The best earbuds (in-ear headphones) available today

TechRadar's best earbud and in-ear headphones reviews

Although on-ear and over-ear headphones are 'in' right now, there's still a place for in-ear headphones – often referred to as earbuds – which offer much more portability and convenience. After all, it's incredibly easy to just throw a pair of earbuds into your pocket, rather than worrying about having to wear a pair of headphones around your neck or carrying them in a bag. 

They come in multiple shapes and sizes, but most of them have the same overarching purpose – to fit inside your ear, creating a tight seal that provides a small amount of passive noise-cancellation. Plus, unlike over or on-ear headphones, they allow the ear to breathe better. That makes them especially good for the gym, where you can wear them without worrying about them making your ears too sweaty. 

We're on a mission to provide you with the best in-ear headphones around. As such, we've looked far and wide for the best earbuds on the market so that you can do all your research and make a purchase all in one spot.

Here are the top 10 best earbuds, ordered by audio performance-to-price ratio: 

1. RHA T10i
2. Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE
3. Klipsch Reference X6i
4. Shure SE215
5. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears
6. V-Moda Forza
7. Optoma NuForce BE Sport3
8. Beats X
9. Bose QuietControl 30
10. Denon AH-C821

Not sold on earbuds? Check out our guide to the best headphones of any type. Looking for something cheaper? Check out our best headphones deals page!

RHA T10i review

1. RHA T10i

Premium earphones for any taste

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .09 pounds | Cable length: 4.4 feet | Frequency response: 16-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW | Impedance: 16 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Comfortable
Amazing sound quality
Bass-heavy
Pricey

Leading off our list is the RHA T10i. It's here for one simple reason: the sound quality is incredible, thanks to the snug seal created when the headphones are stuck in your ear. OK, plus the bass is also robust for such small earphones.

The RHA T10i look slick with a metal finish around the drivers and around the cable as well. They also come with several replacement tips if the defaults don't fit your ear canal. They're more expensive than other buds on the list, but there's good reason they're in our top spot.

Read the full review: RHA T10i

Best in ear headphones

2. Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE

Beyerdynamic's buds are some of the best for Apple devices

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .1 pounds | Cable length: Up to 4 feet | Frequency response: 10 - 27,000Hz | Drivers: Neodymium | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 35 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Balanced sound
Titanium build
No Android support

There's no shortage of sub-$200 headphones on the market, but the Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE are at the top of the pack. Their excellent build quality, sound and design make them one of the most well rounded in-ear headphones I've ever heard. No, they're not cheap, but again, you get what you pay for.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic iDX 200 iE

Best In Ear Headphones

3. Klipsch Reference X6i

Audiophile sound on the go

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: 18 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-19,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 110dB | Impedance: 50 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Extremely comfortable
Balanced, spacious sound
Lots of cable noise
Awkward carrying case

The Klipsch Reference X6i are a wonderful-sounding package. Their comfort, build quality, sound quality and features make it great value for the money, too.

They have some problems (like an awful lot of cable noise while you're moving around with them on), but if you're looking for balanced sounding in-ear headphones for $179 / £165 / AU$399,  we can wholeheartedly recommend the Klipsch Reference X6i. Stated simply, they're supremely comfortable audiophile-level in-ear headphones for an affordable price.

Read the full review: Klipsch Reference X6i

Shure SE215

4. Shure SE215

Excellent midrange in-ear headphones for a bargain

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: N/A | Cable length: 5.3 feet | Frequency response: 22Hz-17,500kHz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 20 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Understated design
Vibrant sound
Lacks in-line controls

If you're in the market for the best in-ear headphones, you should really be looking at Shure's entire catalog of truly excellent in-ear options. Of them all, however, our current favorites are the Shure SE215s – they're not the top-tier performers from the audio company, but we think they offer the best performance-to-price ratio of any of Shure's headsets.

Sure, the headphones look great in their futuristic-looking translucent, space grey color but its best trait is that you can snag the Shure SE215s for ~$100.

Read the full review: Shure SE215

Sennheiser Momentum In Ear

5. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

Fully-featured and powerful in-ear headphones

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: .3 pounds | Cable length: 4.2 feet | Frequency response: 15-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 18 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Affordable
Stellar sound
Different model for each mobile OS

With the appealing candy apple detailing, Sennheiser gets you in the door. But once you're in, you'll stay for the killer sound quality that comes from the Momentum In-Ear earphones.

These are the among the best deals in the headphones market as it stands today. The company has a version available for each flavor of mobile OS – Android and iOS – so everyone can get in on the goodness.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

6. V-Moda Forza

Headphones you can dress up or down to meet your needs

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: 13.5 grams | Cable length: 2.6 feet | Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz | Drivers: 5.8mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99dB @1kHz 1mW | Impedance: 14 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Brilliant modular design
Water-resistant
Lots of cable noise
Lacks resolution

The V-Moda Forza offers a lot: It sounds good; it's built to last and its modular design is like nothing we’ve seen before on an earbud. The Forza, therefore, are perfect for anyone who wants a headphone that can do it all, from working out to taking these with you on the morning commute to the office. 

Sure, it’s not the most balanced sounding or highest resolution, but the water resistance and modular design of the Forza make it a pretty compelling option.

Read the full review: V-Moda Forza

7. Optoma NuForce BE Sport3

One of the best wireless headphones you can buy

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: 18 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20-20kHz | Drivers: 6mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 102dB +/-3dB at 1kHz | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: 10m (30ft.) | NFC: N/A

Good sound
Great battery life
Incredible insolation
Remote weighs cable down

NuForce knocked it out of the park with the BE Sport3 headphones. They're an incredible value for a pair of wireless headphones that sound good, last all day, have a bulletproof build and incredible noise isolation. While they're not the most dynamic or resolving headphones, NuForce shows us that the future of wireless headphones is a bright one.

Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Sport3

8. Beats X

Good-sounding earbuds that can charge in five minutes

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 8 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Quick Charge feature
Balanced sound signature
Relatively expensive
Lacking in clarity

The Beats X is a bold new product for what has quickly become a traditional headphone maker. Instead of sticking to bass-heavy workout earbuds or wildly expensive over-ears, the company has crafted a new pair of musically inclined in-ears for anyone already sick of losing their brand-new Apple AirPods.

It has a few problems of its own – including poor noise isolation and a lack of fidelity – but if you’re looking for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes and don’t mind dropping some cash on them, the Beats X are for you.

Read the full review: Beats X

9. Bose QuietControl 30

In-ear noise cancelling as good as any from over-ear cans

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: 28 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: 10m (33ft.) | NFC: Yes

Stellar noise cancellation
Long-lasting battery
Sound isn’t great for its price 
Neckband will be divisive

Life is full of trade-offs, and it's the same with the Bose QuietControl 30s. On the plus side you get a level of noise cancellation that’s on a par with the brand's over-ear headphones, but the compromise here is on sound quality, which is simply not as good as that of other in-ear or over-ear headphones we’ve tried.

 Read the full review: Bose QuietControl 30

10. Denon AH-C821

Decent in-ear headphones that offer big bass in a small package

Acoustic design: N/A | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 5 hours | Wireless range: 10m (30ft.) | NFC: N/A

Deep bass sound
Premium look
A clear but occasionally flat sound
Accompanying app didn’t impress

Denon has packed some impressive technology in its new AH-C821 range of in-ear headphones. These little buds are using the company’s proprietary Double Air Compression Driver tech, which means there are two 11.5mm drivers in each earphone - one in front of the other. The idea is that this offers up a more powerful bass sound than a single driver unit. If that wasn't all, these drivers have been encased in some super-tough housing, made out of die-cast aluminium and resin - so vibrations should be kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, while we think the bass is phenomenal here, we weren't blown away by its overall performance, especially for its semi-expensive price tag.

Read the full review: Denon AH-C821

Have a pair of headphones you want to recommend? Hit us up on Twitter.