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 in 2020. 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 Wireless 2016. These wireless in-ears have very slim earbuds that come to a slightly tapered point, instead of the barrel-like shape of most in-ears. They come with six different sizes of tips, so you should be able to get a comfortable fit, regardless of how small your ears are, and their four sizes of stability fins will help ensure a fit stable enough for the gym.
Their out-of-the-box sound profile is fairly well-balanced, making them well-suited to a wide variety of genres and content. They're also compatible with Jaybird's excellent MySound app which gives you access to a parametric EQ to customize their sound. Provided you can get a good seal with their many included sizes of tips, they also do a great job at passively blocking out background noise.
Unfortunately, their battery life is disappointing at just over four hours, and they use a proprietary charging clip, which can be a pain if you lose it or forget to bring it with you. On the upside, the charging clip has a battery built-in which will give you an additional four hours by attaching it to the headphones. Overall, these are a decent pair of wireless in-ears, but their unique earbud shape makes them the best wireless earbuds for small ears.
The best earbuds for small ears with a neckband design that we’ve tested so far are the JBL Live 200BT. These wireless in-ears have very small earbuds that shouldn't apply pressure on the inner ear, even if you have very small ears. They come with three different tip sizes and are decently comfortable overall. They have good, easy-to-use controls on their neckband, and can be paired to two devices at once.
Their sound profile is very well-balanced and is well-suited for a very wide range of content and genres. Unfortunately, they don't have a dedicated companion app, so you can't make any changes to their EQ or controls.
Their 10.5-hour battery life is good, so they should easily last you an entire work day before needing a recharge. Provided you get a good fit and seal, they do a great job at passively blocking out background chatter, though they won't help much with the low engine rumble of bus or plane engines.
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, however, 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 blocking out background chatter, making them a good choice to help you stay concentrated in the office. If you like the urBeats 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 feels better made, go with the Shure SE215. They don't have any in-line controls or a microphone like the Beats urBeats3, and their sound profile isn't as well-balanced, but they feel quite a bit more durable and are more comfortable. They have a fairly unique angled design that fits the contours of your ears better, and come with nine different tips to help you find the best possible fit. 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.
If you don't care about having an in-line remote or microphone and want something that feels a lot better made, go with the Shure. However, if you listen to a wide variety of genres and want headphones with a better-balanced 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 inexpensive wireless headphones have a wire connecting the two earbuds, with an easy to use in-line remote between them. Their earbuds are quite small and shouldn't make much contact with your ears, even if you have small ears, and their 9.5-hour battery should easily get you through a full work day.
Their sound profile is fairly bass-heavy, with instruments and vocals being pushed back in the mix. This will make them better suited to genres like hip-hop and EDM, while fans of rock or podcasts may find the bass overpowering. They don't isolate background noises quite as well as some other options on this list, but thankfully, they don't leak too much audio, so you can turn up your music to help block out background sounds without bothering those around you.
Unfortunately, they only come with three different sizes of tip options, so you may have a tougher time getting a good, comfortable fit. Overall, however, if you're looking for a budget pair of wireless headphones, these are a decent option and are the best wireless earbuds for small ears under $50.
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.
04/07/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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.