The Most Durable Earbuds of 2021

SoundGearLab-Team | Last Updated On September 7th, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

Earbuds are for on-the-go listening but if you’re concerned about security and durability, this guide will offer some key factors to look out for.

We’ve all had our earbuds die on us or degrade over time. The brands that are reviewed below are a sampling of some of the most durable earbuds on the market.

I’ve compiled a list of the most durable earbuds on the market today. This list takes into account many factors that play a key role in the quality and lifespan of a pair of earbuds like their materials, if they’re wired or wireless, waterproof/water resistant, come with replaceable ear tips etc.

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With the Spring1, BQEYZ has delivered a triple hybrid IEM (in-ear monitor) with lightweight aluminum alloy, detachable cable, 6 sets of silicone eartips, 1 set of foam eartips and storage case. While the cost is on the higher end, these are the most durable earbuds for audiophiles who value build quality.

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The benefits of this model are clear from the get-go. The aluminum alloy is a great sign of durability and will definitely hold up over some of the cheaper plastics on the market.

The BQEYZ Spring1 wired earbuds have a triple hybrid design, meaning they are built with three different types of drivers for optimal frequency response of 7hz-40Hz.

The triple hybrid design, while providing excellent sound quality in this model, can actually help mitigate some distortion and internal damage from raised volumes, and lower bass tones. Check out this guide to headphone drivers for more information on the importance of multiple drivers in headphones.

The detachable cable can help prevent the wear and tear from wire coiling, while the carrying case can offer portability and further product safety.

The replaceable ear tips are made of silicone, increasing durability. While the silicone eartips may feel a bit uncomfortable after extended use, the additional memory foam eartips are a great alternative.

These are definitely on the pricier side and are not water resistant, making these earbuds critically vulnerable in that area. I would not wear these to the gym or out in the rain.

What We Like
Quality Materials - These earbuds are made of durable materials like aluminum and silicone, and the addition of a detachable, robust cable only improves the overall build quality of this product.
Sound Quality - While sound quality plays a minor role in overall durability, you can’t review a pair of earbuds without discussing the sound. In that area, the Spring1’s are a slam dunk. While they don’t boast an exuberant bass profile like some other alternatives on the market, audiophiles that prefer a diverse pallet of frequencies will love listening with these.
Replaceable Ear Tips - The additional 6 pairs of silicone ear tips give you more than enough backup while also providing a more comfortable option for delicate ears with the memory foam tips.
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Not Waterproof/Water Resistant - This is very important to keep in mind. While these headphones are built to handle most normal wear and tear, that does not include moisture. Do not wear these while working out or doing rigorous, sweat-inducing activities and definitely do not wear them out in the rain!
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The Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds offer an extraordinary battery life of up to 10 hours, with secure-fit ear hooks, sweat-resistance and some of the best wireless sound quality on the premium market.

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These earbuds are definitely on the pricier side, but for the security, sound quality and durability they provide, they may be worth the investment for physically active audiophiles

With an IPX4 rating, these earbuds cannot be submerged in water, but are resistant to splashing and sweat build up. The replaceable ear tips are included to increase the overall lifespan of the earbuds and also allow you to clean them and pop them back on.

The ear hooks are expertly designed, keeping the earbuds firmly in place and fit most ear shapes. If they don’t fit your ears for some reason, the Powerbeats come with additional sleeve sizes to customize your fit.

The sound quality is commendable for wireless earbuds, but users should be aware that some of the mid and high frequencies are deemphasized, which could irk some audiophiles.

What We Like
Fit - The fit on the Powerbeats Pro’s is not only very comfortable, but super secure. The ear hook design protects against any unintended earbud removal.
Sweat Resistant - While you wouldn’t want to submerge these in water, they can withstand a reasonable amount of moisture, which is a cornerstone of great durability.
Battery Power - As I explained earlier, most wireless earbuds don’t last longer than a few years due to the nature of battery health, but the charge on these earbuds lasts just about 10 hours! While they won’t last forever, you can sure squeeze in a boatload of listening time.
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Price - These are definitely one of the pricier products on the market. If you go with the Powerbeats, just know that you are investing in superior comfort, security and build quality, with decent, not necessarily mind-blowing, sound quality.
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The Shure SE215-CL cut right to the chase when it comes to build and sound quality. The unique IEM design allows for superior noise isolation, with a thick cable that is both durable and detachable. For the price, these are perfect for live performers who utilize a lot of mobility.

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The Shure SE215-CL earbuds have solid build quality for an in-ear design, with relatively dense plastic earbuds and a detachable cable to minimize wear and tear.

While there are no replacement cables provided in the box, if you find that somewhat thin cable is prone to damage, you’ll have to invest in a separate replacement.

Since these IEM are typically used by performers, they are sweat resistant and can withstand extended exposure to reasonable amounts of moisture. It is still recommended to dry them off after use as well as clean the replaceable ear tips with regularity.

The pseudo-earhook design provides decent stability. This is a reliable durability feature if you anticipate exercising or engaging in a lot of movement when listening.

These are also on our list of best IEMs under $100.

What We Like
Stability - These are a great option for live-performers as the ear-hooks and noise isolation provide a sturdy fit during movement.
Water Resistant - While you should never immerse these earbuds in water and should avoid extended periods of moisture, these earbuds are built to withstand heavy sweating, a great durability feature.
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Sound Quality - If you’re shopping strictly for sound quality, it may be worth investing a little more money to buy something with a more diverse audio profile.
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GOgroove’s AudiOHM RNF Durable Earbuds boast a super-affordable price with an emphasis on durability. These earbuds feature a metal driver housing, joint protection and a heavy duty cable that can withstand some serious wear and tear.

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The GOgroove AudiOHM RNF Durable Earbuds are definitely heavy duty. If you want headphones that can get knocked around and then some, these are for you.

For this price, the build quality and sound quality make these a no-brainer.

The metal driver housing, cable connector and fortified y-connector are durability enhancers, while the heavy duty cable (super durable) may pose some weight issues. The heavier the cable, the easier it is for the earbuds to fall out.

With thumping bass tones and fairly crisp mids and highs, these earbuds put forth surprisingly solid sound quality for a low price.

What We Like
Durability - TheGOgroove’s AudiOHM RNF’s are designed to get beat up. If you’re looking for earbuds that won’t tangle easily and can suffer some wear and tear, these are right for you.
Price - While these are clearly not the highest sound quality option available, the price is awesome when considering the decent audio profile and relatively comfortable fit.
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Weight - The cable is heavy duty, with an emphasis on “heavy.” Be aware that these could fall out of your ears periodically depending on how they fit your ears.
Sound Quality - If you’re looking for the best sound quality available, you probably won’t be blown away by these.
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The Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds boast a fully waterproof design and compact charging case for superior portability for athletes and outdoor listeners. With a secure fit and quick charging, these earbuds are a runner’s dream.

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The Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds have a IP-rating of IPX7, making them essentially waterproof. While you wouldn’t want to submerge these for extended periods of time, if you spill on them or drop them in the pool, they should hold up just fine.

These earbuds feature preinstalled wing tips for excellent stability and angled nozzles for ear canal comfort. For those with smaller ears, the housings may prove a bit uncomfortable for longer listening.

The earbuds, while a bit large, fit securely in the ear and come with a compact USB-C charging case for quick and easy storage, making the Vista’s a great durability pick.

As far as sound quality is concerned, the Vista’s don’t overdo it with bass boosting and have lush sounding mids and highs.

What We Like
Waterproof - These are the most durable waterproof wireless earbuds on the market, making them an ideal option for exercise and outdoor use.
Fit - The secure fit of the Jaybird Vistas ensures that they won’t go flying out of your ears when exercising.
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Comfort - If you’re wearing these for extended periods of time, the large earbuds may cause some discomfort.
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The Poly BackBEat FIT 3150 wireless earbuds are another great pair of waterproof earbuds that balance good sound quality, security, durability and price all at once. These are another great option for the gym or outdoor use, with a wrap around design to guarantee stability.

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The Poly BackBEat FIT 3150 wireless earbuds have an IPX7 rating, meaning they can withstand immersion in water for a little over a minute, making them an excellent option for heavy sweaters and outdoor use.

The wrap-around design secures the lightweight earbuds to the ears quite effectively, without having to be lodged in your ear canal for long periods of time, making these a great option for runners and long listening while moving around.

While the portable case is a great safety measure, it’s a bit too bulky to fit in a normal sized pocket, but if you throw it in a gym bag or if you drop it, it’ll hold up.

The sound quality leaves something to be desired initially, with a muddy bass response. However, after taking the time to download the app and navigate the system, adjusting the EQ levels can render some great audio results.

What We Like
Build Quality - These are built quite well for the price, with a wrap-around design that simultaneously maximizes comfort and security.
Waterproof - The IPX7 rating is a huge pro for anyone looking for durable earbuds. You can get these significantly wet without worrying about audio or build quality degrading.
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Sound Quality - You’re going to have to tinker with the EQ in the app for a little while before the sound quality gets to a good place, but once you do some fine tuning, these sound great.
Case Size - The case is designed to fit the larger earbud design making it a bit too bulky to carry in regular sized pockets.
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How To Pick The Most Durable Earbuds

Quality Materials

If durability is a main factor in your decision making, look for earbuds made of quality materials, such as aluminum, reinforced hard plastics or ceramics.

If you’re shopping for wired earbuds, don’t overlook the quality of the wires either. If the wires look flimsy and are easily scuffed, move on to pairs that seem to prioritize the casing of the wires.

Wireless

Wires are one of the most common points of failure when it comes to earbuds. The stress on the cable and jack can result in fraying, disconnection and internal damage that make wireless headphones a safer bet when considering overall durability.

While sound quality may suffer to varying degrees with wireless headphones, they are a much more durable option because you’re limiting the amount of materials that are potentially at risk of being damaged.

Wired

While wireless earbuds are more convenient, wired earbuds tend to have better sound quality. There are definitely wireless earbuds on the market that deliver great sound, but generally speaking, wired earbuds are going to sound the best.

If you’re going with wired earbuds, make sure the materials are tough and include strain reliefs, which remove stress from the cable and connections like the jack and Y-splitter.

Thick earbud cables and/or detachable cables are recommended when prioritizing durability.

Waterproof/Water Resistance

Depending on your listening context and your usage rate, completely waterproof earbuds are definitely a plus but may not be totally necessary. However, any pair of earbuds that claims to be durable must at the very least be water resistant.

Water resistance is measured by a product’s IP-rating. IP-ratings for moisture range from IPX0 (no protection) to IPX8 (complete protection against immersion).

Replaceable Ear Tips

If your earbud tips are compromised from extended exposure to the elements or from wear and tear, having the option to replace them is crucial.

Replaceable earbud tips give you flexibility with what materials you put in your ears in a given context, while also increasing the lifespan of your earbuds.

While silicone eartips last a long time and are easy to clean, they may be difficult to fit into smaller ears. In this case, you can still find durable silicone ear tips that have a multi-flange design (multiple layers of silicone sitting on top of a round tip) for a snug fit inside the ear.

Warranty

Always keep an eye out for the product’s warranty. A good warranty is usually a sign that the product is durable, showing that the manufacturer has faith in the build quality of the product.

What Are The Most Common Causes of Earbuds Breaking?

Depending on the brand of earbuds you are using, they could be susceptible to damage quite easily, so it’s always a good idea to be careful with your earbuds. That being said, we’re all human, and sometimes we break stuff.

Assuming your earbuds aren’t faulty off the bat, be on the lookout for these common causes of earbud breakage so you know what habits to avoid:

Sleeping With Your Earbuds In

This is an all too common way to break your earbuds. While most wired earbuds can survive a few nights of twisting and coiling, after extended periods of this wear and tear your earbuds won’t last.

Pulling On The Cable

We’re all guilty of this. We’re in a rush to slide our phone into our pocket so we yank the cable out instead of removing the cable by the jack.

Pulling on the cable is a surefire way to hasten your earbuds’ demise. If you’re wearing wired earbuds, be aware of how and when you remove your cable from your device.

Carrying Earbuds Without A Case

This applies to both wired and wireless earbuds. While most cheap wired earbuds do not come with a travel case, coiling them up and stuffing them in your pocket is not going to help them last longer.

While wrapping your wires up into tight, portable knots may seem like the responsible thing to do for your earbuds, it actually increases wear and tear, causing tiny fractures in the interior wiring.

Listening Too Loud

In addition to the ear-health issues that arise from listening to audio at too high a volume, this practice can also degrade the overall sound quality of your earbuds.

Earbuds may be tough on the outside, but inside they contain delicate pieces of machinery like headphone drivers, that contribute to overall sound quality. Listening to music too loud for extended periods can damage these integral components.

How Can I Make My Earbuds Last Longer?

The habits that usually contribute to earbuds’ breaking can and should be avoided. Try to adhere to these basic guidelines and if your earbuds are built well, they should have a healthy lifespan.

Proper Storage

Try purchasing an affordable carrying case or make sure to take the extra few seconds to wrap your wired earbuds properly before storing them in a designated pocket on your clothing or bag.

Try this wrapping technique to make sure your earbuds are stowed away properly.

When it comes to sleeping with your earbuds in, your best bet is to remove them before nodding off, or invest in some wireless earbuds to avoid the issue altogether.

Remove Earbuds Properly

To remove your earbuds, don’t just yank on the cable. Grip the earphone jack with one hand and use your other hand to secure the listening device in place, then gently pull the earphone jack from the device.

Monitor Your Device’s Volume

To avoid internal damage to your earbuds, try increasing the volume in stages as opposed to cranking it immediately. If you must listen at full volume, do so for short periods of time to let your earbuds settle.

Do Wireless Earbuds Last Longer Than Wired?

Wireless earbuds provide a lot of perks when it comes to portability and durability, but they may not last the longest.

While wireless earbuds beat out wired earbuds when it comes to the pitfalls of cables and interior wiring damage, the rechargeable batteries in wireless earbuds are a big issue.

Wireless Bluetooth earbuds will eventually lose their ability to charge.

This is a common occurrence with any batteries – the inside walls of the battery develop a layer of crystalline buildup, gradually reducing the amount of juice the batteries have available at a given time.

So, while the build quality of wireless earbuds may hold up longer because of a lack of external wiring, wired earbuds don’t rely on battery life, increasing their lifespan if handled with care.

How Long Until The Battery Wears Out on Wireless Earbuds?

It depends.

There are many factors that can ultimately impact the battery life of wireless earbuds, like how often you use them, how often you charge them and leave them plugged in, how often you use noise cancellation (which requires a lot of power), and how often you expose them to extreme temperatures.

At the end of the day, if you take really good care of your wired headphones then they can end up lasting a decade or more.

If you take really good care of your wireless earbuds but tend to use them a lot, they may only end up lasting 2-4 years. This is the unfortunate reality of earbuds requiring battery life.

Conclusion

With the earbud craze showing no signs of slowing down, it’s important to take stock of which brands are offering the most durable, long-lasting designs.

Wired and wireless earbuds both pose distinct advantages and disadvantages, but paying attention to key factors like water resistance, quality materials, ear tip/ear hook design, will allow you to make the best choice for the most durable earbuds.