As more people move away from MP3 players and listen to music on their smartphones, more headphones also contain integrated or in-line microphones. Typically, earbuds and in-ear headphones have a rather mediocre mic performance, especially over Bluetooth. However, this is not always the case and it’s possible to find a pair of earbuds or in-ears with a decent microphone to suit your needs.
We’ve tested over 100 earbuds and in-ears with microphones and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds with a mic to buy in 2020. If you’re looking for our top picks for other earbuds and in-ear headphones, check out our recommendations for the best earbuds and in-ears, the best truly wireless earbuds, and the best sounding wireless earbuds.
The best earbuds with a mic that we’ve tested so far are the Jabra Elite 65e. They're wireless earbuds with a neckband design, which are comfortable but may not suit everyone's taste. Although they don't look particularly premium, the build quality is great, with a strong but flexible neckband that should last a while. They also come with a soft carrying case to minimize scuffs, but won't be able to fully protect against any drops or impacts.
The sound quality of these earbuds is mediocre but consistent. The bass is too prominent and there's a spike in the treble, which can cause some sharpness and sibilance. The mids are slightly recessed, making vocals and lead instruments sound further back in the mix. Jabra does have a mobile companion app that has a graphic EQ, though, so you can customize the sound to suit your taste of music. But what matters most here is the quality of the microphone. In quiet environments, speech sounds clear and full-bodied, but even in tougher situations, the microphone is still able to separate speech from background noise. If that's not enough, these headphones also have active noise cancelling that performs admirably. With ANC on, you can expect an average of 8.5 hours of continuous playback.
Another well-appreciated feature is multi-device pairing, which lets you have two devices paired to the headphones at once, making it easier to switch between them. If you want to use these headphones for watching videos or gaming, however, they won't be ideal, as there's simply too much latency. But overall, if you want the best headphones to make calls with, the Jabra Elite 65e are worth considering.
If you need a pair of headphones for working out, neckband designs like the Jabra Elite 65e Wireless may not be the best choice. Consider the Jaybird X4. Jaybird is well-known to make great sports-oriented headphones that sound good and have tons of options for customization, mainly due to their incredible mobile app, Jaybird MySound. This app lets you choose from presets, manually tune the sound through the parametric EQ, or even choose from custom sound profiles that are created by other users. The microphone isn't as good as the Jabra, but speech will still be understandable. The noise handling, however, is sub-par, as it struggles to separate voice from background noise. The biggest downside to these headphones is the use of a proprietary charger and the incredibly short charging cable that comes in the box, though the battery lasts 7.3 hours.
If you need a pair that can handle phone calls well, get the Jabra. But for a pair that's more suited for sports and can still handle calls decently, the Jaybird is a good option.
The best truly wireless earbuds with a mic are the Jabra Evolve 65t. They don’t have active noise cancelling like the Jabra Elite 65e Wireless, but they have more customization options for the microphone. They’re designed to be used with your computer and are available in a UC-certified or Skype for Business version.
These earbuds are a variant of the Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless and come with a PC adapter that helps enhance the microphone performance. They sound okay, isolate a fair amount of noise, and have a decent battery. However, there’s a noticeable difference in microphone recording quality between the two. The Evolve’s microphone sounds more detailed and less muffled, which is great for conference calls.
Unfortunately, they have a bulky in-ear design that some people find uncomfortable, especially those with smaller ears. They're also rather expensive. If you have the budget, they’re worth considering, but they may not be worth the investment for everyone.
If you like a simple wired design and like the fit of in-ear headphones, then get the Beats urBeats3. They have the best microphone quality of any wired in-ear or earbud headphones we've tested so far and provide satisfactory sound performance.
Their in-line microphone has very good recording quality but unfortunately, like most earbuds and in-ears, it doesn’t perform as well in noisy environments, meaning they may not be great for phone calls on-the-go. However, in quiet situations, speech will sound relatively full and natural. Their sound is fairly versatile but will be better-suited for bass-heavy genres like EDM or hip-hop.
On the downside, their in-line controls don't work entirely on Android, only on iOS. On Android, the volume can't be controlled at all from the remote and the voice assistant button doesn't always work. This isn't an issue for iOS devices but can be a problem for Android users.
If you want wired in-ears that are compatible with both Android and iOS, get the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear. Their microphone recording quality may not be quite as good as that of the Beats urBeats3 Earphones, but their in-line remote is universally compatible. They’re well-designed, ultra-portable earbuds that have a premium look and feel. Their microphone performs fairly well, and they have very good audio reproduction too. These headphones are less comfortable than the Bose SoundSport In-Ear, but they’re more comfortable than most in-ears.
Get the Beats if you want a decent pair of wired headphones that do a great job at blocking outside noise, but if you have an Android device and want a universally compatible in-line remote, go with the 1More.
If you own a Samsung device, the best earphones with a mic in the budget category are the Samsung U Flex. Being wireless, their microphone doesn’t perform as well as that of the Beats urBeats3 Earphones, but it’s still decent, especially for Bluetooth earbuds. These earphones have a flexible, easy-to-use neckband design that ensures your music is always at arm’s reach, and they are fairly comfortable.
These wireless earphones are compatible with the Samsung Level app, which provides a lot of customizable features. With a Samsung phone or tablet, you get access to a graphic EQ with presets, room effects, volume monitors, and a music playback timer, on top of other features like notification management. The earphones themselves have a good 11.5-hour battery life and can even be used while charging, which is quite rare for wireless earbuds.
Unfortunately, the Samsung Level app only provides full functionality on Samsung devices. It’s rather limited on Android and non-existent on iOS. On the upside, their controls work with all Bluetooth-compatible platforms. If you’re a Samsung fan and are looking for a versatile budget headset with a decent, then these headphones are a solid choice.
If you want a very inexpensive pair of adequate wired headphones with a decent microphone, go with the 1More Piston Classic. They aren't wireless like the Samsung U Flex Wireless, but are even cheaper and are more compact and portable. Their microphone performance is a bit better than the Samsung, but they don't work as well in a noisy environment, making them better suited for use in a quiet room. Unfortunately, they sound quite boomy and muddy, which may not bother fans of EDM or hip-hop, but is less suited to more vocal-centric genres like pop or rock.
Get the Samsung if you want a decent pair of headphones which allows you to customize their EQ, but if you're prone to breaking or losing your headphones and want the cheapest pair you can get with a passable microphone, go with the 1More.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbuds with a mic to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones wins 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 of earbuds and in-ears with a mic. 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.
12/16/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
10/16/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.