Alright, music lovers, it’s time once again to take a look at some of the best ear/headphones on the market!
Now, we all know the difference between big lush earmuff-like headphones and tiny earbuds. But there are a lot of choices in the middle that balance out the pros and cons of these two ends of the spectrum.
Therefore, we’re going to look at the best ear hook headphones and earphones currently available. These are ear or headphones that hook over your ears to give you extra security. They’re great for running, working out, and for people on the move.
So, let’s get straight to it and find the perfect set of Ear Hook Headphones for you…
Top 7 Best Ear Hook Headphones To Purchase In 2021 Reviews
1 Bose SoundSport Free – Best Premium Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Black, Bright Orange, Ultraviolet (purple) and Midnight Blue
IP Rating: IXP4
Let’s start off with the most expensive earphones on our list. Bose is renowned for their speakers and have moved steadily into the headphone/earphone market, putting out some truly excellent products.
Is the SoundSport Free one of them?
Hold your horses! First, let’s look at some of their features. These earphones are ear hook and in-ear tip styled phones with no connector. This means each earpiece is independent. Does that make you worry that one will get lost? That’s a fair concern, but luckily the Bose app can track the location with its Find My Earbuds feature. If the battery hasn’t died, that is.
With a mid-range battery life of five hours, that could be a real concern. However, these earphones come with a slick charging case that can hold an additional ten hours of charge. The earphones take two hours to charge, which isn’t lightning fast, though.
A perfect fit…
These earphones come with S/M/L hooks and eartips to ensure a good fit for your ears. They also have controls to play, pause and skip tracks, or to take and end calls. However, the microphone is in the right earpiece, and call audio is only heard in the right ear.
On top of that, the right earbud has the Bluetooth receiver and transmits to the left, which means you always need to use the right one. Also, the left can sometimes lose the signal, especially when power is running low.
Powerful and enjoyable…
As for sound, though, it’s pretty powerful. Bose has covered the highs, lows, and mid-range tones really well here, leading to an excellent listening experience.
For even more info, check out our in-depth Bose Soundsport Free review.
- Great sound.
- Right-ear focused – left can drop out.
- Mid-range battery life.
2 Beats by Dr. Dre PowerBeats Pro – Best Ear Hook Headphones for Bass
Colors: Black, Cloud pink, Glacier Blue, Ivory, Lava Red, Moss (green), Navy, and Spring Yellow
IP Rating: IPX4
The PowerBeats Pro earphones are also the ear hook and eartip kind, but these ones are connected by a wire connector to keep them together, but don’t think of cutting it! That connector also carries some of the electronics.
So what do these earphones have to offer?
In comparison to the Bose earphones, the PowerBeats Pros have a 9+ hour battery life, or a total of 24 with the power stored in their charging case. They also have an IPX4 rating, which means water and sweat resistant. So that’s shaping up well for active people.
These earphones have controls to play, pause and skip tracks and take calls on the right earphone. But unlike the Bose, they have individual, independent volume controls on each ear, so that means the earphones can be worn individually.
How do they feel?
A huge variety of eartips comes with these earphones, plus the ear hooks are adjustable. These are pretty much guaranteed to fit anyone!
So how do they sound?
This is Dr. Dre, so you have to expect great bass, and that’s exactly what you get. The high end is also crystal clear. Overall, though, we found that the mid-range was a bit flat. Just a bit. Don’t get us wrong, these still sound great!
We did find one downside (besides the big price tag). Hissing on poor quality audio like YouTube videos gets amplified by these earphones quite a lot. You’re going to want to stick to high quality tracks for sure.
Want to find out more? No problem, take a look at our in-depth Powerbeats Pro review.
- Great bass and high end.
- Superb fit and comfort.
- Great battery life.
- Not the best with low-quality audio.
3 AfterShokz Aeropex – Best Bone Conduction Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Cosmic Black and Lunar Grey
IP Rating: IP67
Coming down in price slightly, the Aeropex headphones also have a totally different style and sound system. These headphones feature an ear hook headband with bone conduction and nothing covering your ears.
What does that mean?
Rather than sticking something into your ears or covering them with muffs, this type of headphone pushes sound waves against your upper cheekbones. You can still hear your tracks really well, but also the surrounding environment. This can be a good thing for safety if you’re out running on the street.
However, in a park or a gym, you can wear the included earplugs to block out your surroundings to focus more on your music.
Sounds great, right?
Well, there are some trade-offs, like sound leakage. In other words, when you have these on at even moderate volume, other people can hear your audio much better than with earphones. This could be annoying or even embarrassing if you’re taking a call with the on-board mic. We also found that the mic is quite echoey, and our caller on the other end could hear everything in the background.
There’s also a pretty serious lack of bass with bone conduction headphones. If you are a basshead, these are not for you. But otherwise, we found the sounds here clear and warm.
On the plus side…
These headphones are light-weight and comfortable. They charge fully in two hours using cool magnetic cables, and you get eight hours of use, but you do need two USB ports to charge them.
The best feature is the IP67 rating, meaning nothing short of a sandstorm or swimming will invade your headphones!
- Superior IP rating.
- Good battery life.
- High price.
- Sound leakage and poor bass.
4 Bose SoundSport Wireless – Best Value for the Money Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Black, Aqua, Citron (white with yellow), and Power Red
IP Rating: IPX4
Bose is back with different earphones that are much cheaper (we’re talking less than 1/3 the price). How do they compare in quality?
Very well, actually!
The SoundSport Wireless earphones are an ear hook and in-ear style product, but they have a wire loop to connect them that’s lacking on the much more expensive SoundSport Frees. Well, is that such a big deal? While on some earphones, that connector can bounce and create some line noise, we didn’t get any of that here.
In fact, these earphones sound really, really good. The bass is solid, the mids and highs are clear and brilliant. We didn’t find any real difference in audio quality between these and their much costlier cousins. They’re also just as water resistant.
But, there’s a catch…
On the other hand, these earphones don’t come with a charging case to store extra power. They do last a medium amount of time with six hours of life, though. They also include in-line controls, but in this case, you don’t have to depend only on the right earphone, so you can wear one at a time.
One thing, though, is that on calls, this mic lets in every outside sound to the point where it’s not really worth using unless alone in a quiet room.
Everything has its downside!
- Great sound.
- Comfortable fit.
- Water and sweat resistant.
- Horrible microphone sound.
- Middling battery life.
5 Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 – Best Mid Range Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Black, Blue, and Grey
IP Rating: IPX5
These earphones are the same style and same price as the Bose SoundSport Wireless, so let’s compare them directly.
Running down the features list, there’s not a lot to set these products apart. They have the same 6-hour battery life. Both charge at about the same speed. And both also offer great sound. We were again really impressed at the quality of sound that these Plantronics earphones could produce, particularly the rich bass.
So is anything different?
Well, the BackBeat FIT 350 model does have a clip that can attach to your shirt for security, or that can be used to cinch the two ends of the wire together for a tighter, more secure fit. Then again, it doesn’t look too durable.
One thing we did notice was a little bit freaky. These earphones can suffer from Bluetooth interference if many BT users are also nearby, such as in a gym setting. We found our calls dropping out, or worse, listening in on parts of others’ conversations! The mic, however, wasn’t nearly as sensitive to outside sounds as the Bose mic was.
All told, these two products are quite evenly balanced, so it might just come down to a style preference.
- Great sound.
- Comfortable fit.
- Water and sweat resistant.
- Can suffer from Bluetooth interference.
- Middling battery life.
6 Zulu Exero – Best Budget Bone Conduction Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Black and Grey
IP Rating: IPX5
With its Exero model, Zulu offers up another bone conduction headphone product but at a fraction of the cost of the AfterShokz.
Let’s see how they compare…
Like the AfterShokz Aeropex, the Exero headphones are an ear hook headband system with bone conduction and nothing covering your ears. Again, great for safety because you can keep track of sounds in the surrounding environment. But there is some serious sound leakage here. Even at comfortably low levels, other people can hear your tunes.
It’s almost like wearing a small set of computer speakers around your neck.
Also, the headband is not adjustable, so might be loose for small heads and un-wearable for people with big heads. At least the AfterShokz were bigger to accommodate most head sizes.
On the flip side, seven hours of battery life is decent, and these headphones sound good enough, especially for their low price tag. The low end is predictably weak, so again these are not the choice for bass lovers.
Superb for those on a budget…
But for an affordable and sweat resistant pair of headphones for running, these will do the trick well.
- Very affordable price.
- Decent sound quality and battery life.
- Serious sound leakage.
- Weak bass.
7 Soundcore Spirit X – Best Budget Ear Hook Headphones
Colors: Black (only)
IP Rating: IP68 (!)
Our last set of ear hook earphones is the cheapest. However, it also has the highest dust-proof and waterproof rating.
What’s going on here?!
These have the same ear hook and in-ear tip connected with a cord loop design, as we’ve seen already. They come with three sets of tips (S/M/L/XL) and three sets of buds (S/M/L) to help you find a great fit. They also come with a cord clips for extra snugness.
This is all pretty standard stuff…
What’s not standard is the battery life. A 5-minute charge gives you one hour of use, so they are lightning fast. But the best part is the battery lasts a standard 12 hours on a full charge. 12 hours!! In fact, they could go as long as 18 hours when they’re being used on low volume. So suddenly, you have Bluetooth earphones that you only need to charge once a week!
On top of that, the IP rating of IP68 means they’re fully dust-proof and waterproof even when submerged. You can run in the rain or even use these bad boys in the shower!
What about the sound?
Considering the price, the sound here is decent. Despite being pushed as a serious bass earphone, we found the bass only mediocre, but everything else is clear enough.
In fact, the only real issue we found was that they’re not very wind-proof or noise cancelling, so these wouldn’t be a great choice for cycling, for example.
- Superior IP rating.
- Best battery life.
- Not very wind-proof.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Best Ear Hook Headphones
With so many products on the market, how do you decide on the perfect pair of ear hook headphones? Well, in our buyer’s guide, we will break down the most important factors to consider, starting with…
First and foremost, you want headphones and earphones to sound good. Otherwise, what’s the point? But how good is good enough?
High-end phones pushing the $200 mark are going to give you superior sound with their excellent engineering. Look for rich, deep bass (not just loud bass), a well-balanced mid-range, and crystal clear highs without being piercing and shrill. You simply have to pay the price if you’re a serious audiophile.
Earphones under $100 and even under $50 can still sound great. Or at least good enough. You’ll notice a somewhat flatter sound with less dynamic range and less fullness of bass, most especially. But if these are your workout or running earphones, crystal clear quality is probably not the most important thing on your mind.
Bluetooth ear hook ear/headphones come in a few styles that match different lifestyles and activities.
Free phones hook over the ears independently and are not attached together. These give the best freedom of movement, but you also have to worry about losing one.
Connected phones are nearly the same but are joined together by a cord loop, like mittens on a string through your coat. These cords may bounce and create line noise but can often be snugged up to your head for a more-secure fit you might need when running or doing other intense sports.
Finally, open-ear bone conducting headphones put the sound into your upper cheekbones instead of your ears. This keeps you very aware of your surroundings and can be great for safety when street running or cycling. There is a sacrifice in sound, though, especially bass.
IP stands for “ingress protection.” In other words, how well is the product protected from dust and water/sweat?
After the IP, you’ll see two numbers, or an X and a number.
The first tells you the dust-proof rating, which varies from 1 to a high of 6. An X here means the earphones are not rated for dust protection.
The second number tells the waterproof rating, which now ranges from 1 (minimal protection) to 9 (fully submersible. For sports earphones, you’ll need a rating of at least 4 to be sure they are sweat-proof.
A rating of IP69 would be the best available!
How long will your headphones last on a full charge, and how long does it take to charge them up?
With Bluetooth wireless phones, you get the comfort and convenience of wireless, with the trade-off of limited power. Consider your average workout duration, and also how often you can stand to see your earphones run out of power. 5-6 hours is quite mid-range, 7-8 hours is better, and 10+ hours give you a superior charge.
A word of warning, though: as with all electronics, the ability to hold charge decreases over time.
Looking for more high quality Headphone options?
If so, then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best AptX Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Sony Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, and the Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording you can buy in 2021.
Or how about our reviews of the Best Headphones under 100 Dollars, the Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, and the Best Headphones for Rock Metal Music currently on the market.
So, which of these Best Ear Hook Headphones will we be wearing?
This was a tough decision. Bose and Beats by Dr. Dre offered outstanding sound. AfterShokz and Zulu gave us an interesting alternative with their open-ear bone conducting technology.
But taking everything into consideration – price, sound quality, IP rating, and comfort – we think the best ear-hook headphones for your buck are the…
They’re just so cheap for what you get!
But even if these are not the choice for you, there are some excellent products out there to help you get the most out of your workouts and training experiences. Enjoy!