13 best in-ear headphones

From buds for bodies on the move to sleek designs for audiophiles, IndyBest gets an earful of the latest tech

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The Independent Online

When choosing in-ear headphones it can be hard to differentiate between the products. We’ve put a range of buds to the test on the move from budget buys to top-of-the-range tech. All of these come in under £200.

1. Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2: £20, amazon

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These black and clear buds are moisture resistant, so they’re durable enough to use in the gym. They’re a great budget option for anyone who wants a stylish pair of earphones without compromising on quality. These are specially designed for comfort, with an off-axis to fit your ear canal better.

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2. Marley Chant: £23, amazon

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Bob Marley’s message lives on with these headphones made from recycled plastic and aluminium. Not only do they produce a kicking sound, the wood housing reflects the brand’s ethical, laid-back vibe. The do come in black but these ones are harder to lose.

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3. Shoelace earphones: £20, John Lewis

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They might not pack the same sound quality as the premium brands but these shoelace earphones are a cheap but rugged alternative for the kids who always yank and tug at the wire.

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4. Bower & Wilkins  C5 Series 2: £150, John Lewis

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The latest model from Bower & Wilkins feature redesigned drive units for extra punch. They’re a great fit, though definitely carrying a price point to match. Tungsten weights counter-balance the buds, so they stay in your ears easier.

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5. Ted Baker Dover: £28, amazon

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These are a great option for the commute. The closed-back in-ear design means they produce a nice warm sound with a rich bass. They come with a travel case, three sizes of ear buds and iOS users will like the smartphone remote which lets you switch between music and calls. Choose from four metallic shades.

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6. Shure SE215: £75, amazon

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Fed up of your earphones breaking? These buds from Shure have a detachable reinforced cable allowing for an easy replacement in the unlikely event that they break. They give a great all-round rich sound and in our book, are worth spending on.

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7. Musical Fidelity EB-33: £28, amazon

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You can easily tell which earpiece is which with these colour-coded buds, which come with a black and blue wire and a red and black. Despite lacking noise-cancellation technology they block out most everyday sounds and produce a clear warm sound.

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8. Monster iSport Strive: £40, John Lewis

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Whether you’re an urban runner pounding the pavements or a mountain-biker braving the chilly winds, these earphones are ideal for you. They deliver great sound but allow for outside noise to still filter through – meaning you’ll still be aware of your surroundings. They have an original “sports clip” design to stay in your ear better and have a mic and remote, too.

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9. Jabra Sports Pulse: £99, amazon

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The Jabra Sport Pulse might cost a lot, but they’re intelligent beasts.  The in-ear heart-rate monitor delivers clinical-grade accuracy so you know exactly how hard you’re pushing yourself. The companion app can function as a voice coach, motivating you to reach your goals and works on both iOS and Android.

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10. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear: £80, John Lewis

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Sennheiser’s eye-catching buds provide a clear sound with a full, rich bass. A great pair for any audiophile. They come with an in-line remote and mic that’s optimised for either the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, though they will work on any phone or MP3 player.

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11. Bang & Olufsen H3: £149, amazon

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 Designed by Jason Wagner, these in-ear headphones are made from premium materials and have a luxury finish, with each housing milled from a single block of aluminium.

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12. Atomic Floyd Superdarts: £218, amazon

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Two speakers in each ear means these little buds produce a whopping sound with a deep, pumping bass. They’re discreet and the 2-way noise isolation means the latest Mumford & Sons song stays in your ears, rather than the tube.

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13. RHA T10i: £150, amazon

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The T10i are made from stainless steel and feature handmade, high fidelity, dynamic drivers. They also come with changeable tuning filters to alter the sound, and include a 3 year warranty.
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Verdict: If you’ve got the cash and you’re into technology, the Jabra Sports Pulse are an interesting piece of kit that should help you kick-start your gym routine. But for the general user who doesn’t want to spend a complete fortune the Shure SE215's rigid cable make for a particularly safe investment as well as producing great sound.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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