Earphones: Ratings of Sources
Total of 24 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Best 5 Headphones
by Justin Yu
Our AssessmentCNET's Justin Yu lists five top headphones choices, with links to full reviews. Two of the options are earphones. A separate list is maintained for top earbuds and budget choices, though there is some overlap between categories. Reviews on CNET have good uniformity of testing with comparisons often made to other models. Yu says the Shure SE535 has stellar sound quality, while the Klipsch Image S4 is an excellent value.
by Editors of Which? magazine
Our AssessmentThis British consumer magazine rates 50 headphones (though not all are available in the U.S.), choosing eight as Best Buys. The listening panel rates sound quality based on testing that's similar in rigor to that of ConsumerReports.org. The Klipsch Image X10i and Klipsch Image S4 both score well due to great sound and good fit.
by Tim Gideon
Our AssessmentPCMag.com reviews lots of earphones in single-product reports that, at least recently, typically offer comparisons to other choices. Reviews are based on hands-on testing, but the site can be rather generous with Editors' Choice awards, bestowing them on no less than 13 earphones. The Klipsch Image S4i (available without a microphone as the Klipsch Image S4) gets one for an excellent sound-to-price ratio. The site also offers a buyer's guide that describes the different types of headphones and earphones and offers general advice.
by Editors of Macworld
Our AssessmentMacworld keeps a running list of headphones with ratings and links to full reviews. Editors frequently make comparisons to similar models, but sometimes you have to search to find the Editors' Choice picks because they're not marked on the ratings page. The Westone UM2 gets the highest rating for accuracy and clarity. More recently, Future Sonics Atrio m5 earns high marks for bass response, and Etymotic mc3 gets a nod for great detail at a great price.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org covers earphones as part of more general reporting on headphones. Ratings evaluate sound quality, sensitivity and in the case of noise-canceling models, isolation. There's scant discussion of the individual earphones, however.
by Editors of iLounge.com
Our AssessmentILounge.com reviews iPod and iPhone accessories with extensive coverage of headphones and earphones. Write-ups by editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz are detailed with comparisons to other models. Reviewers take appearance and sound quality into consideration. Several models are Highly Recommended and Recommended, though, making it difficult to make effective comparisons based only on ratings.
by Editors of TrustedReviews.com
Our AssessmentTrustedReviews.com is a U.K.-based website that reviews a wide variety of electronics and technology, including headphones and earphones. Coverage has improved in the last year with several new models receiving attention. Phonak Audeo's PFE 112 earphones are praised for comfort and sound quality, and Shure's SE535 are highly recommended, if you can spare the cash.
by Editors of PC World Good Gear Guide (Australia)
Our AssessmentWhile not all earphones and earbuds rated on this Australian site (now part of that country's version of PC World) are available to American consumers, many are, and Good Gear Guide's editors offer a good assessment of sound quality, comfort and value. They're impressed with how Jays Q-Jays can compete with audiophile-quality earphones at a significantly lower price.
by Editors of DigitalTrends.com
Our AssessmentThis gadget news and reviews site is generous with its Editors' Choice and Recommended ratings, but its reviews are detailed and sometimes make comparisons to other models. The Klipsch Image X10i is compared to its cheaper sibling, the S4, and both deliver sound quality good enough for Editors' Choice awards.
In-Ear Headphones Reviews
by Tristan Francois
Our AssessmentThis France-based site covers 41 earphones, though some have been discontinued. Reviewer Tristan Francois gives some good details on his listening experiences with occasional comparisons. He's impressed by the accuracy and comfort of the Westone 4 True-Fit and the comfort and sound quality of the Jays Q-Jays, given their small size.
The Best Headphones -- Tested
by Dan Sung
Our AssessmentBritish site Pocket-Lint.com offers five best choices in earphones in this article with links to full reviews in most cases. There's a good amount of detail on sound quality, comfort and design, though editors are generous with their Hot Product awards. Both Phonak Audeo PFE 112 and Klipsch Image X10i get a recommendation for excellent sound quality and comfort.
Reviews -- Hardware -- Audio
by Editors of MacLife
Our AssessmentSlogging through the audio reviews on this Mac-centered website can be tedious, but earphones get decent coverage. Reviewers address sound quality and design, but we didn't see many comparisons to other models. Ray Aguilera gives Etymotic's hf2 earphones an Editors' Choice award for excellent sound, noise isolation and durability.
Best Buys Headphones
by Editors of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine
Our AssessmentBritish audio magazine What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision has reviews of many types of audio equipment, including many earphones. Reviews are brief and undated. A Best Buys section lists top models of earphones in different price ranges with links to the full reviews.
The Best of ABi: In-Ear Phones
by Martin Sagmuller
Our AssessmentAnythingButiPod.com discusses MP3 players and accessories, reviewing a handful of earphones. Reviewer Martin Sagmuller writes very comprehensive evaluations, critiquing accessories, design, build, specifications and sound. He's also generous with comparisons, but there are no ratings, and Sagmuller is generally enthusiastic about the earphones he reviews.
Headphones and Earbuds
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentEarphones are a popular item, and some models get hundreds of user reviews on Amazon.com. This is a great place to spot complaints, such as persistent issues with comfort or build quality. The highest rating-to-reviews ratio we found was for NuForce NE-700X, a reasonably priced model with only about 10 percent negative reviews.
All Headphones and Accessories
by Contributors to Newegg.com
Our AssessmentElectronics seller Newegg.com can't compete with Amazon.com in terms of number of customer reviews, but a few models do get decent coverage (the Klipsch S4, for example). Reviews here generally echo those on Amazon.com, but they're set up with pros and cons, making it easier to pinpoint each model's pluses and minuses.
Test: Noise Cancelling Earphones
by Editors of Choice
Our AssessmentThis Australian consumer-testing publication tests seven noise-canceling earphones. Editors give scores for ease of use, passive and active noise cancellation, and sound quality. Only the Panasonic RP-HC55 is found to cancel noise to a significant degree and gets the highest marks for sound quality.
Noise Cancelling Earphones
by Editors of Consumer
Our AssessmentThis New Zealand-based consumer affairs publication tests five noise-canceling earphones under controlled conditions. It evaluates noise-cancellation ability, sound quality, comfort and ease of use. The top two picks are Blackbox's C14 (not available in the U.S.) and the Panasonic RP-HC55, with the RP-HC55 getting an edge in the sound-quality department.
Reviewed: Earbuds for the Everyman
by David Murphy
Our AssessmentIn this article for this technology news and reviews site, David Murphy evaluates three reasonably priced earphones. Write-ups are brief with focus on sound quality and design. Although the Klipsch Image S5i Rugged gets the highest score, Murphy says it comes with "a qualified recommendation" due to its poor bass. Elsewhere, the Klipsch Image S4i fares better for great clarity and detail.
Sounds Like Teen Spirit
by Michael Hsu
Our AssessmentIn this article for The Wall Street Journal, Michael Hsu suggests five headphones (four of which are earphones) suitable for teens. He chooses based on price (under $100), durability, bass response and clarity. Feedback is brief, and he doesn't choose one over the others or compare the models.
HeadRoom's 10 Best Headphones
by Editors of HeadRoom
Our AssessmentAlthough HeadRoom only rates headphones it sells, editors give useful overviews based on technical testing (though they tend to push other products they sell, such as amplifiers and cables). Three earphones make their top 10 list, with a perfect 5 stars given to the very expensive, professional-grade JH Audio JH13 Pro.
The Best Earphones for the iPod and Other MP3 Players
by Editors of EarphoneSolutions.com
Our AssessmentEarphoneSolutions.com tests and sells earphones. Site navigation can be tricky. The thoroughness of reviews varies from model to model but most are terse. Some comparisons are made, though. The Shure SE535 gets a decent review and an Editors' Choice award for sound quality and comfort.
by Editors of Tech2.com
Our AssessmentThis Indian technology news and reviews site covers lots of earphones, but many models aren't available in the U.S. or have been discontinued. Editors evaluate performance and design and give ratings based on a 10-point scale. Sony's MDR-EX35LP gets good marks for clarity and balance across the ranges at a budget price.
by Editors of OnHeadphones.com
Our AssessmentThis website gives ratings with pros, cons and a bottom-line summation. Editors' Choice designations don't appear on summary pages; you have to pull up the full review to find a rating. Review quality is also uneven with newer reviews being mostly descriptions of the earphones and little explanation to back up sound-quality assessments or ratings.