The 7 Best Earbuds to Buy in 2017

Shop for the best budget, exercise and sound quality earbuds

When it comes to plugging into our music, there’s no need to settle for the cheap earbuds that come with your portable music player. Plus, there are plenty of options in the market, no matter what you’re looking for; whether you’re an audio aficionado or just want a pair that doesn't break the bank. While it might seem overwhelming to go shopping for your next set of earbuds, we’re here to help. Here are our picks for the best earbuds of 2017.

The Bose QC20 are hands down the best noise cancellation in-canal earphones on the market, giving over-ear noise cancelling full-size headphones a run for their money.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery feels nearly bottomless, providing up to 16 hours of use. Depending on your device of choice, you can buy a style intended for Apple devices or a style made for Samsung and Android devices. And while silence is golden, you can activate Aware mode for the moments when you need to be alert.

For $50 more you could spring for the newer Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones, which are impressive in their own right, but there’s really no need since the QC20 are just as good. One five-star reviewer on Amazon gave them a B+ for sound quality because of a mediocre bass, but said “the soft silicone of the QC20 ear tips rest so comfortably against your ear openings that you simply forget you're wearing them at all.”

When it comes to headphones, getting the most value means getting the most features at the lowest cost. The TaoTronics TT-EP01 headphones are clearly the winner, as they have active-noise canceling and a premium aluminum alloy construction that you’d normally associate with headphones that cost four times as much. The active-noise canceling can reduce background and ambient sounds by up to 30dB, but it only lasts up to 15 hours before the battery pack needs to be recharged.

As for comfort, the TT-EP01 headphones come with three pairs of earbuds and three pairs of ear hooks to help you find the right fit on your ears. If you need to make calls, these headphones work for that as well, thanks to the included a microphone. Keep in mind that because these headphones are less expensive, they may not have the same sound quality and noise-canceling prowess are the higher-end ones.

The fifth generation of Etymotic’s “high fidelity” earbuds are marketed at audiophiles, and much of their sales pitch is based on Consumer Reports’ “Accuracy Score” that points out the fantastic sound quality produced from these tiny earbuds.

The sound quality is almost exact, though there are spots on either side of the spectrum, high or low, where the sound is not as crystal clear as in the center of the spectrum, but these seem to be the exception rather than the rule. The frequency range for these earbuds falls between 20 Hz to 15 kHz and features noise isolation in the 35-42 dB range.

Like many of the other earbuds on this list, the hf5s come with three different tip sizes to fit the ear, but they also go deeper into the ear than others do, which might help to explain the sound quality these ones produce. This also means that the earbuds fit snugly in the ear, and securely, so there’s no real danger here that they’re going to fall out.

The days of truly wireless earbuds are finally here. While “wireless” bluetooth earbuds have been on the market for a while, they usually have a final wire or band connecting them to another, which can brush up against your neck while jogging or squish up against the bench while weightlifting. SoundPEATS leaves the last wire behind for a truly wireless listening experience, featuring two sweat-proof buds held in by comfortable ergonomic over-ear clips.

SoundPEATS rock Bluetooth 4.2, so they have longest-ever range for Bluetooth workout phones. That means you can jam out on the basketball court while your phone is safely on the bench. Noise isolation technology silences the din of even the most hectic weight room, and you can even split the earbuds between two people on a run. 

If you’re shopping for the cheapest earbuds around that don’t sound like a heap of static garbage, then the AmazonBasics In-Ear Headphones are for you. These headphones are standard in their design, with a four-foot cord for flexibility and a contoured fit on the earbuds that attempt to block some ambient noise.

For sound quality, the AmazonBasics have a 9mm neodymium driver that produces good-if-not-great sound, with some bass actually coming through. The headphones come in black, blue and pink varieties and offer a small clip that you can attach to your clothing (for running, biking, etc.).

Amazon reviews indicate that customers are mostly happy with their purchase, with a few folks unhappy with the sound quality. But really, for less than $10, if you’re getting at least decent quality, this is a steal.

Sound quality is a huge reason to upgrade from the standard earbuds that are included with a smartphone because those earbuds often don’t use the best components and drivers. The 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones take our runner-up position for best sound quality because the three drivers are there to create a high-end and dynamic listening experience with full bass and easy-to-discern mids and highs.

As for design, these earbuds feature a lightweight aluminum construction that is designed to fit comfortably in your ear canals. The cord itself is four feet long and has both a microphone and a three-button remote for controlling your music. 1MORE claims to have collaborated with music industry veteran and sound engineer Luca Bignardi to get the sound just right and it shows in customer responses. Reviewers on Amazon have raved about the sound quality on these earbuds, specifically noting clear and balanced sound along with great bass response.

Bose makes what is arguably the best workout earbuds on the market. Bose’s SoundSport earbuds come with three sizes of their unique ‘StayHear’ tips, designed for both comfort and stability during movement. The earbuds are also sweat-resistant, which is a major plus: When you’re paying for a quality set, you definitely want the added peace of mind knowing that ear sweat isn’t going to break them.

The sound quality of the Bose SoundSport earbuds can be described as above average and the soundstage is mildly tuned to emphasize the ranges outdoor exercisers tend to enjoy the most. Vocals are emphasized and there’s a clear mid-range, with less emphasis on bass.

The earbuds come in five different colors: charcoal, energy green, frost, neon blue and power red. Bose SoundSport earbuds also feature a clothing clip and thin cables, which means they won’t get caught and restrict your movement when you’re working out.


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