12 Most Durable Earbuds in 2018
As much as we love a good pair of earbuds, they usually don’t last as long as the gadget you’re using them with. The most durable earbuds on the market are difficult to come by as that’s one feature most manufacturers don’t talk about very often. With headphones, it is more about the sound quality and additional features, not necessarily the strength of the cables.
We’ve put together a quick list of the best headphones that can hold up under extreme duress, and all of our picks are of the in-ear variety. The price range varies across the board although we have included something for everyone included penny pinchers and audiophiles with deep pockets.
Top 12 Durable Earbuds Ultimate Table
|Design||Name||Wireless or Wired||Replaceable Cable||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones||Wireless||No||4.4|
|2. RHA T20 High Fidelity Noise Isolating In-ear Headphone||Wired||No||4.3|
|3. Sennheiser IE80 Headphone||Wired||Yes||4.3|
|4. MEE audio Pinnacle P1 High Fidelity Audiophile In-Ear Headphones||Wired||Yes||4.1|
|5. GranVela A8 Dual Driver In-Ear Earphones||Wired||Yes||4.0|
|6. Klipsch AW-4i In-Ear Headphones||Wired||No||4.0|
|7. JLab J6MS JBuds In-Ear Single Earphone Style Headset||Wired||No||4.0|
|8. MEE audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear Monitors||Wired||Yes||4.0|
|9. Shure SE215m+ Special Edition Sound Isolating Earphones||Wired||Yes||4.0|
|10. JLab Audio Diego In-Ear Earbud||Wired||No||3.8|
|11. Jaybird X3 Sport Bluetooth Headset||Wireless||No||3.8|
|12. Westone 78400 Adventure Series Alpha High Performance In-Ear Earphones||Wired||Yes||3.5|
Earbud Buying Info
Rugged earbuds can be wired or wireless as it all comes down to construction in the end. There are several areas to consider outside of the build quality if you want the most durable earbuds around.
One of the first components to go bad on headphones are the cables. They tend to snag on objects which can jerk them out of your ears and weaken the wiring. When the cables go bad, your earbuds go in the trash unless they have a detachable cable. These types of cables are not a feature you will find on too many budget-friendly earbuds, but something necessary if you are looking for the most durable headphones.
The thickness of the cable matters as well, so the thicker, the better when it comes to durability. The only downside would be storage as stiffer cables can be rougher to stow away or cram into a pocket. If you choose to go wireless, cables will not be an issue in some cases although it depends on the model. Many have a short length of cable to keep them together which allows them to be worn around the neck and can still weaken at the split. The battery life and range are also things to consider if you decide to opt for durable wireless earbuds.
Most of the headphones on our list are going to have a bit of plastic involved somewhere in its construction. Whether it is an in-line control module or used in the housing, you are likely to find it. Plastic is tough but prone to cracking in bad weather whereas aluminum or other alloys are going to hold up better over time.
The design of the casing is key as well. When puck-shaped earbuds are used, they may not be discreet but can hold up better than and be just as light as bullet earbuds with the right materials. Regardless of the casing style, you will also want to look for a solid warranty. That will cover some damage and any defects from the manufacturer that you may not catch right away.
While we fully truly believe that all earbuds should be water-resistant, they aren’t. Most of the picks on our list will be able to handle a light sweat, but some could have issues with a soaking regardless their design. If you are a heavy sweater or plan on using the earbuds in a damp environment, keep an eye out for the IPX certification tag.
An IPX rating of 7 or more means they earbuds can withstand being submerged in water for a short period without fear of malfunction. If the headphones are rated IPX6, they will be able to deal with sweat and dampness, should not be submerged for any length of time. Many will carry a degree of resistance against dust and other particles as well if they are IPX6 rated or higher.
Top 5 Most Durable Earbuds Reviews
It goes without saying that metal is always going to be tougher than plastic although some polymers are quite impressive. We are unsure of the blend Bose opted for on their SoundSport headphones, but they are by far one of the most durable wired headsets to make our list. They will be weak in that area as cables can go bad, but that is the only negative point to the SoundSports.
These headphones are built for outdoor enthusiasts that need headphones that stay in their ear and can withstand a bit more than a pair off the rack. The unique winged tips lock them into place whether you are in motion or lying on the couch. There is also hydrophobic cloth on the inside to keep moisture way although the acoustic ports are designed to do that as well.
From the thick, sturdy cable and winged tips to the overall quality of construction, you get what you pay for when you buy Bose. In this instance, that means you’ll be getting a durable pair of earbuds that will last far longer than headphones on the market.
The thick cabled RCA T20’s are earbuds designed to keep noise out while piping in sweet sounds. They have dual coil dynamic drivers and are High-Res audio certified by the JAS. They are also unique by allowing you to change up the sound on the fly by using something called a tuning filter system.
Interchangeable filters are something you’ll only find on high-end headsets, but can drastically change the sound. The T20’s come with two additional filters which can be screwed in quickly when you want to tweak the tone. Being able to replace certain parts certainly helps when it comes to durability, but it all starts with the housing on in-ear headphones. Well, you won’t find many that are tougher considering the RHA T20’s housing is stainless steel.
The durability continues with the cable on the RHA T20 headphones. It sports an oxygen-free copper core cable with stainless steel reinforcement for additional strength. The accessories include a wide array of foam and silicone tips along with those cool filters. While we love the way these sound and they are quite tough, the cord is not replaceable which is unfortunate given the price point. The headphones do come with a 3-year warranty, however, and RHA has excellent customer service.
Whenever we gear up to make a list involving headphones of any kind, we always check to see if Sennheiser has anything new in the pipeline. The IE80s are not exactly new but are still top of their class if you want a true in-ear monitor that’s a bit more durable than the rest of the pack.
Remember those disconnecting cables we talked about? The Sennheiser IE80 has one, so you can swap it out if it becomes damaged which saves you money down the line. What’s more, you can use different cables to change the tone and upgrade your sound in some cases depending on the genre of music. Tech specs of interest include a frequency response of 10 – 20,000 Hz with an impedance of 16 ohms. It has a 1.2-meter symmetrical cable with a 3.5mm angled plug end. We are not sure what type of composite the consists of, but believe us when we say it is rugged.
Another perk of the Sennheiser IE80 headphones are the accessories that come in the box. You will receive a carrying case, a set of ear hooks, a cable clip, cleaning tool and three styles of earbuds with a total of 10 replacement nubs. These are a little on the high side of the pricing spectrum but do come with a two-year warranty.
The MEE audio Pinnacle P1’s are unique due to their style with a braided wire that wraps around the ear or can be worn in a traditional style. It can also be detached and replaced if you prefer a thicker cable or encounter any damage over the years. They detach at the earbud housing through the company’s MMCX connectors, and the housing is constructed of zinc alloy which has been die-cast for extra strength. They are certainly worth of a spot on our most durable earbuds list.
Ergonomic is a word thrown around a lot in the headphone world, especially when it comes to in-ear headphones like the Pinnacle P1 series. More often than not it depends on your ear canal and the size of your head although we believe many will agree these are very comfortable. They also sound great thanks to tech like an acoustic diffuser and a balanced frequency response that covers the full spectrum. As for those cables, you will get two of them. One is a silver-plated OFC audio cable, and the other is a headset cable with an in-line remote and microphone for calls.
You don’t get a cleaning tool with this kit, but there are three pairs of memory foam ear tips and six pairs of silicone-based tips. They fit nicely alongside the slick earbuds in the laser-etched carrying case as well. The only negative on the P1’s would be with the bass which may feel a little lacking if you are looking for some serious boom.
If you have longed for a pair of durable headphones with detachable cables but didn’t want to jump to the next level you are in luck. GranVela has the answer for you with their A8 Dual Driver in-ear headphones. These ergonomic beauties detach at the housing so swapping out cables will be a breeze if you want to kick things up a notch or two.
The wires on these are sturdier than average, but nothing exotic. They are of the memory wire variety, however, so you will be able to go over-ear and have them hold their shape. If you don’t dig stiff cables, you can always swap them out for something more suitable to your needs. As for the extras, they include three sets of silicone tips, one set of foam tips and a carrying pouch.
They may not be the fanciest headphones to make the grade, but the GranVela A8 Sports Earbuds won’t break the bank and sound much better than their price point implies. They are available in three different colors with transparent blue, transparent, and transparent black.