This list of the best earbuds in 2020 looks at features like:

  • Noise Cancellation
  • Sound Quality
  • Comfort
  • Price & Performance
  • Durability & Longevity

We hope this will help you to make the best buying decision for yourself, whether you’ll be using earbuds to listen to music, audiobooks, watch movies or for audio transcription.

The list contains everything from affordable or cheap beginner earbuds to high quality, audiophile, absolute best earbuds money can buy.

Earbuds (in-ear) vs Headphones (over-the-ear)

Personally we’ve always preferred earbuds or “in-ear” headphones over the big “over-the-ear” cuppy headphones, especially for audio transcription, because they do a much better job of noise cancellation by effectively blocking your ear canal.

They are also more comfortable if you plan on doing the listening for hours on end.

Some people have complained of their earlobes hurting after extended listening using “on-ear” or “over-the-ear” headphones, or an uncomfortable, sweaty feeling during summers.

Earbuds are not only lighter, but can also produce more accurate sounds.

If you prefer headphones, see our list of Best Transcription Headphones 2020

Wired vs Wireless Earbuds

Technology evolves at the speed of light these days; flooding the market with wired and wireless earbuds in a wide range of price, performance and quality.

Therefore, you as the consumer have an unprecedented abundance of choice in 2020.

You can find wireless earbuds at low prices that were unheard of just a few years ago.  Furthermore, battery backup and sound quality has improved by leaps and bounds too!

In addition, with Apple, Samsung and other brands following suit to remove headphone jacks from their phones, wired earbuds are fast losing appeal.


Wireless technology may be a slight hindrance when it comes to audio transcription.

Bluetooth connections have a slight delay, so while the sound quality may not be an issue while you’re transcribing, there could be a delay when you pause and unpause the audio or video file.

And that can get annoying really quickly because you’ll be doing that hundreds of times during audio or video transcription.

Simplifying Tech Talk

Whether you’re looking at earbuds in this article, or on another website, or on the manufacturer’s page, there is some jargon usually associated with earbuds and headphones.

Let us make it easier for you.

What is Frequency Response in Earbuds?

Frequency response is the range of bass, mids and treble.

20 to 20,000 Hz is generally accepted as the standard audible frequency range for most people, and it’s also the standard for most headphones.

The range of human hearing is about 20Hz-20KHz.

What does Impedence mean for Headphones or Earbuds?

Low impedance headphones (less than 25 ohms, approximately) will work well with equipment with weak amplification, for example iPods, MP3 players, smartphones, and other portable devices.

Headphones with higher impedance (25 ohms and above, approximately) demand more power to deliver high audio levels.  As a result, they are protected from damage caused by overloading and used with a wider range of audio equipment.

Therefore, professional DJ headphones range from 25 to 70 ohms.

For most purposes, including audio transcription, basic headphone or earbuds with less than 25 ohms should work just fine.

Earbuds Sensitivity

Shows how effectively your device will convert the electric signal into sound.

However, if the input signal is of poor quality and poor level, the audio output would also be poor quality, regardless of your earbud’s sensitivity.

So, with all of that out of the way, let’s jump into the main topic.

Best Wired Earbuds 2020

Ideally you want to buy the best earbuds you can, that are not only durable, but also give you excellent, amazing sound quality.

We start with this list first because in our opinion wired earbuds are still the best option for audio transcription.

These may be premium, so for budget wired