The search for the best true wireless earbuds has become more daunting with each passing month. The category used to begin and end with Apple's AirPods, the best seller in the category. However, these days several rivals offer superior audio quality, performance and battery life, with some of those buds more suited for Android users who can't take advantage of the AirPods' and AirPods Pro's Apple-only extra features. And with even more contenders on the way, the market for true wireless earbuds is getting seriously competitive.

This list focuses on the overall best wireless earbuds. (We also have lists for wireless headphones, the best-sounding true wireless earbuds and the best cheap true wireless earbuds.) For optimal performance, the best wireless earbuds need to feel comfortable, have an ergonomic design, and fit right with a tight seal. If you can't get a snug earbud fit with in-ear headphones, you'll be sadly disappointed and feel ripped off, which is why I suggest buying your pair of wireless earbuds from a vendor with a decent return policy, such as Amazon. This also helps if the earbuds don't meet other expectations, from noise cancellation of ambient sound (and noise reduction during calls) to touch control and how long they last on a single charge. I'll update this list regularly as we review new wireless earbuds.

Read more: Best noise-canceling headphones of 2021

David Carnoy/CNET

It took Bose quite a while to get them into stores, but the new $279 noise-canceling QuietComfort Earbuds are finally here. In many ways, they're excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and noise canceling, which is arguably the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. Performance-wise, they clearly have a leg up on Apple's best-selling AirPods Pro true wireless noise-canceling buds. However, the AirPods Pro's smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are.

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof).

 

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

 

Samsung

I've been a fan of Samsung's recent Galaxy true-wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds Plus fit my ears really well and have become one of the better true-wireless values, sometimes selling for less than $100 online. And the Galaxy Buds Live, also discounted a bit since their original debut, feature a discreet and innovative "open" design and I like to use them for running and biking. Now the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro -- Samsung's long-awaited active noise-canceling model -- have arrived with upgraded sound and high expectations. (Yes, the Buds Live also have noise canceling, but it's rather modest.)

The Buds Pro are mostly impressive, although just how good you think they are will ultimately depend on how well they fit your ears. The other caveat is that Samsung's new 360 Audio virtual surround feature (similar to Apple's spatial audio) only works with Samsung's latest Galaxy S21 models. I do expect that over time firmware upgrades will offer small improvement and we'll see some discounts sooner rather than later.

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 rating -- fully waterproof).

 

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review.

 

Watch this: Galaxy Buds Pro review: Worth the upgrade?
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Sarah Tew/CNET

The second-generation Momentum True Wireless 2 aren't cheap, but this true wireless earphone choice is better all around than the originals, with a slightly smaller, more comfortable design, active noise canceling that rivals that of the AirPods Pro, improved battery life (up to seven hours versus the original's four) and better noise reduction during calls. And if you don't like these Bluetooth earbuds in black, a white version is now available. Most importantly, though, the Momentum True Wireless 2 have the same stellar sound -- for true wireless earbuds, anyway -- offering clearly superior sound quality to the AirPods Pro. They earned a CNET Editors' Choice Award in 2020.

These use Bluetooth 5.1 with support for the AAC and aptX codecs (for devices that have aptX, like Samsung's Galaxy smartphones).  

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof).

 

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even if they don't sound quite as magical as you'd hope a $249 model would, the Apple AirPods Pro still manage to be a great pair of true wireless earphones with noise cancellation. That's largely due to their winning design and fit, improved bass performance and effective noise canceling -- and now these true wireless headphones have been updated with spatial audio, a new virtual-sound mode for watching movies and TV shows (only works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 14).

They're an excellent choice when you want to make a call or listen to music during your workout. Yeah, they're expensive at $250, but the good news is they tend to sell in the $200 to $220 range.

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splash-proof).

 

Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Mpow X3 wireless earbuds sound shockingly good for their low price of $50 (a $10 instant discount coupon from Amazon is currently available), with good clarity and powerful bass, and they even have active noise cancellation that's fairly effective.

Mpow seems to be regularly tweaking its earphones, and the X3 earbuds were briefly taken off Amazon, before returning with an update. "The new version upgraded the volume control and optimized its active noise-canceling function and call effect," the company told me. "It also added the supersoft ear caps, which [are] more comfortable to wear for a long time."

They did fit me comfortably and securely and I got a tight seal from one of the sets of XL ear tips. They're fully waterproof (IPX8) and get up to seven hours of battery life at moderate volume levels with USB-C charging. (The charging case looks like a fat version of the standard AirPods case.) Call quality is good -- they have a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice in the earbuds -- but I've used other earbuds with better noise reduction during calls. I noticed a touch of audio lag when I streamed a YouTube video but no problems when streaming iTunes movies.

The touch controls take some getting used to -- they're a little wonky -- and it didn't help that the instructions in the box seemed to be for the old X3 model. (I found the current instructions online, which helped me figure things out.) Aside from a few minor downsides, Mpow's X3 earbuds are a great value. 

Water-resistantYes (IPX8 rating -- fully waterproof).

 

Read our Mpow X3 first take.

 

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Master & Dynamic's earlier MW07 and MW07 Plus delivered top-notch sound for true wireless, but they were a little lacking in the features department and weren't so great for making calls. The new-for-2021 MW08 offers some significant improvements, including the addition of solid noise canceling and call quality, that make it one of the top models for 2021. Alas, it's expensive at $299.

Battery life has improved a bit (up to around 12 hours of battery life at 50% volume versus 10 hours for the MW07 Plus), and the earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, active noise cancellation with three microphones on each earbud (noise reduction during calls isn't up to the level of the AirPods Pro, but overall call quality has improved). The noise-canceling on the MW07 Plus was pretty weak; the MW08's is much more effective.  

You can opt for two levels of noise cancellation in the new M&D Connect app for iOS and Android, as well as two levels of transparency that let you hear the outside world to varying degrees. The app currently has no way to tweak the sound profile ('m OK with that because the sound profile is just fine for my tastes) and each earbud has a physical button to control playback, not touch controls.

The 'buds may not fit everyone's ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as excellent sound and a great listening experience if you can get a tight seal (I was able to get a secure fit with the largest tip). They deliver more of an audiophile sound profile, with smooth, well-balanced sound and well-defined bass. This model has new 11mm drivers, which add a bit of punch to the bass and a touch better clarity. The MW08 works well with all genres of music.

Available in a variety of color options for $300, like their predecessors, the MW08 includes a swanky stainless-steel charging case (it charges via USB-C) that's compact but carries more weight than your typical buds case. I prefer the matte finishes of the cases that come with the black and blue versions, and you also get a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the charging case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag).

These truly wireless earbuds now support both the aptX and AAC audio codecs and have an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic.

Water-resistantYes (IPX5 rating -- withstands sustained spray).

Say what you will about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live's bean-shaped design, but they might just be the most innovative new true wireless earbuds of the year. Like the standard AirPods, they have an open design -- you don't jam an ear tip into your ear -- and they're quite comfortable to wear and fit my ears more securely than the AirPods. That said, they won't fit everybody's ears equally well. These wireless buds are discreet and basically sit flush with your ear without a little white pipe extending out from them.

They deliver good sound and work well as a headset for making calls, with good background noise reduction so callers can hear you clearly even when you're in noisier environments. While they feature active noise canceling, it's mild compared to the noise canceling in earbuds that have a noise-isolating design. In other words, buy them for their design and sound, not their noise-canceling features.

Water-resistantYes (IPX2 rating -- sweat-resistant and protects against light splashes).

 

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

At one time, we had the cheaper EarFun Free on this list, but the newer and more feature-rich EarFun Free Pro buds are the ones I'm using more for sporting activity these days. They have active noise cancellation with a transparency mode, wireless charging and Bluetooth 5.2. Rated for seven hours of battery life without the noise-canceling function on, or about six hours with it on, they're IPX5 water-resistant, which means they can withstand a sustained spray of water.

They sound very good for the money, with relatively clean, balanced sound and bass that has some kick to it -- they're pretty open-sounding. Lightweight and comfortable to wear, they have little fins that help keep them securely in your ears, and they're fairly discreet-looking.

Don't expect them to cancel noise as well as the AirPods Pro, but they do provide some decent muffling. It's worth noting that you can use either the left or right earbud independently and there's a low-latency mode for video watching (and presumably gaming). Call quality was decent, too: Callers said they heard some background noise but it wasn't intrusive and they could hear my voice well. The touch controls were responsive. 

Water-resistantYes (IPX5 rating -- can withstand a sustained spray of water).

David Carnoy/CNET

Known for its excellent sounding, retro-designed, open-back wired headphones, Grado has long been a favorite among audiophiles, earning extra points for building many of its headphones by hand in Brooklyn, New York, for over 60 years. But with the world moving to wireless audio, the company has slowly shifted into the Bluetooth headphone arena, first with its GW100 on-ear model (in 2018) and now with its first true wireless earbuds, the GT220 ($259). Grado says it's been working for two years to fit them with its "signature" mini-drivers and tune them accordingly. The good news is they sound fantastic -- for true-wireless earbuds anyway -- and perform well as a headset for making calls.

Their more penetrating fit (the buds have to be jammed into your ears), which provides very good passive noise-muffling, may not work for everybody. But if you're OK with it, these are easily among the best-sounding true-wireless earbuds out there -- and maybe even the best-sounding.

Audiophile headphones are often associated with more of a flat or neutral sound profile that delivers "accurate" sound. These are well-balanced but they have a more exciting sound profile, with bass that's a touch more forward and nice sparkle in the treble. They are more revealing and articulate than Sennheiser's True Wireless Momentum II earbuds, which come across as warmer and a bit more open with slightly bigger sound.

These use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for the AAC and aptX codecs (for devices that have aptX, like Samsung's Galaxy smartphones). Read our Grado GT220 review.

Water-resistantYes (IPX2 rating -- sweat-resistant and protects against light splashes).

David Carnoy/CNET

Anker's Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro ($130), the company's first earbuds to feature active noise canceling, are mostly an excellent set of true-wireless earbuds that measure up pretty well against Apple's AirPods Pro for significantly less money.

While I had an issue with the included ear tips and had to use some other tips (it's crucial to get a tight seal or both noise canceling and sound quality will suffer), they should fit most people comfortably. Sound quality is better than Anker's earlier Liberty Air 2 and the noise canceling is effective. These also work well as a headset for making calls and are available in multiple color options. Read our Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review.

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof).

While the Elite 75t has been out a while, it's still one of the best true wireless earbuds out there and recently added noise canceling via a firmware upgrade. Earlier firmware updates improved voice-calling performance. 

The Elite 75t aren't quite as comfortable to wear as the AirPods Pro, but they do sound better, with clearer overall sound and better bass audio quality definition, so long as you get a tight seal.

The slightly more rugged Elite Active 75t is also available for about $20 more, but with the new Elite 85t's arrival we are seeing some sales on the Elite 75t. 

Water-resistantYes (IP55 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water).

 

Read our Jabra Elite 75t review.

 

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy Buds Plus have been out a while and generally cost a little more than $100 and sometimes less. Featuring very good sound for the money, they offer strong battery life (up to around 11 hours for music playback), and they pack dual drivers for better sound and an additional microphone in each bud to help with external noise reduction while making calls.

The newer and more expensive Galaxy Buds Pro add noise canceling and offer improved sound, with slightly better bass definition and overall clarity, but some people like the fit of the Galaxy Buds Plus better (they comes with sport fins, which can help you get a more secure fit).

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splash-proof).

 

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Google's Pixel Buds 2 are worthy contenders in the premium true wireless earbuds arena, particularly for Android phones. These Bluetooth earbuds feature hands-free Google Assistant (for Android), these truly wireless earbuds offer a comfortable, secure fit and very good sound quality for true wireless. Additionally, they're good for making calls, and their touch controls work quite well. 

At five hours, their battery life isn't as good as some new models that are hitting the market, but it's on par with the AirPods Pro's battery life and the well-designed wireless charging case gives you an additional 19 hours (there is a quick-charge feature). The Pixel Buds 2 will eventually be available in four color options -- white, black, mint and orange -- but at launch you can only get them in white.

This true wireless earbud option uses Bluetooth 5.0 with support for the AAC codec but not aptX. 

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof).

 

Read our Google Pixel Buds 2 (2020) review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony's WF-1000XM3 earbuds have been out for a while and are probably due for an upgrade in the not-so-distant future. In recent months, we've seen them discounted by $50 off their list price, and they remain a solid pick at that price. As far as sound quality goes, they're among the best-sounding wireless earbuds and also feature excellent noise-cancellation technology to reduce ambient noise.

The only drawback is the WF-1000XM3 Bluetooth earbuds aren't rated as sweat-proof or waterproof headphones. That said, I've used them for light workouts with a bit of a sweat at the gym without a problem. They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistantNo (lacks IPX certification).

 

Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

One of our top picks for runners, the Jaybird Vista is a good set of true wireless sports earbuds that lock in your ears and are fully waterproof. It's been out a while, so it's due for an upgrade and frequently is discounted (so look for it on sale).

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 -- fully waterproof and sweat-proof).

 

Read the Jaybird Vista review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

I thought the Tranya Rimor was a good deal at $30, but now that the T10 is available, I'm recommending it. It looks very similar to that Rimor, but has some improvements that make it an excellent deal at less than $30. It not only has better battery life (it's rated for eight hours) but better water resistance (IPX7 instead of IPX5), upgraded 12mm graphene drivers and the earbuds support AAC and AptX codecs. The case charges wirelessly and via USB-C.

Like most true-wireless earbuds from Chinese brands that sell through Amazon, these have a pretty generic look and feel, especially the case, and they may not fit all ears equally well -- they do stick out a little. But if you get a tight seal they sound quite good, with potent, well-defined bass and good detail (for true wireless). They also work well as a headset for making calls, thanks to decent noise reduction that helps tamp down background noise so people can hear your voice better.

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 -- fully waterproof and sweat-proof).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, the Beats Powerbeats Pro's jumbo charging case with its built-in battery is a notable drawback. But incorporating all the features that make Apple's AirPods great while delivering richer sound and better battery life in a design that features ear hooks and won't fall out of your ear is a winning proposition. Just make sure you buy these Beats Powerbeats earphones somewhere that has a good return policy, in case you're in the small minority who have ears that aren't quite a match for these Bluetooth headphones.

They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splash-proof).

 

Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second-generation Apple AirPods add a couple of small but key improvements to the original, including always-on voice recognition and a wireless charging case option. They're also a quality device for making calls, indoors and out. 

The retail price for the base Apple AirPod model is $159 while the version with the wireless charging case lists for $199, but you can find both models for considerably less online.

Water-resistantNo (lacks IPX certification).

 

Read our Apple AirPods 2019 review.

 

WHAT ARE THE NEWEST EARBUDS?

sony wf-1000xm4

(Image credit: Sony)

The latest earbuds that we've tried out are the Sony WF-1000XM4 – and the fact that they've taken the top spot in this guide tells you all you need to know about their performance.

In other true wireless earbuds news, we've been hearing about the rumored Beats Studio Buds, as Apple AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 rumors continue to circulate.

Choosing the best earbuds for your needs and your budget can be a challenge. After all, there are so many different types vying for your attention, including wired in-ear headphones, neckbud-style wireless earphones, and true wireless earbuds. How do you know which one you should choose?

That’s why we’ve brought together this handy guide. The best earbuds of 2021 all come in a range of different form factors – the style you should choose depends on your needs. If you hate wires and have a fairly healthy budget, we recommend cable-free true wireless earbuds, like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the AirPods Pro – many of which now come with extra features, including noise-cancellation. 

Perhaps you value security and audio fidelity above all else. In that case, check out the wired earbuds on our list below. Or, opt for something that has the best of both worlds with a pair of the best wireless earbuds. These styles are able to connect to your phone via Bluetooth but still retain a cord between the two earbuds themselves, which means there's no chance of one falling down the drain (well, very little chance, anyway).

Something that all the best earbuds of 2021 have in common is that they're compact, sound fantastic, and are super-convenient to use compared to bulky over-ear headphones.

On a budget? Don't forget that Amazon Prime Day 2021 is coming up in June, and many of the earbuds in this guide will be discounted – so if you've got your eye on a pricey pair of earphones, you might want to hold off until then.

OUR TOP EARBUD PICKS

best earbuds: 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone

(Image credit: 1More)

1. 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone

The best earbuds you can buy in 2021

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20 - 40,000Hz
Drivers: Dynamic
Battery life: N/A
REASONS TO BUY
+Lush sound quality+Excellent build and design+Unmatched value
REASONS TO AVOID
-Plastic remote feels cheap

If you like your earbuds to come with a cable, the 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones are the best wiredearbuds you can buy in 2021. After spending a few weeks with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones and the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones we were blown away at just how much value each one gave in their prospective price ranges. 

For $100 / £100 (around AU$168), it’s hard to think of a better sounding pair of earbuds  than the 1MORE Triple Driver. That said, if you want just that little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones are still a bargain at twice the price. 

There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Their rubber cable is annoying and its remote control feels cheap but these are just nitpicks.For their price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE's Triple Driver in-ear headphones. 

Read the full review: 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone review

sony wf-1000xm4

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

The best true wireless earbuds you can buy today

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 7.3g
Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm
Battery life : 8 hours (earbuds) 16 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Rapid, full-bodied and eloquent sound+Truly useful features+Impressive call quality
REASONS TO AVOID
-Unremarkable battery life-No aptX support

Sony is largely responsible for the rude health of the active noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds market, and with the WF-1000XM4, the company has combined performance, ergonomics, and build quality more effectively than ever before. 

Compared to their predecessors, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the new wireless earbuds offer enough quality-of-life features to make them worth upgrading to, even if they are more expensive. 

While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – noise cancellation, for example – no other model comes close to offering such excellent quality across the board. That’s why the Sony WF-1000XM4 are hands-down the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today.

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM4 review

best earbuds: sennheiser momentum true wireless 2

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Great-sounding and noise-cancelling

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 6g
Frequency response: 5 - 21,000Hz
Drivers: 7mm dynamic
Battery life: 7 hours (earbuds) 28 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Incredible sound+Sleek design+Support for Hi-Res Audio
REASONS TO AVOID
-More expensive than rivals

The sound quality, battery life, and design of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are truly brilliant – and they're a really good alternative to the Sony WF-1000XM3, particularly if your idea of the best earbuds are a little more flashy.

We did find that those with smaller ears sometimes find them a little uncomfortable, however, and their high price just stops them from beating the Sony's to second place of this round up. 

Otherwise? Sennheiser has pretty much knocked it out of the park with these in-ear headphones, offering great noise cancellation alongside smart looks and stunning sound. 

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

best earbuds: Nuraloops

(Image credit: NuraLoop)

4. NuraLoop headphones

Improving on aural perfection

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 25g
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20 kHz
Drivers: 8.6mm dynamic
Battery life: 16 hours
REASONS TO BUY
+Rich, adaptive audio+ANC and social mode+Rugged, sweatproof desig
REASONS TO AVOID
-Stiff neckband can get in the way

NuraLoop boils down the essence of the company's first product, the Nuraphone, into a much more compact, rugged, and affordable package, and doesn't lose much in the process.

The star of the show is its adaptive audio technology, which automatically determines a listening profile for the user and feeds them well-balanced, lush sound as a result.

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On top of this, features like active noise-cancelling, social mode, an IPX3 rating, Immersion mode, a great battery life, and the ability to attach an analog cable for 3.5mm headphone jacks makes this pair of wireless earbuds truly shine.

Read more: NuraLoop headphones review

best earbuds: Optoma NuForce BE Sport4

(Image credit: Optoma)

5. Optoma NuForce BE Sport4

Practically flawless wireless earbuds

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 15.5g
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000kHz
Drivers: 6mm dynamic
Battery life: 10 hours
REASONS TO BUY
+Impressive audio+Customized eartips+Practical design
REASONS TO AVOID
-Not suited to one-ear listening

The NuForce BE Sport4 wireless earbuds are that rare find: earbuds that are good for basically all situations. While they're specifically designed for use in the gym and on the track, the BE Sport4 do an awesome job isolating audio in a crowded city environment and are even good enough for home listening.  

The BE Sport4 in-ear headphones have claimed 10-hour battery life, which we found to be pretty close to the mark in our time with them, and from empty you can get two hours of use from just a 15-minute charge – ideal for those needing a quick top-up while they put on their trainers and pack a gym kit. 

Consider this a warning shot fellow audio manufacturers: build and audio quality do not need to be sacrificed in order to keep earbuds affordable. 

Read more: Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 review

best earbuds: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

6. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Mind-blowing sound without the wires

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 9.2g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5.8mm dome type
Battery life : 9 hours (earbuds) 36 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Outstanding audio quality+Good value for money+Comfortable design
REASONS TO AVOID
-Control buttons can be annoying

The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 come with an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, and combine the brand’s award-winning engineering with the convenience of truly wireless listening. 

For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational, winning it a place among the best earbuds of 2021.

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They may not have the noise cancellation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds, but they are $100 (around £80) cheaper – and have a superior battery life. 

Read more: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 review

[Update: Check out our Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch review. We found that, while the earbuds sound fantastic, they're let down by dodgy connectivity and sensitive touch controls.]

grado gt220

(Image credit: Grado)

7. Grado GT220

Few true wireless earbuds sound this good

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 8mm polyethylene terephthalate full-range
Battery life (on-board): 6 hours (earbuds) 36 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Hugely impressive sound in every respect+Responsive touch- and voice-control+Light and fairly comfortable
REASONS TO AVOID
-No active noise-cancelling

On paper, the GT220 seem to have their work cut out. $259 / £250 / AU$365 for small, humdrum-looking true wireless earbuds with no active noise-cancelling and no control app.

But, by performing with absolute confidence and assurance, they stand head and shoulders above the majority of true wireless earbuds on the market today. They extract every shred of information from digital files of your favorite music and deliver it with such authority, and in such a complete and coherent manner, that it sounds fresh even if you’ve heard it a thousand times before.

Read more: Grado GT220 review

best earbuds: Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Headphones

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

8. Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Headphones

Neckbuds with phenomenal sound

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 31g
Frequency response: 10Hz - 30kHz
Drivers: 9.2mm
Battery life: 8 hours
REASONS TO BUY
+Comfortable design+Excellent sound quality
REASONS TO AVOID
-No waterproofing-Average battery life

The Bowers & Wilkins PI3 are the first neckband headphones for the company, and they're a great start. Well-designed, comfy, and simple to use, their great sound makes them some of the best earbuds you can buy today.

Thanks to dual drivers, these buds sound fantastic, with crisp highs, lively mids, and plenty of powerful bass. Look past the fairly unremarkable battery life and limited features, and you'll be mostly very impressed by what these in-ear headphones offer.

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Headphones review

best earbuds: Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

9. Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones

No fuss running buds with fantastic audio

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 15g
Frequency response: 17-21,000 Hz
Drivers: N/A
Battery life: 6 hours
REASONS TO BUY
+Fantastic audio quality+Sports-friendly design
REASONS TO AVOID
-Not the cheapest option-Mids could be richer

With a lively, bass-heavy presentation, and a comfortable fit, the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones make an excellent pair of running headphones as well as some of the best earbuds of 2021. 

They don't come with a heart rate monitor, but the inclusion of ear fins and sporty neon color scheme makes them ideal for casual workouts. 

With a battery life of six hours, they're great for your average running session, or even your daily commute – but marathon runners will want to look elsewhere. 

 Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport Wireless earphones review

best earbuds: OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2

(Image credit: OnePlus)

10. OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2

Amazing wireless earphones for the price

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 13g
Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Drivers: 6mm dynamic
Battery life: 8 hours
REASONS TO BUY
+Magnetic on/off switch  +Lively sound+Strong wireless connection 
REASONS TO AVOID
-Terrible carrying case 

OnePlus is most known for its “flagship killer” phones like the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, but the company also makes headphones – the best example of which are the company’s excellent Bullets Wireless 2, which offer an incredible value in the neckbud earphones category. 

In terms of audio quality, they boast a lively sonic presentation and an accurate-feeling soundstage, although bass-heads may want to look elsewhere for headphones that pack a bassier punch. 

They're comfortable to wear too, but it's just a shame that they don't have a waterproof rating and the inline remote is so fiddly, because otherwise they could make a decent pair of running headphones. 

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They may be $30 more expensive than their predecessors, but the improved battery life and sound quality makes up for that; it also makes it worth upgrading if you have the originals and are due a new pair of wireless earbuds. 

Read the full review: OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 review

best earbuds: true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Lypertek)

11. Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi)

Incredible, affordable buds

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: N/A
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 6mm graphene
Battery life (on-board): 10 hours (earbuds) 70 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Incredible value+Neutral audiophile-like sound+Great battery life
REASONS TO AVOID
-Design is a bit plain

If you're looking for budget-friendly true wireless earbuds, then the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (formerly known as the Lypertek Tevi) are a great choice – they're among the best earbuds we've tried, especially given their low price tag ($130 / £99 / AU$185).

With USB-C charging, a well-balanced sound, lengthy battery life, and waterproofing, they tick every box you could ask for, from what are basically a pair of budget buds. 

The Lypertek Tevi, surprisingly, might just blow you away, punching well above their weight and rivaling the best earbuds from some of the biggest audio brands on the planet. 

And, if you're looking for something even cheaper, check out the Lypertek SoundFree S20, which combine excellent battery life and sound with value for money.

Read more: Lypertek Tevi true wireless earbuds review

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[Update: Lypertek has announced the follow-up to the Lypertek PurePlay Z3, and in spite of a host of improvements, they won't cost you any more than their predecessors. 

The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 come with the latest Qualcomm QC3040 chipset, which allows for Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, better quality connections, and aptX and AAC codecs.]

best earbuds: 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

(Image credit: 1More)

12. 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

More expensive than the Triple Drivers, but More powerful too

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 18.5g
Frequency response: 20 - 40,000Hz
Drivers: Dynamic
Battery life: N/A
REASONS TO BUY
+Beautifully balanced sound+Luxurious build quality+Remote controls work on 
REASONS TO AVOID
-Cheaper sibling is better value

They're expensive, but the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones are worth every penny. 1MORE hit it out of the park with this flagship pair of wired earbuds, with their balanced sound build quality, smartphone compatibility, and price. These in-ear headphones will make mobile audiophiles very happy. 

The only reservation that we have is that the Quad Drivers face tough competition from 1MORE’s own cheaper Triple Driver sibling which costs half the price (which sit pretty at the number one spot on our list). 

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In terms of value, the 1MORE Triple Driver headphones are the winner, but if you're willing to spend a little more on build and sound quality, the 1More Quad Drivers are among the best earbuds you can buy.

Read the full review: 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

best earbuds: AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

13. Apple AirPods Pro

The perfect earbuds... for Apple fans

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.4g
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: Dynamic
Battery life: 5 hours (earbuds) 24 hours (charging case)
REASONS TO BUY
+Good noise cancellation+Better fit than AirPods (2019)
REASONS TO AVOID
-More expensive than better rivals-USB-C charging cable in box

Apple's noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro, deliver a much better fit and an improved design compared to the original AirPods.

However, at $249 / £249 / AU$399, they’re pretty pricey too, and as such can’t be called the very best true wireless earbuds in terms of value for money – but they may be the best true wireless earbuds for Apple fans. That said, AirPods Pro deals are becoming more commonplace as the buds age.

These snug-fitting earbuds offer a great sound, and the additional microphones provide strong noise-cancelling (particularly when commuting), as well as a useful Transparency mode, which really does let the outside world in. They even support Dolby Atmos immersive sound, following an update last year.

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Apparently, there's a new AirPods model set to join the original buds and the newer Pros. The AirPods Pro 2 are rumored to be a new, cheaper variant of the company's popular true wireless earbuds, and they could be released in the next few months.

Read more: Apple AirPods Pro review

best earbuds: soundmagic e11bt

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

14. SoundMAGIC E11BT

Magic bullets that sound deceptively good

SPECIFICATIONS
Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 24.7g
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000Hz
Drivers: 10mm dynamic neodymium
Battery life: 20 hours