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The 5 Best Earbuds For Small Ears - Summer 2019
Reviews

Best Earbuds For Small Ears
376 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.

If you have small ears, it can be really difficult to find earbuds that are comfortable or that even fit at all. Many in-ear headphones have bulky earbuds that push on different parts of the ear and can cause fatigue or even pain over time, especially for those with smaller ears. Soft earbuds can help, but the earbud tip designs can still be too bulky for some. The best design for small ears is usually an ultra-slim in-ear fit with earbuds small enough to not touch the outer parts of the ear canal.

We’ve tested 108 earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds for small ears in 2019. 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.

  1. Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears: Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.0
    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:
    7.5
    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.
    8.1
    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.
    7.2
    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.
    5.4
    Gaming
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Balanced Armature

    The best wireless earbuds for small ears that we’ve tested so far are the Jaybird Freedom. They’re well-designed wireless in-ear headphones with a unique shape. Their ear buds are incredibly slim and actually come to a slightly tapered point instead of creating a barrel-like shape like most in-ears. They’re fairly well-built and come with lots of different earbud tips and stability fins to help you find a good fit.

    These earbuds have a fairly balanced sound that caters well to most music genres. They’re also compatible with the Jaybird MySound app, which provides access to a great parametric EQ so you can customize the way they sound with your smartphone. They also have great isolation performance and can isolate a good amount of noise if you can create an air-tight seal. It can be harder for people with smaller ears to create a good seal sometimes, but their unique design may help for some.

    Those with very small ears may find that the earbud tip options are still too large, and tips from other companies don’t tend to fit as well. They also have a pretty disappointing 4-hour battery life. Thankfully, their charging clip can provide up to 4 additional hours of power. The clip adds a bit of bulk and makes the headphones feel less stable, but is helpful if you need more power in a pinch.

    See our review

  2. Even Smaller Alternative: MEE audio M9B Wireless

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

    If you’re looking for something even smaller, go for the MEE audio M9B Wireless. They’re not customizable like the Jaybird Freedom, but they’re cheaper and have one of the smallest earbud designs that we’ve seen so far. Although the Jaybird have thinner earbud nozzles, the M9B feel smaller due to their overall shape. Their earbud barrels are very slim and come with some extra small tip sizes to help you find a comfortable fit.

    Although fans of very bass-heavy genres like dubstep may appreciate their overemphasized bass, some may find it overpowering. They also have rather poor battery performance, with barely 3 hours of battery life. Considering they take almost 2 hours to charge, these earbuds might not be ideal for long days of use. That said, if your ears are really small and finding something that fits is your top priority, these are worth taking a look at, especially considering their low price point.

    See our review

  3. Earbuds For Small Ears With The Best Battery Life: JBL E25BT Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.7
    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:
    6.8
    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.
    7.7
    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.
    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.
    5.1
    Gaming
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you have small ears but still want earbuds with decent battery life, then get the JBL E25BT. They’re bulkier than the MEE audio M98 Wireless and aren’t customizable like the Jaybird Freedom, but they have a much better battery life. They’re still suitable for most small ears and are a decent choice overall.

    These headphones have a 9.5 hour battery life, which is much better than the other recommendations on this list. They sound decent and have a lot of punch that fans of bass-heavy music will love. They also support multi-device pairing so you can connect them to up two devices at a time, which is super convenient if you like to switch between your PC and smartphone.

    Although their battery lasts for nearly 10 hours, it doesn’t turn off automatically. You’ll need to remember to turn these headphones off when you’re done using them or else their battery will continue to drain. Their earbud barrels may be a bit big for those with very small ears, but they should be fine for most people with smaller-than-average ears overall.

    See our review

  4. Best Wired Earbuds For Small Ears: Beats urBeats3 Earphones

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.9
    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:
    7.0
    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:
    7.1
    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.
    7.5
    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.
    6.7
    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.
    6.6
    Gaming
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for the best wired earbuds that can still fit smaller ears, then get the Beats urBeats3. They’re more expensive than the JBL E25BT, but their wired design ensures you don’t ever have to worry about battery life and they sound less muddy and cluttered. They come with different tip sizes and stability fins to help you find the right fit, and are also available with either a lightning connector or a 1/8” TRRS audio jack.

    These earbuds have flat, rubberized cables that don’t tangle easy and magnetic earbuds for easier cable management when not in use. They have deep, extended bass that’s punchy without overpowering vocals and lead instruments too much, and they have great audio reproduction overall. Their in-line microphone is also surprisingly decent and has impressive recording quality in quiet environments.

    Although they have a pretty good control scheme on iOS, it’s limited on Android. The Beats BeatsX are very similar but are wireless. Although they feature Apple’s W1 chip for improved pairing with iOS devices, they still work fine on Android. Overall, both the urBeats3 and the BeatsX are decent in-ear headphones. Their earbuds have slightly bulkier barrels like the JBL, but this shouldn’t be a problem for most smaller-than-average ears.

    See our review

  5. Better-Built Alternative: Shure SE215

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

    If you like wired headphones but are concerned about the durability of the Beats urBeats3, get the Shure SE215. They sound muddier and more cluttered than the Beats, but they’re much better-built. They have a thick cable that feels very sturdy and is also detachable. That means that if ever their cable is damaged, you can just replace it instead of having to repurchase the headphones entirely.

    On the downside, the Shure sound rather unremarkable overall. Their studio-design also means they don’t have any in-line controls or a microphone, which can be disappointing for those looking for earbuds that are easy-to-use on-the-go. That said, their angled earbud design has a very low-profile fit and is rather comfortable once you find the right tip size. If you have small ears and like wired IEMs, these are definitely worth considering.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Sony WI-C300 Wireless: Wireless in-ears good for small ears but don’t have many tip options and lack bass. Decent otherwise, especially with an 8-hour battery life. See our review
  • Skullcandy Jib Wireless: Budget wireless in-ears with very small earbuds. Provide pretty good value for their price but have a very bass-heavy sound. See our review
  • Symphonized NRG 3.0: Wired in-ears with cool wood earbuds and lots of tip options. Unfortunately, they sound dark and boomy and have a mediocre in-line microphone. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless: Neckband-design in-ears with slightly larger earbuds but still good for small ears. Highly customizable with a companion app, but a bit pricey for what they provide. See our review
  • MEE audio X6 Plus Wireless: IEM-style in-ears that sound decent but perhaps excessively bright to some. Very poor 2.5 hour battery life is disappointing. See our review
  • MEE audio M6 PRO: Very similar to MEE audio X6 Plus but wired. Can be a decent alternative to Shure SE215, especially if you want an in-line remote and microphone but their bright sound can feel a bit harsh. See our review

All Reviews

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-ear 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.

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