Best In-Ear Headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best earbuds and earphones you can buy in 2017.
On the track, in the gym or on the go, you’re going want to find a good pair of earbuds (commonly referred to in the audio world as in-ear headphones).
In-ear headphones are a love it or hate it affair. Some people love their compact design and the fact that you can easily wear them under a hat or helmet, while others dislike the feeling of having something sitting directly in your ears.
Light and compact enough for the gym without sacrificing on audio quality, in-ear headphones are perfect for more or less every situation you can think of throwing at them – running, biking, hiking or simply walking around town.
Not only are the best pairs of in-ear headphones ultra-comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, but newer models can be completely wire-free. We have a few listed below (see: Beats X and Optoma NuForce BE Sports3), but you can check out our full guide to the if you’re looking for more suggestions on which headphones are the best at cutting the cord.
We’re constantly reviewing new pairs of earphones, so we’re always updating this list as we find better ones available. That means while this list might change from month-to-month as better headphones make their way to our test stations, you can rest assured knowing that you’re getting the best headphones on the market at any point and any time you buy them.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best earbuds we’ve tested.
- RHA T10i
- Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE
- Klipsch Reference X6i
- Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears
- V-Moda Forza
- Focal Sphear
- Optoma NuForce BE Sport3
- Beats X
- Bose QuietControl 30
- Check out TechRadar’s exhaustive guides to the to buy today including the , the and the .
- For some more specialist pairs, take a look at our guides to the and the .
- Looking for some headphones you can take in the pool? Check out our guide to the .
After spending a few weeks with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones and the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones we were blown away at just how much value each one gave in their prospective price ranges.
For $100 (£100, about AU$168), it’s hard to think of a better sounding and built headphone than the 1MORE Triple Driver. That said, if you want just that little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Drivers are still a bargain at twice the price.
There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Its rubber cable is annoying and its remote control feels cheap but these are just nitpicks. But, for its price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones.
Read the full review: 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone
Leading off our list is the RHA T10i. It’s here for one simple reason: the sound quality is incredible, thanks to the snug seal created when the headphones are stuck in your ear. OK, plus the bass is also robust for such small earphones.
The RHA T10i look slick with a metal finish around the drivers and around the cable as well. They also come with several replacement tips if the defaults don’t fit your ear canal. They’re more expensive than other buds on the list, but there’s good reason they’re in our top spot.
Read the full review: RHA T10i
There’s no shortage of sub-$200 headphones on the market, but the Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE are at the top of the pack. Their excellent build quality, sound and design make them one of the most well rounded in-ear headphones I’ve ever heard. No, they’re not cheap, but again, you get what you pay for.
Read the full review: Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE
The Klipsch Reference X6i are a wonderful-sounding package. Their comfort, build quality, sound quality and features make it great value for the money, too.
They have some problems (like an awful lot of cable noise while you’re moving around with them on), but if you’re looking for balanced sounding in-ear headphones for $179 / £165 / AU$399, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Klipsch Reference X6i. Stated simply, they’re supremely comfortable audiophile-level in-ear headphones for an affordable price.
Read the full review: Klipsch Reference X6i
With the appealing candy apple detailing, Sennheiser gets you in the door. But once you’re in, you’ll stay for the killer sound quality that comes from the Momentum In-Ear earphones.
These are the among the best deals in the headphones market as it stands today. The company has a version available for each flavor of mobile OS – Android and iOS – so everyone can get in on the goodness.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
The V-Moda Forza offers a lot: It sounds good; it’s built to last and its modular design is like nothing we’ve seen before on an earbud. The Forza, therefore, are perfect for anyone who wants a headphone that can do it all, from working out to taking these with you on the morning commute to the office.
Sure, it’s not the most balanced sounding or highest resolution, but the water resistance and modular design of the Forza make it a pretty compelling option.
Read the full review: V-Moda Forza
For a first attempt at making an in-ear headphone, Focal knocked it out of the park with the Sphear. They sound great with all types of music and offer an exciting, mid-forward presentation that will make your toe tap with the music. They may not be the best built or best isolating in-ear headphones on the market but for the commuter looking for a comfortable and great sounding pair of in-ear headphones, the Sphears check all the right boxes.
For about the same money, you can get the excellent Klipsch Reference X6i, which feel better made and offer a more laidback and balanced musical presentation. Also, unfortunately they’re designed for Apple devices so don’t expect the volume controls to work if you have an Android device. Boo!
Read the full review: Focal Sphear
NuForce knocked it out of the park with the BE Sport3 headphones. They’re an incredible value for a pair of wireless headphones that sound good, last all day, have a bulletproof build and incredible noise isolation. While they’re not the most dynamic or resolving headphones, NuForce shows us that the future of wireless headphones is a bright one.
The Beats X is a bold new product for what has quickly become a traditional headphone maker. Instead of sticking to bass-heavy workout earbuds or wildly expensive over-ears, the company has crafted a new pair of musically inclined in-ears for anyone already sick of losing their brand-new Apple AirPods.
It has a few problems of its own – including poor noise isolation and a lack of fidelity – but if you’re looking for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes and don’t mind dropping some cash on them, the Beats X are for you.
Read the full review: Beats X
Life is full of trade-offs, and it’s the same with the Bose QuietControl 30s. On the plus side you get a level of noise cancellation that’s on a par with the brand’s over-ear headphones, but the compromise here is on sound quality, which is simply not as good as that of other in-ear or over-ear headphones we’ve tried.
Read the full review: Bose QuietControl 30
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By Nick Pino
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