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When Consumer Reports first tested true wireless earphones in 2016, we weren’t impressed. Connections cut out, controls were finicky, and the sound was nothing special. For a while, reliable earphones without a cord or cable connecting the earpieces were little more than a tantalizing promise.

Five years later, that's all changed. The best true wireless earphones are now among the highest-scoring models in our ratings. Below you’ll find our top picks for true wireless headphones. First, though, there are a couple of factors to consider before you buy your next pair.

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First, these earphones tend to have relatively limited battery life. To make up for that, they come in a carrying case with a built-in battery that doubles as a portable charger. The cases typically give your earphones at least one full charge, and many can top your earphones off multiple times.

Second, it can be tricky to get a comfortable fit with true wireless earphones. Some models can feel heavy, and some may feel better than others, depending on the size of your ears.

With those caveats in mind, here are CR’s picks for the best true wireless earphones, from least to most expensive.

1More PistonBuds

The 1More PistonBuds deliver great sound quality for the price, beating out competitors that cost far more. They have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life and come with a carrying case that will recharge the earphones almost five times before it needs to be plugged in again.

The PistonBuds are advertised as water-resistant, and they feature touch controls and support for digital assistants. Based on our CR member survey, they boast a fantastic owner satisfaction rating, though their reliability score is just average.

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1MORE PistonBuds

Price: $50

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Anker SoundCore Spirit x2

This model from Anker is a great choice if price and battery life are top priorities. The SoundCore Spirit x2 will run for 9 hours, according to the manufacturer, enough for a full day of listening. The carrying case is marked for three full charges.

Our tests found that these earphones deliver better than average sound quality. The audio wasn’t quite as good as many of the other models on this list, but the x2 should be a decent choice for most listeners.

They have hooks that wrap around your ears to hold them in place, but not everyone will find them to be comfortable, so you may want to double-check the return policy before you buy this model. You’ll get some nice extra features, including a quick-charge function and an adjustable equalizer via a smartphone app. Anker’s reliability rating is unimpressive; the brand does better for owner satisfaction.

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Anker SoundCore Spirit x2

Price: $80

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Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Samsung Galaxy Buds’ superb audio quality isn’t just the best on this list; it ranks among the best headphones in our ratings. Samsung has put out several updated models, such as the Buds+, but in our tests the original Buds still come out on top.

The Galaxy Buds come in an unobtrusive charging case that rivals the portability of AirPods, and like Apple’s offering, the case can be charged wirelessly if you own a compatible charging pad. Samsung says the case holds only enough power to charge the earphones a little over one time between its own charges, but the earphones have an advertised 6-hour battery life, better than average for true wireless models.  

These earphones have integrated touch controls for calls, volume, and playback, and according to Samsung, they’re water-resistant. Our testers note that the Galaxy Buds shouldn’t pose problems with comfort or fit for most users, and Samsung gets above average reliability and owner satisfaction ratings.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds

Price: $130

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1MORE ComfoBuds Pro

 

1MORE has a reputation for top-of-the-line performance at mid-range prices, and the ComfoBuds Pro are no exception. You get the convenience of true wireless headphones, great sound quality, and superb noise cancellation, all for around $100.

These headphones also deliver modern noise-canceling features, including adjustable levels of sound blocking and a monitor mode that pipes in outside sound when you want to hear it.

With noise canceling turned on, 1MORE advertises a 6-hour battery life backed by a charging case that will power up the headphones twice before it needs to be plugged in again. To sweeten the deal, the ComfoBuds feature a quick-charging function for an extra 2 hours after just 15 minutes of charging.

 

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1MORE ComfoBuds Pro

Price: $95

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Sony WF-1000XM3

Apple’s AirPods Pro may come to mind first if you’re shopping for noise-canceling true wireless headphones. But with the WF-1000XM3, we think Sony has a better product, and it’s usually cheaper, too. It has outstanding sound quality and top-of-the-line active noise reduction.

These feature-rich earphones have variable noise cancellation, which you can adjust to let in more or less sound, and a “monitor” mode actively pipes in audio from your surroundings. Those settings can be activated using integrated touch controls, which also operate playback and skipping tracks.

According to Sony, the XM3 has a 6-hour battery life, can be recharged up to three times on the go with the portable charging case, and includes a quick-charge feature. A free app adds functionality. But some users, particularly people with larger ears, may feel that the XM3 doesn’t fit securely.

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Sony WF-1000XM3

Price: $230

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How to Choose Headphones

With so many types of headphones, how do you know which pair is right for you? On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports expert Elias Arias explains everything you need to know.