Oct 23, 2023

8 Best Wired Earbuds of 2023

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by Robbie Mizzone September 17, 2023, 12:30 pm

Did you jump on the Apple AirPods train without a second thought, only to be disappointed when the batteries died after an hour of listening? Yeah, we've been there, too.

Many people, especially musicians, have been making a mass exodus from wireless earbuds, returning to those good ol' fashioned wired ones. They're dependable, perfectly synced up with visual content, and they have unlimited battery life (because there are no batteries!)

If you're looking to eBay your wired earbuds and get on the wired train, look no further! Below, we'll walk you through our nine top picks for wired earbuds and explain why we picked them. We've also included a handy buyer's guide to make the process even easier for you.

Sennheiser's IE 200 Sound Isolating Earbuds came in at #1 for us due to their versatility of application and shockingly reasonable price.

The right pair of wired earbuds will provide you with a top-notch listening experience that doesn't have to end until you want it to (or at least until your phone dies).


There's a lot to consider when purchasing a new pair of earbuds, and the Sennheiser IE 200s check almost every box you could think of, all while remaining well under $200.

First, let's talk comfort: these earbuds come with a selection of small, medium, and large silicone ear tips, as well as adjustable ear hooks. This means that, right off the bat, you won't have to worry about getting a migraine while you listen—and that's always a plus.

Moreover, these earbuds come with diffuse-field equalization, which is basically a fancy way of saying that every song will sound balanced and fully consistent with how it would sound in a studio on neutral speakers.

Thanks to Sennheiser’s True Response transducers, the single 7mm drivers will sound just as good as the multiple drivers you'll find in most egregiously expensive earbuds.

Factor in the IE 200s' impressive passive noise isolation, and you've got one of the most well-rounded pairs of wired earbuds on the market.


We'll be honest with you: Etymotic Research's ER2SE earbuds aren't the most well-rounded product on the market. If you're looking for a top-notch pair of earbuds for mixing, or you just want the best of the best sound quality, don't get these earbuds.

However, if you're like most people, you're not buying earbuds for use in the studio—you're buying them for your everyday life. If you want to listen to music during your daily commute, while working in the office, or even while doing yard work, these puppies are your best friend.

Of course, the audio quality is superb—the moving coil drivers and solid frequency range make sure of that. But where these wired earbuds really shine is their absurdly effective noise isolation technology. Bid farewell to background noise once and for all with up to 42dB of external noise isolation.

So whether you're in the car, on the train, or literally mowing the lawn, you'll be able to close your eyes and transport away to your favorite album with no problems whatsoever (though we don't recommend closing your eyes while mowing the lawn).

It's worth mentioning that Etymotic offers a variation on the ER2SEs, the ER2XR Earbuds. "XR" simply stands for extended response, which means you'll have a little extra dollop of bass boost.

Both versions come with three different varieties of ear tips so you can find the perfect fit.


If spending more than $50 on a pair of wired earbuds sounds nauseating to you, we've got you covered. The Linsoul KZ ZSM PRO X earbuds will give you a solid listening experience, and they'll cost you less than 5 matcha lattes from Starbucks.

While you shouldn't expect studio-grade audio quality, the exceptional frequency range will still give you a crystal clear listening experience.

One of the coolest features of these earbuds is the optional microphone. If you're constantly fielding calls, having a built-in microphone will make your life much easier (and the people on the other end of the line will hear you loud and clear).

These earbuds also just look... awesome. Available in black or gold color schemes, they'll make you feel like a studio engineer, even if you're not.


If you've been in the music world for any extended period of time, you know all about Shure. Whether it's microphones or other audio electronics, the brand has a history of pumping out winners. The SE215s are no exception.

These earbuds sound so good, and the noise isolation is so effective that many touring musicians actually use them as in-ear monitors for live performances.

Sure, the frequency range isn't mind-blowing, but there's more to a good pair of wired earbuds than just frequency range. The dynamic micro drivers produce a silky-rich, bass-heavy sound quality, and the memory foam ear tips come in three sizes so you can find the perfect snug fit.

These earbuds are known as some of the most durable and time-tested currently available today.


If you're looking into getting a pair of wired earbuds for sports or working out, there are two main factors to consider: secure fit and durability. The Avantree E171s check both of those boxes and then some.

These earbuds come with small, medium, and large silicone ear tips, as well as over-ear hooks—so no matter what type of exercise you're doing, they're not falling out.

As far as durability goes, the earbuds are constructed with a solid housing to protect against accidental drops, and they're totally sweatproof, which means they won't spazz out on you after too many sweaty sessions.

They don't come with any sort of noise isolation, but generally speaking, this is actually advantageous when you're engaged in active pursuits like running or practicing sports—you want to be aware of what's going on around you.

Though these are very cheap earbuds, they come with a solid frequency response and impressive bass volume.


It's almost doing a disservice to these earbuds to classify them only as "most comfortable" because they're so well-rounded. That said, far and above, their standout feature is listener comfort—so we didn't really have much of a choice.

What makes them so comfortable? Not only are the housings unusually small, but these earbuds also come with a full "fit kit," complete with eight different ear tips.

There are different sizes, different materials, and different shapes, so no matter how weird your ears are, you'll find a way to be maximally comfortable.

Other snazzy features include a detachable cable so you can swap it out for your own—though you might not want to since the provided cable comes with an attached control panel for easy volume adjustments.

These earbuds come with a microphone for taking calls, but the microphone is part of the control panel on the cable, not the actual earbuds themselves. So, if the microphone feature is unnecessary and annoying for you, swap out the cable, and you're golden.


To give you an idea of how ridiculously high-end these earbuds are, let's just say you could choose between buying a brand-new laptop, an entire refrigerator, or these earbuds... they each cost about the same amount of money.

Needless to say, these earbuds are for the most highly sophisticated connoisseurs of music—the mixers, the mastering technicians, or just the most hardcore listeners and appreciators.

Where do we even begin? First of all, you'll notice that the frequency range is well over 3x that of most of the other earbuds on this list. So you'll hear everything—literally.

Each earbud also contains three drivers, resulting in a stunning clarity of sound—and yet, the drivers are so finely constructed that they work together, perfectly in sync, as if there was only one driver. These earbuds deliver nearly perfect bass, mid-range, and treble frequencies.

Finally, the IER-Z1Rs come with a veritable army of different ear tip sizes and shapes, as well as over-ear hooks for supreme comfort and security.


Etymotic Research's ER4SRs are top-of-the-line when it comes to putting in actual work in the studio. If you're in the industry, you know that it takes a special type of studio monitor or earbuds to craft a worthy song mix. If that's the reason you're looking into getting a pair of wired earbuds, look no further.

In case you didn't know, Etymotic Research invented the revolutionary balanced-armature receivers, which changed the mixing monitor world forever. Needless to say, these earbuds contain that very same technology, making them hard to beat for personal monitoring.

These things really are professional grade and laser-precise—as such, they'll allow you to hear even the most subtle, easily-missable nuances in every song you produce. So if you're a working studio engineer, mixer, or mastering technician, the ER4SRs should be at the top of your list.

The impressive passive noise isolation will cut down on background sound without affecting the character of the audio, which is more than most active noise cancellation technologies can say.

If you've finished reading all eight of our top choices above and you're still unsure about which direction to go, don't fret. The year is 2023, after all, and the amount of different technologies, designs, materials, and use cases for wired earbuds (or any other form of music technology) is staggering.

In the buyer's guide below, we'll walk you through four of the most important criteria to consider before choosing a pair of wired earbuds. At the end of the day, we always recommend doing your own research and reading lots of customer reviews before making any substantial purchases.

Why are you on this article? Sure, you want to buy a pair of wired earbuds—but why? In order to take the first step towards buying the right pair of wired earbuds, you have to think about your intended use.

Are you looking for ways to make your office a bit more bearable and pass the time faster while bathed in the white glow of Microsoft Excel?

Are you a touring musician who needs in-ear monitors but doesn't feel like paying $1,500 for a pair of customs? Or are you sick of the batteries dying on your fancy wireless earbuds, and you want to go back to the old days?

Your intended use for your wired earbuds will also dictate how much money you should be willing to spend. If you need a pair of professional-grade studio earbuds, you'll have to be willing to dish out much more than if you just need something ultra-durable for sports.

In the same way, the more technical your requirements for your new earbuds, the more you should be willing to dive in and do some heavy research on the specs and technologies used. Your mixing will only ever be as good as the monitors you use—so make sure you know exactly what you're getting.

Think about what you'll be using your new earbuds for, and let that be the first thing that moves the compass needle in the right direction.

Some of us have big ears. Some of us have tiny ears. Some of us have... weird ears.

If you fit in any of those categories, you might have a long and painful history of headaches from in-ear headphones like earbuds. That probably led you to purchase some clunky over-ear headphones, which can be great in studio settings but are usually just not practical for everyday use.

All that to say, no matter who you are or what your ears look like, you need to prioritize comfort.

Thankfully, unless you purchase the cheapest of the cheapest, most wired earbuds today come with a variety of different ear tips for more precise fits. Almost all will come with at least three different sizes, but some also feature different shapes and materials for the ultra-picky.

Something many people overlook is that neglecting to find a perfect fit for your new earbuds won't only affect comfort—it will also seriously mess with sound quality. For example, even the best-quality drivers will sound flat and tinny if the tips fit too loosely.

For obvious reasons, most earbuds don't come with a "try before you buy" option—but if you have a history of pain associated with in-ear headphones, be smart and only purchase earbuds that come with tons of customizable options.

When we say durability matters for your wired earbuds, we don't just mean they need to withstand falls, dirt, and debris—they also need to lasta long time.

Of course, durability is usually directly proportional to price. You'd never expect a pair of $15 earbuds from the gas station to last as long as a pair of $500 professional in-ear studio monitors, and for good reason. But there are exceptions to this rule.

If durability and long lifespan are super important to you, we recommend shopping by brand as opposed to just by price.

In particular, Shure's wired earbuds are the cream of the crop when it comes to durability. Not only is Shure's build quality always exceptional, but their drivers and cables just don't stop working.

Finally, going back to the "intended use" section above, you should expect much greater durability (in every sense) from a pair of earbuds like the Avantree E171s listed above, as these are specifically designed for use in active settings like sports or working out.

So, in general, when you're looking to purchase the most durable earbuds possible, look for a combination of higher price, time-tested brand, and active use as the intended function.

Last (and maybe least, actually), you'll want to pay attention to what sort of special features your potential new earbuds offer. Again, this goes back to your intended use—but here are some things you'll definitely want to consider:

There are many more options, of course, and we could go on and on—but you probably get the point.

One word of caution we would offer is that, at the end of the day, you're buying earbuds and not a Batman-grade multi-use gadget. We recommend prioritizing music quality, comfort, and durability over the quantity of features.

Of course, the choice is ultimately yours, and it depends on your specific needs for your earbuds.

It may seem strange that, in 2023, people are still interested in products with wires. Isn't that so 1990s? Maybe so, but wired earbuds have their perks.

When compared to their wireless counterparts, both wired headphones and earbuds are much more reliable. Connectivity issues are a thing of the past, and so is battery life (because wired earbuds don't need batteries!).

Additionally, if you're planning on watching any visual media, wired earbuds will be perfectly synced up with your visual content, whereas even the best wireless earbuds will lag behind slightly.

The answer to this question could be a whole article in and of itself, so we'll try to keep it brief. Below are three of the most major factors that contribute to excellent sound quality in wired earbuds.

Generally speaking, price range all depends on your use case.

Of course, these ranges are generalized—so whichever bucket you fall into, you're bound to find exceptions.

Sennheiser, Etymotic Research, and Shure are some of the most popular wired earbud brands in 2023. Other brands include Sony, Bose, Panasonic, and even Google.

It was hard to whittle down our list of best wired earbuds to only eight options. One Google search will reveal the sheer quantity of options on the market today.

The Sennheiser IE 200 Earbuds remain our top pick due to their price, overall versatility, and solid sound quality. For the professional studio engineers among us, we'd point you toward the Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference Earbuds, and for athletes, we recommend the Avantree E171 Sports Earbuds.

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