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 over 120 earbuds and in-ear headphones. Below are our recommendations for the best in-ear headphones and earbuds to purchase in 2020. See also our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best wireless earbuds and in-ears, and the best sounding wireless earbuds.
The best earbuds we’ve reviewed so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. Whether you're on the market for a great pair of earbuds for sports or everyday use, these are a fantastic choice. They're great for running and working out thanks to their decently comfortable yet stable fit, and they feel very well-built thanks to their durable, braided cable connecting the L/R drivers, and IPX7 rating for water-resistance, though this isn't something we currently test for.
Although their 13-hour battery life is good, it's a bit behind what some newer models are capable of doing. They also use a proprietary charging cradle, which can be frustrating if you leave it at home since you can't just use a regular USB cable to charge them. Their out-of-the-box sound profile is fairly well-balanced, and they're compatible with Jaybird's great MySound app while gives you access to a parametric EQ to customize their sound to suit your personal preferences.
If you find them a bit too pricy, you may also want to consider the cheaper Jaybird Tarah Wireless, which look very similar but with a regular rubber cable, instead of the more premium, braided one found on the Pro. The regular Tarah also have a much shorter battery, but their sound profile is equally well-balanced, and they're still compatible with the MySound app. Overall, however, the Tarah Pro are a very decent pair of wireless earbuds that should be versatile enough for most people.
If you don't like having any wires at all, the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve reviewed so far are the Samsung Galaxy Buds. They’re super portable yet surprisingly comfortable earbuds that have a solid price-to-performance ratio. Their sound profile is extremely neutral and well-balanced, and their battery provides over 7 hours of continuous playback, which is quite good for truly wireless earbuds. While their successor, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless offer almost double the battery life, they perform almost identically in every other aspect and are currently significantly more expensive.
They're quite small and lightweight, and most people should find them quite comfortable, even during longer listening sessions. While their single charge battery life is quite good, unfortunately, their case only gives one additional charge, which is quite a bit less than most other truly wireless options.
While they sound balanced enough to be suitable for most people, some will find they lack a bit of bass. If you have an Android phone, you can boost their bass a bit with an EQ preset in their companion app, but iOS users won’t have that option. The Jabra Elite Active 75t Truly Wireless have more customization options for both platforms, including a graphic EQ, but tend not to isolate noise as well.
If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that are better at helping block out the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day, then get the Apple AirPods Pro. They're significantly more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless, but they isolate much more noise thanks to their active noise cancelling feature. They last about 5 hours on a charge, which isn't quite as long as the Samsung, but their excellent charging case can help them last even longer. Consider also the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless if you want something with great ANC, but the Apple provide a more premium experience overall.
Get the Samsung if you don't need noise cancelling and prefer a longer continuous battery life, but if you want to block out a lot of noise you'll want to go with the Apple.
If you don't want to have to worry about batteries and want something with a more stable, wired connection, the 1More Triple Driver are the best wired earphones we've tested so far. These straight-forward in-ears are very small and portable and can easily be plugged into any device with a 1/8" connection. They're decently comfortable and well-made, and their in-line remote is easy to use. They even come with a great hard case, which is nice, though it is quite bulky.
These headphones have a fairly well-balanced sound profile that still manages to pack a little bit of an extra kick. They should be well-suited for a fairly wide range of genres, though they dip a bit in mid-treble, which may cause some vocals to sound dull and lacking in detail. They don't do the best job at passively isolating background noise, especially the low rumble of engines, though as long as you get a good fit and seal, they should help at the office with blocking out chatty coworkers. They also don't leak too much, so you should be able to turn up your music without bothering those around you.
Unfortunately, they are a bit pricey, especially when compared to some more feature-packed wireless options. On the bright side, the included carrying case and impressive selection of nine tip sizes help improve their value a bit. Overall, if you travel a lot and don't want to worry about keeping your headphones charged up, or simply prefer the stable and simple experience of wired headphones, these are a good option.
The best in-ear headphones under $100 that we’ve tested so far are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. They're a nice upgrade over the previous Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless headphones. They have a similar shape to the older model, but the upgrade have a much better control scheme and a more premium design. These headphones have a great 6.5-hour battery life on a single charge and their case holds five additional charges, which means you'll barely ever need to charge them.
These truly wireless headphones have a well-balanced sound profile, but might be more suitable for more bass-heavy genres. They have a bit of extra thump and rumble, which lends itself well to EDM and hip-hop tracks. Their fit also offers good passive isolation and they're great to use during your daily commute.
While these Anker headphones are compatible with their new app, it's still fairly barebones. There are a ton of EQ presets, but no full-featured EQ. Nevertheless, if you're looking for budget truly wireless headphones, these are very versatile and one of the best we've reviewed so far.
The best cheap earbuds we've tested so far are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. They perform better than a lot of the more premium wireless earbuds we've tested for a fraction of the price. They're surprisingly well-built, with a very comfortable fit for in-ear headphones, and even come with a nice hard carrying case, which is a welcome addition at this price point. They have an excited, bass-heavy sound that will help bring out the thump and rumble of a hip-hop track without drowning out the vocals and lead instruments of a folk-rock song.
While they have a very good 18-hour battery life, they don't have an auto-off timer, so if you forget to turn them off when you're not using them, you might find their battery drained when you pick them back up again. Like most cheap headphones, they also don't have a companion app for any customization, which means you can't make any changes to their sound profile.
Overall, their decently well-balanced sound profile and comfortable design should please most people and they're an impressive pair of wireless headphones that pack a lot into an inexpensive package. They provide excellent value for the price and are among the best headphones we've tested overall.
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.
03/11/2020: Removed some categories. Minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
02/10/2020: Swapped Jaybird Vista and Jabra Elite 75t for Apple AirPods Pro and Bose SoundSport Free. Removed "Best Noise Cancelling" category as well as TIN Audio T2 and JBL Reflect Mini 2. Changed Anker SoundBuds Curve for Upgraded 2019 model.
01/08/2020: Added Jabra Elite 75t as 'Better-Built Alternative' to 'Best Truly Wireless Earbuds', Replaced the Bose QC30 by the Apple AirPods Pro as 'Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds', Replaced the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air by the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 for 'Best Earbuds Under $100".