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The 5 Best Earbuds And In-Ear Headphones - Summer 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Earbuds And In-Ears

In-ears or earbuds can be a lot more portable than bulky over-ears and help passively block out background noise for those on the go. They can be great to use at the gym and are easy to toss into your pocket when you get off the bus or arrive at the office. While earbuds technically rest at the edge of the ear canal and in-ears have barrel-shaped tips inserted deep into the ear, people often use the two terms interchangeably. In-ears tend to be more common, though some people find them uncomfortable and prefer the less intrusive fit of earbuds.

We've tested over 270 pairs of earbuds and in-ear headphones. Below are our recommendations for the best in-ears and earbuds to purchase. Make sure to check out our picks for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best wireless earbuds and in-ears, and the best sounding wireless earbuds.


  1. Best Earbuds

    The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are the best earbuds we've tested. You may prefer their design if you don't like inserting headphones deep into your ear canal. Although they're a bit bulky for truly wireless earbuds, their stability fins ensure a comfortable fit that doesn't move around or fall out when you're on the go. Like most other headphones from this manufacturer, they also have a great active noise cancelling (ANC) system that can block out ambient noise like the rumble of bus engines and office chit-chat. Their sound profile is well-balanced, making them a solid choice for most kinds of audio content. You can customize their sound using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.

    If you don't need noise cancelling or if you're looking for sportier earbuds for running outdoors, it's worth considering the Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless instead. Although they look similar to the QuietComfort Earbuds, the Sports Earbuds, they don't block out background noise. This can be beneficial for running outdoors as it allows you to better monitor your surroundings.

    See our review

  2. Best In-Ear Headphones

    In comparison to earbuds, in-ears are inserted into your ear canal. By design, they generally can block out more ambient noise passively. If you prefer this kind of design, the best in-ear headphones we've tested are the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. These sleek and premium headphones have a couple of features unique to the Apple ecosystem. Their H1 chip allows you to seamlessly pair them with other iOS devices, while their Spatial Audio feature can provide a more immersive audio experience.

    While their sound profile is versatile enough for most kinds of audio content, keep in mind that their companion interface doesn't offer sound customization features to help you adjust them to your liking. However, with their ANC on, their battery lasts roughly five-hour continuously, which may not last through long days without a recharge. Luckily, their carrying case holds roughly five additional charges if you need it. 

    See our review

  3. Best In-Ear Headphones Under $100

    If you're looking for more wallet-friendly in-ears, the best in-ears under $100 that we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. These headphones offer quite a few features for their price point. They have an adjustable ANC that can target different kinds of ambient noise, and overall, they do an excellent job of cutting down the rumbles of bus and plane engines as well as office chatter.

    Out of the box, they have a bass-heavy sound profile with extra thump, rumble, and punch. They're especially well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, though you can finetune them to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Even though their 5.7-hour continuous battery life may not be able to get you through long days on the go, their carrying case holds roughly four additional charges, which is handy in a pinch.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap In-Ear Headphones

    If you're on an even tighter budget, the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless are the best cheap in-ears we've tested. Although they're otherwise simple in design, they have a couple of EQ presets that allow you to customize their bass-rich sound to your liking. They also come in several colors with a matching case to suit your style. Overall, they're decently comfortable, stable enough to stay in place during most workouts, and rated IPX4 for water resistance, so they're a good choice to take to the gym.

    Their roughly nine hours of continuous battery life is enough to get through a 9-5 workday, and their charging cable is built into the case, making it easy to recharge them on the go. However, keep in mind that if you damage the cable, you'll need to replace the entire unit.

    See our review

  5. Best In-Ear Monitor Headphones

    If you're looking for audiophile-centric in-ears, the MOONDROP Aria are the best in-ear monitors (IEMs) that we've tested. These comfortable headphones have a detachable audio cable design, eliminating audio lag. Their neutral sound profile also has a touch of extra high-bass to add warmth to mixes, while vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in mixes. Even though they have a metal chassis, which can feel a bit heavy compared to other picks on this list, they come with a more durable hard case to help protect them when you're on the go.

    Unfortunately, while they have a good build quality out of the box, users have reported several different issues with their design. This includes the audio cable's nylon wrapping fraying and curling, loose connectors, and paint chipping off the buds. They also aren't as versatile as other earbuds on this list as they don't have any special features and lack a mic by default. However, you can purchase a cable with an in-line mic separately.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless: The Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless are earbuds that don't block out much background noise, making them a solid choice if you want to monitor your surroundings when running outdoors. They have a comfortable fit, but their continuous battery life of 4.3 hours is a bit short. See our review
  • Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless: The Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless are wallet-friendly, truly wireless headphones with a slightly bass-heavy sound profile. However, their continuous battery life is very short. They also lack sound customization features like EQ presets. See our review
  • Sony WI-C310 Wireless: The Sony WI-C310 Wireless are in-ears with a neckband cable. They have a much longer continuous battery life than the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless but a worse build quality and noise isolation performance. See our review
  • MOONDROP KATO: The MOONDROP KATO are wired IEMs with a sleek stainless steel chassis and an interchangeable nozzle design to help you finetune their sound. They're heavier than the MOONDROP Aria and lack more low-bass. See our review
  • Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless: The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are comfortable wireless earbuds with a very well-balanced sound and stable fit. They're great for sports but have no customization options. See our review
  • 1More Triple Driver: The 1More Triple Driver are wired in-ears, worth considering if you value versatility. Unlike the MOONDROP Aria, they have a mic and in-line controls. However, some users have reported receiving electrical shocks from their units. See our review
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless: The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless are sleek in-ears with an excited, v-shaped sound profile and a decent ANC system. Unfortunately, their battery life is short at just over four hours of continuous playback time. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 26, 2022: Made the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless the 'Best Earbuds', the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless the 'Best In-Ears', and the MOONDROP Aira the 'Best IEMs'. Removed the Jabra Elite Active 75t Truly Wireless, Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless, Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless, JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless, and EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless from Notable Mentions.

  2. Apr 27, 2022: Replaced the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless as the original model have been discontinued. Also replaced the MOONDROP KATO with the MOONDROP Aria as the Aria have a slightly more neutral sound profile and are lighter.

  3. Mar 31, 2022: Verified that the picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.

  4. Feb 28, 2022: Replaced the 1More Triple Driver with the MOONDROP Kato as the MOONDROP offer a more comfortable and better-built design. Moved the 1More to Notable Mentions.

  5. Jan 20, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best in-ear headphones and earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones 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).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for earbuds and in-ears. 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.

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