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 118 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.
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.
The best neckband earbuds for small ears that we’ve tested so far are the JBL Live 200BT Wireless. They have a well-rounded, versatile neckband design that helps ensure your music is always at arm’s reach, with small earbuds that can accommodate a wide range of ear sizes. Their control scheme is simple and easy-to-use and they perform fairly well overall.
These earbuds have a very well-balanced sound quality that’s suitable for music of virtually all genres, thanks to a neutral audio reproduction. They isolate fairly well, reducing workplace noises like office chatter and A/C system sounds quite well. They barely leak, so you can increase your listening volume to block even more noise without bothering your colleagues.
On the downside, they’re not compatible with a companion app like the Jaybird Freedom. They also don’t have an auto-off timer, so you’ll need to remember to turn them off when not in use. On the upside, their battery provides just over 10 hours of continuous playback, which is pretty good for wireless earbuds, and they can also connect to two devices simultaneously.
If you’re looking for the best wired earbuds that can still fit smaller ears, then get the Beats urBeats3 Earphones. They’re more expensive than the JBL E25BT Wireless, 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.
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.
The best wireless earbuds for small ears in the budget category are the JBL E25BT. Their small earbuds make them a bit more comfortable than conventional in-ear headphones, and their in-line remote is easy-to-use.
These wireless earbuds have a reasonably well-balanced sound profile that’s suitable for a variety of music genres. They can connect to two devices simultaneously, which is great if you often find yourself switching between your smartphone and laptop. They have a good 9.5-hour battery life that’ll help you get through your workday.
Although it’s not much of a surprise at this price point, the JBL E25BT aren’t the best-built wireless earbuds we’ve tested. They feel better-built than other budget in-ear headsets we’ve reviewed, like the Skullcandy Jib or the Sony WI-C300, but they still look and feel a little cheap. That said, they still perform reasonably well for their price overall and are a decent budget pick if you have small ears.
If you’re looking for something even smaller, go for the MEE audio M9B Wireless. Their battery doesn’t perform as well as that of the JBL E25BT, but they’re even cheaper and have one of the smallest earbud designs that we’ve seen so far. 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.
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.