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 for most of your life. So you know that finding a good pair of earbuds is actually pretty tricky. (I’ve gone through more in my lifetime than I can count.)
Does that mean all earbuds are crap? No. 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. You’ll find earbuds that require a headphone jack or the beloved dongle, wireless Bluetooth earbuds that still have a connecting 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.
Earbuds versus earphones: What’s the difference?
The difference between earbuds and earphones is actually pretty simple. Earphones typically fit over your ear — if you’ve seen the AirPods Max, you’ve seen what a typical pair of over-ear headphones look like. Earbuds actually fit inside of your ear, like the Powerbeats Pro or AirPods Pro.
You can find fantastic versions of either style; your choice will just come down to personal preference. Earphones typically aren’t as harsh on your ears, featuring soft earcups to prevent soreness, but earbuds are a lot more compact and funnel audio directly into your eardrums. Earbuds can usually get a better seal for enhanced noise-cancelation, too.
How much should I spend on earbuds?
When it comes to any type of audio device, you tend to get what you pay for. Obviously, you shouldn’t put yourself into debt over a pair of headphones, but you don’t want anything too cheap, either. Sure, you can pick up a pair of off-brands at your local gas station, but those will be broken by the end of the week. $80 is normally a good starting point for decent earbuds that will last you a while, and they can cost well over $200 depending on what you get. Luckily, earbuds go on sale all the time.
Are corded or wireless earbuds better?
They both have their uses, but the main difference is input lag. Corded earbuds wil usually have less input delay than a pair of wireless earbuds, but if you have a really nice pair of wireless buds, you probably won’t even notice. Also, fumbling around with a cord tends to get annoying for a lot of people.
What are the most important things to look for when it comes to earbuds?
The most important thing is always going to be sound quality. Whether you’re streaming music, watching movies, or listing to podcasts and audiobooks, you want them all to sound clear and immersive. (This is where “you get what you pay for” really comes in.) You’ll also want to consider things like comfort, sizing (does it come with multiple ear tips?), battery life, noise-cancelation, and the control interface.
Think about whether you want your headphones to have a microphone or not — on wired headphones it’s usually built into the cord; on wireless headphones, near the part that sticks out of the ear. Some people like to be able to take calls from their earbuds as they go; others enjoy being able to just hit ignore on the phone without knowing they could easily take the call. Not all earbud mics are created equal, either — some are downright terrible, making calls super-crackly; others will let you have a fairly clear conversation.