Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pens), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. Though we’ve written about the best wireless workout headphones, wireless headphones for under $150, wireless headphones for the audiophile, even headphones for kids, here, we’re diving deep into the best earbuds and in-ear headphones that you can buy on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity).
“I love these headphones! I always have a really hard time finding good quality earbuds that stay in my ears. These are literally fantastic. They fit snug in my ear and never fall out, even when I wear them running. The sound quality is also excellent, I’ve had my pair for about two years now and have had no issues with them. I have purchased more pairs for friends, I would highly recommend these earbuds and will definitely buy more.”
Best noise-isolating earbuds
“I have been in search of earbuds that can ‘eliminate’ the sound of people talking while I try to listen to music or a podcast. To that end I have spent up to $199 for Sony’s noise-isolating earbuds and have gone as low as $29 on a handful of various brands, none of which have even come close to buffering or eliminating the sound of conversations. These, however, do a great job and for such a low price. To entirely eliminate any sound beyond what I’m listening to, I have to turn the volume all the way up, which is generally not a safe thing to do long-term. At a reasonable volume, these do a great job of delivering the music of podcast without distraction. I am so happy to have finally found a pair that meets my needs, and I can end my search!”
“I wanted to wait to review these until I had a chance to test how sturdy they are. The sound quality is great for earbuds: very bassy. The noise isolation works pretty well, but you need to understand that all that really means is that the earbuds themselves are shaped basically like large earplugs. I therefore don’t recommend them to people with small ears. The cord is nice [but] it is not woven. … Now, for the good part: I accidentally washed them. They still work great. They came out of the dryer kind of coiled, but it was easily fixed with a hair dryer. … So they passed the washing-machine test. I’m happy!”
Best noise-canceling earbuds
“I will never be without noise-canceling headphones. I received an earlier version of these Bose QuietComfort in-ear noise-canceling headphones as a gift a couple of years ago; I purchased these as a replacement. These are a true game changer for travelers or anyone who wants to shut out the world and focus. I prefer the in-ear vs. the big over-ear versions because they take up much less room in my bag, and they’re easier to sleep in on planes and I can shift my head around much more easily. I will say to watch for where the wire meets the battery pack. After a couple of years of winding and unwinding my original pair of these headphones, the rubber around the wire wore down on the headphone side of the battery pack and exposed the metal wire. (It’s probably the one point that gets bent and moved the most.) Other than that, I love them.”
Best tangle-free earbuds
“If I could give these earbuds six stars, I would. These earbuds have completely exceeded my expectations, and I would highly recommend them. First, they have fantastic sound quality. … Because the sound quality is so good and clear, I find that I can cut the volume in half of what I normally used to listen to on previous other earbuds. This is great, as I don’t want to damage my ear by needing to turn up the volume to have a pleasurable listening experience. I use these when I work out, in a noisy room. I don’t hear the sounds of the gym, and I don’t have to turn up the volume of the earphones to ‘drown’ out other noise. All the while, I get the great quality of the audio being played. … The “tangle free” feature of the cord is legitimate. I haven’t had one tangling issue yet, and I’ve used them a lot already. It sucks fighting the cords; that isn’t an issue with these earphones.In sum, I would absolutely recommend these earbuds. Too boot, the price is a steal. I’ve never been more pleased spending $10 on a pair of earbuds.”
Best earbuds for audiobooks
“I use these very comfortable earbuds on my Samsung phone for listening to audiobooks. The sound quality is excellent and I especially like the flat (fettuccine-like) cords, which never tangle. For my needs, they are perfect in every way: form, function, length, fit, and price. They are attractive, too.”
Best bass earbuds
“I have had these headphones for over a month now and I love them. I use them at work to listen to music, and today I was listening to a song with sounds that were so realistic-sounding, I had to take one headphone out and look around to see I’d someone around me was playing a video. Excellent bass sounds and great for listening to just about anything.”
Best workout earbuds
“I’ve had these for about 14 months and am not the least bit careful with how I use them. I wear them while working out (and get super sweaty), stuff them and rip them out of my bag, and sometimes accidentally leave them on. Considering that, these headphones have held up exceedingly well! I just bought a second pair for my husband to wear running. They do not come off during weightlifting, handstands, gymnastics, etc. The audio quality might not be the same level as Bose, but they are crystal clear for Bluetooth headphones (and especially for the price). The Bluetooth works great within about 25 to 30 feet, even with a case on my phone or if it’s in my pocket or bag. Easy to pair, and holds charge for quite a while (can usually get through a week of workouts, which is about eight hours). Get these!”
Best neckband earbuds
“These are the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever used for less than $60. They’re excellent if you’re on the phone or listening to music in a crowded place like the train station. They have an insanely good range! I can walk up to around 40 feet and a few walls before they start robot-ing out on me. The charge lasts pretty much all day. I haven’t had a day with less than eight hours of battery, and many days with more. I love how convenient they are for riding a bicycle and answering calls at work. This is the second pair I’ve bought and I only purchased the replacement because I thought I’d lost my first pair, but they showed up, and now I have an indoor and an outdoor pair.”
“I love wearing these at work. It’s easy to mute the music and hear what’s going on around me. I can even answer my phone with them. They stay in place well and fit my ears perfect. I really love the magnetic earphones holders. I just take them out of my ears, and they snap back into place and they don’t just swing around my neck.”
Best Bluetooth earbuds
“I switched to these after I got the iPhone X. These are my first pair of Bluetooth headphones. I bought them over half a year ago, and they’ve been doing their job perfectly. I use them daily on my way to and from work. The sound quality is really good. You might have to tweak the equalizer a bit depending which audio app you use. They fit my ears well and come with tons of different-sized plugs for ears in all shapes and sizes. The magnet is pretty useful too when they’re hanging around your neck.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.