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Best invisible earbuds

Hide your music in style.
By

Published onDecember 21, 2023

1More ComfoBuds Mini
1MORE ComfoBuds Mini
7.9
Check price
Positives
Very small
Good ANC
Price
Comfortable
Good sound
IPX5
Negatives
AAC and SBC only
Only three colors
Mic isn't great
The Bottom Line.
The 1More ComfoBuds Mini is one of the smallest and best discreet earbuds you can buy, and it's under $100 USD. It has some quirks like the ANC mode changes the frequency response, but on the whole it's a solid pick.Read full review...
Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian
A product shot of the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian edition in Earth colorway.
7.7
Check price
Positives
Good color choices
H1 chip
IPX4
Consumer friendly sound
Spatial audio
Negatives
Adaptive ANC is only okay
Mic is only okay
Larger size due to stabilizer
The Bottom Line.
Combining style with functionality, the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian tones down the ordinarily loud visuals of Beats with warm colors and Apple friendly functionality.Read full review...
JLab GO Air TONES
A product shot shows the JLab GO Air TONES against a white backdrop.
7.4
Check price
Positives
Seven colors
Cheap price
Good sound
IPX4
Long battery life
Negatives
Mic does not reject noise well
Touch controls are iffy
SBC only
The Bottom Line.
The JLab GO Air TONES offers surprisingly good performance and color choices for merely $25 USD. If you don't require noise canceling, it's a really stealth choice.Read full review...
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
On a white background is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in Bora Purple with the buds sitting outside the case.
7.7
Check price
Positives
Excellent noise canceling
Sounds good
Comfortable
IPX7 rating
Bluetooth 5.3; Samsung Seamless Codec, AAC, and SBC codec
Negatives
App only available on Android
Battery life is only okay
Not the smallest buds on the list
Limited colors
The Bottom Line.
If you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is tailor made for your device. With a matte finish and low key design, it can blend in. Plus, it has great noise canceling.Read full review...

Are you trying to hide that you’re listening to your favorite podcast at work? Maybe you just think the stems on earbuds look silly. Either way, we’ve compiled the best invisible earbuds, or nearly invisible earbuds, so you can get on with your day without people noticing you’re listening to anything.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on December 21, 2023, to add the JLab JBuds Mini to our Top Picks, add our new frequency response charts, and answer more reader FAQs.

Why is the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini the best invisible earbuds?

1MORE ComfoBuds Mini in ear
The earbuds barely protrude from the ear, so people around you might not even notice you’re listening to music.

Sometimes, invisibility can be achieved by just downsizing your earbuds. The 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini comes in basic white, black, and red colors, but due to its minute size of 17 x 15 x 13mm per bud and only 3.7 grams, it can disappear easier than stemmed Apple AirPods. Obviously, choosing red will make it more noticeable unless you have long red hair.

Its discreet dimensions aside, the ComfoBuds Mini also cancels noise quite well for under $100, although the small size means it might not isolate as well as earbuds with better seals. These IPX5-rated buds reach 5 hours and 19 minutes to a single charge with active noise cancelation (ANC) on. Without ANC, the ComfoBuds Mini has a nice sound without undue exaggerations in any frequency, though strangely, when ANC is on frequencies below 600Hz sees a significant boost in volume. It still sounds good, but can make trebly sounds seem a bit quiet. The app has no EQ but rather uses an algorithm determined by your fit and aims to optimize what 1MORE dictates is the best sound.

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Lastly, 1MORE ships the ComfoBuds Mini with the basic options of AAC and SBC codecs over Bluetooth 5.2. In terms of striking a balance of price, function, and size, the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini is a solid choice in a rather new market of invisible earbuds. If you want something with an equalizer, more codecs, or other color options, take a look at some of the other picks below.

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The mic on the ComfoBuds Mini is not amazing. When you pack microphones into a tiny housing sitting that far from your mouth, sacrifices occur, such as difficulty differentiating noise from speech. Take a listen below and let us know what you think.

1MORE ComfoBuds Mini microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

1MORE ComfoBuds Mini microphone demo (Street conditions):

1MORE ComfoBuds Mini microphone demo (Office conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

797 votes
1MORE ComfoBuds Mini1MORE ComfoBuds Mini
1MORE ComfoBuds Mini
Small, portable, durable build • Very comfortable • Great noise canceling for price
MSRP: $99.00
Small, comfortable earbuds that don't sacrifice features
Perfect for anyone with small ears, 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini offer good sound quality, effective noise canceling, and wireless charging. They're also water resistance which makes them a safe pick for sweaty workouts.

The Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian is subtle for Beats

A model faces right wearing the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian while lifting a weight.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys

We are breaking ground here with the first mention of Kim Kardashian on SoundGuys, and her collaboration on the Beats Fit Pro combines the positives of the Fit Pro in three subdued colors. Sure, many folks won’t match any of the three perfectly, but the tones (Moon, Dune, and Earth) will certainly blend in better with most people’s skin than the grey colorway with a green “b,” for instance.

Apple users will benefit from the H1 chip to gain the best performance out of the AAC or SBC-only earbuds, as well as spatial audio. You can use the Fit Pro with Android, too, but it’d be nice to have a better codec selection for all users, like aptX. 6 hours and 22 minutes of battery life with ANC on is more than enough for most. An ear fit test and IPX4 rating help the Fit Pro to suit your lifestyle. The adaptive ANC itself doesn’t beat out the best, but it’s certainly quite good.

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You might’ve noticed the Beats Fit Pro isn’t the smallest set of earbuds around with that silicone stabilizer. It lands on the list due to the colors and that the form and function, offering some flexibility for users. It has a consumer-friendly sound and Apple users gain some extra utility count as added reasons to qualify the Kim Kardashian x Beats Fit Pro.

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If you don’t expect perfect noise rejection, the Beats Fit Pro mic works fine. For the price, we’d like to see something more accurate with improved noise rejection. As an example, you’ll hear keyboard strokes easily alongside your speech. Let us know what you think.

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Beats Fit Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

6811 votes
Beats Fit Pro (Kim Kardashian Edition)Beats Fit Pro (Kim Kardashian Edition)
Beats Fit Pro (Kim Kardashian Edition)
Great sound quality • Effective noise cancellation • Comfortable fit
MSRP: $199.00

The JLab GO Air TONES matches a lot of skin tones

A top down shot shows seven hands holding the color matched cases of the JLab GO Air TONES.

If noise canceling isn’t your priority, you can find the surprisingly good value of the JLab GO Air TONES and its wide variety of colorways to match skin tones as a solid pick. The GO Air TONES is essentially a colorway expanded version of the JLab GO Air POP, which we like for its pleasant frequency response and straightforward utility. It doesn’t hurt that the price is around $25.

The buds themselves are pretty small, so even if you can’t get an exact match, it should blend better than, say, bright yellow. Equipped with an IPX4 rating, the JLab GO Air TONES ought to survive your workout or a stressful Zoom meeting. It only uses the SBC codec over Bluetooth 5.1, which is pretty basic. That JLab includes EQ at all is a welcomed surprise at this price point, even if it’s rudimentary.

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In our testing of the JLab GO Air POP, it lasts an impressive 11 hours and 4 minutes, and considering the specs are exactly the same besides the color, you can expect similar performance from the GO Air TONES. If microphone quality is high on your priority list, it might not be the ideal choice. Some fussy command inputs will also be something to expect, as the budget shows itself in such instances. Still, if cosmetics companies have taught us anything, it’s that most people aren’t exactly going to match one of seven skin tones, but it’s a start and, frankly, an impressive selection for the price.

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To the surprise of probably nobody, the mic on $25 earbuds is not its greatest asset. Because the JLab GO Air TONES are the same as the JLab GO Air POP except for the color, we’ve included the demos and mic chart for the latter. You can still use the mic for phone calls and such; it just won’t sound perfectly accurate, nor will it filter out external noise especially well. Use it indoors and avoid the wind. Listen and decide.

JLab GO Air POP microphone demo (Ideal):

JLab GO Air POP microphone demo (Wind):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2919 votes
JLab GO Air TONESJLab GO Air TONES
JLab GO Air TONES
Colorways • Price • Sound
MSRP: $24.99

What about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

A man wears the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro while facing left, and he's about to tap the touch pad with trees and concrete in the background.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Samsung’s mics are okay but not perfect.

Sometimes, fairly small does a good enough job of being unnoticeable, which is why you might consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. With its matte, unadorned finish and simple round shape it’s easy to not really take much notice of these very capable earbuds. Measuring 17.0 x 20.9 x 21.1mm, the earbuds are larger than the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini, but the Samsung Buds also have some other features that perform a bit better.

In particular, Samsung device users will get a suite of benefits from teaming up with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, such as the Samsung Seamless Codec. Other Android owners have to make do with AAC and SBC but still gain access to the useful app where you can adjust commands and get updates. Onboard ANC ranks as one of the highlight features on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, as it’s some of the best we’ve tested. That the buds sound pretty good is just another bonus.

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The battery life is okay, lasting 4 hours and 50 minutes to a single charge with ANC. You’re limited to Graphite, White, and Bora Purple, so the subtlety of design is the main selling point here as “invisible” earbuds.

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You can toggle on Ambient sound mode while you’re on a call to mimic a sidetone effect. On the whole, the mic sounds alright, although it can artificially make your voice sound like it has a lisp depending on how high or low your voice is. Have a listen below.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

8542 votes
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Comfortable fit • Enhanced noise-cancelling technology • Satisfying battery life
MSRP: $229.99
Samsung's reliable earbuds upgraded
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds provide great sound and feature active noise canceling. They meld a great fit and comfort with a vast range of ear tips. Efficient ANC and five hours of battery life sweeten the deal.

If you want the smallest earbuds, get the JLab JBuds Mini

There’s no denying the JBuds Mini are some of the smallest true wireless earbuds on the market. JLab claims that these new earbuds are 30% smaller than its previous Go Air Pop buds and have a smaller and lighter charging case.

Although, they bring a decent set of features, including noise canceling microphones in each bud, 6mm dynamic drivers, touch controls, and Bluetooth multi-point. They also include Bluetooth 5.3, Google Fast Pair, and an IP55 rating.

As for endurance, you can expect 5.5 hours of playtime for each earbud and 20 hours of total playback when using the charging case. The biggest downside is the fact that the JBuds Mini only supports the SBC codec — no AAC, aptX, or anything else here. Still, they only cost $39.99, so that’s to be expected at this price.

JLab JBuds MiniJLab JBuds Mini
SG recommended
JLab JBuds Mini
Extremely portable • Price • IP55 rated
MSRP: $39.99
The JLab JBuds Mini are a diminutive set of earbuds that you can attach to your keychain. However, they offer more features than you might expect for such an inexpensive pair of earbuds. If you're looking for cheap earbuds that can handle a workout, put these on your shortlist.

Who should buy the Bose Frames Tempo?

Bose Frames Tempo sported by male subject.
AJ Wykes / SoundGuys
Besides the thick arms, you wouldn’t know the Bose Frames Tempo plays music.

Sometimes, the most invisible earbuds are the ones right in front of your face. Considering that plenty of folks wear sunglasses, the Bose Frames Tempo can generally pass as just normal sunglasses. Yes, you’ll be donning sunglasses, but they won’t look like earbuds. Clearly, sunglasses aren’t ideal in some situations, such as at night or indoors (for most of us), which are inherent limitations.

The upshot here is that you’ll also be able to hear your surroundings, which if you’re trying not to look like you’re listening to music, rates as a benefit. On the other hand, the Frames Tempo doesn’t offer the best sound, so you’ll have to weigh up your priorities. Plus, not everyone looks good in the same sunglasses.

Bose Frames TempoBose Frames Tempo
Bose Frames Tempo
Unoccluded ear for running • Decent-enough sound • Comfortable
MSRP: $249.99
Bose's next hearable sunglasses target the fitness enthusiast
It's got a less universal look, but the Bose Frames Tempo could be an attractive option for runners who want to listen to music and not have to squint so much.

Hide your music in plain sight with the NOVA H1 Audio Earrings

A woman wears the Nova H1 Earrings
Nova
It looks just like a little pearl earring.

First off, the NOVA H1 Audio Earrings are not invisible. Rather, the freshwater pearl earrings are quite noticeable. However, at a glance, pretty much nobody would suspect the NOVA H1 plays music. Available as a clip-on or stud (for pierced ears) in silver or gold plated (nickel-free) metal, the viability of the NOVA H1 Audio Earrings depends more on your wallet’s depth (demanding €595 to €695) and personal style than whether anyone notices you’re listening to music.

Inside the Bluetooth 5.2 earrings is the NOVA Directional Sound, promising privacy. Similar to any unsealed fit, you’ll still hear quite a bit of your surroundings competing for your attention. Even so, if going undetected is your aim, the NOVA H1 Audio Earrings could be a novel solution.

Nova H1Nova H1
Nova H1
Decent sound • looks like an earring! • Clip-on or stud options •
MSRP: €695.00
Sometimes an invisible earbud hides in plain sight.
People who care more about not looking like they have earbuds in than anything else may love these stylish pearl earrings.

The best invisible earbuds: Notable mentions

A man stands outside wearing the Jabra Elite 5 true wireless earbuds.
The Jabra Elite 5 is pretty subtle looking.
  • Jabra Elite 5: Not the smallest earbuds out there, but the Jabra Elite 5 isn’t too flashy. It has the aptX codec, a boon for Android users too. You can find this nice set of earbuds for $132 at Amazon.
  • Shokz OpenFit: Your options are black or beige, and they aren’t that small. However, if your hair is long enough to cover your ears, the unsealed fit of these allows you to seamlessly listen to music and speak to your neighbor without uttering “huh?” Try them for $179 at Amazon.
  • Sony LinkBuds S: Another under-the-radar set of earbuds, the LinkBuds S won’t disappear in your ears, but at a glance, it’s fairly nondescript. It sells for $148 at Amazon.

What you should know about the best invisible earbuds

The LG TONE Free T90 being worn.
The stems on the LG TONE Free T90Q and their bright color make it more visible, but covering it with long hair can hide the buds.

Obviously, there aren’t any truly invisible earbuds out there — if there are, we haven’t seen them. Aiming for a discreet-sized pair of earbuds without stems or over-ear hooks will help your earbuds disappear. Sometimes “invisible” just means small, which accounts for some of our picks.

Additionally, to hide your earbuds, you can pick colors that approximate your skin tone or your hair color if you have long enough hair to hide the buds underneath. Avoiding contrasting colors and boldly obvious logos is another key. Consider looking at colorways that aren’t meant to match anybody perfectly but have low contrast with your own coloring. If you have a warm complexion, look at warm colors, for example. You may want to avoid shiny and metallic housings, too, as those tend to garner more visual attention than matte textures.

Choosing true wireless earbuds will also work wonders in avoiding having your earbuds detected, for the reason that the only truly invisible thing about your earbuds is the Bluetooth connection transmitting your audio from your device. Otherwise, all of the same qualities we look for in the best earbuds apply to invisible earbuds.

Invisible earbuds still need to sound good

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What’s the use of having well-hidden earbuds if the earbuds have a poor sound? It’s important to consider the frequency response on any set of earbuds, invisible or otherwise. Most of our picks compare favorably to our preferred headphones curve that we set every reviewed pair of earbuds against. A good-sounding pair of earbuds will reproduce your audio without great exaggerations of any frequency, leaving each part sounding basically as intended and audible.

Some of these invisible earbuds come with apps that include an equalizer (or presets) so you can adjust the sound further, too. Here, the aim of tinkering is to reveal frequencies you can’t hear so well and to tame those you hear too loudly. Alongside effective isolation and ANC, a frequency response that mirrors our house curve helps to keep your volume at a safe level because you won’t be unconsciously turning up the volume to compensate for not hearing some frequencies as well as others.

How we test the best invisible earbuds

The Sony LinkBuds sit inside the Bruel & Kjaer 5128 head and torso simulator.
Every set of earbuds gets measured on our Bruel & Kjaer 5128, including these Sony LinkBuds WF-L900.

We test all of our earbuds and headphones with the same objective tests that make use of our Bruel & Kjaer 5128. The objective measurements combine with our hands-on review process in real-world scenarios to round out our methods. By subjecting each product to the same methodology, we can make more precise comparisons between earbuds.

How we choose the best invisible earbuds

A man faces right wearing the Shure SE215 cabled around the top of the ear with the cable running down behind the back of his ear.
If it was wireless, we might recommend the Shure SE215 for its translucence.

The picks for the best invisible earbuds article are informed by our reviews and objective measurements, as well as by our team’s expertise. This article is not one person’s opinion but rather a cumulative effort. Here we’ve considered form, function, value, objective measurements, and real-world tests. It should be noted that this niche market of discreet, or invisible, earbuds is young and does not yet have a single answer that works for everybody. We look forward to updating our picks as the market matures.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

Individuals at SoundGuys receive no financial incentive to recommend one product over another product. While the company earns a portion of sales made through affiliate links, individuals do not. This means it makes no difference to our staff if you buy one item over another, except that we’ve assessed one as being sincerely the better choice based on how we test and review. Furthermore, our writing and editorial team is separate from our marketing team, and SoundGuys does not accept paid promotional items and abides by strict journalist ethics. The team at SoundGuys has many years of experience with audio technology and a genuine desire to share that with our readers.

Frequently asked questions

Cleaning your earbuds is basically the same regardless of the model. You may need to take extra care with earbuds without or with lower IP ratings, but otherwise, it’s the same. You’ll need some cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol, paper towels, and time. Here’s an article outlining how to clean Apple AirPods Pro, but it’s basically the same for all earbuds.

To discreetly wear earbuds, choose small, in-ear models that fit snugly within the ear canal. Opt for colors that match your skin tone or are otherwise muted to blend in more seamlessly with your appearance. Wireless models eliminate conspicuous cables, and some come with low-profile designs specifically meant to be unobtrusive. Proper fit is crucial, not only for discretion but also to ensure they stay securely in place.

Yes, there are earbuds that don’t go in the ear, known as bone conduction headphones. These rest on your cheekbones and transmit sound through vibration directly to your inner ear, bypassing the eardrum. This design leaves your ear canals open, allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings while listening to audio. They are a great alternative for those who find in-ear buds uncomfortable or who want to maintain situational awareness.