Earphones come in so many shapes and sizes. From the most basic wired earphones to the most advanced truly wireless sets, there’s something for everyone. There are so many models out there with such vastly different feature sets, choosing the best earphones for your needs can be exceptionally difficult, especially since you usually can’t try them in advance. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to review a whole bunch, and here are our picks for the top 5.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
The Jabra Elite Active 65t are the best earphones that we’ve tested so far. Their compact, truly wireless design makes them incredibly easy to carry around and they’re always ready to go at a moment’s notice thanks to the included charging case that gives them up to 15 hours of battery life.
They’re great for the office and commuting thanks to their strong passive isolation and very low leakage. They’re also well-designed, with a good build quality and a decently comfortable in-ear fit, although the slightly bulky earbud won’t be as comfortable for everyone.
On the upside, they have about 5 hours of play time per charge, and a well-balanced sound that you can EQ thanks the Jabra Sound+ app that also gives them a lot of customization options.
If you want more sports-oriented in-ears for running and working out, then get the Jaybird X3. They offer a bit more stability than the Jabra Elite Active 65t, and if one earbud falls out you don’t have worry about losing them since they are not truly wireless. This makes them a great option the gym, and their closed-back in-ear fit blocks enough noise passively to make them a suitable headset for commuting and most environments.
They have a decently balanced sound that you can EQ with the MySound app from Jaybird, a good wireless range and a 7-hour battery life that should be good enough for most use cases but won’t be ideal for heavy users with long continuous listening sessions.
Unfortunately, unlike the Elite Active 65t, their app does not have hear-through modes to monitor your environment for obstacles and traffic when running outdoors. Also, like most in-ears, they can be a bit uncomfortable, but on the upside, they come with 6 different sizes of earbud tips and 3 sizes of stability tips, so most people should be able to find a good fit.
1More Triple Driver In-Ear
If you want a great-sounding wired headset, then the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear deliver the best value for your bucks. They’re well-built, easy-to-use and decently comfortable in-ears, with up to 9 tip sizes, including some foam ones, to help you find the right fit. They also sound well-balanced with a good amount of bass and a decent representation of instruments and vocals that’s not too sharp or piercing like some other in-ears.
They’re stable enough for the running and working out and have a simple control scheme that works with most devices and isn’t iOS or Android specific. They also do a decent job at blocking ambient noise when commuting, although they do not isolate as well as some the other in-ears on this list like the Jaybird X3 or the Jabra Elite Active 65t.
On the upside, since they are wired, passive earphones, they do not have any customization option or integrated EQs, but on the flip side, you don’t have to worry about charging them and they have essentially zero latency, perfect for watching movies or gaming on the go.
If you want a wireless design like the Jaybird X3, but do not want to spend more than $50 then get the JBL E25BT. These ultra-compact wireless in-ears will easily fit into your pocket and are decently well built considering their price range. They have fabric-coated wires and fairly dense ear buds, so you can crumple them up to fit into tighter spaces in your bag, without them breaking.
They’re decently comfortable but unlike the Jaybird X3 or the 1More Triple Driver, they only come with 3 earbud tips included in-the-box, which won’t be ideal for everyone. On the upside, they have a good 9.5-hour battery life, which is longer than most wireless in-ear at this price range, and they also can connect to 2 devices simultaneously, so you can seamlessly switch between your tablet, PC or your phone.
Unfortunately, they do not block a lot of noise for an in-ear design so they won’t be the best option for commuting. On the upside, they leak very little, even at high volumes, so you can mask some ambient noise by playing your music louder, without distracting those around you.
If you prefer wired in-ears, and want a budget option for everyday casual use that still delivers in the sound department, then get the KZ ZS10. They have a unique look that stands out from most in-ears at this price range. They also have a build quality on par with much pricier in-ears and come with a detachable audio cable that you can replace if it gets damaged, which is fairly rare for budget in-ears.
They have a decently well-balanced sound that delivers a good amount of bass that’s not overpowering. They’re decently comfortable for in-ears, with an angled earbud design that fits well within the contours of most ears, but they may be a bit too big and bulky for some. They also do not come with as many tip options as some of the other in-ears on this list.
Unfortunately, the KZ ZS10 do not isolate as well in loud environments. The variant we tested also does not come with an inline remote or microphone so they’re a bit less suitable for commuting, sports and taking calls. On the upside, you can get a different version with the remote that’s a bit more outdoors and travel-friendly.
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All images are via RTINGS.COM. This guide may have been updated. To see all measurements and the current recommendations for the best earphones, please go here.