Best in-ear headphones


From sub-£50 upgrades to high-end pairs at closer to £1000, plus wireless options too, all the models mentioned below deliver impressive audio for the money.


Best headphones 2018

Best headphone deals

Under £50

Beyerdynamic Byron

The Byrons are a brilliant pair of budget in-ears and they excel in terms of subtlety, detail and clarity.


1.2m cable | In-line remote and mic | Android/iOS

Reasons to Buy
Excellent detail, weight and precision
Authoritative and subtle
Evenly balanced midrange and treble
Comfortable, sturdy build
Reasons to Avoid
Some might prefer a more upbeat presentation

Under £100

Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

Moving up a level, these Sennheisers are a brilliant bet and worth the extra cash over the Beyerdynamics if your budget allows.


1.3m cable | 3.5mm jack | Inline controls

Reasons to Buy
Comfortable fit
Attractive design
Wonderfully clear and detailed sound
Tight, full-bodied bass
Expressive mids and highs
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

Under £200

Shure SE425

"They really are the finest in-ears we've heard at this price..."


3.5mm jack | 6.3mm adapter | Detachable 1.6m cable

Reasons to Buy
Solid midrange performance
Immersive sound
Reasons to Avoid
Does not pack quite as much bass as some competitiors

Under £300


Current Award-winners, these AKGs are well made, comfortable to wear and sound great.


Swappable filters | Universal remote and mic | Flight adapter

Reasons to Buy
Excellent build
Comfortable as in-ears get
Capable of stunning sound
Reasons to Avoid
Need a serious source to get more than mediocrity from them
Swappable filters seem unnecessary

Under £400

Etymotic ER4SR

Superbly detailed sound for the (admittedly not-inconsiderable) money.


Anodized finish | Removable, replaceable cable | High-performance, balanced-armature micro-drivers

Reasons to Buy
Excellent mid-range detail and definition
Top accuracy
Improved build
Reasons to Avoid
Bass could have more authority and punch
Comfort could be an issue for some
No in-line remote

Under £1000

Shure SE846

These represent the ultimate in high-end in-ear headphones.


Detachable cable | Sweat resistant | Interchangeable filters

Reasons to Buy
Stunning detail
Tonally balanced
Strong dynamics
Great comfort
Secure and solid
Reasons to Avoid
Look little different from some of Shure’s cheaper in-ears
Lacks the aura of luxury


Sony WF-1000X

There are wireless headphones and there are truly wireless headphones like these Sonys. These 2017 Award-winners are comfy and deliver fantastic sound quality.


In-ear design | Bluetooth and noise-cancelling | Charging carry case

Reasons to Buy
Balanced, detailed sound
Good with timing and dynamics
Truly wireless
Decent noise-cancelling
Carry case doubles as a charger
Reasons to Avoid
Our sample had a slight connection issue with the right earpiece


Sony WI-1000X

Great sound and lovely fit make these the smart choice in every respect.


Noise cancelling | aptX HD | Companion app

Reasons to Buy
Punchy bass
Insightful midrange
Well balanced
Range of noise-cancelling modes
Reasons to Avoid
Neckband could be more flexible