Best wireless earbuds the top Bluetooth buds for 2021

Best wireless earbuds the top Bluetooth buds for 2021
RyDesk

Best wireless earbuds the top Bluetooth buds for 2021

Bluetooth audio has come a long way in recent years, and the popularity of wireless headphones and true wireless earbuds has grown along with it. Improvements to audio quality, affordability, connection stability, and design have meant that the Bluetooth earbuds have become all but ubiquitous.

Regardless of whether you’re interested in the increased range of motion, you can achieve by cutting the cable or are turning to Bluetooth audio because your phone has ditched its 3.5mm audio jack, you’re in luck! All the best consumer brands – Sony, Apple,  Beats, and more – are lending their weight to the cause so we can keep listening to top-notch audio, cable-free.

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.

the Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM4

The best wireless earbuds you can buy right now

Full-bodied and eloquent sound
Genuinely useful features
Average battery life
No aptX support

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.

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM4 review

the Nuratrue earbuds

(Image credit: Nura)

2. Nura NuraTrue

Highly customizable with great audio

Highly personalized
Excellent sound
Uses older Bluetooth version
Okay battery life

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.

Read more: NuraTrue

the Nuraloop headphones in black

(Image credit: NuraLoop)

3. Nura Nuraloop Headphones

Adaptive sound at a fantastic price

Rich, adaptive audio
ANC and social modes
Stiff neckband design

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, an 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.

Read more: NuraLoop Headphones

the Bang & Olufsen beoplay e8 2.0 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

4. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0

Fantastic audio quality with a simple touch

Great audio quality
Simple setup and use
No active noise cancellation
Poor battery life

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.

Read more: Bang & Olufsen E8 2.0 review

the Sennheiser CX true wireless earbuds. in their charging case

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

5. Sennheiser CX True Wireless Earbuds

Rich bass and audio at a great price

High-quality sound
Good battery life
Uncomfortable for smaller ears
No noise cancellation

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.

Read more: Sennheiser CX True Wireless

the Sony WF-XB700N true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony WF-XB700

A reliable brand at a cheap price

Comfortable fit
Punchy bass
Strange design
No noise cancellation

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 lookout for a slightly unusual design that takes a little getting used to.

Read more: Sony WF-XB700

the apple airpods 3rd generation

(Image credit: Apple)

7. Apple AirPods (3rd generation)

Spatial Audio comes to the AirPods

Impressive spatial audio
Easy to use
No active noise cancellation
No interchangeable ear tips

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.

Read more: Apple AirPods (3rd generation)

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.

the bose quietcomfort earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

1. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Fantastic ANC with rich and clear sound

Best-in-class ANC
Rich, clear sound
No onboard volume control
Buy charging case

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are perfect if you want to block out the world, offering the best-in-class ANC you can imagine. With a rich and clear sound, you can lose yourself to exceptional sound quality and rediscover your favorite music. Just lookout for a bulky charging case that doesn’t offer the best battery life. Other than that, these are brilliant buds, with a really comfortable fit too.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review

the apple airpods pro wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Apple AirPods Pro

Adaptive EQ combined with good noise cancellation

Good noise cancellation
Adaptive EQ feature
Expensive compared to rivals
Not the most secure of fits

The Apple AirPods Pro are the best option for Apple owners thanks to being so quick to set up. They also offer reliable noise cancellation features that work well to hide the world from you when needed. Adaptive EQ means that music sounds powerful and detailed as and when needed, tweaking to accommodate your ear shape. The Apple AirPods Pro are more expensive than their rivals but they have that ‘just works’ factor that makes them so attractive. 

Read more: Apple AirPods Pro review

the sennheiser momentum true wireless 2

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Incredibles sound for the price with strong noise cancellation

Fantastic sound
Sleek design
Can be uncomfortable for small ears

Fantastic all-rounders that also offer reliable noise cancellation, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 do a good job of blocking out the bulk of environmental noises. A wide soundstage and plenty of crisp detail mean they sound exceptional too, but bear in mind that smaller ears may find the fit a tad uncomfortable. Support for aptX is always welcome allowing you to stream hi-res audio easily.

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

samsung galaxy buds pro

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

IPX7 waterproofing and reasonable noise cancellation

IPX7 waterproofing
Simple controls
Flat sound
Awkward fit

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro doesn’t offer the same level of noise cancellation as more expensive models, but they’re competitively priced and have useful features such as IPX7 waterproofing and simple-to-use touch controls. A little awkward in your ears, the sound quality can be a tad flat but they block out environmental noise fairly well nonetheless.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review

the sony wf-sp800n wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony WF-SP800N

Feature-packed for workout enthusiasts

Water-resistant and sweatproof
Support for 360 Reality Audio
Tight fit
Bass-heavy

Remarkably well priced for Sony earbuds, the Sony WF-SP800N works well enough for noise cancellation, with water resistance and sweat proofing making them ideal for the gym. They can be a bit bass-heavy to listen to but if you’re on a budget, these will do the job while still providing you with some respectable enough noise cancellation.

Read more: Sony WF-SP800N review

the sony wf-1000xm3 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony WF-1000XM3

Still one of the best earbuds out there

Fun to listen to
Great noise cancellation
Not suitable for sports
Not great on flights

The Sony WF-100XM3 sounds fantastic and offers class-leading noise-cancellation providing you don’t go near a flight. Yup, they’re no good on planes, but that’s a small concession to make. Elsewhere, they sound fantastic while still leading the pack with useful features too, including app support and a Quick Attention mode for when you do need to listen out for something. Shame about the lack of aptX HD support.

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM3

Longest battery life

If you often forget to recharge your devices, the longest battery life is going to be important to you. Typically, wireless earbuds offer two different battery lives. There’s how long one charge for the earbuds lasts and then there’s how much charge you can get from the charging cases.

The latter is much longer as you can recharge the earbuds multiple times from the charging case but, of course, you can’t use them during this time. We’ve looked at both types of battery life to eke out some extra hours for you.

the jabra elite 85t wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Jabra)

1. Jabra Elite 85t

Adjustable active noise cancellation and decent battery power

Elegant design
Great audio
A little bulky
Expensive compared to rivals

A little bulky at times, the Jabra Elite 85t offers clear and natural sound with deep and booming bass if that’s your sort of thing. With a balanced soundstage, it should suit most needs. There are only five hours of charge with ANC but that increases to over seven without and the charging case extends it to 25 hours which is pretty decent. A 15-minute quick charge function helps to cement the Jabra Elite 85t as a good pick.

Read more: Jabra Elite 85t review

the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

2. Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW

Far from new but solidly dependable

Punchy bass
Long battery life
Slightly heavy
Awkward charging case

The Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW are some of the oldest earbuds here but with a massive 15 hours of charge and an extra 30 hours from the charging case, you’ll be delighted by the battery life. They sound good too with bass being the focus and highly welcome. The fit can be a bit awkward at times and minimal IPX2 waterproofing isn’t ideal but that battery life is amazing.

Read more: Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW review

the Beats Powerbeats wireless earbuds in black

(Image credit: Beats)

3. Beats Powerbeats

Snugly designed earbuds with good sound quality

Good sound quality
15-hour battery life
Fit takes some getting used to
No noise reduction

15 hours of charge immediately endears you towards the Beats Powerbeats and you’ll be delighted to not need to recharge so often. Their curved stem design takes a bit of getting used to in order to get the right fit for you but they’re certainly secure once you get there. Expect a respectable sound and performance elsewhere.

Read more: Beats Powerbeats review

Wireless earbuds for working out

When looking for wireless earbuds for working out, you need to make sure they fit well so there’s no chance of them slipping out while you’re lifting or running. In some cases, ear fins can help out here but they’re not essential if you find the right snug fit.

Alongside that, a high IPX rating is also useful meaning you can worry less about sweat, rain, and even dipping your head in the pool in some cases. You want a robust pair of wireless earbuds that can keep up with your active lifestyle.

the Beats PowerBeats Pro in navy

(Image credit: Beats)

1. Beats Powerbeats Pro

A neat fit with enjoyable sound

Immaculate fit
Enjoyable sound
Bulky case
Only IPX4 rated

A snug fit that means you won’t have to worry about these earbuds falling out while you work out, the Powerbeats Pro is immediately appealing. They sound genuinely fun too, no matter what you’re listening to which should help enliven you. The only real downside here is they’re only IPX4 rated and they’re not brilliant at isolating noise.

Read more: Beats Powerbeats Pro review

the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

2. Sennheiser CX Sport

Bassy with a sports-friendly design

The great audio quality for the price
Sports-friendly design
Mids could be richer
Battery life is relatively low

The Sennheiser CX Sport is fairly bass-heavy but that works for the gym or when hitting the track. Using a neckband-style design means you won’t have to worry about losing an earbud and they feel suitably snug in your ears. Being so bright, they’re good in dim conditions too and their splash-proof rating is fine for sweaty days but not so much the shower. The battery life of six hours isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either.

Read more: Sennheiser CX Sport review

beats studio buds in red

(Image credit: Beats)

3. Beats Studio Buds

Comfortable to wear no matter what you’re doing

Comfortable fit
ANC
Poor call quality
No H1 headphone chip

The Beats Studio Buds lacks Apple’s all-important H1 wireless chip but it does provide great sound quality despite that. Comfortable to wear, they feel suitably snug in your ears meaning you won’t have to worry about them falling out. Taking calls with them is fairly poor but for pure workouts, you can’t go wrong here.

Read more: Beats Studio Buds review

the Bose SoundSport Wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Bose SoundSport Wireless

Well balanced sound and built to withstand a few blows

Robustly built
Balanced sound
Poor ambient noise isolation
Loose fit

The Bose SoundSport Wireless offer a somewhat loose fit for some ears despite their wing tips, but they’re built to survive a few knocks which is useful. Their ambient noise isolation is a little ropey meaning these are best to use indoors rather than taking in nature, but we love how they sound and appreciate the balance going on.

the jaybird tarah pro wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Jaybird)

5. Jaybird Tarah Pro

Well designed for the most physical workouts

Tactile rope cabling
Three-point charging connector
Fiddly ear tips
AI could be more precise

The Jaybird Tarah Pro is robustly designed with endurance runners in mind that don’t want to deal with any hassle. They’re not quite true wireless earbuds due to their rope cabling but that’s what keeps them so snug and secure. An IPX7 rating means you won’t have to worry about rain or snow, or even a brief swim. They sound good too and reassuringly natural so there are no compromises made here.

Read more: Jaybird Tarah Pro review

Cheap wireless earbuds

Cheap wireless earbuds don’t have to be of poor quality. We’ve found a selection of the best cheap wireless earbuds that still sound pretty good given their low price tag – although you shouldn’t expect them to compete with those that cost hundreds.

If you only plan on occasionally using wireless earbuds, it makes sense to stick with cheap ones rather than go all-in. However, if you’re looking for an investment that will last you a long time, you’ll need to increase your budget.

the lypertek soundfree s20 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Lypertek)

1. Lypertek SoundFree S20

Inexpensive but with some powerful sounds

Good quality drivers
Decent battery life
No noise cancellation

The Lypertek SoundFree S20 offers quite a lot for the money, sounding fairly strong and bass-heavy. Even better, they have an impressive battery life, thanks to a charging case that offers an extra 40 hours on top of the standard eight hours from the earbuds. There’s no active noise cancellation, but there is an ambient sound mode that lets you hear your surroundings. Ultimately, it’s a worthy sacrifice at this price.

Read more: Lypertek SoundFree S20 review

the earfun air wireless earbuds in black

(Image credit: EarFun)

2. EarFun Air

Solid all-rounders at a good price

Comfortable fit
Good battery life
The sound could be better

Another pair of cheap wireless earbuds that keep the features flowing if not the high-end music quality, the EarFun Air are still worth your time. With Bluetooth 5 support, they achieve up to 35 hours of playtime with the charging case, and quick charging is very much the order of the day here. The sound could be a little sharper but other than that, these are appealingly budget-friendly.

the Earfun air pro wireless earbuds in black

3. EarFun Air Pro

Active noise cancellation at a great price

Active noise cancellation
Decent battery life
Awkward fit

The EarFun Air Pro can have a slightly awkward fit depending on your ears, but stick with them. By doing so, you get to enjoy active noise cancellation on a tight budget and the sound itself is pretty good too. 32 hours of battery life helps out here with a single charge offering a respectable nine hours of listening time. That only dips to seven with ANC switched on, which is pretty good going.

Read more: EarFun Air Pro review

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 earbuds have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too.

True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. If you’re looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones, but you’ll find our top picks here, too.

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.