There would be no need for this article if earbuds didn’t have a reputation for fragility. Think how many you’ve probably had to replace over the years. Loose connections, degraded ear tips, water damage, any number of problems can put your earbuds out of action.
But have no fear. Manufacturers have upped their game in recent years, especially when it comes to making earbuds for the workout market. These have to be tough to handle the rigors of all that movement and sweat.
Therefore, we decided to put together a list of the most durable earbuds currently available, along with a handy buyer’s guide detailing what to look out for when shopping for resilient earbuds.
So, let’s get straight to it, starting with our Comparison Table…
Top 10 Most Durable Earbuds on the Market in 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 Bose SoundSport – Best Sounding Wireless Durable Earbuds
- 1.2 2 Sennheiser IE 80 S – Best Premium Durable Earbuds
- 1.3 3 Shure SE215-CL – Best Quiet Wired Durable Earbuds
- 1.4 4 1MORE Triple Driver – Best Affordable Wired Durable Earbuds
- 1.5 5 Westone 78400 Alpha Adventure Series – Most Comfortable Durable Earbuds
- 1.6 6 RHA S500 Universal – Best Budget Durable Earbuds
- 1.7 7 Brainwavz M2 – Best Lightweight Durable Wired Earbuds
- 1.8 8 Jaybird Tarah Pro – Best Durable Wireless Workout Earbuds
- 1.9 9 Jabra Elite Active 75t – Best Durable Sports Earbuds
- 1.10 Are these the best running earbuds on the market?
- 1.11 10 Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds – Best Durable True Wireless Earbuds
- 2 Most Durable Earbuds Buying Guide
- 3 Looking for Something Else?
- 4 What are the Most Durable Earbuds?
Top 10 Most Durable Earbuds on the Market in 2021 Reviews
|(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
Sennheiser IE 80 S
|(3 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4.1 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
1MORE Triple Driver
|(3 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(2 / 5)||(4.1 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)|
RHA S500 Universal
|(2 / 5)||(2 / 5)||(1 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
|(3 / 5)||(2 / 5)||(1 / 5)||(3.7 / 5)|
Jaybird Tarah Pro
|(4 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.1 / 5)|
Jabra Elite Active 75t
|(4 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4.3 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
1 Bose SoundSport – Best Sounding Wireless Durable Earbuds
Bose needs no introduction. A name synonymous with audio excellence since 1964, the Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds keep the high standards going. The classic Bose sound profile is nicely encapsulated. A warm and punchy bass is accompanied by detailed mids and delightfully crisp highs.
If you love that authentic Bose sound, then the SoundSport earbuds won’t disappoint. But it’s the durability that we’re primarily focused on here. So, let’s focus on that first.
How tough are they?
On top of exceptional audio, Bose equipment generally lasts the test of time. The SoundSport earbuds have been designed with working out in mind. They’ve been built using splash and dustproof materials to withstand the rigors of the most energetic workout and have an IPX4 water resistance rating.
The drivers are well protected from damage in a robust housing. Additionally, the cable linking the earbuds looks tough, especially at the connection points.
On the downside…
You can’t replace the cable as it’s not detachable. Any cable damage, and it’s shopping time again. You’d like to think the inline control would have the same degree of water resistance as the buds. But it doesn’t seem to be as waterproof, so be careful.
The expandable silicone Stay Hear+ ear tips and wings provide a good stable fit and look like they’ll resist decay from sweat effectively. Try as you may; you’ll have trouble trying to dislodge the SoundSport no matter how vigorous the effort. As a result, these are some of the best secure fit durable earbuds available.
A mic built into the inline control allows you to take calls. Volume and track selection can also be made from the control. If you want high-quality audio wrapped up in a durable build that should last for years, the Bose SoundSport earbuds could be the earbuds you need.
- Classic Bose sound.
- IPX4 water and dust resistance
- Durable ear-tips and wings.
- Non-replaceable cable.
- Quite expensive.
2 Sennheiser IE 80 S – Best Premium Durable Earbuds
Another German company associated with high-end sound production is Sennheiser. Audiophiles will be familiar with their amazing HD800 range of critical listening headphones. Sennheiser brings the same lofty intentions to the IE 80 S earbuds, admittedly on a less grandiose scale.
Quality comes at a cost…
Sound quality is predictably excellent, which should be considering the high price tag. It’s a very immersive soundscape for a set of earbuds with a clean and rich sound across the frequencies.
All the ranges have plenty of space to do their own thing without intruding upon one another, and it’s a truly satisfying audio experience. The result is some of the best immersive sound durable earbuds around.
How do they stack up in terms of durability?
Thankfully, build quality has been given plenty of attention. The drivers are metal protected, and the cable is protected by a thick rubber material that provides ample defense. The cables are also detachable. Therefore, they are easily replaced if broken or lost.
Furthermore, the design allows the cable and earbud to separate easily if accidentally snagged. This is one of the most common ways to retire a set of wired earbuds, and it’s good to see companies take this into the equation. The Sennheiser IE 80 S earbuds are built to last. A two-year warranty is offered should any issues arise.
Fit for everyone…
A staggering ten sets of ear-tips are included, memory foam and silicone, enough for most to find a good fit. Once you’ve found the correct tip, they stay securely in place even through a serious workout. In turn, these are some of the best ergonomic durable earbuds on the market.
If budget isn’t a consideration and you want the highest level audio quality and good but not world-beating durability, the Sennheiser IE should be top of your list.
- Best sound quality.
- Removable cables.
- Sturdy build.
- Two-year warranty.
- More durable options are available at a lower price.
3 Shure SE215-CL – Best Quiet Wired Durable Earbuds
Another company with a good reputation for high-grade audio is Shure. The SE215-CL is also a hardy set of wired earbuds that should last the test of time. The reinforced Kevlar cables provide a high level of tensile strength and ample protection from potential puncture.
Ever so flexible…
It’s a detachable design, which is all-important in damage limitation if the wire gets caught. The L-shaped jack also strengthens a potential weak-point, as does the design of the Y-joint that connects the cables. This makes them quite flexible.
Plastic casings protect the drivers. Although they aren’t as solid as aluminum, there’s more than enough defensive capability on offer to put any fears you may have to rest. Outside of a hammer attack, they’ll survive the usual knocks with ease.
So what do they sound like?
Fantastic for the mid-level price point. It’s the kind of sound profile that lends itself to all genres of music. Bass-centered but well-balanced and detailed enough to keep the audiophiles quiet. It’s the sort of sound performance you’d expect to pay twice as much for.
A good level of passive noise isolation is also achieved thanks to the well-fitting range of silicone ear-tips included. Up to 37 decibels of environmental noise can be blocked out, allowing you to concentrate on listening. Therefore, they’re some of the best noise isolating durable earbuds on the market.
You won’t be handling calls on the Shure 215-CL. However, basic volume and track selection controls can be found on the inline remote. The buds are kept in place by what Shure calls a memory-wire system. It allows the buds to stay in place whilst exercising. It takes a little while to get the technique right but once mastered, stability and comfort levels are good.
If you can’t quite afford the audio superiority of the Sennheiser IE 80 S, then the Shure SE215 makes a durable and decent-sounding alternative.
- Exciting sound quality.
- Kevlar strengthened detachable cable.
- Secure fit.
- Excellent passive noise reduction.
- Memory wire set-up not intuitive.
- No microphone.
4 1MORE Triple Driver – Best Affordable Wired Durable Earbuds
Down at the lower end of the price scale are the 1MORE Triple Driver wired earbuds. 1MORE hasn’t been around too long, but their innovative designs have raised eyebrows in the industry. Each bud houses triple drivers that deliver a rich and detailed sound. It’s a profile you’d expect to pay significantly more for.
1MORE brought in the famous producer and sound engineer, Luca Bignardi, to fine-tune things, and he’s done a remarkably good job. Bass, mids, and treble frequencies are all afforded the necessary room with vocals and lead instruments shining through well.
Not only do they outperform similarly priced competition in the sound department, but they are also built with a long lifespan in mind. The drivers are cased in metal for added protection. The casing also extends down the cable for extra protection around the connection point.
The cable also has some serious defensive chops. It’s Kevlar reinforced, which helps add to the durability considerably. Plus, these are some of the best tangle-free earbuds on the market. The inline remote and jack housing is also metal construction adding to the rugged nature of these earbuds.
If there’s one criticism…
It would have been nice to have a detachable cable to further bolster the overall longevity. The cable is usually the source of most malfunctions and having the option to replace it if need be can extend the lifespan significantly.
Nine sets of sweat-resistant silicone and memory foam earbuds ensure a comfortable and secure fit. A robust case also comes as part of the package ensuring safe transport when on the move.
Are these the best value for the money Durable Earbuds you can buy?
For the price, there aren’t many better-sounding earbuds than the 1MORE Triple Driver. They are probably not the most durable on this list, but again, when considering the expense, they represent good value.
- Best sound available for under $80.
- Unique driver design.
- Tough metal build.
- Well-protected cable.
- Good value.
- Cable not detachable.
5 Westone 78400 Alpha Adventure Series – Most Comfortable Durable Earbuds
Now for a lesser-known brand. Westone has been manufacturing custom earpieces for musicians since the 1980s. They are now bringing their audio expertise to a wider audience with great results. They also know how to make a robust set of earbuds, as is shown by the Westone 78400 Alpha Adventure Series.
6.5mm micro drivers produce a nice tonally balanced sound profile that will be pleasing to the average listener. They’re not the best sounding on this list, but they’re also not the worst. A lively bass keeps things rolling along nicely. If anything, vocals could be more prominent, but there’s plenty of sparkle to appreciate in the highs.
The IPX3 certification means the Westone Alpha Adventure Series is splash and sweatproof. Rain won’t be a problem if you get caught in a downpour. Making these some of the most durable jogging earbuds you will find.
The drivers are protected by a magnesium/aluminum housing that provides a high level of defense from impact. The cable is a mostly Kevlar braided affair with extra rubber protection extending down from the earbuds. It’s also detachable in the unlikely event it needs replacing. An L-shaped jack reinforced with a tough rubber further adds to the overall toughness.
When not in use, a hard rubber carrying case comes supplied. This is also weather resistant. A cleaning kit is also supplied, helping with maintenance and longevity. Ten sets of ear tips should have all angles covered when it comes to the fit, and the Westone Alpha are seriously comfortable earbuds.
All those years of experience designing earpieces for audio professionals have seriously paid off. Well built, comfortable and a good listen, the Westone Alpha Adventure Series thoroughly earn their place on this list of most durable headphones.
- Ticks all the boxes regarding durability.
- Tonally well-balanced.
- Good value for money.
- Better sound to be had elsewhere on the list.
6 RHA S500 Universal – Best Budget Durable Earbuds
At the bottom end of the price scale, the RHA S500 proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get durable earbuds that also sound engaging.
RHA’s proprietary micro-dynamic drivers are protected by an aluminum alloy housing that you’d have to put some effort into breaking. The lower part of the cable from the remote to the jack is reinforced with braided material. The upper rubberized part, although less well protected, is far from frail. The cable should stand up to most daily routines well.
The RHA S500 is not water-resistant, so wearing them during sweaty gym sessions isn’t recommended. But if you need a solidly built set of budget earbuds for everyday use, they are very much worth your consideration.
Simple and subtle…
RHA’s more expensive models have a far more sophisticated sound profile, but for under $50, the RHA S500 doesn’t sound bad at all. There’s just enough bass punch to enjoy, and the mids contain enough detail to keep you interested.
At this price, it’s a very competitive sound that’s hard to be disappointed by. The RHA S500 is certainly one of the most durable earbuds those on a budget can buy.
- Great value.
- A fun sound profile.
- Tough build.
- Not sweatproof.
7 Brainwavz M2 – Best Lightweight Durable Wired Earbuds
Another built-to-last budget option is the Brainwavz M2 Wired earbuds. Affordable for almost everyone, this well-built set of earbuds looks tough yet quite sleek at the same time. The aluminum housings provide a strong shield for the drivers. Serious pressure would have to be applied to do damage.
Raindrops keep falling on my head…
Braided and suitably thick cables safeguard the wiring from damage. The braided design means they are also tangle-resistant. The Brainwavz M2 has the lowest degree of water resistance, so should handle sweat and light rain ok. Wearing these in severe downpours is not to be recommended.
A 1-year warranty comes as part of the deal. Yes, it’s not as long as other models on this list, but perfectly acceptable when considering the price.
A lot for a little…
Despite the metal materials used in the build, they don’t feel heavy in the ear. A wide range of ear tips helps you find a secure and comfortable fit, and they stay in, even when exercising.
Sound quality is perfectly fine for such a budget model. Mid-ranges are the prominent feature of the sound profile. Vocals shine through as a result. It’s a bright and entertaining enough sound that, while not blowing you away, performs well enough.
A genuine low-end contender that won’t break the bank and should prove a durable buy.
- Excellent value.
- Heavy-duty metal construction.
- Stylish look.
- Braided cable.
- Could do with more bass.
8 Jaybird Tarah Pro – Best Durable Wireless Workout Earbuds
Now on to a virtually indestructible set of cans, the mid-priced Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds. Whilst not possessing quite the same level of sound quality as the previous mentions on this list, they surpass them all in terms of overall durability.
Tough to beat…
An IPX7 rating ensures that the Tarah Pro is fully waterproof and dustproof. You can immerse them in water at a depth of one meter for a full half an hour with no ill-effect. The result is some of the best durable exercise earbuds. Rest assured; they’ll cope with the worst outdoor conditions imaginable.
The wire running between the two buds is shielded with a Kevlar-reinforced coating that’s about as durable and strong as they come. The housing is a dense molded plastic that Jaybird claims to be crush-proof. This was not tested, and it’s not clear what standards have to be met to be considered crush-proof, but they feel solid enough.
Comfort and longevity…
A choice of sweat-resistant silicone ear tips ensures a comfortable fit, and the 360-degree rotational design allows the wire to be worn over the ear for working out or under if relaxing.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro has a very long-lasting battery. A single charge will give you 14 hours of playback. A quick five minute charge will give you an extra two hours of listening. So, these are some of the best quick charging durable earbuds available.
Impressive figures, but how do they sound?
Audio quality isn’t bad at all. There are better-sounding earbuds on this list, but they cost 50-100% more. If anything, they lack a well-defined bass, helpful for working out. Fortunately, you have a good degree of EQ flexibility via the excellent Jaybird app. Overall, the sound profile will be decent enough for most, but audiophiles will be left wanting something more.
One thing for sure, internal failures aside, the Jaybird Tarah Pro possess the kind of build quality that should handle most things life can throw with ease.
- Built to last.
- IPX7 rated.
- Great for workouts.
- Long battery life.
- Good value for money.
- Not the best sound quality.
9 Jabra Elite Active 75t – Best Durable Sports Earbuds
What better way to increase overall durability than to remove one of the main causes of earbud malfunction, wires. The Jabra Elite Active 75t is the first truly wireless earbuds to feature on our list.
Are these the best running earbuds on the market?
Designed specifically with running in mind, these earbuds are built to stand up to the rigors of any type of exercise. An IP57 rating means they are water as well as dust-resistant and are some of the best waterproof durable earbuds you can buy.
Running in the rain is also no problem as the Elite Active 75t can be fully submerged up to a meter. In the remote circumstances that any dust or water damage occurs, Jabra offers a two-year warranty, so you’re covered either way, making these are some of the best durable running earbuds around.
A very secure fit…
Thank the help of silicone/gel ear-tips. They create a good seal and do a grand job of absorbing sweat to lessen the chance of slippage. The silicone material is highly durable, designed specifically to handle moisture and not deteriorate.
The charging case is as ruggedly built as the earbuds themselves, providing a high level of protection from damage when not in use. The earbuds are held in place via magnets when in the case limiting any potential damage from getting rattled around.
What kind of sound performance can you expect?
The Jabra Elite Active 75t is one of the better-sounding earbuds out there. Bass often features heavily in the sound profile of sports headphones. This is also the case here, but whilst they are bass-led earbuds, the mids and highs have enough room to do their thing too. The result is a powerful yet detailed profile that gets the blood pumping, ideal for working out.
Yes, they are at the higher end of the price scale, but you should get your money’s worth from these earbuds. One of the most durable earbuds currently available.
- No wires to malfunction.
- Highly dust and waterproof.
- Two-year warranty.
- An exciting bass-led sound profile.
- Tough build for both earbuds and case.
- Not affordable for all. That’s about it.
10 Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds – Best Durable True Wireless Earbuds
The Jaybird Vista is the company’s premium truly wireless earbuds. And bring to the table the same level of build quality as the company’s cheaper model, the Tarah Pro. If you want to lose the inconvenience of wires getting in the way, it’s worth splashing out the extra on a truly wireless model such as this, especially when it’s built to such a high standard.
Built to last…
An IPX7 dust and water resistance rating ensures the Vista will survive anything you’ll be able to throw at it. The selection of ear tips guarantees a good secure seal. And the rubberized ear-hooks look like they’ll stand up to multiple workouts without issue. Overall, longevity is given a big boost by the lack of any wires to fail.
Tough plastic and rubber make up the housing materials, and once again, they’re crush-proof. A good pair of Doc-Marten’s should probably manage the job; they don’t claim the Vista’s to be stamp-proof. However, they probably would survive accidentally being stepped upon, which not many earbuds can say.
Lively sound profile…
A sturdy and compact carrying case that the earbuds magnetically connect to gives the Jaybird Vista all the protection they need when rolling about in a bag.
To complement their toughness, the Jaybird Vista sounds very agreeable. The sound profile is full-bodied and energetic across the range of frequencies. The excellent Jaybird app also allows for complete EQ control, so you can easily save your preferred profiles if the factory settings don’t appeal.
Superb quality, through and through…
A great all-around package, the Jaybird Vista offers the Jabra Elite Active 75t some serious competition when it comes to the most durable true wireless earbuds.
- Wireless design makes them more durable.
- Fully IPX7 certified.
- The case offers excellent protection
- A tweakable sound profile.
- Only a 6-hour battery life.
Most Durable Earbuds Buying Guide
Wired or Wireless?
The biggest cause of earbud malfunction is wire malfunction. Tangled cords weaken the wire, or snags can disconnect the wires completely. If you’re going for a wired model, make sure the cable is braided or reinforced in some way. Detachable cables will also ensure a much longer lifespan.
You could always eliminate the biggest cause of earbud malfunction and go for a truly wireless model. This is likely to cost you more, but if it’s durability you want, truly wireless is best.
Strong and durable plastic has the advantage of being lightweight and offering good protection. Metal casings offer better protection still. Rubber wire casings should also be of high quality and good thickness. Make sure the ear-tips are sweat-resistant and made from a material that won’t degrade easily over time.
The durable earbuds should be sweatproof at a minimum, meaning they should offer a minimum IPX4 rating, preferably higher. Moisture is another big cause of earbud failure and especially important to consider if you’ll be using your earbuds whilst working out.
Look for earbuds that offer a minimum two-year warranty. Hopefully, you’ll be unlikely to use it, but that’s not the point. A company that has faith in the longevity of its product has no fear of offering a longer warranty. In fact, the longer the warranty, the more durable the earbuds will be.
Looking for Something Else?
We have a growing selection of audio equipment. Check out our in-depth Sennheiser HD1 Free Bluetooth Wireless Review, our Best Earbuds with Microphone Review, our Best Workout Headphones and Earphones Review, our SteelSeries Arctis 7 Review, and our Monolith M1060 Headphone Review for some amazing headphones and earbuds you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our comprehensive Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Review, our Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Review, our Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimming review, our KG K240 Studio Review, and our JLab JBuds Air Icon Review for more awesome audio products currently available.
What are the Most Durable Earbuds?
If money is no obstacle and you naturally want a set of earbuds that are the most durable but also sound great, then the best all-around choice is the…
High water and dust resistance rating makes them great for working out, and the lack of wiring removes a major point of failure. Build quality is second to none, and a two-year warranty comes as part of the package. A sturdy charging case also keeps the buds safe from harm when not in use.
For those with cash-flow issues, the…
…make a very practical choice. The sound is nothing to get excited about, but in terms of durability, these earbuds can take a beating and come out the other side in one piece. Impressive for such a low price.
Until next time, happy listening.