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Most durable earbuds

Earbuds aren't exactly made to last, but some companies take pride in their build quality. These are a few of the best durable earbuds on the market.
By
August 29, 2023
Our pick
Jaybird Vista 2
The Jaybird Vista 2 workout earbuds and open case against a white background.
7.7
Check price
Positives
IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications
Wireless and fast charging
Consumer-friendly sound
Negatives
OK ANC
Battery life
Limited ear tip selection
The Bottom Line.
These waterproof earbuds will give you peace of mind with its durable IP68 build quality, whilst providing a signature that suits people with active lifestyles.Read full review...
Best sound
Jabra Elite 4 Active
Jabra Elite 4 Active
8.2
Check price
Positives
Sound quality
IP57 rating
Solid noise canceling
Negatives
Can't customize controls
No AAC support
The Bottom Line.
Athletes should pick up these durable true wireless earbuds for workouts in any environment. The performance at this price is worth the money.Read full review...
Best design
RHA S500
The RHA S500i in a mesh carrying pouch.
7.9
Check price
Positives
Good design
Metal housing
Price
Negatives
Sound quality not up to RHA standards
The Bottom Line.
For a modern pair of 'buds that won't break on your commute AND won't break the bank, the S500 are a solid option. Just make sure to get the right version for your source device (iOS or Android)Read full review...
Best for athletes
Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless
8.3
Check price
Positives
Good battery life
Secure fit via ear tips and wings
IP54 water and dust resistance
Companion app with EQ adjustment
Negatives
No active noise canceling
No auto play/pause
The Bottom Line.
For athletes and joggers that need to stay aware of their environment while working out, these are the best earbuds to get. The earbuds stay secure within the ear, feature dust and water resistance, good sound, and great battery life.Read full review...
Best bone conduction
Shokz OpenRun
The Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones in black against a white background.
7
Check price
Positives
Bluetooth 5.1
Good battery life and fast charging
IP67 rating
Comfortable and lightweight
Negatives
Proprietary charging port
Microphone quality
Beeps with every button press
The Bottom Line.
Safety-conscious outdoor enthusiasts will love the Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones because they fit well, sound good, and are IP67-rated.Read full review...

Let’s face it, earbuds kind of suck when it comes to long-term use. They aren’t the most resilient things in the world, and if they aren’t breaking or fraying, they’re getting tangled. Still, we deal with these issues because if you don’t want to deal with true wireless earbuds, there really is nothing that matches the convenience of a good pair of buds. But if you don’t want to get a pair of buds that are going to need to be replaced often, what options do you have? These are the most durable earbuds you can get.

What's new?

  • This list of the most durable earbuds was updated on August 29, 2023, to include the Jabre Elite 4 Active and Sennheiser Sport True Wireless in our top picks, update formatting, add more products to our notable mentions, and answer more frequently asked questions.
  • Be sure to check out our picks for the best running headphones and the best wireless workout headphones for more options.

The most durable earbuds are the Jaybird Vista 2

Jaybird is known for manufacturing durable earbuds, and its products are among the most popular earbuds for workouts. These earbuds are built for runners, climbers, and anyone else who needs something secure but lightweight for their vigorous exercise. What propels the Jaybird Vista 2 on this list is its IP68 waterproof rating and military-level testing, which is as good as it gets for earbuds. The Vista 2 is sealed to withstand water, dust, and sand, though Jaybird says it’s “not designed for swimming, showering, or exposure to pool or ocean water.”

Jaybird Vista 2
Jaybird Vista 2
7.7
Jaybird Vista 2 product image.Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds in hand outdoors.The Jaybird Vista 2 in black on top of a wood surface.Chart showing frequency reduction from isolation and ANC on the Jaybird Vista 2A chart depicts the Jaybird Vista 2 noise canceling earbuds' frequency response (cyan) against our consumer curve V2 (pink), showing that the Vista 2 has a pleasing bass and midrange response.
Jaybird Vista 2

What might let you down is the battery life. At only 5 hours and 20 minutes, our testing revealed a much lower performance than the 8 hours advertised by Jaybird. You could save some juice, however, by turning off the ANC, which also isn’t great.

Fortunately, these earbuds feature a consumer-friendly sound. The SBC and AAC codes provide more than enough fidelity to provide the background music to a run or weight session. These earbuds also have very good isolation, so you shouldn’t be too bothered by the grunts and conversations of other gym-goers.

Although Jaybird shielded the microphones with “WindDefense fabric,” the Vista 2 still picks up background sounds and doesn’t isolate voices from noise.

Jaybird Vista 2 microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2226 votes
Jaybird Vista 2Jaybird Vista 2
Jaybird Vista 2
Rugged built • Submersive earbuds • Great isolation
MSRP: $149.00
Fitness, without the fit.
Jaybird adds noise canceling to its beloved Vista wireless earbuds and manages to make the whole package even more durable, from the earbuds to the case.

If you want the best sound, check out the Jabra Elite 4 Active

For those prioritizing both sound quality and durability, the Jabra Elite 4 Active is a top contender.

These earbuds are designed with an impressive IP57 rating, ensuring resilience against water and dust, making them perfect for athletes and active users. Jabra’s commitment to durability is further emphasized with a two-year warranty against these elements. The deep insertion design ensures a secure fit for most users, and the inclusion of three sizes of silicone ear tips guarantees both comfort and effective noise isolation.

Jabra Elite 4 Active
Jabra Elite 4 Active
8.2
Jabra Elite 4 Active side profile in a persons ear.Jabra Elite 4 Active charging case and USB-C charging port.Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds on wood surface.Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds in case on a table next to a plant.
Jabra Elite 4 Active
Jabra Elite 4 Active
Buy now
See review
See review

The Sound+ app, integral to the Jabra experience, offers customizable EQ settings, allowing users to tailor their listening experience. The Active Noise Canceling (ANC) feature, while not rivaling more premium models, offers commendable noise attenuation, especially in midrange frequencies. Jabra claims that with the combination of a tight seal and ANC, users can achieve significant noise reduction, immersing them fully in their music or podcasts.

When it comes to sound, the Jabra Elite 4 Active delivers a balanced audio profile. The earbuds produce clear lows, mids, and highs, making them versatile for various music genres. However, users might find the button controls a bit forceful, and while the microphone is adequate for calls, it might struggle in noisier environments. Overall, for those seeking a blend of durability, sound quality, and features, the Jabra Elite 4 Active stands out in its price bracket.

Microphone quality on the Jabra Elite 4 Active is adequate for taking calls, though you shouldn’t expect studio mic quality from these affordable earbuds.

Jabra Elite 4 Active microphone demo (Ideal):

Jabra Elite 4 Active microphone demo (Office):

How does the mic sound to you?

3541 votes
Jabra Elite 4 ActiveJabra Elite 4 Active
SG recommended
Jabra Elite 4 Active
Bluetooth 5.2 support • Active noise-canceling • IP57 rating
MSRP: $119.99
ANC earbuds specifically designed for working out
The Jabra Elite 4 Active are active noise-canceling earbuds that cater to workouts and other heavy activity. Their IP57 rating keeps them sweatproof and Jabra spent a lot of time designing the buds so they stay put in your ears.

For a sleek design that won’t break over time, there’s the RHA S500i

One other pair of earbuds we can’t leave out is the RHA S500i. These are super lightweight yet still made of great materials that can at least withstand your commute if not adventuring in the woods.  RHA is more known for its flagship T10 and T20 in-ears with swappable filters, and even though the S500i doesn’t have filters, they still benefit from the knowledge RHA has when it comes to build quality.

RHA S500
RHA S500
7.9
A man holds the RHA S500i microphone and control module.The RHA S500i earbuds on top of a mesh carrying pouch.A man holds the RHA S500i earbuds.The RHA S500i in a mesh carrying pouch.
RHA S500

The drivers are housed in a durable aluminum alloy that you’re going to have a hard time breaking. Even though the cable isn’t reinforced, it isn’t frail. The bottom of the cable is covered with a flexible braided fabric that improves durability. So even though they may not be able to hold up weights, they’ll definitely live through some regular everyday wear and tear. One other thing to keep in mind is that these aren’t sweatproof. Durable doesn’t mean waterproof, so we wouldn’t recommend wearing them to the gym. These are more for the person who needs a solid pair of everyday headphones without worrying if they’re going to snap in half.

As far as sound, these aren’t going to give you the same quality and accuracy as the higher-end RHA models, but for under $50 earbuds, that shouldn’t be expected. Instead, you’ll get a fairly “fun-sounding” pair of earbuds that are fine for casual listening throughout the day or during a commute. If you’re interested in getting a pair for yourself, make sure to check out the full review for a more in-depth description of the sound.

RHA S500RHA S500
RHA S500
Good design • Metal housing • Price
MSRP: $80.00
For a modern pair of earbuds that won't break on your commute AND won't break the bank, the S500 are a solid option. Just make sure to get the right version for your source device (iOS or ANdroid).

For the best athletic performance, choose the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless

When it comes to athletic earbuds that combine sound quality with durability, the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless stands out.

Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
8.3
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless earbuds outside covered in water dropletsSennheiser Sport True Wireless earbuds held in a handSennheiser Sport True Wireless earbuds next to a basketballSennheiser Sport True Wireless top down shot of earbuds inside charging case
Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
Buy now
See review
See review

Constructed with fitness enthusiasts in mind, these earbuds come with an IP54 dust- and water-resistant rating, ensuring they can withstand both indoor and outdoor challenges. The inclusion of multiple ear tips and wings ensures a snug fit, making them perfect for any rigorous activity. While they lack active noise canceling, their “Aware” mode is a game-changer, amplifying background noises for those who want to stay connected to their surroundings.

Sound-wise, Sennheiser remains consistent with its reputation. The Sport True Wireless offers a sound profile that most listeners will appreciate, with a slight emphasis on the bass. The companion app further enhances the experience, allowing users to customize their listening experience.

For those who prioritize awareness during workouts without compromising on sound quality, the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless is a top contender. Whether you’re jogging, cycling, or hitting the gym, these earbuds promise to deliver on all fronts.

Sennheiser Sport Wireless EarbudsSennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds
IP54 water and dust resistance • Secure, comfortable fit • Companion app with EQ adjustment
MSRP: $129.95
Hear your surroundings while absorbing your favorite music
The Sennheiser Sport Wireless Earbuds are excellent workout headphones for runners and cyclists who need to be aware of their surroundings. While you won't get ANC, you get an IP54 water and dust resistant build with a comfortable fit. Battery life of over seven hours in our tests sweetens the deal.

The Shokz OpenRun keeps your ears unplugged

Bone conduction headphones like the Shokz OpenRun wrap around your ear rather than sitting in the ear canal. Not only does this help you stay aware of your environment, but it also reduces the chance of ear infections, and the headphones themselves are more likely to stay clean. The OpenRun features an IP67 rating, meaning you don’t have to worry about dust or water damage.

Shokz OpenRun
Shokz OpenRun
7
A woman wears the Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones in red.The Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones rest in the drawstring carry pouch inside of a sling bag near biking accessories.The Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones' multi-function button.
Shokz OpenRun

Runners, climbers, and other athletes will appreciate the OpenRun’s tight yet comfortable fit. However, glasses and other headgear don’t pair well with these headphones. While it sounds reasonably good once fitted correctly, the Shokz OpenRun can’t reproduce sub-bass frequencies, and jaw movements can make the sound quality suffer further.

In a quiet environment, the microphone is good enough. However, the Shokz OpenRun struggles with wind and background noise, which negatively affects the sound quality on the receiving end.

Shokz OpenRun microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does this microphone sound to you?

3221 votes
Shokz OpenRunShokz OpenRun
Shokz OpenRun
Leaves ears unoccluded • Fast charging battery • IP67 rating
MSRP: $129.95
One of the best options among bone-conduction headsets.
The Shokz OpenRun bone-conduction headphones leave the ears unoccluded and produce a decent sound. They have an IP67 rating and a fast-charging battery.

The Jaybird Tarah offers premium features at a great price

With the Jaybird Tarah, you’re getting most of the features from the flagship Jaybird X4 earbuds for $30 less. While these may not have fancy all-metal housing, the Jaybird Tarah features an IPX7 waterproof rating, certified to withstand complete submersion at 1 meter for 30 minutes. You shouldn’t go out of your way to take a swim with these buds, but you can take comfort in the fact that they’ll survive despite an accidental dip in the pool or even after a sweat-heavy workout.

In terms of sound quality, these earbuds won’t impress any audiophiles. Lower-end sounds are slightly under-emphasized, though there is a little bump in the mids—ideal for listening to music during workouts. While the Jaybird Tarah won’t blow you away with its sound signature, it will definitely give you peace of mind knowing that these won’t just fall apart, lasting longer than most other earbuds on the market.

Jaybird TarahJaybird Tarah
Jaybird Tarah
IPX7 build • Playback buttons • Offers most of what X4 offers, but for $30 less
MSRP: $129.00
Unless you're after true wireless options now, these are still a solid deal if you can find them.
Though the Jaybird X4 is the better wireless earbuds, it's hard to knock the Tarah's. They offer most of what makes the X4 special, for less money. Unless the few subtle differences between the two are complete deal breakers for you, it's hard to recommend the X4 earbuds over the newer Tarah.

Most durable earbuds: notable mentions

The Jabra Elite Active 75t true wireless workout earbuds (navy) covered in water droplets behind a Casio digital watch.
The IP57 rating means the Elite Active 75t are resistant to dust and water.
  • Jabra Elite Active 75t ($149.99 at Verizon): These earbuds are a fantastic value for exercise enthusiasts looking for an all-in-one solution. They feature an IP57 rating and free noise canceling via an update available through the Sound+ app.
  • 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear ($68 at Amazon): For under a hundred bucks, these earbuds are an absolute bargain—featuring a solid metal construction and decent sound quality for the price.
  • RHA MA750 Wireless ($39 at Amazon): These earbuds are a significant upgrade from the RHA S500i in terms of durability and performance. With aptX support and IPX4 certification, these earbuds deliver amazing sound and are built to last.
  • Sennheiser IE 80 S ($150 on Amazon): If you’re willing to pay a premium, these earbuds produce some of the best sound in their class. Built with durability in mind, these earbuds are guaranteed to stand the test of time.

What is an IP rating?

Just because you’re looking at a pair of the most durable earbuds doesn’t automatically mean the buds are water-resistant. For that, you have to go by the IP ratings or Ingress protection. This is a standardized way of testing products to determine how well they can hold up to water damage.

Water-resistantWaterproofCan withstand
IPX0
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Not water-resistant
IPX1
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
IPX2
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
IPX3
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Sprays
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
IPX4
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Splashes, omnidirectional
IPX5
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
IPX6
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
IPX7
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Complete submersion
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
IPX8
Water-resistant

Waterproof

Can withstand
Complete submersion
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min

How does frequency response impact sound?

Graph showing the differences between a good and bad frequency response.
A comparison of an ideal flat (green), acceptable real-world example (yellow), and audible (red) frequency responses.

When speaking about audio products, you’ll usually hear terms like “flat” and “under-emphasized” thrown around willy-nilly. If you’ve never heard of these before, it can be hard to know what anyone is talking about. Luckily, this is one of those things that is fairly easy to understand once you get the basics down. We have an entire piece on this explaining the gritty frequency response details, but the short version is that some headphones are tuned to make some notes louder than others.

So if a pair of headphones is described as “bass-heavy” such as with the graph above for the Sony WH-XB900B headphones, it just means that the lower notes (where bass kicks and bass guitars reside) sound louder compared to other instruments. If a pair of headphones are perfectly flat, then everything you hear will be equally loud.

Preserve your hearing

A diagram of the outer and inner ear; the one on the left shows how sound travels into the ear and the right is a close-up fo the middle and inner ears.
Noise-induced hearing loss is usually a result of damage to the stereocilia, which are located in the organ of the Corti. This organ rests inside the cochlea.

One thing that’s always worth mentioning when discussing earbuds is the possibility of damaging your hearing if you listen to music at high volumes. To understand completely how loud volumes can affect the inner workings of your ear, make sure to read our full noise-induced hearing loss explainer if you’re curious. A good rule of thumb, however, is to keep your audio levels below 95dB, as prolonged exposure to sound at or above that volume has been shown to damage your ability to hear over time.


As long as audio companies keep making earbuds, they’ll keep breaking. We’ll be sure to update this article in the future to shed light on some of the companies that make quality earbuds. Be sure to let us know if we missed a good pair of ‘buds so we can add it to this list.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, there are several durable true wireless earbuds available. Some of the notable ones mentioned in the list include the Jaybird Vista 2, Jabra Elite 4 Active, and the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless. If you want a pair of true wireless earbuds for workouts, check out our best list for the complete rundown!

Topping the list for durability is the Jaybird Vista 2. Its IP68 waterproof rating and military-level testing make it a reliable choice for those seeking resilience.

Generally, headphones tend to be more durable and long-lasting due to their larger size and sturdier construction. However, there are also some exceptionally durable earbuds on the market. It’s all about the build quality and materials used.

The lifespan of earbuds can vary by factors like build quality, usage habits, and exposure to elements. Regular maintenance and careful handling can extend their life.

With proper care, some earbuds can last several years. However, their lifespan varies based on usage and care. Try to follow manufacturer guidelines and store them in a protective case when not in use.

Yes, it’s a wise practice. A case protects your earbuds from potential damage, dust, and tangling, ensuring they stay in top condition