Preferred headphones store
Updated , Jean-Simon Bonneterre

The 5 Best True Wireless Earbuds - December 2018
Reviews

Best True Wireless
288 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

Truly wireless earbuds offer a bit more freedom than regular headphones. They have no cables to hinder your movements when working out, and they're typically compact enough to conveniently carry around in your pockets without much hassle. They offer a lot of options for all situations, whether you want to use them at the gym, at the office or during your commutes.

We've tested 283 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best true wireless earbuds for 2018. They are pricier than common earbuds, so check out our recommendations for the best cheap earbuds if you're looking for something more budget-friendly, and also the best in-ears and earbuds and the best wireless earbuds for more options.

  1. Best Truly Wireless Earbuds: Samsung Gear IconX

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.5
    TV
    Score components:
    4.9
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best true wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far are the Samsung Gear IconX. They are more feature-packed than most of the other truly wireless options on this list, and they have a compact, decently comfortable in-ear fit. They’re a good choice for most use cases, they’re sufficiently stable for sports, and they block enough noise passively to be suitable for most commutes.

    The IconX also have a decent sound quality that you can further EQ with the preset provided by their companion app. The app also gives you access to a wealth of sports-oriented features like a step counter and a virtual coach to keep track of your workout progress. They even have 4GBs of onboard storage, so you do not need to have your phone on you to listen to music while exercising or running outdoors.

    Unfortunately, the IconX do not have the best sweat-resistance. They also have a relatively short battery life compared to some of the other truly wireless options we’ve tested like the Apple AirPods. On the upside, they have a strong performance in most aspects and they’re versatile enough to be a good choice for most use cases.

    See our review

  2. Best Truly Wireless Earbuds for Sports: Jabra Elite Active 65t

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.0
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.5
    TV
    Score components:
    5.0
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for truly wireless earbuds for primarily running or working out but versatile enough for most use cases, then go with the Jabra Elite Active 65t instead. They won’t have as many features as the Samsung Gear IconX, but their build quality is better and more resistant to sweat. They also have physical buttons, so their control scheme is easier to use and more accurate.

    They have about 5 hours of battery life for one charge, and the carrying case gives you two additional charges. They are also quite versatile since you can have access to a good 5-band EQ in the Jabra Sound+ mobile app. The Elite Active 65t have a premium feeling and a high-end look.

    Unfortunately, they’re slightly less stable and not as comfortable as the IconX because their design is a bit bulkier and it’s harder to find a great fit for some. On the upside, they passively block a lot of noise which also makes them a good choice for commuting. Overall, the Elite Active 65t are very versatile true wireless earbuds.

    See our review

  3. Best Premium Truly Wireless Earbuds: B&O PLAY E8

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    6.8
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.8
    TV
    Score components:
    5.3
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want a more premium looking truly wireless headset, then get the Beoplay E8. They’re one of the pricier truly wireless headphones we’ve tested which may not be the best value for all listeners. They also have slightly confusing controls and a somewhat sharp sound that doesn’t get as loud as the Jabra Elite Active 65t.

    On the upside, they isolate better in noisy conditions. Their in-ear fit blocks a lot of noise passively and doesn’t leak much at high volumes which makes them a good option for travel, commuting, and the office. They have a good build quality that’s sweat resistant enough for sports and sufficiently durable for most use cases. They also perform slightly better than the Samsung Gear IconX and the Jabras for watching videos thanks to their lower latency. Furthermore, the E8s charging case is better designed than most; it looks and feels more high-end, and will easily fit into all your pockets.

    If a premium design is what you’re looking for and budget is not much of an issue, then the BeoPlay E8 are a great premium option that is versatile enough for most use cases in your daily routine.

    See our review

  4. Best Sounding Truly Wireless Earbuds: Bose SoundSport Free

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.7
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.3
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.8
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.6
    TV
    Score components:
    5.2
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Semi-Open
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If sound quality is the most important thing for you, the best sounding truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested so far are the Bose SoundSport Free. They won’t be as portable as other options on this list because of their bulky charging case, but they have the most neutral sounding sound signature.

    They also have a very comfortable earbud-like fit and don’t enter your ear canal as deeply typical in-ears. They are well-built headphones that should survive a few drops, and they shouldn’t pop out of your ears during physical activities.

    However, they are fairly bulky for truly wireless buds, just like their bulkier case, and their semi-open design also means they barely isolate any noise, which doesn’t make them a great choice for commuting, but runners might like being more aware of their surroundings. They also don’t have an app to customize their sound profile, but if you’re looking for a great neutral sound, you won’t need one. On the upside, they have about 5 hours of battery life, but the case gives you two more charges, for a total of about 15 hours.

    See our review

  5. Truly Wireless Earbuds With The Best Battery Life: Apple AirPods

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    6.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.2
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.3
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.5
    TV
    Score components:
    5.3
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Open-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you have an iOS device and want the best battery life for any truly wireless headset we’ve reviewed, go for the Apple AirPods. They do not have the in-ear fit of most of the recommendation on this list so they do not isolate as well in noisy conditions. They also lack a lot of bass, which may be a bit disappointing for some listeners.

    On the upside, the Apple AirPods have a reliable and stable wireless connection. They also have fairly low latency especially on iOS devices, which makes them a good option for watching Youtube videos and gaming on your phone. Their open fit makes them somewhat of a decent option for running outdoors as long as you can get the AirPods to maintain a stable fit in your ears since they do not come with any stability fins or tip options.

    Overall, if wireless reliability, latency, and comfort are your main priorities when getting a truly wireless earbud, the Apple AirPods are a great option, especially for iOS users.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • JBL Free. A budget and good sounding truly wireless in-ear. Unreliable wireless connection and no volume controls. See our review
  • Jaybird Run. A cheaper sports alternative to the Jabra Elite Active 65t. Awkward control scheme, bulky case and slightly cheap looking design. See our review
  • Jabra Elite Sport. A better built and more rugged alternative to the Elite Active 65t. Less comfortable overall and not as good a value as the 65t. See our review
  • Sony WF-1000X. A noise cancelling truly wireless in-ear. Good build quality and design. Poor controls and mediocre at best noise isolation for an ANC enabled headphone. See our review
  • Jabra Elite 65t. A cheaper and less sports-oriented variant of the Elite Active 65t. Less sweat proof and worse charging case. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best true wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for truly wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

Discussions

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:

Create Discussion

Preview Back to editor Format guide

The editor uses special characters (aka. markdown).

To post formatted content follow these rules:

What you typeWhat it will look like
*italic text*italic text
**bold text**bold text
[link](http://rtings.com)link
> quoted text
quoted text
# header

header

- item 1
- item 2
- item 3
  • item 1
  • item 2
  • item 3

* Quotes and lists must be followed by a blank line