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 190 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 are the Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016. These Bluetooth in-ears come with lots of different sizes of foam tips to help you find the best possible fit, as well as different sizes of stability fins to help them stay in your ear. Thanks to the small, tapered design of the earbuds, they enter the ear canal pretty deeply, making them ideal for listeners with small ears.
Overall, these headphones have a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. You can also use the parametric EQ and presets in the Jaybird MySound app to customize their sound to your liking. They don't leak a lot of sound, and they can also passively isolate against background noises like chatter from nearby coworkers.
Unfortunately, they only have a four-hour continuous battery life, which may not be enough to get you through your workday. Also, their integrated microphone just has an okay recording quality, so your voice may sound a bit muffled to whoever's on the other end of the line. However, these customizable wireless earbuds are still a solid choice for listeners with smaller ears.
The JBL Live 200BT Wireless are the best earbuds for small ears with a neckband design that we've tested. Their bud design is very small and tapered, so they should fit comfortably for listeners with smaller ears. They're well-built and very stable, so you can also wear them to the gym or out on a run.
Overall, they have a very neutral sound profile, making them suitable for listening to lots of different music genres. The touch of extra boom in the bass range can help you stay motivated during your workouts without overwhelming fans of neutral sound. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume without annoying those around you.
Unfortunately, these headphones don't offer any sound customization features. They also struggle to block out bass-heavy background noises like bus or plane engines, so they may not be ideal to use during your commute. However, some listeners may actually prefer this design feature, as it can help them stay aware of their surroundings while running outdoors.
The best earphones for small ears with a wired connection that we've tested are the Beats urBeats3 Earphones. These wired in-ears are a good choice if you don't want to worry about battery life. They have a small, lightweight design that comes with four sets of ear tips to help you get a good fit.
Although they're fairly barebones in terms of features, these decently well-built headphones offer a bass-heavy sound that delivers satisfying thump and rumble. That said, they still have a balanced enough sound profile for most audio content, such as podcasts. They also have good noise isolation as they're able to reduce a fair bit of ambient chatter around you, and they barely leak audio. They're available with either a standard 1/8" TRRS cable or a lightning connection too, which is handy if you have a newer iPhone that doesn't have an AUX port.
Unfortunately, their in-line controls are only fully compatible with iOS devices, so Android users won't have access to some features like volume control. Their in-line microphone also struggles to separate speech from ambient noise in even moderately noisy environments. However, it does a great job of recording your voice as clear and natural, although a little thin. Still, if you're looking for a pair of no-frills wired earbuds, these are a suitable choice. If you're looking for a similar design but wireless, check out the Beats BeatsX Wireless.
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 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.
Unfortunately, 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 Wireless. 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.
12/01/2020: 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 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.