No Battery, No Bluetooth, No Problem: The Best Wired Earbuds to Buy in 2021

wired earbuds
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If the only place you buy your wired earbuds is by the checkout line at a drugstore, you might assume that they’re all built cheaply, sound bad and are practically disposable. But the best wired earbuds are actually built to keep up with wireless earbuds and even headphones. Besides affordability, there are actually several key benefits to owning a pair of wired earbuds that wireless counterparts don’t have.

Some obvious benefits of wired earbuds are that they are much harder to lose, and you never need to worry about recharging them. But one thing you might not have realized is that wired headphones actually sound better than their more expensive wireless counterparts. Some of the audio information gets lost in even the best Bluetooth headphones, but the analog signal of wired earbuds allows for a higher-quality listening experience.

Of course, the main drawback with wired earbuds is that they can get tangled, and the wires tend to get damaged and worn out over time. A high-quality pair of wired earbuds will have a more durable cable that’s tangle resistant, and they’ll be designed in a way that’s more comfortable for your ears.

There are technical details to consider like drivers, which determine the quality of the audio. Finally, you’ll also want to consider personal details — do you prefer squishy or hard buds? Do you want an extra earloop to keep the buds in place while working out, or would you rather have a streamlined pair? That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best wired earbuds that you can buy online, which tick off different boxes to suit your listening needs.

1. Sony In-Ear Earbud Headphones

Sony makes some of the best audio gear for the money, and these classic earbuds are a great option for most users. They have a squishy silicone tip that’s designed to fit in ears of different sizes, and there’s a convenient microphone, making it a great option if you’re using these to make calls. If you don’t need to make calls, there’s also a version without a mic available from this listing. The 9mm dome-type drivers are designed for a quality listening experience.

Pros: Affordable option. Includes mic for making calls. Lightweight design for comfort.

Cons: Only one button on the microphone, making controls more difficult.

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2. Samsung EO-EG920LLEGUS Active InEar Headphones

Samsung’s earbuds are a versatile option for a wide variety of settings, thanks to the inclusion of different ear tip styles. There are three regular rounded soft buds, as well as a set with contoured wings that are designed to form a snug fit in your ear. The contoured tips help block out noise, and they’re also great for working out. Plus, the inline controls can be used to change the volume and take calls.

Pros: Three pairs of round tips included, plus one contoured pair. Available in several colors. In-line controls include volume and multi-function buttons.

Cons: Only one pair of contoured tips included, which may not fit every ear.

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3. JVC Earclip Earbud

JVC’s earbuds are great options if you’re looking for something secure for running, working out or even just walking around. The ear clip design ensures they won’t fall even if they pop out of your ear, and they’re designed to resist sweat, so they’ll keep up with your workouts. There are three earpieces included, so you can find the one that’s most comfortable for you.

Pros: Three ear tip sizes included. Ear clip makes it a good option for working out.

Cons: Cord could be longer.

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4. Apple EarPods with 3.5mm Headphone Plug

Remember those silhouette commercials for the iPod from the mid-2000s? Apple’s earbuds are iconic for a reason, and they’re still a great option for basic music listening. The egg-shaped design is meant to be more comfortable in the ear, and they have the standard 3.5 mm jack. If your phone doesn’t have a jack, these earbuds are also available with a lightning connector.

Pros: Classic design. Available with either a 3.5mm or lightning connector.

Cons: You can have it any color, as long as it’s white.

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5. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Despite the high price, Bose’s QuietComfort 20 is one of the most popular options among wired earbuds, and that’s because of their noise-canceling abilities. The QuietComfort 20s boast Bose’s top-of-the-line noise-canceling, and you can switch to “Aware” mode if you need to be in tune with your surroundings. The earbuds are also designed with a cushioned hook that fits more comfortably in your ear. A carrying case is included as well.

Pros: Features active noise-canceling. Contoured tip that fits comfortably in the ear. Comes with a carrying case.

Cons: The in-line noise-canceling component is bulky, making these less portable than other options.

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6. JBL Endurance RUN

Built for working out, the JBL Run are a flexible and versatile option for working out or casual wear. The unique shape of the buds allows them to be worn in the ear like regular buds, or you can run the cables behind your ear and wear them like sport buds. Two earbud sizes are included. The inline controls and built-in mic make it easy to take calls.

Pros: Unique design works as a behind-the-ear sport bud and as a regular in-ear bud. Includes mic.

Cons: In-line controls don’t have volume control.

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