Best earbuds 2022: six stylish in-ear solutions for everyone

Six pairs of contemporary earbuds you can rely on, by brands spanning established names to innovative start-ups and environmentally-focused companies

Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
(Image credit: press)

If you’re in the market for a new pair of earbuds, it’s likely that you’re overwhelmed with choice. Now that the cheapest pairs cost the same as a (nice) sandwich, you should expect they have the longevity to match. There’s also the plethora of knock-offs, fakes, and generic no-brand models to tempt the unwary with suspiciously consistent customer ratings and seductive imagery. Here are six pairs of the best earbuds – contemporary models you can rely on, with a choice of established names, innovative start-ups, environmentally-focused companies, or just straightforward, old-fashioned simplicity. 

Six of the best earbuds for 2022

Sony LinkBuds

Sony LinkBuds, among pick of the best earbuds

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Sony)

LinkBuds are Sony’s newest contribution to our always-on world. LinkBuds are wireless earbuds designed to be worn most of the time, with an adaptive volume control system and a ‘speak-to-chat’ facility that pauses the music when you talk. The open ring design reflects the LinkBuds’ ability to connect with your surroundings, while there are also built-in digital assistants for swift access to information. 

UK: Buy for £150 / US: Buy for $180

Ear (1) Black by Nothing  

ear (1) black by Nothing, among pick of the best earbuds

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Nothing)

New consumer tech company Nothing is gearing up for a busy 2022. In addition to a new colourway for its no-frills debut device, the Ear (1), the company has also announced the arrival of a new design director, Adam Bates, formerly head of design at Dyson. Bates will bring his 14 years of experience creating high-quality consumer electronics to the London-based Nothing. The Ear (1) Black is a new edition of the noise-cancelling earbuds, complete with the distinctive transparent charging case. The company has also achieved carbon neutrality and will print the carbon footprint of each Ear (1) – 1.78kg – on the packaging to draw attention to this increasingly important statistic. 

UK: Buy for £100 / US: Buy for $99

Dóttir Freedom headphones

White earbuds

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Dóttir)

The Freedom headphones from Dóttir are named for their secure fit, designed by the company’s founders, Icelandic athletes Katrin Davidsdottir and Annie Thorisdottir, both two-time female champions at the CrossFit Games. Rugged, form-fitting, waterproof, and with a wraparound earhook for added security, Dóttir’s noise-cancelling headphones are perfect for sporting use, with hands-free controls, voice assistant and up to 72 hours of listening time when used with the charging case.

UK: Buy for £112 / US: Buy for $149

Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro

Silver earbuds

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Anker)

Soundcore, the audio brand created by accessories specialist Anker, has released the Liberty 3 Pro, the latest version of its active noise-cancelling earbuds. As well as the ability to create a personal sound profile through analysis of your ear canal, the earbuds also deliver a specially surround-sound effect for compatible films and games. The three-level noise-cancelling is joined by a ‘fully transparent’ mode, with the promise of an ‘enhanced vocal’ upgrade later in the year. 

UK: Buy for £140 / US: Buy for $170

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+

Black earbuds with charger

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Cambridge Audio)

If you don’t need sculpted grips and elaborate casings, then Cambridge Audio’s minimally styled Melomania 1+ earbuds could be just the ticket. With an impressive nine hours of playback, the little bullet-shaped buds are also compatible with Siri and the Google Assistant, and have adjustable EQ settings through the Melomania app.  

UK: Buy for £90 / US: Buy for $100

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

White earbuds and grey earbuds

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Google)

The A-Series Pixel Buds saw Google take its most sophisticated tech and put it right into your ear. Other earbuds might have Google Assistant, but if you pair the Pixel Buds with the Google Translate app, you can get real time translation. They’re not the only devices to offer this service, but the big G’s AI is typically ahead of the game, and they also make a good job of playing music.

UK: Buy for £100 / US: Buy for $100

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.