Top five best in-ear headphones for 2021
In-ear headphones are most portable type of headphones you can buy. Whether you opt for a pair of truly wireless earbuds, such as the Apple AirPods, or prefer a more traditional wired pair, their small size makes them ideal for taking out and about.
Below we've listed the five best in-ear headphones on the market this year, so you can get great sound and stay comfortable on your commute or a morning jog.
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Best earbud and in-ear headphones
Pricing and recommendations correct as of January 2021.
In-ear headphones to avoid
A bad pair of in-ear headphones isn't really worth having at all. They'll be so uncomfortable in your ears that you won't want to listen for long, and your music will sound terrible, with a lack of detail and boomy bass. To help you avoid making an expensive mistake on your next purchase, we've rounded up three of the worst models we've seen in shops this year.
Wireless in-ear headphones
You no longer need to put up with untangling wires if you're an in-ear headphones fan. There are two main types of wireless in-ear headphones:
- Corded wireless headphones, with a wire between the two earbuds and a Bluetooth connection to your phone. This includes models with a neckband.
- Truly wireless headphones, with two independent earbuds and no wire between them. These usually come with a charging case to compensate for low per-charge listening times from the earbuds.
In-ear wireless headphones usually have pretty low battery life compared to larger types – around 5 or 6 hours compared to 15 or 20 – but they're now good enough that most will last through a day of use.
Some in-ear headphones are designed for sport, with features to keep them more secure in your ears compared with normal in-ear models. This is often in the form of a rubber ‘wing’ that sits in your ear to provide extra grip. Some sports models are also water resistant, meaning you can take them for a run in the rain and not worry about damage. Manufacturers have also started selling headphones that have fitness-tracking features too, so watch out for these extras if your interested in these.