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The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019

In terms of numbers, Apple’s AirPods have dominated the market for true wireless headphones the last couple of years. But with plenty of new models arriving that deliver improved performance and better sound, there are now many appealing totally wireless earbuds to choose from, with even more on the way.

We’ve got lists of the best cheap true wireless earbuds and best-sounding true wireless earbuds. This list is, simply, the best true wireless earbuds. Remember that to get optimal performance earbuds tend to need to fit right and feel comfortable, with a tight seal. If you can’t get a snug fit with in-ear headphones, you’ll be sadly disappointed and think you got ripped off, which is why I suggest buying from a store with a decent return policy, such as Amazon

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Read more: Best cheap true wireless earphones

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Sony hasn’t been much of a player in the true wireless (AirPod-style) headphone arena, but its new WF-1000XM3 model may change that. While this pair of headphones isn’t cheap at $229, it’s the best-sounding set of truly wireless earbuds at this price, matching and perhaps even exceeding the performance of pricier competitors from SennheiserBeatsMaster & Dynamic and Bang & Olufsen. It also has a feature that those wireless earbuds don’t have: active noise cancellation to reduce ambient noise.

The only drawback is the WF-1000XM3 earbuds aren’t rated as sweat- or water-resistant. That said, I’ve used them for light workouts at the gym without a problem. They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistant: No (lacks IPX certification)


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Jaybird got off to a bumpy start in the world of true wireless — that’s “AirPod-style headphones” — when it released its Jaybird Run workout earbuds back in October 2017. Updated to the wireless in-ear Jaybird Run XT earlier this year, the Jaybird Run earbuds were well designed but had some small performance issues that held them back from being great. But their wireless successor model, the Jaybird Vista (cue the Windows Vista jokes), includes design, battery life and performance improvements that make it the product I’d hoped the Jaybird Run would be.

At $180 (£160, AU$280), the Jaybird Vista earbuds are a little more expensive than they should be, but they’re among the better true wireless headphones to hit the market in 2019. They’ll appeal to those looking for a more discreet set of totally wireless sports earbuds that offer full waterproofing.

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 — fully waterproof)

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Yes, the Powerbeats Pro’s jumbo charging case with its built-in battery is a notable drawback. But incorporating all the features that make Apple’s AirPods great while delivering richer sound and better battery life in a design that won’t fall out of your ear is a winning proposition. Just make sure you buy them somewhere that has a good return policy in case you’re in the small minority that has ears that aren’t quite a match for them.

They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating — splashproof)

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The Elite 65t ($170, £150 or AU$300) and slightly enhanced Elite Active 65t ($190, £170 or AU$350) are our current top picks in the true wireless category because they sound better than AirPods, they offer just as good or even better performance for making phone calls and they fit a lot of ears securely.

Their sound isn’t quite as rich or clean as the more expensive earphones above them on this best wireless headphones list (the bass lacks a little kick), but it’s still a very good-sounding set of true wireless earbuds, and the battery life is decent. Since they’ve been on the market awhile, they’re frequently discounted, so wait till you see a deal before buying.

These use Bluetooth 4.2 (AAC but no aptX).

Water-resistant: Yes (IP56 rating — can withstand heavy sprays of water)

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If you’re someone whose ears are a good match — and fit — for the AirPods, Apple’s true wireless earphones do have some small performance advantages, particularly when it comes to making calls. But the Liberty Air earbuds sound as good, if not better, than AirPods, and I find they fit my ears better. In short, as long as you’re OK with a noise-isolating design, the Anker Liberty Airs are an excellent AirPod alternative that happens to cost half the price.

The Liberty Air earbuds list for $80 but Anker seems to run regular discounts on Amazon that drop the price a bit.  

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX5-rated)

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The second-generation AirPods add a couple of small but key improvements to the original, including always-on voice recognition and a wireless charging case option. They’re also a top-notch headset for making calls, indoors and out. 

The base model remains at $159 (£159, AU$249)while the version with the wireless charging case lists for $199 (£199, AU$319). However, you can often find both models for slightly cheaper online.

Water-resistant: No (lacks IPX certification)

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At $300 (£279, AU$499), Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are more expensive than Apple AirPods, Jabra’s Elite 65t true wireless earbuds and the Elite Active 65t and Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds. But they sound superior to those models, with better bass and cleaner, more detailed audio. They also feature very good performance for making phone calls, with solid noise cancellation, and offer a generally comfortable fit, though they’re bigger than the Jabras and stick out of your ear a little more. Their only significant downside is that they gradually lose their charge in the charging case and can end up completely dead after four days or so if you don’t recharge the case.

I’ve used these wireless earbuds in the gym, but they don’t fit quite securely enough in my ear for running. Battery life is rated at 4 hours, and you get two extra charges from the carrying case. These use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and aptX and a firmware update has improved their performance and slightly.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating — splashproof)

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While Klipsch’s T5 True Wireless earbuds don’t ship until mid-August, I’ve been testing an early review sample and have been impressed with the sound — it’s nicely detailed with natural-sounding mids and punchy, well-defined bass. The only caveat is you really have to jam the tips into your ear to get a tight seal and the design may not be for everyone. 

While the Zippo-inspired case is somewhat heavy for its relatively compact size, it’s sleek and sturdy and features USB-C charging. Battery and battery life are also a highlight: The buds themselves can run for up to 8 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels and the case with its built-in battery provides three additional charges on the go. 

The T5 Wireless uses Bluetooth 5.0 and has support for both AAC and aptX.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating — splashproof)  

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I don’t really know how stylish the 1More Stylish True Wireless earbuds are (yes, that’s their name), but they do sound good. With a list price of $100, they’re the least expensive of any of the models on this list. 1More made a name for itself with its wired earbuds, the Triple Drivers, which sound great and were a good value when wired headphones were still a thing. The same clear, balanced sound is present in 1More’s first true wireless earbuds; they don’t sound as good as the Triple Drivers, but they sound very good for true wireless.

These have more of an audiophile sound profile, with more “accurate” sound, so bass lovers may be a little disappointed, but I liked them. Of course, it helped that I was able to get a tight seal with one of the included sets of ear tips. However, the stabilizer fin did nothing for me — I just jammed the tip into my ear to get a secure fit. 

Their battery life is rated at up 6.5 hours (expect closer to 5 if you’re listening to your music at higher volumes), with an extra 17 hours or so of battery life available from the charging case. These use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and aptX.

Water-resistant: No (lacks IPX certification)

Audiophile sound

Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless

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The Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless earbuds may not fit everyone’s ears equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as very good sound if you can get a tight seal. These in-ear headphones are known for more of an audiophile sound profile, with smooth, well-balanced sound and well-defined bass, and the MW07 delivers that kind of sound. 

Available in a variety of color options from $250 to $300, these earbuds include a swanky chrome charging case that comes with a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag). Battery life is rated at 3.5 hours, which is a little on the short side, and the case with its built-in USB-C chargeable battery gives you an additional three charges. These use Bluetooth 4.2 with support for AAC and aptX and have an extended range of more than 20m, according to Master & Dynamic.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating — splashproof)

Read: Best over-ear headphones

$228

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