Earbuds and In-ear headphones are small and ultra-portable headphone designs. Earbuds rest at the edge of the ear canal and in-ear headphones have special tips that are inserted into the ear canal instead (check out our article about earbuds vs in-ear headphones). Below are our recommendations for the best Earbuds and In-Ear headphones we have tested so far.
Best Earbuds / In-Ear Headphones
The best earbuds are the Bose Quiet Comfort 30. They are versatile and portable noise canceling earbuds with a stable fit thanks to the StayHear+ tips. If you usually find in-ears a bit uncomfortable to wear, then the QC 30 are a good option with a good battery life. These earbuds isolate well in loud environments, which makes them a great choice for commuting, traveling, and to use at the office.
Best Mid-Range Earbuds / In-Ear Headphones
If you don't like the around the neck design of the QC 30, then get the Jaybird X2. They're the best in ear headphones we've tested. They are significantly cheaper than the QC 30, have an above average sound and barely leak, even at high volumes. They also block as much ambient noise as some pricier active noise-canceling headphones so they’re a good choice if you're often in loud environments or plan to use them at the gym.
If you prefer earbuds over in-ears, then get the Bose SoundTrue ultra In-Ear. They are straightforward earbuds that are as comfortable as the QC 30 and a good alternative to the Jaybird X2. They’re easy to carry on your person, they don’t leak much and deliver an above average audio reproduction. They have an efficient control scheme provided you choose the right in-line remote for android or IOS.
Best Budget Earbuds / In-Ear Headphones
If you still want wireless headphones and don’t want to spend that much, then get the Samsung Level U Pro. These cheap in ear monitors have a good set of features, a reliable and fast wireless connection and a decent sound quality that you can personalize with the Level app on android devices.
If you need a cheap pair of wireless headphones to use at the gym and don't mind having a slightly bass-heavy sound, then get the Anker SoundBuds Sport. They're stable enough for most workouts, and they're easy to carry on you at all times thanks to their compact format. They also block a lot of noise passively so you can focus on your audio and not be distracted by all the ambient noise.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbud headphones and in-ear headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
A few examples of Earbuds/In-ear headphones that didn't make the cut:
- Bose QuietComfort 20. The wired version of the QC30. Excellent isolation, and low leakage. However, they have a mediocre, bass-heavy sound that's not ideal for critical listening. See our review
- Jaybird X3. Great overall performance with added customization options. Stable sports headphones but doesn't quite surpass the X2. See our review
- Bose Soundsport In-Ear. Good sound and an open fit for joggers. Poor noise isolation not ideal in loud environments. See our review
- Soundpeats Q9A. Stable, semi-open, wireless design similar to the Powerbeats 2. Mediocre-at-best sound is a deal breaker. See our review
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for Earbuds/In-ear headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.