With the lack of headphone jacks on so many smartphones these days, it's no wonder wireless headphones are more popular than ever. In particular, wireless earbuds are all the rage and here we round-up the best.
We haven't reviewed the Apple AirPods (you can read our sister site's thoughts over on Macworld), so these are the best AirPods alternatives. They will, of course, work on iOS or Android so it doesn't matter where you're coming from.
We're focussing on what are known as 'truly wireless' earbuds here – ie not ones that are attached to each other with a cable that hangs on your neck like the Google Pixel Buds or B&O Beoplay H5.
If you're looking for general wireless headphones then we have a dedicated chart for that which includes on- and over-ear headphones.
Back to wireless earbuds and you're going to have to spend a fair amount to get a decent pair. This is because there's a lot of technology packed into tiny headphones. Since the category is very new, prices won't come down for a while – the average price for a well-known brand is £200.
Generally speaking, the earbuds from different manufacturers are very similar. The headphones connect to your phone (or other devices) and each other over Bluetooth and tend to have playback controls on at least one earbud.
You'll get a few hours of battery life (there's not much space for the battery) and the carry case will handily charge them up, normally a few times over.
Many will be pitched as fitness or sport headphones and while ones like the Bose SoundFree Sport are waterproof, rivals like the Jabra Elite Sport have more features like tracking and a heart rate monitor.
Please note that this is a round-up of the earbuds we've reviewed and we'll be adding more soon.
Best wireless earbuds 2018
1. Sony WF-1000X
- RRP: $199
Sony has almost nailed it with the WF-1000X. These wireless earbuds are small, light and comfortable while offering excellent sound quality. They also have noise cancelling which you won't find elsewhere.
We only have minor quibbles such as occasional drop outs and a below par case design. You'll only really need to go elsewhere, such as the Jabra Elite Sport, if you want fitness features rather than noise cancelling.
Read our Sony WF-1000X review.
2. Jabra Elite Sport
- RRP: $249
The Jabra Elite Sport are fairly pricey but you get a lot for your money thanks to additional fitness features. Accurate heart rate monitoring and clever tracking combine to make these great for running and working out. Sound quality is decent, too, but if you’re not going to use the sporty features then look elsewhere.
3. Bose SoundSport Free
- RRP: $249.99
Bose has done a pretty decent job at making its first wireless earbuds. They’re quite large but remain light and offer excellent sound quality which should be a priority for anyone. While they offer decent battery life and IPX4 waterproofing, they’re lacking in real sport features like tracking or a heart rate monitor so look to the Jabra Elite Sport if that’s important.
Read our Bose SoundSport Free review.
4. Snugs True Wireless
- RRP: £299
- Buy from Snugs
If you're after extremely comfortable wireless earbuds then you've come to the right place. Snugs personalised tips offer an unparalleled fit. Whether you can afford the custom moulded tips is another matter as it is a lot on top of the headphones themselves. Sound quality is good but marred by other issues such as a short battery life and connectivity issues. If you experience the latter then get a refund.
5. Jaybird Run
- RRP: $179.99
The Jaybird Run headphones offer solid audio and simple, user-friendly controls - which is great when they actually work. Unfortunately, intermittent connection issues and charging case problems mar the experience, making them hard to recommend over similarly specced alternatives from other manufacturers.
Read our Jaybird Run review.