1. Atomic Floyd’s Super Darts Titanium + Remote
Constructed from space grade titanium, these buds are not only really light, but they’re durable and strong to boot. They sound great too, thanks to the 9mm dynamic drivers and special vents that enable more air movement. Silicone eartips reduce the chance of ambient noise ruining your tunes and the in-line remote is handy for skipping tracks.
£249.99 | Atomic Floyd
2. Sony MDR-EX650AP
Sony makes consistently strong over ear and in ear headphones and this pair is no exception. The brass build helps minimise distortion and stabilise sound, while the slightly angled earbud fits comfortably in your ear, even if you wear them for long periods of time. A companion app for your iPhone or Android devices gives you control over the in-line remote, letting you choose how the buttons function.
£59 | Sony
3. Jays Five
Boasting different versions for the iPhone, Android and Windows (they’re actually the first pair of buds to incorporate a 3-button remote that fully support Windows Phone), these ‘phones sound great, have the right of classy style and durability and feature a custom made driver that provides a great hit of bass.
£79.99 | Jays
4. NAD Viso HP20
Slick and all black in design, sharp and with plenty of volume when it comes to sound. While they do stick out a little too far from the ear for our liking, these in-ear ‘phones from NAD are still pretty impressive.
£130 | NAD
5. Sennheiser CX 3.00
Sennheiser’s new premium sounding, yet well priced buds are really quite impressive, both in looks and performance. Sound is loud, yet crisp and very good for a pair of ‘phones that cost a fiver less than £50. The design is a winner too, with a flatter cord, variety of colours and a new carry case.
6. yurbuds Leap Wireless
These Yurbud wireless buds are powered by the good folks over at JBL and feature a clever battery that’ll last 16 hours - impressive for such a small pairs of in-ear ‘phones. Oh and they’re also guaranteed to never fall out - which is nice, we suppose.
£79.99 | Yurbuds
7. Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless
We’re big fans of previous incarnations of Jabra’s wireless buds, but this pair adds something we haven’t seen before - an integrated heart monitor. By combining that heart monitor, Dolby sound and proper real time coaching, these are a true workout buddy. A companion app tracks your heart rate and relays relevant coaching to the buds, while also giving you vital stats like your resting heart rate.
8. AKG K323XS
Tiny buds that still pack that signature AKG sound quality with a 5.8mm driver and 20-20kHz frequency response. They’re available in five colours, come with multiple silicone sleeves so you can find the right one for your ear and a remote and mic that is MFI (that’s Made For Apple) approved.
9. Klipsch R6i
Want some comfy in-ear buds? Well this pair from Klipsch use patented contour tips that are designed to accurately slot into your ear canals. As they’re constructed from soft silicone it reduces ‘ear fatigue’ and blocks out unwanted noises. Sound wise you’re looking at dual drivers that offer a wide frequency, while the cable is tangle resistant and there’s a three button mic.
10. Sol Republic Relays
Winner of this year’s red dot award for innovative design, these are, well, a bit different. They sit flat in your ear, with the patent-pending freeflex bud expanding to perfectly fit you shell-like. They stay put for sport and look street-smart in bright colours, but the material isn’t especially soft and they can feel invasive, hugging your inner ear tightly. Sonically, they perform admirably without ever giving us goosebumps. Sound is reasonably well isolated thanks to the tight fit and there’s a healthy dose of bass. For budget buds they’re decent, but can’t match the sound quality of more pricey options.
11. Monster iSport Strive
The most important element of sports in-ears is the fit. The Strive nails this using its Sports clip design to clamp on to your lugs, hanging on no matter how vigorous your workout gets. The sound quality is quite open, keeping you well aware of your surroundings as you jog, but performance is still big, bold and impressive. Plus, there’s a built-in mic for answering calls on the run. The cable refuses to tangle and the look is sporty without being garish. They’re also fully water- and sweat-resistant, with antimicrobial tips that prevent germ build up. The ideal addition to any stylish gym bag.
12. Pioneer SE-CX8-T
Aimed at those people who love to stand too close to the PA system, these deliver bombastic sound using dynamic drivers. A built-in “Bass Exciter” even gives you the feel of having a subwoofer stuffed into your ear canal; it vibrates along with your tunes so that you feel the vibrations in your skull. If you’re a 24-hour party person you’ll love them – LTJ Buckem blew our ears off – but take things down a few notches and the audio starts to sound disappointingly thin. Available in copper, silver or black, they look slick. The fit isn’t snug enough for sports, but they’re commute-ready.
13. Shure SE425
Sound purists are used to paying through the nose, so the price here is no surprise. These offer amazing sound isolation, blocking a claimed 90%of outside noise, without the need for a battery, and have accurate sound reproduction capable of reinvigorating even the most overplayed tracks– previously unheard amp vibrations and fret board squeaks all over Led Zeppelin’s first album left a lasting grin. The design is unassuming but classy and the cables are replaceable, ensuring the music will continue for years to come. In-ear buds are usually throwaway, but these area real investment.
14. Bose Quiet Comfort 20i
Costing more than some high-end cans, these in-ears boast brilliant active noise cancellation, the tech blocking out ambient noise without requiring you to pump up the volume. The slim battery pack that powers the silence offers 16 hours of use per charge. It’s a bit bulky, but sits close enough to the jack that it doesn’t weigh down the cable. A choice of rubber tips provides a secure fit. Sound quality is enjoyable, but nothing to excite audiophiles. These are all about the cocoon of calm they create, though, rather than the racket. Just don’t blame us when you miss your stop in the morning.
15. Grado G10
The luxury market for earphones is booming, as we can see from this spectacular pair from Grado. While the looks are understated in a simple metallic green, the moving armature driver ensures every note is conveyed in beautiful high quality, and three sizes of snug ear buds are designed to fit your ears perfectly, reducing outside noise and emphasising the bass impact along the way. Much more than the humble pair that came with your iPhone.
£399.95 | Grado
16. RHA MA450i
These British-made 'phones were inspired by the aerodynamic trumpet's bell, and claim to replicate the sound delivery through their noise isolating design and 130.5 dynamic driver. They're finished with a slick black design atop aircraft-grade aluminium and come with a headphone and microphone. The design is fuss-free and simple, perfect for the audiophile who wants headphones that just work perfectly.
£39.95 | RHA
17. JBL J33i
JBL have been making top-quality audio products for years, and this pair of earphones is no different. Boasting pure bass, an in-built microphone annd remote, as well as strain relief buckles that minimise audio vibrations, this is a great all-round buy.
£69.99 | JBL
18. Audiofly AF78
Audiofly is a company truly driven by musicians, for musicians, so when they bring out a set of earphones that promise to be noise-cancelling and super comfortable, we pay attention. The Clear-Talk technology separates the microphone from the remote control button - why has no one else thought of that? - to avoid annoying repetitions mid-flow, and the set comes with four sizes of earbud, so you're guaranteed a perfect fit. The dual drivers combine with noise isolating technology to ensure you don't miss a beat, wherever you are.
From AUS$199.95 (approx £110) | Audiofly
19. Tonino Lamborghini Quantum HL-01
The Quantum HL-01s are the flagship model in Tonino Lamborghini's new range of in-ear headphones. Not to be confused with the car company founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, Tonino is in fact his son and decided to walk his own path. Having released his first phone, the Tonino Lamborghini Antares, the founder has turned his gaze upon high-end audio products.
With Double Driver technology, the HL-01s should give off plenty of grunt in the lower ranges, whilst the design has been specifically tailored towards those that might want to take them running, which means they'll stay put even during the toughest of marathons.
£125 I Tonino Lamborghini
20. Skullcandy Bombshell
Skullcandy has unveiled the world's first range of headphones specifically tailored for women - by which we mean actually acoustically tailored for the female ear. According to some fairly damming research by Skullcandy, men and women hear very differently, with women able to hear 10x the low frequency sounds that men can at low volumes. This rather inconvenient truth (for men) means that women generally have far better hearing than men, so they don't need the brute force tuning that most modern headphones have. As such, Skullcandy's new range are specially tuned for the female ear canal which means both the new Knockout on-ear headphones and Bombshell in-ear earphones both completely custom EQs.
Released 1st June | £39.99 I Skullcandy
21. Jabra Rox
You'll be hard pressed to find a smaller pair of wireless headphones. The Jabra Rox has tiny batteries in each ear bud which give them an impressive 6 hours of music streaming and an even more impressive five hours of nattering time on your phone. Magnets built into the buds connect them together when you're not using them, the Rox then automatically goes into standby mode. Download the app and you'll get Dolby Digital sound as well, even if you're just watching a man chase a dog on YouTube. For the 'talkers' out there there's Digital Signal Processing which intelligently analyses your voice and then dulls background noise for clearer voice calls.
£99.95 I Apple
22. Pioneer SE-CX9
These are Pioneer's flagship in ear headphones with the emphasis well and truly on bringing a 'club' sound to your inner ear holes. To help recreate that sound Pioneer has employed the use of a Balanced Amature Driver which then produces the levels of bass you'd need. The sound then hits what is rather inappropriately called a 'Bass Exciter' which then gives you that 'rumble' effect you've been craving for.
£249.99 I Pioneer
23. Musical Fidelity EB-33
Good stylish headphones that produce strong sound at an affordable price. The EB-33’s from Musical Fidelity fit comfortably inside the ear and have been designed to offer a natural lifelike sound. They come with an inbuilt microphone so you can take calls on the go.
£79.99 | Musical Fidelity
24. LG HRM
Music, fitness and phone calls, these LG earphones have it all covered. Connecting to a small medallion that can be strapped to your arm or wristband, fitness information such as metabolic rate and V02 Max (Maximum oxygen consumption) can be tracked instantly.
Coming soon | LG
25. Yurbuds Inspire
According to Yurbuds, the limited edition Inspire earphones will lock into place comfortably so they will never hurt or fall out. These wireless buds have a 6 hour battery life and visual indicators to show you how much power you have left to prevent you being caught out.
$129.99 | Yorbuds
26. Beats by Dr Dre Tour V2
Adding to the tour range Beats by Dr Dre have changed the shape of the buds to pump the sound directly to your eardrum. The earphones also come with wingtips so there is no danger of them falling out.
£119.95 | Beats by Dre
27. Philips Fidelio S1 and S2
We’ve been mightily impressed with both these pairs of classy buds – each has great sound, a really sturdy build and lovely design, plus they’re not overly expensive. The S2’s sound fantastic, with crisp and clear notes, plus everything is perfectly balanced. The S1’s are a little cheaper and don’t feature a copper enclosure, but still sound great.
S1 £80 | S2 £129.99 | Philips
28. Incipio F99 Hi-Fi stereo earbuds
If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, then these buds offer good sound, a nice simple design and a really wallet-friendly price. An inline remote and mic makes taking calls a breeze, while the earbuds fit firmly in your ear, feeling comfortable at the same time.
$64.99 | Incipio
29. Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats In-Ear
The Dr.Dre range of audio products is really starting to expand, even into those aimed at runners. The Powerbeats wrap around the ear, as well as slotting inside, so they feel secure and well positioned. Designed in partnership with famed basketball star LeBron James, these buds have a deep bass and strong sound.
Price: £120 | Beats by Dre
30. Monster iSport Victory
Designed for sporty folk, these ‘phones from Monster feature a patented SportClip – for greater comfort and an exclusive Omnitip that can fit almost any ear shape. They’re sweat-proof, washable and the eartips are Anti-Microbial. Sound quality is strong too, with great noise isolation and a good kick off volume.
£129.95 | Monster
31. Sony XBA-4
The feature that sets these Sony buds apart from the crowd is their four balanced drive units, which gives each ear the pleasure of a full-range driver, woofer and tweeter plus an additional super-woofer for extended sub-bass. In short, they sound incredible and the noise isolation is also top drawer, so you can really get lost in your tunes.
32. a-Jays One+
Earphones have always had one particularly annoying issue, those tangled cables when you pull them out your pocket. Jays have tried to combat this perennial issue by developing a tangle resistant, flat cable and pairing it with deep bass response to give the perfect mix of practicality and sound quality. There’s also a companion Android app to give deeper sound customisation.
£39.99 | Jays
33. Atomic Floyd PowerJax
With a mix of bright red, silver and black, these earphones are anything but subtle, yet it’s their durability that really makes them stand out. Sound quality is good too, with strong bass and clarity levels, though they can sometimes suffer at high volume. Great noise isolation, however, make these perfect buds for commuters.
34. Beyerdynamic MMX 101iE
If you’re forever answering your phone hands-free, yet don’t want to compromise the quality of your tunes, these could win you round. With ambient noise isolation for making those office calls crystal clear, a remote to quickly answer and Neodymium HD acoustic drivers for great sound, they are the full package.
£48 | Beyerdynamic
35. Bose SIE2i Sport
Bose are entering the sportswear market with their latest pair of in-ear buds, looking to pair durability with their penchant for sound quality. Packing a comfortable and secure housing, resistance to sweat and weather along with Bose’s Tri-Port headphone technology, these will make those trips to the gym far more bearable.
£104.95 (without mic), £129.95 (with mic) | Bose
36. Klipsch Image X7i
Rather than being made of the typical plastic, these headphones are crafted from ceramic - the very same as your coffee mug. Klipsch claim this gives them added durability, along with a certain elegance, and we have to agree. Expect excellent sound quality coupled with a handy remote and tangle-free wires.
£139.99 | Klipsch
37. Nocs NS400
Packing machined aluminium housings and Kevlar reinforced cables, Nocs have gone all-out to create some seriously durable buds. They’re not skimping on the sound quality either - these tiny buds deliver huge basslines with aplomb. The anti-tangle flat cable works well, and the low-profile L-jack plug should prevent cable damage longer-term. Smartphone controls are present and accounted for as well.
£59.95 | Nocs
38. Sennheiser IE 800
If you have money to burn, and want some small, in-ear buds with sound quality to rival even the best over-ear models then these IE800s from Sennheiser tick all the boxes. The durable cable is detachable and features gold plated connections at either end, while the buds themselves delivered fantastic performance from anything we threw at it. Pricey, yes... but this is luxury you can ill afford to miss.