The 7 Most Durable Earbuds in 2020 (Heavy-Duty Models)

Last updated: 3 months ago, Jun. 19. 2020
Article Contents

    Here are the unbreakable, heavy-duty earbuds for all occasions.

    WarrantyBattery life
    Mic & Controls

    Jabra Elite Active 75t
    toughest overall
    More info
    under $200Brushed plasticIP572-year extended warranty7 hours
    Beats PowerBeats Pro
    best bass
    More info
    under $200Hard PlasticIPX41-year limited warranty11 hours+ per charge
    (wireless Bluetooth)
    Aukey Key Series T10
    affordable true wireless

    More info
    under $110SiliconeIPX52-year limited warranty24 hours per charge
    (wireless Bluetooth)
    1MORE Quad Driver
    best quad driver

    More info
    under $150AluminumIPX41-year limited warrantyn/a

    Shure SE215
    best wired

    More info
    under $70PlasticNot rated2-year limited warrantyn/a

    Jlab Jbuds Air
    best wireless under $50
    More info
    under $50PlasticIP552-year limited warranty10 hours per charge
    (wireless Bluetooth)
    SoundElite 72

    wireless option under $50

    More info
    under $40Plastic/siliconeIPX61-year limited warranty
    (more if registered)
    14 hours per charge
    (wireless Bluetooth)

    Table of Contents

      Tired of earbuds constantly breaking and becoming useless?

      Are you wasting your hard-earned money on buying new earbuds just to see them break in a couple of months?

      Here is a solution.

      The 7 most durable earbuds you can get today that are tough enough to survive “hell” (in our opinion).

      All of the earphones here are made of quality materials, like tough plastics and aluminum, don’t have major weak points, and are simply resistant to “human abuse”.

      No matter how much money you want to spend on your new in-ear headphones, if you get these, you’ll get earbuds that last long.

      Related: Find the most comfortable earbuds here.

      The Most Durable Earbuds

      1. Jabra Elite Active 75t – toughest overall

      Jabra Elite Active 75t wet

      The Jabra Elite Active 75t are fully waterproof and dustproof wireless earbuds with high build quality.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life:  7 hours+ per charge
      Water protection: IP57 (dustproof and waterproof)
      Body construction: Brushed plastic

      Why Buy These?

      The Jabra Elite Active 75t are exceptionally rugged earbuds. They’re built from brushed plastic, with some areas covered in the softer, premium-feeling silicone material. On top of IP57, you also get a 2-year warranty against dust and water damage.

      You can throw them in the sand or submerge in water, they’ll keep working like new.

      Thanks to smart ergonomics, these are very stable and comfortable for hours. Because of their excellent sound isolation, they also offer HearThrough feature, which makes you more aware of your surroundings when you want to.

      Out of the box, Jabra Elite Active 75t are quite bass-heavy with superb low-end extension and clear, detailed highs. And, you can customize the frequency response in the Sound+ app to better suit your taste.

      7 hours per charge is also pretty good, with an additional 20 hours from the charging case. Battery running low? A 15-minute charge gives 1 hour of playtime.

      The Bad

      Pricier than the competition. Only right earbud works in mono mode (for phone calls).

      Jabra Elite Active 75t are sports earbuds that offer great sound quality, comfort, and durability for the harshest conditions.

      Read the full review.

      2. Beats PowerBeats Pro – best bass

      Beats PowerBeats Pro review

      With its durable construction and great stability, PowerBeats Pro are an amazing workout companion for any basshead.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Over 11h per charge
      Water protection: IPX4 (sweatproof)
      Body construction: Hard plastic

      Why Buy These?

      When it comes to build quality, the PowerBeats Pro are amazing. Construction is excellent, with hard plastic housing and flexible ear hook design for extra stability.

      Not only are the PowerBeats Pro dependable, but they also sport an incredible battery life. With officially 9-hour capacity, in our tests, we got over 11 hours per charge with an additional 24-hours from the charging case.

      With the IPX4 water protection, they are sweatproof, although we don’t recommend submerging them into water. All in all, these are durable earphones with mic that are perfect for active use.

      The Bad

      We have experienced some minor Bluetooth interruptions and comfort issues. More in the review.

      The Sound

      Beats is finally going for more clear sound quality, although PowerBeats Pro are still primarily basshead wireless earbuds. They have a very distinct V-shaped sound, which is very enjoyable for a bass lover.

      Beats is going in the right direction with PowerBeats Pro. They are superbly built, offer high stability, and have an enjoyable sound.

      See full review.

      3. Aukey Key Series T10 – affordable true wireless

      Aukey Key Series T10

      True wireless functionality often comes with a big price tag, but the Aukey T10 headphones are affordable and still do a great job.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Around 6 hours per charge, 24h together with the case
      Water protection: IPX5
      Body construction: Silicone

      Why Buy These?

      Aukey Key Series T10 are wireless long-lasting earbuds on a budget. Yet they come with a surprisingly high build quality.

      They’re fully plastic but with good IPX5 water protection. You can wash them under tap water without worry. And if you drop them on the floor, they’re tough enough to escape with just scratches.

      Graphene diaphragms and high-quality dynamic drivers give power to the earbuds.

      They have 3 different sizes of silicone eartips included. You can match up the ideal one for comfort. The battery life is good, 7 hours at a time, but this can be extended to 24 hours by using the charging case.

      The T10 earbuds also offer touch controls. Just tap the side to change track or volume. There’s an inbuilt mic for taking phone calls, too.

      Plus, they have a stable and comfortable fit for sports.

      The Bad

      Advertising 24 hours battery life is a tiny bit misleading. This isn’t continuous, you need to recharge the headphones in their case.

      The touch controls are good, but you need to get used to them.

      The Sound

      For an affordable option, the sound quality of the Aukey T10s is surprisingly punchy. You get clear bass from quality drivers and a high-fidelity audio with a reasonable price tag.

      When it comes to true wireless earbuds with a sturdy design, water protection, and acceptable price, Aukey T10 are among the best.

      Read full T10 review.

      4. 1MORE Quad Driver – best quad driver

      1MORE Quad Driver in-ear monitor

      These are in-ear monitors with a focus on sound clarity. Four drivers are included to channel the music and create a high-fidelity audio experience and beautiful soundstage.

      Connection: 3.5mm connection (6.3mm adapter included)
      Water protection: IPX4
      Body construction: Aluminum

      Why Buy These?

      If wireless isn’t high on your priorities, then the 1MORE Quad Driver could be an option. The aluminum creates a sound chamber, and the 45-degree rotating ergonomic ear tips fit your ears comfortably. They come with 9 pairs of tips. You can choose the best design and fit.

      These durable wired earbuds come with simple in-line controls and a microphone for making phone calls.

      The braided wire has a Kevlar core and is tangle-free. It’s designed to hold up to rigorous stress and travel with great build quality. These are definitely among the sturdiest earbuds with wires.

      The Bad

      No option for wireless capabilities could be a dealbreaker for some people.

      These headphones aren’t that stable within the ear canal and may fall out.

      The Sound

      Excellent soundstage, a brilliantly tuned set of headphones, and four drivers to deliver power and precision make the 1MORE Quad Driver earbuds a great choice.

      5. Shure SE215 – best wired

      Shure SE215

      The Shure SE215 are the most durable wired earbuds (for most people). They do a fantastic job, thanks to the thick plastic design, detachable cables, and plenty of noise isolation.

      Connection: 3.5mm connection
      Water protection: Not rated (none)
      Body construction: Plastic

      Why Buy These?

      As well as rugged earpieces, SE215 have a reinforced, detachable cable. The audiophile earbuds can handle being thrown around in a rucksack, or worse.

      Build quality is above average, as you can expect for the price.

      The noise isolation is great too. The earbuds have sound isolating foam ear tips that can block out 37 dB of ambient noise. You can enjoy your music as intended, and they’re great for professional monitoring too.

      They look big and bulky for a pair of earbuds, but the nozzle-shaped earpieces are designed to fit within the ear comfortably. 360-degree rotation also allows you to find a comfy position.

      The Bad

      No water protection, so not the best for sports. No metal housing like with alternative buds, these are fully plastic.

      There’s an art to the insertion of these headphones. It can take a while to get used to the nozzle design.

      The Sound

      Respectable, entry-level audiophile sound, with good, strong bass, even if they are lacking a bit in the high end for absolute purists. Balanced sound signature is suitable for all music genres.

      We’ve come to expect high quality from Shure, and the Shure SE215 have a rugged, durable earbud design with great noise isolation.

      Find more earbuds under $100.

      6. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air – best under $50

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air


      The Jlab Jbuds Air are the most durable earbuds under $50.

      Connection: Bluetooth
      Battery life: 24 hours
      Water protection: IP55
      Body construction: Plastic

      Why Buy These?

      Jlab Jbuds Air are made out of durable hard plastic that doesn’t break that easily. We have accidentally dropped them on the floor, and to our surprise, they work great with no signs of damage.

      The charging case is also very sturdy, with a hinge that doesn’t wobble like in some more expensive models, like PowerBeats Pro.

      IP55 water protection is making sure that water or dust can’t harm them.

      The Bad

      Using physical controls on the Jlab Jbuds Air is annoying because while pressing them, you’re constantly pushing them into your ear canal.

      The Sound

      Jlab Jbuds Air provides a decent V-shaped sound quality. They offer 3 EQ presets, and in our own opinion, the Jlab Signature preset is the most likable.

      Overall, the Jlab Jbuds Air are finally making the budget wireless earbuds interesting. You get the features and technology of the more expensive models but under $50.

      See the full review.

      More earbuds under $50.

      7. TaoTronics SoundElite 72 – option under $50

      TaoTronics SoundElite 72

      It can be hard to find tough headphones that allow wireless listening at a price point like this. The TaoTronics provide surprising quality and value.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: 14 hours
      Water protection: IPX6
      Body construction: Plastic/silicone

      Why Buy These?

      This pair of earbuds has solid build quality for the price. IPX6 protection means they can be worn in the rain, and they have a protective layer to add to the durability and rugged design.

      A clever magnetic design means these attach around your neck while not being used.

      The battery life is brilliant. 14 hours on a single charge.

      You can take advantage of the three different EQ settings. The CVC 8.0 noise cancellation technology gives a little bit of ambient noise cancelling during phone calls.

      The Bad

      The sound quality is not elite, as you would expect at this price. The battery can also die a lot quicker than 14 hours if you crank the volume.

      It has a micro-USB connection to charge. Most devices are moving to USB-C compatibility.

      The Sound

      The audio quality is fine for most casual listening with boosted bass and decent highs. You can’t really expect Hi-Fi from affordable wireless buds. But they sound better than most alternatives at the price.

      The TaoTronics SoundElite 72 earphones offer a long battery and great durability for the price.

      More Bluetooth earbuds under $50.

      More wireless earbuds under $30.

      Other cheap earbuds

      Honorable Mentions

      RHA MA750 Wireless (check price) – These offer impressive stainless steel housing with IPX4 water protection, oxygen-free cable, and a handmade 560.1 driver made in Japan. Because of their neutral sound signature, they’ll sound great with a wide variety of genres.

      RHA MA650 Wireless (check price) – Another durable earphones from RHA with the uncompromising build quality. They are metal and sweatproof with IPX4. Add an impressive battery life of 12 hours and a clear and balanced sound, and you have one of the best wireless earbuds under $100.

      ToughTested wired earbuds (check price) – Bad sound quality for anything more than basic listening, and not as though as marketed.

      How Long Do Most Durable Earbuds Last?

      Average quality earbuds last from 3-4 years after which they get outdated or something gives out.

      The longest-lasting earbuds are built from better materials and have a higher build quality. You can expect at least 5 years+ with medium use, basically doubling the lifetime.

      Now, that’s true if you’re a light user, and take good care of your gear. But if you listen to music every day in a gym and throw them around, it will have an impact on longevity.

      In general, wireless earbuds tend to stop working sooner due to their battery which gets weaker over time and is prone to malfunction. In contrast, wired earbuds, if you keep them safe and you’re careful with them, can last you a lifetime.

      Unfortunately, we’re all a bit clumsy and most people have to buy a couple of pairs in their lifetime.

      Are headphones more durable than earbuds?

      Generally, yes. Most over-ear and on-ear headphones have a metal headband, and at least some other metal parts. Plus, they’re heavier and bigger so we tend to take better care of them.

      Earbuds are often thrown into backpacks, carried in pockets, and exposed to clumsy situations that end their “life”. Normal wear and tear is harder on earphones.

      Why do earphones break?

      There are many reasons:

      • You can drop them on the floor
      • You can sit on them
      • You can crush them in a pocket/backpack
      • Water can damage their electronics
      • You can pull on the wires too strongly
      • You can snap their cable
      • Your cat or dog can chew the wires
      • And there are probably more reasons that belong to “other” category (tell us in the comments)

      What Makes Earbuds Durable?

      Quality materials: Strong, durable plastic is lightweight and offers great protection from physical damage. A metal housing is even better which offers better structural integrity, and it looks nice.

      Water resistance: For athletes and fitness freaks sweatproof headphones are a must. Look for a minimum IPX4 for sweatproof or IPX6 for waterproof design. What’s IPX?

      Click here to find the top water-resistant headphones for the gym.

      No weak points: A lot of headphones have weak points, whether it’s a badly made connector, inadequate strain relief, or weird, crack-prone earphone shape. These weak points are always revealed after the first few weeks of use so it’s impossible to know them beforehand.

      Hinge design: If hinges are present, it’s important they’re made for long-term use and don’t crumble after a few weeks.

      Cable coating: Some cables are reinforced with Kevlar and some have extra layers of rubber, but since cables are one of the usual weak points, cable strength plays an important role.

      Good warranty helps: Customer support plays a big role in deciding whether to buy certain headphones. If you know that you have access to good customer support that can quickly replace your broken pair of earbuds, then it’s much easier to make the purchase. Especially if the product has a lifetime warranty like Koss’s.

      What are Your Favorite Durable Earbuds?

      Why do you think so?

      Please share your opinion and tell us your story of other heavy-duty earbuds out there.

      We’d love to hear it.