The 5 best earbuds for every budget and lifestyle
Long ago, when Apple introduced the iPod to the world — remember iPods? — they packaged their revolutionary MP3 players with tiny plastic earbuds. As iPods took over the world, so did the iconic white earbuds. And they all but relegated the previously ubiquitous portable, on-ear headphones to ancient audio history. But those early iPod earbuds weren’t very durable, and the sound quality was questionable. So innovation followed. After 20 years of advancing technology and design, you can find excellent earbuds with incredible features no matter how much (or how little) money you have to spend. With all that choice, you may not know where to start. So we found the five best earbuds for any budget from $50 to $300. Whether you have only a few bucks or you’ve been saving your pennies for top-of-the-line audio, you can’t go wrong with one of these choices.
The best earbuds under $50
LetsFit Earbud Headphones – great budget earbuds for your run or workout
Letsfit’s $20 earbuds use a wire to connect with themselves to stay in place while you work out. That’s important to mention if you need true wirelessness. But you don’t need to plug them into anything but your ears when you use them. These top-rated, affordable earbuds are at the top of our recommendations for athletes. As mentioned, they’re unique design creates extra support to hold the earbuds in place. That’s helpful when you’re running or doing other types of workouts. Another key feature that makes these affordable earbuds worth considering is they’re strong water resistance rating. Swimmers, you can submerge these earbuds in water for up to 1 meter and for 30 minutes. Another thing to note is how athletic gear can get more banged out, so we like that these offer a lot of bang for your buck.
The best earbuds under $100
Sennheiser CX 400BT – excellent sound quality that won’t break the bank
The most important aspect to consider when purchasing earbuds is how well you can hear what you’re listening to. The Sennheiser CX 400BTs are famous for their excellent sound quality. The form factor of these earbuds fills your ears to create a barrier that prevents sound from escaping. Another one of our favorite things about these earbuds is that they’re compatible for Apple and Android users. This makes them among the best universal earbuds at their price point. To top it off, these earbuds use the same sound technology as their pricier, newer counterpart, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. So essentially, you’re getting the same technology for half the price.
The best earbuds under $200
Apple Air Pods – user-friendly and popular wireless earbuds
The most popular and recognizable wireless earbuds, Apple’s AirPods are still among the best. Hands down the most innovative pair, they’re super user-friendly. With a modest charging case and simple navigating controls, these headphones are easy to use. They offer automatic connection with your iPhone (sorry Android users) and to other Apple products (iPads, Macbooks, etc.). An upgrade from previous generations, the current model of AirPods uses microphones during your calls to filter out background noise and amplify your voice. Another fun feature is being able to share audio with two sets of AirPods. We also like that these newer AirPods allow access to Siri virtual assistant without using your iPhone.
The best earbuds under $250
Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus – among the best-designed earbuds on the market
If you’re looking for a sleek, modern design in your earbuds, the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus earbuds are ideal. They come in 10 different colors. Also, M&D promises that each set will vary due to the material and hand-finish, so each pair is unique. Another one of their attractive design choices is the stainless steel charging case case. But we recommend you take extra care with the charging case, as it is easy to scratch. On another note, these earbuds have a long battery life. Outlasting several other earbuds, these can last for almost nine hours on a single charge. Even better, charging them for 15 minutes in the case gets you five extra hours of listening time.
The best earbuds under $300
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds – premium noise-cancelling earbuds for a premium price
Noise cancellation is of the most coveted features in earbuds and headphones. And no one nails noise cancellation like reliable, high-end Bose. Although the design is a bit bulkier than most earbuds, it’s for good reason. These larger earbuds include internal and external microphones and processors built to repel outside noise. They offers three different levels of noise cancellation. Another innovation Bose got right was creating ear nozzles (the soft part of the earbud) that fit your ears to create a seal that helps block further noise. Also, these earbuds hold six hours of play time on a full charge. And you can get two extra hours out of 15 minutes of charging.