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Best wireless earbuds 2020: 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 2020.

The move towards wireless earbuds has seen the market boom in recent years and you've no shortage of models to choose from. One big appeal is the freedom. With no wires running between headphones and phone, wireless earbuds won't restrict your movement one bit. That's handy for commuting and general day-to-day life and great if you're the sporty type.

Some wireless earbuds have a cable or neckband connecting the buds together, but many of the options you'll see on the list below don't – they look just like earplugs. Other extras can include noise-cancelling tech, touch controls and carry cases that double as chargers.

And now we're seeing wireless earbuds that offer hands-free access to personal assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Just speak your request, and they'll do your bidding.

With so many models and styles and so much tech on offer, it can make finding the best wireless earbuds for you a bit of 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 of Bluetooth in-ears. So whether you want the comfiest pair on the planet, one with brilliant battery life or just want the wireless earbuds with the best sound on the market, we're sure to have a pair of buds for you...

The 5 best Cyber Monday wireless earbuds deals

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM3

What Hi-Fi? Award-winners, and the best 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

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 for playback and volume control 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 2018 and 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award winners are the best wireless earbuds we've ever tested.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best wireless earbuds 2020

(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. Added to the nine hours you get when the in-ears are fully juiced, that works out at a whopping 45 hours.

Each bud has a 5.8mm graphene driver, a triple-core processor (with support for AAC and aptX audio codecs), a beam-forming mic for clearer calls or chatting to Siri/Google Assistant, plus Bluetooth 5.0. The IPX5 rating means they’re water and sweat-resistant, too.

The fit can be a little tricky depending on your ears, but once in place, you'll be rewarded with rich sound. Vocals detailed, while there's precision and cohesion to the soundstage.

There’s no dedicated app for the Melomania 1s, so you can't, for example, tweak the EQ settings. But on the upside, pairing is refreshingly simple. Want the best-sounding budget buds around? These are a no-brainer.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. 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 2020

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 falling 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 easy-to-use controls. The neckband cable incorporates a remote housing part-way down, but the power pack appears to live in the earpieces, which may explain the modest six hours battery life.

On the upside, they're IPX4 rated, meaning they can’t be submerged in water but will handle sweat and splashes better than normal earphones. The addition of NFC tech means they're particularly easy to pair with Android devices.

If the rather average battery life isn't a deal-breaker, you'll like these buds – they're comfortable, sound great and enjoyable to use.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Wireless

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

5. 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 2020

(Image credit: JBL)

6. JBL Reflect Flow

If you’re after sporty wireless 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 Reflect Flows are very good indeed, especially if you desire a bass-heavy sound for the gym – without resorting to on-ear or over-ear headphones. You get 10 hours of battery in the buds plus an extra 20 hours from the case, and JBL promises a quick 10-minute charge will provide an hour's playback.

With the right tip and fin combination, they produce a stable fit that holds them securely in place when tackling all manner athletic pursuits, while that extra helping of deep but accurate bass should see you over the finish line.

One notable feature is the ambient mode: press the left bud and the volume decreases, allowing you to hold a conversation without removing the buds. It's worth comparing these to the sporty five-star Jaybird Vistas (below), but for fit and sound, we think the JBL Reflect Flows have the edge.

Read the full review: JBL Reflect Flow

Best wireless earbuds

7. Bose SoundSport Free

Bose's earbuds 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 true wireless 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. 

Designed with sporty types in mind, the SoundSport Free in-ears are both sweat- and water-resistant, and have a suitably rugged feel to them. The earbud-mounted controls are very useful and save you taking your phone out when pounding the pavement. Talking of which, the earpieces are neatly held in place by Bose’s StayHear tips which feature little wings that rest against the inside of your ear for extra stability. 

Five hours of battery life should be enough for a workout, but the solid plastic charging carry case serves up an extra ten hours of power. Not bad, but not a patch on the battery life of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s (above),

Despite all the sporty touches, the SoundSport Frees have more than enough sonic appeal to satisfy commuters. Sound is bold and balanced, with rich, weighty bass and crisp highs. These sporty, feature-packed buds sound great and tick all the boxes.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Free

Best wireless earbuds

(Image credit: EarFun)

8. Earfun Air

Affordable and feature-packed 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 (35 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, expansive sound
Great feature set
Classy build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Treble needs more refinement

Earfun isn't one of the first brands that spring to mind when researching wireless earbuds, but the Earfun Airs could change that. These buds are ridiculously affordable and they sound great for the money too!

They're also packed with features. Noise-cancelling is out of the picture at this price, but there's excellent noise isolation and these well-fitting earphones feel comfy too. They're also waterproof to IPX7 standards (submersible in one metre of water for up to 30 mins), support virtual assistants and include Qi wireless charging if you've got a suitable charger to hand.

Calls sound clear, and the battery life is seven hours from the buds and a further 28 hours from the charging case. Amazingly it all feels fairly premium too. The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is solid and stable and for the money, the wireless earbuds offer an energetic and spacious sound.

If you’re after something fun-sounding and affordable, the Earfun Air wireless earbuds could be just the ticket.

Read the full review: Earfun Air review

Best wireless earbuds 2020

9. Sennheiser Momentum Free

A pair of fantastic and affordable 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 the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless - the design has been pared back a bit, and the battery life dropped from 10 hours to six. 

Crucially, 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, these earbuds refuse to get bogged down and still manage to carve out bass, mids and highs with expert precision. 

Design is simple and unfussy, with a single short length of cable running between the two earpieces. You can adjust the length via the attached slider, and opt to run the cable behind your neck or under your chin.

Said cable also plays host to an in-line mic and controls for music playback and volume. A long press on the top or bottom buttons skips track and a short one changes volume. And build quality is as solid as we've come to expect from Sennheiser. 

If you can put up with the slightly shorter battery life this is a great pair of wireless buds at a very tempting price.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Free

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Jaybird)

10. 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 the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s, but if you’re tired of feeling your earphones slowly falling out of your ears when out running, the Vistas are a superb choice.

Read the full review: Jaybird Vista

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

11. 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 some gym accessories are as appealing as a middle-aged man in lycra, check out the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earbuds. 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. 

Sporty touches include a choice of rubberised ear fins which help lock the buds in place for a secure fit, plus an IPX4 rating, meaning they're splash and sweat-resistant. Handy if your buds tend to be flung in the bottom of a wet gym bag.

Battery life is six hours and the CX Sports take around one and a half hours to reach full capacity. A ten-minute quick charge via Micro USB will breathe an hour of life back into them.

Sonically, these earbuds deliver Sennheiser’s traditional in-ear sound – so expect plenty of clarity and enough pumping bass to keep you going through a tough workout. Rivals offer a more dynamic sound, but these hardwearing wireless earbuds should please active types who like to 'go hard or go home'.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Future)

12. 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 2020: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

13. Bowers & Wilkins PI3

B&W's sporty wireless earbuds hit the spot.

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: 8 hours

Reasons to Buy

Clean, detailed presentation
Solid, weighty and tight bass
Flexible design and fine build

Reasons to Avoid

Not IPX rated
Lack of eartip options

Bowers & Wilkins has managed to make hay in the headphone market, building on its excellent reputation for making loudspeakers. Wireless in-ears with a neckband design is a new form factor for B&W, but the PI3s really do hit the spot. 

Battery life is a solid eight hours and though they aren't IPX-rated, B&W claims they are "resistant to light rain, splash and sweat".  It would be nice to get a few extra ear tips to sort the fit, so just give them a thorough audition out of the box.

The B&Ws produce an open, punchy and tonally balanced sound and they're a good fit for any musical genre. Battery life is a very respectable eight hours and a 15-minute quick-charge gets you two hours of playback. The in-line controls are nice to use with decent-sized buttons including a large textured button for the main play/pause and skip track function.

There is a bit of cable noise to contend with, but that's not uncommon for products of this type and shouldn't be a deal-breaker. If you're after entertaining sound, for the gym or your daily commute, the PI3s deliver.

Read the full review: B&W PI3

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

14. 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

RHA has got in on the true wireless act with the talented TrueConnects, which sound good and cost roughly the same as a pair of AirPods. Unfortunately, unlike Apple, RHA has not quite managed to nail the connectivity. As a result, we experienced the odd Bluetooth blip. 

Everything else about the TrueConnects is well-considered though. The battery lasts around five hours between charges and the supplied charging case can recharge the buds up to four times, prolonging the battery life for an extra 20 hours. Comfort is excellent, with surprisingly effective passive isolation when used with the supplied Comply foam tips (you also get several sets of standard silicone tips in the box).

More importantly, the TrueConnects are one of the better-sounding true wireless earphones around at this price. They angle towards a neutral tonal balance, with crisp treble and plenty of satisfying, subtle bass.

Some slight connectivity niggles aside, their ease-of-use and insightful sound makes them a good alternative to the likes of the Apple AirPods. 

Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

15. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

One 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

These Skullcandys are some of the most affordable wireless earbuds on the market, and the best value for those on a budget. Sound is full and fun, and while it won't trouble a high-end pair, it's very impressive given the price. 

As you might expect, features are thin on the ground. The cable can be removed from the flexible neckband and the battery life is a decent 6-7 hours. You get a basic three button remote just below the left earpiece and a little plastic fastener that lets you loop the cable together when you're wearing - but not using - them.  

There’s no frills here, so aptX, fast charging and NFC are all absent from the spec list. But if you're looking for affordable wireless headphones, these offer dynamic and fun sound for the money, with a relatively wide and well-separated soundstage.

They lack a little audio finesse – but they cost a fraction of the price of a premium pair. And for that reason, they come highly recommended.

Read the full review: Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

(Image credit: Libratone)

16. Libratone Track Air+

A likeable and lightweight pair of wireless earbuds.

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. The Danish company has achieved a stylish design, too. The buds are nice and light, and their pill-shaped charging case is one of the smallest we’ve seen. What's more, you can charge the case wirelessly – by sitting it on Libratone’s Coil charger, which resembles a drinks coaster.

Battery life is a decent six hours from the buds, plus a total of three extra charges or 24 hours total from the case. Pairing the earphones with Libratone's app can be a lengthy process, but once completed, the app provides three noise-cancelling options (manual, smart and ambient). It's some of the most versatile and convincing noise-cancelling we've heard.

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. They're a comfortable fit too. Overall, these small, light buds are very good – but the user experience isn't the best. 

Read the full review: Libratone Track Air+ review

Best noise-cancelling earbuds: the true wireless way to cut out background noise

(Image credit: Technics)

17. Technics EAH-AZ70W

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

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

18. 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 let down by distinctly average sound quality. This second-generation version sounds better and packs in the features, meaning pairing and switching connections is now effortless,. 

These Bluetooth 5.0 buds are powered by Apple's new H1 chip and you've got the option to splash out on a wireless charging case. The big news, though, is there's been a boost in the audio department, pushing the AirPods into hi-fi territory. They produce a louder and more sophisticated sound that benefits from a natural, fairly neutral sonic balance.

Battery life is excellent: five hours of listening and another 19 hours available via the supplied (non-wireless) charging case. The launch of iOS13 added Audio Sharing, a nifty feature which allows a second pair of AirPods to connect, and listen, to a single iPhone. And thanks to Siri, you can now reply to incoming messages using your voice.

Downsides? There's no interchangeable ear tips so you'll just have to hope that 'one-size-fits-all'. But if you're an Apple fan, there's plenty to like here.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods (2019)

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

19. 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

You can usually rely on Samsung when it comes to things like build quality, innovation and performance. So it's no surprise that these true wireless buds boast a healthy battery life, a lengthy spec list and superb touch-sensitive controls.

Their elegant design and claimed seven hours battery life were enough to catch our attention. But on closer inspection, the Gear IconXs are crammed with features. 

Unlike most rivals, these buds boast a 3.4GB internal memory – so you can store up to 1000 tracks in case your phone runs out, or you want to leave it at home while jogging. You also get a built-in Running Coach feature, which logs your time, distance and burned calories in conjunction with Samsung’s S Health app. 

While there is a touch of coarseness through the midrange and treble, sound is musical, with a finely-balanced frequency range and a generous helping of bass. We heartily recommend you audition these talented buds.

Read the full review: Samsung Gear IconX

Best wireless earbuds 2019: Budget and premium

20. 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

Sennheiser’s Award-winning Momentum family has gone from strength to strength, as evidenced  by these impressive wireless in-ears. The neckband design keeps them stable and houses the battery and Bluetooth receiver. This means that the battery life is an impressive 10 hours, and the earpieces themselves are less bulky that a true wireless pair.

The main section of the neckband is covered in soft sheepskin nappa leather, so it feels both comfortable and lightweight (53g). The controls – a cluster of easy-to-use buttons – are built into the left arm of the neckband, and there's USB audio support so you can connect directly to your laptop and listen to music.

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 neckband design, these will reward you handsomely. And if not, check out the very similar Momentum Frees (above) instead.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

21. 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 some of the longest-lasting wireless earphones we've tested. They feature a comfortable, pliable neckband design and they're IPX4 rated two, so they won't be troubled by a few beads of sweat or a splash of water.

Features include Bluetooth 5.0, a three-button remote that’s compatible with both Android and Apple devices, plus support for AAC. Unlike rivals such as the Beyerdynamic Byron BTs, there's no support the higher standard Bluetooth aptX, but that's not a disaster... especially given the attractive price.

Build quality is decent and the flexible rubber neckband is comfortable, with a built-in battery on each side to balance weight distribution. More importantly, they sound great: there's enough space and detail to more than justify the price. Its a shame they're not as dynamic as they could be these elegant buds don't cost too much and perform well on the daily commute.

Read the full review: SoundMagic E11BT

Best wireless earbuds 2020: Budget and premium

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

22. SoundMagic TWS50

Light, comfortable and impressively affordable true 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 (24 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Open, airy sound
Good detail
Light and comfy design

Reasons to Avoid

Dynamics and timing could be better
Fiddly case

SoundMagic has a reputation for producing good and, in some cases, excellent budget headphones and the TWS50s are another pair worthy of praise. They're the company's first pair of true wireless earbuds and they offer decent sound-per-pound value.

They might not perform to the same standard as the Cambridge Melomania 1s near the top of this list, but they're not a million miles away. The sound produced is open and airy, voices are full-bodied and the whole presentation is nicely layered. Dynamics and detail could be a little better, but you're still getting a solid sound for not a lot of money.

Battery life is around six hours, while the charging case adds another four extra charges giving 30 hours in total. Touch-sensitive buttons on each bud control playback and volume through a series of taps. A comfortable fit and light design complete an appealing package for the money.

 Read the full review: SoundMagic TWS50

  • 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