June 12, 2021

10 of the best earbuds for every situation

The best-reviewed wired, wireless, and wire-free options, all in one place.

Sure, they’re small, but that doesn’t mean earbuds are a purchase to be taken lightly.

You’ve probably been listening to music on the go since you were about 12. So you know that finding a good pair of earbuds is actually pretty tricky. We’ve probably all gone through more than we can count.

And while picking up a £5 pair in the checkout line is easy enough, you know you’ll just be back again next month (or sooner) for a new pair because they stopped working.

Does that mean all earbuds are rubbish? No way. It’s simply not true that bass, noise cancellation, and crisp sound can only be found in fancy over-ear headphones. Some of us prefer our headphones to be a little more inconspicuous and portable.

Since it’s always good to get a personal recommendation, we did some research and pulled out the best earbuds on Amazon. We’ve also split them into categories: the ones you’ll need a headphone jack or the beloved dongle for, the wireless Bluetooth earbuds that are still connected with a cord, and the truly wireless earbuds that are as discreet as you can get. 

Whatever your preference and whatever your price range, you’re sure to find some that don’t suck.

Best wired earbuds

This is the headphone-jack kind you’ve used ever since your first Walkman (or iPod). There’s no charging or dealing with dead earbuds, but iPhone users will have to choose between listening and charging.

Ergo-fit bud that conforms to your ear • Noise cancellation is better than expected at this price
Probably doesn’t have the same sound quality as higher-end options
If you lose your earbuds a lot, or are just on a budget, these are highly-rated.
You shouldn’t pick a pair of earbuds simply because of an attractive low price, but that’s not to say that quality earbuds can’t be £10. 
The Panasonic RP-HJE125E-K In-Ear Headphones have a super comfy ergo-fit bud that’s said to conform to the shape of your ear. If you’re not looking for over-the-top sound features and just need a pair to get the job done, these are for you — though some customers also mention that their noise cancellation and bass clarity is pretty impressive for such a low price. 
Overall, the Panasonic earbuds have a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, from almost 3,000 reviews. Plus, if you lose them or put them through the washing machine, you won’t break the bank replacing them.  

Made from genuine wood • Take phone calls • Highly-rated sound quality
Not a lot of bad things to say
Great sound quality at a relatively low price.
This pair gives off the vibe that you smoke cigars and sit by the fireplace in a robe.
The Symphonized NRG 3.0 Wooden Headphones are just as functional as they are classy, handcrafted from genuine wood that offers up insane natural acoustics. Deep bass and clear sound is also present, with multiple earbud sizes to seal out background nose. The colourful cord features buttons for volume control, voice commands, and phone calls. Basically, they’re fancy AF and totally don’t look like they’re under £25 — but they are.
Overall, the Symphonized earbuds have a 4.0 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, which is pretty impressive from over 50 reviews.

Great bass and balance • Highly-rated fit
There are cheaper wired options out there
If you’re looking for great sound quality at an affordable price, this could be the pair for you.
At a slightly higher price point (but still a steal considering what they can do), the Sony MDR-XB50AP Extra Bass Headphones are ace. 
They have a similar look to some of the others in this list but come in a few colours and are obviously Sony, if you care about big brand names. Interior neodymium magnets give them powerful, equal sound in each ear, and 12mm dome driver units (the metallic things on the earpiece) deliver bass that is truly extra. Bass that bumpin’ is honestly pretty hard to find in earbuds under £50, so if the audiophile in you cares about that, these are your pick. 
Overall, the Sony Extra Bass earbuds have a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, based on almost 500 reviews.

Tri-port tech provides strong bass • Sweat- and weather-resistant
Reviewers tend to say that the quality of sound and durability make these wired earbuds worth the price.
Where there’s a “best earbuds” list, there’s Bose. That’s because Bose really knows quality — so even if they’re a little more expensive, they’re worth it. 
The Tri-port technology provides strong bass from three different ventilation holes and makes for crisp highs and natural-sounding lows. Basically, you’re getting sincerely awesome acoustics for such a tiny pair of headphones. Bose also claims that they’re sweat and weather resistant, so even the most extreme workouts won’t make them fall out.
Overall, the Bose SoundSport Headphones have a 3.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from over 500 reviews.

Bluetooth and wireless earbuds

If you’re tired of untangling headphone cords every damn day or constantly losing your iPhone dongle, a pair of wireless earbuds may be more up your alley.

Sweatproof • Ear hook for extra security • Eight hours of listening on a charge
Some reviews said they stopped working, but got free replacements
If you’re willing to bet that your pair won’t stop working after a few months, these could be an excellent deal.

Otium Wireless Sport Headphones

Sweatproof and equipped with a comfortable ear hook to ensure security, these little guys are perfect for vigorous workouts.

Hey gym addicts: The Otium Wireless Sport Headphones just might be the workout headphones you’ve been waiting for. 
Sweatproof and equipped with a comfortable ear hook to ensure security, these little guys are perfect for vigorous workouts, running, biking, or anything in-between. The sound quality is also superb — their EDR technology basically means clear bass and no muddied sound, even at its loudest volume. According to the listing, you can fit in eight hours of listening time on one full charge.
Overall, they have a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, which is pretty amazing. Many of the reviews comment on the great value you get with Otium.

Sweatproof • Magnets keep them together • Good fit
If you like an ear hook, you’re out of luck here
Highly-rated sound and a convenient magnet make these a great choice.
Some people just don’t like that over the ear hook. That’s cool. The SoundPEATS Magnetic Bluetooth Headphones are an in-ear option for those big on headphones staying in place. 
They’re equipped with a high-fidelity, detailed stereo sound, and impressive bass for how small they are. All of that is packed into an ultra-lightweight design that will almost feel like you’re not wearing anything. Built-in magnets allow the buds to stick together like a necklace for a more secure hold when they’re not in use. These are also claimed to be sweatproof, another plus for gym-goers. 
Overall, the SoundPEATS earbuds have a 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, from over 100 reviews.

Extremely good customer service • Great sound • Sweatproof
Known to break sometimes, but with quick free replacement
There’s a reason these wireless headphones are so popular — their sound quality is amazing for the price.
Another option for intense sound without an intense price are the Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth Headphones
These bad boys sport 8 mm speakers designed by Swiss audio engineers and are apparently approved by even the pickiest music lovers. The BHS-730 give the most robust sound and deepest bass of any Phaiser headphones, but the HD sound isn’t all they can do. They’re coated in Liquipel Nano Coating, making them sweatproof and strong enough to survive being dropped in water. Memory foam ear tips provide extra comfort and noise isolation.
Overall, the Phaiser BHS-730 headphones have a 4.0 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from over 2,000 reviews. That might have something to do with the fact that faulty items are reportedly replaced, free of charge. That’s great customer service.

Truly wireless earbuds

For those who are constantly on the go and really just can’t be bothered with any cords whatsoever, 100 percent wireless earbuds are a game changer. This is a serious Men in Black look. Just make sure you don’t lose them.

Tiny • Excellent battery life • 50-foot connection range
Might take a while to get used to these tiny earbuds
If you want truly wire-free earbuds and don’t want to spend a ton, try these out.
Starting off with a bang: This borderline invisible pair of earbuds are the defintion of truly wire-free.
The FOCUSPOWER F10 Mini Bluetooth Earbuds are mini alright, and the smallest ones we’ve seen — perfect for those who want their headphones as unnoticeable as possible. They may fall out a time or two before you get the positioning right, but what else can you expect from earbuds smaller than a coin? Just snuggle these little beauties into your ear canal and call it a day, alright? 
The F10 earbuds have seriously impressive battery life as well. They’re apparently able to last up to six or seven hours, depending on the volume. But we don’t think you’ll need full volume anyway, because according to the listing, the lithium accumulator gives full-volume sound at just 30 or 40%.
We’re not going to get into the reviews, because there just aren’t enough on Amazon UK yet.

Affordable • Stylish • Crisp sound
Not the cheapest, but not the priciest either
If you’re looking for style at a mid-range price, these could be the earbuds for you.

TREBLAB X2 Bluetooth Earbuds

Multiple customers make it a point to talk about the unique, ultra-futuristic look of these earbuds, mentioning that they’re constantly getting compliments.

Another slick choice are the TREBLAB X2 Bluetooth Earbuds with Beryllium Speakers.  
In this new and improved version of Treblab’s first go, the company has perfected the X2’s speakers with beryllium — an element found in stars that apparently makes the speed of sound 2.5 times faster than traditional speakers. This is as crisp and three-dimensional as you can get. 
Listen for five hours on one charge, and then use the portable charging dock and carrying case to get another five hours of juice. Multiple customers make it a point to talk about the unique, ultra-futuristic look of these earbuds, mentioning that they’re constantly getting compliments.
Overall, the TREBLAB X2 earbuds have a 4.0 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, from over 100 customers.

Sweat-and weather-resistant • Excellent sound quality • Includes “find my buds” app feature
If you want the best wire-free option with loss-prevention tech, these could be worth the price tag.
Want to be completely worry-free during a workout? The Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones are here to say you no longer have to choose between sound and a fit that stays. 
For Bose’s latest and greatest, the creators focused on every little technical aspect, from circuits for improved sound to antenna position for maximum Bluetooth signal. 
Even in a crowded gym, all you’ll hear is your music: Volume-optimised EQ make music three-dimensional and balanced at any volume. Bose claims these are sweat and weather resistant, and they come with three different pairs of StayHear+ Sport tips for extra comfort and security. If you lose them, you can find them in a second with the “Find My Buds” feature on the Bose Connect app. 
Overall, the SoundSport Free headphones have a 3.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, from over 200 reviews.

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