Finding the Most Comfortable Earbuds currently available is not an easy job, but at least there are plenty of options. That hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago there were no such things as earbuds.
Headphones had been around since the 1880s and had developed through necessity. Headphones, as we know them came along in the 50s and 60s and developed as music became the reason for having them. But it was in 1979 and the Sony Walkman that the idea of having in-ear sound developed and took hold.
Followed by the iPad, which took the concept a stage further, they are now commonplace. There are all sorts for all kinds of activities. You can even swim with some models.
But with all of the designs, there is one critical issue with earbuds. They must be comfortable. If they are not comfortable people won’t wear them, and they won’t buy them. Many companies understand this and ensure their products are very comfortable, but which are the most comfortable?
Let’s find out as we go through our selection of the very best on the market…
Top 10 Most Comfortable Earbuds Of 2021 Reviews
1 Bose QuietComfort 20
Bose needs little introduction to people who know about sound. They were founded in Massachusetts in 1964 and are recognized as one of the big players in home audio equipment. They have a wide range of products that cover all price points and are known for their quality.
The clue is in the name with this set of earbuds. The design is such to ensure the comfort of the user. You don’t have to push them into the ear too far to make sure you get a great sound. Being less intrusive, they are also more comfortable. They are noise-canceling, which is a big plus point. When you want to be able to listen to your music and tell the world to go away for a while, they do just that.
To make sure you can stay a little in touch if you want to, they have an Aware control. This allows just enough external sound just in case you need to hear an important announcement or a beeping horn. This is operated by a simple push of a button.
There is an in-line controller that has simple to use controls that controls any connected device. It has a touch operation that will switch you between calls and music. There is a microphone installed in the controller.
The Bose QuietComfort 20 is designed to work with Apple and Android devices but check compatibility first. A full charge takes about 2 hours. That will give you approximately sixteen hours of use from the Lithium-ion battery.
They are very well-built, of course. You wouldn’t expect anything else. But as with most things with Bose, it is the sound that really makes an impact. Triport drivers and an active EQ make sure the sound is great.
The Frequency balances are excellent, and there is not too much bottom end. Something that cannot be said for many other products of this kind. Great comfort and a superb sound make these a real contender in our search for the most comfortable headphones.
They come with spare ear tips in small, medium and large and a clothing clip. It also comes with a nice carry case and a USB lead. They are wired, so just plug in and play. They are an excellent choice but as with most things Bose, they don’t come cheap.
- Excellent construction with good materials.
- Easy to use and, of course, the great Bose sound.
- The price will scare off a few people.
2 Shure Sound Isolating Triple Driver Earphone
For those people who live or work in the world of music, just the name Shure just about says it all. It stands for certain things. Quality of performance and a tough, rugged build being just two.
They are, of course, well-made and deliver a high-level of comfort. Featuring an over-ear design means that they will remain secure in the ear without needing to be located too deeply in the ear canal. They are noise-canceling, but as with all earbuds, that performance will depend on the fit. Up to 37dB of external noise will be excluded with a good fit in the ear.
To make sure you get the right fit, and a high comfort level, a variety of ear tips are included. These are in a range of designs but include the memory foam tip. This will expand into your ear as you insert it. It ensures a good fit without pressure on the ear canal. They are very lightweight and so do not cause any discomfort in that area.
The sound, of course, is excellent. Triple drivers, one woofer and two tweeters in each earbud give you a great range of accurate frequency response. The frequency range is 18 Hz–19 kHz. Very impressive for a set of earbuds. The bass is not prominent and allows the mids to be clear and concise. The high frequencies are not too sharp.
They have a detachable cable and have a range of connection options. They are Bluetooth 5.0 compatible. There is a 3.55mm cable, which means they can also be used plugged into a phone or tablet. Battery life is expected to last around ten hours.
They also come with a very nice carrying case. However, these do not come with a microphone in the cable. The earpads are labeled left and right. They are a quality set of earbuds, but they are very expensive.
- Well-designed for comfort and ease of use.
- Excellent sound and part noise canceling.
- The price will put a lot of people off.
3 Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Headphones
With the Soundsport, Bose has produced a set of earbuds for those who want their music during activity. The build is larger than the normal earbuds you see, but they are still quite lightweight. During activities, the earbuds will be at risk of falling out. Bose has included StayHear and sports tips in three sizes to make sure you get a good fit.
They are quite obviously built to take a little bit of punishment. Running and jogging can take its toll on headphones, but these are built to last. They are also IPX4 rated, which means they can withstand rain and other moisture. These don’t worry about any bad weather.
Included with the earbuds is a hydrophobic cloth. This is to remove any surface dampness during or after activity. However, they are not just for the budding athlete. Even on the trip to work, you can come across inclement weather, and these are good for the non-athletes amongst us as well.
Those that are familiar with Bose will know we don’t have to spend too much time discussing the quality of the sound. It is clear with crisp highs and a prominent bass that doesn’t crossover into the mids.
There are five hours of use from a fully charged battery which, if we are honest, is rather disappointing. They are ok if you only use them for activity but not so good if you are using them on a commute and at other times during a working day.
However, there is though a further ten hours that come with the charging case. This is a nice addition to recharge the earbuds but also keeps them safe when they are not in use. The total charge time is 2 hours.
Controls are positioned on the rim of the bud are not that easy to use, which in our view is also a slight negative. They are Bluetooth compatible and are totally wireless in their operation. The right earbud houses the microphone to allow you to take calls. They are well-built and have Bose quality, but they are quite expensive.
- Good build with a quality Bose sound.
- Moisture resistant during activity.
- Controls, not the easiest to use.
4 1MORE Triple Driver in-Ear Earphones
1More are a company that is creating a respected name in earphone manufacture, and the Triple Driver is one of the reasons why. As the name suggests, each earbud has three separate drivers. There is a dynamic driver supported by two armature drivers. And they are tuned to handle certain ranges of frequencies.
This creates an all-round better sound than just having one driver covering all frequencies. The sound is one of the plus points of these earbuds. The bass has depth without crowding the mids, and the highs are crisp without being too sharp.
The sound isn’t the only area these earbuds excel. The build quality of the buds themselves is high. They are constructed from aluminum, which makes them very light, and they do not feel heavy in your ear when in use. The black and gold design gives them an impressive, almost expensive look, but they aren’t ostentatious. They have an angled design in the tip of the earbud that allows a snug fit in the ear.
They look good, and they sound excellent, but importantly their comfort level is also very high. Extra tips are included in foam and silicone to help you get a great fit. The in-line controller is situated on the cable leading to the right earbud.
Basic functions are included, and the buttons are slightly raised to make use easy. Calls can be answered from the controller. The cabling is good where it is braided, but there is a vulnerable plastic Y-joint splitter and also some not so durable plastic cabling. If there is a weak point, this is where it is.
These are a wired set of earbuds, and the headphone jack has a straight plug fitting. It will fit any smartphone or tablet with a headphone socket. The price point is very competitive and makes these a very attractive option.
- Good sound and earbud build quality is good.
- Very affordable price.
- There could be a weakness in the controller and surrounding plastic cabling.
5 KZ ATE Copper Driver Ear Hook HiFi in Ear Earphone Sport Headphones
KZ is a relatively new company that was founded by a designer from Audio-Technica and a Chinese classical musician who was western-trained. They have quite clearly come to the table with a quality product. They have done that at a very cost-effective price. Often when the price is so low, the quality is poor. Not the case with these earbuds, as we shall see.
They have included some impressive features that are only usually found no more expensive earbuds and headphones. The cord is made from oxygen-free copper and supports stress relief on the splitter joint. There are also gold-plated connections to ensure good contact and be less prone to corrosion — all very good aspects.
They are very lightweight at just 0.48 ounces. This adds to the comfort level as there will be no pressure exerted on the ear canal. They are designed for use in activities and have a hook-ear design to give some stability. To help you achieve a high level of comfort and also a good fit, the choice of foam and silicone ear tips are included.
If the quality of the build is impressive for the price point, the sound is as well. You might expect from a low budget product a sound that reflects the price. But with these, the frequencies are well-defined and clear. The bass doesn’t crossover into the mids, and they sound like a more expensive product than they are by far.
For the price point, you can only be impressed by these earphones. With some things, you see a cheap price and ignore it as being sub-standard. Do that with these earphones, and you could be missing out on a real bargain.
- Good build quality and designed to fit for activities.
- Excellent price point and good sound.
- At this price, nothing at all.
6 Sennheiser IE60 Headphone
We will expect Sennheiser to produce a quality product because that is usually what they do. However, they sometimes produce budget level products, and these fall into that category.
These are a scaled-down version of the more expensive IE80’s, and it must be said, these are not the same quality sound-wise. Having said that, we can certainly see ways in which the IE60 outperforms its more illustrious cousin. The drivers in the earpad of the IE60 have a neodymium magnet, which the IE80 does not. Earpads are included, and the IE60 does reach a certain level of noise-canceling control.
The IE60 is a comfortable earpad, and the tips are a snug fit but not too deep in the ear. They are supplied with some extra rubber tips as we have mentioned to enable you to get a good fit. The housing is well-made and has a strong feel but is still lightweight so as not to cause undue pressure on the ear when in use. At just over a meter, the cable is a reasonable length and again, is quite strong.
They are designed to accommodate personal preferences when wearing. You can either wear them as over-ear using the two hooks or let the cable hang loose if you wish. We see this as an advantage as people do wear their earbuds in different ways, and here you have an option. It is possible to create a good fit, and with extra buds included, you should be able to make them fit snugly. This will give you an element of the noise-canceling facility we mentioned earlier.
Sound-wise they are a little different in that the IE60 have much more prominence with the low frequencies. They seem to be following a similar pattern to many other manufacturers who accentuate the bass. They have a decent frequency range of 10Hz to 18000Hz. The high frequencies are a little sharp. And with the prominent bass, it forms the classic V shape pattern common with some earbuds.
You might call the sound performance a little disappointing if you are expecting a typical Sennheiser product. For those that like the heavy bass sound, they will impress. Lots of points for comfort, but they lose a few with the sound quality.
- Well made with a strong build quality.
- Very comfortable with fitting and wearing style options.
- Sound performance is a little disappointing unless you like a heavy bass presence.
7 Bang & Olufsen H3 in-ear Earphone
This Danish company has always excelled in its designs. Even from the 60s and 70s, their stereo equipment had a certain panache to it that others could not match. We would expect that this sense of style might occur in their earbuds. It isn’t the same company, of course, and has been through its troubles, but just the name means it has a reputation to live up to.
These earbuds are built to be lightweight. When you consider that each bud is created from a single block of aluminum, that is quite an achievement. Each bud has a 10.8mm driver producing the sound, which is powerful and with good coverage of the frequencies. The buds have an impressive look. The aluminum build says classy, and the B a& O logo prominently displayed emphasizes that look.
There is an in-line controller with a built-in microphone and will work with most Android devices. These are not for iOS users.
The Active Noise-canceling feature is a nice addition. There is a small microphone placed on the earbud. This measures any surrounding noise and will then make any adjustments to the ambient noise level to reduce any unwanted sound.
A further interesting design option includes 29 small vents drilled into the housing of the buds. This allows a passage of air in and out, which improves acoustics but also ear comfort.
Well, they are very comfortable indeed, and sit nicely in the ear canal and don’t fit too deep. Four sizes of ear tips are included to make sure the fit is snug.
The sound we haven’t mentioned yet, but anyone familiar with B & O will have an idea. Understated but powerful. Good frequency cover but with prominent bass and top. Simply, very nicely balanced.
With a battery offering 20 hours of playtime, they represent a good buy. The carrying case as an extra is also a nice idea.
The comfort level is high, they sound good, and they have a tough build. And no doubt a quality product that their predecessors would have been proud of. The price point is set realistically and makes them a good option.
- Good strong build with an attractive design.
- Nice sound reproduction at an attractive price.
- For Android users only.
8 Westone W10 Single-Driver True-Fit Earphones
Westone knows a thing or two, considering they have been manufacturing ear products for over sixty years. Especially how to make them fit and how to make them comfortable. They are one of the largest manufacturers of earpieces and were the first to include a balanced armature driver in their products.
With the W10, they have designed a set of earbuds that are easy to wear and very comfortable. They also produce a very good sound.
Back to the comfort level. Westone has crafted the design of the ear tip to fit neatly without penetrating too deeply. The design of where the cabling meets the housing is vital, and Westone has that covered. It might look ergonomic in its style, but it is that way for a reason. It is given an attractive red finish on the housing.
As the ear tip sits in your ear, the pressure is removed by the angle of the tips and how the cabling meets the housing. It is well-designed and proof that Westone has comfort high up the priority list on their design sheet. To make sure the fit is perfect for you, they include ten pairs of foam and silicone ear tips. A great fit adds to the musical enjoyment.
They have a frequency range from 20Hz to 16kHz, which produces a nicely balanced performance. The single balanced armature driver, which Westone is known for as we said earlier, provides the sounds. Crisp highs and a warm bass that is not too prominent.
They have been given an IPX4 level rating. This indicates they are moisture-proof, so they will handle any sweat if used while exercising.
Cabling is adequate, and there is a control system with three buttons. It will allow basic control of your music, and it also provides a microphone. It is compatible with Apple and Android-based devices. With a price point that is very attractive for such quality, these are a very good set of earbuds.
- Very strong and functional design to maximize comfort levels.
- Nice sound at a very competitive price.
- At this price point, we can find nothing.
9 RHA T10i High Fidelity, Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphone
The T10i from RHA is a set of earbuds that have noise-canceling potential and are designed with getting the right fit for your ears. They are made from stainless steel, which does make them a little heavier than some we have looked at. It does, though, give them a very solid build quality. Each earbud has a single dynamic driver to cover all the frequencies.
They are designed to cover as many musical styles as possible. In today’s musical world, that isn’t possible because of EQ differences in musical styles. Nevertheless, the sound is quite good over the listed frequency range of 16 – 40,000Hz
There is a three-button controller that also holds a microphone. This can be used with Apple devices that are compatible. They have an over-ear design that holds the earbuds in place while the cable runs behind the ear. If the fit is snug and tight, then they will give a certain amount of noise cancellation.
Whilst the design is quite good, the sound may be a little ordinary, but they are very comfortable. They certainly give you enough in the package to make sure you get a good fit. In fact, they give you ten choices to get it right, more than any other we have seen elsewhere.
You get six pairs, two in each of S/M or L of dual-density tips, and two pairs of double flange. Finally, two pairs of universal fitting foam tips. That’s a lot of options to get the perfect right. You also get a carrying case and a clothing clip. They may not win too many awards for design and sound, but they have certainly made a big effort to make them comfortable.
- Good quality materials at an affordable price point.
- Made to be as comfortable as possible.
- Sound is rather ordinary.
10 Focal Sphear S Closed-Back Headphones
These are very much a budget range of earbuds from French manufacturer Focal. They are a well-known company for producing top of the range headphones, but these are entry-level. Nevertheless, you will find many of the qualities of their more illustrious cousins in these earbuds.
They are well made with a good strong build. However, they are not really suitable for the gym or running, but they have a sturdy feel to them. They are though ideal for the daily commute to work. The design is such that they do not enter into the ear too far. They are comfortable in the design and made for those that just like to listen to music.
They have 10.8mm drivers, and so the sound is quite powerful. Having a larger size for the drivers increases the sound capabilities of the earbuds. The bass has more depth, and the mids and top end are more pronounced.
They feature an in-line controller that lets you control your music and to take calls through the built-in microphone. It is a rather basic control unit, though, and does not have a volume control, it only provides play, which tracks and call handling.
They are compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets. However, they are not Bluetooth and connect to the devices via the 3.5mm cable. They come with a selection of foam and silicone buds so you can get a good fit. Having that snug fit is important in earbuds that have not got an accentuated bass frequency. The bottom end will be the first thing you lose if they fit is not good.
They are a good set of earbuds at a very attractive price point. They are well-made and have a nice sound that is quite powerful. Good value for money for those who just want to listen to their music,
There is no doubt they are a quality product, but maybe not to everyone’s liking, but they are attractively priced and make good value for money.
- Well made with a nice sound.
- Affordable price.
- The in-line controller is rather basic.
Most Comfortable Earbuds Buyer’s Guide
Getting Some Comfort In Your Ears
When you are choosing a new set of earbuds, you often have to make the choice between real quality in the sound or comfort. It is not always true, of course. Some of the very best are also very comfortable, but there are some comfort issues to consider.
We are not all built the same, thankfully. Even our ears will differ in size and even depth of the canal. Therefore comfort is a very personal thing. What suits one might be awful for another. But there are some basic things to consider.
The Fit Is Important
It needs to be snug in your ear without being too tight. If the fit is poor, you will lose what sound quality there is. If the earbuds are noise canceling, that won’t operate correctly either. They need to fit in your ear canal but not go too deep. Damage can be done very quickly by earbuds that sit deep in the ear canal if the volume is high.
There will usually be a choice of materials for the tips. Most manufacturers include a variety of both silicone and foam tips in various sizes to make sure you get a comfortable fit. A lot of thought goes into what is happening in your ear.
But What Is Happening Outside?
They need to be well-balanced and not cause any stress to your ear or your neck position. Some prefer behind the ear designs, and there are comfort benefits to that position.
There is also the consideration as to what you will use them for. Is it just for listening to music or maybe on the daily trip to work?
Possibly you want to use them in the gym or running? If that’s the case, you will need a water-resistant rating to handle any rain or sweat caused by the activity. They may also need a more rugged build quality. If it is no the commute, then possibly you will want a design that does not protrude too much, so they don’t attract attention.
Finally, What About Controls
They do play a part in the comfort level. They need to be easy to find and quick and simple to use.
Quite a few things to consider. There are no hard and fast rules as to what makes them comfortable. It will be different for most of us. But safety and ease of use are important, as is the balance outside of the ear as well as the depth inside it.
More Headphones & Earbud Choices
With so many quality headphones and earbuds available making the perfect choice can be difficult.
Therefore if you haven’t found exactly what you’re looking for in this review, please check out our reviews of the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones under 100 dollars, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, and the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping currently available.
So, What Are The Most Comfortable Earbuds?
If we are looking for a set of in-ear headphones that are comfortable, you go to people who specialize in that area. You may sacrifice a little in the sound quality, but it is the comfort we are talking about. We have, therefore, decided that our choice would be…
A great design around the ear that not only sits comfortably internally but creates a stress-free balance on the outside. This makes them our recommendation for the best earbuds if comfort is the most important factor.