This House of Marley Rebel earbuds review is aimed at those who are trying to make more eco-conscious buying decisions, and who want a new pair of the best cheap headphones to listen to their music or podcasts on the go.
Not only are they made with sustainable materials, but they also boast balanced audio quality, a decent battery life, wireless charging and two equaliser modes to choose from.
Like any cheap headphones, the House of Marley Rebel earbuds aren't perfect, not everything works quite as it should do. But, and it is a big but, they don’t skimp on features or sound quality to pair affordability with sustainability. So long story short, they're well worth their price tag.
If you’re swayed more by audio quality than anything else, then you should buy the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus instead - they actually won Best Value Headphones at the T3 Awards 2021 because of how impressive they sound.
On an even tighter budget than this? Take a look at T3’s guide to the best budget wireless earbuds.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds review: price and availability
Available to buy now, the House of Marley Rebel earbuds will set you back $129.99 in the US and £99.99 in the UK, they aren’t available in Australia just yet. The widgets on this page will provide you with more pricing information from across the web.
They sit towards the middle of House of Marley's true wireless range, offering a more affordable pair of buds that still manage to pack in wireless charging, 30 hours of battery, water-resistance and Call Noise Cancellation. Unlike HoM's pricier buds, there's no Active Noise Cancellation here.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds review: design and fit
House of Marley headphones all have a pretty distinct look. If you know the brand you’ll immediately recognise the unique design with touches of bamboo that make them stand out a little from the crowd.
Bamboo is a more sustainable material than the usual culprits, and where plastic is used, House of Marley have opted for only recycled plastics. So not only does it all look good but it does some good too. You might worry that HoM’s use of materials could hinder the build quality of the buds, but it doesn’t seem to, they feel solid and sturdy.
The House of Marley Rebel earbuds have a dangling stem design not too dissimilar from the likes of Apple AirPods Pro, although the buds themselves are a weird pyramid shape. You can buy them in either black or cream, and they’re housed in a matching charging case. The case has a silver House of Marley logo on the lid, five tiny LED lights to indicate its battery level and a button to reset them on the bottom.
In terms of fit, the House of Marley Rebel earbuds come with three sizes of ear tip included the box. They feel relatively secure in your ear although the larger pyramid shape is too big to sit comfortably in my smaller ears, that won’t be a problem for everyone of course. They feel super light in your ear though which can never be a bad thing.
You’ll get away with using these for workouts whether that’s sessions at the gym or evening runs. When I tried them out during exercise, they felt like they were going to fall out, but they did actually stay put. You’ll be reassured to know that they will survive a bit of sweat or even light rain as well thanks to the IPX5 water and sweat resistance. I wouldn’t be chucking them in a pool, though.
To control the music there are touch controls on the buds and you can just take one out to pause or play the music. The controls are easy to remember: touch once to change the volume, twice to skip through tracks, three times to switch between the equaliser settings and hold for 2 seconds to call your phone’s smart assistant. The touch controls weren’t particularly sensitive so didn’t work every time I tried to use them, particularly when I was trying to call my voice assistant. Most of the time I found it easier to use my phone to control the music.
If you need true wireless earbuds with plenty of juice, you’ll get 8 hours from a single charge with these, and the case will give you 30 hours in total so you'll get just under 4 full charges before you need to plug the case in. That’s pretty good going. When you do need to charge them back up again, you can either use the USB-C port on the bottom or just pop the case on a wireless charging pad. Easy!
House of Marley Rebel earbuds review: performance
10mm drivers create the House of Marley Rebel earbuds' sound and it's solid. You’ll get a good experience across different genres of music and other types of audio content. Overall it is well balanced, while vocals, in particular, come through with complete clarity. At times the bass doesn’t quite cut through quite enough though so it would be nice if they had a tad more power.
To switch between the two equaliser settings, you have to tap the earbuds three times, there's no app to do this through. I personally kept it on the Bass Boost EQ the majority of the time, as on the Signature EQ the sound had an even weaker low end.
To make it less likely you’ll lose a bud, they are meant to automatically pause or play the music when one falls out. In all honesty, while it did work most of the time, it didn’t always work. Sometimes they kept playing the music when I had taken the buds out and put them on the table.
Call Noise Cancellation should help to cut out sounds from the outside world when you’re on a call to help improve the quality. When I tried this out by a busy road, it seemed to work although the person on the other end was pretty quiet even with the volume turned up all the way. From my end though, my voice came across loud and clear despite the fact that I was in a busy part of town.
Connecting the House of Marley Rebel earbuds through Bluetooth is completely seamless, they connect to my phone as soon as I remove them from the case, and that works every single time. They also stay connected when I wander away from my phone, even when I went into a different room.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds review: verdict
If you’re eco-conscious and you’re desperate for some new headphones then the House of Marley Rebel earbuds are worth considering. They’re true wireless earbuds made from sustainable materials that won’t cost you the earth and they will give you good sound performance whether you’re a rocker or a podcast lover.
Granted not everything works perfectly, the touch controls and ear detection are a little hit and miss, and they didn’t feel completely secure in my ears. Having said that, the House of Marley Rebel Earbuds are actually good headphones overall. They didn’t distort the music and the long battery life will give you a whole day’s worth of tunes no problem. They look pretty cool too and in my opinion, they're House of Marley's best-looking TWS earbuds yet.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds review: also consider
The Sony WF-1000XM4 will be the best wireless earbuds for most people, although you will have to be willing to spend a fair amount more money than you would on the House of Marley Rebel Earbuds. For that extra cash, you’ll get excellent sound quality, more control over the music and noise-cancelling.
If you like the idea of more eco-conscious buds but you don’t want to spend so much, or you prefer a smaller earbud without the dangling stem then the House of Marley Champion could be a great choice. They’re made from the same materials as the House of Marley Rebel earbuds but you won’t get different equaliser settings, nor is there Call Noise Cancellation and there’s no wireless charging for the case either but they will only set you back $70 in the US, £60 in the UK and AU$80 in Australia.
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