True wireless earphones have become much more popular over the past couple of years. While completely wire-free earphones existed before the AirPods first launched in 2017, there's no denying the impact Apple has had, bringing momentum to the big breakthrough in wireless audio tech.
Since then, countless other companies - including the best audio brands around - have entered the market and we've tested all the big-name options to bring you what we think are the best wire-free earphones available to buy.
If you're not yet convinced you want to gamble on wire-free, this list may change your mind. If not, you can always check out our list of best in-ears instead.
Sony's first pair of noise cancelling wire-frees were received with a somewhat mixed response, but the newest generation is super. Where these are set apart from their rivals is in ANC. You'll struggle to find wire-free in-ears with great adaptive noise cancelling that adjusts to its surroundings, but in these, Sony has knocked it out of the park. They're really impressive.
Add the over-ear quality ANC to a device with great sound, long battery life and a comfortable fit, and what you have is a winning combination. The look and design of the earbuds might divide opinion, but then that's true of pretty much any true wireless earphones. What Sony has done here is taken the superb capabilities of its flagship headphones, and crammed it into a tiny pair of wireless earphones.
Perhaps the only limitation is that these really are just for music enjoyment. They're not water or sweat resistant like the AirPods Pro, and the design doesn't lend itself to being used for workout sessions. Still, the price is comfortably below the big-name audio brands, at a similar price point to the Powerbeats Pro, and that makes them very easy to recommend.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
When you combine comfortable design with great sound, long battery life and Apple H1 convenience you get an all-round fantastic pair of earphones. And that's exactly what the Powerbeats Pro is.
For its first pair of wire-free earphones, Beats collaborated even more deeply with Apple than before; building all the internal components and the design from scratch.
The more gentle curves and angles in the sculpted plastic casing make a pair of earphones that's super light and supremely comfortable to wear for long periods. It also happens to have battery life to match, with up to 9 hours of playback outside of the case.
That's not all either, with it being Apple-owned, Beats gets access to Apple technology, and that means you get the same H1 chip that lives inside the second gen AirPods and AirPods Pro. That means simple pairing with iOS devices, and instant pairing with any device using the same iCloud account.
Then there's sound, which really is quite impressive given the Powerbeats price point. Lots of bass, but plenty of detail in the highs and mids. The only downside is a lack of decent noise cancelling, which the AirPods Pro have.
Naturally, these are the best AirPods yet but you do pay through the nose for them. In return, you get an enhanced sound over AirPods 2, noise cancelling (that really does work despite the non-invasive seal) plus water and sweat-proofing. So yes, you can use these for running or going to the gym, unlike other AirPods.
They're not out-and-out fitness headphones like the Powerbeats Pro, but instead, they're designed as all-rounders. And somehow Apple has made them comfortable to wear all day, which is simply ridiculous for earphones with tips like these (three sizes of the silicon tips are included).
Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus
If you're all about looks, having something a little unique and soul-enriching sound, look no further than the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus. We fell instantly in love with them on first look at the polished chromed case and stayed in love when we put them in our ears.
They're super comfortable to wear, thanks to a unique in-ear fin design that grips securely without letting you know it's there. You can barely feel them in your ears, and yet they don't ever feel like they might fall out.
What's more, in an age of very samey looking plastic earbuds, the patterned, attractive acrylic finish on the outside makes it stand out, and ensures you're not walking around with the typical bland plastic poking out of your earholes.
Then there's the sound. They're truly fantastic to listen to. Lots of bass, dynamic detailed sound and great soundstage overall makes this the pair for those that just want to get lost in the music. Unlike the first generation, the battery actually lasts a good amount of time, and we get ANC in this model too. What's not to love?
Shure Aonic 215
If there was a prize for the most unusual pair of true wireless earphones, it'd undoubtedly go to the Shure Aonic 215. The over ear hook design means fitting them takes a little longer than standard earbuds, and the foam tips need a few seconds to expand and fill the ear entry, but those two elements combined ensure you get a fantastic fit, and great passive noise cancelling.
With the outside world locked out and a lovely snug feeling, you're locked into music that sounds, frankly, phenomenal. You get a lot of detail, without losing the bass and other frequencies that help make music more enjoyable.
What's more, due to there being an MMCX connector, you can snap off the wireless adapters and connect the earbuds to a cable for wired listening if you want to.
Apple AirPods 2
For iPhone users, the AirPods have been a smash hit. Despite the unusual looks, a combination of intelligent design choices and convenience make these very easy to recommend, especially as they are cheaper than the AirPods Pro. In the first generation, the W1 chip (now replaced by the H1) ensured it paired really easily with your iPhone, while they also automatically paired with any other Apple device using the same iCloud account.
They're easy to get out of the portable charging case, which in itself, is well designed and easy to carry around. Perhaps its only weakness is that the sound isn't quite as dynamic or pleasing as the others on this list, or the Pro model. But as we've found out so many times in consumer electronics, convenience often wins out against sheer quality.
You'll be hard pushed to find someone who's used AirPods and not loved them. What's more, they can pair just like normal earphones with Android devices, if you want to use them cross-platform, it just loses some of that convenience that makes it so appealing.
If what you need in a pair of wire-free earphones is the best sound and performance for the money, Sony's WF-XB700 are a truly fantastic option. The sound is dynamic, loud, fun and really easy to recommend.
To get to the low price point without losing out on sound quality, Sony built the XB-series wire-free earphones from some pretty rough looking plastic, but they do sound great, the wireless connectivity is super. With up to 9 hours of battery from a full charge, they last really well too.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Sennheiser took some time to get into the wire-free game, but it was worth the wait. The company focussed on sensible styling and great, customisable sound with the Momentum True Wireless, before following that up with an even better second generation. In addition to the other benefits, you get longer battery life and noise cancelling added to the mix.
You get aptX and Bluetooth 5.0 for solid, reliable connectivity as well as an app that allows really intuitive control over your sound profile. There's no complicated EQ fader in sight. What's more, they fit well, stay secure and aren't uncomfortable to wear. Plus, they're splash resistant.
The pair comes in a portable, neat carrying case covered in a grey textured fabric that opens and snaps shut easily. Touch controls can be a tiny bit fiddly, and the three-hour battery life isn't the best, but certainly good enough for daily use. They charge quickly too.
B&O Play's first wire-free earbuds were fantastic. It's all about attractive, sensible style with great, customisable sound. We liked the app that comes with it, and the audio transparency feature can be useful at times too. For the second gen Beoplay E8's, it was about building on a winning formula and making it even better.
B&O improved the battery life quite noticeably - although it still somewhat behind some of the more modern long-lasting earphones like the Powerbeats and the Sony pairs. What it does have, however, is a case that can be placed on a wireless charger for easy, convenient topping up, and a case with more battery inside it.
The pricing is just about in line with what other flagship wire-free in-ears cost, and we're big fans of them.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
So you don't want to spend nearly £300 to get a decent pair of wire-frees? That's where Samsung's latest attempt comes in. The biggest draw is undoubtedly the price. They're cheaper than any of the other big-name offerings, and they do the job well.
If you have a Samsung device, you'll get similar pairing convenience to the Apple AirPods, and you get a wireless charging case as standard (no extra charge for that).
Jabra Elite 75t
Jabra has been in the true wireless game as long as anybody, and it seems to fit in a great middle-point between the budget end and the flagship earphones. It's not an expensive pair, but wireless performance is exceptional and the sound is really good.
You get HearThrough for listening to ambient noise around you, plus built-in support for Alexa. At that the fact you get 7.5 hours of music playback from a full charge and a compact design, and you have a truly versatile pair of wireless in-ears from Jabra.