by Adam MolinaMarch 18, 2017

We looked at some of the top categories in audio at the end of 2016, including this one. As promised, we’re constantly updating the list to reflect the most up-to-date information so if you’re looking for the best earbuds of 2017, you’re in luck.

Looking for wireless earbuds? See our best wireless earbuds of 2017

For the sake of simplicity we’re calling everything that doesn’t go over your head earbuds. Most major companies don’t differentiate between the two so neither will we. We’ve made five different categories that we hope will cover most of your needs, with a “best” and “bang for your buck” pick for each, Whether you’re looking to purchase your first pair of earbuds other than the ones that came in the box or you’re looking for a pair to supplement your over-ears, we’ve compiled this list for you.

Best All-Around

V-MODA Forza

Whether you want headphones for your commute to work or for the gym afterwards, the V-MODAForza headphones have you covered. They’re sweat proof so you don’t have to worry about water damage, but they also sound pretty impressive for only costing about $100. One thing that’s really cool about these headphones is just how versatile they are. They come with a number of attachments so that you can add wingtips for when you’re working out at the gym, plain ‘ol eartips for the average commute, and even over-ear hooks if you prefer to wear them that way for either occasion. They do have a 3-button mic and remote which does depend on your source device, so make sure you pick the right one at checkout. And if you ever get bored with how they look, you can get 3D printed caps to change it up a bit.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
Sweat proof
Size/Weight
47.2 x 1.5 x 0.3 inches/0.5 ounces
Pros
VersatilitySweat ProofGood Sound

ADV.Sound Model 3

Personally, one of my favorite pair of headphones to come out of 2016 were the ADV.Sound Model 3 headphones. These are also pretty versatile not because they’re sweat proof (which they’re not) or because you can wear them in a bunch of different ways (you can’t), but because they’re both wired and wireless. The earbuds pop on and off thanks to MMCX connectors. You can use the Bluetooth neckpiece to go wireless for a commute, and then pop them onto the wires once you get to work or vice versa. Up to you. The only downside being that going wireless only gets you about 5 hours of music playback, but that should be fine as long as you remember to charge it. These are also hi-res certified and when you take into account the sound quality and the innovation, there’s no way these should be only $79.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Battery Life
5 Hours
Pros
Wired and WirelessGreat soundGood price
Cons
Sub-par battery life
Best Wireless

Jaybird X3

If you saw our video for best Bluetooth earbuds of 2016, it should be no surprise that we’re picking the X3s here. Just like the X2s they’re not the most amazing pair of Bluetooth headphones in any one aspect, but they’re really good at basically everything. They have a strong connection so you won’t have dropped signals, a good mic for phone calls, sweat and water resistance, good sound quality, an 8 hour battery life, and a price tag of only $129. Now I say “only” because that’s still not exactly cheap, but considering how much the previous models were this is a step in the right direction for Jaybird and if any of those employees are listening, keep it up!
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
Sweat Proof
Battery Life
8 Hours
Size/Weight
21.5 x 0.5 x 0.9 inches/11.2 ounces
Pros
Good battery lifeStrong connection
Cons
Sound quality

CB3 Fit Sport

Wireless headphones have gotten really good just in this past year alone, but that still doesn’t mean that you have to pay top dollar for something that’ll get the job done. If your limit is about $40 - $50, check out the CB3 Fit Sport headphones. These have an over-ear hook design that keep them firmly in place whether you’re out for a run or walking around the house. They have a battery life of about 7 hours and IPX4 protection against water and sweat. Playback controls built into the housing also means there’s no annoying control module on the string to pull them down. You can skip between tracks, control music, and answer/end phone calls with just a few clicks of the buttons. Overall, not a bad way to spend a few bucks if you want a pair of inexpensive Bluetooth ‘buds.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
IPX4
Battery Life
7 Hours
Size/Weight
7.3 x 4.9 x 1.8 inches/7 ounces
Pros
PriceFitIPX4 certification
Cons
Average battery life

See also: Best wireless earbuds for working out

Best Design

Master & Dynamic ME01

Master undefined Dynamic have great looking products for sure, but they also usually have a sound to match. Unfortunately their headphones are a little on the pricey side, but if you’re looking for their lowest priced option to get your feet wet, check out the ME01s which are priced at about $129. These are a gorgeous little pair of ‘buds made of metal and rubber that have a flat cable to avoid getting tangled in your pocket. The control module has soft rubber buttons that make it easy to control your music and the tiny metal earbuds stayed put in my ears, which I was not expecting given how small they are. If you want headphones with an industrial design that also have good sound quality these might be for you
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Size/Weight
5.6 x 2.7 x 5.5 inches/0.8 ounces
Pros
Solid buildSleek designGood sound
Cons
Price

CB3 Metal Earbud

Sleek design isn’t limited to expensive products. The CB3 Metal Earbuds also have a metal design (hence the name), but with a bit more of an edge. They look like the outer layer has been ripped off to reveal an inner golden casing. Of course, it’s not actually gold, but it still looks really cool. The cable is wrapped in a braided fabric for durability, and the single button remote on the cable is universal, so it doesn’t matter what kind of source device you’re using. Unfortunately, There’s no volume control, but at least you can pause or play music and answer phone calls. These do have a fairly strong bass so the sound is a little warm and muggy, but for only $20 they’re not a bad bang for your buck option for best design.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Size/Weight
6.8 x 3.7 x 1.2 inches/1.4 ounces
Pros
DesignPrice
Cons
Muddy low end

See also: Best earbuds under $100

Best Value

Focal Sphear

If you want bang for your buck, one of the best pairs of earbuds you can get are the Focal Sphear. These cost about $80 and have a sound that have left many pretty impressed. Focal spent a year or two designing these and it shows. The round housing makes them fairly comfortable to wear and they’re relatively small considering that they have 10.8mm drivers squeezed into them. Those drivers provide a nice full sound that really gives vocals some nice room to play with. The cable has a universal mic and remote so you can skip between tracks, pause or play your music, or answer phone calls. For their price range and even some price ranges above it, the Sphears do it all.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Size/Weight
0.6 x 0.6 x 0.8 inches/0.5 ounces
Pros
PriceGreat sound
Cons
Not a strong low end

Panasonic Ergo Fit

It doesn’t look like the Panasonic Ergo Fit headphones are going to be leaving this list anytime soon. If you’re looking for the cheapest most inexpensive headphones you can get that isnt garbage, there’s really no other option. These can be found for under $10 and though they might not sound as good as pair of $100 headphones, they’re loads better than anything you’ll find in the price range. I’d even take these over most of the headphones that come with your average smartphone. There’s nothing really spectacular about the Ergo Fits (they don’t even have a mic or remote), but you can get 10 pairs of these and be stocked up for life on solid headphones for the price of 1 pair of high-end ‘buds. The choice is yours.
Microphone
No
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Size/Weight
3.6 x 3.2 x 6.8 inches/1.6 ounces
Pros
PriceSound quality
Cons
Build quality

See also: Best cheap earbuds under $50

Best Sound

Etymotic ER4SR

Sound quality is extremely subjective (unless it’s a terrible product), but if you’re in the market for a flat reference sound signature make sure to check out the ER4SR in-ears from Etyomitic research. These technically aren’t “earbuds”, so if you really can’t stand the feeling of anything in your ears then these might not be for you. But if you can get passed that you’ll be treated with a truly flat sound signature. This is best if you’re going to be mixing down audio or if you just like to hear your music without any embellishments that most audio companies put on their products. The earbuds are attached to the wires by MMCX connectors so you can easily pop them off and replace the wire should it break. That said, the 3.5mm jack ends in a 90-degree connector and the braided cable leading up to the ‘buds do add a but of strength so it shouldn’t be an issue unless you actively pull on them.
Microphone
No
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Battery Life
N/A
Pros
Flat soundMMCX swappable cable
Cons
Price

1MORE Triple Driver

Okay so we have one more pair of headphones to talk about. The 1MORE Triple Driver in-ears. You can usually find these for under $100 which isn’t cheap, but they’re definitely worth it. Sure, there’s a newer quad-driver version out, but they also cost more than double the price of these. If you want bang for your buck sound the previous triple-driver version is the way to go. As the name implies, these have three drivers packed into the tiny housing: two balanced armatures and a third dynamic driver. As is the case with wired headphones, there are iOS and Android versions so make sure to snag the one you’re looking for. They’re also Hi-Res certified and have a 3-button mic and remote on the cable for controlling playback and answering calls. There haven’t been too many (if any) negative reviews on these so if you’re looking for good sound check these out.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Noise Cancelling
No
Water-Resistance
No
Size/Weight
1.5 x 8.5 x 6.5 inches/0.6 ounces
Pros
Sound qualityNice design
Cons
Kind of expensive

We’ve said this in other lists, but here it’s truer than ever: everyone’s ears are different, and sometimes it can be tough to get a good fit. Two of the items on this list can’t be used with custom ear tips, but it’s definitely worth looking for custom tips if you can use them with your earbuds. Remember: better fit = better sound.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Checkout these other related best lists:

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