Earbud headphones, also sometimes known as in-ear headphones, are perhaps the most popular choice for buyers today. They're the perfect replacement for the sub-standard headphones that are often included with smart phones and MP3 players.
When they're inserted into the ear their foam or rubber earbuds create a seal in the ear canal that not only help to block out background noise, but also improve bass response. Here we've chosen five of our current favourite pairs across a range of different prices.
If you're a real audiophile the Shure SE535s are worth it, despite the high price. They are the best sound-isolating headphones we've had the pleasure of listening to thanks to the quality of the three separate drivers hidden away inside the SE535s' plastic housing. Really it's only Shure's own SE530s that are able to compete with these beauties in terms of raw clarity. The cables for each earbud are now detachable too, which makes changing them a cinch, and the generous number of supplied sleeves means it's easy to get a comfortable fit.
Monster iSport Intensity
These earbud headphones are a great choice for runners as they're made from sweat resistant material and are also designed to let some background noise in. The latter will be welcomed by those who mainly run outdoors on pavements and want to be able to hear what traffic is doing around them. The headphones fit securely in your ears so they stay nice and steady as you run, but they're also easy to slip in and out of your ears when you're putting them on or taking them off. In terms of sound quality, they're not quite as smooth and clean as some other brands, but bass does have plenty of kick and the sound is on the whole pretty well rounded for headphones at this price.
Klipsch Image S4A for Android
The S4As really are designed specially for use with Android phones. In the pack you'll find a link where you can download a free app that lets you customise the function of the button on the in-line remote. The earbuds use dual-magnet microspeakers with 8.5mm drivers and produce a really vibrant sound with great dynamic range. In our review we also really liked the company's patented silicone ear tips. They're oval-shaped rather than circular, so they expand slightly once they're in your ears to produce a really comfortable fit. The tight seal also helps to filter out unwanted background noise.
The hf5s are sleek and stylish in-ear headphones, and strike an excellent balance between price and sound quality. The earpieces are quite long and thin -- they go further into the ear than many competitors, but this helps them to produce an excellent noise isolating seal. Sonically they're good across all genres, although in our review we found that they particularly excelled with rock, electronic and classical music. All in all, they're a great choice at this price.
Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120-K
Panasonic's ErgoFit earbuds prove that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of wonga to get a good step up in sound quality from the headphones that come bundled with most MP3 players and phones. While they do look slightly cheap, they're available in a wide range of colours and are light and comfortable to wear. In terms of sound quality they deliver good amounts of bass and decent levels of detail. They're ideal for rock and dance tracks, but reveal their budget nature a bit when faced with acoustic or jazz music.