Wired earbuds or wireless earbuds, which one is better? I think it all depends on you. Some people like the convenience of wireless earbuds, while others like the excellent sound quality of wired earbuds.
A wired set of earbuds can actually provide a far better audio signal because of its direct device to device method of sending the electrical signals. This can mean a cheap wired set is a far better investment than a cheap wireless set, though Bluetooth is coming on in leaps and bounds courtesy of cheaper chip development.
The world famous earphone manufacturers, such as Bose and Sennheiser, were originally generated wired headphones. With the continuous improvement of technology, the music sports brought to us are getting better and better.
We scoured tons of the top models to find the very best of the best, and help you dodge any lingering buyer’s remorse.
Wired, Wireless, or Wire-Free?
Earphones can connect to your smartphone through a 3.5mm cable or wirelessly over Bluetooth, depending on the model. Wired earphones are generally less expensive, and you don’t need to worry about keeping them charged. Bluetooth earphones are more convenient because you don’t have to physically connect them to your smartphone, but they need battery power to work. For the most part, you won’t find a 3.5mm port and removable cable on Bluetooth earphones; when they’re out of power, they’re out of commission until you charge them again.
Why Choose a Wired Set of Earbuds?
In the modern world with fast-changing developments, it can be easy to overlook older technology. Even after our full review, you might find yourself asking why you should choose headphones in-ear with wires when a wireless set provides some cutting-edge tech these days.
There are a few reasons. Believe it or not, the most pressing concern for users is sound quality.
While there are a few mind-blowing Bluetooth sets available, the majority aren’t operating on fast enough bandwidths. Typically, you can expect the stability of a wireless signal to vary.
This is because, whether or not it’s particularly noticeable, it takes a little longer to latch onto a signal within a bandwidth than it does to send a direct signal electronically inside the earphone cable or cord.
A wireless stream can be more susceptible to a stuttering sound quality, as the streaming loses and re-latches onto itself. The clarity can be impeded, and the reproduction is, generally speaking, less faithful to the original input.
Are They Comfortable And Do They Cancel Out Noise
However, while there’s no denying they can be great to have, not all of them are at par with consumer expectations. So if you want to find the best pair of wired earbuds, you cannot pick any you come across. You first have to consider how comfortable they are when on your ears. This is particularly crucial if you are an active earphone or headphone user because you want a pair that fits you snugly and stays in place even when you are on the go.
One of the main reasons why most of us wear earbuds or headphones is because we want to block out noise from outside and be in our world. You cannot do this efficiently with cheaply made earbuds because they lack what it takes to filter out external noise. Therefore, while shopping for a pair of wired earbuds, make sure you check whether they have noise-canceling capabilities.
Other Pros And Some Cons
It’s also wise to opt for water resistance. This is mainly because the last thing you want is to walk out of the gym with a pair of spoilt earphones because you worked out and ended up sweating too much-causing damage to them. Be sure to review the efficiency of the in-line microphone module. You want one that’ll allow you to not only receive calls but also stay in control of your playlist without having to control it via your smartphone manually. Some of the best-wired earbuds feature in-line microphones that allow you to not only do the mentioned but also access Siri, Google Now, or whichever voice assistant you may own.
While at it, keep in mind that one significant downside of wired earbuds is that they tend to tangle a lot. This is one of the primary reasons why their wireless counterparts are suddenly so popular. In that light, the best-wired earbuds usually feature a flat cable to minimize the chances of tangling. Some even feature magnetic earbuds that clip together and enable you to organize a cable in a way that prevents them from tangling.
Our Top Picks:
Our experts have looked at (listened to) dozens of earbuds, and we’ve rounded up our picks for you. See them below!
1. Bose SoundTrue Ultra
An important reason why Bose’s in-ear headphones are so popular is that they are designed for lovers who don’t like to stuff them into their ears. The secret is the comfortable StayHear earmuffs that fit your ears to create a solid, suspended wear experience.
SoundTrue Ultra is Bose’s first in-ear soundproof headset and is available in Apple and Android versions, each available in two colors: black or white.
But this noise isolation is not the kind of active noise reduction in the Bose QC20. The major changes in Ultra are the design of the ear fins and earplugs, which Bose calls StayHear Ultra Tips.
They are made of high-tech plastic, have good sound insulation, and are lightweight and comfortable to wear.
SoundTrue Ultra has a uniform sound quality, but the bass may be a bit thin, but it is powerful enough for us.
- One of the most comfortable in-ear headphones
- Clean, balanced sound
- Comes with a beautiful storage box
- The price is a bit expensive
2. Focal Sphear
Focal is a French company that is less famous than companies like Bose, Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic. But the headphones they make are very good, and Sphear is one of our favorite models.
So why do we like it? For first-time use, it’s lightweight, comfortable to wear, and looks solid and reliable.
The earphone cord is very thick, with three pairs of silicone earmuffs and three pairs of sponge earmuffs, which can be used not only to listen to music, but also to answer calls.
Whether it is classical music or pop music, it sounds particularly energetic on Sphear, the sound quality is excellent, the bass is full and mature, and the treble is crisp and delicate.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Very accurate sound quality
- More ambient noise
- Treble is not very good
3. 1More Triple Driver
You may not have heard of 1More, a Chinese company headquartered in Shenzhen. They produce the Triple Driver, one of the most cost-effective in-ear HiFi headphones we’ve ever heard.
The earphones are exquisite, exquisite aluminum alloy casing and Kevlar enhanced cable, and various sizes of silicone and sponge earmuffs are also available.
Each earbud contains a moving coil drive and two balanced moving iron drives, hence the name a three-unit iron earphone.
Its sound is not only full of warmth, but also very rich in details. The bass sinks enough and the midrange is clear and natural.
Unfortunately, although it is comfortable to wear, if the exercise is too intense, it may fall off, so if you are a sports-loving fitness person, then it may not be suitable for you.
- Three-unit ring iron driver
- Aluminum alloy casing and Kevlar enhanced cable
- 3-button built-in remote control and microphone, and compatible with Android and iOS devices
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Not suitable for sports
4. Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2
Compared with the old model, the S2 has a black design, and the earplugs have been slightly modified. The rubber grades are slightly different and the geometry is slightly changed. The edge of the earphone now has a rounded curvature that improves overall comfort.
This headset retains its signature retaining ring and can be adjusted almost infinitely, which helps to secure the earbuds in the ear canal, which should work well for most people.
Like the original model, the C5 S2 is awesomely designed with high-end manufacturing quality, subtly treated with tungsten/aluminum for a very solid construction.
In terms of sound quality, the C5 S2 adds a lot of clarity. Not only mid-range and high-pitched, clear bass allows you to enjoy the listening experience.
- The sound of the C5 S2 is better than the original
- Eye-catching industrial design, innovative adjustable retaining ring
- Optimize for iOS device operations
- Not suitable for listening to low quality music
5. RHA T10i
Although the headphones on the market are made of various materials, you will not often encounter metal injection molded stainless steel, which is unique to the RHA T10i.
The T10i features a hand-crafted dynamic drive designed to play all types of music with extreme precision and detail.
From the earphone casing to the reinforced oxygen-free copper cable to the gold-plated plug, the sound is excellent. In addition, RHA offers several different sizes and shapes of earmuffs as well as a beautiful outer casing.
The only potential problem is comfort. For in-ear headphones, the T10i is a bit cumbersome and the cable system won’t appeal to everyone.
- Excellent workmanship, unique design, sound and sound
- Provide a wealth of accessories
- Built-in remote control and microphone optimized for iOS devices
- A bit heavy
- Some features on the built-in remote are not available for Android and Windows Phone devices
6. Bose SoundSport
The SoundSport comes with a built-in remote control and microphone. The Apple iOS version offers several sports colors to choose from, but the Android version has a limited choice.
Comfortable StayHear ear covers are easy to fit your ears and create a solid, suspended wear experience that can be fixed in your ears even while running. Bose is available in three different sizes.
SoundSport (and FreeStyle) features a sweat-proof design that improves durability and water resistance, but it is not 100% waterproof.
In terms of sound quality, it has good bass performance, and the midrange is quite good, but the treble is not its advantage.
- Stable and comfortable with anti-sweat function
- Pleasant bass
- Attractive open design
- Will let the ambient noise enter
7. HiFiMan RE-400
Although the HiFiMan RE-400 does not offer a built-in remote control and microphone like many competitors, its comfortable fit and clear sound will appeal to any music enthusiast.
This headset has a simple design, a small aluminum alloy case, and is very lightweight. Four different sizes of silicone earmuffs are very comfortable to wear.
On the opposite side of the sound quality, the sound of the headphones is very balanced and pure, the sound sounds accurate and natural, and the bass, midrange and treble form a perfect balance.
We like to use RE-400 to listen to all kinds of original sound music. The combination of detail and warmth always reveals the best side of music.
- Affordable, lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Sophisticated design
- Extremely pure and refined sound
- No inline remote and microphone
- No storage box
8. Klipsch T5M Wired Earbuds
Klipsch has form when it comes to excellent, affordable in-ear headphones.
In 2019 it was the R6i IIs (below) that stole all the headlines, but for 2020 it’s the T5M Wired causing a stir.
Not only are they extremely comfortable, they’re also some of the most musical buds we’ve heard in this price bracket.
Each bud houses a 5mm dynamic driver and features a soft silicone ear tip that offers a great seal that ensures good noise isolation.
The rugged cable feels tough enough to withstand the rigours of a daily commute and there’s an in-line mic and one-button control, so they’ll work with most smartphones.
Overall, the Klipschs combine detailed and dynamic sound with great build quality, meaning they’re a stellar product for the money.
- Impressive, comfortable fit
- Detailed, dynamic sound
- Even tonal balance
- No volume control
9. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
A member of Sennheiser’s highly acclaimed Momentum collection, this in-ear headset is designed for mobile devices.
Momentum In-Ear has a lot to watch out for: beautiful, lightweight and comfortable, with a flat cable design, remote control and microphone compatible with iOS devices.
A separate model is also available for Samsung Galaxy users, but the remote control feature is also available for LG, HTC, Sony and other Android devices.
In terms of sound quality, it is more balanced than the old one, with a lot of bass and treble, and the midrange does not have too much warmth.
Momentum In-Ear has a lot of features, and it’s not expensive. If you’re looking for an exciting, funky headset, it might be an attractive option.
- Beautiful appearance and affordable price
- Very good sound quality
- Integrated built-in remote control and microphone
- Treble is not clear enough
- The outer casing is mostly of plastic structure
10. Etymotic ER4SR Wired Earbuds
Etymotic Research’s headset models have been around for 30 years, and their balanced response has become the industry’s reference standard.
The SR is an upgraded version of the ER4 model, meaning the Studio Reference, which delivers superior audio performance and unparalleled accuracy.
Ultra-thin earplugs are joined together by braided cables. The three-section earmuffs may be Etymotic’s most iconic design with four pairs of three-piece sleeves and two pairs of sponge earbuds.
In fact, the ER4SR offers a very comfortable bass effect. In addition, the mid-high frequency and high-frequency sound are very clear, and the overall sound quality balance and response are impeccable.
- Excellent audio performance, high resolution and accuracy
- Intimate product accessories, including headphone jack adapter, filter, carrying case, and a variety of comfortable earmuffs
- Removable cable
- No cable for replacement
- Bass effect is not very good
Best Wired Earbuds Buying Guide
With literally thousands of options out there, making a choice of earbuds can be paralyzing. Don’t worry; we’re here to help! To supplement our product reviews, here are a number of features to consider before choosing the best wired earphones your money can buy…
- Price: Despite the booming popularity of wireless Bluetooth earbuds, wireless earbuds are still on the scene. This is due to two basic factors. They don’t need to be charged, and they are cheaper. Usually. Cheap but OK earbuds can be had for under $20. If you can push your budget up to around $50, you’re absolutely going to find some great options that should be enough for most people out there.
- Durability: Surely a twin factor with price is durability. If you shell out for $200 earphones and they start to fall apart after a few months, you’re not going to be happy! Look to the construction materials and, in most cases, the company’s reputation. Most big-name producers aren’t going to risk putting out garbage, after all.
- Noise Isolation: Noise isolation can be a huge factor in choosing wired earbuds. Background noise can be irritating when you’re trying to focus or just get down to your favorite jams. Some earbuds or in-ear monitors can be used quite effectively for musicians as well, isolating monitor audio and cutting through the buzz.
- Sound: Of course, sound quality is the most important feature that sets earbuds apart. Most audio lovers aim for a clear and balanced sound that replicates what’s on the original tracks without any necessary enhancement. Look to frequency ranges of at least 20 Hz – 20 kHz to cover the basic range of most music and video content, and a broader range for excellence.
Are Wired Earbuds Best For Sound Quality?
A lot goes into sound quality for earbuds. It’s true that wireless earbuds will suffer from some amount of signal degradation because of the codecs involved. So put simply, it’s easy to say yes, wired will sound better. But a set of Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds with triple drivers almost certainly will sound better than a cheap pair of earbuds that comes with your phone.
Can I Use Wires Earbuds With My Phone?
Most modern flagship smartphones have dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack which would allow you to use earbuds with your phone. However, there are two ways you can use earbuds with your phone. Either your phone needs a 3.5mm headphone jack or your earbuds need to have a connector that works with your phone.
What Are The Best Wired Noise-Cancelling Earbuds?
Most wired earbuds don’t have active noise cancellation. There are exceptions, notably the Bose QC-15 earbuds, but for the most part, earbuds rely on isolation for noise-cancelling rather than active noise cancellation. Isolation is how well the seal of the earbuds inside the ear keeps out sound.
Completing an article often takes us a lot of time and effort, but if you can find the right one from the article here, then our contribution is worth it.
We offer 10 options for the best wired earbuds. In our tests, they are always among the best in terms of comfort and sound quality. I hope this article can help you, if you have any questions, please contact us or leave a message.
I think Samsung Headphones EO-EG920B is also best one becoz sound & bass good enough for music lovers, what did u say…?
I had old audio technica with agh anc3 quiet point which I love. Are any of this at all like my now dead earbuds?
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ARE IEM’S I CANNOT WEAR IEM’S, they start hurting my ears after a few minutes, how about giving some ACTUAL CLASSIC EARBUDS, like for someone looking for a replacement for the now discontinued Sennheiser MX365’s or something of that style that doesn’t get shoved into your ear canal.