Best Earbuds Reviewed and Rated in 2021
We have come quite a long way from the days of Walkman’s and stiff sound devices covered in itchy foam! If you are someone that always has some type of podcast, audiobook, or music playlist streaming into your brain, you are long overdue for a new pair of earbuds. We love the design of some of the newest wireless devices because they sync via Bluetooth with your phone and many of them offer a superior sound that is going to make you want to throw your old wired options right into the garbage. Plus, wireless options are going to travel better without being tangled, and they are going to allow a better range of motion and movement during workouts. In this guide, we have found some of the best options out on the market to take your listening to a new level.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Holds a charge for a long time
Top 10 Picks
Holds a charge for a long time
Users found that bass levels are a little weak
The reason that we picked the Pasonomi design as our top pick is because it is going to be able to travel with you anywhere- even in the shower! They are made to fit comfortably and securely on your head and offer a great sound as well.Read more
At first glance, these seem a little bit bulkier than most. They have the standard rubber grip as you find in most designs, and the frame is a bit more rounded and will stick out more than slimmer options. However, that bulkier design is because it is able to offer a really great sound from such a little device.
The lossless HD rendering found within this unit is going to provide you with incredibly crisp treble sound. The high-quality speaker in conjunction with the tight-fitting headpiece is going to be a great way to block out exterior noise, even in really loud environments. One downside users discovered with this design is that the bass isn’t very powerful.
One full charge is going to provide users with about 3-4 hours of continuous music.
When you need to charge them back up, simply place them back into the cradle of their case. This case is able to hold about 60 hours of battery life, so you will find that you will need to charge the case very infrequently. When you do need to charge the case, simply plug the USB cable into an external power source. You can even plug it into your phone for a quick charge!
What we liked about this design is that it comes in at a price that is pretty average. It isn’t the most expensive design out there on the market, but it is far from the least expensive.
If you are looking for something that is simple, durable, and will keep up with you even during your most intense workout, this design is going to be one of your better options.
Can hold a charge for up to 5 hours
Some users found that the top volume isn’t very loud
The biggest thing to note about this design from Kissral is that it is going to provide you with hours and hours of continuous playback before needing a charge, and it is built to be tough enough to stand strong during even some of your most intense workouts.Read more
If you want something that is going to be compact (in both the device and the case), this is going to be one of your better options. These have an exterior design that is going to fit easily in your ear without sticking out too much, but it is still able to deliver some serious sound.
This unit communicates with your phone witBluetoothest 5.0 Bluetooth tech for optional connectivity, and the speakers provide crisp treble and rich bass via the Binaural and bi-directional communication which is a technology that is found in most hearing aids.
The great thing about this option is that one single charge on the cradle will offer users up to 4-5 hours of continuous streaming before you need to pop them back on the cradle for a charge.
The 600mAh battery in the charging case is able to hold enough juice to recharge your device on the go 4-5 times before it also will need to be charged. Charging the cradle is simple- you will just need to plug it into an external power source via a USB cable that is included with purchase.
The cost of this design runs a little lower than average and therefore makes it one of the more affordable wireless options currently out there on the market that still offers superior sound.
This is a great option for those that are looking to buy something that is going to be reliable and can deliver superior sound without breaking the bank.
Holds a charge for up to 4 hours
Bright color options
Charge indicator on the case
Sound users found that they fit too loosely in their ears
If you want a change from the boring old black designs with simple black cases, this option from SPOLEY is going to be a great choice. It is offered in a few fun and bright colors to match your personal style, while still offered superior sound.Read more
Users will have the option to select from bold colors that include red, blue, or black. The case for each option is small and compact and has a clear protective lid so that you can gauge how close they are to be fully charged at a glance.
Like all quality devices, the unit offers HD rendering sound. It is also able to be adjusted to offer mono stereo if you wish to share your music or your audiobook with a friend. We found that users have reported that the sound quality is rich and full, even when the volume is turned up.
One full charge is going to provide users with about 4 hours of continuous streaming, and the case is able to charge the device 4 times before it, too, will need to be charged.
One thing that we loved about this design is that it has a screen in the center of the case that will give users an indication on a scale of 1-100 on how much longer it needs to charge. When you need to charge the case, simply plug it into a power source via a USB cable.
The cost of this design runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price and will cost you about the same amount you would spend to fill up your gas tank before hitting the road on your next road trip.
If you are looking for something that has a little bit of spunk and style, this design is going to be one of your better options. Plus, the device, as well as the case, are small and compact which makes them a lot easier to travel.
4. Bang & Olufsen
Unmatched sound quality
Neutral colors options available
Small and compact
Comes with a variety of different sizes rubber grips to ensure a perfect fit
For all of the audiophiles out there that will only settle for the absolute best even when on the go- you may be impressed by this option from Bang & Olufsen. Keep in mind, however, that the price tag of this design costs about 6 times as much as many of the average priced designs out there on the market.Read more
One of the things that we noticed right away about this design is that it is offered in a few neutral flesh tones that will make you look like you aren’t wearing anything at all. If that doesn’t seem appealing to you (because everyone is going to wonder why you are ignoring them), it is also offered in a rich indigo blue and black.
Many will tell you that superior sound just isn’t possible with earbuds, but we found that just isn’t the case with this design. These little devices have been expertly tuned by sound engineers from Bang & Olufsen to provide the best sound possible, and based upon insanely glowing reviews from previous customers- they really deliver.
The battery life of this design is very similar to many of the average priced options. It can offer continuous play for about 4 hours, and the charging dock can recharge each unit up to 4 times before it will also need a charge.
The small and compact carrying case is also a battery as well. Users can charge their devices using the case up to 4 times. When the case needs to be charged, simply plug it into an external power source using a USB cable.
We mentioned it before, but the price tag on this option is pretty steep and costs about 6 times what your average pair would sell for. However, if you are willing to spare no expense to receive something that is the top of the line- this is going to be well worth the price point.
For all of those audiophiles out there that simply will not settle for anything less than the best, this option from Bang & Olufsen is going to be one of your best options if you can get past the incredibly steep price point.
Small and compact
The digital screen indicates charge level
Offered in fun colors
Pulsing lights while in use can be distracting to others
Some users struggled to get it to connect to their phone
This option from G-WACK is a little more flashy than some of the others that we have seen. The exterior has a ring of light around the edges that lights up while in use so that everyone around you knows that you cannot hear them.Read more
Users are going to be able to select from two fun colors that include red and blue, but also opt for basic black as well. One of the best features that users loved about these designs is that it is incredibly small- it runs about the same size as a quarter. Plus, it is water-resistant so you can wear them worry-free during some of your most intense workouts.
This unit offers hi-fi stereo sound, but it also has a setting for mono sound if you wish to just use one or share your music with a friend. From what we have read from previous users, the sound is quite clear and it is able to reach some pretty high volumes.
With one charge, this device is able to deliver about 4 hours of continuous sound- which is pretty standard. The case is able to hold about 16 hours of juice, which equates to about 4 extra charges.
One of the things that we loved about this design is that the case has a screen in the center to let users know how charged their device is, and it can go from completely dead to fully charged in just one hour.
The cost of this unit runs pretty par for the course. It isn’t the most expensive design that we have seen, but it isn’t the least expensive design out there either.
What we really like about this design is that it is made for people on the go. The case can offer a quick charge in about an hour, and it is made to be incredibly small and compact which makes it a great travel companion.
6. Powerbeats Pro
Require very minimal adjustments, if any
Water and sweat-resistant
Features Bluetooth and Siri
Case is bulky
Must find the correct sized ear tip to enjoy the quality sound system
Some have experienced Bluetooth dropouts
Originally designed for athletes, the Powerbeats Pro deliver great sound and won't fall out of your ears. In fact, they require very little, if any, adjustments at all during your workout. They can be connected to Siri, giving you a truly wireless and handsfree experience.Read more
Powerbeats Pro offer a secure and adjustable fit with the addition of ear hooks. They are great for exercising because they rarely need to be adjusted and they are sweat and water-resistant. There are multiple ear tip options included, which not only improves the comfort but also the sound quality. As for color options, you have the options of black, white, moss, or navy.
With noise isolating technology, you will be able to focus on your music and task at hand without being distracted. The headphones can be used separately or together. Each has its own Bluetooth chip, volume, and track buttons. One of the most important factors of great sound quality is using the correct size ear tip. A handful of reviewers were underwhelmed with this product initially and then realized that finding the right ear tip provides a seal and significantly improves the sound quality.
Right out of the case on a full charge, you can count on nine continuous hours of use. If you carry the case with you, the case carries another fifteen hours of juice. There is a lightning-fast charging option that gives you 1.5 hours of battery with just a five-minute charge. Another great feature is sleep mode. The buds have motion sensors in them and when they are idle for a long period of time, they sleep.
To put it simply, you put the buds in the case and you can charge the two items together. You can also remove the buds ahead of time and continue charging the case. Instead fo a typical micro-USB cord, the Powerbeats Pro use a lightning to USB-A charger, similar to new iPhone chargers.
These are quite an investment. Beats by Dre has a great reputation in the world of headphones and this product is a prime example. There is a warranty card included with your purchase, but the details of the warranty are not made known.
With so many great features and long battery life, these are a great option. They fit most people comfortably and come with multiple sized ear tips. There have been minor complaints about the size of the case, but not enough to keep this product off of our list.
7. Jaybird Vista
Small and lightweight
Don't fall out
Limited buttons on buds
Some experienced connectivity issues
These Jaybird Vistas have been getting a lot of attention lately, and with good reason. These lightweight and comfortable buds fit well in the ear and provide great sound. The Jaybird app allows you to alter the sound settings and also has a Find My Buds feature if you ever misplace them.Read more
These are true canalphones. The gel ear tip is soft and sits in the canal of your ear. They are lightweight and small, not overly obvious. They come with three different sized ear gels to choose from. They are IPX7 waterproof, making them a great choice for exercising or playing in the rain. As for color choices, you can choose between black or white.
The design of these buds gives them great noise isolation. On the Jaybird app, you can tinker with the sound settings to get the audio style that you prefer. The Bluetooth and JBS1 wireless technology provide great sound quality without lag for music and phone calls.
On a full charge, these buds will give you six hours of use. A fully charged case holds another ten hours. Using both of the buds at the same time, this gives you sixteen hours of battery life. If you choose to only use one bud at a time, you have thirty-two hours of battery. There is also a five-minute quick charge feature that gives you one hour of use.
The case is charged by an included USB-C cord.
It is clear that this is one of the more expensive options, but they are quite impressive. Many reviewers don’t even notice that they are wearing them. With the addition of IPX7 waterproofness, you can take these anywhere.
If you ever lose these buds, you can use the “find my buds” feature of the app. These are a unique and impressive pair that are a great choice for working out or a daily commute.
More affordable than other options
49-feet of wireless connection
The case holds 24 hours of charge
Some have had issues with the overall connection
Buttons and controls could be improved
Enjoy all the great features, at a fraction of the price. This addition from EarFun is comfortable, has impressive sound quality, and also features a 49-foot wireless range. The buds don't have as impressive of a battery as others, but with six hours, we are still impressed.Read more
These buds from EarFun provide a comfortable and secure fit. There are three ear tips to choose from, which improve sound quality and comfort. Choosing the correct tips for your ears is important, as the tip will keep the buds in place while running or exercising. The right bud can be used on its own, but the left can not.
The sound quality of this item is impressive, especially for such an affordable option. Reviewers say the sound is crisp and often they compare these buds to those of much higher price.
The buds themselves can be used for six straight hours on a full charge. The case carries an extra twenty-four hours of charge. To fully charge the buds it takes one and a half hours. These buds also feature a quick charge that takes only ten minutes and provides you with two hours or use.
There are two ways to charge this case. You can use the USB-C cable or a QI wireless charger.
This option from EarFun has many of the same features as our more expensive options, but at a fraction of the price. There is also an 18-month warranty included with purchase.
If this will be your first pair of buds, or if you have had a bad experience in the past, you should give this option a shot. They are much more affordable than similar styles and have great features.
9. Jabra Elite
Connects to Alexa
Comes with different size rubber grips for a comfort fit
Active noise cancellation
Some users report that the microphone is a little less than reliable
We loved this design from Jabra Elite because it fuses modern tech with a simple design. Using voice recognition with Amazon Alexa, you can press the button along the side to have Alexa change up your music playlist while keeping your phone in your pocket and your hands-free.Read more
This design is going to be a little on the bulkier side compared to some of the slimmer designs. We like that users can select from a few different color options that include basic black, copper, gold, and blue.
One of the things that we noticed that this unit offers is a steady background noise filter that you often have seen in many of the higher-end noise-canceling devices that is able to drown out the sounds in the background so that you can be fully immersed in your music.
Another thing that we liked about this option is that it offers up to 5 hours of continuous music, which is just slightly better than other designs out there on the market.
The case for this design also serves as an external battery to give you a boost when you are far from a permanent power source. This battery can take your device from dead to a full charge up to three times, providing about 15 hours of mobile power.
The downside to this design is that it comes in at a price point that is almost three times as much as many of the standard designs. However, if you take into consideration the convenience of being able to sync to Alexa to keep you hands-free, this is a really great value.
We think that this design is a really great option for those that are looking for something that is powerful, and the connection to Alexa is a great way to interact with your phone without the need of taking it out of your pocket.
Case can charge device in just one hour
Small and compact design
The USB cable is a little on the short side
Not great for small ears
What we liked about this design from Letscom is that it is something that is simple in its design, but incredibly durable, and it comes in at a really affordable price point that is worth checking out.Read more
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this design. These devices are small and sleek and do not stick too much. Plus, to ensure that you get a secure and comfortable grip, it also comes with rubber grips in small, medium, and large sizes.
Sound is offered in both stereo mode for when you are alone, and mono mode for when you want to share your music with a friend. From what we have gathered from previous users, the sound quality is good but isn’t something that is going to blow you away.
One of the best features of this design is the battery life. A single charge is going to provide you with almost 5 hours of continuous music. The best part is that the portable charger will recharge your device up to 8 times!
As we mentioned above, the carrying case also serves as the charging port. It will take just 1 hour to completely charge your device from completely dead. When your case needs to be charged, simply use the USB charging cable the comes with the purchase.
The cost of this design is just slightly more affordable than many of the averaged priced options out there on the market. If you are looking for something that is going to save you a little bit of money, this is going to be one of your better options.
For those that are looking to save a little bit of money on a more affordable option, but still want superior sound, this option from Letscom is worth a look!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Just like hats and glasses, these devices are going to accent your head- so you want to make sure that they look good!
We wanted to make a point of selecting slimmer and more compact designs that are going to look like you aren’t wearing anything at all. However, we were also drawn to options that came in a variety of different colors that offered a little bit of character. Some users do not like the styles that look like they aren’t wearing anything at all, because it leaves coworkers and friends hurt and offended when you ignore them when you ask them a question! How these devices look to others one thing that we considered, but style and design are also going to play a big part in how they feel. A comfortable fit is going to be a big factor in whether these become something that you can wear every day. One thing that we looked for was companies that offered various sizes of rubber grips. Not all heads are built exactly the same, so there shouldn’t just be one size rubber grip. Users typically provided higher marks in the category of comfort and fit to those companies that offered various size options to select from, to help users find the right size for them.
Hands down, the sound quality was one of the most important things that we considered.
Sure, they need to be comfortable and durable, but nothing is going to inspire a great workout than a song that really has a pumping bass and sharp trebles. Realistically speaking these devices aren’t going to give you the same level of quality (especially bass) than standard bulky devices, that slip over your head. Devices need room to create the proper vibrations, and devices that are stuck into your ear just don’t have enough space. However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t designs out there that can do some amazing things.
One of the biggest features that we looked for was a noise-canceling option. Because these devices create an airtight seal, they are perfect for blocking out any and all distractions. We also made sure that we found designs that offered hi-fi stereo sound that provides a very immersive soundscape. If you are a bit of an audiophile and are looking for something that is really going to be comparable to standard options, the design from Bang & Olufsen is going to be as close as you are going to get- but it comes in at a pretty hefty price tag.
The absolute worst thing that can happen in the middle of an intense workout is having your music cut out, so we made sure to select designs that had a battery that can keep up with you.
From what we could gather, the average lifespan of a fully charged device is about 3-4 hours, which is pretty impressive considering that is 3-4 hours of constant streaming. We do have to note that if you are using these devices to talk on the phone, that lifespan will be cut in half to about 2-2.5 hours. On the higher end of the battery life scale is designs that will last you up to 6 hours, but those styles tend to be a little bulky and heavy and can prove to be a little uncomfortable when worn for a longer period of time. So, you are going to have to make a decision to determine which is more important to you - battery life or comfort.
All of these devices out there on the market come in a sleek and compact carrying case that also serves as a portable power source.
What we looked for in these cases was not only how many charges could be conducted off of a single charge, but also how long it took for them to charge from dead to full charge. We found that almost all cases were able to conduct at least 2 charges on the low end, and up to 8 charges on the high end. The average number of charges, however, for most designs landed at about 4, which equates to about 16-20 hours of use right in your pocket. We were drawn to designs that had a screen on the inside that would indicate just how charged your design was on a scale of 1 to 100. For the most part, charging up these units is pretty fast and won’t require you to wait around all day, with most being able to portably charge each device in just an hour. Each portable charger typically comes with a USB charging cable so that you can charge up your case by plugging into a power outlet at home, or you can even plug it directly into your phone while you are on the go.
As always, it is important to save you a little bit of money without sacrificing quality.
We found that the price tags on these devices were pretty consistent, and there were very few instances where prices varied. If you aren’t exactly an audiophile and you simply want a device that is able to stream your favorite music and podcasts directly into your brain, you are likely going to need to spend as much money as it will take to fill up your gas tank before a big road trip. However, for all of the audiophiles out there, get ready to crack open that wallet pretty wide. Products that are made by some of the big names such as Bang & Olufsen bring their top of the line research into the science of sound to their devices, and their high-quality designs come in at a price point that can cost up to 6 times as much as many of the more affordable options. If you want something that is going to have smart features such as connectivity to Amazon Alexa, you are going to pay about 2-3 times as much as the average pair.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you go into this purchase not expecting the same level of quality as over the head options, you won't be disappointed. The over the head options are able to produce deeper tones because of the way vibrations travel through the air. When you have a device that is pressed up against your head, it just isn't going to have the same amount of room to send vibrations.
Finding a size that fits you perfectly is going to be the difference between good sound and amazing sound. Be sure that you select a design that comes with various sizes of rubber grips. If you have a rubber grip that doesn't fit your ear properly, not only is your comfort going to suffer, but the sound quality will suffer as well.
A shortened battery life can be a real dealbreaker for some. If you need something that is going to have a much longer battery life (around 6 hours), you are going to need to buy something that is a lot bulkier than most. This means that it isn't going to be as comfortable as some of the slimmer options, but you aren't going to need to worry about your song cutting off in the middle of a set.
Other Factors to Consider
For some, the color of this item makes no difference at all. As long the sound quality is clear, the bass is booming, and they fit, most people are pleased. However, finding a new electronic in your favorite color is bound to make you slightly more drawn to it. As you will notice on our list, this product is offered in a wide range of colors including black, red, pink, green, blue, white, and more. If you are looking for something that isn't as noticeable, you'll want to look for a color that blends in well with your skin tone. For most, this will be white, pink, or black.
One other reason that color may be important is in the case that you misplace them. If you are prone to losing small electronics, you may prefer to choose a bright color, such as red. Almost all of these options come with a carrying case, which not only protects them but makes them easier to find at the bottom of your backpack.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will they fall out of my ears?
This is one of the most common questions when it comes to these devices, and for good reason. By simply looking at these, they don’t look like something that is going to stay put. However, innovative designs and smart material choices mean they are going to stay put- even when engaging in some pretty intense workout. The rubber on the inside of these devices is made from a non-slip material, which means that it is really going to grip the inside of your ear. Plus, many designs come with multiple rubber grips, so you can ensure that you equip the right size that is going to fit your head perfectly.
q: Is it going to be something that is difficult to pair to my phone?
We know- the thought of arguing with yet another device to pair to your phone may not seem appealing, especially when wired options simply need to be popped into the audio port. However, all of these devices that we have selected for our list use 5.0 Bluetooth tech, which means it is going to be a snap to pair it- and you are only going to need to do it once! To pair, go into the settings on your phone and look for the Bluetooth category. Once you open this setting, search for your device on the drop-down list. Once you pair it, every time you turn on your device, they will automatically communicate with your phone. In essence, this way is actually going to be a little more simple than plugging them into a headphone jack, and you won’t have to deal with wire wires!
q: If they don’t have wires, won’t it make them easy to lose?
This is another concern that we hear quite frequently. Sure, these devices are small, and if you are someone that is prone to misplace things frequently, you may be a little hesitant to take the plunge away from wires. The good news here is that the inclusion of the small cases that also serve as a portable battery work hand in hand with these devices, which is going to lessen the possibility that you lose them (or worse- lose just one of them!). Users typically bring their case along with them when they are on the go because it also serves as a portable battery. This means that when you are done using them, you are more inclined to pop them back into the case to charge them rather than just toss them onto the kitchen counter when you get home.
q: Do they really offer decent sound?
Audiophiles have been saying it for years- earbuds just don’t offer the same audio quality as traditional over the head options. These styles are typically better for bass tones, because of the way that the sound is able to travel over the hairs inside of your head. However, as technology improves, these little gadgets are providing better and better sound quality. We found that there were some brands out there on the market that got the sound stamp of approval from some very discerning audiophiles. For instance, the option from Bang & Olufsen has been rated to be one of the best designs out there on the market, and some even compare them to the quality from some of the heavy hitters such as Bose. The downside to these innovative options is that they come in at an incredibly high price tag that costs almost six times as much as many of the more affordable options.
q: Can I use them to talk on the phone?
Absolutely! Almost all designs that we have seen out there on the market have a microphone as well as a button built into the side that will allow you to answer calls. It is important to note, however, that using them to talk on the phone is going to drain more of your battery than if you were just streaming music. If a device has a battery life of about 4-5 hours when streaming music, you can generally expect that battery life to last about 2-2.5 hours if you are using it to exclusively talk on the phone.
q: Will I be able to just use one at a time?
Sometimes with certain activities such as biking, you want to be able to listen to your favorite podcast, but you still want to be able to hear what is going on around you in order to stay safe. The great thing about these devices is that not only are you able to just listen to one at a time, but they also offer mono stereo that blends the left and right speaker into one. Not only is this a perfect feature for those that only want to use one at a time, but it also makes it ideal if you are waiting for a flight with a friend and you both want to listen to an audiobook off of your phone without being tethered by a short wire.
q: Are they water resistant?
We mentioned how these devices are really going to stay put when engaging in some pretty intense workouts, but how are they going to fare when your routine has created a heavy sweat that pools in your ears? The good news is that all of these devices on our list are considered to be water-resistant. That means that if you are sweating a lot or you get caught in the rain, it isn’t going to affect your device. There are even some options out there on the market that are so water-resistant that you are even able to wear them in the shower!