The Top 10 Most Comfortable Earbuds in 2016
The most comfortable earbuds are music to the ears. Literally! Earbuds, or in-ear headphones, that are too big for your ears cause headache. You get that plugged up feeling deep in your ear canal which soon gives way to a dull, thudding pain. Not a good start to enjoying music.
The reverse is also true. What good is a pair of earbuds that promise acoustic heaven when they can’t keep still in your ears to stream that sweet song? The seal is a huge factor when it comes to sound; when your earbuds are loose, some of those acoustic nuances are lost. For some, this is a small price to pay for comfort. Luckily, some of the most comfortable earbuds in the market today are also sweet ear candies, but in case you are interested in over-ear or on-ear headphones, we have also written an extensive analysis about the most comfortable headphones.
What Makes the Most Comfortable Earbuds?
A balance has to be struck between comfort and fit, and also price. Some earbuds are fantastically comfortable, but also prohibitively expensive. But if price is no object, you want earbuds that fit snugly yet are barely there. Especially if you have to plug them inside your ears for hours. While others offer perfect fit, they may lack in the way of comfort. Often, the most comfortable earbuds fit perfectly too!
So it’s kind of surprising that manufacturers haven’t struck upon the idea that in-ear headphones need to be comfortable for them to be useful. Majority of in-ear manufacturers focus on sound quality, somehow forgetting that without comfort, acoustics wouldn’t matter as much.
Here’s S or L if M Doesn’t Fit
Because no two ear canals, just like fingerprints, are ever alike, achieving that truly custom-molded fit might require the expertise of an audiologist, at a price that not too many of us could afford. What manufacturers can do is to take a page from an audiologist’s notebook to see where to start reinventing the wheel, or in-ear headphones, in this case.
Manufacturers make up for the differences among ears of varying shapes and sizes by making eartips or earcushions in sizes we have come to expect; that is S, M, L. This is the reason why most earphones are supplied with several tips that are either smaller or bigger than the one pre-installed.
Earbud Shape Matters
The shape of the tips ranges from mushroom types, to pinkie types, to the flanged and winged variety, and to an assortment of irregular shapes that you can squish in in the hopes they adapt to your odd-shaped ear canal.
Because of this close contact with your ear canal’s sensitive skin, the most comfortable earbuds are often made by non-allergenic, lightweight materials. Rubber can be an irritant, foam collects moisture while metal can injure if allowed to sit in a tight space collecting moisture.
Plastic is generally cheaper than other materials, but they don’t have the soft contours that provide maximum seal. Often, lower priced in-ear phones have soft plastic tips that might irritate the skin if left in the ear for too long.
Consequently, the kind of material determines comfort of earbuds. Because most customers leave their in-ear headphones for hours, it’s crucial that the eartips are made of lightweight material that barely registers their presence. This is why silicone remains the favoured material for eartips. It’s the same material used for breast implants.
Which Earbuds Should I Buy?
The kind of earbuds you should buy should depend on how you want to use them most of the time. If you live in the city where noise pollution is a serious threat to your health, then noise cancelling earbuds do the job.
Noise Cancelling vs. Noise Isolating
In the strictest sense, noise cancelling headphones do not just offer physical barrier between your ears and the offending sound; they also produce sound electronically to cancel out incoming sounds so you should hear, technically, nothing.
Noise isolating headphones, on the other hand, only create a physical barrier between you and the source of sound, so you’ll still hear ambient sound, which is recommended if you need to be aware of your surroundings.
What are Bluetooth Earphones?
If you are the type who likes to tune out the world by drowning out your inner world with music or some other layer of audio filter, but don’t want to be tied with your source of sound, then you would want Bluetooth or wireless in-ear phones.
These earphones connect to your source of sound using short-range broadcast radio technology so there is no need for line of sight for two, or even three devices, to pair up. If you are frequently active or mobile, you’ll appreciate the freedom that Bluetooth earbuds brings.
The Freedom of Wireless
Of course, you can still plug a jack to your smartphone if you wish to listen to thumping music when your workout, but then the tangle of cables poses a real threat to your safety. So you won’t only need Bluetooth or any wireless earbuds. You would also need earbuds that have been specifically made to withstand punishment; that is, sweat, outdoor elements, and vigorous movement.
This is why some wireless headphones have been made with athletes in mind. Their headphones do not suffer from audio deterioration even when soaked with sweat or rain, and stay firmly in place even with repeated strenuous activity. The most stable in-ear headphones often come with over-the-ear hooks to keep things in place.
All things considered, if you are looking for the most comfortable earbuds for your utmost listening enjoyment, you will be drowned by the range of choices available in the market today. To make your search easier, take a look at these top 10 choices that have earned fantastic reviews from thousands of customers.
10 of the Most Comfortable Earbuds in 2016
|1. Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Headphones with Mic||$$||4.9|
|2. Symphonized XTC Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Headphones with Microphone||$$||4.8|
|3. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones||$$$||4.8|
|4. The Most Comfortable Earbuds by AirBuds||$$||4.6|
|5. MEE Audio M7P In-Ear Headphones||$$||4.5|
|6. Sentey Earbuds In-ear Headphones||$$||4.5|
|7. Photive PH-BTE70 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds||$$$||4.5|
|8. Sennheiser CX 300 II Precision Enhanced Bass Earbuds||$$||4.5|
|9. MEE Audio RX18 In-Ear Headphones with Enhanced Bass||$$||4.3|
|10. Bluetooth Earbuds by Zivigo||$$$||4.3|
Getting rave reviews by the thousands, the Symphonized NRG Headphones are undoubtedly the most comfortable earbuds in the market today. Just like what it says on the label, these earbuds are made of natural wood which is surprisingly very light.
Combined with soft silicone eartips that come in small, medium and large sizes, these earbuds perfectly plug into your ear without leaving an annoying, plugged up feeling even after prolonged use. Leaving earbuds headphones in the ears for 12 hours is not unheard of, especially if you are in a long-haul flight! These earbuds are specifically designed to remain in their place without causing irritation. (They even barely register.)
Wood, unlike plastic, doesn’t irritate, so these are the kind of earbuds you want to go to bed with if you like to be lulled to sleep. The overall design is clean and cool yet subtle, making it also a stylish choice when you need to suit up for more formal interactions.
Because it’s made of wood, the detail-rich quality of the sound comes with a very natural resonance. If you are partial to deep, heavy bass, these in-ear headphones put you right in the middle of the action.
But where the Symphonized NRG Headphones really shine is in the mid-range, which fits most genres of music exceptionally well. If you like warm tones, you will discover that these earbuds have been designed like some equalizer has been built into them, bringing out the vocals and the upper end of the bass tones. Many users enjoy an enriched listening experience that makes them love their playlists even more.
There is a built-in microphone so you can seamlessly take calls. While there’s only a simple pause and play option, the Symphonized NRG in-ears have playback controls that are compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
The noise cancelling quality is decent, so if you want situational awareness while enjoying your music extended periods, these are the earbuds for you. Even better, the quality to price ratio of Symphonized NRG earbuds is hard to beat, making it a top choice among all other options.
- Fits ear perfectly with S/M/L silicone eartips
- Lightweight material made of wood
- Barely-there fit that you can go to bed with
- Wood lends natural resonance to sound
- Reproduces excellent mid-range and warm tones and bumping bass
- Highly affordable
- Issues with wood falling apart
- Cord sometimes create feedback when rubbing against clothes
Made of silicone that molds inside your ear, the Symphonized XTC Premium Headphones eartips are lightweight, sleek and adjustable, pre-installed with medium buds that can be replaced by either small or large tips that are easy to pull off.
While other eartips made of (lower-grade) silicone material irritate, the Symphonized XTC Premium Headphones comfortably slide in and out of the ear without leaving the skin raw. Even after hours of use, these earbuds do not leave the ears ringing nor do they create that stuffy feeling you might get from plastic eartips left behind way too long.
If you want a degree of situational awareness while enjoying crisp acoustics, the noise isolating quality of Symphonized XTC suits well to that need. The tangle-free cord also makes the whole contraption easy to deal with. Even when balled up, they quickly untangle, a useful feature when you move around a lot or exercise strenuously.
Symphonized XTC Premium Headphones reproduce sound at an unbelievably affordable price point. If you are into classical music, these earbuds lets every instrument shine through. The speakers produce clear highs, solid lows, and powerful bass. If you are looking for earbuds that provide an immersive, amphitheatre-quality audio experience, the Symphonized XTC Premium Headphones deliver.
The feedback when the cord touches on clothing can be noisy and irritating, hence the general recommendation that these earbuds are only ideal for sedentary use. So if you are into listening audiobooks, podcasts and music while putting your feet up, these earbuds make a superb choice.
- Silicone eartips mold inside your ear
- Comes in various sizes for easy adjustability
- Barely-there feeling
- Crisp sound and powerful bass
- Noisy feedback from cord with friction and motion
- White noise comes on when nothing is playing
- Compatibility issues with iOS devices
Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones are a step up QC15 especially from the comfort and fit standpoint. With soft silicone ear tips that rest comfortably against your outer ear, QC20 makes you forget that you’re wearing them at all.
But if you’re worried of losing them in place because they are not plugged farther up inside, the proprietary Bose StayHear design keeps the tips firmly in place without the kind of force that creates discomfort. The medium tips come pre-installed, but there are small and large sizes that come in the box, too. You might require a bit of mix and match to find the perfect fit.
QC20 are a huge improvement over QC15 in terms of size and weight, too, which are really important factors that contribute to the overall comfort of the earbuds because when your cables are heavy, they tend to tug away at the earpieces causing annoyance and instability.
Overall, Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones weigh less than an ounce, or about 20grams. When stored in its soft pouch, everything measures 2.75 by 5 inches, which could easily disappear into a pocket and not weigh a thing, making it a “take anywhere” earphone for the audiohead.
What separates QC20 from the rest of the most comfortable earbuds is its ability to be switched to “Aware” mode when you require situational awareness, such as when crossing a busy street or needing to hear someone. This is especially important as the QC20 earpieces create a watertight seal, so if you wish to shut out the world and simply lose yourself in your music, then Bose QC20’s excellent noise cancellation is a useful feature.
The audio is rendered cleanly and clearly, with a good amount of resonance. The bass is sufficient, but some users feel that audio ‘tightness’ is lacking. Overall, however, Bose QC20 makes for an immersive listening experience, allowing you to just let the world and time slide by.
- Soft silicone ear tips that are comfortable even in sleep
- Bose StayHear design keeps tips firmly in place without discomfort
- Superb noise cancelling with “Aware” option at the touch of a button
- Lightweight and easily disappears into the pocket
- Microphonic thumping of cable when in motion
- Silicone eartips can be a pain to change, causing damage to the tabs
- On the pricier end
Airbuds guarantees a one-size-fits-all comfort thanks to its Fit-All Ergonomic Foam Tips that you can squeeze and place inside your ear, providing maximum seal to reduce external noise. If you are looking for a pair that sounds decent, stays in place while in motion, and remains comfortable in-ear even after prolonged use, Airbuds make a fantastic buy.
The earpieces have been custom-designed and made with an expandable memory foam, so unlike other earbuds that come with various sized tips, there are no trials and errors with Airbuds as the memory foam tips are really squishy, allowing them to adapt to ear canals of all sizes and shapes.
Another quality that make Airbuds ultra-comfortable, and one that has earned it hundreds of positive reviews, is the lightweight quality of the earpieces. They make your listening experience all the better because of their barely-there feel even after listening to music or audio for hours. Because of the comfortable fit, reviewers say that they can listen to sounds without loss of quality even at a lower, and therefore safer, volume,
The expandable foam tips create an excellent seal, and block out noise extremely well.
Powered by Smart Mic Technology, Airbuds earphones let you take and end calls, play or pause audio, and change tracks by a single push of a button. Even if you were the fumbling type, there are no wires to get in the way thanks to its use of tangle-free flat cable that, unfortunately, wears out easily just like the previous versions.
These flat cables, however, earn points by staying silent even when they rub against your clothes or when you are in motion, unlike other cables that create a swooshy sound when they brush up against clothing or move during exercise.
- Squeeze and push expandable memory foam tips fit ear canals of all sizes
- Barely-there lightweight quality
- Comfortable fit without loss of audio quality even at lower volumes
- Tangle-free cables do not create noise when rubbing against clothing or in motion
- Excellent noise isolation
- Tangle-free cables wear out easily
- Wiring connection between cable and headphone jack easily twists around causing earpieces to stop working
- Shrill treble with no bass or low end
MEE audio M7P in-ear headphones have been made with active users in mind who want their earbuds stable, durable, sweat-resistant, and above all, comfortable even after being used for hours at a time.
A successor to the popular Sport-Fi M6, the M7P is getting excellent reviews as one of the most comfortable earbuds in the market today thanks to its self-adjusting nozzles and over-the-ear fit. This means that the earbuds adjust to the angle of each ear canal so they stay firmly but comfortably in place. This eliminates the need to adjust your earphones every now and then, a minor annoyance to many but a major gripe to those who need to have their hands free at all times.
Even better, by not fiddling with your earphones often, you avoid creating friction between the earpieces and your ear canal, and prevent irritation that could lead to a bigger annoyance.
If you are into long travels and want to listen to music or podcasts all the time, this headphone delivers. MEE audio M7P leaves your ear feeling fine even after a continuous use of 12 hours.
Featuring nano-coating technology, the MEE audio M7P earbuds are protected not only from sweat but also from elements, making them ideal for working out outdoors. If you are into running under all sorts of weather conditions, these earphones make a great buy.
A comfortable headphone doesn’t always pair up with excellent acoustics, but MEE audio M7P have found a way to balance both these features. You enjoy not only a barely-there feeling, but also clear, crisp treble and deep, enhanced bass so you can focus with your workout and let the distractions fade away.
There is built-in microphone to let you painlessly take phone calls, a step up from previous MEE microphones. You can easily tap the buttons to take and end calls without too much interruption.
- Remains comfortable even after prolonged use (of up to 12 hours)
- Instantaneous fit
- Self-adjusting nozzles
- Eartips do not heat up
- Over the ear wires can get uncomfortable
- In-ear pieces can chafe sensitive skin after strenuous exercise
If you are looking for earbuds with lightweight design and a great fit, but want to exercise with them while enjoying impressive bass and acoustic sound, the Sentey Earbuds Cor3 Ls-4216 have made fans out of many users.
The Sentey earbuds are made with silicone eartips and aluminum-anodized earphone cups. The box comes with different sized earbuds that require a bit of trial and error to achieve the perfect fit. These earbuds are also surprisingly lightweight, considering some of the parts are made of metal and rubber.
Unlike other earpieces, the Sentey Cor3 comes with 3 different back/end caps (that you can unsrew) to suit the kind of music you want to listen to. So if you are in the mood for some pop, you can screw in the black cap. If you are partial to classical music, the silver cap makes sound lighter, while the titanium cap sounds best for jazz.
The titanium cap also sounds just right for most kind of music. Because the silver plugs are for meant for classical music, they give a thin balance while the black plugs create a resonant bass. Some of the notes sound with a discernible bwang.
For its affordable price, the quality of the build is remarkable. While the color of the metal and rubber cheapen the look of the earbuds a bit, they actually make the earbuds more durable. So while appearance may be a notch below your expectations, durability is at least taken into account by Sentey.
The build of these earbuds, however, have turned off some customers. Reviews have claimed that some earpieces fall out even with minor movement, while others say that comfort is compromised when they want to achieve a better fit. Overall, however, at this almost bargain price, you get more than what you pay for.
- Lightweight eartips
- Affordable, a great bargain for some
- Above average sound quality for its low price point
- Different back caps are not ideal for most types of music
- Earpieces tend to fall out even with slight interruption
- Had to be pushed farther inside the ear (causing discomfort) for a secure fit
If there is anything that Photive PH-BTE70 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds want to be known for, it is its secure, comfortable fit while you sweat out to your favorite beat.
One of the major gripes against wireless or Bluetooth earbuds is their stability. Because they are not tethered to your device, they could easily fall off sometimes even with just minor movements. With Photive PH-BTE70, you can go through a range of motions feeling confident that your earbuds will remain in place. The uniquely designed ear hooks that form around your ears make that possible, a feature that has earned plenty of great reviews.
Fit, however, doesn’t come easy for some users. They claim there is a bit of trial and error involved in finding the perfect fit, while others contend that it’s simply a matter of bending, pushing and shaping the ear hooks to get that snug feeling.
One of the most enticing selling points of these earpieces is its weight. At a mere .81 ounces (23g), you will hardly notice it’s there.
Photive PH-BTE70 makes it up in the acoustics department. Because it’s intended to be used by diligent gym goers, it’s been designed to stream deep, powerful bass to keep you pushing through the limits of your endurance. If you are worried that you will damage your earbuds with heavy sweat, you need not. Photive PH-BTE70 in-ears are sweat-proof, so they keep blasting music to power you up through the most strenuous routines.
There are also no wires to worry about because it operates using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology, without a drop in transmission or audio quality within 33 feet. Pairing is generally seamless, allowing you to connect to an assortment of Bluetooth-enabled devices with a few touches of the button.
While the built-in microphone is a bonus, some users claim they tend to get muffled, like you are calling from a tunnel. Otherwise, as a listening device that will stand the rigours of outdoor exercise without getting in the way of your listening pleasure, the Photive PH-BTE70 Bluetooth earbuds make a great choice.
- Snug fit using over the ear hooks
- Extremely lightweight
- Stays in place even during active movement
- Microphone could use some improvement
- Sometimes streams with more bass than needed
One of the most comfortable earbuds on offer that is also high in sound quality is Sennheiser CX 300 II. It’s made with soft silicone eartips that come in a range of S, M, L sizes for comfort. While you need to experiment a bit with the eartips, finding that optimal fit is easy. Once you’ve found what feels right, you are barely aware of their presence.
Sennheiser CX 300 II is getting an abundance of positive reviews for its acoustic qualities. While suitable for all kinds of music – soul, jazz, classic – it’s the earbuds’ unbelievable bass-driven sound that earns plenty of customer love. The highs are clear too, and so are the mid-range.
If you want to simply unwind and have great music or audio book for company, the Sennheiser CX 300 II works superbly. They reduce environmental noise by a huge margin so you can get lost in the sound of silence (or music).
For active users, however, these earbuds are yet to make a huge leap in improvement for them to be close to workable. If you are running outside, or even just indoors but sweating a lot, prepare to hear crackle instead of sweet music. Once wet, the earbuds transform from crystal clear to crackly, and it doesn’t even take a mile of a run for the sound quality to deteriorate. The asymmetrical cord also doesn’t appear to be specifically made for running.
They could, however, take a lot of beating in non-wet environments. You can stuff them in tight spaces, or leave them in the car during summer, and they remain in good working condition. So if you are the sedentary type looking for utmost comfort, snug fit and high acoustics, the Sennheiser CX 300 II make a good buy.
- A range of soft silicone eartips in S/M/L sizes enable optimal fit
- Clear highs and mid-range, solid bass
- Could stand abuse in dry environments
- Sound quality deteriorates when wet
- Asymmetrical cord not made for active wear
MEE Audio RX18 headphones are the kind of earbuds you need when you constantly lose your pair on a regular basis. At an almost unbelievable bargain price, you would think that you get what you pay for.
But MEE Audio RX18 breaks that stereotype expectation. Designed at an angle so they go into your ears in a more natural way, these headphones make a comfortable pair without hurting your ears from extended use. If the medium size doesn’t fit, you have two other sizes to try.
The earbuds are surprisingly light, although they appear to be cheaply made. The same can be said for the packaging it came with – it’s not user-friendly and the hard plastic can even cause injury.
By the way they are placed in the ear, the MEE Audio RX18 earbuds reduce noise sufficiently but still allow for some ambient sound to pass through. There’s microphonic feedback from the cable, however, when it brushes against a surface.
For its price point, the sound quality – and the one-year warranty – is unbelievable. You can hear the instrumental quality clearly even at low volume. Highs are crisp while the mids are not half bad; the bass is average but can be improved with software.
Compatibility with iOS devices, smartphones, tablets and PCs has not been a problem. As long as the device has a 3.5mm audio jack, it should work well.
Compared to other earbuds several times its price, the MEE Audio RX18 are your go-to replacement when all you need is comfort, good noise isolation, and decent audio quality.
- Bargain price
- Follows the contours of the ears for a natural fit
- Good noise isolation
- Crisp sound in the highs
- Average mid-range and bass sounds
- Hard plastic packaging can injure
- Noisy cables when they brush against a surface
- No built-in microphone
Another Bluetooth contender for the most comfortable earbuds is Zivigo. Unlike the one-size-fits-all variety that you squish and push into your ear in the hope that they fit, the Zivigo Bluetooth in-ears actually come in a range of sizes so you achieve that snug comfort. It also helps that these in-ears weight next to nothing, and come supplied with several soft earbud covers so you don’t get raw skin after using these earpieces for long periods.
To achieve a secure fit, you have to hook a plastic tab over your ear so they don’t fall off when you exercise. Some users have problem with this plastic tab, saying that letting it stay there for too long leaves an irritated skin. Some also say there’s a bit of pressure on the back of their ears, which usually go away after getting used to the earpieces.
For this small nitpick of a discomfort, Zivigo earbuds pack acoustic punch at a fraction of the cost of more powerful and expensive in-ears. Thanks to its CSR 8635 chipset and V4.1+EDR BlueTooth technology, you get to enjoy crisp sound and multi-point connectivity to up to 2 devices at the same time. Sound quality remains unparalleled even with connection of up to 30 feet away, and where others fail in the audio category, Zivigo fares well. So if you are also into listening to audio books and podcasts as well as music while doing your routine, these Bluetooth earbuds are a good buy.
Should you prefer extra heavy bass to power you through your moves, Zivigo not only delivers unparalleled sound quality but also durability and sweatproof quality so you get plenty of use out of them no matter how punishing your routines become.
Like most Bluetooth devices, these wireless in-ears let you answer calls hands-free thanks to its built-in microphone. You can easily switch back to music with just one tap.
- Weighs next to nothing
- Over-ear hook for secure fit
- Superb noise cancelling
- Clear phone calls
- Issues with durability, with some parts falling off
- Plastic hook for over-the-ear fit leaves skin sore