Makes Sony the best wireless earphones

Stiftung Warentest 2021: These are the best wireless in-ear headphones

Cordless headphones are all the rage - especially small in-ear models. Manufacturers have made great strides in terms of sound and comfort. The Stiftung Warentest tested the best models in the 03/2021 issue of "test". The result: headphones not only have to sound good, they also have to sit comfortably in the ear.

In-ear headphones have grown in popularity significantly since Apple's AirPods. All common headphone manufacturers now offer these small earplugs, which are also called true wireless earbuds. In addition, the Bluetooth headphones are now also available with active noise reduction. So you have peace and quiet while listening to music. We present the test winners from Stiftung Warentest.

Wireless in-ear headphones in the test: This is how the Stiftung Warentest tests

Stiftung Warentest has tested more than 180 Bluetooth headphones since 2018. In the current "test" edition from March 2021, another 19 models have been added. The testers differentiate between headphones with active noise cancellation, also known as Active Noise Canceling (ANC), and models without this technology. They reduce ambient noise even more and eliminate noise in the subway and bus, for example. The headphones were examined in the assessment categories of sound, interference, wearing comfort, Bluetooth and durability.

The result of the Stiftung Warentest: Sony, Apple and JBL are ahead

Test winner for the headphones with noise canceling, this is Sony WF-1000XM3 with the "test" quality rating "Good (1.8)". The best noise cancellation (ANC) can be achieved by Apple AirPods Pro with the "test" quality rating "Good (2.0)".

The best overall rating for headphones without ANC is given JBL Reflect Flow with the "test" quality rating "Good (1.7)". ThePowerbeats Pro praised by Beats. It receives the "test" quality rating "Good (1.9)". The best for under 100 euros is that Sennheiser CX400 BT with de "test" quality rating "Good (1.9)".

The test winner with noise suppression: Sony WF-1000XM3

Rich sound and the best headphones with noise suppression: The Sony WF-1000XM3 received the "test" quality rating of "Good (1.8)". It also scores with good wearing comfort and a battery life of over six hours. The earphones are charged in the supplied charging case.

With its noise-canceling technology, Sony not only shields physical background noise, but also actively uses counter-noise. This means that particularly monotonous background noises disappear. In addition, the headphones automatically adjust the strength of the noise canceling to the environment. For example, if users wait for their train at the station, the headphones recognize announcements and pass them on to the user via the microphone.

We mean: The test winner convinces with a rich sound and good wearing comfort. With the noise suppression it blocks out noise in everyday life and thanks to its low weight it is also suitable for sports. Music lovers can't go wrong with this model. iPhone users should also take a closer look at Apple's AirPods Pro, which achieved even better noise reduction in the test.

For iPhone users: Apple AirPods Pro

The US technology giant Apple is largely responsible for the rapid spread of true wireless headphones in recent years. When the first generation was presented in 2016, the trade press largely smiled at the small Apple headphones and called them toothbrushes. The AirPods are now among the best-selling Bluetooth headphones. In autumn 2019, Apple presented a new model with active noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro.

In the test by Stiftung Warentest, the AirPods Pro received the "test" quality rating "Good (2.0)" and impress with the best noise suppression. The sound is powerful and neutral, and it is comfortable to wear. Like the Sony model, the earphones are charged in the supplied charging case and play for five hours without interruption.

We mean: The best noise reduction, a rich sound and a particularly easy setup with the iPhone: The AirPods Pro are a clear recommendation, especially for Apple users.

Our savings tip: If you can do without noise canceling, you can use the normal ones AirPods without pro.

The test winner without noise reduction: JBL Reflect Flow

With the "test" quality rating "Good (1.7)", the JBL Reflect Flow is the overall winner at Stiftung Warentest. It scores with a pleasant sound, good wearing comfort and a particularly long battery life of almost ten hours. Another plus point is the low sound radiation, so that the neighbors are not disturbed by their own music on the bus or train.

The earphones are also suitable for sports: With their IPX7 certification, they offer protection against water and can withstand brief immersion. Since the headphones do not have a cable, there is also no volume control. You can, however, take calls and skip to the next track with a single button.

We mean: The JBL Reflect Flow achieved the best overall rating of all 20 models tested. It scores points for the good sound, the very good shielding and the long battery life. It does not integrate active noise suppression, but it also achieves a longer battery life than the competition. It's a good all-rounder at a fair price.

For athletes: Powerbeats Pro

The Powerbeats Pro are the wireless in-ear headphones for athletes. With the Powerbeats Pro, Apple's subsidiary Beats basically offers the sports AirPods. The same chips work inside the headphones as in the AirPods. Apple users in particular enjoy a similar level of convenience.

In the test, the model achieved the grade "Good (1.9)" and is particularly impressive in terms of comfort. The biggest advantages are the ear hook and the rubberized tips of the Powerbeats Pro. Users can turn as many wheels or jump around as they want - the in-ear headphones don't move an inch. For short missions, for example in the morning in the subway or during a phone call in the office, the AirPods are much faster in the ear and more practical. For workouts or a longer trip, the Powerbeats Pro are the much better choice.

We mean: This model is especially suitable for athletes thanks to the sturdy ear hooks and lasts even during intensive training. The Stiftung Warentest praises the long battery life of over ten hours and the high level of comfort.

Price tip for less than 100 euros: Sennheiser CX 400BT