The best wireless earbuds make it easy to connect to your favorite music, movies, podcasts and more. There are more models than ever vying for our attention, and while Apple’s AirPods are synonymous with the category, there are plenty of great-sounding alternative options to choose from.
Some of the premium models here are loaded with useful audio tech and also make the grade as one of the top models on our best noise-cancelling earbuds that isolate you from noisy surroundings, but we’ve also included our favorite mid-range and low cost earbuds models that are often less well specified in terms of features.
Ready to cut free from the wires? Keep reading through our picks of the best wireless earbuds and you’re sure to find a pair that fits your needs.
Top 3 best wireless earbuds
Black Friday best wireless earbuds deals
Black Friday 2022 is right around the corner so it’s time to start thinking about what to look out for in this year’s deals. The best wireless earbuds are always in high demand, so it pays to start shopping as early as possible if you’re looking for top performance at a bargain price. Many of our favorite picks will be on sale making this period an ideal time to buy one of the best wireless earbuds. Be sure to follow our Black Friday deals page for all of your shopping needs this season and get ready for a second Amazon Prime Day in October with the rumored Prime Early Access Sale, which is essentially Amazon’s Black Friday 2022 preview. (They held a similar retail event last October).
What are the best wireless earbuds?
Based on our comprehensive testing, the top spot goes to the Grado GT220 for its nuanced sound. There’s no active noise cancellation (ANC) — these buds simply get on with the business of making music — and are perfectly pitched for showing off high-quality songs. Comfort and fit are top-notch, too.
The Apple AirPods Pro 2 replace the original AirPods Pro to take second place overall, and are the ones to consider for iOS users seeking effective ANC. Priced the same as the first generation, they’re the best value model for iPhone users looking to balance iOS integration and performance.
For Android and iOS users alike, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are a great ANC alternative with great signature sound for better frequency balance across the board.
The best wireless earbuds to buy right now
In a market that’s oversaturated with options, the Grado GT220 are superb wireless earbuds that justify the price — a very rare feat. As a fair-weather cross-country runner, it’s vital any earbud is up to the task and won’t work itself loose. I’m pleased to say that the snug fit keeps the GT220 in place when the running conditions allow.
Moreover, Grado buds are perfectly pitched for showing off high-quality songs and with a suitably sized ear tip in place to give best acoustical seal, the level of musical involvement delivered by the 8mm full-range driver is truly remarkable.
Grado claims up to 6 hours playback at a moderate volume level. Total battery life extends to 36 hours and is based on fully charged earbuds (6 hours) combined with a fully charged case, which can bring the headphones back to full capacity 5x over. Recharging takes just 2 hours.
If you’re an audiophile looking to hear Grado’s signature sound in a true wireless product with top audio quality as a priority over everything else and as such, it’s near impossible to find a pair of wireless earbuds better than the Grado GT220.
Read our full Grado GT220 review.
Apple’s next-gen AirPods Pro 2 have arrived, bringing significant upgrades to the popular original to take performance to the next level. Externally, they look pretty similar to the first generation, but battery life has been increased to offer 6 hours on a single charge from the earbuds and a further 30 hours from the wireless charging case. Not only are the earbuds IPX4-rated, but now too is the case itself.
Designed for iPhone owners looking for a more tailored listening experience, these are the pinnacle of Apple technology. On the audio front, Apple has included a new H2 chip with custom amp and driver that delivers better lower and higher frequencies, and you can use the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to create a personalized spatial audio sound to listen to some of the best Dolby Atmos sound in any pair of earbuds. Noise cancellation is double what the last pair of AirPods Pro offered, and is among the best we’ve yet to see, period.
Read the full Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.
The market’s best true wireless noise-cancelling technology just got better. Bose’s newest flagship wireless earbuds introduce several upgrades such as adaptive active noise cancellation (ANC), Bluetooth 5.3, and sound calibration technology for improved sound quality. Most importantly, Bose has made the new version one-third smaller than the original QuietComfort Earbuds, while also developing new ear-tips to help achieve optimal wear for more users.
The next-gen buds build on traditional Bose hallmarks, but they also continue to struggle in areas where they underperformed in the past, including battery life, special features, and touch controls. Despite these shortcomings, though, their ANC and sound quality performance carry the QuietComfort Earbuds 2 to the top echelon of our best wireless earbuds list.
Read the full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 improves on just about everything about the old WF-1000XM3, from reworking the design to enhancing ANC and tweaking the sound signature for better frequency balance. That all comes with a higher price, but the WF-1000XM4 sounds good enough to deserve.
This is also a particularly well-featured set of wireless earbuds. There’s LDAC support for higher-quality music, a highly customizable ambient listening mode, support for all three of the big digital assistants and full EQ customization. Want to bring back the WF-1000XM3’s bass-heavy sound? No problem.
Read our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review.
If you want as complete, as convincing and as straightforwardly enjoyable sound as this sort of money can buy, the Astell & Kern AK UW100 should most definitely be at the very top of your shortlist. There’s no ANC, instead the UW100s major on audio with a big, well-defined and fanatically organized soundstage. Dynamics of all kinds are handled with assurance, and rhythms are expressed convincingly.
Battery life runs to 6 hours, and the charging case hold up to 3 further top ups. Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity is compatible with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive codecs, while multipoint support enables users to pair the earbuds to two devices simultaneously. The mic array that deals with ‘ambient mode’ also handles telephony — and it proves more than adequate — and wind-noise is suppressed quite well.
Read the full Astell & Kern AK UW100 review.
Samsung finally has a serious AirPods Pro rival, at least for Galaxy owners. Sound alone makes the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro worth the investment, giving you a high quality audio experience and compelling 3D sound with precise head tracking. Samsung’s ANC holds its own against the category best and blocks out close to 90% of ambient noise. The updated design also provides improved comfort and noise isolation.
These buds operate well across all Bluetooth-enabled devices, but Galaxy smartphone owners get to enjoy cool features like Easy Pairing and compatibility with Samsung’s Scalable Codec. It’s upsetting that Bixby doesn’t perform up to its potential, though the mediocre battery life with ANC on is a greater disappointment.
Take a look at our Samsung promo codes for the latest discounts from Samsung.
See our full Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.
This third generation, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 has shrunk the earbuds from its bulky predecessors, and tidied them up while it’s at it, and managed to hold the price down to a level most realistic rivals compete at. Battery life is good. Control options are both extensive and reliable, and the app is great. Noise-cancellation, especially where wind is concerned, is competitive. And the sound is a combination of fanatical attention to detail, a naturalistic approach to rhythms and tempos, and a very pleasant unity of tonality.
Read the full Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.
At $180, the Sennheiser CX Plus face stiff competition, but they’re a bargain worth pursuing for $130 and one of the top models at the price. Articulate, high-quality sound combined with normal playtimes, effective ANC, and dependable connectivity make them an enticing package.
Music lovers will swoon over the sound quality that delivers clarity and depth to feed your ears a well-balanced dose of deep lows, rich mids, and detailed highs. There are compromises in terms of fit and lack of features sported by some rivals, but even so there’s plenty of value in these buds.
Read the full Sennheiser CX Plus review.
Having tested the best OnePlus smartphones over the years, we knew the Android mobile manufacturer could create a solid pair of wireless earbuds. The original OnePlus Buds was a decent effort, but the Buds Pro blows all expectations out of the water. It boasts a handsome design that complements any OnePlus device, along with excellent sound and some of the best ANC in the category. OnePlus users get the better end of the deal with access to exclusive features such as the low latency mode for mobile gaming and Fast Pair for instantaneous connectivity with brand devices.
There’s also Warp Charge, the strongest charging technology we’ve seen that can generate 10 hours of use on a 10-minute charge. You’re going to need it since ANC playtime is as short as the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours). At least you know it won’t take too long to get these buds juiced up before rushing out the door.
Read our full OnePlus Buds Pro review.
We knew what the AirPods 3 would consist of based on expert predictions and leaks (opens in new tab), but never did we expect Apple’s third-gen model to turn out this great. Minus the eartips and noise cancellation, these buds are a near replica of the AirPods Pro, sharing many of the same features, while introducing new ones to the series. These include MagSafe wireless charging and skin-detect sensors that accurately discern when the buds are in your ears to enable auto-pause/play.
Music and movies are a delight to hear with Apple’s proprietary technologies like Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio at the helm. We love that the popular Force Sensor was added for seamless operation. Best of all, Apple increased battery life to 6 hours, giving you 1 hour more than any other AirPods model, along with 30 hours in total via charging case. Simply put, the AirPods 3 is the upgrade iPhone users have been clamoring for, at least those not interested in the AirPods Pro.
Read our full AirPods 3 review.
The Master & Dynamic will draw you in with its styling and keep your attention with its performance. ANC and its “Awareness” ambient mode work well, battery life is good even with noise-cancelling, and sound quality is among the best in its field.
The MW08 is, admittedly, an expensive choice: right now it’s even more expensive than the AirPods Pro. But you do get a much, much better design in exchange, with earbuds built from ceramic, aluminum and stainless steel instead of plastic. The black color option is nicely understated, but go with the white or blue versions if you really want to stand out.
Read our full Master & Dynamic MW08 review.
In a field full of excellent AirPods alternatives, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus still manages to stand out. While it lacks ANC there’s still plenty about this sleek pair of wireless earbuds to love, not least the superb sound quality. This even gets a boost from the same amplification tech that Cambridge Audio uses in its CX hi-fi stereo amplifiers, should you engage the buds’ High Performance mode.
There’s also water resistance, full EQ customization and some very reliable voice assistant support, all for less than you’d pair for a set of the most basic AirPods. Battery life deserves a mention too: with High Performance mode on you can expect between 6 and 7 hours of uptime, which jumps to 7 to 8 hours with the Low Power profile.
Read our full Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review.
The Fit Pro is a culmination of Apple and Beats’ greatest triumphs, packaging AirPods Pro-like performance into an updated Studio Beats design. Sound quality is amazing, backed by a proprietary transducer that keeps bass punchy, while also balancing frequencies to hear crisp mids and detailed highs. Spatial Audio for immersive 3D sound has also been added, making this the first Beats product to feature the technology. Popular features tied to the H1 processor are available, including automatic switching between Apple devices and FindMy to help locate misplaced buds. We also appreciate the integrated wingtips, which keep the buds secure during intense workouts.
Android users do get to bask in the sonic upgrades, though all other iOS-related features remain exclusive to iPhone and iPad users. The lack of features available on the Android app also means limits to what the Fit Pro can perform on Google’s mobile platform.
Read our full Beats Fit Pro review.
The Amazfit Powerbuds Pro isn’t just one of the best sport headphones available. Its dynamic sound performance, effective ANC, and unique features also make it one of the best wireless earbuds in general, and a pair that can be had at an attainable price point. While the Powerbuds Pro already sounds great out of the box, you can download the Zepp app to access several presets that let you personalize audio and enable special modes like Motion Beat, which automatically raises bass levels to provide a livelier soundscape.
It’s also cool that the Powerbuds Pro can double as both an activity tracker and heart-rate monitor, though we wouldn’t rely too much on the recorded stats since they won’t be as accurate as what your Apple Watch 5 records. Still, they’re useful enough to gauge your exercise gains when forgetting to charge your go-to fitness tracker.
Read our full Amazfit PowerBuds Pro review.
How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you
With so many wireless earbud options to choose from, you may find it difficult to settle on one. There are several factors to weigh up, and which one is most important depends on personal preference.
One factor to consider is fit. How comfortable is the earbud in your ear? Do the earbuds come with different sized tips so you can adjust them to your ear? The fit of wireless earbuds becomes even more crucial if you want to use them while working out. And if that’s the case, water and sweat-resistance is another factor to consider.
Battery life is also key in choosing the best wireless earbuds. Check out the rated battery life and whether any carrying case comes with the earbuds to provide additional power. Then there’s sound quality of both music and phone calls, which you can determine from reviews by professional testers and people who’ve bought the earbuds.
And of course, price is a big consideration. If you can splurge, you have a wider array of choices. But if you need to be budget-conscious, you may want to go with lower-priced brands or with older generations of wireless earbuds.
How we test the best 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.
Find out what we listen for during our testing process and how to get the best headphone sound for you.
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.
We evaluate earbuds based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded an Editor’s Choice badge.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom’s Guide.
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More: Find out why Tom’s Guide audio editor says I’d still choose wired headphones over wireless.