While the neckband-style wireless earphones have mostly had their time in the sun by this point, with the likes of the Sony WF-1000X series and Apple AirPods championing the surge in popularity that true wireless buds have seen (i.e. those without any cables whatsoever).
It can be tricky to choose a pair of wireless earbuds now that there’s so much variety out there, but thankfully TechRadar has been painstakingly reviewing these earbuds over the years and has a solid idea of what’s worth the dosh.
On this page, we’ll take you through the best wireless, Bluetooth earphones on the market right now – both neckband and true wireless. We’ve split them into categories, depending on whether you’re chasing battery life, noise-canceling, or of course audio quality.
The best-sounding wireless earbuds
Fundamentally, headphones are designed to deliver sound to your ears, so it stands to reason you’ll want the audio quality of your new buds to be top-notch. While they don’t necessarily come cheap, the best-sounding wireless earbuds offer premium sound and (more often than not) a host of other included comforts and extras like noise-canceling.
Sony has the monopoly with the active noise-canceling wireless earbuds market and we’re okay with that when looking at the Sony WF-1000XM4. They sound fantastic with full-bodied audio at every turn. As well as that, they’re comfy to wear and they offer great call quality too. Noise cancellation could be a little better but when they sound this good, we’ll forgive it.
NuraTrue earbuds can be tuned to your ears exactly with the accompanying app even analyzing how well the buds fit into your ears. That impressive level of personalization means outstanding audio performance that reveals every detail in what you listen to. On top of that is decent noise cancellation, IPX4 water resistance, plus fast charging and support for hi-res audio too.
The NuraLoop Headphones offer adaptive audio technology which automatically determines a listening profile for the user, giving them well-balanced and delightful sounds. They keep on giving too with active noise-canceling, a social mode for when you need to listen, IPX3 rating for sweat proofing, and great battery life too. Rugged and capable of everything you might want to do, they’re great all-rounders.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0 sound as good as they are beautiful with a carry case that looks like it’s made for transporting jewelry. Battery life is a little poor but music will sound punchy when it needs to and remain full of detail, too. That’s further helped by the B&O app which means you have plenty of control over how things sound.
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless offers a solidly reliable nine hours of battery life, which is a great start. At this price, they sound fantastic too with a wide soundstage, clear mids, detailed trebles, and powerful bass. Issues only really arise if you have smaller ears as they can be quite uncomfortable, but most users won’t notice this.
The Sony WF-XB700 show it’s possible to buy Sony earbuds on a lower budget. They sound great too, offering a punchy, bass-heavy sound amongst a comfortable fit that works for all ears. An IPX4 rating, plus a solid 18-hour battery life, is helpful too. Just look out for a slightly unusual design that takes a little getting used to.
The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) represents a big step up from their predecessors in terms of audio performance, connectivity, and design.
Features like Spatial Audio support and Adaptive EQ set these buds apart from the competition, while a new, more subtle design brings force capacitive sensors to the true wireless earbuds.
Noise-canceling wireless earbuds
The best noise-canceling wireless earbuds create a barrier that blocks out unwanted sounds, such as people talking on the train or traffic noises nearby.
If you regularly commute or live somewhere noisy they’re a great way of fending off the world so you can focus on music or podcasts instead. While wireless earbuds aren’t generally as effective as noise-canceling headphones, the technology has come a long way so you can still enjoy hiding from the world with these.
How to choose the best wireless earbuds
With so many wireless earbuds to pick from, how do you know which are right for you?
Obviously, price is a huge factor. You can get a good pair of wireless earbuds for under AU$150. but often you do get what you pay for in terms of connectivity, build and noise cancellation.
Next up forms. Do you intend to work out with your earbuds? In which case you’ll need a design that’ll stay put, like the Beats Powerbeats. Or maybe small and minimal is what you’re after, so opt for a pair of discrete true wireless buds, like the Jabra Elite 85t.
But the biggest consideration is whether you should go wireless, which means there isn’t a cable from your phone to your buds. Or true wireless, which is totally wire-free. Let’s take a look at the differences, pros, and cons of these types of buds.
Wireless vs true wireless: what’s the difference?
Wireless headphones are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband. Check out the best wireless headphones for more.