound
- Great fit
- Solid ANC
- Wireless charging
- No EQ options
- No Hi-Res/aptX support
- No iOS Pixel Buds app
The Pixel Buds have finally gone Pro and they offer a very well-rounded experience for less money than a lot of rivals.
as well as all the things you’d expect from a flagship pair of earbuds like great sound quality, noise cancelling and good battery life, the Pixel Buds Pro have better touch controls than most along with Google Assistant integration to boot.
It’s not all plain sailing as that lower price does mean you miss out on things like proper waterproofing and Hi-Res Audio.
7. Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 – Best Dual Drivers
- Dual-drivers sound amazing
- Solid ANC performance
- Useful smart features
- Wireless charging case
- Irritating software setup
- New colour is a fingerprint magnet
- Slightly awkward swipe gesture
Huawei’s follow-up to its original Pro level earbuds are phenomenally good apart from some small annoyances, which can largely be avoided or forgotten about.
At a much lower price than some rivals, you get incredible sound from the dual-driver setup which unusually features planar drivers. They also fit really well and the active noise cancelling and call quality are nothing short of excellent, even if you need the app to select specific ANC modes beyond on and ambient.
There is a selection of useful smart features such as wear detection, fit test, custom EQ and more. Most markets will get wireless charging, but it’s a shame battery life isn’t any better and the new Silver Blue colour attracts fingerprints.
8. NuraTrue – Best Personalised Sound
- Incredible personal sound
- Secure fit
- Touch controls
- Average ANC
- No fast charging
They might lack fast charging and don’t have the best noise cancelling but Nura stands out in the earbud market for its unique personalised audio technology. It’s just as impressive as previous prodcuts, but now packed into tiny earbuds.
You need to hear it to believe it and there are other things to like about the NuraTrue beyond mesmerising sound. They have useful touch controls and a compact, secure fit making them suitable for running and exercising.
They’re also cheaper than some of the big names and you can still get the NuraLoop for a little less if a neckbud design is suitable.
9. Apple AirPods (2021) – Best Open Fit
- Comfortable design
- Improved smarts
- Wireless charging
- Spatial Audio
- No Active Noise Cancellation
- Limited noise isolation
- Slightly more expensive
The regular AirPods – now third-generation – remain the obvious default purchase for Apple users if you can’t afford the Pro model.
A number of improvements have been made including a more comfortable design, Spatial Audio support, improved Find My support and wireless charging as standard – both Qi and MagSafe.
Still, there are downsides such as the lack of noise cancelling and the open-fit design means no ear canal seal for proper noise isolation like the AirPods Pro and most rivals.
Great earbuds, but not quite a no brainer at the increased price.
10. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 – Best Value
- Lightweight & compact design
- Solid sound & ANC
- Wireless charging
- Fiddly touch controls
- Limited iOS support
- Average battery life
If you can’t afford the Galaxy Buds Pro then the Buds 2 are a great all-round option providing a lot of good elements for a reasonable price.
They come in a range of colours and offer a comfortable fit along with good sound quality, noise cancelling and even wireless charging. You will have to put up with over-sensitive touch controls and better battery life can be found elsewhere if that’s important.
As you might expect, it’s better to look elsewhere if you’re an iPhone user due to limited support.
Your buying guide to the best true wireless earbuds in 2023
Earbuds might be small and unassuming but there’s plenty to think about when choosing the right pair. If you’re not sure, then below we have buying advice to help you find the right ones.
Wireless vs True Wireless: What’s the difference?
Let’s start by clarifying a common confusion. Wireless headphones have been around for a long time and simply means they connect to a device (often your phone) without any physical wires.
They are typically on- or over-ear headphones with a headband but also could be earbuds connected by a wire/chord which normally goes around your neck.
Ture wireless earbuds on the other hand are two separate in-ear headphones that are not connected to each other or your source device with any wires.
Which brand of wireless earbuds is best?
It doesn’t mean they are necessarily the best for you, but Sony often sets the standard for true wireless earbuds with its WF-1000XM range.
However, there’s plenty of competition out there and just having 10 pairs in this chart means it’s very hotly contested and you can check out the latest reviews in our audio section.
Over the years we’ve found the following brands to make recommendable earbuds: Apple, Samsung, Cambridge Audio, Jabra, Huawei, Bose, Nura, Google and more.
What should I look for in true wireless earbuds?
Generally speaking, the earbuds from different manufacturers are very similar. The headphones connect to your phone (or other devices) and each other over Bluetooth and tend to have playback controls on at least one earbud.
Active noise cancelling (ANC) digitally cuts out the noise around you. Some of the buds here have it, but we also have a dedicated noise cancelling headphones chart which includes other styles.
Battery life varies for the earbuds but the carry case will handily charge them up, normally a few times over.
Apart from things like longer battery life, it’s additional features that tend to set different sets of earbuds apart. That might be a wireless charging case, support for Google/Alexa digital assistants or exclusive smart features like Sony’s Speak-to-Chat.
You might not be able to get everything you want in the same device so deciding what’s most important to you may be critical. Find out how we test audio.
how much should I spend on true wireless earbuds?
In terms of cost, you’re going to have to spend a fair amount to get a decent pair. This is because there’s a lot of technology packed into tiny headphones. Since the category is still quite new, prices won’t come down for a while – the average price for a well-known brand is around $150/£150.
If your budget is tight, take a look at our recommendations for the best cheap true wireless earbuds although we may include the occasional pair under $100/£100 here.