Earbuds are a fairly new phenomenon. Headphones have been around since about 1910 but the first earbuds, or at least a derivation of what we now call earbuds, came with the Sony Walkman in the ‘80s.
Since then, the market has grown considerably, and they now occupy a sizeable share of the personal listening market. As they are so flexible in their use is one reason. Athletes, commuters, even musicians on stage use them, but are they safe? And are they durable?
Headphones that go over the ears can be damaging to hearing if used for long periods, or the sound is too loud, but they are not as much of a risk as earbuds which are often inserted right into the ear canal.
They are a great innovation and one that has a place but please use them wisely and consider the attributes of all the products we are about to review.
This will not be a review of earbuds vs. headphones. This is about finding the most durable earbuds.
- Top 10 Best Durable Earbuds Reviews
- Best Durable Earbuds Buying Guide
- So, what are the Best Durable Earbuds?
Top 10 Best Durable Earbuds Reviews
1 SHURE Sound Insulation Earphone SE215 Special Edition
Shure, of course, will be developing products in this category and good they are likely to be. These special edition earphones are designed with the user at the forefront of the thinking. They are lightweight, weighing just seventy ounces and have an ergonomic design that has its base in comfort.
The components are developed using Shures experience of working at the top level of sound reproduction, and the precision engineering employed in their manufacture is very evident.
What about the sound…
The bass is deep and warm without being penetrating and the highs clear and precise without being shrill and with too much top. Mids, of course, are difficult to reproduce with real clarity on products with speakers this size, but they are very clear and not lost in the rest of the sound.
They have been designed to fit comfortably in the ear with their lightweight and thin design and of special importance to the overall fit is the angle at which they fit. The earpads are soft and not harsh, and they come with various sizes and shapes to ensure they will fit comfortably in all ear shapes.
Having such a lightweight design though does bring durability problems, however, unless they are treated with great care.
A touch of gold…
There are some quite impressive extras added to the design of these earphones. The 3.5mm connector is gold plated to ensure a good connection and go avoid corrosion, and they have a sound reproduction frequency that covers 21hZ to 17.5kHz. They are compatible with both IOS and Android devices.
As you might expect they are priced towards the top end, but then you are dealing with Shure, considered one of the masters of sound reproduction.
2 RHA MA750(Gen 2)
The RHA MA750 (Gen2) is a replacement model designed to replace the original MA750 which has now been discontinued.
The MA750 are earbuds that have been manufactured using quality materials and components. They are a high-resolution product that features stainless steel housings and a copper cable that is oxygen-free which delivers high quality and a strengthened 3.5mm connection. The 3.5mm socket is gold plated to ensure a quality transference of sound and to avoid corrosion.
Although they are made of stainless steel and sturdy, they are designed with comfort in mind. But, more on that later. They are an over the ear design that can be adjusted to fit the shape of any ear. And are very lightweight at just three and a half ounces.
They have what the manufacturer calls an Aerophonic shape which they claim will deliver a distortion-free sound through a clearer airflow. Whilst not considered to be noise-canceling, they do create a seal within the ear that will help to prevent too much external noise from interfering with the sound. They have a frequency range of 16-40,000 Hz.
We mentioned earlier the comfort of the stainless steel design of these earphones. With the package, you are supplied with some accessories, one of which is a selection foam and silicone ear tips that can be fitted to ensure your comfort. Other features in this accessory pack also include a clip to attach to your clothes and a carrying case.
Great for the gym…
They are nicely designed and are excellent for those who do a lot of running or gym work. The over-ear design ensures they stay in position and are secure and due to the seal created in your ear, they are also suitable for traveling without disturbing your fellow commuters.
Might be considered expensive, but there are quality components and materials used in their construction.
3 Bose SoundSport
One of the big boys in sound reproduction, Bose since their formation in 1964, has built a reputation as being one of the industry greats. They pride themselves on the quality of their products. And we are interested to see what they offer this particular area of sound.
Firstly the build. Bose is well known for building sturdy equipment, and they have adopted the same principles with these in-ear headphones. If there is potential wear or tear problem, Bose will usually build a product to deal with it, and in this case, where these might be used for running, the design is important.
Come rain, come shine…
They have been made to be weather resistant and sweat-proof with a hydrophobic cloth keeping any moisture out. They will be able to deal with whatever comes their way. Even if they are just for the daily commute they will take some, shall we say, less than careful handling.
They are lightweight and therefore are not uncomfortable to wear. Included are ‘StayHear’ tips that are designed to fit the shape of your ears so that they will stay in place as long as you need them.
If there is one design element, you could question it is the location of the volume control which is placed too low on the cable for ease of use.
What about the sound?
Its Bose, you don’t need to say too much more than that. Beautiful warm lows and crisp, clear highs, it’s all there as you would expect. They do set a benchmark in the quality of the sound of earphones that others must aspire to.
They come with a fitted carrying case.
4 Sennheiser IE 80 S
We do not need to introduce Sennheiser, as their products have often set the standards that others follow, especially in over-ear headphone design. They are less well known for their earbuds, though, they do have a range of them. Let’s take a look at one such product the IE80S…
It is not a completely new model. The original IE80 was produced in 2011 and certainly produced a soundstage that others have tried to copy. It was a little bass-heavy, though.
Size-wise it is no different, and the build quality is very good. They are well-designed, and when worn, there are no microphonics over the ear. The strain relief on the connector on the right side is colored to let you know which is left and right.
They are made with a short insert with a flange that keeps the earpiece in place, and the fit in the ear is quite shallow. And are small and very lightweight this makes them comfortable to wear, but the sound isolation for external noise is not so good. They do, though fit nice and flush in your ears.
Being lightweight, they will be vulnerable if not treated with care and might not be suitable for the gym or running track. Durability might then be an issue.
How do they sound?
Well, it is Sennheiser, so you expect quality, but these are very bass-heavy. If you can picture the frequencies described in a graph, it would be a very large U-shape — heavy bass, bright top and not a lot in the middle.
There is a manual tuning control though that allows you to create the sound you want. Not an EQ as such, more of a tonal balance if you find the bass a little heavy.
They come with an ear tip set, including foam and silicone options.
The fit is good, secure and they are comfortable to wear, but the price is going to scare some people.
5 Klipsch Image S4i
Now here are a set of earpieces that have been designed to handle everything you can throw at them. Rugged and sturdy in appearance they look exactly what they are. Tough little beasts.
The proof of the pudding, though is in the eating, and the measure of their durability will be measured by usage in tough conditions rather than appearance.
Raindrops keep falling on my head…
They are very similar to another model in their range, the S4. And have a comfortable fit with not too deep ear penetration and are made with some tough rubber moldings. They are an all-weather design and will easily withstand bad weather and any moisture arriving through exercise. That is child’s play for these earpieces.
One can see these on the ears of a mountaineer or someone trudging towards the North Pole, and they would still be working fine. Even the control unit is built for extremes in its design and its large functional buttons. These are made for serious action.
Excellent sound quality…
It includes an integrated microphone for calls with call and answer buttons. Call quality is ok, but not what you might call brilliant. The sound through the earphones for music though is excellent and carries some punch. They are though quite bass-heavy and without a way of bringing up the top end that may be a problem for some.
They are compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Priced around the mid-range, if their rugged looks are borne out by performance, then they will be a good buy.
6 1MORE Triple Driver in-Ear Earphones
Sometimes the most important part of the decision about whether a set of earpieces are good or not is the build quality. Are they going to fall to pieces after five minutes, are they going to be uncomfortable and unpleasant to wear. Are they durable? Valid reasons for concern.
The other is the sound but more on that later…
A comfortable fit…
The 1More triple driver appears to be well-built. The housing on each ear is made from metal, and at the angle, they are manufactured they sit quite nicely in the ear. They do supply nine sets of ear tips to ensure you get a good fit. The cable is a strong braid, but then when it gets to where the wire splits into two, it becomes a plastic which is not so good.
The controls are located about six inches from the right earpiece, and they too feel a little weak in their construction. They are easy to locate, and with the buttons slightly raised are easy to use.
So by now, you may be feeling we are a little less than impressed with the build quality. Can’t quite put our finger on what it is, but they feel a little bit flimsy. But what about the other aspect to consider…
No complaints here. Three drivers are working in each earpiece. Rather than having just one driver handling everything, there are three giving you a wide range of frequency control. You will get a deep, rich, warm bass, but you will also hear crisp, clear highs.
The remote control is well laid out with volume and song selection options and call answering. They are compatible with all smartphones, PCs, and tablets. The headphone jack connector is straight for ease of connection.
Price range is set competitively.
7 SoundMAGIC E10
Sometimes when we are doing a little bit of research before buying a product, we will look at the price and automatically move on to the next one. They cannot be up to much they are so cheap. If you do that with these SoundMagic E10’s, you may be missing an absolute bargain.
These earbuds have a solid aluminum construction. They have been made to be sturdy, to withstand constant everyday use. Which can be quite hard on some products if the build quality is a bit weak. The splitter and jack connector are also made from metal.
The housing of each earpiece feels substantial, and they are. They are well made and durable even at what might be considered their weakest point.
The actual ear inserts are designed in such a way that they sit neatly in the ear canal without penetrating too deep. They do though, stay in the ear comfortably without the need for you to constantly having to change the angle of the bud, or at worst put it back in.
Music in – noise out…
They come with a variety of tips to ensure you get a good fit. This will then keep the music in and a large proportion of the unwanted sound out.
By now, you will feel that we are impressed with the build.
What about the sound?
Well, not too bad, not too bad at all, to quote an ending line from Independence Day.
A heavy bottom end without it overpowering the mids. A crisp and clear top-end that doesn’t shatter your eardrums. They have a warm conducive sound and really are punching way above their weight and their price bracket.
Comfortable to wear, well made, durable, great sound, and for how much?
Take a look, a close look — certainly a contender for most durable earbuds.
8 Earbuds In-Ear Headphones/Earphones
As we do these reviews, we are constantly reminded of just how many products there are in the marketplace. All have their strengths and of course, their weaknesses, but all are designed to do a job. In the case of earbuds and earpieces, they haven’t had that many years to get it right, but some are doing a good job.
These earbuds are well manufactured, but when compared to other competitors, might be considered a little heavy. This can, of course, be a problem in that they may fall out if they are not securely fitted.
Fits like a glove…
It also means though they are strong and not flimsy. They are supplied with three sets of silicone tips to ensure a good comfortable fit, whatever your ear size.
In fact, they have gone to great lengths to ensure the components are of the highest quality needed to provide good performance. There is a gold plating on the 3.5mm input jack and a copper cable with a rubber coating to try and avoid getting the wires tangled.
The build quality is good and gives the impression they are durable and will last for a while.
But there’s a catch…
For us, though there is a problem with these that we feel we must mention. We say problem because to some it will not be seen as a problem and might, in fact, be something positive.
They have dynamic dual drivers working in a 16-ohm environment across a frequency range of 5Hz to 31,000Hz, generating up to 118 decibels. Now, it is known that exposure to 110 dB’s could damage your hearing, and that is in an open environment.
This is 118 dB’s being pumped into your ear canal which according to most reports you then have to add on about 9 dB for, that makes a total of 127dBs through your ears. Louder than a Who concert.
If you are happy with that, you are going to love these. Because it will be like being in the front row as Townshend lets rip, but we feel it right to warn you in advance. They are loud, VERY loud and at a price of about one-third of what is to see that band at the moment.
9 Brainwavz M2
The Brainwavz M2 is a nicely designed set of premium earphones that are well made from quality materials. Silver OFC wires in strong cables and sturdy metal fittings on the earpieces give them a sense of durability. They come supplied with some foam tips to allow you to make sure the fit is comfortable.
They are designed as earphones that will cater to most kinds of music, but there is no in-line mic or remote, so you cannot take any phone calls or perform any phone functions.
But, this is not what they were designed for. They are made purely as earphones, and the investment has been made in the quality of the build rather than the extra facilities.
Light and comfortable…
Although they are made from metal, they are still quite light, and the included ear tips ensure that the seal to the ear is comfortable. The wiring has a cover over the braiding to alleviate tangling.
The sound is quite good without being earth-shattering. The bass has a decent depth without impinging 0n the mids, which so often happens with these products, and the top end not too bright. The result is a warm, smooth sound with the mids at the front end and nice and clear.
There isn’t a great deal of individual instrument detail, but then you would not expect there to be, at this price.
What’s in the box?
Included in the package are two types of ear tips with three sizes of each, cable guides and a shirt clip.
At this price, they are good value for money. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but still get a good product with a decent sound reproduction they are worth considering. They are well made but might not be the strongest.
10 GranVela VJJB V1
If this company is trying to win a prize for the best looking earphones, then they may just have won it. They really do look very luxurious in style, and if the most durable earbuds decision was about the style, they would be in with a good chance. The build quality is very good, sturdy, and with metal in all the right places. They also have given the 3.5mm jack a gold plating to ensure good performance. All very impressive.
These are dual-drive earphones which means they are operated by two sets of drivers, each earpiece having two separate small speakers. One to handle the highs and mids and the other for the low frequencies. This tends to generate a quality sound with a better sensitivity and frequency responses that will be wider because of the dual-action rather than a single speaker action.
So do they sound good?
The overall sound is very good and the mid-range very much at the front. The top and bottom end may be a little subdued but are still audible, and it all makes for a very relaxed and warm sound.
The design of the V1 ensures they will create a good seal in your ear. And not only provide reasonable external noise isolation but also result in very low sound leakage. They are designed for strength and comfort and are supplied with a pair of foam tips and three pairs of silicone ear tips.
But, there’s a small problem…
If we want to be critical of what is an excellent budget product, then the rubber cable can cause micro-phonics.
Generally speaking, though they are excellent value for money, with the quality of build very much at the forefront of its styling.
- Buying some earpieces that will last
It is not that easy to just go out and buy some earbuds. The sound is one thing, you want them to sound good, of course. Comfort is another consideration, whether they fit or fall out all the time. But another major consideration is will they last? Are they going to fall apart in ten minutes?
- Are they durable?
They are a very small item really, and we must have some sympathy with the manufacturers. They must produce a product that looks good, sounds good, is comfortable, and maybe has some tech onboard. All that and it has to be lightweight and yet tough enough to be used regularly and under testing conditions at times. All this in a tiny package.
We are assuming that because you want durable earbuds, you will be using them in some form of activity which might be running, down the gym or just the daily commute which can be a combination of the previous two at times.
- But how tough will their life be?
Do they need to be sweatproof, and what about bad or extreme weather. Does that form part of the consideration? We will assume for this exercise that you aren’t trekking to the North Pole, joining the queue to climb Everest or being made to sit through another reincarnation of Captain Jack Sparrow’s second cousin removed, created to give us yet another storyline.
In which case we are talking about running, jogging, the gym, maybe working in the garden or in the home, the daily commute, or any other activity of medium level risk to them. In those cases, the build quality is important, and so is the fit.
We have taken a look at what’s on offer. We have included comments about the other issues, sound quality, and comfort, but we wanted to look at durability as a prime mover.