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The Best Earbuds of 2016

Top Sound and Design Under $30
Top Ten Reviews no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in

Why Buy Earbud Headphones?

When you’re looking to invest in earbuds, sound quality and comfort are probably two of the top features on your list. It can be difficult to strike a balance between design and sound quality in a pair of earbuds without spending a fortune. Difficult, but not impossible. Here at Top Ten Reviews, we’ve scoured the web (and various electronics stores) to find the best in-ear headphones that combine great sound quality with designs that will fit comfortably.

In our reviews, we’ve selected the 10 highest quality earbuds that won’t break the bank. In the individual product reviews, we lay out the differences between each of the earbuds and the different features each brand adds to the basic earbud design. Our top three products – the INK'D Ear Bud Stereo Headphones by Skullcandy, the Tonic by Earjax and the Koss KEB40 Insider Earbud Headphones – are fantastic examples of how this technology can combine comfort, usability and sound quality.

In addition to our reviews of the top 10 best earbuds, we’ve also researched and written some helpful articles on earbud headphones for your perusal. If you want to learn more about in-ear headphones, including the dangers and myths about them, our learning center is a great place to start.

Earbud Headphones: What to Look For

To rate these earbuds in our side-by-side comparison, we looked at everything from the size of the speaker driver to the variety of earbud sleeve sizes. We tested each to experience their sound quality, bass response and comfort. We looked at the design of the earbuds, from how well the cord stayed untangled in a pocket to how well they fit in a variety of ear types.

Our comprehensive reviews expound on each product's specifications and rank each one in the following areas:

Sound Quality
In each review we expound on the sound quality and power handling of each product. We compare the specs for each option – including frequency, driver, impedance and sensitivity – which will help you understand the precise abilities and advantages of each earphone. We further add to the review by sharing our own experience listening to the earbuds and the impressions of others.

We judged the earbuds on comfort through hands-on testing. We tested how easy it was to switch the ear cushions from one size to another. We also looked at how comfortable these were after prolonged periods of use. The best ones were hardly noticeable, even after several hours of listening.

The ranking from this area is determined by the durability and design of each model. We looked into aspects such as custom fitting (multiple sizes of ear cushions), cord material and length, carrying case, weight and color options. We tested the durability of the earbuds and gauged how well they sealed off the ear canal for maximum audio quality.

Help & Support
This ranking judges the creators of each product. We looked at their warranty information, customer support teams and the product manuals. We always want to make sure that our top products have a reliable company backing them up.

As you search for the right earbuds for you, we invite you to view the side-by-side comparison of all top 10 products as well as the reviews for each product you are most interested in. Also, stay up to date on tech news by following our Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter @TopTenReviews.