Companies are always finding new ways to impress with true wireless earbuds. There’s no question that the popularity of the Apple AirPods has made it mainstream, but many others offer reliable connectivity, great sound, and active noise cancellation (ANC) in smaller and smaller form factors. You also get features that used to be reserved for premium models on midrange devices. Of course, popularity means new earbuds keep popping up, and the options list is longer than ever. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, including the notable features of each pick.
1. Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony is a leader in audio, offering some of the best wireless noise-canceling earbuds on the market today. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that after lengthy testing we’ve decided that the brand’s latest Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are our top picks, outperforming the other earbuds on this list in most cases.
These wireless earbuds sound great, delivering full-bodied audio with every turn. This is thanks in part to their specially designed 6mm drivers, which reproduce dynamic sound despite their small size. In our tests, the WF-1000XM4 impressed with their high levels of detail and excellent rhythm handling.
Admittedly, the noise canceling isn’t the best (the latest Bose QuietComfort earbuds offer that), but it should work for most people who want to drown out a little background noise. Second-best noise cancellation isn’t a big deal when the WF-1000XM4 earbuds sound as good as they come.
In addition to the excellent sound quality offered here, the Sony earphones also offer excellent call quality, making them a solid choice for a variety of scenarios, from commuting to work calls and everything in between. Design-wise, we found these earbuds to be smaller and lighter than Sony’s previous models, such as the Sony WF-1000XM3, meaning they’re comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
2. Bose QuietComfort Headphones II
When it comes to blocking out the world, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the best for the task. Bose introduced a redesigned Active Noise Cancellation suite earlier this year, with smaller ear tips for a more comfortable fit. The company has also managed to improve ambient sound and maintain its solid sound quality record. However, the real star here is the ANC performance, which is easily the best you can get right now. The QC Earbuds II lack some basic features, such as multipoint connectivity and wireless charging, so this may affect your decision.
3. Earfun Air Pro 3
Earfun has released a line of wireless earbuds over the past few years, and they all have one important thing in common: They offer very good value, which is further enhanced by frequent discounts. The company’s new 2023 Earfun Air Pro 3 headphones feature the latest Qualcomm QCC3071 system-on-chip with aptX Adaptive for Android and other devices that support the new LE audio standard and the LC3 audio codec, which outperforms the SBC codec (they also support Apple device AAC).
Lightweight and comfortable to wear – I got a good seal with the largest size eartips – it’s not a huge upgrade from the Earfun Air S, but they’re better. They feature slightly larger wool-composite drivers (11mm versus 10mm), slightly improved noise cancellation, and longer battery life (up to 7 hours with noise cancellation, according to Earfun).
In short, the Earfun Air 3 offers strong performance for a modest price, with strong bass, good clarity, and a fairly wide soundstage. They also pack a lot of features, including wireless charging cases and “multi-device” connectivity. (I was able to pair them to two devices at the same time, but had to pause the music on one and press play on the other to switch the audio.) They’re IPX5 splash-resistant and work fine too (if not particularly good). Headphones for phone calls.
4. Panasonic RZ-S500W
When you think of the best earbuds, Panasonic isn’t a brand that immediately comes to mind. But maybe that’s the way it should be. The RZ-S500W is the company’s first foray into the market and offers an amazing value for money.
The specs are solid, with noise-canceling technology, ambient mode, dual microphones for voice calls, and a total battery life of 19.5 hours (6.5 hours with the earphones and 13 hours with the charging case). 15 minutes of USB-C fast charging can provide 70 minutes of playback. The touch controls on each earbud are responsive and intuitive, letting you control your music and switch between noise-canceling modes with ease.
You also get five sizes of ear tips for an improved fit. We found that to be a bit of a gamble, so we’d definitely try and consider mixing sizes if it meant getting a more secure fit.
Noise cancellation and sound quality are both excellent. There’s a lot of flexibility in the bottom end, and a lot of texture in the frequencies. Music sounds clear and with a lot of refinement, which is welcome at this price point. All in all, these Panasonic wireless earbuds are great value for money.
5. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus
These affordable wireless earbuds fit the bill. They feature app support, customizable EQ settings and British Audio’s innovative high-performance audio modes. Her color options are white and black.
The real selling point here (besides sound quality) is battery life. The 1 Plus offers up to nine hours of battery life on a single charge, and you can get an additional four charges out of the carrying case. This makes for a total run time of 45 hours. The fact that there’s no noise cancellation on board helps explain the Marathon’s battery life, as the technology can be a real drag.