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October 23, 2018

The best in-ear headphones you can buy

by John_A

Choosing a pair of in-ear headphones is tough. We all have different tastes, budgets, and needs, and there are thousands of models to choose from — ranging from $20 all the way to $900. Since there’s no dearth of in-ear headphones to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of the best options available, including USB-C earbuds, neckbuds, and wireless options.

Budget pick

Panasonic RP-TCM125 Ergofit


If you’re looking to get a pair of budget earbuds to replace the ones bundled in your phone’s box (if there’s a pair included in the first place), then the Panasonic RP-TCM125 should be at the top of your list. They’re affordable, durable, and come in several colors.

$13 at Amazon

Bone Conduction

AfterShokz Sportz


Say goodbye to sore ears and hello to hearing important sounds around you with bone conduction technology. These AfterShokz Sportz wired headphones are perfect for listening to music and still being able to carry on a normal conversation or hear traffic noise. And since they aren’t going in your ear, they always fit.

$60 at Amazon

Quiet Comfort

Bose QC20


These Bose QC20 headphones have the same active noise cancellation as their bigger, over-ear siblings in a smaller, in-ear form factor. They sound great and are comfortable to wear, but best of all you’ll get 16 hours free of airplane noise, road rumble, or anything else that takes away from the sounds you want to hear.

$249 at Amazon

Everyday carry

Aiwa Prodigy-1


Headphones you’ll want to carry around for everyday use need to sound great, be comfortable to wear, and need to be built tough. These Aiwa Prodigy 1 earbuds are all three and include an inline mic for calls and Google Assistant, plus a tangle-free cord. Don’t leave home without them.

$50 at Amazon

Deep Bass

Shure SE215


Shure makes some of the best headphones available, and even if you’re not spending $1,000 you can get detailed sound plus enhanced bass response with these SE215 in-ear headphones. They also feature a detachable cord system that can convert from 3.5 mm to USB C or Lightning to work with every portable device you own.

$99 at Amazon

Wireless ANC

LibraTone Track+


The Libratone Track+ wireless in-ear headphones are sweatproof, and have adjustable active noise cancellation that can cut out everything or allow some ambient noise so you can hear anything important when you need to. The behind-the-head cable makes them comfortable to wear and five different tips make sure they stay in place.

$199 at Amazon

USB-C option

Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds


The 3.5 mm headphone jack is slowly becoming a thing of the past. If you want wired headphones, that means you’ll probably want to get a set that uses the USB-C connector. Google’s Pixel USB-C Earbuds have an adjustable loop for the best fit, a button to activate Google Assistant, and sound great. Best of all, they’re priced right!

$30 at Google

Budget audiophile

HiFiMan RE-400


HiFIMan makes some of the best sounding over-the-ear headphones you’ll find, and its in-ear options are nothing to scoff at either. The RE-400s offer an extremely comfortable fit, and they deliver a neutral soundstage that makes them stand out from the rest of the offerings in this price range.

$45 at Amazon

Loud and low

Marshall Mode EQ


The Marshall Mode is like the HiFiMan RE-400 in that it delivers a balanced soundstage, but there’s an option to turn up the bass by pressing a toggle on the remote. It comes with a sturdy construction, a single-button remote that lets you receive calls and control music playback, integrated microphone, and retro design flair that makes it stand out.

$43 at Amazon

At the gym

Jaybird X4


If you’re looking for a solid pair of workout earbuds that will endure the rigors of the gym, the Jaybird X4 is a great option. They’re extremely durable, the neckband connecting the two earbuds can be configured over- or under-ear, and Jaybird offers a one-year warranty against sweat-related damage.

$130 at Amazon

Wireless buds

Jabra Elite 65t


The Jabra Elite 65t give you great sound quality, a comfortable all-day fit, a compact charging case, and they work with Google Assistant and Alexa. Did we mention that they’re also 100 percent wireless earbuds? The fit and finish, as well as the overall sound quality, makes the Jabra Elite 65t a great option if you’re looking to go truly wireless.

$168 at Amazon

Hi Res

1MORE Quad Driver


Audiophile-grade sound in a set of earbuds is a real thing. The 1MORE Quad Driver features four drivers in total — three BA (balanced armature) drivers along with a diamond-like carbon driver — and they manage to deliver stellar sound that’s balanced and full of detail. They’re also the world’s first THX-certified headphones.

$160 at Amazon

There are still plenty of great choices when it comes to in-ear headphones no matter what type you’re looking for. Companies know that we like different choices and all have different needs and no matter what yours are, you’ll find a set that is perfect for you. We’ve tried plenty of these products and each of us have our favorites: The 1MORE Quad Drivers really do sound as good as the ad copy claims, and the Marshall Mode EQ buds deserve the Marshall name in every way. You can’t go wrong with any of these, so pick the set that suits you best!

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