The best wired and wireless in-ear headphones or earphones are difficult to pick out among a sea of products. You’ll end up spending a lot of time narrowing down your choices to the very best ones. But fortunately, you have this product guide to give you a head start. Below are some of the best earphones currently out on the market, including wired earphones, wireless neckband earphones, and truly wireless earphones.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are some of the best and most popular truly wireless earphones on the market, and that reputation is well earned. They are noise-canceling earphones with good sound quality, decent battery life, convenient touch controls, and good app support. They are more suitable for many people than the similarly priced Apple AirPods Pro and the cheaper Samsung Galaxy Buds, with no feature restrictions regardless of smartphone OS. You can get them for around $230, with the option to choose between a more discreet black model and a classier silver model.
While they are not as imposing as the Audeze iSine 20, the WF-1000XM3 are a bit bulky for a pair of truly wireless earphones, sticking out from your ears. But they are lightweight and comfortable to wear, with multiple silicone and foam ear tips to choose from. They stay securely in your ears despite lacking stability fins and ear hooks. Their overall build quality feels premium, but they are not as water-resistant as sports earphones.
Carrying the WF-1000XM3 for everyday use is not going to be a problem. They are extremely portable and will easily fit into your shirt pocket. And since they are cable-free – not counting the charging cable – you don’t have to deal with tangled cables. Their charging case, which holds additional charges, is also compact and portable, making it easy to slip into small pockets. The case looks just as premium as the earphones themselves and connects using a USB-C cable.
For controls, the WF-1000XM3 feature a touch surface on each unit that is responsive and easy to use and doesn’t cause you to push the earphones further in your ear canals, which is uncomfortable. With the touch controls, you can activate your voice assistant and manage your calls and music. You can quickly switch to attention mode by covering the left unit’s touch surface. When attention mode is engaged, the volume drops, and the active noise cancellation (ANC) is disabled, allowing you to listen to your surroundings or talk to someone without taking the earphones off your ears.
The WF-1000XM3 are some of the best-sounding truly wireless earphones and will surprise many with their overall sound quality. You can modify their sound using the Sony companion app, which allows for a good amount of customization and is one of the best headphone apps out there. Their integrated mic is also decent, but it’s not suitable for phone calls in a very noisy environment.
And speaking of which, the WF-1000XM3 are good at blocking out ambient noise with their passive in-ear seal and ANC, making them suitable for commute, travel, and office use. If you can get a tight seal with any of the included ear tips, they are very effective at blocking ambient noise in airports, public transport, and busy offices. Their sound leakage is also low at higher volumes, preventing your loud music from bleeding out too much and disturbing nearby people.
With their six-hour battery life per charge, the WF-1000XM3 last longer than many other truly wireless earphones. They will easily last through shorter flights and typical commutes, but for longer flights and road trips and regular work shifts, their single-charge battery life is not going to be enough. Fortunately, their charging case, as mentioned, holds additional charges. You get three additional charges in the case, which translates to a total battery life of 24 hours.
Overall, the WF-1000XM3 are excellent wireless earphones that easily stand out among a sea of contenders. They are versatile earphones suitable for everyday use, with their premium build quality, good audio reproduction, six-hour battery per charge, good noise isolation, and customizability being some of their most notable aspects. They work well with both Android and iOS devices and support NFC technology for faster pairing.
If you prefer wireless earphones with longer battery life than truly wireless earphones, check out the Sony WI-1000X. They are wireless neckband earphones that are suitable for commuting, travel, and office use, featuring ANC for better noise isolation in noisy environments. They sell for around $300 and are available in black and gold, with the latter being the more premium-looking model.
The WI-1000X are better-built than the more popular Bose QuietControl 30 and have a sleek neckband with smart cable management. Their audio cables extend from each side of the neckband and are not too long. The neckband itself is sturdy and durable and has a clean look, with minimal branding and discreet buttons for controls. There are different sizes of ear tips included in the box, allowing you to choose ear tips that offer the best comfort and seal.
Compact and lightweight, the WI-1000X are comfortable to wear, but they are not as comfortable for long listening sessions as the QuietControl 30. They are easy to carry for everyday use and don’t stand out too much when worn around your neck. For easy access, you can simply wear them around your neck when not in use instead of putting them back into their travel pouch.
Unlike some behind-the-neck earphones that include an in-line remote, the controls are on the neckband itself, with each side featuring at least one button. You can use the controls for call and music management and for switching between ANC and ambient mode. The control scheme is simple, effective, and easy to use, with the buttons offering decent feedback.
In addition to the pouch, charging cable, and multiple ear tips, the package includes an airplane adapter and an audio cable. Both accessories are not normally included with neckband headphones, especially the latter. With their audio cable, the WI-1000X stand out as some of the few neckband headphones that can be used in wired mode. The audio cable ends with a regular 3.5 mm analog plug for universal compatibility with most mobile devices.
The WI-1000X is a pair of good-sounding neckband headphones with a balanced treble and mid-range and a punchy bass that makes them suitable for bass-heavy music. You can modify the sound using the Sony companion app, which offers presets and a graphic equalizer. Like the Sony WF-1000XM3, they support NFC for faster pairing and have a decent integrated mic for phone calls.
Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, the WI-1000X are good earphones for commuting, travel, and office use. Their noise isolation with ANC is one of the best among neckband headphones, blocking a good amount of background noise such as the sound of airplane and bus engines and office chatter. And with their low sound leakage, you can increase the music volume to further mask ambient noise without worrying about the audio bleeding out too much.
With their 10-hour battery in wireless mode with ANC enabled, the WI-1000X are more suitable for long listening sessions than truly wireless earphones. Their battery life per charge increases up to 13 hours when in wireless mode with ANC disabled and up to 14 hours when in wired mode with ANC enabled. They also charge fast – though not as fast as some wireless headphones – providing 70 minutes of playback after 15 minutes of charging.
All in all, the WI-1000X are some of the best wireless earphones on the market. Their build quality and sound quality are both good. They are suitable for all-around casual use, with their portable design, long battery life, and ANC making them especially suitable for commuting and travel. However, they are not the most affordable earphones – their $300 price easily stands out among wireless earphones regardless of form factor.
The Audeze iSine 20 are unique among the products in this guide, not only in sound profile but also in structure and aesthetic. They are semi-open earphones with planar magnetic drivers, a technology normally seen in over-ear headphones. They stand out as some of the best-sounding earphones on the market and are recommended for audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts, but their usage is limited due to their semi-open design.
A pair of wired earphones, the iSine 20 have an unusual look that you’ll either love or hate. They are larger and bulkier than regular earphones, featuring hexagonal housings with webbed backplates that might remind Star Wars fans of TIE fighters. Their overall build quality is good and feels durable, with a mix of plastic and metal parts in the construction.
While they are bigger than most earphones, the iSine 20 are still lightweight, with the pair weighing around 0.71 ounces or roughly 20 grams without the audio cable. They are comfortable to wear for long hours – they are supremely breathable and don’t enter your ear canals too deeply. There are multiple ear tips included in the box, along with ear hooks. Unlike with some sports earphones with optional ear hooks, you’ll need to use the ear hooks for stability and support; without them, you are unlikely to get a very secure fit with these Audeze earphones.
The iSine 20, like other earphones, are compact and easy to carry if you want to use them at the office or while traveling, but they are not as portable as truly wireless earphones. They include a nylon travel case and a standard 3.5 mm audio cable, with the option to get the Cipher Lightning cable featuring a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC), mic, and controls for iOS devices. Unfortunately, the travel case is not as good as a hard case and will not provide strong protection against water spills.
Excluding professional in-ear monitors, you’d be hard-pressed to find better-sounding under-$1,000 wired earphones than the iSine 20 – their overall sound quality is terrific, with deep bass, detailed mid-range, and smooth treble. Their soundstage is wide, which is particularly notable for earphones, while their distortion is minimal even at high volume. They are suitable for different music genres, but you’ll need the Cipher Lightning cable for the best sound quality when connected to an iOS device.
With the Cipher Lightning cable, you can customize the sound using the Audeze iOS app. The app has two presets and a 10-band equalizer that allows for real-time sound customization. Without the Cipher Lightning cable, the iSine 20 still sound decent and are still better than many regular earphones. But for the best results, you have to either connect them to iOS devices using the unique Cipher Lightning cable or make use of alternative solutions when connecting them to non-iOS devices.
As mentioned in the product introduction, the iSine 20 have limited usage due to their design. They are best used for listening to music in a quiet environment, at home or otherwise. Their noise isolation is poor, making them unsuitable in crowded or noisy places. And their sound leakage is quite high, which can be a problem in some situations – like when listening to loud music during flights.
The iSine 20 are not as versatile as the other top picks in this guide. But if you want the best-sounding wired earphones purely for enjoying music at home, they are the best option. They sound phenomenal with minimal distortion and are comfortable to wear for long hours. If you are going to connect them to an iOS device, we highly recommend getting the Cipher Lightning cable as well.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro are the best earphones for all-around sports use. They are ruggedly built wireless earphones with stability fins and a long-lasting battery. You can get them for $160, with Jaybird offering a few dual-color options. While they are some of the more expensive sports earphones, their versatility makes up for it; they are recommended for athletes and fitness enthusiasts and are suitable for both light workouts and rigorous training.
Like the Sony WI-1000X, the Tarah Pro are wireless earphones that need to be worn around your neck, but instead of a solid neckband, they have a more flexible behind-the-neck cable with an in-line remote for controls. Their overall build quality is good – they have a durable braided cable and boast an IPX7 rating for water resistance. They can be worn either over or under your ears due to their rotating earpieces, with their stability fins making for a more secure fit, which is important during intense workouts with lots of head movement.
However, their stability fins are integrated into the ear tips, preventing you from combining different ear tip and stability fin sizes for the most comfortable fit for your ears. There are three different sizes of ear tips included with the earphones, along with a travel pouch, a shirt clip, and the proprietary charging cradle. Take good care of the charging cradle: It is not easy to replace and is more expensive than regular USB charging cables.
Although they are not as portable as truly wireless earphones, the Tarah Pro are easy to carry for daily workouts. They are lightweight and compact and will easily fit into small pockets, with their travel pouch protecting them from scratches. You can simply wear them around your neck when not in use – their magnetic earpieces allow for effective cable management and keep the earphones secure around your neck while walking.
The Tarah Pro have a simple and efficient in-line remote that includes a mic and the usual three-button control scheme seen in most headphones. Well-spaced and responsive, the control buttons allow for call and music management, volume control, and voice assistant activation. The in-line remote is easily accessible and doesn’t get in the way during workouts, with the buttons providing good feedback. You can also enable power-saving mode by simply snapping the magnetic earpieces together.
Customizable using the Jaybird companion app, the Tarah Pro are decent-sounding wireless earphones with an excellent wireless range and a hassle-free Bluetooth pairing process, but they don’t support NFC technology. They can last up to 14 hours on a single charge, which is one of the best marks for sports-oriented earphones with a behind-the-neck form factor. They charge fast as well, providing two hours of playback after five minutes of charge time.
With their good passive noise isolation, the Tarah Pro will allow you to train in peace and stay focused on your routine in a crowded gym. They are not on the same level as actual noise-canceling earphones regarding overall noise isolation performance. But they block a good amount of ambient chatter, making them suitable for office use. Their sound leakage is also minimal even at high volume, which is another plus when using them as office earphones.
If you are in the market for the best sports earphones, look no further than the Tarah Pro. They are suitable for all-around sports use, with their 14-hour battery making them useful for ultra-running and long training sessions over multiple days. They are durable and well-protected against sweat and stay securely in your ears during rigorous workouts, thanks to their stability fins. Their sound quality and app support are both decent, while their passive noise isolation is good.
The Tin Audio T2 are budget earphones that look like premium earphones due to their excellent build quality and sound better than many earphones selling for twice the price. We recommend them for audiophiles who are looking for affordable headphones that not only sound good but are also easy to carry for everyday use. While they lack an in-line remote, they are decent wired earphones for all-around usage, increasing their overall value.
A pair of closed-back earphones, the T2 are better-built than most earphones in the same price range, featuring metal earpieces and a braided audio cable. The default foam ear tips are bright blue for a clean, modern look. The white audio cable is detachable and has gold-plated MMCX connectors on one end and a 3.5 mm analog plug on the other end. With the red and blue rings around the cable slots, you can easily identify the left and right earpieces.
While their packaging might come off as a bit shoddy, the T2 are premium-looking earphones that feel sturdy and durable. Their overall build quality is excellent even without considering their price. You can easily replace the detachable audio cable when it becomes damaged, extending the lifespan of the earphones – which can’t be said for many other wired earphones regardless of brand or price range.
The T2 are comfortable to wear due to their breathable and secure in-ear fit. But they are not as comfy for long listening sessions as headphones with over-ear and earbud designs, which are generally more comfortable. They are best worn with the audio cable positioned over your ears for better support and stability, especially when using them while running or jogging. There are multiple ear tip options in the box, allowing you to choose the best fit for your ears.
Unsurprisingly for budget earphones under $50, the T2 lack accessories. Aside from the default foam ear tips and additional ear tips, there are no other accessories included in the box. You won’t find a shirt clip, an airplane adapter, or a travel case in the package. The exclusion of a carrying case is the most notable, as there are cheaper and similarly priced headphones that include at least a soft pouch for storage.
Capable of cleanly reproducing vocals and lead instruments, the T2 are some of the best-sounding wired earphones under $50. Their overall audio reproduction is good and will sound consistent among different users when the foam ear tips are used. Their bass is powerful but not too emphasized, while their mid-range is balanced. They are suitable for most music genres and will satisfy most people with their sound profile.
As mentioned above, the T2 are decent earphones for all-around usage. They are good for listening to music at home and are decent for running or jogging. They are suitable for office use, with their passive in-ear seal blocking a good amount of ambient noise like chatter. While they are not very good at blocking the sound of airplane and bus engines, their minimal sound leakage allows you to increase the music volume to mask background noise during travel and commute without disturbing other people with your loud music.
On the whole, the T2 are fantastic budget earphones, offering good value for the money. Their sound quality and build quality are some of the best in this price range, while their passive noise isolation is decent. If you are shopping for portable audiophile headphones that are significantly more affordable than the Audeze iSine 20, check out these Tin Audio in-ear headphones.
Selling for just around $30, the 2019 Anker SoundCore Spirit X are the best budget wireless earphones for all-around use. They are designed specifically for sports, but like the Jaybird Tarah Pro, they are also decent earphones for casual everyday use. Compared to the older Spirit X model, they have a better IP rating and boast a longer battery life per charge.
The 2019 Spirit X look identical to the previous model. They are wireless in-ear headphones featuring a behind-the-neck cable design with ear hooks and stability fins. Unlike some sports earphones, they don’t come in flashier or sportier colors, but their all-black color scheme makes for a more low-profile look that some may prefer. Their overall build quality is decent for budget earphones, with their impressive IP68 rating, meaning they are well-protected against both water and dust.
With their breathable design and flexible ear hooks, the 2019 Spirit X are comfortable to wear for long hours. The ear hooks and stability fins allow for a more secure fit, which is especially important for rigorous workouts with lots of head movement. You can easily adjust the length and tightness of the cable using the small cable management clip.
Like the more popular Beats Powerbeats3, the 2019 Spirit X are slightly bulkier than other sports earphones due to their ear hooks. Nonetheless, they are still very compact, lightweight, and easy to carry not only for daily workouts but also for casual everyday use. The box includes a travel case for storage, along with multiple ear tip and stability fin options and a shirt clip.
For controls, the 2019 Spirit X have a simple in-line remote with three well-spaced and responsive buttons and a built-in mic for phone calls. The buttons don’t feel mushy or too stiff and provide good tactile feedback. With the in-line remote, you can easily control the volume and manage your calls and music, whether the cable is tight or loose – a tightened cable pushes the remote toward the back of your neck, while a loosened cable has the remote closer to your mouth.
The 2019 Spirit X are decent-sounding budget earphones with a deep, thumpy bass that makes them suitable for bass-heavy music genres. Although they are not as good-sounding as the similarly budget-friendly Tin Audio T2, their overall sound quality will satisfy most people. They can connect with multiple devices at the same time and allow you to easily switch between sources if you prefer to play music and take phone calls using two different devices.
On the other hand, the 2019 Spirit X are not as customizable as the Tarah Pro and other sports-oriented wireless earphones from Jaybird. Like most other cheap headphones, they lack a dedicated companion app for modifying the sound and other aspects of the earphones. Their passive noise isolation is also not as good as that of other in-ear headphones, but it’s decent enough for office use. However, since their sound leakage is low even at high volume, you can increase the music volume to mask ambient noise without worrying about the audio bleeding out too much.
Among the wireless earphones in this guide, the 2019 Spirit X have the best battery life. They can run up to an incredible 18 hours per charge. That’s one of the best marks among similarly designed wireless earphones and beats the already impressive 14-hour battery of the Tarah Pro. With their 18-hour battery life, you’ll still have enough battery for ten hours of use after using them throughout a typical work shift.
Overall, the 2019 Spirit X are excellent budget earphones and are some of the best wired and wireless in-ear headphones on the market. Their breathable design, ear hooks, stability fins, and IP68 rating all make them ideal earphones for sports. Meanwhile, their portability, user-friendly controls, convenient wireless connectivity, and 18-hour battery are all beneficial for casual everyday use. If the Tarah Pro are way out of your budget, check out these cheap headphones instead.
The market is full of many other good in-ear headphones. The nine products below – which include audiophile earphones and noise-canceling earphones – are some of the most notable ones.
The 1More Triple Driver Earphones are some of the best-sounding earphones under $100. They are wired earphones that are suitable for everyday use, with their sturdy and durable build making them more resistant to wear and tear than earphones mostly made of plastic. Their earpieces are made of metal and feature angled ear tips for better ergonomics, while their long audio cable is thick and includes an in-line remote. Multiple foam and silicone ear tips are included in the box, along with a travel case.
In addition to the three-button control scheme for call and music management, the in-line remote has a built-in mic. The mic is good and allows for clear phone calls, but not in a very noisy environment. And speaking of noisy places, these earphones also have decent passive noise isolation and are suitable for blocking out ambient noise in the office.
Featuring user-friendly touch controls, the Samsung Galaxy Buds are truly wireless headphones with a breathable and comfortable in-ear fit. They have a discreet, low-profile look with none of those stems extending out from the earpieces like the Apple AirPods. Their six-hour battery life per charge is one of the better marks among truly wireless earphones. The included charging case holds another seven hours of battery, bringing the total battery life to 13 hours.
The Galaxy Buds are suitable for casual everyday use, with their decent passive noise isolation and minimal sound leakage making them good office earphones. They are some of the best-sounding in the truly wireless category, and their integrated mic is decent as well. While they are not as water-resistant as some of the best sports headphones, they are suitable for running due to their breathable and secure in-ear fit.
Selling for less than $150, the Amazon Echo Buds are some of the most affordable noise-canceling truly wireless earphones. You can even get them for less than $100 during a sale, making them much more accessible for most people than premium products like the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Apple AirPods Pro. They are all-around earphones that are suitable for different usages, with their good noise isolation – with or without ANC enabled – allowing you to listen to your music in peace at the office and while commuting or traveling.
Capable of running up to five hours on a single charge, the Echo Buds are IPX4-rated earphones with a comfortable fit for long listening sessions. Their stability fins allow them to stay securely in your ears, which is important when using them for running and working out. They come with a compact and lightweight charging case that holds additional charges to increase the total battery life.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t are truly wireless earphones that are suitable for all-around use. They are good earphones for commuting, traveling, sports, and office use. Although their design is practically identical to the regular Elite 65t, their matte finish makes for a more premium look, and their IP56 rating means they are better protected against water and sweat. They are some of the better-sounding truly wireless earphones on the market and can last up to five hours per charge.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Amazon Echo Buds, the Elite Active 65t are a bit bulkier and more noticeable in your ears. Nonetheless, they are comfortable to wear – especially if you can find a perfect fit with the included ear tip options – and stay securely in your ears. With their tight in-ear seal, they provide good passive noise isolation, which is beneficial for commuting and office use.
A pair of truly wireless earphones, the Apple AirPods Pro are some of the most popular earphones on the market. Unlike the regular AirPods, they are closed-back earphones featuring ANC technology for significantly better noise isolation. They are some of the best noise-canceling earphones currently out and are ideal for commuting, traveling, and office use. Their secure fit and breathable form factor also make them suitable for running and working out.
The AirPods Pro are IPX4-rated earphones with three pairs of silicone ear tips to choose from. Their build quality feels premium. That’s also true for their extremely compact and lightweight charging case, which supports wireless charging and holds additional charges. While serious audiophiles won’t be impressed by these Apple earphones, they are surprisingly decent-sounding and are suitable for most music genres. On the other hand, their app support is limited, and their battery life per charge is only four-and-a-half hours with ANC enabled, and the volume set to 50 percent.
Of the truly wireless earphones in this guide, the Beats Powerbeats Pro are the best for sports. They are designed specifically for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and gym rats, featuring flexible ear hooks for a more secure and stable fit. They are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable to wear for long training sessions. Composed of a multi-purpose button and a volume rocker, the control scheme on each unit is user-friendly and allows for easy call and music management.
While the Powerbeats Pro are not as ruggedly built as other sports-oriented earphones – they are only rated IPX4 for water resistance – their build quality is good. Their wireless range is excellent, while their integrated mic is decent for phone calls. Their nine-hour battery life per charge is one of the best among truly wireless earphones, making them suitable for extended hours at the gym.
The Etymotic Research ER4XR are earphones recommended for music lovers. They are some of the best-sounding wired earphones under $500 and will impress both audiophiles and professionals. Their overall build quality is great and feels high-end; their aluminum housings and braided audio cable are both durable. The audio cable ends with a 3.5 mm analog plug and is detachable, allowing for easy replacement when damaged.
Whether you are using silicone or foam ear tips, the ER4XR provide excellent passive noise isolation and are even better than many noise-canceling headphones. They are good at blocking ambient noise in places like airports, public transport, and busy offices. But they are not as comfortable to use for long listening sessions as other earphones – mainly because their ear tips enter your ear canals deeper than that of most other earphones. In addition to the multiple ear tip options, a travel case, a shirt clip, and a stereo jack adapter are included in the box.
Part of the Shure SE Series, the SE535 are some of the best headphones for audiophiles. They are wired earphones selling for around $500. While their high price is hard to swallow, their sound quality and build quality make up for it. They are great-sounding earphones that are suitable for most music genres, including reggae, hip hop, death metal, and punk rock. Their overall build quality feels high-end and durable.
The SE535 are worn over the ears for better support and stability and feature a detachable audio cable that terminates with a 3.5 mm analog plug for universal compatibility. They have angled ear tips, with multiple ear tip sizes to choose from. A compact case and a stereo jack adapter are also included in the box. With their tight in-ear seal, these Shure earphones provide good passive noise isolation, which makes them suitable for listening to music in moderately noisy environments.
If you can spend around a grand on the best wired and wireless in-ear headphones, check out the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered (UERR). They are custom in-ear monitors that are ideal for serious audiophiles and professional studio use. Ultimate Ears offers a variety of color and material options for the earpieces – including the option to remove the company logo. You can even customize each unit separately.
The UERR are some of the best and most neutral-sounding custom in-ear monitors under $1,000, which makes them ideal for critical listening and studio use. Their passive noise isolation is also good, allowing them to block a good amount of ambient noise in busy or crowded places. While there are better-built custom in-ear monitors, their overall build quality is good – their audio cable is sweatproof and easily replaceable when damaged, while their earpiece housings are sturdy.