Best wireless earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best wireless earbuds you can buy in 2019.
The wireless earbud market is booming, but why should you make the switch? 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 true wireless designs 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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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)
True wireless headphones 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
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
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
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
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+
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
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+