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.

Best Overall: Etymotic Research ERP-T Micro Pro

Etymotic Research ERP-T Micro Pro
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Earbuds frequently sacrifice sound quality for increased portability, but that isn’t the case with Etymotic Research ERP-T Micro Pro. If you are in search of rich bass and crisp treble, these earbuds promise to impress.

They have 10db-13db frequency, as well as an ACCU-Driver balanced armature transducer, which delivers a very precise sound quality with low levels of distortion. These earbuds deliver 100 percent accurate sound reproduction, thanks to the ergonomic earbud design that keeps sound from escaping and results in an unrivaled acoustic experience.

What makes these the best earbuds overall is their hard-to-replicate noise-isolating technology, which eliminate 98 percent of ambient noise. This is accomplished by not just the earbuds themselves, but also a braided cord that reduces microphone effects.

Etymotic includes a ¼” street adapter, six different sizes of ACCU-fit tips, a storage case and an airline adapter.

Best for Value: Vsonic VSD1S

Vsonic VSD1S
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Sometimes you just want a solid, inexpensive set of earbuds to get you by. Priced around $35, these earbuds offer 11 mm drivers and a frequency range from 10 Hz to 22 kHz. They are also rated at 32-Ohm impedance. This means that there is only a slight drop-off in sound quality from the more expensive cousins of these earbuds currently dominating the industry. The sound is rich and clear, with quality you definitely would not expect out of a budget headset.

The industry standard for in-ear tips is to include three different sizes, and even this budget option is no different. Downsides to these earbuds include their wires occasionally tangling, as well as the lack of controls on the earbuds themselves, something that more expensive options have.

Best for Sound Quality: Etymotic hf5

Etymotic hf5
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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.

Best for Exercise: SoundPEATS

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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. 

Best Under $10: Sentey Earbuds

Sentey Earbuds
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Sentey is offering a quality build of earbuds with a host of customizable features for under $10. Available in gunmetal grey, gold, or black with a blue or red cord, the Nexus headphones even include a protective carrying case. Switch out the comfortable silicone earbuds with the included small, medium or large buds. They include an in-line microphone and a sleek flat cable that is built to resist pulling and breaking near the ear cups, setting it aside from other budget headphones that tend to break when wadded up in your pocket. Sound quality is quite impressive for the price, 10Hz~20KHz frequency response. But most important for commuters is the that they actually do get loud enough to use in noisy spaces, a serious problem that has plagued budget earbuds for years.

Runner-Up, Best for Sound Quality: Runner Up: Beyerdynamic DX 160

Beyerdynamic DX 160
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The Beyerdynamic DX 160s offer more than decent sound quality for in-ear headphones and are good enough to appease all but perhaps the most ardent audiophiles, and they can be picked up for about half the price of Etymotic hf5s. These earbuds have a frequency range from 10 Hz to 25 kHz, and offer 47-ohm impedance. They come with flat cables that make for fewer tangles than competing models and have a three button remote that works on Apple and Android devices.

Runner-Up, Best for Exercise: Bose SoundSport

Bose SoundSport
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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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