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Best wireless earbuds in Australia for 2021: budget and premium in-ears

Included in this guide:

Sony WF-1000XM4
(Image credit: Sony)

As Bluetooth becomes an increasingly viable way to transmit audio from devices that continue to lose their headphone port, the market has exploded with awesome options. 

These compact alternatives to over-ear headphones utilise a variety of methods to ditch the headband and severely reduce the overall size and weight of your audio companion. This includes the regular variety with a cable connecting each earpiece, the neckband headset which uses a stiff band to sit around your collar, and the increasingly popular true wireless buds which require not physical connection between each earbud whatsoever. 

This liberating design is not only great to cut down on the kit you lug around with you, but is ideal for those wanting to take music with them on a job or a workout session. Earbuds dedicated to this kind of user will often come with some kind of sweat resistance as well, and a generally more rugged design.

One of the latest trends to take off – largely thanks to industry leaders, Sony – is the notion of noise-cancelling, true wireless earbuds. These aren't so much designed for athletes but are better suited for those that regularly commute, make calls, and want comfortable listening in a tiny package.

As you can see, there's plenty on offer to choose from, so we've gone through and selected the cream of the crop across all these categories, no matter your budget.

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM4

The best wireless earbuds you can buy right now.

Specifications
OS support: Android/iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 8 hours (24 hours with charging case)
Finishes: 2
Reasons to buy
+Clear, detailed bass performance+Wonderful sense of musicality+Comfortable+Class-leading battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Missing Sony’s Multipoint feature-Lacking ear tip choices-No aptX HD

Somehow, Sony's managed to build on the huge success of the WF-1000XM3 (below) and produce a pair of wireless earbuds that take everything up a notch.

The WF-1000XM4 produce one of the most dynamic, detailed and balanced performances we've heard from a pair of Bluetooth buds. Bass notes sound tight and textured, while vocals ooze refinement and sophistication. Their musical delivery keeps you coming back for more, and also makes you thankful for the eight hours of battery life, which is class-leading in this field.

The Sonys are comfortable to wear too. The new-look earpieces include touch-sensitive controls and a new ear tip design which helps with noise isolation. Combine this with the excellent noise cancelling provided by Sony's Integrated Processor V1 and you've got a pair of headphones that effectively block out the hustle and bustle.

IPX4 water resistance comes as part of the WF-1000XM4 package, as does Sony's clever Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android and clever features such as Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat which both allow you to have a conversation without removing the earbuds. You're looking at a new benchmark for wireless earbuds.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM4

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony WF-1000XM3

2019 What Hi-Fi? Award-winners, and some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy.

Specifications
Connector: N/A
Cable length: N/A
In-line remote and mic: N/A
OS support: Android/iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 6 hours (24 hours with charging case)
Reasons to buy
+Musical sound+Good noise-cancelling+Excellent battery life+Snug fit
Reasons to avoid
-No aptX HD support (yet)

Sony's second ever pair of true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM3s offer solid and stable Bluetooth connectivity and stellar noise-cancelling, which is a clear cut above the competition.

The fit is excellent, as is battery life and the all-important sound quality. They come with more tip sizes than most rivals, feature intuitive touch controls and sound wonderfully musical. Despite their tiny proportions, there's a good sense of scale. Instruments sound natural and authentic, with plenty of detail and composure to the performance. 

You get six hours of playback as standard, while the case has enough power for an extra three charges, giving a total of 24 hours when using Bluetooth and noise-cancelling. Plus there's a fast-charge function: 10 minutes of charging breathes 90 minutes of life into these buds.

Quite simply, these 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award winners are the second-best wireless earbuds we've ever tested, only trumped by their successful successors.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic RZ-S500W

A hugely talented and affordable pair of wireless earbuds

Specifications
Bluetooth version: 5.0
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 6.5 hours (+ 13 hours from charging case)
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Expansive detailed presentation+Excellent noise cancelling+Superb touch controls
Reasons to avoid
-Fit could be an issue for some

Panasonic isn't a brand that immediately springs to mind when you think of the best wireless earbuds. But perhaps it should be. The RZ-S500W are the company's first foray into the market and they're sensational performers for the money.

Specs are thorough, with noise-cancelling tech, an Ambient Mode, twin mics for voice calls, and battery life that totals 19.5 hours (6.5hrs from the buds and 13hrs from the charging case). A 15-minute USB-C quick-charge can deliver 70 minutes of playback. The touch controls on each bud are responsive and intuitive, allowing you to control your music and switch between noise-cancelling modes with zero fuss. 

You also get five sizes of ear tips to help with fit. We found this a little hit and miss, so we'd definitely experiment and consider mixing the sizes if it means getting a more secure fit.

Both noise-cancelling and sound quality are excellent. There's plenty of agility through the low end and loads of texture across the frequencies. Music sounds clear and there's a great deal of refinement on show, which is to be welcomed at this price level. To sum up, these Panasonic wireless earbuds are superb for the money.

Read the full review: Panasonic RZ-S500W

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

4. Sennheiser CX 400BT

Looking for a bargain pair of wireless earbuds? Look no further.

Specifications
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 7hr (+13hr from case)
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Lively, detailed sound+Lightweight fit+Excellent value for money
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life below the best-Not waterproof

Although the CX 400BT don't have the best battery life in the class and lack the weather-proofing or sweat-resistance of many of their rivals, the drawbacks of Sennheiser's latest earbuds ends there.

At an incredibly affordable price point, these unassuming performers offer up clear, lively and detailed sound, belying both their price and compact, lightweight form factor. You'll also be treated to the stable connectivity of Bluetooth 5.1, and EQ adjustment via the companion app to dial in your desired fine-tuned settings.

Simple and intuitive touch controls round out the package, making it a breeze to skip tracks, change the volume, answer calls or access your device's voice assistant.

The CX 400BT are a great option for anyone in the market for an affordable, yet extremely musical pair of wireless earbuds. For those seeking true wireless in-ears at a budget price that aren't too fussed about an IP rating, there are few products on the market that beat out these buds.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX 400BT

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Pixel Buds A-Series

The new Pixel Buds wireless earbuds get an A-grade from us.

Specifications
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 5hr (+20hr from case)
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Well-rounded, clean sound+Comfortable+Reliable connection
Reasons to avoid
-No volume touch control on buds-No noise-cancelling

Google's latest wireless earbuds are packed with features and come in at a very low price which is an attractive package in itself. But how do they sound?

They're light and comfortable, and while they don't offer noise cancelling, they do a good job of isolating you and are aided by rubber fins that keep them secure. They are vented, though, so some background noise inevitably creeps in, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your colour choices are either white or 'Dark Olive'.

Battery life is okay at around five hours, plus another 20 or so from the carry case in four charges. The Pixel Buds A-Series pair with your device very easily indeed, too, especially if you're using an Android smartphone or tablet that boasts the Fast Pair feature. IPX4 water resistance means they should be ok for exercise too.

These wireless earbuds put in an admirable performance come music time, with a clean, balanced sound that doesn't lean too far into any part of the sonic spectrum. This is a great pair of wireless earbuds at a great price.

Read the full Google Pixel Buds A-Series review

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

6. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Pricey, but arguably the most refined-sounding wireless earbuds we’ve tested.

Specifications
Connector: N/A
Cable length: N/A
In-line remote and mic: N/A
OS support: Android/iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 7 hours (28 hours with charging case)
Reasons to buy
+Refined, mature sound+Lightweight and comfortable+Nice to use
Reasons to avoid
-Price-Timing can be bettered-aptX support but not HD

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2s bring a raft of improvements compared to their predecessors (which are mentioned further down this list) and one of the most refined sounds we've heard from a pair of wireless buds.

The design looks much the same as the original, but there has been a slight aesthetic tweak. The earpieces are slightly slimmer, so they protrude less from your ears, and, more importantly, they're more comfortable to have in place for long listening sessions. One of the major changes is the introduction of noise-cancelling, which works extremely well and is pretty much on par with the Sony WF-1000XM3. They're nice to use too, with touch-sensitive pads on each earpiece which can be customised to control music playback and features.

Battery life is competitive too, with a single charge giving seven hours of playback and the charging case providing an additional three charges, bringing the total battery life at your disposal to 28 hours.

It's all positive and we haven't even touched on the sound quality, which is extremely refined and sophisticated for the money. Highs and lows are composed and controlled but dynamics aren't sacrificed. The Sennheisers present a detailed soundstage with impressive scale and authority. They're a little pricier than other wireless earbuds, but if your budget can stretch, your ears will be rewarded.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

7. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Fantastic wireless earbuds with some brilliant built-in tech.

Specifications
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 6hrs (18hrs with charging case)
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Exciting, entertaining sound+Superb balance+Impressive noise-cancelling
Reasons to avoid
-No volume controls-Average battery life

Bose's first-ever pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds are a huge success. The Bose feel lightweight enough for the average commute or exercise session (the QuietComfort are both sweat and weather-resistant) and they're great to live with. Battery life is a claimed six hours from a single charge, with the charging case supplying an extra two charges, making 18 hours in total – a decent reserve, but by no means class-leading. You can customise some features and controls, and adjust the excellent noise-cancellation, in Bose's handy companion app.

The sense of enthusiasm and excitement conveyed by the Bose buds is highly infectious. There’s power, poise and a fantastic sense of dynamism. Bass notes sound full-bodied, go deep and the QuietComfort Earbuds squeeze out lots of detail.

All in all, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are sensational all-rounders, capable of impressive musicality and topped off with excellent noise cancelling. These wireless earbuds are more than a match for any rival at this level, including the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, mentioned above.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Jaybird)

8. Jaybird Vista

Among the best wireless earbuds you can buy, especially for running.

Specifications
Connector: N/A
Cable length: N/A
In-line remote and mic: N/A
OS support: Android/iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 6 hours (16 hours with charging case)
Reasons to buy
+Lively, entertaining sound+Fullsome bass+Excellent fit
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most detailed

Whether you consider yourself a serious athlete or just enjoy a weekend jog in the park, the Jaybird Vista wireless earbuds should be on your shortlist. They're true wireless, so it's an earbud for each ear and the fit is extremely secure (aided by tips with integrated fins). IPX7 water- and sweat-proofing means 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. 

All this is topped off with an exciting, entertaining sound and a big dollop of bass. What they lack in detail, they make up for in sheer enthusiasm. They might not sound as refined as some competition out of the box, but add some of your own EQ and the Vistas are a superb choice for your everyday listen and for workouts alike.

Read the full review: Jaybird Vista

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Future)

9. Apple AirPods Pro

Apple's first noise-cancelling, wireless earbuds put up a solid display.

Specifications
Connector: N/A
Cable length: N/A
In-line remote and mic: N/A
OS support: iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 5 hours (19 hours with charging case)
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable fit+Impressive noise-cancelling+Balanced sound
Reasons to avoid
-Noise-cancelling impacts timing-Key rivals sound better

The AirPods Pros sit above the standard AirPods you'll find lower down this list. They're pricier, but you do get better sound quality, an improved level of comfort and the addition of Apple's own noise-cancelling technology, which is up there with the best at this money.

Unlike the standard AirPods, the Pros come with a choice of silicone tips. Once you've achieved a good seal, you'll enjoy some of most effective noise-cancelling we've ever experienced (Apple claims its adjusted 200 times per second for maximum effect). 

Each bud has a force sensor on the stem – squeeze it to activate Siri, answer calls, skip a track, etc. The only disappointment is that Siri is the only method for adjusting volume without reaching into your pocket for your phone. 

Battery life is a claimed five hours for the earphones with another 19 hours from the charging case. In a hurry? A five minute charge will give you another hour of listening.

The AirPods Pro earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant, albeit to a lesser degree than sporty rivals, and they don't sound as good as the Sony WF-1000XM3s. But if you're an iPhone user, you're going to want to give these superb wireless earbuds an audition. They're a joy to use.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro

Best wireless earbuds 2021

(Image credit: Technics)

10. Technics EAH-AZ70W review

Technics' breaks new ground with this fine pair of wireless earbuds.

Specifications
Bluetooth version: 5.1
aptX HD: No
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 6 hours (+12 hours from charging case)
Reasons to buy
+Solid, punchy and spacious sound+Excellent bass response+Comfortable and easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most subtle sound

Technics' attempt to crack the wireless earbuds market starts with this premium pair of in-ears. The earbuds include Alexa voice control, touch controls, and 18 hr battery live (six from the earbuds with a further 12 provided by the case).

They include Technics' own noise-cancelling tech which uses three mics in each earbud to help reduce background chatter. You can alter the strength of the noise-cancelling in the Technics Audio Connect companion app, where you can also select from a range of different sound modes and even track down the whereabouts of your earbuds.

The connection is solid and stable, with the comfy earbuds favouring a lively, entertaining sound with plenty of punch. Bass goes particularly deep and sounds defined with it. These aren't the cheapest pair of wireless earbuds in this list by any stretch, but they are a pleasant and talented proposition worth considering.

Read the full review: Technics EAH-AZ70W

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test

  • Willhiro
    More and more I notice that the "Reasons to Avoid" are not the same for all earbuds. For example many fo them do not have AptX support, but it is only listed as "Reasons to Avoid " in only some of them. The same goes with volume. Should you guys use a list of features for all of them and clearly annotate whether the device has the features or not?
    Reply
  • hybridauth_Facebook_100000759563588
    Willhiro said:
    More and more I notice that the "Reasons to Avoid" are not the same for all earbuds. For example many of them do not have AptX support, but it is only listed as "Reasons to Avoid " in only some of them. The same goes with volume. Should you guys use a list of features for all of them and clearly annotate whether the device has the features or not?

    Trouble is they increasingly are commercialised - promoted reviews etc. etc. Sounds sensible to me but doubt they will employ that.
    Reply
  • nikolasch
    I bought the Sony WF-1000XM3 after reading your article. I asked the employee of the Sony store if they connect to a Samsung TV and he said no problem. Turns out they keep losing the connection between them and the one earbud keeps turning off and on on its own. Worse earbuds ever. Bought Jbl for a quarter of the price and they work perfectly.
    Reply
  • Bdoro
    Hello guys, have you forgotten the Jabra's? Usually you have good opinion but sometimes I wonder if you are correct in your choises based on biased contenders....
    Reply
  • Tootles
    I own the Sony buds and yes they do sound very good but they are horrible to the point of unusable for phone calls. Nobody can ever hear me. Truly awful in that respect and in no way should they be viewed as a five star product. Hugely flawed.
    Reply
  • gwarner
    I ordered the Sony WF-1000XM3 earphones, partly because off reviews like this, partly becoame I have their over ear headpones and they give a great sound.

    I was very happy with the sound on the earphones, but they have gone back. Why? Mainly because I found the touch control unusable. Repeatedly, I got the two-tap-skip-a-track result when I tapped once to pause/restart. Sometimes, I got the normal beep, but nothing else happened at all, unitl I stopped them and rerstarted. Moreover, while I really liked the feature that pauses playback when an earphone is removed, I found that sopmetimes it worked, but quite often it didn't. So I would end up with no way either to pause or to undo a false skip-forward, exept by getting the phone out.

    I tried them with three different devices, a Redmi Not 8T phone, and iPad and a Samsung Tab A6 tablet. Problams with all, so it was tthe phones, not the devices.

    I really tried to overcome this, because the sound and noise cancellation itself was great. I tried varing the force of my taps, tapping with different parts fingertips or flat of the finger/ I have never had any problem using multi-tap touch controls on any other device. I systematically experimented to see if I could make them work consistently. The performance seemed to vary while I was counting outcomes. Sometimes I got only one rogue skip in ten taps. At others, any tap, however light or careful, skipped tracks, or less frequently, did nothing burt cause a beep.

    And I returned the phones and got a second pair through my supplier, in case I had a faulty pair. No good - the touch controls were still too unreliable to use.

    This gives me no satisfaction. I really wanted these phones. The saound and noise cancellation impressed me. But they were just unusable in practice. What a shame.
    Reply
  • razorjack
    This comparison looks like a joke, you have many different models, all of them are described as 'excelent quality, best sound etc.', only few of them have AptX, nothing about ergonomics and available controls...
    WTF IS THAT ?
    Reply
  • Jmck
    Samsung conspicuous by its absence. Not only do they not make the top 20, but "key rivals sound better" than Apple Airpods. Just say Samsung.
    Reply
  • AgrusKosy
    Creative Labs got some mean buds last year. Sad not to see it on this list
    Reply