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The best true wireless earbuds of 2019

True wireless headphones are all the rage. Here are the top wire-free models you can buy right now.

In terms of numbers, Apple's AirPods have dominated the market for true wireless headphones for the last couple of years. But with plenty of new models arriving that deliver better sound and improved performance and battery life, 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, the best wireless earbuds tend to need to feel comfortable with an ergonomic design and fit right, 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

Read more: Best noise-canceling headphones of 2019

Sarah Tew/CNET

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, as far as sound quality, they're the best wireless earbuds at this price, matching and perhaps even exceeding the quality and 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 technology to reduce ambient noise.

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

Water-resistant: No (lacks IPX certification). Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.

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Even if they don't sound as magical as you'd hope a $249 model would, the AirPods Pro still manage to be a great pair of truly wireless earphones. That's largely due to their winning design and fit, improved bass performance, effective noise canceling and excellent call quality. Yeah, they're expensive at $250, but the good news is you'll use them so much you'll probably wear the battery down -- it does degrade over time and isn't replaceable -- and have to buy a new pair in 18 to 24 months if you don't lose them first. 

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof). Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.

At first glance, the Elite 75t, which was originally supposed to cost $200 but now sells for $180 (£170 and AU$299), seems more like an evolutionary upgrade from the highly rated Elite 65t. But the updates turn out to be a little more substantial than I first thought. The Elite 75t's smaller size (the buds and case are 20% smaller than the Elite 65t's), its boosted battery life and USB-C charging are significant upgrades. And then there are the smaller changes, like the new charging case design with magnets inside it that make it easier to open and close and to keep the buds inside. While the Elite 75t isn't quite as comfortable to wear as the AirPods Pro and doesn't have active noise canceling, it does sound better, with clearer overall sound and better bass definition, so long as you get a tight seal.

Water-resistantYes (IP55 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water). Read our Jabra Elite 75t review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 headphones 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 quality product I'd hoped the Jaybird Run would be.

At $180 (£160, AU$280), this pair of earbuds is 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). Read the Jaybird Vista review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you can't afford the AirPods Pro, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is a good alternative and are a top model for making calls. Like the AirPods Pro, they do a remarkably good job of muffling ambient noise (callers said they could hear me fine even with a lot of street noise around me). While they don't have active noise canceling, they sound nearly as good, fit comfortably and their noise-isolating design passively seals out a lot of ambient noise. They only cost $100

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX5 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water). Read full review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What's most impressive about the EarFun Free is the features: Bluetooth 5.0, both USB-C and wireless charging and fully waterproof (IPX7), according to their specs. Do they sound fantastic? No, but they sound pretty good. They don't have the clarity of higher-end true wireless earbuds that cost $150 or more, but they do have plump bass and enough detail to avoid sounding dull. They're also pretty solid for making calls. An excellent value at less than $45.

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 rating -- fully waterproof). Read CNET first take.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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). Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Anker is known more for its value headphones, but it's trying to step into more premium territory with its Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro earbuds, which carry a list price of $150. From a design standpoint, they share some similarities with Sony's WF-1000XM3, although this model doesn't have active noise-cancellation. Anker says they have large 11mm drivers combined with Knowles Balanced Armature, with up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge (32 total hours of playtime with the case) and noise-cancellation microphones to help reduce ambient sound so callers can hear you better. They charge via USB-C and also support wireless charging.

I'm not sure they sound quite as good as the Sony WF-1000XM3, but they certainly sound like premium true wireless earphones, with rich sound that includes powerful bass performance and lots of detail. Some people may have some quibbles over the fit -- I had to supply my own XL tips to get a tight seal and found the Anker's Soundcore Liberty Air 2 a little more comfortable -- but the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro are a good value. They also work very well for making calls (they do a good job reducing background sound).  

They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and aptX.

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics new premium true wireless earphones, the BackBeat Pro 5100 ($170, £160, AU$299), are among the handful of true wireless headphones that are very good for making calls. For calling, they're on par with the AirPods (they have good noise reduction) and sound better for listening to music. 

Water-resistantYes (IP54 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water). Read more.

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Jabra's Elite 65t ($170, £150 or AU$300) and slightly enhanced Elite Active 65t ($190, £170 or AU$350) have been around a while and have been among the best true wireless earbuds on the market the last couple of years. With the new, smaller Elite 75t here (see above), we're seeing decent discounts on these models.  

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 that perform well for making calls. They're still worth considering if you can find them for a good price. 

These use Bluetooth 4.2 (AAC but no aptX).

Water-resistant: Yes (IP56 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water). Read our Jabra Elite 65t review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 quality device 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). Read our Apple AirPods 2019 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 quality 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 buds 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 battery charges from the charging 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). Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 battery hours if you're listening to 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). Read our 1More Stylish True Wireless review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus is the second generation of the company's MW07. It features greatly increased battery life (10 versus 3.5 hours), Bluetooth 5.0 and active noise-cancellation with two microphones on each bud. It may not fit everyone's ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as very good sound and a great listening experience 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 Plus delivers that kind of sound. 

Available in four color options for $300, these wireless 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). The case, with its built-in chargeable battery, gives you an additional three charges (it charges via USB-C). These have support for AAC and aptX and have an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic.

Water-resistantYes (IPX5 rating -- withstands sustained spray). Read our Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless Earphones preview.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Jaybird Vista is an excellent sports model that fits securely in your ears. It's arguably slightly more comfortable than the JBL Reflect Flow, but the Flow, which retails for $150, arguably sounds better. It's very similar to the JBL UA True Wireless Flash but has a more compact case and costs about $20 less.

Water-resistantYes (IPX7 rating -- fully waterproof).

Read moreBest cheap true wireless earphones | Best headphones for running in 2019 | Best over-ear headphones

Originally published earlier this year. Updated as we review new products.