For earbud-style headphones, Apple’s EarPods can sound pretty good for an accessory that comes standard. Their engineers spent time and attention on getting the form just right for most users, and it shows. But it may be news to many that better-sounding models can be found elsewhere, for there are a plethora of corded and wireless models in the market. A few in-ear models can be tailored to fit your ear openings, and some earphones even have advanced features to monitor heart rates for fitness fans.
Since earphones are tinier and weigh much less than full-size headphones, they only need to be centered atop your ears with no external frames to hold them in place. Earbud-style and In-ear headphones slip onto the outer part of your ear’s canal to seal the opening, and most have flanges on their shells and soft material in their earpieces to help stop external noises from leaking in. Many have flexible wire loops or malleable fins which work to keep the earpieces from coming off when you get overly active.
The good models will wear comfortably whether you’re seated or about, although standard models can still come off if you move forcefully enough. But generally, earbud-style models sit on your ear while pressing against its fleshy exterior for more stability, and in-ear models have shells which do likewise. But the later usually have slimmer earpieces which slip into your ear canals to further isolate and channel sound. The best have earpieces which form a fuller seal, the better to keep nearby persons from readily hearing your tracks.
We have checked the whole market and found the best earbuds for iPhone out there right now. You can find the best earbuds for iPhones in the list presented below.
|Earbuds||Rating||Frequency response (min)||Frequency response (max)|
|Sennheiser Momentum M2||9.3/10||16Hz||22000Hz|
|Beyerdynamic iDX 160iE||9.5/10||10Hz||25000Hz|
|Polk Nue Voe||9.2/10||10Hz||21500Hz|
|Bose QuietComfort 20i||8.8/10||20Hz||18000Hz|
Full-size headphones may steal all the “serious” attention, but their tinier cousins can be less cumbersome and more convenient to use in certain situations. Aside from their small sizes and lesser heft, earphones are normally more moisture-resistant and can better deal with sweat flowing on their drivers. The earpieces of full-size models can become muddy-sounding when soiled with sweat and grime, and most aren’t made to handle the kind of wear and tear they’ll be subject to in gyms.
Earphones, on the other hand, can be designed for messier activities and environments, and can more adapt to remain stable in your ears when you’re on the go. Many fitness-specific versions feature stabilizing protrusions which press against the outer ear to keep things in place. So if you want your tunes to run or work out with you, you’ll probably find a pair of smaller earphones more suitable.
Five Models for Five Occasions
Serious listeners don’t usually have it good with the earphones that come bundled with their phones. And chances are you aren’t really keen on the sets provided with non-iOS mobiles. With the exception of Apple’s EarPods, which are fine earbud-style models, most bundled models have rather plebeian audio. Even pricier smartphones do not normally include a pair of high-end earphones. In other words, you can do almost always do better by upgrading your current pair to better-corded versions (and even wireless earphones, which we don’t cover here given their different criteria).
In addition to Apple’s decent earphones, we present five of the better wired earbud-style and in-ear headphones we’ve come across this year.
Sennheiser Momentum M2
This is a potent in-ear model which keeps users happy with great audio quality and attractive eye-candy looks that grab attention. Its sound offers great bass and brings out the mid-high details in music. The Momentum is among the best values available in the market, and the iOS version lets users intuitively control their iPhones with in-line buttons mounted on the 50-inch cord, which is a decent length. There are versions available for other OS types as well.
Its pair of earpieces offer a good fit which doesn’t go very deep unlike some others, so this model may be more comfortable for those who don’t care for things pushed into their ears.
Beyerdynamic iDX 160iE
In-ear models are normally made to be portable and convenient for buyers, but that focus sometimes results in functional aspects like audio and ergonomics being paid less attention to. Not so with Beyerdynamic’s amazing model, for the high-end specialist goes against the grain with supremely balanced and detailed audio quality as well as a practical yet stylish design.
These a very high-performing pair of serious earphones, but you’ll have to be an Apple user to enjoy their extraordinary qualities as the in-line controls are iOS-only. These do a great job of enabling listeners to control playback with the controls built into its 48-inch cord.
Polk Nue Voe
These earphones really look the business with their fancy patterned shells which will remind you of a pair of tortoise-rimmed eyeglasses. The model’s balanced-armature drivers output superb audio quality with a little crisp emphasis on mid-range voices. Users can enjoy all-day comfort due to its great fit and lightweight construction.
A control module is nicely integrated into the standard-length 48-inch cord, which fortunately works well with Apple consumer gear. Unfortunately for those with other brands, although they can still enjoy the same audio performance, they won’t be able to do much beyond basic playback functions, such as adjusting sound volumes.
With its moisture- and weather-resistant shells, this model is well-designed for users who are often out in the field or at the gym. The earphones present a lively sort of love-it-or-hate-it finish, but they do have a feature set that’s particularly useful for those who are into sweaty workouts and need their music to be fluid without being flooded, so to speak.
Both curved earpieces seat stably and securely on most ears while the user is physically active. They are comfortable to wear at length, and although the silicon earpieces are not that great at isolating the listener from external noise, they deliver sound that’s clear in mids with a little richness in the lows.
Apple users will like the controls for music play-pause and call answer functions as well as sound volumes. The handy control module is nicely incorporated into the 43-inch cord, which is rather shorter than usual. It’s an iOS-only feature, though, which can be a shame as this is one of Bose’s more affordable earphones which offers good quality audio.
Bose QuietComfort 20i/20
Bose’s finest in-ear model represents a huge advance in noise-cancelling technologies. It’s the most successful one we’ve come across to date, for unlike previous generations, it can even discriminate and partly mute the chatter of nearby voices as well as a wider range of noisy sounds. Due to its signal-shaping operation, its can sound slightly over-processed, but is still pleasantly rich in mid-low bass and clear in the mid-high range.
These earphones actively isolate the listener from bothersome traffic, alarm, commuting, and other external sounds for its signal-processing circuitry continuously cancels intrusive noise patterns. Like with most noise-cancelling types, a very slight background hiss is present which is more audible in quiet passages, such as in low-key classical pieces. This can bother some owners, but others find that they can still relax while traveling, even with no music playing. Apparently, the constant murmur helps to mask the far worse droning noise of airliners and trains.
There are versions available for all major mobile OS, and the 20i (for Apple) model we tested had a full set of audio playback and sound volume controls. The Aware Mode is especially handy for quickly cycling noise-cancelling operation on and off when needed so that you can hear others speaking and be readily aware of your surroundings. Although the controls were intuitive to use, the enlarged module integrated into the generously long 51-inch cord was slightly cumbersome to manage.
An Earful of Best Choices
Best-value regular earphones
For those looking for a dependable yet affordable set of standard earphones for their iPhones, Sennheiser’s Momentum should be among their first choices. Although there other solid alternatives including Sennheiser’s own IE models, these in-ear models bring a sweet combination of great audio quality, value pricing, and style.
Best earbud-style earphones for physically active users.
As not all earphones are suitable for active use, you can’t presume yours will handle all activities with aplomb if they aren’t designed for fitness lifestyles or are at least resistant to sweat. High-end earphones can be as fragile as high-end headphone models in outdoor and active situations, so bear this in mind when you run or work out with a really pricey pair.
For such situations, we’d recommend Bose’s Freestyle as it still sounds great for an earbud-type which doesn’t fully seal and is optimally shaped to stay put when you do get physical. These features give active listeners a lot of flexibility to enjoy their favorite tracks in most conditions.
Best earphones for easy travel and enjoyment.
If you’re looking for the best set of all-around regular earphones, ones which travel really well and perform at a level just below the highest-end stuff but don’t cost a fortune, you can’t go wrong with Bose’s QuietComfort 20/20i earphones. These are among the finest in-ear models we’ve ever tried, let alone noise-canceling one, and are rather highly-priced to match their jaw-dropping capabilities. But that’s what you pay to participate in the leading edge of technology and to enjoy a blissfully noise-reduced soundstage.
Best Earbuds for iPhones – Overall
Due to their highly-processed sound output and artifacts, these earphones won’t meet the gold criteria of most audiophiles. The likes of the Beyerdynamic iDX are more likely to fulfill the very highest expectations, while the striking Polk Nue Voe will likely impress women who are fashion as well audio purists. But Bose’s QuietComforts offer a very relaxing fit and good audio performance given their noise-cancelling advantages and are surely the most satisfying to use on long flights or rumbling transit rides.