Headphones:

Best earbuds (in-ear headphones) of 2014

Updated

Earbuds are commonly issued as freebie headphones with portable players, but higher-performance earbuds can offer sonic performance that rivals their full-size linemates. Their tiny earpieces rest on the outer ear or need to be inserted into the ear canal. Ultracompact and lightweight, earbuds are the most portable of all headphones, and they can provide excellent isolation from external noise when paired with a well-fitted tip.

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Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2

The Secure Loop design may not be a perfect fit for every ear, but the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 sounds better than the original and is one top in-ear headphones for less than $200.

Price: $149.99 - $179.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

RHA T10i

While the design may not work for everyone, the RHA T10i earbuds are great-sounding and well-built, with some nice extras, including three sets of swappable acoustic filters.

Price: $199.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Beyerdynamic DX 160 IE (Black)

While the Beyerdynamic DX160 iE has some small downsides, it's a bona fide audiophile in-ear headphone at an invitingly affordable price.

4 stars Excellent

Etymotic hf5

The Etymotic hf5 earphones are an excellent option for those who want the highest level of sound isolation without sacrificing sound quality, portability, or style.

Price: $109.40 - $180.55 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Bose Freestyle Earbuds

While it may not be the best-sounding headphone for the money, the Bose Freestyle's superior design and comfort level make it a go-to choice for anyone seeking a sporty and stylish in-ear model.

Price: $129.95 - $129.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Shure SE425

The Shure SE425 sound-isolating earphones are an excellent choice for eclectic listeners who demand stellar audio and a high-quality design.

Price: $299.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Bose QuietComfort 20

Despite some downsides, including a high price, the Bose QuietComfort 20 offers the best noise-canceling in an in-ear headphone and should tempt frequent travelers looking for a more compact alternative to a full-size NC headphone, such as the Bose QuietComfort 15.

Price: $299.00 - $299.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Klipsch R6i

If you're looking for comfortable in-ear headphones with very plump bass, the Klipsch R6i model will do it, but they're also short on detail and clarity.

Price: $99.00 - $99.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear doesn't measure up to the high standard set by other more expensive headphones in the Momentum line, but it still has a lot going for it for the price.

Price: $99.95 - $99.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Phonak Audeo PFE 132

The Phonak Audeo PFE 132 is a remarkably clear and accurate headphone and deserves the ears of a true audiophile.

Price: $299.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Etymotic ER-4PT MicroPro

While the Etymotic ER-4PTs have less low-end oomph than some competing earphones in this price class, they deliver excellent sound with very accurate tonal balance.

Price: $279.40 Check prices

4 stars Excellent
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