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 220 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 Bluetooth earbuds for small ears that we’ve tested are the Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016. These lightweight in-ears have ear-tips with a small, tapered design that's well-suited for listeners with small ears. Also, they come with several different sizes of earbud tips and stability fins so you can find the best possible fit.
They have a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. If you prefer a different sound, you can even use the parametric EQ and presets in the Jaybird MySound app to customize them. They have good noise isolation, so they can block out higher-frequency background noises like the sounds of people chatting nearby or the hum of an AC unit.
Unfortunately, they only last for a little over four hours off of a single charge, which may not be ideal for long days on the go. Also, they don't block out a lot of bass-heavy background noises like bus and plane engines, so they're likely not suitable to wear during your commute. That said, if you have small ears and want a comfortable, versatile pair of earbuds, they're a solid choice.
If you prefer a completely cable-free design, check out the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. While they're slightly bulkier than the Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016 don't support multi-device pairing, the Anker have a truly wireless design, which some users may prefer. They have good build quality, are rated IPX5 for water resistance, although we don't currently test this, and they're stable enough for running or working out. Their decently well-balanced sound profile also adds a bit of extra boom and thump to your mixes. That said, if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can customize them to your liking. They provide over six hours of continuous battery life too, and if you want to top them up throughout your day, their carrying case holds three additional charges.
If you're looking for headphones with more ear-tip options or if you like to use a parametric EQ to tweak their sound, try the Jaybird. However, consider the Anker if you don't want to deal with the hassle of audio cables or if you prioritize higher total battery life.
If you're looking for earbuds with a neckband design, the best earbuds for small ears that we've tested are the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless. They have a tapered earbud design that's suitable for smaller ears, and you can choose between several different sizes of earbud tips to find the most comfortable fit for you. Once you get a proper fit, they're very stable, and they shouldn't fall out of your ears if you wear them to the gym.
They have a fairly neutral sound profile, though the extra punch in the bass range can make audio sound a bit boomy. Fortunately, you can easily adjust their sound profile using the parametric EQ and presets in the Sennheiser CapTune app. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite music without bothering those around you.
Unfortunately, they have sub-par noise isolation, so you may be distracted by background noises while trying to listen to your music. Also, the audio cables connecting the earbuds to the neckband seem quite thin, and they may break easily. However, they're still decently well-built overall.
The Beats urBeats3 Earphones are the best earphones for small ears with a wired connection that we've tested. These decently well-built in-ears have a rubberized design with flat cables, which make them feel durable. They're also lightweight, easily portable, and come with four different sizes of ear tips, so you can find a fit that works best for you.
They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile with a touch of extra thump and rumble that fans of EDM and hip-hop can enjoy. That said, their mid-range is very well-balanced, which ensures that vocals and lead instruments are present, detailed, and accurate. Although they lack an ANC, they can isolate a very good amount of ambient noise like office chatter around you. You can purchase them with either a standard 1/8" TRRS connector or a lightning connector, which is nice if you have a newer iPhone without an AUX port.
Unfortunately, the in-line controls are only fully-compatible with iOS devices, and if you're using an Android device, you won't be able to use features like volume control. Some users may also find their deep in-ear fit uncomfortable. Still, although they're simple in design, they have a durable build and a sound profile suitable for a variety of audio content.
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.
Mar 31, 2021: Removed the MEE audio M9B Wireless as they're no longer available and added the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 as a 'Truly Wireless Alternative'.
Feb 02, 2021: Replaced the JBL Live 200BT Wireless with the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, as the JBL are no longer available. Minor updates to the text.
Dec 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.