The 10 Best Clip-on Headphones

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

We spent 26 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you're planning on working out or engaging in other vigorous activities, try using a pair of clip-on headphones instead of the earbuds that come with many new devices. They can help avoid treble spikes, soreness and infections, tend to stay on better, and are, generally, more comfortable. We've rated the best choices for home, gym, and outdoor use, based on feel, sound, and build quality. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best clip-on headphone on Amazon.

10. Philips SHS3800

9. Koss KSC75

8. Panasonic HZ11

7. Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i

6. Panasonic HZ47

5. Avantree E171

4. Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro

3. Sony MDR-Q68LW

2. Mpow D7

1. Creative Aurvana Air

Special Honors

Audeze iSine Series Meant for true audiophiles, all of the Audeze iSine models use state-of-the-art planar magnetic drivers that can deliver richer and more accurate sound than traditional dynamic drivers. They hang on the outer hear and are inserted slightly more into the inner ear than most clip-on headphones, though they still don't seal out much noise due to their semi-open design. If you want a comfortable listening experience and have the cash to afford them, check these out. audeze.com

Editor's Notes

June 12, 2019:

There are two main types of clip-on headphones. One is similar to the classic earbud, but has a frame that wraps around the ear and suspends the speaker so that is rests gently and comfortably just outside of the ear canal. The other consists of a large pad that sits up against the outer ear. As you might guess, they have notably different sound profiles. Generally speaking, the outer-ear version doesn't offer the loudest sound and can particularly lacking the bass department. On the other hand, on-ear clip-on headphones are probably the safest headphones in existence from the standpoint of ear health. Inner-ear clip-ons tend to sound considerably better, though they may not be quite as comfortable as the outer-ear variety.

One of the most popular reasons for clip-on earphones is working out. An option like the Mpows is almost certainly going to stay on your ear and they don't have any long audio cables to get in the way of you or the machines at the gym. They're also waterproof. The Avantrees are a great budget-friendly choice, though they don't have the widest spectrum. If you can afford them, the Powerbeats Pros are some of the only true wireless options on the market, and they sound just about the best as well, second perhaps only to the B&O 3is. Incidentally, B&O has released an updated wireless version, but don't fall for it; it's not as high-quality as the original. But as far as inner-ear models go, you'd be hard-pressed to do better for the price than the Creative Aurvana Air. They look incredible and sound surprisingly good for clip-ons.

If your doctor has instructed you not to stick things in your ears, or if you're just not comfortable with earbuds, there are still plenty of good choices. In terms of outer-ear clip-on headphones, the Sonys sound the best, the Panasonic HZ11 are the most compact, and the Panasonic HZ47 may be the most comfortable. One other good thing about these unconventional devices is that for the most part, they're very inexpensive.


Christopher Thomas
Last updated on June 18, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.


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