What are the best wireless earbuds for audiobooks?
August 11, 2019 4:23 AM   Subscribe

I have a fairly physical job--lifting, walking, some climbing--and I'd like a pair of wireless earbuds with excellent sound for audiobooks. A lot of the online reviews talk about sound quality for music, but I want to hear the books well. A little noise cancellation would be nice, and if they could auto-pause when they fell out of my ears, that would also be useful. I have a Google Pixel 3a phone. Ideally looking for the $50ish sorts but can go higher. What earbuds do you recommend?
posted by Alex Haist to Technology (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Headphones are really going to be superior to earbuds for this. Are headphones a possibility?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:50 AM on August 11, 2019

Seconding wireless headphones. I haven't shopped for them in this price range for a while so my specific recommendations are suspect.

What I do strenuously recommend though is buying a pair with removable tips. And then (oh my gosh you guys) upgrading what ever they shipped with an aftermarket foam tip. There are various suppliers but my personal experience has been with Jaybird X2s & X3s headsets with Comply foam tips.

Good foam tips don't cancel noise but they're relatively cheap, replaceable and do an amazing job of blocking noise. And properly sized they're comfortable for prolonged periods. - even in my weird uncomfortable ears. And I am one of those unfortunates who can count stitches in my socks without taking my shoes off and hear the buzz of the of the fluorescent hall lamps while taking a shower in my hotel room.

Replaceable/upgradable tips; there's my pro tip.
posted by mce at 6:02 AM on August 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

I sometimes throw these on while riding a horse, so headphones won't work; I wear a helmet.
posted by Alex Haist at 6:40 AM on August 11, 2019

Try the tiso i4's, anbes 359 and if it's on special the sabbat e12 might juuust scrape into that budget if it's on special.

"brand name" earphones are very poor value in this price bracket, fyi.
posted by smoke at 2:02 PM on August 11, 2019

I listen to podcasts while cycling on the streets of London. I got a super cheap pair of wireless earbuds back when they were still kind of a new thing, and specifically got a pair that have a hard time pairing in stereo. They're not particularly chiral, so I can pop either one at a time into my left ear (because in the UK, cars will usually pass me on my right), and leave the other one charging.

When I run low on battery or when sweat builds up in the things, I just swap the old bud for the fresh one and keep on going.

I will third or fourth replacing the tips with something after-market, but beware that many charging cases will not have room for whatever wings or larger tip you put on. Best to keep to the same size and shape but in something more upmarket like "comply" foam.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:17 PM on August 11, 2019

I have a nicer pair of over ear phones for total relexation but I also have 4or 5 pairs of super cheap ONN brand ones that I picked up from Walmart at $10. They are totally sufficient for audio books and rather then depending on noise cancelation, I often play the 'Rain' channel from the myNoise app when I need to block other noises. At $10 im not too worried about them getting dirty or sweaty while I work in the garden.

I've tried other similarly priced sets from target and walmart and found them to be not as good. In particular check that the earbuds have their own volume control and don't depend on your phone. They don't have the auto pause that you want but they do have a button right on the cord. (Not all the cheap ones do, so another thing to check for).
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:34 PM on August 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

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