In-ear headphones are the pinnacle of convenience. While over-ear headphones most often sound better than other kinds, they’re a pain to carry around. If you want a pair of headphones to shove in your pocket or drop into a bag, then in-ear headphones are the way to go.
Of course, there are a ton of in-ear headphones to choose from, and they’re not all created equal. That, however, is why we put together this guide — to help you choose the best in-ear headphones out there for your needs.
Here are the best in-ear headphones that we’ve tested.
Best in-ear headphones
Master & Dynamic has had a killer few years. The company’s lineup has grown into a seriously competitive slew of great-sounding, well-designed, and easy to use headphones. While its on-ear and over-ear headphones, like the Master & Dynamic MW50’s, often top lists, its series of in-ear headphones are excellent options too. Those include the ME01, ME03, and our winner for the best in-ear headphones, the Master & Dynamic ME05.
There are plenty of reasons why the Master & Dynamic ME05 headphones top this list. For starters, all of the headphones in Master & Dynamic’s lineup are beautifully-designed using strong materials. That means that they not only look great, but they’re durable too.
Then there’s the fact that they sound awesome. The bass response on these headphones is deep and powerful, while the midrange offers plenty of warmth in the low-mids and enough high-mids to give vocals and guitars some nice presence. The high-end may not be as powerful as the bass on these headphones, but it’s still pretty clear, and the headphones come with acoustic filters to help boost that high-end a little if you so choose.
Sure, $200 is a lot to pay for a pair of in-ear headphones — but if you’re looking for simply the best in-ear headphones you can buy, then the Master & Dynamic ME05’s are the best available.
Best wireless in-ear headphones
In-ear headphones may be convenient, but wireless in-ear headphones seriously take things to the next level. If you’re looking for the best wireless in-ear headphones out there, then the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones are the ones for you.
There are plenty of reasons the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones are a great pick. For starters, they’re really quite comfortable, thanks in large to the smaller in-ear units.
Of course, they aren’t just comfortable — they also sound great. The headphones also sound great. The bass on these headphones is nice and clear, while the midrange is well-tuned too. Perhaps the best thing about the sound profile, however, is how well-tuned the high-end is — which helps give vocals and cymbals a nice, crisp shine.
Best in-ear headphones for sports
If you’re looking for a great pair of headphones for sports and prefer a wireless design, then the Jaybird X3 headphones are the headphones for you. Not only are they well-designed and comfortable, but they sound great too.
So what makes these headphones a good choice? Well, they’re super lightweight — which is great for those looking to take the headphones on runs or to the gym. That plays a big part in comfort, and while the in-ear units are a little large, they were able to stay in very easily.
These are also some of the best-sounding sports headphones we’ve ever tested, thanks largely to the connected app, which allows you to tweak the sound-profile, if you so choose. The bass is more than enough to give those workouts a little extra oomph, while the high-end is clear, concise, and crisp.
Best true wireless headphones
True wireless headphones are getting increasingly popular, and that’s thanks in part to the new Apple AirPods. While many swear by the AirPods, we think a different pair of true wireless headphones are the ones to go for — the Bragi Dash Pro headphones.
The first thing you’ll notice about the headphones is that they’re sleek and stylish, but they’re design is also functional. How so? Well, the headphones are touch-sensitive, so you’ll be able to learn how to use them with simple touch gestures. Not only that, but the headphones feature built-in heart-rate monitoring, which could be super helpful for those looking to take these to the gym.
The sound-profile of the headphones is also pretty nice. Using the accompanying app, you’ll be able to change things like how much outside noise the headphones let in, which can be very helpful. You won’t be able to change the frequency response — but you may not need to. The headphones offer excellent bass response, along with good midrange. The high-end isn’t perfect here — but there’s still plenty of it there if that’s important to you.
Best in-ear headphones under $100
The headphones on this list are all slightly different in different ways, but there’s one thing that they all have in common — they’re a little expensive. That’s where the Focal Spark headphones come in — as a great way to get an excellent pair of headphones at a reasonable price.
The first thing you’ll notice about these headphones is their design, and they look great. They feature a nice metallic design that’s both good-looking and strong. They’re also pretty comfortable, thanks in part to how small the in-ear units are.
Of course, the headphones would be nothing without their sound quality — and they sound awesome. There’s plenty of bass response here, but it’s a little more natural than overly emphasized. The mid-range is also well-tuned, boasting nice, round low-mids, while the high-end is crisp and clear.
Safe to say, if you want a pair of great in-ear headphones under $100, then these are the ones for you.