Best wireless earbuds 2024 — tested and rated

Whether you want the best wireless earbuds for listening to music in the highest quality possible or seek a model with the best in class ANC, we're here to help. 

I've listened to all of the wireless earbuds in this buying guide, and the Sony WF-C700N are the best value option for most people. These buds offer great sound quality and strong noise-canceling performance. Despite the entry-level price, they support the same Sony Headphone app as found on its high-end models and have many of the same features. 

To get even better performance with near CD-quality lossless audio sound quality, I recommend the Sony WF-1000XM5 or the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4. Both are premium noise-canceling wireless earbuds with support for high-resolution audio to deliver the best sound quality over Bluetooth. I've been blown away by the capabilities of both models, so if you care about sound quality these are these are the models to go for. Additionally, both have made made big improvements to comfort and are suitable for all-day wear, allowing you to listen to the best sound for longer. 

Lastly, for the very best noise-canceling wireless earbuds experience the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds deliver total silence and are my top ANC recommendation. 

All the models ranked here have been extensively reviewed by experts with more than 30 years of experience testing all kinds of audio products. Read on to discover the best wireless earbuds to undergo our rigorous review routine.

About the author

Portrait studio shot Lee Dunkley
Lee Dunkley

Hi, I'm Lee and I cover all things audio for Tom's Guide, including maintaining the best wireless earbuds, best headphones, best Bluetooth speakers, and best soundbars buying guides. I have been testing and writing about audio products for more than 30 years. I've spent hundreds of hours on listening tests as an audio expert for Which? and Hi-Fi Choice magazines over the years, and more than 50 hours listening to these wireless earbuds in different scenarios to find my top recommendations. I love finding the best products for all kinds of audio fans that offer the best balance of sound and features for a particular need and price point, so you can rest assured that there's a model here that's perfect for your pocket. 

Recent updates

Recent updates
May 29, 2024:
Added gallery images to each of the main reviews of the buying guide to show how the earbuds look when worn during our testing. Also updated intro and 'about the author' section to demonstrate audio experience, authority, and trust of the buying guide writer.

The Quick List

The best wireless earbuds to buy right now

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Best wireless earbuds overall

Best-in-class sound with strong noise cancelation in a small and light design

Specifications

Size: Not specified
Weight: Not specified
Battery life (rated): 8 hours (ANC on), 24 hours (with charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LDAC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding sound quality
+
Strong noise cancelation
+
Exceptional functionality
+
Excellent level of control

Reasons to avoid

-
Smaller earbud size affects eartip seal and fit
-
Battery life remains the same as predecessor

While the Sony WF-1000XM4 was a top-ranking model in this best wireless earbuds for several years and continues to be on sale via Sony's store and online retailers, the popular model has been outperformed by the new Sony WF-1000XM5 flagship. The latest model arrived in July 2023 and demonstrates how Sony's XM-series earbuds go from strength to strength with each new generation. 

As the latest flagship, the WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds are smaller and lighter, yet they're equipped with some of the strongest features and performance I've ever seen from a pair of 'buds. They have some of the most dynamic and engaging sound we've heard, and their noise-canceling performance easily matches that of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and get close to the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds (both listed below).

Battery life hasn't been stepped up over their XM4 predecessor. But at 8 hours with ANC enabled, these top-tier Sony wireless earbuds still outperform close rivals and have some of the highest battery life of any set of more recently launched earbuds. There's LDAC support for high-quality music streams over Bluetooth, adaptive listening mode that applies ANC or Transparency mode depending on your activity or the environment, Google and Alexa digital assistant support, and full EQ customization. Call quality is greatly improved, thanks to a new noise reduction engine with AI that's able to make voices clear even in noisy surroundings. Ultimately, these are Sony's best-ever buds and the best wireless earbuds overall right now.

Best wireless earbuds for value

Big-brand experience and superb noise canceling for $119

Specifications

Size: Not specified
Weight: 0.16 ounces (per bud); 1.09 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours (ANC on); 10 hours (ANC off); 24 hours (charging case with ANC on); 28 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
Vibrant, detailed sound
+
Superb noise cancellation and call quality
+
Comes with most signature Sony features
+
Very attractive design
+
Optimal comfort and fit

Reasons to avoid

-
No aptX or LDAC support

Sony's WF-C700N integrates robust ANC and come with decent battery life for a great value price. Sound quality is powerful with Sony’s impressive sound signature at the forefront, alongside proprietary technologies like 360 Reality Audio immersive spatial audio, and DSEE Extreme upscaling that uses AI to bring a sound quality boost to low-quality audio files. 

The adaptive ANC technology built in to the WF-C700N is remarkable at the entry-level price. As with the flagship WF-1000XM5, it learns your behavior and tweaks noise neutralization to your environment. During our testing, low- and mid-frequency sounds went unnoticed around the house and out and about, reducing background sounds to silence. Call quality was also high and the mics silenced most background interference for clear-sounding phone conversations, making the WF-C700N a versatile option with few rivals at the price.

Best wireless earbuds for iPhone owners

The ultimate ANC wireless earbuds for iPhones

Specifications

Size: 1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches (per bud); 1.78 x 2.39 x 0.85 inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud); 1.8 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (rated) : 6 hours; 30 hours (charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
World-class noise cancellation
+
Volume controls right on the stem
+
Dolby Atmos spatial audio
+
Battery life improved over original model

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster call quality
-
Lanyard costs extra

Although updated to the AirPods Pro 2 USB-C in September 2023, we've been consistently impressed by the 2nd Generation model since they arrived in September 2022. There are plenty of reasons why the AirPods Pro 2 continue to beat most other wireless earbuds, and they are without doubt the best wireless earbuds for iPhone users. As the most versatile model for all kinds of lifestyles, the AirPods Pro 2 take performance to the next level. Externally, they look extremely similar to the first generation, but battery life has increased to give 6 hours on a single charge from the earbuds and up to 30 hours from the wireless charging case. 

Designed for iPhone owners looking for a more tailored listening experience, we think the AirPods Pro 2 are the pinnacle of Apple technology. While testing them out for all kinds of active lifestyle activities, we found that the fit had been improved to the point where they're a viable option for the best sports headphones, and suitable for runners and gym workouts alike. Not only are the earbuds IPX4-rated for protection from sweat and light showers, but now too is the charging case itself. 

On the audio front, Apple's H2 chip with custom amp and driver delivers impressive low and high frequencies, and you can use the iPhone's TrueDepth camera to create a personalized spatial audio sound for one of the best Dolby Atmos music experiences of any pair of earbuds. Noise cancelation is the best we’ve experienced from the AirPods Pro series so far. 

Best wireless earbuds for noise cancelation

Best-ever ANC wireless earbuds, but misses elite features at the price

Specifications

Size: 1.23 x 0.96 x 0.79 inches (per bud)
Weight: 0.27 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 6 hours; 24 hours (charging case); 4 hours in immersive audio mode
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
Best-in-class ANC performance
+
Immersive audio is a game-changer
+
Comfortable and secure fit
+
Great customization via companion app

Reasons to avoid

-
Case doesn’t support wireless charging
-
No multi-point Bluetooth
-
Mixed call quality

We've been blown away by the noise canceling capabilities of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds since they arrived in late 2023. We thought nothing could top the ANC of their predecessor and still available Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, but the QC Ultra Earbuds raise the ANC game and are a brilliant follow up. 

Sound quality is great, and Bluetooth streaming includes aptX Adaptive support to for compatibility with high-performance audio codecs. The strength of the noise cancelation is second to none, and we liked that you can customize sound profiles with 10 different degrees of isolation as presets that balance ANC and awareness depending on your activity. Additionally, the Ultra's Aware transparency passthrough mode sounds highly natural, while ActiveSense automatically lowers ambient sounds when loud noise is detected. 

As with the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, the Ultra Earbuds have Bose's new immersive audio tech for a 3D sound experience no matter what you're listening to. Sadly though some features are MIA, and there's no wireless charging or multipoint connectivity on board. 

Best wireless earbuds for sound

Best-sounding wireless earbuds

Specifications

Size: Not specified
Weight: 0.21 ounces (per bud); 2.33 ounces (charging case)
Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours (ANC off); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.4 with SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless, LE Audio, Auracast
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IP54

Reasons to buy

+
Balanced audiophile sound
+
Class-leading aptX Lossless audio support
+
Strong sound personalization features
+
Effective ANC performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky design compared to price rivals
-
Auracast and LE Audio support isn't available immediately

The price tag may have increased by $50 for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 compared to their predecessor, but you get an up tick in performance and the strongest Bluetooth and audio codec support of any pair of earbuds around at the moment. Sound quality is outstanding, and I loved Sennheiser's tweaked sound signature that delivered even more detail across the entire frequency range. They rival the top-ranking Sony — check out my Sony WF-1000XM5 vs Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 face-off — with a sound balance that gives vocals an extra sense of presence, but not in an overly forward way. Everything sounds perfectly balanced and just right.

Although not quite up to the standards to rival the Bose QC Ultra Earbuds in terms of their ANC performance, the Sennheiser's block out sounds effectively enough and have a useful transparency mode. Features like ear fit test and sound personalization mode are reliable tools to help your get the best fit and sound that's just right for you, and Sennheiser's mic array makes them a practical calling headset. 

Ultimately, these are a strong contender for the best wireless earbuds overall, but despite the slightly increased battery life over the TW3 they still fall short on playback time compared to rivals at the price.

Best mid-price

Audiophile sound and strong features at mid-market price

Specifications

Size: Not specified
Weight: Not specified
Battery life (rated): 10 hours (ANC on); 16 hours (ANC off); 36 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive Audio, Bluetooth LE Audio, LC3
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
Engaging audiophile sound
+
Class-leading aptX Lossless audio support
+
Great comfort levels
+
Effective ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
Navigational controls have no audible feedback
-
Wear detection can be flaky

If it's the best sound quality you're after then Cambridge Audio's Melomania M100 wireless earbuds rank among the best around. Their attractive mid-market price makes them a strong alternative to many of the models ranked above, but they're out performed in terms of noise canceling and adaptive audio features. 

They have a remarkable Hi-Fi pedigree and as such they major on sound quality with the latest codecs including aptX Lossless and aptX Adaptive support. The M100s have a powerful yet well-balanced sound with deep, controlled bass, natural vocals, and impressive treble clarity. Their ANC performance is good rather than remarkable, and I was still able to hear some externals sounds during my testing. 

Battery life lives up to expectations though and holds up to 10 hours of playback from just a single charge with ANC activated, making them longer lasting than several more expensive models.    

Best AirPods alternative

Elite sound and spatial audio with headtracking make these a great AirPods Pro alternative

Specifications

Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 6 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 27 hours (ANC on w/charging case), 36 hours (ANC off w/charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LC3
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IP57

Reasons to buy

+
Rich, dynamic, customizable sound
+
Powerful ANC
+
Superior head tracking technology
+
Jabra’s most luxe design since the Elite Active 75t
+
Steady battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Unreliable call quality
-
Spatial audio needs work
-
No aptX codec support

 Jabra’s flagship Elite 10 are a more affordable option compared to rival wireless earbud flagships from the likes of Bose and Sony. In fact, when it comes to sound quality and ANC performance, these Jabra earbuds stood up well in our Sony WF-1000XM5 face-off. They sport upscale features in a luxe design that’s comfortable to wear for longer listening periods, and although not quite everything hits the flagship mark in terms of battery life and a lack of extensive special features compared to the top ranking models, the Elite 10 deserve a place in the best wireless earbuds.  

Active noise canceling is double that of its predecessor, and the Elite 10 carries Jabra’s own spatial sound tech with Dolby head tracking to deliver strong sound with great bass and detailed highs straight out of the box. There’s a multi-band EQ control, and although there’s no aptX or LDAC support for faster data transfers over Bluetooth, they're competitively priced and their overall performance makes them a strong option at the price.

Best wireless earbuds for Samsung

Best ANC wireless earbuds for Galaxy phones

Specifications

Size: 0.7 x 0.85 x 0.7 inches (per bud)
Weight: 0.19 (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 18 hours (charging case with ANC on); 29 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, SSC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX7

Reasons to buy

+
Wide soundstage
+
Effective ANC
+
Compact and practical design
+
Easy to use features
+
Excellent connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Bixby assistant unreliable 
-
Most coveted features are exclusive to Galaxy devices

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro set out to rival the AirPods Pro 2, at least for Galaxy owners. During our testing we found the sound alone makes the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro worth the investment, giving listeners a high quality audio experience and compelling 3D sound with precise head tracking. Samsung’s ANC holds its own against the category leaders and blocks out close to 90% of ambient noise. The updated design also provides improved comfort and noise isolation.

We found these buds operated well across all Bluetooth-enabled devices, but Galaxy smartphone owners get to enjoy cool features like Easy Pairing and compatibility with Samsung's Scalable Codec. It’s upsetting that Bixby (Samsung's voice assistant) doesn’t perform up to its potential, though the mediocre battery life with ANC on is a greater disappointment. Since our review, Galaxy smartphone and Buds 2 Pro owners now get 360-degree audio recording, too.  

Take a look at our Samsung promo codes for the latest discounts from Samsung. 

Best wireless earbuds for durability

Best-ever durability is perfect for active lifestyles

Specifications

Size: 0.8 x 0.8 x 1.1 inches (per bud)
Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): 8 hours (ANC on); 14 hours (ANC off); 32 hours (ANC on w/charging case), 56 hours (ANC off w/charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IP68-rated (earbuds), IP54-rated (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely durable
+
Satisfying sound and call quality
+
Intuitive noise cancelation
+
Lengthy playtimes
+
Impressive 3D audio performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Control scheme affects comfort
-
Missing some upscale features
-
Spatial Sound could use some work

Jabra’s Elite 8 Active are made from military-grade materials for unbreakable protection. They're the most durable wireless earbuds we’ve ever seen. They combine much of what makes the company’s Elite 10 flagship earbuds so successful, while being perfectly suited to fitness fans with IP68-rated earbuds, offering the strongest water and dirt ingress protection of any pair of wireless earbuds. Even the changing case is IP54-rated. 

With powerful 6mm dynamic drivers, Jabra’s sound signature will put a spring in your step to jumpstart workouts. Adaptive active noise cancelation, spatial audio, and battery life are some of the best we’ve encountered from a pair of wireless earbuds built for active lifestyles, and the Elite 8 Active wireless earbuds benefit from solid feature support across both iOS and Android devices. 

Best wireless earbuds for running

Best wireless earbuds for iOS users with active lifestyles

Specifications

Size: 0.75 x 1.18 x 0.94 inches
Weight: 0.2 ounces
Battery life (rated): 6 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC Off), 27 hours (ANC on with charging case), 30 hours (ANC off with charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 with SBS, AAC
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IPX4

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful ANC and Transparency modes
+
Dynamic sound and Spatial Audio support
+
Respectable battery life
+
Comfy, secure fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features exclusive to Apple devices
-
Limited Android app

The Beats Fit Pro wireless earbuds rank #1 in our best sports headphones for iPhone users with active lifestyles. They're a culmination of Apple and Beats’ greatest triumphs, packaging AirPods Pro-like performance into an updated Studio Beats design. 

When we tested the Beats Fit Pro, our reviewer was impressed by the amazing sound quality, which was backed by a proprietary transducer that keeps bass punchy, while also balancing frequencies to hear crisp mids and detailed highs. Spatial Audio for immersive 3D sound has also been added, making this the first Beats product to feature the technology. Popular features tied to Apple's H1 processor are available, including automatic switching between Apple devices and FindMy to help locate misplaced buds. We also appreciate the integrated wingtips, which keep the buds secure during runs and intense workouts.

Android users do get to bask in the sonic upgrades, though all other iOS-related features remain exclusive to iPhone and iPad users. The lack of features available on the Android app also means limits to what the Fit Pro can perform on Google’s mobile platform. 

Best wireless earbuds under $100

$99 noise-cancelers with excellent Android integration

Specifications

Size: 1.24 x 0.79 x 0.96 inches (per bud)
Weight: 0.16 ounces (per bud)
Battery life (rated): Up to 10 hours, 44 hours total (charging case)
Conenctivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with AAC, SBC, LHDC 5.0
ANC: Yes
Durability rating: IP55 (earbuds); IPX4 (charging case)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent feature set
+
Strong ANC
+
Works flawlessly with all Android devices 

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor battery management
-
Weak 3D audio performance

The OnePlus Buds 3 are a bargain at $99. They have strong active noise cancelation, connectivity, call quality, sound performance, and touch controls. Despite the price, the design is premium and they have sturdy protection with an IP55 rating on the buds and an IPX4-rated charging case.  

Not everything hits its mark, especially battery life and spatial audio, which are disappointing compared to other models. However, the buds’ excellent wireless features (Bluetooth 5.3, Google/OnePlus Fast Pair) combined with intuitive ANC and stellar hi-res audio support (LHDC) make for a dynamic and distraction-free music streaming experience that’s enjoyable on the best Android smartphones.

Best wireless earbuds specs compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ModelBattery life (rated)ConnectivityDurability
Sony WF-1000XM58 hours (ANC on), 24 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LDACIPX4 (earbuds)
Sony WF-C700N7.5 hours (ANC on); 24 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AACIPX5 (earbuds)
Apple AirPods Pro 2 USB-C6 hours; 30 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AACIP54 (earbuds and charging case)
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds6 hours; 24 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, aptX AdaptiveIPX4 (earbuds)
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 47.5 hours (ANC off); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)Bluetooth 5.4 with SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless, LE Audio, Auracast IP54 (earbuds)
Cambridge Audio Melomania M10010 hours (ANC on); 16 hours (ANC off); 36 hours (charging case with ANC off)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive Audio, Bluetooth LE Audio, LC3IPX4 (earbuds)
Jabra Elite 106 hours (ANC on); 27 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AACIP57 (earbuds)
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro5 hours (ANC on); 18 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, SSCIPX7 (earbuds)
Jabra Elite 8 Active8 hours (ANC on); 32 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AACIP68 (earbuds); IP54 (charging case)
Beats Fit Pro6 hours (ANC on); 27 hours (charging case)Bluetooth 5.0 with SBS, AACIPX4 (earbuds)
OnePlus Buds 310 hours; 44 hours total (charging case)Bluetooth 5.3 with AAC, SBC, LHDC 5.0IP55 (earbuds); IPX4 (charging case)

Also tested...

As Tom's Guide's audio experts, we test a lot of wireless earbuds but some models don't make it into a buying guide. That's not to say that they're not great performers, just that they're beaten by rival models with a stronger set of features or performance. The picks in this guide are the very best we've tested and have all been given full reviews. But with more models to choose from than ever, we want to make sure that you consider these also tested options. These alternatives have all been through our rigorous testing processes but didn't quite make the grade to rank among the best of the best.

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Creative Aurvana Ace 2: It’s hard to complain about sound-first earbuds equipped with the latest audio technologies and noise cancelation, even if the latter doesn’t perform at an elite level. However, there are other buds with similar audio specs, as well as more battery life and functionality at similar or lower price points.

Read the full Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review

Image

Nothing Ear: Despite being a significant step up over the Nothing Ear (2) predecessor, the latest iteration of Nothing's flagship earbuds don't quite make the grade to rank among the best wireless earbuds. In my tests listening to them in different environments connected to different devices, I noticed subtle changes to the sound signature with ANC on and off. Plus, ANC performance wasn't sufficient to block out external sounds on my visits to the gym, and are beaten by the $99 OnePlus Buds 3.

Read the full Nothing Ear review

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Status Between 3 ANC: While I applauded their credentials when I compared them to the AirPods Pro 2 (touted as the main rival), there's no aptX codec or LDAC support for better audio handling to make the most of their impressive triple driver (one for each band of low, mid, and high frequencies) audiophile sensibilities. That's a shame given the sound quality benefits that Status claims is the major differentiator over the AirPods Pro 2. It's not all about audio codec support though, as these buds do deliver a great sense of stereo soundstage with all kinds of music. They have strong battery life too, but the lack of wear detection and chunky design means they're beaten by models with better features, style, and sound at the price.

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Devialet Gemini II: These wireless earbuds are perfect for bass fiends, and rank as one of my top 5 wireless earbuds for audiophile sound. The second-gen noise-canceling buds are priced at $449 / £349 (around AU$699), making them one of most expensive earbuds I've seen. That's one of the reasons why they didn't make the guide, along with an unconventional design and poor battery life. On the other hand, if you have deep pockets and don't mind regular top-ups, they have a rich and nuanced sound that's very enjoyable.

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Denon PerL Pro: These buds have an excellent sound personalization experience that adapts to the listener's hearing to ensure they hear the full range of frequencies as evenly as possible. They rank among my top wireless earbuds recommendations for audiophile sound thanks to their musical sound, but not everything works as well as it might. I found the twist to fit method off inserting the 'buds in my ears a bit hit and miss, and the large circular design won't suit everyone. The $349 / £299 (approx. AU$469)  price is also a bit high compared to rivals.

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Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: These flagship Pi7 S2 wireless earbuds are priced at $399 / £349 / AU$700. They have a strong musical balance with a clean and insightful sound. Adaptive ANC performance is satisfactory, but battery life isn't among the strongest at 5 hours from the earbuds and 16 hours from the charging case. Speaking of the charging case, it's larger than most and the lid feels on the flimsy side compared to other similarly priced wireless designs on the market. These aren't major issues, but these compromises at the price means they didn't rank for this guide.

FAQ

Which are the best wireless earbuds to buy right now?

These are the top 5 best wireless earbuds on the market right now.

1. Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony's XM-series earbuds go from strength to strength with each new generation. As the latest flagship, the WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds are smaller and lighter, yet they're equipped with some of the strongest features and performance we've ever seen from a pair of wireless earbuds. They have some of the most dynamic and engaging sound I've heard, and their noise-canceling performance easily matches that of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 or Apple AirPods Pro 2.

2. Sony WF-C700N

The Sony WF-C700N are the best-value noise-canceling earbuds at just $119. They build on the entry-level WF-C500, one of the best cheap wireless earbuds out there, and their adaptive ANC technology is remarkable at the price. It learns your behavior and tweaks noise neutralization to your environment, while overall sound quality is powerful with Sony’s pleasingly bass-heavy sound signature at the forefront. Few others manage to balance Sony's strong app support and performance at the price.   

3. Apple AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C

The AirPods Pro 2 are the ultimate earbuds for iPhone users. I have been blown away by the 2nd generation model since Apple launched them in September 2022. Updated with a USB-C port on the charging case in 2023, they bring significant upgrades including Apple's Adaptive Audio suite of features and support for a new Lossless audio protocol to take performance for the popular buds to the next level. These are Apple's most future-proof buds and the best option for iPhone users.  

4. Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

We didn't think ANC could be bettered when we reviewed the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, but the QC Ultra Earbuds released at the end of 2023 are without question the best noise-canceling earbuds we've ever tried. If ANC is a top priority, then the new Bose flagship reduces background sounds to a pool of silence and introduces listeners to its Immersive Audio tech to boost the listening experience even further. 

5. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

As the newest model in Sennheiser's series, the Momentum TW4 are the same price as the top-ranking Sony WF-1000XM5. They have some of the strongest Bluetooth features and audio codec support of any wireless earbuds on the market and are one of the most future-proof designs for Android devices. Sennheiser's retuned sound signature makes them perfect for audiophile listening, while ANC and call quality performance are strong but not quite up to the standards of the best noise cancelers.

What do IP-ratings mean? 

IP-ratings refer to the level of Ingress Protection (IP) from liquids and dirt that a device is protected from. This is part of a device's durability. 

IP-ratings explained: The first digit refers to the level of protection from solid particles, such as dust and sand. The scale ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dust-tight) for full protection. For example, an IP6X rating ensures that the device is completely dust-tight, making it ideal for harsh outdoor conditions or industrial settings where fine dust particles are common. 

The second digit refers to a devices resistance to moisture, and the scale ranges from 0 (no protection) to 8 for the highest level of protection. For example, with an IPX4 rating, earbuds are protected from water splashes from any direction, while an IPX7 rating ensures that the device can be submerged in water up to 1 meter (around 3 feet) for 30 minutes without any damage.

Most common IP ratings explained

Swipe to scroll horizontally
RatingLevel of protection
IPX4This rating shows that the device has been tested and offers protection against splashes of water, making them suitable for workouts or light rain.
IPX6This rating indicates that the device can withstands power jets of water from any direction.
IPX8The device is waterproof and fully submersible up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 mins.

How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you

With so many wireless earbuds to choose from, you may find it difficult to settle on one. There are several factors to weigh up, and which ones are most important will depend on personal preference. Follow our list of considerations to factor in when choosing the best wireless earbuds for you.

1. Design

When buying a new pair of wireless earbuds, it can be helpful to think about where you want to wear them. If you're going to use them on a run, for example, you may want a pair that offers the most secure fit and a high IP rating for durability with strong moisture protection like the models in our best sports headphones.

Whatever type you choose, make sure the earbuds are well-built and comfy to wear for about 1 to 2 hours daily.

2. Sound quality

All wireless earbuds have their own unique sound signature. Since you’re buying a pair of wireless earbuds to enjoy music individually, it’s important to find a pair of buds that match your sound taste, be it heavy bass or distinctively clear midrange frequencies to allow you to hear vocals and nuances in recordings. 

Some models like the Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 4 offer personalized sound via the companion app, which allows the user to create their own sound profiles and tweak EQ levels to a sound that is best for their taste and hearing.

3. Battery life

Battery life is also key in choosing the best wireless earbuds. Wireless earbuds can last about 5 to 10 hours and offer extended playtime with their bundled charging cases — always make sure one is included.

4. Accessories

It's disappointing spending money on a new pair of wireless earbuds only to find that you need to buy the accessories separately. Any models that come with a carrying case, charging cable, user guide, and extra ear cups or tips are solid purchases.

5. Price

Price is a big consideration when looking for the best headphones. Although there are always exceptions, big-name brands will typically command a bit extra, but generally speaking, the less you spend on a pair of headphones the greater the chance that sound and features will be compromised. Going for a budget option isn't always the best choice, as any money you save on your purchase won't do you much good if you constantly need to recharge your audio gear, or the sound quality is poor. 

How we test the best wireless earbuds

The best reviews criteria carried out by audio experts

With more than 30 years experience in testing and reviewing consumer audio products for all kinds of media outlets and big-name brands around the world, the Tom's Guide audio team follows a rigorous test regime when it comes to determining the best products for recommendation in our buying guides. 

In determining the best wireless earbuds, we consider fit, battery life, sound quality, design and value (are they worth the price?). We also factor in features like how well the controls work and how easily the earbuds pair with our playback devices.

In terms of sound quality, we listen to many sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. We also make phone calls to assess both call quality and microphone performance.

To discover more information on what we listen for during our testing and reviewing process, take a look at our companion page on how to get the best headphone sound for you.

During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for several hours at a time throughout the course of a week. Reviewers will make a note of the battery life performance in real world use, and assess how well this matches the rated battery life provided by earbud makers. 

Star ratings explained: We evaluate earbuds based on a five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded a coveted Recommended badge, while our Best Value award speaks for itself. Only products with truly exceptional performance across the board are awarded an Editor's Choice badge. 

For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.

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