The in-ear headphones are for the social listener. They are smaller and lighter. Also, they are more portable than their on-ear cousins. On the other hand, their placement in the ear canals gives them natural noise isolating abilities. They are mostly in their element on the go, on a morning commute, a run at the gym or a red eye flight. In-ears are very convenient because they are easy to pack, to carry on your person and to replace. The headphones are commonly the most affordable type of headphones, but these features beget a set of negatives. For one thing, you may find it difficult to maintain a high level of sound quality when shrinking the speakers. On the budget end, in-ear headphones lack the definition and fullness of roomier cans. It is difficult to find a pair of in-ears that are comfortable to wear for extended period of time. Their dual wires are quicker to tangle as well.
Nowadays, there are thousands of in-ear headphones in stores. If you know where to look, you will have the options with the combination of the comfort, the rich sound quality, and overall value for their price. After searching many expert reviews on the websites, I think I found those select few. Here are the best in-ear headphones for any price.
Panasonic RP-TCM125 ($10.63)
This in-ear headphone is one of the rare tech jewels that are both cheap and good. With a low $10, this design has a balanced sound that works across genres. Of course, you cannot expect the world for $10. However, the performance of the RP-TCM125 is well above the price point. The headphone comes in a range of colors and includes a microphone for added utility, and an inline remote (sans volume control). The Verge, The Wirecutter, Tom’s Guide, and any other review outlet I could find have sung the RP-TCM125‘s praises as well. This may be simply an outstanding bargain.
- Light and snug
- Super affordable
- Good, bass-forward sound for the price.
- Bland design
- Can only get so much performance at this price
RHA S500 ($39.95)
In this writing, the RHA S500 is the favorite budget earphones. With the tiny, well-cut and super lightweight metallic earpieces, they are both good looking and comfortable over longer periods of time. If you need to experiment, the RHA packs a heaving seven sets of ear tips to help. The Kevlar cable is well made, but it can get a bit noisy if you are not careful. Though there are no inline controls by default, there is an S500i model that adds a three-button remote for another $10. It’s all excellent value and that sentiment can carry over into the S500s’ performance. The treble and high mids give the design a bright and crisp sound. The tight and robust bass made the earphones work well across genres. The mids are good, but a bit glossed that it can result in higher, more harmful volumes. With less than $50, you can have a well-rounded headphone with a nice sound.
- Comes with seven ear tips and three-year warranty
- Lightweight, elegant design
- Bright, crisp sound with good detail
- Need to use larger ear tips to hear significant bass
- Can sound harsh at high volumes
Sony MDR-XB50 ($28.76)
With bass specialists, they are best suited for electronic tracks and hip-hop. However, those lows are both strong and satisfying without muddying up everything around it. The MDR-XB50 headphones are large but well made. It also has a durable and tangle-resistant cable and the earpieces are not easy to slip. At $35, they are fantastic thumpers and not much of a risk either. They also come backed by stellar user reviews across retailers. If you need a more balanced option to two choices above, look at the Brainwavz Delta or the Sol Republic Relays Sport which may not sound as great, but it is comfortable for active use.
- Comfortable in the ear
- Good, heavy bass
- Large for an IEM
- Mids and highs take a back seat.