From cheap earbuds to the top of the line, in-ear headphones offer a lot of options for all situations, whether you want to use them at the gym, at the office, or during your commutes. Earbuds are ultra-portable and very convenient thanks to their small size and weight. While earbuds rest at the edge of the canal, in-ear headphones have special tips that are inserted into the ear canal.
So far, we've tested 346 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds to purchase in 2019. See our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best wireless earbuds and in-ears, and the best sounding wireless earbuds.
The best in-ear headphones that we’ve reviewed so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re well-made wireless earbuds with a very stable fit that’s great for sports. They have magnetic earbuds that clip together for easier cable management, triggering an auto-off timer to help battery life. They’re rated IPX7 for advanced water and sweat resistance, and are very breathable and portable.
These headphones have very good audio reproduction and have a fairly balanced, versatile sound that is well-suited for a range of music genres, from hip-hop to classical. You can also use the great parametric EQ available on the Jaybird MySound app to customize their sound even further. They have a great rechargeable battery that lasts for over 13 hours and fully charges in under 2 hours.
Unfortunately, these headphones cannot connect two devices simultaneously, whereas the cheaper Jaybird Tarah and Jaybird X4 can. They also have a proprietary charging cradle, so if you forget their charger at home, you won’t be able to use your phone’s. That said, the Jaybird Tarah Pro are still the best earbuds we’ve tested so far and are likely to please anyone looking for great sports headphones that are versatile enough for everyday use.
If you’re looking for wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation, get the Bose QuietControl 30. They’re not as portable as the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but they’re more comfortable and have active noise cancelling. They have a versatile neckband design with very good noise isolation and a well-balanced, bass-rich sound. If you usually find in-ears a bit uncomfortable, then this earbud fit may be the solution you've been hoping for, without sacrificing too much portability.
However, their neckband design will not be for everyone, especially since it doesn’t have the most durable build quality. Consider the Sony WI-1000X for more premium ANC in-ears. All things considered, the QC 30 are good wireless earbuds for commuters and won’t disappoint for most other use cases.
If you want to truly eliminate wires, get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. Their battery doesn’t last as long as that of the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but they come with a charging case that provides 2 additional charges and have a quick charge feature that gives you about 1.5 hours of playback from a 15-minute charge. They sound decent and you can use the EQ present in the Jabra Sound+ app to customize their sound a bit too.
On the downside, they have bulky earbuds that can get fatiguing over time, especially for those with smaller ears. However, their in-ear fit isolates a good amount of noise passively and they hardly leak any noise at all, which is perfect for use in a crowded gym or during your daily commute. Overall, they’re great not only for athletes looking for durable truly wireless earbuds but are versatile enough for everyday casual use too.
If you have an Android smartphone or tablet and are looking for ultra portable, feature-packed in-ears, check out the Samsung Galaxy Buds. They're the best earbuds in the mid-range category. They have a compact truly wireless design that will easily fit into your pockets. They’re surprisingly comfortable for truly wireless earphones and are a good choice for commuters who want low-profile headphones to use on-the-go.
They have great audio reproduction out-of-the-box and are compatible with the Samsung Wearable app for added customizability. The earbuds have touch-sensitive controls that you can map within the app and you can manage notification control as well. They also have a pretty good battery for truly wireless earbuds, lasting 7.5 hours on a charge.
On the downside, the Samsung Wearable app doesn’t provide a full graphic or parametric EQ, only presets. The app is also only available for Android, so if you have an iPhone you won’t be able to change their default control scheme, which is disappointing. However, they're one of the best sounding earbuds we've tested and if you’re an Android user on the hunt for comfortable, well-built truly wireless earbuds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds are definitely worth considering.
If you’re looking for truly wireless headphones that still deliver a quality listening experience but are a little cheaper, get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. They’re not customizable like the Jabra Elite Active 65t, but they’re less expensive and sound even better out-of-the-box. They’re ultra-portable and provide great value overall.
Like Jabra, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air aren’t the most comfortable headphones since they protrude quite deeply into the ear canal. They have pretty good passive noise isolation considering they have no active noise cancelling features. They’re great not only for sports but are also a good choice for commuters who appreciate the extra isolation.
If you just want a simple, wired in-ear design and don't need all the active features of the other recommendations on this list, then the 1More Triple Driver should be your first choice. They don’t sound quite as good as the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, but they’re still one of the better-sounding wired in-ears we've tested and they're much cheaper than some more established critical listening options from other brands. They're well-built, compact, and are easy to use and to carry around.
These headphones look good, but don't feel as well-built as the KZ AS10 or the TIN Audio T3. However, they sound better and feature a mic for added convenience. Although wired headphones may not be as versatile for day-to-day use as wireless ones, if you want a simple in-ear design, the 1More Triple Driver are the best wired earbuds we’ve reviewed so far and are easy to recommend.
The best earbuds in the budget category are the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They're not customizable as the Jaybird Tarah Pro and aren’t as well built or as durable as the 1More Triple Driver, but they're cheaper and even more comfortable than some of the more expensive options. They look surprisingly good for their price and are stable enough to wear while running or working out.
These earbuds sound pretty decent, especially compared to most wireless in-ears at this price point. Their battery also lasts for nearly 13 hours, which is longer than even some of the most expensive wireless in-ears we've tested.
These earbuds are good for sports but aren’t very sweatproof. Consider the JBL Endurance Sprint as a more sweatproof option, thanks to their IPX7 rating. However, their touch-sensitive control scheme is a bit finicky and they're not the most comfortable. Overall, the SoundBuds Curve offer the best value at this price point.
If you want more affordable wired headphones than the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear, go with the TIN Audio T2 instead. They might not have the sound quality of the 1More, but they're very well-built, especially thanks to their detachable cables that you can replace if they get damaged.
Since they’re wired headphones, they don’t have any customization options like the Jaybird Freedom, but at least this means you don't have to worry about charging them. Also, since they're not wireless, you can watch video content without any latency issues. Overall, the TIN Audio T2 are fairly versatile in-ears that should please most people.
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/in-ear earphones. 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.