If listening to music is an integral part of your daily routine, then choosing the best durable earbuds is the way to go.
Sometimes called in-ear headphones, earbuds are an extremely portable means of bringing your favorite tunes with you wherever you go. Unfortunately, the trade-off to this portability is reduced durability.
Most earbuds typically don’t last longer than their on-ear and over-ear counterparts. It’s a good thing that today’s market offers a myriad of earbud choices that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning of audiophiles.
Our Top 5 Most Durable Earbuds of the Year 2018 (August 5 Update)
We have shortlisted the best of the best durable earbuds from our analysis and test. We are happy to deliver you our 5 comparisons on which we believe fits your needs!
Why Choose Earbuds?
There was a time when almost everyone couldn’t get enough of oversized headphones. As people’s lifestyles became more active, however, a demand for a lighter and more compact listening device was created. Imagine having to wear massive headphones while jogging, dancing, working out, or basically doing any activity that would require you to constantly move about.
It would no doubt be quite awkward having to wear cumbersome headphones over your ears, not to mention feel uncomfortable to have to deal with sweaty ears after prolonged use. Ladies also know all too well the trouble of having to smooth out their hair after taking their headphones off.
Needless to say, earbuds have become indispensable tools for people on the move who constantly need to listen to their music or to talk other people on their smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Compared to on-ear and over-ear headphones, earbuds possess the following advantages:
Affordability is another consideration that others even prioritize over portability. Not everyone is willing to spend a lot of money on high-grade headphones even if they generally produce a better sound quality than earbuds.
Luckily, earbuds on the market that can produce sound as good as headphones are now steadily increasing in number. Although not all earbud models can be inserted into the ear canal for outside noise rejection purposes, this is a good thing because of safety reasons. Activities like biking and jogging can become unsafe if a person is totally immersed in the music he or she is listening to and is totally unaware of any hazards in his or her surroundings.
If you go to any store, you will immediately notice the overabundance of earbuds available for purchase. This is largely due to an increase in the demand for them, and partly because they are cheaper to manufacture than over-ear or on-ear headphones. However, your choice of in-ear headphones should be carefully thought over because not all models will last you for a long time. The best durable earbuds are definitely not those that come free with your device because the quality sound and build would require a bit of investment.back to menu ↑
Different Headphone Types Face Off
You might be confused at this point regarding the use of the terms “headphones” and “earbuds.” Essentially, these two words refer to the same thing. It’s just that earbuds are specifically called in-ear headphones. The two other types of headphones are the on-ear and the over-ear headphones. All in all, these three types each have their own pros and cons. It’s only a matter of personal preference as to which type of headphone is a good fit for you.
In-ear headphones can sit either outside your ear canal or inside it. They are the most portable of the three types and cost the least amount of money. Nonetheless, in-ear headphones or earbuds are the most susceptible to producing an airy sound because they often do not completely cancel background noise. This could be detrimental to your hearing because your natural tendency would be to increase the volume of your device.
There are also earbud models that are great for blocking out the noise, but they may not be comfortable or ideal for everybody.
Earbuds are a favorite among travelers and active people because of the aforementioned portability they offer. Some in-ear headphone brands even have a superb sound quality that may even be better than the other two types. If comfort is a problem, it would be good to try different styles that feature solutions to combat discomfort.
Second, only to in-ear headphones in terms of portability, on-ear headphones can also be convenient to bring along and may offer a greater degree of comfort compared to earbuds. Some models do a very good job in the noise cancellation department, although you will have to look at more expensive brands if you want something that can offer you some top of the line noise cancellation features. Still, these headphones have the potential to truly deliver hi-fi sound.
In-ear headphones can be comfortably used for prolonged periods of time because they don’t need to be inserted in the ears, and do not induce sweating as much as the over-ear headphones. They can still be considered lightweight which make them ideal for bringing along with you during light physical activities.
Out of the three, the strongest selling point of over-ear headphones is the unrivaled high-quality sound they deliver. They can also be comfortable to some extent, as long as they are not used for rigorous activities or long periods of time because they do tend to become sweaty.
Unfortunately, they often cost more than the other two headphone types because they are the standard in the professional music industry. Natural sound isolation is a typical feature of these headphones, and you will hear minimal background noise while wearing them.
As with the other two types, over-ear headphones will only offer the best features if you are willing to shell out some extra cash for your desired features. Active noise cancellation is very effective with these devices because of the technology employed in making them. Hence, if you are an audiophile, a music professional, or if you just want to consistently experience quality sound from your device, then over-ear headphones are the ones for you.
How to Safely Use Earbuds
Everything must be used in moderation, even your trusty earbuds. A usual worry among earbud users is the reported ear damage or ear injuries the device might cause them. Ever since earbuds became the listening tool of choice, there has been an increase in the number of reports of earbud-related injuries.
This is no cause for great concern though because it only takes a conscious effort on your part to practice safe earbud usage while continuing to enjoy listening to your favorite melodies.
1. Keep the Volume Within the Recommended Levels
One of the most common reasons for hearing loss is the constant exposure to loud music. This may seem easily preventable, but try and recall how many times you have stood or sat down next to people with music blaring from their earbuds.
A lot of people want to drown out the surrounding noise, so they tend to crank up the volume. What makes this worse is the lengthy amount of time the listener is exposed to such high levels of sound. A good rule of thumb is to maintain the volume of your device below 60% of its maximum level if you are going to listen to your music for an hour at the most.
2. Limit the Amount of Time You Use Your Earbuds
Even at relatively moderate volumes, prolonged exposure to music emitted by the earbuds can still damage your hearing. The ideal amount of time you should be listening to music at the acceptable volume level of below 85 dB is around an hour per day. Higher volume levels would call for a shorter amount of time.
3. Purchase Earbuds That Offer a Tight Fit
Using earbuds with just the right fit for your ears will allow you to enjoy listening to your music even with low volume levels. Keeping the audio close to the eardrum eliminates the need to turn up the volume. Moreover, it is advisable to own a pair of earbuds that offer good noise isolation or noise cancellation features. This will counteract the need for you to turn up the volume above the safe levels.
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Factors to Consider When Buying Earbuds
After you have finally decided to go ahead and buy your very own earbuds, you realize that it can be a daunting task to settle on just a single model. Many in-ear headphones boast of almost the same features that sometimes make it impossible for us to spot their differences.
The following list should help you out when making a decision to buy the best earbuds that will suit your needs.
1. Wire Quality
Any long-time earbud user will tell you that one of the weakest points of earbud pairs is the type of wire used. It tends to become brittle over time and is highly prone to becoming tangled as well.
The wire quality of the earbuds you are planning to buy should at least be worth the money you are willing to spend because you might as well get something that will give you some value in return.
2. Sound Quality
Without a doubt, a majority of potential earbud buyers are going to put sound quality high on their list. A good pair of earbuds will be able to produce high-fidelity sounds that will let you appreciate and enjoy your music to its full extent.
Almost all earbuds are noise isolating or are able to prevent outside noise from reaching your ears. If you want earbuds that have noise cancellation features, make sure to look for this specific feature on the brochure. Be advised though, that good quality almost always means a higher price tag.
Although pretty much self-explanatory, it is still a fairly common case where earbud buyers instantly regret their choice once they try out the earbuds that they’ve purchased. Some earbud models simply sit outside the ear canal, while others actually need to be inserted inside.
Whatever the case, make sure you will be able to stand to wear your earbuds of choice for long periods of time.
A comfortable fit and some kind of ear strain relief measure will also decrease the chances of acquiring ear-related injuries from ill-fitting earbuds.
Even though in-ear headphones are meant to be more discreet than their bulkier counterparts, some still prefer their units to look sleek and stylish. This should not be a problem with the range of earbud designs out in the market today. There are even choices as to whether the earbuds come equipped with cords, or are cordless.
No matter how much you want to purchase a certain earbud model, its price will certainly be a limiting factor. It all comes down to how much you are willing to pay for extra features that naturally add to the cost of the earbud units.
Examples are built-in mic and noise cancellation features. Take note, however, that some models are pricier than others merely because of the brand name that they carry.
Perhaps the most important factor to take into account is the durability of the earbuds. They are meant to be carried around and used often, so it would be wise to choose a product that can withstand the strain they will be subjected to.
The best durable earbuds could even last for a number of years, provided that they are given proper care and storage. Most earbuds made by reputable manufacturers come with warranties good for at least a year, but there are also first-rate models that offer a lifetime warranty.
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How a Driver Unit Affects the Quality of Earbuds
You may be wondering why most earbud manufacturers include the type of driver unit they use in their list of specifications. Simply put, the driver unit acts as a miniature speaker in your earbud. It is responsible for converting electrical signals into the sound that reaches your ears.
A driver unit controls the power and quality of the sound output. Contrary to what some may believe, a bigger driver unit does not translate to a better quality of sound. The quality of the driver unit is actually more significant than the size. The average size of earbud drivers is between 8mm to 15mm only, but a high-quality in-ear headphone driver can produce a sound that can match that of an over-ear or on-hear one.
One common type of driver unit is the dynamic driver. This driver style is made to include the whole frequency range which tends to produce sounds that seem natural. Bass lovers and drummers also prefer this type because of the excellent bass response that it has. What’s more, earbuds with dynamic drivers do not cost much, and are generally durable.back to menu ↑
What Makes Earbuds Durable?
Every earbud model that has been suggested below is made out of superior materials, no matter whether they are plastic or metal.
Since they are considered as some of the best durable earbuds today, they don’t possess any significant weak points and will perform exceptionally well even during heavy-duty use.
Here are the common features that are shared by tough, quality earbuds.
1. Lack of Weak Points
There are no such things as perfectly-made ear headphones, but the most durable ones seem to lack weak points, or at least don’t show them until after extended use. Many headphones immediately exhibit their weak points after only a few months, or even after a few weeks of use.
2. Best Quality Materials
Plastic is the most commonly used material by most earbuds out in the market today. This doesn’t mean that all plastics are made equally tough though. The best durable earbuds use the strongest and toughest type of plastic that is also lightweight to provide the user with some added comfort.
What could be considered better than plastic is metal? The most common metal casings are made of aluminum, and there are some that even use stainless steel. Stainless steel is stronger than aluminum but heavier. The thickness of the rubber which are wrapped around the wires of the best headphones should also be of outstanding quality.
3. Cable Coating
As mentioned earlier, earbud cables are often the point of weakness for most headphones, so cable strength plays a significant role in headphone durability. The best durable earbuds will definitely come with a reinforced cable that offers some kind of protection from the wear and tear that they often endure due to frequent use. Others opt to add extra layers of rubber, while some choose Kevlar reinforcement.
4. Hinge Design
Some earbud models feature hinges that are potential points of weakness. Movable parts in devices should be suitable for long-term use, especially those found in earbuds. They should look sturdy, and shouldn’t fall apart after only a few uses.
5. Resistance to Moisture and Sweat
Stage performers, athletes, and fitness buffs are some of the people who can greatly benefit from the convenience of using earbuds. Accordingly, the best durable earbuds for them should be water and sweat resistant.
The headphones must offer a substantial amount of protection from the elements and from sweat that could quickly deteriorate the condition of the earbuds.back to menu ↑
Is It Worth It to Spend More on Durable Earbuds?
The obvious answer to this question would be yes, it truly is worth it especially in the long run. In order to fully experience the practicality of using earbuds, you must avoid wasting money on earbuds that easily break and won’t even last for a couple of months. It might be tempting to go with cheap earbuds, but remember that there’s often a valid reason for placing a higher price tag on a product.
Investing in durable headphones with great sound quality would be a wise decision. At the very least, you will be putting your money to good use by buying something that will most certainly produce some high-quality sound and can last you for at least a year, or maybe even longer. You will also be able to thoroughly enjoy your sensible purchase for an extended period of time.
Though it may seem that deciding on the best durable earbuds is a tough process, we can make things easier for you with a list of some the top-rated brands listed below.
1. Shure SE215-K
If you’re looking for the best earbuds in the noise isolation category, then the Shure SE215-K certainly fits the bill. These highly-rated earbuds not only stand the test of time but also deliver great quality sound that is second to none.
Although you may think the plastic casing is a poor choice for a material, it is nevertheless made of something that is completely high-grade, doesn’t easily deteriorate, and is comfortable to boot. Plastic is actually a good choice for those who like listening to music while doing strenuous activities. The Shure SE215-K may not fully sweat proof, but it is sweat resistant.
The cables are Kevlar-reinforced and are detachable to ease the process of replacing them. Even the earpieces will not be a hassle to replace. This detachable cable feature is great for disconnecting them from the earbuds whenever you need to put them away. As most earbud users would probably have realized, a common cause for the tear in cables is the constant need to subject them to stress or strain when storing them in tight spaces. Additionally, the L-shaped plug and Y-Joint cables help increase the durability.
The Shure SE215-K earbuds include 3 different foam ear tips, and also 3 silicone ear tip sizes. The unparalleled noise isolation feature is due largely to the innovative earphones with a single dynamic driver that comes with the device that is quickly becoming popular among earbud enthusiasts. It makes the bass deep and resonant, and the other sound ranges clear and vibrant.
Music can be streamed to the ears for hours without any of the strain that usually accompanies prolonged use. A zipped carrying case comes with the unit, making it more convenient to carry the earbuds around with you.
It is not hard to see why the Shure SE215-K tops almost every best durable earbud list. Given its price range, you will be hard-pressed to find another earbud model that offers the same quality and features. The ear tips rest securely on the ears, thanks to their strategic location on the side of the earpieces.
The earpieces in turn act as fins that provide stability and security to the earbuds. A flexible plastic covers the plug used to connect the earpieces to the cable, giving added protection from excessive bending.
Foam sleeves that come with the Shure SE215-K were added for noise isolating purposes, and help deliver clear and vibrant audio. The mids and highs are presented splendidly without too much emphasis. Therefore, if you want in-ear headphones with great sound isolation, comfort, top-notch durability and superb sound quality with nice bass, you will not go wrong by picking the Shure SE215.
- Superb sound isolation feature that can reach up to 37 dB
- Has noise isolating earphones with single dynamic microdriver
- Highly comfortable
- Comes with its own carrying case
- Ideal for use during rigorous activities
- Extremely durable
- Secure fit
- Excellent wire build quality
- The design may not be for everyone
- Original replacement parts can be pricey
- May feel awkward at first
2. Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones
Although relatively bigger than other earbuds in its category, the SoundSport Free headphones don’t actually feel cumbersome, and even come with buttons built into the ear cups. Other buttons included are one for pairing the earbuds with a Bluetooth device, one for standard volume control, and a multifunction button that can do a multitude of actions. Examples of these actions are the receiving and rejecting of incoming phone calls, connecting with Siri or Google Now, and regulating the audio.
It might sound a bit overwhelming initially, but the buttons are intuitive, and it’s fairly effortless to discover the ones that can be used for functions like starting and pausing audio, or playing around with the volume. They are placed on top of the headphones, sparing the inner ears from unnecessary pressure whenever the buttons are pushed.
Like other true wireless Bluetooth headphones, the batteries, electronic elements, and sound drivers of the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones are contained in each ear piece. To help endure rain and sweat exposure, the earbuds feature an IPX water-resistance rating. The silicon ear tips have ear wings that are meant to help the earbuds stay in place during strenuous activities. It would take a highly energetic movement to actually dislodge them from the ears. This model is very suitable for those who regularly go jogging or do workouts.
The earbuds can be charged using magnetic charging, and can be conveniently stored inside a nifty plastic container. They will be able to stay connected for up to 30 feet, although the connection may falter when a body part briefly blocks the earbuds. The Bluetooth connection is actually received only by the right earbud, and it in turn connects to the left earbud.
The listening experience that the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones offer is nothing short of amazing. The headphones are said to last around five hours on a single charging cycle, with two hours needed to complete their charging. The mids and highs sound wonderful despite the Bluetooth connection. Calls are also clear even in the midst of a noisy crowd. What we have here is definitely one of the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds around.
- IPX4 weather resistance
- Resonant bass
- Balanced sound
- Outstanding Bluetooth connectivity
- Continues to play music even when taken out of the ears
- Provide good situational awareness for runners
- Long battery life, up to 15 hours
- Comes with charging case battery
- Relatively bulkier than other earbuds in its class
- Noise isolation feature could be improved
3. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
The Bose’s SoundSport Wireless is actually the first of Bose’s Bluetooth sports headphones, and could possibly be the best Bluetooth sports earbuds in the market. Aside from the good sound quality, the build quality is also outstanding. The main design of these earbuds is an open one wherein the ear canals are not sealed off completely. Thus, the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones cannot be considered noise isolating headphones. Even so, the earbuds remain secure despite not being placed into the ear canals. Ambient noise can leak in due to the earbuds’ open design, but is very useful in situations where you need to bike or run along streets that have a lot of cars passing through.
The Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds include a dedicated sports version of the standard StayHear tips that are used by previous models. The downside to this is that they are not interchangeable, and the earbuds stick out from the ears. They are also quite big, and may feel awkward at first.
Bose has provided a clip that can be hooked at the back of shirt, preventing the cord from moving around. This makes Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones a good candidate for earbuds for running purposes. A free app called Bose Connect is included for both Android and iOS, and can let you handle device pairings, manipulate the auto power off settings, and upgrade the firmware.
As expected from sports earbuds, Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones are made water and sweat resistant. A built-in microphone is also included, as well as a remote that enables you to take calls, adjust the volume, and shuffle through songs. The Bluetooth connection is very reliable, and hardly any background noise can be heard when making calls.
Overall, the comfort level and fit of the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones could easily make it a perfect fit for most people. Throw in the reliability of its Bluetooth connection, and you’ve got yourself a very good deal with this unit.
- Great for making and taking calls
- Comes with an auto-off feature that extends battery life
- Extremely comfortable
- Sweat and water resistant
- Good sound quality
- Sticks out from the ears
- Short battery life of about 6 hours
- Slow charging
4. JLab Audio Fit2
The JLab Audio Fit2 boast of titanium micro drivers that produce a deep bass, superb mids and highs, and smooth overall sound. They can give most over-ear headphones a run for their money when it comes to sound quality.
This JLab 5th-anniversary offering features a pure metal housing that helps add strength and durability, along with the 45-degree jack angle. An iodized finish that provides scratch resistance adds to the shiny design of the device. The earbud cable is very lightweight, flexible, yet tough, thanks to its Kevlar reinforcement.
An in-line microphone is included, along with buttons for making calls. The ergonomic, yet stylish design makes for an awfully comfortable fit inside the ear. Made of solid aluminum, the JLab Audio Fit2 are polished with an anodized finish that makes them scratch-resistant. While they do not actively reduce noise, they do filter the majority of ambient sounds.
The consistent positive feedback for the JLab Audio Fit2 seems to be centered towards the supreme comfort that they offer. The ear tips provide an excellent cushion and are exceedingly lightweight. They sit well on the ears, and are not prone to shifting out. In fact, you will have no problems falling asleep even with the earbuds on. They will no doubt be incredibly comfortable to wear during any activity you choose to do. Four silicone cushions are included, making it easy to find a size that is just right for you.
The mids and highs are balanced, and separation from the bass is surprisingly fantastic. In fact, the JLab Audio Fit2 sounds better than some earbuds in the higher price range. The audio can be played on higher volumes without feedback and with minimal distortion. This device is a good fit for those who need to frequently make calls, and for those who are particular about the reduction of ambient noise. There is no doubt that owning a pair of these earbuds will give you some great value for money.
- Cable does not get tangled easily
- Comes with a shirt clip
- Amazingly comfortable
- Earbuds don’t stick out
- Earbud tips stay securely in the ear
- Value for money
- Clear audio when making calls
- Microphone easily picks up voice even from a short distance
- Limited lifetime warranty
- A headphone jack is bigger than normal
- Sound can come off as muted when playing music with awful bass
- Noticeable noise when the earbud cable hits something
5. 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones
If neckband-style in-ear headphones are more to your liking, then the 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones are the one for you. These Bluetooth headphones feature a water-resistant IPX4 design, and ear tips that remain sweat free and secured to the ears even during demanding exercise routines. An ear tip is further combined with fins to ensure the best fit by sealing the ear canal off while providing a stable placement in the ear. The fins and ear tips are removable in order for you to customize the earbuds to your liking, and three pairs of different earphone sizes are included. A slack in the cord can be easily addressed by the provided cable cinch.
Even at high volumes, the 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones produce a bass response that is solid and free from distortion. However, the bass impact could prove to be lacking for more discriminating listeners. The sibilance is also somewhat noticeable, making the vocals and instruments sound thin. In order to counter these shortcomings, adjusting the equalization is the simplest solution.
The battery life on the 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones is also great, with one full charge lasting you as long as 8 hours of music listening. A standard micro-USB cable is needed for charging, requiring attachment to the inline microphone.
The ergonomic design makes up for what the 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Sport Headphones lack in sound quality. The appearance may not be that much different from other models, but the finish makes the headphones look stylish. The build is also solid, earning these wireless headphones a deserving spot on the list of the best durable earbuds out in the market today. Even if the mic, volume, and power control are not part of the metal body, they are still made of tough first-rate plastic that contributes to the unit’s sturdiness.
- Great for exercising
- Secure fit
- Long battery life
- Trouble-free connectivity
- Sleek metal design
- Has attractive colors to choose from
- Great value for money
- Easy connectivity
- Audio quality could be better
- Remote control design is not user-friendly
- Bass impact is low
In-ear headphones might be easy to come by, but choosing the best durable earbuds can be quite a challenge for some. Before you settle on your choice of earbuds, you have to ask yourself how and where you plan to use them. There are a wide array of earbud models available today, and many even have features that target a specific user. Prepare to spend some money on higher quality pairs of earbuds. You don’t need to fret, however, because a higher price tag often means much better durability and sound quality.
Lastly, make sure to check out the technical specifications of the earbuds and the other included features to guarantee that you will purchase a product that will become a good fit for you. Remember that getting the right earbuds can prove to be a pretty wise investment on your end as they can last you for a long time and provide you with plenty of uses as well. Now with that said, go out there and shop for some earbuds that will let you listen to your music the way you want it.
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Picking out the best durable earbuds on the market today need not be difficult. Read on to find out which earbud product is a perfect fit for you.