It can often be hard for people with small ears to find a pair of earbuds that fit comfortably. Many in-ears have fairly large earbuds that cause 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 don't touch the outer parts of the ear canal.
We’ve tested over 280 earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best options for people with 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 Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are the best earbuds for small ears we've tested. These high-end earbuds are the next generation of the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, and unlike their predecessor, they come with four sets of ear tips instead of three, and the newest one is an extra small pair. While users still have trouble with the buds wiggling out of their ears, some in the community have swapped out the default silicone tips with foam tips. Foam can mold to your unique ear shape, improving comfort, fit, and stability.
These in-ears have an adaptive EQ, so their sound automatically adjusts to the unique shape of your ears. Their warm sound profile is well-suited for genres like pop and jazz, although they lack any built-in sound customization features to help you adjust them to your liking. They also have a noise cancelling (ANC) system and can block out an excellent amount of ambient sound, which is nice for commuting or working in a noisy office. With their ANC on, they last just shy of six hours continuously, but their carrying case has an additional four charges.
If you're looking for high-power performance at a lower price point, it's worth considering the Sony Linkbuds S Truly Wireless. They have a lightweight design that doesn't put as much pressure on your ears as other in-ears from this manufacturer's lineup. They also don't fit very deeply and come with four sets of differently-sized ear tips to help you get the best fit. While they don't feel as well-built or premium as the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, they house a similarly powerful ANC system that can block out the low rumble of buses as well as ambient voices and the high-pitched hum of AC units.
These buds have quite a few extra features that help them stand out. Their warm sound profile can be fine-tuned to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them with your PC and smartphone simultaneously. They last over seven hours continuously, though their carrying case has over two extra charges to keep you supplied on the go.
If you're looking for a mid-range price tag, the best Bluetooth earbuds for small ears we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless. They come with five sets of ear tips to help you get the best fit possible. Their lightweight and well-built design doesn't enter your ear very deeply either, although they can still cause a bit of a plunger-like feeling when you're putting them in. These buds are jam-packed with high-end features that help distinguish them from others in this price range. Their ANC system performs very similarly to the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless, so you can expect a high level of noise isolation whether you're commuting to work or powering through your shift at the office. They also have a long-lasting continuous battery life of over eight hours with their ANC on, and their carrying case even holds an extra four charges.
Out of the box, these buds have a warm sound profile that's well-suited for genres like folk and jazz that benefit from a bit of extra boom. However, you can also fine-tune their sound to your liking using their companion app's EQ and presets. They support LDAC too, which is Sony's proprietary codec for Hi-Res audio. Unfortunately, their mic's recording quality is poor, and speech sounds far away and sibilant, which isn't great if you make lots of calls.
The best wireless earbuds for small ears we've tested at the budget level are the Beats Flex Wireless. If you're looking for earbuds that go easier on your wallet, these neck cable headphones have a small bud design. They also don't have a very deep in-ear fit and come with five sets of ear tips. Even though they're not as customizable as our mid-range pick, their unique design comes in a couple of eye-catching colors, and they have a W1 chip for pairing with your Apple devices.
Despite lacking stability fins or ear hooks to help them stay in place, they'll be stable enough for workouts. Their bass-heavy sound profile brings extra thump, boom, and punch, making them well-suited for bass-rich genres like EDM and hip-hop, although some listeners may find it overwhelming. They also have a reasonably long continuous battery life of roughly 11 hours. Unfortunately, even though they have a companion app, it offers extremely limited controls.
If you have small ear canals and want to avoid the hassle of trying on ear tips, check out the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, the best wireless earbuds for small ears we've tested with an open-back enclosure. Although they're the previous generation of the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless, they're a bit smaller. Thanks to their one-size-fits-all design that lacks ear tips, they don't go deeply into your ear. That means that their comfort depends on the shape of your ear. Since they're open-back, they're also not suitable for blocking background noise, so they aren't ideal for noisy commutes or offices. However, you may still prefer this design if you want to stay aware of your surroundings on the go.
These buds have a well-balanced and bright sound suitable for genres like classical or podcasts. That said, they struggle to reproduce a thumpy low bass and lack customization features to help you adjust their sound to your liking. On the upside, if you're an Apple user, their H1 chip makes it easy to seamlessly pair them with your other iOS devices. They have just over four hours of continuous playback time, but if you need to replenish their battery, their case holds an additional five charges, which is handy in a pinch.
Feb 09, 2023: We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Jan 04, 2023: We've overhauled this article to better align it with user expectations. We've removed the following headphones: The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, Beats Studio Buds True Wireless, and Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. We've added the following headphones: The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless, and the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless.
Aug 22, 2022: We've overhauled this article to deliver earbuds that are more suitable for small ears. We've added the Beats Studio Buds since they have a compact design and the Apple AirPods (2nd gen) if you're looking to avoid ear tips altogether. We've also removed the 1More Triple Driver and Samsung AKG Type-C as well as cleaned up Notable Mentions by removing out-of-date picks.
May 06, 2022: Moved the Shure SE 215 to Notable Mentions. Also added the MOONDROP Aria to Notable Mentions.
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 earbuds and in-ears, sorted by their comfort score. 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.