10 best wireless earbuds for 2021

09 April 2021

woman wearing wireless earbuds

They’re a must-have item for most of us, so getting the right pair of earbuds is important. We’ve researched hundreds of pairs and come up with our pick of the best wireless earbuds to buy in 2021.

Earbuds, otherwise known as earphones, have always been a brilliant way of listening to music without needing bulky and conspicuous headphones that go over your ears.

Although earphones in the past have been wired and usually connected to another device through an audio jack, in recent years the design has changed to make earphones wireless via Bluetooth technology.

Wireless earbuds are a great option if you’re commuting, travelling or exercising thanks to the lack of wires, which gives you a better range of motion as well as flexible connectivity to a variety of devices.

What’s more, thanks to advances in technology and integrated charging cases for powering your earbuds on the move, the latest wireless earbuds have great sound quality, range and battery life.

Take a look at our selection of the best wireless earbuds to buy this year.

1. Best overall wireless earbuds: Powerbeats Pro True Wireless Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones

1. Best overall wireless earbuds: Powerbeats Pro True Wireless Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones

From headphone market leaders, Beats, come the Powerbeats Pro earbuds, expertly designed for wearing during exercise , but equally brilliant for using at any time.

The Beats name is synonymous with phenomenal sound quality and a deep, punchy bass, and these earbuds are no different. Plus, the adjustable, secure-fit ear hooks are customisable for extended comfort and stability.

A reinforced design for sweat and water resistance protects these earbuds while you exercise, and each earbud has full volume and track controls, and up to nine hours of listening time. They may be pricey, but if you want the best of the best then look no further.

Pros

  • Gives top quality sound
  • Customisable for comfort

Cons

  • Very expensive

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 9 hours (24 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 260g

2. Best value wireless earbuds: TOZO T10 Wireless Earbuds

2. Best value wireless earbuds: TOZO T10 Wireless Earbuds

If you’re new to wireless earbuds but unsure about spending hundreds of pounds on one pair, then these superb earphones from TOZO should be ideal.

Hundreds of thousands of happy customers attest to their fantastic sound and build quality. They come with three different sized tips so you can pick the most comfortable fit for your ears and they won’t start to ache or fall out as you move about.

They’re super easy to use as well. Just take the earbuds out of the charging box and they’ll automatically turn on to complete pairing with each other and your device.

Pros

  • Incredible value for money
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • May not stay in the ear well for prolonged exercise

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 6 hours (30 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 283g

3. Best budget wireless earbuds: Iporachx Wireless In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

3. Best budget wireless earbuds: Iporachx Wireless In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

A premium quality pair of wireless earbuds for under £25 may sound too good to be true, but we promise you that it’s a reality.

These budget-friendly earphones offer everything you need at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. We’re talking long life charge, quick and easy pairing, great sound quality and touch control sensors.

But this great buy also comes with some excellent additional features: an LCD display on the charging case shows the remaining battery and IPX7 waterproof nano coating efficiently protects the earbuds and charging case from sweat or water.

Pros

  • Great budget buy

Cons

  • Phone call quality could be better

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 15m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 5 hours (100 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 168g

4. Best wireless earbuds for iPhone: Apple AirPods Pro

4. Best wireless earbuds for iPhone: Apple AirPods Pro

No review of wireless earbuds would be complete without taking a look at the iconic Apple AirPods.

This latest incarnation, the AirPods Pro, has a lot to do to justify the hefty price tag, but if you’re passionate about getting the very best listening experience and you already have an iPhone, then they’re more than worth it.

Sound quality is out of this world, and the Bluetooth connection is as strong as it gets. To ensure the best possible fit, you're given the choice of three tip sizes creating a more secure fit that helps to deliver improved Active Noise Cancellation.

The outward-facing microphone works to detect external sound, which is then countered with an equal anti-noise to cancel it out.

And if you need to hear what's happening around you, then Transparency Mode allows you to talk to people around you without distraction. Just press the sensor on the stem of the AirPods Pro to switch from Active Noise Cancellation to Transparency mode. This sensor also lets you control music and calls quickly and easily.

Pros

  • Perfect for use with Apple devices

Cons

  • Call quality not as good as other earbuds

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 20m
  • Noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours (24 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 51g

5. Best wireless earbuds for small ears: SoundPEATS TrueFree Wireless Earbuds

5. Best wireless earbuds for small ears: SoundPEATS TrueFree Wireless Earbuds

The SoundPeats Wireless Earbuds are officially the smallest earbuds available, so if you usually struggle to find a good fit or you want a pair for a child, then this could be the pair for you.

They also come with three different tip sizes to help you find comfort and security, plus their top breathability means they don’t trap heat under the ear cup so there’s no noticeable difference in temperature when wearing them.

They tick all the usual boxes for sound quality and ease of use. And thanks to SoundPeats’ advanced audio coding technology you’ll get none of the communication problems of many wireless earphones like sound skipping and interruptions, so you can enjoy your music reliably even in the bustle of the city.

Pros

  • Perfect for small ears

Cons

  • Call quality not amazing

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 4 hours (35 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 120g

6. Best wireless earbuds for bass: EarFun Air Pro Wireless Earbuds

6. Best wireless earbuds for bass: EarFun Air Pro Wireless Earbuds

If you’re all about the sound quality, then these outstanding earbuds from EarFun are certified as one of the best.

They’re the only budget wireless earbuds to feature noise cancellation, blocking out up to 90% of background noise, plus their innovative 10mm composite drivers produce 25% larger frequency bandwidth.

What this fancy tech talk means in real terms is that you get crystal clear treble sound and twice as much bass as other wireless earbuds. All at a fraction of the cost of their more expensive competitors from Apple or Bose.

Pros

  • Good for small ears plus have noise cancellation

Cons

  • Customers report that the touch controls can be tricky to activate

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: 9 hours (32 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 53g

7. Best wireless earbuds for working out: Bose Sport Earbuds

7. Best wireless earbuds for working out: Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds are engineered to give you your best workout yet. Designed to give incredible sound and a comfortably secure fit, they’ll help you beat your personal best, again and again.

The high-efficiency drivers on these earphones deliver big sound for such a small acoustic package, pushing you to keep going the extra mile.

What’s more, the Bose Sport Earbuds offer a really secure and comfortable fit thanks to their StayHear Max tips which have a unique umbrella shape and an extended flexible wing that keep your earbuds in place, no matter how much you move.

Designed to resist moisture from sweat and weather, Bose Sport Earbuds also go through rigorous quality testing for durability so they’ll stay in tip-top shape for years to come.

Pros

  • Engineered to stay in place even during vigorous exercise

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life

Key specs:

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 9m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 5 hours (15 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 68g

8. Best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

8. Best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Simply the best of the best when it comes to noise-canceling, the industry-leading noise-cancelling processor in these Sony earphones boosts the range of frequencies from which noise-cancellation occurs, giving you full control over the sounds you want to block out while listening to your music. That means it's never been easier to take the bustle out of travel and immerse yourself in sound.

On top of that, these innovative earbuds come with Adaptive Sound Control to optimise listening settings automatically based on your behaviour and environment. So whether you need to block out a noisy office noise or a snoring bedfellow, these earbuds should be up to the job.

Pros

  • The best noise-cancelling earbuds available

Cons

  • Some customers report difficulty finding a comfortable fit

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: 8 hours (32 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 96g

9. Best wireless earbuds for calls: Jabra Elite Earbuds

9. Best wireless earbuds for calls: Jabra Elite Earbuds

If it’s a decent pair of earbuds for work that you’re looking for, then we reckon the Jabra Elite Wireless Earbuds might be just the ticket.

They feature quality noise cancellation to block out any ambient noise, enabling you to hear callers clearly, while the innovative four microphone technology means your voice is picked up perfectly regardless of the environment you’re in.

The Jabra Elite Earbuds are also voice assistant-enabled. Simply activate your device’s voice assistant to quickly get the information you need. And with the integrated voice command feature, you can set appointments, find nearby events or have messages read back to you.

Pros

  • Noise-cancelling

Cons

  • Some customers report issues with the left earbud which doesn’t work independently of the right

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 10m
  • Noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: 5.5 hours (24 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 46g

10. Best waterproof earbuds: MPow Wireless Waterproof Earphones

10. Best waterproof earbuds: MPow Wireless Waterproof Earphones

In the world of electronic technology, an IPX rating is used to denote the level of protection that a product has against water and dust – the greater the number the higher the level of resistance.

Most wireless earbuds have an IPX rating of at least four, giving them protection against splashing water or sweat when exercising.

Our pick from MPow offers a whopping IPX8 level of waterproofing meaning these earbuds are protected even when submerged in water over a depth of one metre.

This doesn’t mean you can actually swim underwater in them, but they’re great if you’re prone to dropping them down the loo!

Pros

  • Great value
  • Top water protection

Cons

  • Not the most secure fit

Key specs

  • Bluetooth range: Up to 11m
  • Noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: 6 hours (35 hours with charging case)
  • Weight: 100g

What’s the difference between wireless and true wireless earphones?

‘Wireless’ and ‘true wireless’ earphones are actually different. The distinction is that true wireless earphones don't have a cable or connector between the earpieces.

Wireless earphones are still connected to each other in some way, either with an over-head band or a wire around the back of the neck, but don’t need access to a phone jack to connect to your device.

How do I choose wireless earbuds?

The main things to consider when looking to purchase wireless earbuds are cost, sound quality, and battery life.

Like any electronic device, the more you pay the better the component parts of your product – in short, the better the quality, the longer it will last.

Some earbuds are better than others for sound quality so be sure to read reviews carefully. Noise cancellation is a useful feature if you plan to use your earbuds in a noisy environment.

All the earbuds featured in this review come with a charging case which is charged via USB cable. The earbuds fit into the case and take their charge directly from it. Most charging cases can charge your earbuds four or five times before needing charging itself.

What are the best wireless earbuds?

The best wireless earbuds are the Powerbeats Pro True Wireless Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones, expertly designed for wearing during sport but equally brilliant for using at any time.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which wireless earbuds discerning Mumsnet users had bought for themselves.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which wireless earbuds had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the wireless earbuds we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

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