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The 5 Best Truly Wireless Earbuds - Fall 2018
Reviews

Best Truly Wireless
273 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 in-ears and 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. However, they're also a bit pricier on average than common wireless in-ears and earbuds, so check out our recommendations for the best in-ears and earbuds if you're looking for something a bit more budget-friendly,

We've tested 11 true wireless earbuds and in-ears, and below are our recommendations for 2018.

  1. Best True Wireless Earbuds: Samsung Gear IconX

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 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
    Home Theater
    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 truly wireless headphones 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 True Wireless Earbuds for Sports: Jabra Elite Active 65t

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 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
    Home Theater
    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 going to be using your truly wireless buds primarily for running and working out, then get the Jabra Elite Active 65t instead of the Samsung Gear IconX. They are not as feature-packed as the IconX and they’re also slightly less stable and not as comfortable since they have bigger earbuds that will not fit as well in all ears.

    On the upside, they have a more durable and sweat resistant build quality, they also have more precise physical controls, which makes them a slightly better option for high-intensity exercises and sports in general (even if they do not have as many features to keep track of your workouts as the IconX).

    They have a longer battery life, lasting 5 hours on a single charge with two extra charges stored in their case for a total of 15 hours of listening. You can also customize their sound better than the other truly wireless options on this list, thanks to their great software support and customizable 5-band EQ. Overall, the Jabra Elite Active 65t are a good truly wireless headphone for most use cases and an even better option for sports.

    See our review

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

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 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
    Home Theater
    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 True Wireless Earbuds: Bose SoundSport Free

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 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
    Home Theater
    Score components:
    5.2
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Semi-Open
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want the best sounding truly wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far, then get the Bose SoundSport Free. They are not as portable as the rest of the truly wireless options on this list. They have a bulky hard case that won’t fit as easily into your pockets as that of the Beoplay E8 or the Samsung Gear IconX.

    The SoundSport also have a few Bluetooth connection issues and have high latency, not suitable for watching a lot of videos content. On the other hand, they are easily the most neutral sounding of the truly wireless headsets we’ve tested. They also have a comfortable earbud fit which most will prefer over the in-ear designs of the other truly wireless headphones. You can wear them for longer without any fatigue or soreness and they’re stable enough for the gym and most physical activities.

    If you care about a neutral sound that still packs a good bass in a truly wireless design, the Bose SoundSport Free are probably your best bet.

    See our review

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

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.4
    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:
    6.3
    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:
    7.5
    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:
    6.4
    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
    Home Theater
    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.

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