With the lack of headphone jacks on so many smartphones these days, it's no wonder wireless headphones are more popular than ever. In particular, wireless earbuds are all the rage and here we round-up the best.
We reviewed the Apple AirPods on our sister site Macworld, but these are the best AirPods alternatives. They will, of course, work on iOS or Android so it doesn't matter where you're coming from.
If you're looking for general wireless headphones then we have a dedicated chart for that which includes on- and over-ear headphones.
In terms of wireless earbuds, you're going to have to spend a fair amount to get a decent pair. This is because there's a lot of technology packed into tiny headphones. Since the category is very new, prices won't come down for a while – the average price for a well-known brand is £200.
Generally speaking, the earbuds from different manufacturers are very similar. The headphones connect to your phone (or other devices) and each other over Bluetooth and tend to have playback controls on at least one earbud.
You'll get a few hours of battery life (there's not much space for the battery) and the carry case will handily charge them up, normally a few times over.
Many will be pitched as fitness or sport headphones and while ones like the Bose SoundFree Sport are waterproof, rivals like the Jabra Elite Sport have more features like tracking and a heart rate monitor. More expensive options, like the Bragi Dash Pro, offer both tracking and impressive water resistance.
Best wireless earbuds 2018
- Reviewed on: 21 March 2018
Sony has almost made the perfect pair of wireless earbuds with the WF-1000X. They're certainly the best ones we've tested so far.
These truly wireless earphones are comfortable because they're lightweight and small. Add in excellent sound quality and noise cancelling and we can hear you smashing that buy button.
Some drop outs and a slightly odd case design are small downsides and rivals like the Jabra Elite Sport are a better choice if you're looking for a pair specifically for workouts and fitness.
Read our Sony WF-1000X review.
- Reviewed on: 26 July 2018
The Jabra Elite 65t are some of the best wireless headphones you could hope to buy, at a price that undercuts comparative products.
Sound quality is outstanding, as is the fit, battery life and connectivity. They are about as compact as in-ear wireless headphones can be without sacrificing bass response, too.
They lack the active noise cancellation of the Sony WF-1000X and the buttons are badly placed so you have to be careful not to push them too far into your ears, but other than that they are an excellent choice.
Read our Jabra Elite 65t review.
- Reviewed on: 6 September 2018
The Bragi Dash Pro earbuds are seriously impressive if you've got the cash to splash; as well as offering great quality wireless audio, the Dash Pro can track Running, Cycling and Swimming with a suite of 27 built-in sensors, provide easy access to Alexa, and most importantly, offers a customised audio output based on your personal hearing range.
Even with a myriad of features on offer, the Dash Pro earphones aren't bulky and don't protrude from your ears like other buds in our roundup. Combined with 5hr battery life and a charging case that holds an additional 25hrs of charge, these could be the earphones you've been looking for. Of course, at £300, they're literally double some of the other entries in our chart. They're worth it if you've got the money, that's for sure!
Read our Bragi Dash Pro review.
- Reviewed on: 13 October 2017
The Jabra Elite Sport are fairly pricey but you get a lot for your money thanks to additional fitness features. Accurate heart rate monitoring and clever tracking combine to make these great for running and working out. Sound quality is decent, too, but if you’re not going to use the sporty features then look elsewhere.
Read our Jabra Elite Sport review.
- Reviewed on: 20 February 2018
Bose has done a pretty decent job at making its first wireless earbuds. They’re quite large but remain light and offer excellent sound quality which should be a priority for anyone. While they offer decent battery life and IPX4 waterproofing, they’re lacking in real sport features like tracking or a heart rate monitor so look to the Jabra Elite Sport if that’s important.
Read our Bose SoundSport Free review.
- Reviewed on: 26 April 2018
The Samsung Gear IconX are better than their bad name. They are best paired with an Android phone with the aptX Bluetooth codec, so check first. But like the Apple AirPods, these are a Samsung product and work best with Samsung Galaxy devices.
The integration with Samsung Health for workouts is possible on other Android phones but using Health and the Gear app on a Galaxy phone is what these buds are meant for, and work best with.
They lose out on a higher score because of this, the sometimes muddy sound, occasional dropouts and the fact they sound unacceptably bad on iPhone – though this is arguably Apple’s fault for not supporting aptX.
Read our Samsung Gear IconX (2018) review.
- Reviewed on: 10 October 2017
If you're after extremely comfortable wireless earbuds then you've come to the right place. Snugs personalised tips offer an unparalleled fit. Whether you can afford the custom moulded tips is another matter as it is a lot on top of the headphones themselves. Sound quality is good but marred by other issues such as a short battery life and connectivity issues. If you experience the latter then get a refund.
Read our Snugs True Wireless review.
8. Jaybird Run
- Reviewed on: 22 February 2018
The Jaybird Run headphones offer solid audio and simple, user-friendly controls - which is great when they actually work. Unfortunately, intermittent connection issues and charging case problems mar the experience, making them hard to recommend over similarly specced alternatives from other manufacturers.
Read our Jaybird Run review.