Earbuds have spent years crammed in coat pockets while audio junkies heaped praise on headphones. But unless you’re in the studio, working with Drake, you probably don’t need the earbud’s bigger, clunky cousin. These days, earbuds deliver audio quality that rivals that of most headphones while sealing off outside noise so you can listen at lower volumes and save your hearing. Bring on the buds!
1. JLab Audio, $50
Stuff JLab Audio’s Epic earbuds in your gym bag. The lightweight earphones deliver the right mix of quality audio and affordability. The Cush Fins keep them comfortable, and the tangle-free cord (with universal mike) can handle life among your gym clothes.
2. Sennheiser, $450
Serious audiophiles will want to head straight to the Sennheiser IE 80. Sporting a brushed metal housing and replaceable cable, IE 80s sound and look spectacular. Plus, the adjustable bass output can be tweaked to deliver just the right amount of thump.
3. Torque Audio, $180
Need headphones that can handle everything from Rick Ross to Bob Dylan? Torque Audio’s t103z uses interchangeable “valves” to alter the audio output. Pop the earbuds open and swap out the bass-heavy valves for something more mid-range-friendly when the mood hits.
4. Bose, $300
Bose noise-canceling technology has been rescuing road warriors from yammering passengers for years. The earphone version, QuietComfort 20, uses an attached control module to adjust the noise-canceling and tune out the guy seated next to you.
Beats by Dre, $150
While everyone from hip-hop heads to pro athletes sports Beats headphones, the company also makes a solid earphone. Beats Tours sound great and use removable wing tips to ensure they won’t fall out whether you’re working out or rocking out.