10 Wired Earbuds That Are Actually Worth The Money

They say that what goes around comes back around, and it seems quite safe to say that the era of wired earbuds has come back around. Many wireless headphone users may be cringing at that, and rightfully so. With wired devices come flashbacks of the 2000s' first-world woes ... like putting a meticulously-rolled pair of earbuds in your pocket and pulling out a mess so snarled that you can only assume an invisible, pocket-sized kitten played with your earbuds for an hour. Or turning a cable this way and that by minute degrees because the wire has busted somewhere along the line, and the broken connection interrupting your first listen of the latest from Linkin Park is sparking a rage your prepubescent brain can't compute.

That's not even to mention the very 2023 wired earbud struggle of keeping track of and using adapters because some phone manufacturers have deemed themselves more special than others, either forcing earbud brands to accommodate with an equally special (/s) version of their headphones, or the user to pay $10 for an adapter. It's a cruel joke, and nobody's laughing — except for maybe the mastermind behind introducing that nickel-sized piece of plastic that's always promptly lost to the Dryer Abyss or Bottom-of-Backpack Wormhole. But we digress, because can you blame the wired earbud lovers, anyway? There's no earbud battery dying mid-walk, and no emergency vet trips because you can hear your podcast playing from the dog's stomach. If you're hopping on board the wired earbud bandwagon again, here are 10 suggestions that'll be worth the money and the nostalgic exasperation. 

SteelSeries TUSQ

The interest in wired earbuds was reinvigorated by a demand for quality microphones for TikTok voiceovers, the mounting preference for headphones that last longer both in battery and longevity, and a continual outperformance of wired audio/sound devices over wireless in gaming. The lattermost reason, in particular, is where wired earbuds have remained most relevant. The SteelSeries TUSQ earbuds cater to gamers with their superb microphone quality and sophisticated composite sound. This runs a close race as our favorite earbuds in regard to microphone performance; the TUSQ dual mic setup features a built-in microphone for rapid, easy chat, plus a removable boom mic that adds a lot of value to streaming and voiceovers. 

These are lightweight earbuds that can sit comfortably on the ears for long game sessions. Especially with many wireless gaming earbud options running $100 or more, we think the TUSQs are a superb and affordable option for just $38 on Amazon as of this writing.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Earbuds

The Bose QuietComfort 20 earbuds combine a pillowy-comfortable ear fit with high-performing acoustic noise cancellation. They're a pricier investment at $179.99 according to the Amazon listing, but every Bose earbud or headphone product we've tried has lasted us years. We do wish the cable was tangle-resistant for this price, but you can at least pick between a lightning Apple connection or a standard headphone jack. These Bose earbuds are a solid choice for runners or hikers — Bose's StayHear+ design keeps the buds in place during exercise, and the Aware mode keeps ambient noise audible so you can stay aware of people, traffic, and hazards in your surroundings. An inline mic and simple button control let you answer calls and control music without breaking stride.

The sound quality is worth the price, too — a leading equalizer and proprietary acoustic design make sure of that. One note: Despite being wired earbuds, this option does need to be charged via a USB connection for the noise-canceling function. The earbuds still work when the battery has died, minus that feature. 

Skullcandy The Original Essential Ink'd

Skullcandy earbuds are still around for a reason: They produce sound at a very cheap price. Of course, the sound performance on these buds isn't on the same planet as high-end competitors, but that's not the expectation here. Sheerly for their affordability, the Skullcandy Original Essential Ink'd+ earbuds will always be worth the buy for extremely tight budgets, kids, stocking stuffers, or cheap backup earbuds. The tips are pretty stable in the ears, plus there's an inline microphone that performs decently. 

The noise isolation isn't anything impressive, but you do get a couple of basic media controls on the cable. To us, the biggest perk of the Skullcandy Ink'ds is its wide array of fun colors; in addition to your basic black and white, there's also mint, olive, pink, cobalt blue, deep red, and lavender. The regular listing price of these earbuds on Amazon is $17.99, but many of the colors are currently on sale for steep discounts. 

Etymotic ER2SE Studio Edition

Do you consider yourself to fall somewhere in between passionate audiophile and nonchalant listener? This is the territory of the Etymotic ER2SE Studio Edition wired earbuds. Those narrow tips make these buds a very snug and stable fit for most wearers, and the cable is extremely generous at nearly 4 feet long. While some may find this style of earbud to be less comfortable than others, these buds do come with a couple of different ear tip sizes and materials to help find the best fit. 

The overall sound quality of the ER2SE Studio Edition buds is superb for the value, as is the noise isolation. The bass may fall flat for those speaker-trembling enthusiasts, though. Another attractive feature of these earbuds is the removable cable, making for easy replacement — so no need to worry about banishing the buds to your junk drawer when they stop working. In our opinion, there are few better worthwhile earbuds in this price range. The Etymotic Er2SE Studio Edition buds are listed for $99.95 on Amazon.

Logitech G333

The Logitech G333s are another fantastic pick for affordable wired gaming earbuds. If you want clear, consistent microphone performance and a dynamic range of no-distortion audio for less than $50, the Logitech G333s offer this with a more traditional fit than that of the SteelSeries TUSQs. The Logitechs also include a USB-C adaptor to make the most of the earbuds no matter the console, and having a wired headset with inline controls from Logitech would likely remove a lot of the frustrations we experienced with a wireless version from the brand.

All in all, gamers who seek mid-tier audio performance and a decent microphone would make good use of the Logitech buds. Plus, for your aesthetic enjoyment, the Logitech G333s come in three color variances: White with lavender silicon tips, black with sky blue, and a particularly funky royal purple with electric yellow. The regular listing price of the G333s is $49.99, but they are currently pretty steeply discounted by about 60%. 

Sony Wired Extra Bass

Want some affordable earbuds where the bass hits harder than anything? That would be the MDR-XB55AP Extra Bass in-ear headphones. Using proprietary BassDuct++ technology, these earbuds cater to the deep reverberations of the lowest ends of music — while keeping the middles and highs well-balanced at the same time. We also appreciate the use of a tangle-resistant cable, plus earbud tips in four different sizes. These earbuds are notably powerful for their price and capable of high volume with little to no distortion.

Overall, these are also a great daily option for phone calls, music, and podcasts. These buds come with a just-under-4-foot cable, giving a decent amount of length for everyday use. You can get them for a steal right now, too; the regular listing price is $49.99, but the Sony Extra Bass earbuds are on sale for $28 as of this writing. You can get them in black, blue, or red. 

Belkin Soundform

Unless you buy an adapter, iPhone owners must seek out wired earbud models that have a lightning-port-friendly option. For earbuds that cater to Apple, we recommend the Belkin SoundForm wired headphones. These are another option that combines affordability with sound performance — plus, the SoundForms come with three tip sizes and are equipped with moisture resistance, making them an ideal candidate for everyday use whether it be running and exercising or getting caught in a shower while walking to work. The SoundForms were also designed with one of our favorite wired earbud features — the tangle-resistant cable. 

Music and phone call feedback from these earbuds has always been crystal-clear for us, with balanced mids and highs and a nice, punchy bass. The one thing about these earbuds specifically that we'd improve if given the opportunity is to lengthen the cable by a few inches (it's only about 3.5 feet long). Of course, the biggest downfall to these earbuds is that if you want to use them with any device other than iPhone, you must buy a lighting-to-3.5mm jack adapter — and something about that just seems incredibly annoying. But for powerful sound from a long-established brand at a wallet-friendly price, iPhone users just won't find a better deal than the Belkin SoundForms for $29.99 on Amazon.

Sennheiser IE 600

If there were a pair of wired earbuds on our list that delivers earth-shatteringly stellar sound quality, it would be the Sennheiser IE 600s. They may come with an intimidating price tag, but the German audio mastery behind the cost is absolutely worth it, especially for moderately-serious audiophiles. Starting with the visual appeal of the Sennheisers, the sophisticated look of that gunmetal gray metal casing cannot be understated. But the real magic happens inside, where Sennheiser's TrueResponse transducer provides an extra-wide frequency, and the carefully-crafted technology delivers a next-level listening experience. Dual two-chamber absorbers, or D2CA, make a distinction between even the slightest of nuances in music possible for human ears. 

Plus, the cable of the Sennheiser IE 600s is more generous than others at 4.1 feet long. To experience your daily music playlists on an entirely different level and hear your favorite artists' work in a way that you haven't before, the IE 600s are a great investment to make. They are available for $699.95 on Amazon as of this writing.

JBL Endurance RUN

We recommend the JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds for athletes and adventurers that need their headphones to be as resilient as they are. Optimized for running and exercise, these magnetic earbuds snap together when not in your ears to prevent annoying tangles while you're on the go. Inline controls allow for answering calls at the touch of a button or activating smartphone assistants. The Endurance RUNs can also be worn normally in the ears, or as over-ear buds depending on your type of physical activity and comfort levels in each fit. The soft, twist-to-secure design of the JBL earbuds is meant to prevent discomfort and instability. 

And with their IPX5 waterproof rating, a bit of sweat or precipitation won't be an issue for these earbuds. Unfortunately, active noise cancellation isn't a feature of these buds, but you can activate two ambient noise transparency functions — TalkThru and Ambient Aware — to help runners and athletes remain comfortably aware of their surroundings. The JBL Endurance RUNs are available on Amazon for $19.95 as of this writing in black, blue, red, yellow, and teal. 

Panasonic ErgoFit Wired Earbuds

We chose the Panasonic ErgoFit Wired Earbuds as an incredibly budget-friendly and comfortable pair of earbuds. This is our recommendation for anyone who wears earbuds for an extended period of time — on walks, subway rides, while studying, etc. — and has been prone to discomfort from earbuds before. The ergonomic, ultra-cushioned tips of these headphones conform to the contour of your ears to ensure as comfortable and secure a fit as possible. The tips come in three sizes, too. 

You'll also enjoy an inline microphone and basic control button, a modest 3.6 feet of cable, and a sound quality that is plenty enjoyable for very casual music and podcast listeners. The ErgoFits come in a whole rainbow of colors: black, matte black, green, blue, metallic blue, orange, pink, purple, red, silver, violet, white, matte black and red, metallic purple, metallic red, and rose gold. They are available for $11.56 on Amazon — that's a sale price from the regular cost of $19.99 — and only $9.99 for the option without a microphone.