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.
How To Pick The Most Durable Earbuds
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you travel a lot and worry if your earbuds will set off metal detectors, we have an article here about that.
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.
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?
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.
We also have another interesting article here that you might want to read. This article is about Raycon earbuds vs. airpods.