The EarPods that come with your iOS device are fairly functional. They fit in most folk’s ears, they provide acceptable audio, and the built-in microphone and volume controls are handy. They’re also very easy to lose or break. It seems that Apple’s wired devices are either rock-solid for years or break at the slightest provocation. While I’ve heard dozens of complaints about MacBook chargers, headphone cables, and Lightning cables breaking, I must confess that it’s never happened to me. I’m not especially gentle with my electronics, so perhaps I just have a magic touch. At any rate, let’s look at the best EarPods replacement headphones on the market right now.
If you don’t want to faff about with Bluetooth or wireless connectivity, you can grab these wired headphones. All of the listed headphones include a headphone plug for the 1/8th-inch (3.5mm) headphone jack that Apple removed from more recent iPhones. Users of the iPhone X and iPhone 7 or later can connect these headphones to a Lightning-only device with the Apple converter that came with your device.
The AKG Y20U came out on top of the Wirecutter’s roundup of sub-$50 headphones. At only thirty dollars—the same price as a replacement set of EarPods—the Y20Us provide significantly improved sound quality, with greater depth and kick, and dramatically better fit. If you’ve found EarPods uncomfortable in the past, the soft tips of the Y20U will offer you some reprieve. Three sizes of silicone tips are included to help you find the fit that works best.
The Brainwavz Delta are a well-regarded set of budget earbuds. They include a microphone, call remote, and volume control specifically built for iOS devices, as well as a handy shirt clip to get the mic right in your grill. The build quality is also slightly higher than most inexpensive earbuds, using metal housing and higher-quality tips than are typically available on headphones of this class. Sound is balanced and listenable, with clear highs and well-proportioned bass. And unlike other headphones in this price class, their sound exceeds their price.
If you want to be freed from the tyranny of wires and don’t mind dealing with Bluetooth, wireless headphones are the wave of the future. At least, for the casual headphone user: as of yet, audiophile-quality wireless headphones have not yet appeared on the market. But if you’re replacing your EarPods, are you really seeking that top-end sound?
The Jabra MOVE on-ear headphones are less expensive than a lot of their competitors, and they’re a solid mid-market choice. While you won’t find audiophile-level sound, the sound quality is exceptional for the price, and should please most users. The Bluetooth connectivity and music controls work well, which is rare in on-ear phones in this price range. The mic sounds as good as any other headphones in this price class. If on-ear headphones don’t typically cause any fit problems for you, you’ll find the MOVE to be comfortable and easy to wear for long periods.
Bluetooth headphones with a collar are the worst. The AUKEY Latitude ditches the heavy necklace for a built-in design. Since they’re designed for workouts, they’re mildly sweat-resistant and more durable than most. On the back of the earbuds, you’ll find magnets to connect the buds when you’re not wearing them, and silicone wings to make the fit more stable while exercising. The mic and remote pod is reasonably positioned and easy to operate. Battery life is eight hours, which will get you through a week or so of moderate workouts or a far larger number of phone calls. As an interesting quirk, the Latitude also includes three EQ presets, which may or may not be useful, depending on your aural sophistication.
Since their release, Apple’s AirPods have been one of Apple’s best-loved accessories. They provide the right balance between usability and sound quality, but at significantly higher cost than any other headphones on this list. The mic is high quality, the volume controls are accessible, and depending on settings, you can quickly activate Siri through the earpiece. If you’ve got any other Apple devices, the AirPods can seamlessly switch between them for a consistent listening experience. Hater of the EarPods might find the fit uncomfortable, but you’ll have to try them to find out.
You might also like the following posts: