Top 10 Earbuds in 2016 – The Complete Guide

The Top 10 earphones

Trying to find the top 10 earbuds in 2016, whether you’re an audio professional or a simple music enthusiast could be quite challenging. There are so many earbuds out there stretching through all budget ranges for as cheap as less than $10 to hundreds of dollars. However, you must realize by now that if you’re serious about getting the best audio quality, impressive durability and maximum comfort, the best earbuds are worth a good investment so settling on the cheapest is not always a good option. There are infinite resources, offline and online stores, countless reviews and recommendations from critics and professionals so choosing the best one wouldn’t be easy at all. You may also check out the list of the best sound earbuds.

A pair of earbuds, also known as in-ear headphones, is a great alternative to regular earphones or a full-sized pair of headphones. Regular on-ear earphones could be quite painful on the ears especially if you use it the entire day. There are not many earphones with impressive sound quality too. On the other hand, full-sized headphones are bulky and sometimes even heavy; so for many users, especially those who are always on the go, going full-sized is not the best option too. There are many different types of the best earbuds – ones you can use for sports or for running and these should be sweat or waterproof and weatherproof. There are also earbuds with noise cancelling technology. Earbuds can be made with plastic or metal casing and you can choose depending on your preference.

To select the best earbuds of 2016, here are some qualities that have been considered:

  1. Sound Quality – Rich, detailed, accurate and very natural sound with minimal distortion are just some of the qualities you should look for when it comes to the audio that a pair of earbuds can produce. Of course, you may not get what you can get out of a full-sized pair of headphones because those have larger drivers and a whole different effect, but there are many earbuds with more than impressive sound quality too.
  1. Comfortable – Maximum comfort is a must. The best earbuds are meant to be worn all day and night if you are the type who would listen to your music all day. Earbuds usually come with several pairs of tips in the package so you can interchange according to the one that would best fit your ears.
  1. Durable – A pair of earbuds should be durable. The really good ones don’t sell cheap and you wouldn’t want to be purchasing a new one every year so you need to look for one that can last for years with daily use without any issues. From the earbuds itself to its cables and controllers, if any, should be strong enough to last all kinds of usage.
  1. Other Features – There are good earbuds that are only meant for listening to music. There are some that can offer other features and characteristics such as being waterproof or weatherproof, effective noise cancellation or isolation, or ones with a microphone so that you can use it to take and receive calls on your smartphone too.

With all those qualities of the best earbuds being covered, here’s a list of the top 10 earbuds in 2016 to help you narrow down your choices even further. Because there are just too many good ones, this list includes earbuds that are based on customer reviews and ratings of customers, the world’s largest retailer, as well as reputable and respected websites CNET and Trusted Reviews, the leading authorities in product reviews. With the qualities mentioned above plus the reviews and ratings from these sites, the best among the best have been chosen.











1. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

$$$  4.5

2. Shure SE425-V Sound Isolating Earphone with Dual High Definition MicroDrivers

$$$ 4.5

3. Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver

$$ 4.5

4. Sony MDR-XB40EX High Sensitivity Driver Extra Bass EX Earbuds 13.5mm

$$$  4.5

5. Sennheiser IE60 Headphones

$$$ 4.3

6. Bose SoundSport

$$$  4.3

7. Klipsch S3M In-Ear Headphone

$$ 4.1

8. Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones

$$$  4.1

9. Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphones

$$$ 4.1

10. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Headphone for Android or iOS

$$  4.1
  1. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best EarbudsClaiming the top spot on this list of the best 10 earbuds is no other than Bose QuietComfort 20. First and foremost, Bose is a reputable brand when it comes to audio equipment so there’s no wonder why their product is the one that stands out among thousands of other models of earbuds out there. This pair costs a little much; but it is worth it every penny you spend on it. You can choose one with a microphone that’s ideal for Windows, BlackBerry and Android phones or a model with a microphone that’s best used with an iPhone or iPod. The Bose QuietComfort 20 is in fact so popular and delivers great performance as advertised which is why it has received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on ratings from over 2,100 customers, and an impressive 4 out 5 review from CNET and 80% from Trusted Reviews.

Looking beyond those figures, the Bose QuietComfort 20 is simply just the best advanced noise reductionearbuds you can find in the market today. It is in fact comparable to any full-sized pair of headphones so if you want noise cancellation without the excessive warmth, weight and discomfort from prolonged use of on-ear and over-the-ear headphones, then this pair of the best earbuds is perfect for you. Despite having such a remarkable noise cancelling feature, you can still switch to “aware mode” so you can hear what goes around you while you’re deep in focus while enjoying your favorite tracks. Bose’s exclusive TriPort technology is what makes the superior sound quality and impressive noise cancellation features of the Bose QuietComfort 20 possible. Each package also includes 3 pairs of Stay Hear+ tips in small, medium and large which allows you to wear your earbuds in maximum comfort all day. The Bose QuietComfort 20 also has a built-in lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via a USB cable (included in the package) and can last up to 16 hours of continuous use with one single full charge. 

Latest customer reviews and prices of Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

  1. Shure SE425-V Sound Isolating Earphone with Dual High Definition MicroDrivers

Best EarbudsEven music professionals and audio engineers can tell you how sure they are of the superior quality that Shure audio equipment can deliver and the Shure SE425-V earbuds are no exception. This is a pair of earbuds that you shouldn’t miss out on and it sure is worth every dollar you spend for it. In fact, over 100 customers has rated it at n average off 4.2 out 5 stars; CNET reviewed it and gave it a 4 out of 5 rating and Trusted Reviews graded it at 90%! All these figures only go to show that this pair of the best earbuds is more than just your average earphones and it is much deserving of the second spot on this list.

The Shure SE425-V sound-isolating earphones does so well in cancelling outside noise and just like the previous Bose on this list, it is quite comparable to expensive closed headphones and the best part is that it’s super comfortable to wear. It features formable wires so that you can securely place the earphones over your ear, It has dual high-definition MicroDrivers so you get professional quality sound that’s so balanced and accurate – you wouldn’t expect something as superior as this from a pair of earphones but Shure sure does deliver. In addition, you also get the Shure CBL-M-+K music phone cable with remote and mic that’s compatible with your iPhone, iPod and iPad. If there’s a pair of earphones that deserves your attention and investment, the Shure SE425-V is definitely the one and it wouldn’t disappoint.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Shure SE425-V Sound Isolating Earphone

  1. Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver

Best EarbudsIf you’re on a budget and you want a reliable pair of earbuds that won’t disappoint when it comes to sound quality, the Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones will be your best choice. Currently at an impressive 4.1 out of 5 stars average from over 2,000 customers, 4.5 out of 5 rating from CNET and 80% on Trusted Reviews. Available in black or clear, this is truly an attractive model, which is already expected since it was made by Shure. More importantly, it is very comfortable to wear – it has a detachable cable and its wireform fit secures the earbuds into your ears perfectly. It has flexible soft sleeves that come in multiple sizes and shapes that are gentle and very comfortable on the ears as well. Very lightweight and built with close attention to details, you can use this pair the entire day with ease!

Through its single dynamic MicroDriver, you are getting only the best audio quality with enhanced bass with the Shure SE215-K. It also has a remarkable sound isolation feature that makes it more enjoyable to listen to your music whether you’re on the go or if you plan on using these best earbuds in the studio or on-stage. In fact, its sound and noise cancelling features are what most owners love about the Shure SE215-K the most. Whether you’re listening to instrumental classics, your favorite rock band or a pop star’s tracks, you can enjoy detailed, natural and very clear sound with the Shure SE215-K.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones

  1. Sony MDR-XB40EX High Sensitivity Driver Extra Bass EX Earbuds 13.5mm

Best EarbudsNow being the famous manufacturers of the legendary Walkman and other audio equipment, a list such as this wouldn’t be complete without a Sony – especially on the top 5. So the fourth spot of the top 10 earbuds goes to the much deserving Sony MDR-XB40EX. If Sony didn’t discontinue manufacturing this product, it could easily claim the top spot as it is so popular among customers with 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on average and a super impressive perfect 5 out of 5 review from CNET – and a 5/5 on CNET is not an easy thing to achieve. For a complete list of the best bass earphones, check this out.

So this very attractive pair of Sony MDR-XB40EX can give you that extra bass you will surely love – and when Sony says extra bass, they mean it. You get that punch and power of bass you’re expecting for maximum enjoyment of your favorite music with its 13.5mm driver unit. The power handling capacity of this pair is at 100mW. It features a Y-type 12-meter flat cord and it comes with a carrying case as well. The pack already includes three pairs of hybrid silicone best earbuds in small, medium and large so you can choose and use what’s most comfortable for you. The vertical in-ear style allows maximum comfort too so that you can enjoy listening to your music wherever you are without feeling any stress on your ears. According to owners of this pair, noise isolation is quite impressive too! With all that it can offer, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that comes close to the Sony MDR-XB40EX. 

Latest customer reviews and prices of Sony MDR-XB40EX High Sensitivity Driver Extra Bass EX Earbuds 13.5mm

  1. Sennheiser IE60 Headphones

Best EarbudsThrough the years, Sennheiser was able to build such a good reputation that stood strong and made them remain as one of the most trusted audio equipment and accessory brand for audio professionals and countless music enthusiasts. Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a Sennheiser. The Sennheiser IE60 did not fail to impress critics and professionals, as well as customers who made the right decision of purchasing it. Numbers don’t lie and so far, this model has received impressive ratings of 4 out of 5 on CNET and 70% on Trusted Reviews. This pair of earbuds is definitely a bargain.

Thanks to the special neodymium magnets that are built-in with the Sennheiser IE60, you get outstanding and superior clarity and accuracy of sound. Ambient noise is attenuated by up to 95% or 20dB. It is compatible with most music players, smartphones and tablets with a 3.5mm jack and it is so comfortable to wear. It features an ergonomic design that fits securely into your ear. The housing is very durable too and the cable is rugged – you can expect this to last for years. For your added peace of mind, Sennheiser throws in a two-year warranty on your purchase too. The package already includes the Sennheiser IE60 best earbuds, a protective case, ear adapters in small, medium and large, a pair of optional, detachable ear hooks, cleaning tool and a cable clip.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Sennheiser IE60 Headphones

  1. Bose SoundSport

Best EarbudsThis pair of earbuds has received a similar set of ratings as the previous Sennheiser on this list. It also has 4 out of 5 from CNET and 70% on Trusted Reviews. The Bose SoundSportearbuds is available in a variety of colors that’s perfect for any style preference.

Its great ratings and reviews, good price, attractive look and the trustworthiness of the brand aren’t all that the Bose SoundSport can offer. It is a great pair of earbuds because of the amazing sound it offers that’s deep, clear and fully enhanced so you can get those natural lows and crisp highs. Aside from using it for music, you can also use the Bose SoundSport when making and receiving calls on your smartphone; just switch from calls to music or back through the remote that’s built with the inline microphone.

Comfort is maximized with the Bose SoundSport. It is indeed meant to be used for hours on end. You get three pairs of Proprietary Stay Hear tips in different sizes so that it fits snugly and securely into your ears. Use the Bose SoundSport when playing sports, exercising, commuting or at home or in the office as this pair of the best earbuds is weatherproof, sweat-resistant and built to last! No matter what type of music listener you are, a professional or an enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy what you can get out of the Bose SoundSport.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Bose SoundSport

  1. Klipsch S3M In-Ear Headphone

Best EarbudsAvailable in 5 colors, you can get the Klipsch S3M in-ear headphones for a very competitive price – so far the most affordable one on this list. Though it is within reach for those in a tight budget, it doesn’t mean that quality and performance is compromised. So far, the Klipsch S3M has received an impressive 4.6 out of 5 rating from CNET reviews which is quite a remarkable grade, 4.1 out of 5 from a couple of hundred customers and 60% on Trusted Reviews.

Klipsch S3M is built simple but is meant to last for long. It has tangle-resistant cables that are very durable so that you can use it whether you’re in school, in the office or in transit. The look of this pair of earbuds is also simple as well as it is just like any ordinary pair but it stands out when it comes to audio quality. Remember that you’re getting a cheap pair of earbuds, which is an eighth or even a tenth of the price of some the best earbuds that are already on this list so comparing the quality of sound to the Bose or a Shure that’s listed above will be unfair. However, considering its price, you are still getting a pair that’s competitively comparable to ones that are more expensive. Smooth and full-bodied sound that gives you maximum clarity and richness is possible through its 5.8mm moving-coil driver. Comfort is also a great offer that the Klipsch S3M brings as it comes with a patented oval ear tip design that makes this pair comfortable to use even for hours on end. Furthermore, you can use this not only for music but for making and receiving calls on your mobile too. It is compatible with most mobile phones, smartphones and portable music players.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Klipsch S3M In-Ear Headphone

  1. Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones

Best EarbudsFocal might not be the first brand to cross your mind when shopping for audio equipment, headphones or earphones in particular, but the Focal Sphear deserves your attention. It delivers audio quality and performance that’s comparable to earbuds that cost a whole lot more. It is actually surprising for those who haven’t tried this brand yet, and quite intriguing too, that Focal Sphear has so far gained 4 out of 5 on CNET and 80% in Trusted Reviews – quite remarkable for a really good but less known brand compared to its counterparts.

Focal Sphear’s sound is so natural, rich and powerful, thanks to the large electro-dynamic drivers built-in with these tiny earbuds. It is compatible with most, if not all music players including your laptop, computer, tablet and smartphone. It comes with a universal remote control that you can use to pick up and hang up on calls and to control your music. The package also comes with a full kit including a carrying case, aircraft adapter and tips. Owners of the Focal Sphear say that at first, you might not be too happy with the sound but you just need that “burn-in period” to make it sound its best. Use it for a couple of days and then you will already love how powerful it will become. It is great for listening to music for hours on end too as these best earbuds are very comfortable to wear. If you are the type who won’t put your money on a brand you haven’t tried in the past yet, Focal gives you all the reason to take that risk now as these Focal Sphearearbuds will definitely be a pleasant surprise.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones

  1. Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphones

Best EarbudsAnother very popular pair of earbuds that has taken the music enthusiast community by storm is the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphones. Just like Focal, this isn’t exactly as popular as the Sony, Shure, Bose or the Sennheiser but this particular model, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2, has made its rounds online and has earned praiseworthy reviews and remarkable ratings from its owners. Online customers placed it at 3.9 out of 5 stars, CNET gave a 4 out of 5 and Trusted Reviews graded it at 80%. Among all the reviews, ratings, feedback and comments made on the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 all over these websites and beyond, there are two qualities that are always mentioned – amazing audio quality and maximum comfort.

The Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 is designed in a way that it securely fits around the ears through its innovative Secure Loop. Its drive units and the micro porous filter makes the sound so natural and clear. In fact, many music enthusiasts and audio professionals say that these earbuds deserves to be tried because despite its reasonable price, the quality it can provide is very comparable to other best earbuds that are double its price. It works with most, if not all music players, smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. Durability is quite good too and it would be great to use this pair when listening to music all day and night. Thankfully, the manufacturer throws in a limited 2-year warranty to give you that extra peace of mind if it’s your first time trying this brand. 

Latest customer reviews and prices of Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphones

  1. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Headphone for Android or iOS

Best EarbudsLast but definitely not the least on this list of top 10 earbuds is another Sennheiser – the Sennheiser Momentum. A very popular choice among many music enthusiasts, this pair of earbuds has already gained a little less than 500 great reviews with an average of 3.8 out of 5 stars, 3.5 out of 5 on CNET and 80% on Trusted Reviews. As usual, Sennheiser made this very impressive product within reach of the general population by making it available at a very affordable price. This is indeed a very attractive pair but more importantly, the sound that the Sennheiser Momentum gives is just so impressive. If you own full-sized Sennheiser headphones or you’ve tried one of their earphones and earbuds in the past, you know that the brand has always been consistent with audio quality and this model is no exception. Detailed and accurate audio is possible through its low resonance, custom machined stainless steal housing and it also has high-quality dynamic transducers that produce high output level with minimal distortion.

While this pair is most ideal for listening to music, you can also use it as a headset for your Android phone or iPhone as it has a 3-button in-line remote that comes with a microphone for your phone calls. Comfort is also topnotch and you can interchange ear tips according to the one that fits your best. Another great feature is that it can cancel outside noise quite effectively without leaving your ears stuffed and tired, For its price, you are definitely getting more than just a mediocre pair of the best earbuds with the Sennheiser Momentum.

Latest customer reviews and prices of Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Headphone for Android or iOS