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The 8 Best Earbuds And In-Ear Headphones - Spring 2019
Reviews

Best Earbuds And In-Ears
360 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

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.

  1. Best Earbuds: Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.2
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.9
    TV
    Score components:
    5.7
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  2. Noise Cancelling Alternative: Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 Wireless

    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  3. Truly Wireless Alternative: Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  4. Best Mid-Range Earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.4
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.6
    TV
    Score components:
    4.8
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  5. Cheaper Alternative: Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  6. Wired Alternative: 1More Triple Driver

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Hybrid

    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.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Earbuds: Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.8
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    6.9
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.0
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.9
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.9
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.5
    TV
    Score components:
    5.3
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  8. Wired Alternative: TIN Audio T2

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : No
    Transducer : Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Jabra Elite 65e Wireless: A cheaper alternative to the QC 30, but slightly worse performance overall. See our review
  • Sony WI-1000X Wireless: Wireless noise cancelling in-ears that are more customizable than the Bose QC 30 but less comfortable. See our review
  • Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016: A lightweight and well-built sports headphone with a customizable sound. The charging clip may be a deal breaker for some. See our review
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless: Comfortable earbuds with a good wireless range. One of the best-sounding earbuds, but inconsistent durability and slightly bulky design. See our review
  • Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019: Versatile and well-rounded wireless earbuds. Limited on Android. See our review
  • Jaybird Run XT Truly Wireless: Truly wireless in-ears that sound okay but are customizable. Expensive compared to Jabra Elite Active 65t which perform better overall. See our review
  • Samsung U Flex Wireless: Customizable wireless in-ears that sound sound alright, but are only fully compatible with Samsung devices. The Anker SoundBuds Curve have no device restrictions and provide better value. See our review
  • MEE audio M6 PRO: A decent alternative to the 1More Triple Driver. Good build quality and a decent sound for the price. A bit too sharp on some tracks. See our review
  • KZ AS10: Decent wired in-ears that are well-built and have good audio reproduction, worthwhile alternative to the 1More Triple Driver. See our review
  • TIN Audio T3: Very well-built wired in-ears that sound decent. Some may find them more comfortable than the TIN Audio T3 but they're more expensive. See our review
  • B&O PLAY Beoplay E8 2.0 Truly Wireless 2019: Premium truly wireless headphones with a great design, but very expensive. See our review
  • JBL FreeX Truly Wireless: Decent truly wireless in-ears that have surprisingly great audio reproduction but a short battery life and no app support. See our review
  • JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless: Wireless in-ears with great audio reproduction and a matte sweatproof design, but bulky ear-hook design isn’t the most comfortable. See our review
  • Jaybird X4 Wireless: Similar to Jaybird Tarah but sound slightly better and have a longer battery life but no auto-off timer. Decent alternative if Jaybird Tarah Pro is too expensive. See our review
  • JBL Endurance Peak Truly Wireless: Nearly identical to the Endurance Sprint but in a more expensive truly wireless design. Jabra Elite Active 65t provide a slightly better experience overall but Peak may be worth considering. See our review
  • Jaybird Tarah Wireless: Less expensive than Jaybird Tarah Pro with nearly half the battery life. Support multi-device pairing while Tarah Pro do not and have auto-off timer unlike X4. See our review
  • JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless: Great wireless in-ears for sports that perform quite well overall but aren't customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro. See our review
  • Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless: Well-designed, stylish in-ears that sound decent. Similar ear-hook design as the Anker SoundBuds Curve but may not provide as much value overall. See our review
  • AKG N200 Wireless: Well-rounded wireless in-ears with great audio reproduction but their battery is disappointing. See our review
  • AUKEY Latitude Wireless: Wireless in-ears with remarkable passive isolation but not the most comfortable. See our review
  • SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless: Budget truly wireless in-ears that perform fairly well overall and provide good value for their price. Decent truly wireless alternative to the Anker SoundBuds Curve. See our review

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/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.

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