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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.

If there's one trend that we've seen explode in recent years, it's the move towards wireless earbuds. The market is booming with what feels like millions of models on offer. One big appeal is the freedom. With no cable running between headphones and phone, wireless earbuds won't restrict your movement one bit. That's great for doing sport and activity, but also pretty handy for commuting and general day-to-day life.

What's even handier is that several of the very best wireless earbuds are now heavily discounted in the Cyber Monday sales, including the Apple AirPods, Bose SoundSport Wireless and Cambridge Audio Melomania 1. See for yourself...

Some wireless earbuds are true wireless designs too. These don't even have a cable or neckband connecting the buds together, meaning they look just like earplugs. 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. We're seeing an influx of models that offer hands-free 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 can make finding the best pair for you a bit of 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 the comfiest pair on the planet, one with brilliant battery life or just the best-sounding wireless earbuds on the market, we're sure to have something for you. And with Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for Black Friday headphones deals.

Best headphones 2019: in-ear, on-ear, over-ear

Best wireless earbuds 2019: budget and premium

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM3

2019 What Hi-Fi? Award-winners, and 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 volume controls
No aptX HD support

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

2. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

A fantastic pair of true wireless earbuds with superb battery life.

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: 9 hours (45 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Detailed, rhythmic sound
Impressive battery life
Stable Bluetooth connection

Reasons to Avoid

Can be a tricky fit
More stylish alternatives exist

Cambridge Audio isn't just about hi-fi separates. The Melomania 1s are 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 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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

3. Sennheiser Momentum Free

A truly five-star pair of wireless earbuds.

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 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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

4. Bose SoundSport Wireless

A fine-sounding pair of wireless earbuds, 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 budget headphones 2019

(Image credit: JBL)

5. JBL Reflect Flow

If you’re after sports earbuds, these are some of the best around

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: 10 hours (30 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Good detail
Strong bass depth
Long battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Can be beaten for dynamics
Carrying case is a bit big

JBL is a heavy hitter when it comes to wireless sports earbuds – and with the Under Armour Flash as its predecessor, the JBL Reflect Flow is a value-packed entrant to the flourishing true wireless earbuds market.

The JBL Reflect Flow headphones are very good indeed, especially if you want a bass-heavy sound for the gym without resorting to cans. The 10-hour battery (or 30 with the case) will outlast a seriously long run and the fit is impressively snug too.

Read the full review: JBL Reflect Flow

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

6. 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

Nothing of note

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Jaybird)

7. 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 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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

8. Sennheiser CX Sport

Sporty accents meet some solid Sennheiser 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

(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. The Sony WF-1000XM3s do sound better, but if you're an iPhone user, you're going to want to give these wireless earbuds an audition.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

10. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Not cheap, but these earbuds 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

11. RHA TrueConnect

Talented 'true wireless' earbuds with impressive battery life.

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 (+20 with case)

Reasons to Buy

Neutral, balanced sound
Good detail
Impressive battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Occasional wireless blips
Slightly awkward case

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

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

12. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

Oe of the best pairs of budget wireless earbuds 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
Bass is a bit slow

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

(Image credit: Libratone)

13. Libratone Track Air+

A likeable and lightweight pair of wireless earbuds with good noise-cancelling.

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: 6 hours (+18 with case)

Reasons to Buy

Transparent, detailed sound
Good noise-cancelling
Comfy fit

Reasons to Avoid

Harsh upper midrange
Unintuitive app
No volume control

Noise-cancelling is a tricky technology to implement in a pair of wireless earbuds, but these Libratones pull it off remarkably well. They might not deliver the most refined or thrilling sound for the money, but it's still clear and detailed with a welcome lack of outside noise. Battery life is good and they're a comfortable fit too, which means after few hours in their company you'll get along perfectly fine.

Read the full review: Libratone Track Air+ review

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

14. Apple AirPods (2019)

Apple's impressive true wireless earbuds boast improved sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | OS support: iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 5 hours (+19 with case)

Reasons to Buy

Nice tonal balance
Sophisticated sound
Flawless wireless tech

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of sound isolation
No buttons
Sound hardens up when pushed

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)

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

15. Samsung Gear IconX

Strong battery life and onboard storage elevate these wireless earbuds.

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

16. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

Neckband design helps deliver impressive battery life

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

17. 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 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.

Read the full review: Philips SHB4385 True Wireless Bass+

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

18. 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

19. 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

20. Sony WF-1000X

Sony's talented wireless in-ears are a great shout at the money.

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
Battery life could be better

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