Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

Best wireless earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best wireless earbuds you can buy in 2019.

The Apple AirPods might have popularised wireless earbuds, but there are plenty of other options around. A lot of them are cheaper, sound better and, for some people, fit better.

Why go wireless? Think of the freedom. With no cable tying your headphones to your phone, they won't restrict your movement whatsoever. That's especially great for doing sport and activity, but also pretty handy for commuting and general day-to-day life.

Some are truly wireless 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 in-ear headphones. 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 wireless 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.

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

1. Sony WF-1000X

Sony's brilliant wireless in-ears are a cut above the competition.

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: 3 hours (9 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Excellent with timing and dynamics
Truly wireless
Decent noise-cancelling
Reasons to Avoid
Occasional wireless dropout

These are, quite simply, the best true wireless earbuds we've tested. And we've tested a lot. 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 should last all but the most marathon of commutes, 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. But otherwise they have everything going for them. Highly recommended.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

2. Sennheiser Momentum Free

A truly five-star pair of wireless headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to Buy
Impressive clarity
Powerful, musical performance
Excellent dynamics
Reasons to Avoid
Call quality could be better
Some top-end harshness

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 headphones 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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

3. Bose SoundSport Wireless

A fine-sounding pair, ideal for gym-goers and audiophiles alike.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to Buy
Comfortable
Fun sound
Strong wireless performance
Reasons to Avoid
Less-than-stellar battery life

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Not cheap, but these headphones perform very well indeed.

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: 4 hours (12 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Impressive features
Good battery life
Balanced sound
Reasons to Avoid
Erratic touch controls
Not as musical as rivals

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. 

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

5. Bose SoundSport Free

Bose's in-ears are top of the podium when it comes to sporty alternatives.

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: 5 hours (15 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Weighty, full-bodied sound
Deep, powerful bass
Even tonal balance
Reasons to Avoid
Wireless connection could be better

They might not sound quite as peachy as the Sony's at the top of the list, but these Bose's still come with plenty to recommend. They're comfortable to wear for extended periods, which you'll want to do, thanks to their awesome sound quality. The earbud-mounted controls are very useful too, saving you taking your phone out (because we could all do with a bit less of that). However, like the Sony's, they do tend to drop out every now and again, which is annoying but not a dealbreaker. Ultimately, it's a small price to pay for an otherwise highly enjoyable pair of true wireless earbuds.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Free

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

6. Sennheiser CX Sport

Sporty accents meet some solid sonics.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to Buy
Clear, detailed sound
Punchy delivery
Full-bodied bass
Reasons to Avoid
Rivals more rythmically adept

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

7. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

The best budget choice around.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 7 hours

Reasons to Buy
Full, fun sound
Great price
Reasons to Avoid
No aptX Bluetooth or NFC

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

8. Samsung Gear IconX

A strong battery life elevates these wireless headphones.

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: 7 hours

Reasons to Buy
Finely balanced sound
Rhythmically and dynamically adept
Long battery life
Reasons to Avoid
Coarse upper mids and highs

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

9. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 10 hours

Reasons to Buy
Lucid sound
Bags of detail
Excellent bass
Reasons to Avoid
Polarising design
Bass a little overegged

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

10. Philips SHB4385 True Wireless Bass+

These true wireless earbuds can now be had for a song.

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 (12 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Loads of low-end for bass fanatics
Comfortable and well-built
Great battery life
Reasons to Avoid
Little detail or agility to low end
Timing and dynamics uninspiring

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 headphones around. But if you're after a bargain and like music that's heavy on head-nodding bass, they're definitely worth a look.

Read the full review: Philips SHB4385 True Wireless Bass+

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

11. SoundMagic E11BT

They're not the best-sounding, but still very good for the price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 20 hours

Reasons to Buy
Clear, balanced sound
Exceptional battery life
Comfortable, splashproof design
Reasons to Avoid
Lack of rhythmic engagement
Neckband won’t suit all

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

12. Libratone Track+

Decent features and rich sound make these worth considering.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 8 hours

Reasons to Buy
Rich, full-bodied balance
Comfortable
Effective noise-cancellation
Reasons to Avoid
Lack some subtlety and attack

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+

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

13. Onkyo W800BT

They might be old, but they're pretty good value at this price.

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: 3 hours (18 with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Come with a charging case
Lightweight
Clear, open sound
Reasons to Avoid
Limited features
Average battery life without case
Sound lacks weight

Launching all the way back in 2016 (when Apple's first-gen AirPods sparked the craze for true wireless earbuds), these are like the grandaddy of the genre. However, it's now 2019 and the tech has moved on. A lot. As such, they don't sound as fresh as some of their rivals, and the feature stack looks a little wanting. That design could do with a refresh too. Still, they sound pretty decent, and at less than £80 there are certainly worst deals around. One for the bargain hunters out there.

Read the full review: Onkyo W800BT