As much as we love the sound and bass performance of big, hulking over-ear headphones, there are some situations where they simply tend to cause more problems than they’re worth.
Whether you’re at the gym, traveling, or just hanging out, sometimes you just want something a little more compact, something that won’t weigh you down, or maybe even a pair of headphones that’s sweat-proof. For these specialties, you’re speaking precisely of what in-ear headphones have to offer.
We’re on a mission to provide you with the best in-ear headphones around. As such, we’ve corralled our top-rated reviews so that you can do all your research and make a purchase in one place.
1. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
Fully-featured and powerful in-ear headphones
Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: .3 pounds | Cable length: 4.2 feet | Frequency response: 15-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 18 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Different model for each mobile OS
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, so everyone can get in on the goodness.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
2. Beyerdynamic iDX 160 iE
Earphones that bleed style and booming sound
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .1 pounds | Cable length: 4 feet | Frequency response: 10-25,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 47 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Slick, practical design
Full sound delivery
Inline controls iOS-only
In-ear headphones hone in on portability and convenience as main draws. Unfortunately, that sharp focus can result in features like sound performance and design taking a back seat in several in-ear options in the market.
The Beyerdynamic iDX 160 iE buck that trend by providing a stunning balance in its sound quality, feature set and design.
Read the full review: Beyerdynamic iDX 160 iE
3. Jaybird X2
Sporty headphones that are great for casual listeners too
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.03 pounds | Cable length: 21″ | Frequency response: 20-20000Hz | Drivers: Two 6mm drivers | Sensitivity: 103 +-2dB | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Battery life: 8 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet |
Above average battery life
A bit expensive
If you’re looking for a hassle-free set of wireless in-ear headphones, the Jaybird X2 are an easy pick. The price might seem high, but the performance, ease of use and included goodies more than make up for the cost.
Read the full review: Jaybird X2
4. Klipsch Reference X6i
Audiophile sound on the go
Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: 18 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-19,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 110dB | Impedance: 50 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Balanced, spacious sound
Lots of cable noise
Awkward carrying case
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.
If you’re looking for balanced sounding in-ear headphones for $179 / £165 / AU$399, though, I 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
5. Polk Nue Voe
It’s like Warby Parker got into the headphones game
Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: .3 pounds | Cable length: 4 feet | Frequency response: 10Hz-21,500kHz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Balanced Armature | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Novel tortoise pattern
iOS-only inline controls
Not only do these look the part, similar in style to a fancy set of tortoise-patterned eyeglasses, they sound awesome and are comfortable enough to wear all day. These earphones are packed with balanced armature drivers, which ups the mids to increase crispness.
It should be noted that the inline controls built into headphones only properly work with Apple products. You’ll still get the same performance in, say, an Android phone or a Windows phone, but you won’t be able to increase or decrease the volume.
Read the full review: Polk Nue Voe
6. Shure SE215
Excellent midrange in-ear headphones for a bargain
Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: N/A | Cable length: 5.3 feet | Frequency response: 22Hz-17,500kHz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 20 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Lacks in-line controls
If excellent noise isolation, comfort and stellar sound performance are of interest to you, consider the Shure SE215.
The headphones come in a cool translucent, space grey color and among its many good traits, the best of all is that you can snag the Shure SE215 for under one hundred bucks.
Read the full review: Shure SE215
7. Bose FreeStyle
Eye-catching with great audio quality and an attractive price
Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: .3 pounds | Cable length: 3.7 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Secure, fitness-friendly fit
Durable, moisture-resistant design
Lacks sound isolation
Divisive vibrant design
Specifically targeted to gym-goers, the FreeStyle headphones are stocked with helpful features to help you get the most out of your music during a workout (when you need it the most). It offers a comfy and stable fit and better yet, it’s moisture-resistant design means the FreeStyle can kick it with you through your whole workout, inside or out. The only major downside is that the inline controls are only compatible with iOS.
Read the full review: Bose FreeStyle
8. Sony XBA-H1
In-ear headphones with style and bravado
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: 3.9 feet | Frequency response: 5-25,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Hybrid | Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW | Impedance: 40 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Powerful sound performance
No inline controls
If you’re in the market for a set of in-ear headphones with pizzazz, the Sony XBA-H1 will be right up your alley. Whether your preference leans toward a more sporty look, or one that is simple, both audiences are served well here.
The hybrid driver unit packs in balanced armature and dynamic designs into one unit, bringing the very best that both have to offer to your ears. This results in booming bass, highs that shine and response that makes your music sound more punchy than ever.
Read the full review: Sony XBA-H1
9. RHA T10i
Premium earphones for any taste
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .09 pounds | Cable length: 4.4 feet | Frequency response: 16-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW | Impedance: 16 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Amazing sound quality
The sound quality is incredible, thanks to the snug seal created when the headphones are stuck in your ear. 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.
Read the full review: RHA T10i
10. Bose QuietComfort 20
An extremely comfortable noise-canceling pair of earbuds
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .6 pounds | Cable length: 4.3 feet | Frequency response: 16-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Amazing sound quality
On the expensive side
The Bose QuietComfort 20s are easily some of the best sounding in-ear noise canceling headphones we’ve ever put through their paces. Of course, for $300 (about £200), they better be.
Boasting amazing noise canceling technology and incredible sound, the QuietComfort 20 is also extremely comfortable. Additionally, we really liked “Aware Mode” and laud Bose for making versions compatible with every major mobile OS including Android and iOS.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 20
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