Wires are a thing of the past. That infuriating dance of disentanglement you need to perform every time you pull out your favourite pair of headphones is no more. Wireless earbuds are here to lead us to a glorious cable-free future. You might be concerned that the loss of a cable running directly from your music device to your ears would negatively impact audio quality, but the tech has reached the point where it’s hardly noticeable – at least with the right pair.
Here, we’ve gathered up the five best wireless earbuds currently available, whether you’re on a budget, ready to spend or just looking for the perfect balance.
Whatever you’re using your in-ear headphones for, and no matter the budget, we’ve got something to cover you here.
Apple AirPods – The all-rounder
Although there were questions about the design when they were first revealed, Apple’s own AirPods turned out to be (and still remain) an excellent pair of wireless earbuds. Sound quality is great while pairing the earbuds with your device is simple and the connection remains clean throughout with no distracting blips in the audio.
One word of warning: unlike most other earphones, the one-size-fits-all design of the AirPods might mean they’re an uncomfortable or awkward fit for your ears. It’s an unfortunate flaw but shouldn’t affect most users.
Some neat little touches – such as removing one earphone to pause any music currently playing – make this set standout. You’ll be relying heavily on Siri to control most other functions, however. Still, for impressive sound quality, excellent connectivity and ample battery life the AirPods clearly lead the way.
TaoTronics Bluetooth Earphones – Extreme budget option
Coming in at just £19.99 you know exactly what you’re getting from this pair of TaoTronics earphones. They might not be as feature-rich or as high quality as some of the more expensive options out there, so they’re definitely not one for the audiophiles out there, but if you’re looking for a less fiddly way to listen to music or receive calls across a range of devices then they’re worth a punt at the staggeringly low price.
That’s not to say they’re completely devoid of any additional benefits. The TaoTronics offer noise cancelling technology to keep outside sound to a minimum and they neatly clip together around your neck when not in use to prevent them from falling away. You get a respectable six hours of battery life too. Put all that together and they’re easily one of the best inexpensive wireless earbuds available.
Sennheiser CX 6.00BT – Best for under £100
If you’re not willing to fork over too significant a sum of money for a pair of wireless earbuds then the Sennheiser CX 6.00BT is one of the best you can buy for less than £100. The manufacturer is known for top sound quality across all of their products and these do not disappoint either, offering clear audio and impactful bass.
Meanwhile, superior wireless technology ensures no delays between audio and video to keep them perfectly in sync. Ideal if you want to catch up with anything on Netflix or iPlayer while on the move. A lengthy six-hour battery life supports that too, plus, USB fast charging means you can get two hours of extra juice off just a ten-minute charge. Everything you want from a solid pair of earbuds at the price.
Bose SoundSport Free – Ideal for the gym
For exercising and trips to the gym the benefit of truly wireless earbuds cannot be overstated. None of that dangling wire repeatedly slapping you in the face to worry about, nor getting anything tangled in the equipment you’re using. Handily, the Bose SoundSport Free has been specifically designed for the task.
Not only are they completely free of wires, they come with three different size tips to ensure they remain safe and secure in your ears throughout even the most vigorous activity. They’re sweat and weather resistant too, keeping the innards safe whether you’re running hard or caught in the rain. With Bose, you know you’re getting top audio quality too.
A couple of handy features, including a ‘Find My Buds’ app that can track down a missing earbud and a magnetised carry case that can hold two additional charges to give you 15 hours battery life, make the Bose SoundSport Free an impressive set.
Onkyo True Wireless In-Ear Headphones – For the audiophile
Where you would think most wireless earbuds would have to significantly compromise on audio quality in favour of portability, the Onkyo True Wireless In-Ear Headphones prove that’s not always the case. This pair offers the richest, clearest and most detailed sound in any of its kind, but it definitely comes at a cost.
That’s not just a hefty monetary cost. It’s also a performance cost. As these are one of the older pairs of wireless earbuds available the ageing tech is clearly noticeable. You may love the music pumping into your ears, but when the wireless performance can be patchy at times the infrequent sound drops can be disappointing. Battery life has also improved in time, making the three hours in a single charge here feel a little underwhelming. Nevertheless, if all you care about is the best sound quality around then Onkyo still reign supreme.