For people with small ears, it can often be quite difficult to find a pair of earbuds that fit comfortably, if at all. Many in-ears have fairly large earbuds that push pressure and push on different parts of the ear, causing fatigue and pain over time. Luckily, there are some ultra-slim in-ears with small enough earbuds that they don't touch the outer parts of the ear canal.
We’ve tested over 150 earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds for small ears. If you’re looking for our top picks for other earbuds and in-ears, check out our recommendations for the overall best earbuds and in-ear headphones, the best truly wireless earbuds, and the best wireless earbuds and in-ears.
The best wireless earbuds for small ears that we’ve tested so far are the Jaybird Freedom F5. These wireless in-ears feature very slim, tapered earbuds that enter the ear canal pretty deeply. They come with a selection of six differently sized ear tips available in silicon or foam, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a comfortable fit. Their light weight and optional wing tips keep them secure in your ears, so they’re a good choice if you plan on taking them to the gym or out on a run.
They provide a somewhat well-balanced listening experience, with well-reproduced mids and treble along with a punchy bass that’ll add a bit of thump and kick to your favorite EDM and hip-hop tracks. If you want to customize their sound profile, the Jaybird MySound app offers audio presets as well as a parametric EQ. They do a good job of passively reducing ambient noise and have great audio leakage performance, which is handy on your daily commute. As a bonus, they come with multi-device pairing, so you can swap between listening to your computer and phone without any hassle.
On the downside, their 4.1-hour battery life is disappointing, although that’s somewhat negated by their quick charging time. They also use a proprietary charging clip, which is annoying if the cable is ever damaged or forgotten at home. Still, these are a versatile, highly customizable pair of headphones that deliver a well-balanced listening experience.
The best earbuds for small ears with a neckband design that we’ve tested so far are the JBL Live 200BT. These wireless headphones have very small and lightweight earbuds that put very little pressure on the inner ear, making them well-suited for people with small ears. They have a good amount of easy-to-use controls that give you good feedback so you know when you've issued a command. They feel quite stable in the ear, and even during your morning jog, they should stay in place.
Their sound profile is very well-balanced, making them suitable for a wide range of genres and content. They provide a tiny amount of extra punch and kick to your EDM music, but their vocals and instruments and present enough for country and rock as well. Provided you get a proper fit with the three sizes of included tips, they do a decent job at blocking background chatter and higher frequencies like AC units, and they leak very little audio, so you can turn up your music without bothering those nearby.
Unfortunately, they block out very little lower-frequency sounds, like the rumble of bus or plane engines. Their 10.5-hour battery life also isn't as long as some other options, though it's still good and should easily last you through your day before needing a charge. Overall, if you have small ears but prefer a neckband design so your headphones are always within arm's reach, these are a decent option.
The best earbuds for small ears with a wire are the Beats urBeats3. Since they don't use a wireless connection they don't require a battery, which is great for long travel days or if you're the kind of person who always forgets to keep your devices charged up. They're available with either a standard 1/8" TRRS connection for most devices, or if you have an iPhone without a headphone jack, you can get them with a Lightning connection as well. They have a rubberized wire and feel decently well-made overall.
Their earbuds and nice and small, and they come with four different sizes of tips to help ensure a good fit. Their sound profile is fairly well-balanced but with a bit of extra thump and kick that should please fans of EDM or hip-hop. The bass isn't too overpowering, making them versatile enough for most genres, and even podcasts and audiobooks. Since they don't require a Bluetooth connection, their microphone performs better than most wireless headphones, and your voice will sound natural and clear.
Provided you're able to get a good seal with the included tip options, they do an excellent job of blocking out background chatter, making them a good choice to help you stay concentrated in the office. If you like these headphones but prefer a wireless design, check out the Beats BeatsX Wireless, as they're very similar headphones but don't have a wire.
If you're tough on your headphones and want a pair that feel better-built, go with the Shure SE215. They don't have an in-line remote or mic like the Beats urBeats3 Earphones, and their sound profile isn't as well-balanced, but they're more comfortable and feel quite a bit more durable. They have a fairly unique angled design that fits the contours of your ears better, and they come with nine different tips to help you find the best possible fit, which is a ton. Their sound reproduction is a bit muddy and cluttered, and they may not be the best choice for more vocal-centric content, as vocals sound thick and dark, but fans of EDM will like the extra kick in their bass range.
If you don't care about having an in-line remote or microphone and want something that feels a lot more durable, go with the Shure. However, if you listen to a wide variety of genres and want headphones with a more versatile sound profile, get the Beats.
The best wireless earbuds for small ears in the budget category that we've tested so far are the JBL E25BT. These wireless in-ears have compact earbuds without any stability fins or ear-hooks, which allows them to enter small ears without too much of an issue, but at the cost of a slightly less secure fit. Their in-line remote is pretty easy to use and puts all major functions within easy reach.
They provide a pretty punchy listening experience, with enough thump and rumble to please the most bass-hungry of EDM and hip-hop fans. Fans of less bass-heavy genres, however, may find them to be a little boomy and muddy. They aren’t great at blocking out ambient noise but do a decent job of keeping audio from leaking out, which is handy if you like to listen to your music loud in a quiet office. Their 9.5-hour battery life is decent and should get you through a full working day without trouble. They also support multi-device pairing, which is a somewhat unique perk at this price point.
On the downside, they don’t look especially premium, with a cheap plastic design that doesn’t feel as sturdy as some of the other options on this list. They also don’t have any dedicated app support to adjust their bass-heavy sound profile. With that said, if you’re looking for a straightforward but feature-rich pair of wireless headphones, these are a solid option.
If you want something with even smaller earbuds, get the MEE audio M9B. Their 2.8-hour battery is significantly shorter than the JBL E25BT Wireless, and their sound profile isn't as accurate, but they have even smaller earbuds, making them a better option for people with really small ears. They're decently comfortable thanks to their lightweight and small earbuds, and they come with four different tip options to help you find a proper fit. Their sound profile is somewhat excited-sounding, though some people may find them a bit too bass-heavy for more vocal-centric genres.
If you want something with much better battery life and a more accurate sound profile, get the JBL, but if you have very small ears and want headphones with even smaller earbuds, get the MEE audio.
08/04/2020: Slight changes to the text for accuracy and clarity; no change in recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbuds to buy for most people with small ears. 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 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.