Best Buy Earbuds Review
It really depends on your budget and how much you have to spend. Our entry-level pick of earbuds would be the Sony WF-C500 which are a brilliant pair of budget buds. At the premium end of the Bluetooth earbuds market, you're spoilt for choice with models like the Sony WF-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and Apple AirPods Pro 2 all excellent options.
best buy earbuds review
In our opinion, the best pairs are most definitely worth it. You get a clear step up as far as sound quality goes with more detail uncovered, even greater dynamics and just a more overall polished performance. Many budget models don't have the same spread of features of more expensive designs and might be missing key things like active noise-cancelling.
One thing you will need to bear in mind is that everyone's ears are different, which means that whether or not a pair of earbuds are comfortable tends to come down to personal preference. We can give a bit of guidance in this area once we've tested them, but there's no substitute for sliding them into your own ears.
After comfort, you'll want to think about other factors such as when and where you're going to use them. Do they need to be water-resistant, sport-friendly earbuds or do they just need to pair to your smartphone and survive your daily commute?
Tied to this, of course, are other factors such as battery life. The best wireless earphones all have enough battery life for the average listening session but some do last longer than others. It's also worth noting the number of hours you get can vary depending on what other features you have enabled. Don't forget that wireless earbuds come with charging cases so they're kept topped up between outings.
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there, don't be. You'll find the best true wireless earbuds to have passed through the What Hi-Fi? test rooms below. And if you want a bargain, don't forget to check out our pick of the best wireless earbuds deals too.
IPX4 water resistance comes as part of the WF-1000XM4 package, as does Sony's clever Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android and clever features such as Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat which both allow you to have a conversation without removing the earbuds. And, following a February 2022 update, the headphones now also have Multipoint Bluetooth so you can connect two devices simultaneously. We're expecting a successor to the Sonys to launch at some point in 2023 but for now, if you want the best in-ear wireless headphones on the market right now, look no further.
Think of Sony's WF-C500 wireless earbuds as a no-frills version of the WF-1000XM4 found further up this page. They deliver a lot of what makes those wireless earbuds a success without cutting too many corners.
Battery life is 10 hours from the buds themselves, which should be plenty for most, and the case provides another 10 hours. If you're looking for the best Bluetooth earbuds and don't want to spend a fortune, the Sony WF-C500 should be on your shortlist.
Panasonic isn't a brand that immediately springs to mind when you think of the best earbuds. But perhaps it should be. The RZ-S500W are the company's first foray into the market and they're sensational performers for the money.
Both noise-cancelling and sound quality are excellent. There's plenty of agility through the low end and loads of texture across the frequencies. Music sounds clear and there's a great deal of refinement on show, which is to be welcomed at this price level. To sum up, these Panasonic wireless earbuds are superb for the money.
If you've got a decent-sized budget to play with but can't stretch to more premium options like the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (below), then these JBL earbuds could be right up your street.
The excellent sound quality is the icing on this cake, with the JBLs favouring a lively and entertaining sound. Bass weight is nicely judged and there's good extension there too. Detail levels are excellent at this level as are the dynamics on offer. If you're looking to make the step up from a cheap pair of earbuds and want an entertaining sound these JBLs have to be on your list.
Say hello to the 'Best wireless earbuds over 200' at the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022. As the title of the award suggests, these premium Bluetooth in-ears sound amazing and set a new benchmark for wireless earbuds at this level.
Apple's in-ear AirPods have always been decent wireless earbuds, but unremarkable. They've picked up quite a number of four-star reviews over the years. But with the AirPods Pro 2, Apple has made a pair of wireless buds that delivers the goods.
Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless earbuds have performed consistently well in recent years and this third generation is its finest offering yet. The wireless noise-cancelling earbuds boast an improved performance that's right up there with the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 that also feature on this list. The spec sheet is competitive and includes great battery life (28 hours) and Bluetooth codec support (aptX Adaptive), and includes the bonus of extra in-app personalisation. They're even priced cheaper than the old model.
Building on an already winning recipe with an improved feature set, decent step up in performance and sensible price tag, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are as competitive as ever. A brilliant pair of earbuds.
These wireless earbuds put in an admirable performance come music time, with a clean, balanced sound that doesn't lean too far into any part of the sonic spectrum. This is a great pair of wireless earbuds at a great price.
Within the context of wireless earbuds for exercise, the Reflect Flow Pro perform well across the board. They're waterproof, lightweight, comfortable and come with multiple ear tip fin options. Battery life is a very decent 10 hours (or eight with ANC on) while the wireless charging case stores an extra 20 hours. They also produce a lively, detailed sound that makes them easy to recommend.
Calls sound clear, and the battery life is seven hours from the buds and a further 28 hours from the charging case. Amazingly it all feels fairly premium too. The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is solid and stable and for the money, the wireless earbuds offer an energetic and spacious sound.
Although we have dedicated testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, the bulk of our wireless earbuds testing happens outside those facilities, whether that's on the street or in our busy office.
It's only when nailing down the finer details of audio quality, we head for quieter environments where we compare the wireless earbuds we're testing to price comparable models and current class-leaders at the money. This gives us the chance to come to solid conclusions and peg each pair on sound quality.
Obviously, testing ANC wireless earbuds requires quite the opposite - here we venture outside to really put those noise-cancelling algorithms through their paces and also test any transparency mode to see how well it works.
As with all headphones, we run wireless earbuds in for a number of hours before evaluating sound quality. We'll also download and fire up any Android/iOS apps that are available that can affect the user experience. How easy is it to use, what features does it offer, how useful are they and how well are they executed?
Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer."}; var triggerHydrate = function() window.sliceComponents.authorBio.hydrate(data, componentContainer); var triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate = function() if (window.sliceComponents.authorBio === undefined) var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ' -9-3/authorBio.js'; script.async = true; script.id = 'vanilla-slice-authorBio-component-script'; script.onload = () => window.sliceComponents.authorBio = authorBio; triggerHydrate(); ; document.head.append(script); else triggerHydrate(); if (window.lazyObserveElement) window.lazyObserveElement(componentContainer, triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate, 1500); else console.log('Could not lazy load slice JS for authorBio') } }).catch(err => console.log('Hydration Script has failed for authorBio Slice', err)); }).catch(err => console.log('Externals script failed to load', err));Andy MaddenSocial Links NavigationAndy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.
With so many headphones options, the process of buying a pair can feel overwhelming. If you have no idea where to start, we recommend that you consider the following questions and make a list of the features that matter most to you. From there, you can compare your needs to the specifications of the headphones and decide how best to spend your money. 041b061a72