Whether you're searching for in-ear earbud headphones, earplug earbuds or wireless earbud headphones, you're going to get essentially the same thing, with a few exceptions. The best way to choose headphones or earbuds that work for you is to first determine why you need them.
Sports & Fitness
Running miles a day is a great way to keep your heart healthy, but without some good tunes, it can grow tiresome quickly. Standard headphones aren't an ideal solution – all that bouncing is bound to jostle them off your head. You can easily find high-quality in-ear earbuds that offer security in your ears, so you can run, jog, stair-climb or box without worrying that your equipment will fly off. The JLab Audio Epic Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earbuds are made specifically for those who are active and don't want to compromise quality for convenience.
As the name says, the JLab sports earbuds are wireless, so you don't have to worry about getting tangled in long wires, or accidentally tugging on a wire and pulling them out of your ears. Bluetooth capability eliminates the need for messy wires, so you can set up your wireless earbuds to work with your smartphone or MP3 player.
Recommendation: JLab Audio Epic Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earbuds
When you work in a loud environment, such as construction, manufacturing or lawn care, you may be required to wear hearing protection. The Plugfones earplugs are developed out of material that helps preserve your hearing in environments where you're exposed to high-decibel sounds for long periods. The benefit is obviously the protection you receive, but it can block sound so well that you might only hear when someone is speaking directly to you – so you won't hear the radio playing while you work. There's a solution that meets in the middle.
Earplug earbuds are an excellent option for those who want to protect their hearing but still jam out to some tunes while working. Headphone earplugs are made of silicone or foam, so they're comfortable and cancel external noise while delivering music to your ears. You won't find wireless versions, though. Bluetooth options for Plugfones are available, but you'll still have wires connected to the earbuds so you don't lose one or both during work.
Good sound and design go hand in hand in technology. As the technology for Bluetooth improves, so does the design for devices. You can go full-on futuristic with the latest creation from Human Inc. Not only does it look like the future, it's also the future of interactive sound, according to the developers at Human. The Sound is a pair of headphones like you've never seen before – they envelop your ear rather than rest inside your ear canal. This method gives you true wireless surround sound. The company didn't stop there, though. Using its included app and touch controls, you can allow others who use Sound headphones to hear the same music you're playing; you can communicate with others in various languages with automatic translation; or you can remove the ear devices and sandwich them together to amplify the sound and use them as a speaker.
Additionally, these earbuds that look like headphones, in conjunction with the app, can lull you to sleep and wake you gently, tell you your heart rate, and more. The Sound goes into production in the spring of 2017, and units start shipping by summer of 2017.
Wireless earbuds can be the best choice for personal audio, and choosing the right ones may take some trial and error. For more information on wireless earbuds and the options, read our articles on the latest and best wireless earbuds.