Last updated: August 10, 2021

Our method

14Products analysed

16Hours spent

2Evaluated articles

67User reviews

In ear headphones have become indispensable in today's society. Whether you're on the bus or jogging, you'll see people listening to music everywhere. Thanks to technological advances, it is now even possible to do this without annoying cables. As with other devices, there are different types of in ear headphones. In this guide, we will explain the in ear headphones in more detail.

This in ear headphone test 2021 is intended to help you choose the right headphones. It will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this type of headphones and what you should pay special attention to. We hope you enjoy reading!




Summary

  • The steadily increasing technological advances led to the development of in ear headphones. Unlike their predecessors, the over-ears, these are inserted into the ears. This provides a noise-cancelling function and a good fit for the optimal music experience.
  • In ear headphones can be divided into two types: Earbuds and classic in ear headphones. These two types differ in their design and technological features. Earbuds are only suitable for listening to music, while classic in ear headphones are versatile.
  • When using in ear headphones, it is important that the headphones fit properly. To ensure this, there are different attachments so you can choose the right one for your ears. There are 3 different types of attachments: Wing, Normal and Loop attachments. These are designed to help you get the best music experience.

The Best In Ear Headphones: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for in ear headphones

In this section, we explain the factors that you can use to compare in ear headphones with each other. This should make your decision easier.

You can use the following criteria to compare in ear headphones:

In the following subdivisions, we go into more detail about the individual criteria. We also explain what you should look out for.

Sound quality

One of the most important aspects for many customers when buying in ear headphones is the sound quality. This is indirectly related to the noise cancelling factor. The louder the environment, the harder it is to hear the music. This has a negative effect on the perceived sound quality, as it is often perceived as poor.

The right fit of your in ear headphones has more influence on the sound quality than quality and price.

Furthermore, the fit is also very important because it also affects the sound quality. A perfectly fitting pair of headphones will suppress the noise in your environment better.

Sound quality plays a very central role in the optimal experience of music. Disturbances while listening to music or during a phone call can be particularly unpleasant for the customer.

Here we have a short video for you. It briefly explains what is important for good in ear headphones and what the sound quality depends on.

https://youtu.be/XCLyX-PRA9c

Noise-cancelling

For many customers, noise-cancelling is a must for their in ear headphones. Due to the loud street noise and other noise effects, this feature plays an important role.

It should be noted that there are two types of noise cancelling.

  • Passive noise cancelling: In fact, every type of headphone is already noise cancelling. Because the headphones sit on or firmly in the ear, sounds in our environment are already naturally muffled. This is often expressed by manufacturers in decibel values.
  • Active Noise Cancelling: On the other hand, this type of headphone has a built-in noise-cancelling function. A microphone and chip help to create an anti-sound, which serves to suppress the noise in the environment. Inexpensive headphones never have this type.
    MicrophoneAn integrated microphone often makes life easier. Because of this feature, you don't have to spend hours looking for your mobile phone, you can simply talk hands-free via the microphone. However, not all in ear headphones are suitable for making phone calls. That's why you should make sure that your headphones have a built-in microphone.

Of course, the quality is also decisive here, because the higher the price, the better the technology.

One thing to consider is whether or not you will need your headphones to make phone calls. This is because the integrated microphone can lead to a loss of sound quality. Especially in the higher price ranges, the proportion of built-in microphones is steadily decreasing. This serves to optimise the sound and provides the customer with an optimal result in terms of quality.

Cable / Wireless

When buying in ear headphones, the decisive aspect for many customers is whether they can be used with a cable or wirelessly.

For a clear overview, you will find a small table with a short description here.

Type Description
Cable Here, the in ear headphones are connected to the mobile phone by a cable. This is an aid so that the headphones do not get lost so easily. Furthermore, if they are lost, they can be replaced at a reasonable price.
Wireless The Bluetooth enabled in ear headphones provide complete and wireless freedom. No more annoying tangled cables. The wireless headphones can simply be plugged into the ear and connected to the mobile phone via Bluetooth. It should be noted, however, that a replacement is not quite as cheap and that losses are more frequent with this variant.

Fit

The fit is particularly important with in ear headphones, as it is essential for an optimal sound experience. With the right fit, ambient noise is better suppressed.

Some in ear headphones are even available with memory foam.

This adapts optimally to the ear cup and does not require any attachments.

Since not every customer has the same ears, it is difficult for the manufacturer to produce the right in ear headphones. But this problem can easily be solved with rubber covers. These are available in different sizes and can simply be slipped over the headphones.

The fixed in ear headphones now direct the music to the ear and deliver a high quality sound.

Decision: What types of in ear headphones are there and which is right for you?

There are two alternatives you can consider when buying in ear headphones:

type advantages disadvantages
earbuds require little storage space, small and handy can only listen to music, can easily fall out
classic in ear headphones wireless technology, wireless or wired wireless in ear headphones need to be charged,dangerous in traffic

With in ear headphones, you also have the choice between wired and wireless versions. The different types have their own advantages and disadvantages. In the following section, we will go into more detail about the individual types to make your choice easier.

Earbuds

Earbuds

Earbuds are a simpler version of in ear headphones. This wireless variant is only suitable for listening to music. No other features, such as a microphone, are built in. Due to their light weight, they create optimal wearing comfort and are suitable for listening to music in everyday life.

Unlike in ear headphones, this type of headphone sits loosely in the ear and is therefore not suitable for sports. If you are looking for classic wireless headphones, these are the ones for you.

Advantages
  • good sound quality
  • suitable for use in traffic
  • small and handy
Disadvantages
  • can fall out easily
  • annoying squeezing after long use
  • ambient noise can be heard
Classic in ear Kopfhörer

Classic in ear headphones

This type of headphones has many advantages as they are versatile. In ear headphones can be used either with a cable or wirelessly with Bluetooth. Furthermore, they are particularly suitable for sports. Due to their different rubber tips, they sit firmly in the ear, making it harder for them to fall out.

The sound quality is also enhanced by the optimal fit. However, it should be noted that this noise-cancelling function is dangerous in road traffic. Therefore, be careful and use only one earplug if necessary.

In addition, in ear headphones also include other technological features, such as a microphone or multifunction button. These make operation easier and lead to an optimal music experience.

Advantages
  • different sizes, good bass, good sound quality, wireless technologies, cable or wireless
Disadvantages
  • Dangerous in traffic, wireless in ear headphones need to be charged, cable confusion possible, can damage hearing if music is too loud

Guide: Frequently asked questions about in ear headphones answered in detail

What are in ear headphones?

In recent years, the demand for better sound quality has grown due to constant technological progress. Music is already part of everyday life and manufacturers have also recognised this. In the past, there were only simple headphones that were placed on the outside of the ear. But because of the increasing demands, in ear headphones were developed. These differ in their design, which is one of the smallest forms of headphones. The in ear headphones are placed in the ear and thus provide better shielding against ambient noise.

The in ear headphones convince with their high sound quality and easy handling. Due to their small and compact shape, they can be easily stowed away and do not take up much storage space. These headphones are of course available in many different versions.

These versions include:

  • different sizes due to rubber attachment
  • Cable or wireless
  • Microphone and multifunction button

Depending on the requirements, a decision can be made between two versions.

In ear Kopfhörer-1

When choosing your headphones, you should trust the brand products. Brands like Philips, Sony or Beats have years of experience in the production of headphones.
(Image source: Siddharth Bhogra / Unsplash)

A classic version, which is only suitable for listening to music, or one with special technological features. The choice is yours and you are free to decide according to your needs.

Are in ear headphones harmful to health?

This is a well-known question that still leads to strong arguments. Many potential customers are convinced that in ear headphones are harmful to the ear. This is due to the fact that the headphones are too deep in the ear canal, causing hearing damage.

But this is a misconception, of course hearing damage can occur.

However, this is not due to the headphones, but to the loud music. Therefore, you should always make sure that you do not listen to music too loudly.

Manufacturers have already equipped many technical devices with an automatic warning mechanism. A short tone sounds as soon as the mobile phone reaches a certain volume. It also regulates the volume after a while. So if you have set the volume too high for too long, the mobile phone will reduce it. To measure when music is considered too loud, the decibel is used.

A volume below 80 dB should be relatively harmless. However, this is perceived individually from person to person.

To illustrate how loud things are in your everyday life and when they become noises, we have a small overview for you here:

  1. 10 dB - breathing, computer
  2. 30 dB - whispering
  3. 70 dB - Road traffic
  4. 80 dB - Motorcycle, (From 85 dB damage range)
  5. 90 dB - Truck, train, thunderstorm
  6. 130 dB - jet fighter
  7. 170 dB - New Year's Eve firecracker at the ear

How do you use in ear headphones correctly?

It is a well-known prejudice that music sounds better on over-ears or on-ear headphones. But this is a misconception, because if the in ear headphones fit properly, the music experience is just as good as with any other.

For an optimal fit in the ear, it is important to note that the in ear headphones have a plastic attachment. This is not always suitable for every ear, which is why there are three different types. These three types should enable you to find one that is suitable for your ear.

The three types are as follows:

  1. The normal attachment: This is the most commonly used, as it is also included with every in ear headphone.
  2. The loop attachments: This flexible shape spreads the ear cup when inserted to ensure a better fit.
  3. The wing attachments: Unlike the flexible loop attachment, this one is made of a rigid material. This attachment is clamped into the spiral groove of the auricle to prevent it from falling out.

The in ear headphones are pressed very lightly into the ear. If this does not work, it is necessary to pull briefly on the earlobe so that the headphones can embed themselves better due to the stretching.

If this does not give a good result, you are using the wrong size. Almost all in ear headphones come in three different sizes. The middle size is usually already on the headphones. So you can decide for yourself whether you need a smaller or larger attachment.

How much do in ear headphones cost?

As with any other technical accessory, the price range for in ear headphones is very wide. Depending on the manufacturer, a good pair of headphones can cost up to over 2000 euros. Of course, the quality is correspondingly high.

However, if you are looking for cheaper headphones, you can buy some for as little as 20 euros. Of course, the quality is not as good compared to the higher-quality product, but even these already deliver a very good sound.

Type price range
Earbuds approx. 60 - 300 euros
Classic in ear headphones approx. 20 - 2000 euros

In contrast to classic in ear headphones, earbuds are found in a lower price range. Here, the price is also higher, depending on the manufacturer. The highest price is around 300 euros, which seems quite reasonable. Earbuds are only suitable for listening to music and have no other technological features.

What are the alternatives to in ear headphones?

Not everyone likes to use in ear headphones. For some it is inconvenient or they want a better sound.

If you are not a fan of in ear headphones, we have 2 alternatives for you. We describe them in the table below. These two are headphones with a large loudspeaker. They are both placed on the ear and differ only minimally from each other.

Alternatives Description
On-Ears These headphones are not pressed into the ear, but are placed on the outside of the ear. The perfectly fitting on-ear headphones thus have a noise-cancelling effect.
Over-Ears These types of headphones completely enclose the ear. With these headphones, manufacturers have the option of using stronger bass, as the headphones do not rest directly on the ear. Furthermore, these headphones only slightly suppress ambient noise. This makes them suitable for street use.

Here we have another short video. It explains the different types of headphones and their individual advantages and disadvantages. This should make it easier for you to decide which headphones are right for you.

Are wired headphones better than wireless in ear headphones?

Before you decide, you should think about what you expect from your headphones. Depending on this, either wired or Bluetooth in-ear headphones are right for you.

In this section, we will explain which headphones are best suited to your needs.

  • Sound quality: If you particularly value good sound, you can't get around in ear headphones with a cable. Bluetooth applications will result in a loss of music quality.
  • Use at home: When doing housework or watching TV, cables are usually just a nuisance. So it is possible to use Bluetooth headphones here. However, if you want to use them for listening to music and gaming, a wired headset is an advantage. Wired headphones are already available at very low prices and deliver good quality.
  • Use on the go: Here, the in ear headphones with Bluetooth are clearly ahead. Because they are easy to use and do not have a cumbersome cable, they are ideal for train journeys or sports. However, it should be noted that you will have to recharge your headphones again and again.

Are in ear headphones suitable for sports?

In ear headphones are also suitable for sports. Whether it's jogging or weight training, you simply can't do it without music. But when deciding, you should make sure that your in ear headphones meet a few criteria.

The in ear headphones should have the following features:

  • Water resistant for sweat and rain
  • Robust in case they fall out
  • Sturdy cable or wireless
  • good sound quality for exercising

In ear headphones are particularly suitable for jogging or exercising because they are very light. In addition, they provide an optimal hold in the ear due to their different fits, making it harder for them to fall out. In contrast to on-ears or over_ears, the range of movement is not limited.

In ear Kopfhörer-3

Runners place a lot of value on the ergonomic qualities of headphones. A proper fit and easy handling are a must.
(Image source: curtismacnewton / Unsplash)

So nothing stands in your way when jogging with in ear headphones. We wish you much success and enjoyment on your way to the marathon!

Image source: belchonock/ 123rf.com

Reviews