Best In-Ear Headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the best earbuds and earphones you can buy in 2017.
Of the many types of headphones available on the market, in-ears are perhaps the most compact.
While over-ear and on-ear cans have a bulky headband that sits over your head, in-ear headphones (or earbuds), sit neatly inside the ear, making them perfect if you want to wear something that's low-profile and innocuous.
This makes them perfect for the gym, where bulkier headphones can be weighty and uncomfortable.
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 best wireless headphones if you're looking for more suggestions on which headphones are the best at cutting the cord, or our guide to the best true wireless earbuds for some earbuds that are completely wire-free.
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.
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone
- Optoma NuForce BE Sport3
- RHA T10i
- RHA 500u
- Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE
- Klipsch Reference X6i
- Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears
- 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones
- V-Moda Forza
- Focal Sphear
- Check out TechRadar's exhaustive guides to the to buy today including the and the .
- For some more specialist pairs, take a look at our guides to the , the best true wireless headphones, and the .
- Looking for some headphones you can take in the pool or on your run? Check out our guide to the and best running headphones.
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
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.
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
If you have a tendency to lose or break headphones but still value sound quality, it’s hard to think of a better value than the RHA S500u. These headphones have no business sounding so good for the price: Sound quality is balanced with a slight mid-bass bump. Bass is slightly emphasized but not egregiously and features good impact while maintaining good control. And highs, while sibilant at times, makes music sound more exciting.
Read the full review: RHA S500u
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
They're expensive, but the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones are worth every penny. 1MORE hit it out of the park with this flagship pair of in-ear headphones with its balanced sound build quality, smartphone compatibility and price. These in-ear headphones will make mobile audiophiles very happy.
The only reservation that we have is that the Quad Drivers face tough competition from 1MORE’s own cheaper Triple Driver sibling which costs half the price. In terms of value, the 1MORE Triple Driver headphones are the winner but for those who want just a bit better build and more detailed sound, the 1MORE Quad Driver headphones are worth the extra money.
Read the full review: 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones
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
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- If you're looking to use these earbuds while running, be sure to check out our list of the best running gadgets.