Apple’s EarPods have become famous since they come free with every iPhone and iPod sold, and hundreds of millions of people own at least one of those products. (EarPods are $29 on their own.) But just because it’s hard to walk around without seeing a white cord dangling from someone’s ears doesn’t mean EarPods are the highest quality earphones you can get.
In fact, there are several very inexpensive alternatives to Apple’s EarPods that produce significantly better sound, look better and are far more comfortable. Plus, many have useful features that Apple has yet to incorporate over the years like earbud magnets and tangle-free cords.
The Panasonic RPHJE120 in-ear headphones are the most popular alternative to Apple’s EarPods. They’re mostly well known for being shockingly good for a very affordable price. They also come with small, medium or large earpads so you can slide on the pads that fit your ear size perfectly.
Out of over 27,000 reviews on Amazon, these Panasonic earphones still managed an average 4.4 out of 5 stars. Many of them are downright surprised at the rich sound quality they produce. On Amazon, these start at only $5.85. They come in several colors: silver, black, blue, red, green, orange, pink and violet. Even the most expensive color – pink – is only $7.96.
The only downside is that, unlike Apple’s EarPods, Panasonic does not include an inline remote and microphone for controlling music. If that’s a feature you definitely want in your earphones, keep reading.
2. Symphonized NRG 2.0
Wood has always been known for its superior acoustic performance and the Symphonized NRG 2.0 earphones capitalize on that. These are encased in beautiful wood with silicone earpads that work together to isolate surrounding noise while you listen to music. They even come with a gold-plated 3.5 mm audio jack for premium sound.
This 2.0 model succeeds the one that came before it, both of which have received much praise on Amazon for looks and sound quality. Like the Panasonic earphones, these come with multiple different size earpads as well, but unlike Panasonic, the NRG 2.0s do include the remote and microphone.
Far more high-end, they sell for $25.99 on Amazon and come in silver, red, purple, orange, brown, gold, gunmetal and turquoise.
Tip: Seriously, splurge for these if possible. Any music lover deserves decent sound quality so you might as well just spend a little extra so you can really enjoy it. Plus, $25.99 is still less than the $29 Apple charges for EarPods.
3. Sony MDR-EX100
I’ve always been a fan of Sony products and in fact, I’ve owned these earphones for over two years now and really enjoy them. The 9 mm high-sensitivity drivers produce excellent sound for their compact size and mimic the EarPod design pretty well while still being unique.
The Sony MDR-EX100 comes with four different silicone earpads for sizing and a remote and microphone attached to its tangle-free cord. The perfect sweet spot between the Panasonic earphones and Symphonized, these Sony earbuds come in black or white for $21.99 on Amazon.
4. AmazonBasics In-Ear Headphones with Microphone
These earphones are about as generic as you can get, but the AmazonBasics in-ear headphones are the last on our list of EarPod alternatives. They look good enough, they sound good enough, and they’re priced very well at only $7.99.
For just around the same price as Panasonic’s offering, these actually do include the microphone and remote. If that’s a priority for you, you will have to settle with the inferior sound quality, though. The earpads come in three sizes like the others and the earphones as a whole only come in black. They’re also, as you might imagine, exclusive to Amazon.