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The 8 Most Durable Earbuds in 2021 (Heavy-Duty Models)

Last updated: 6 months ago
7 min read

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

Rating Price Material Water protection Warranty Battery (Connection) Mic & Controls More info
Jaybird Vista Toughest overall
Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds
Under $170
Rubberized plastic
2 years limited
6 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
Under $180
Brushed plastic
2 years extended
7 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
Under $250
Hard Plastic
1 year limited
11 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
RHA T20 (Gen.2) Best wired
RHA T20 Gen. 2 wired IEMs
Under $160
Stainless Steel
3 years
Wired – 3.5mm
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Best noise cancelling
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Under $200
2 years
5 hours (with ANC)(Bluetooth 5.0)
TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 Affordable true wireless
TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 true wireless earbuds
Under $50
2 years limited
6 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
Under $40
2 years limited
7 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
Under $50
1 year limited
5 hours (Bluetooth 5.0)
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 8 best 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. Jaybird Vista

    1st-place Toughest overall
    Jaybird Vista earbuds on a rock

    One of the most durable earbuds out there, with IPX7 water-resistant rating and MIL-STD-810G military standard of endurance.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 10h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC (with JBS1 chip) | Water resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins, EQ, "find my buds" feature
    • Comfortable fit
    • Excellent stability, even with small ear fins
    • Good Bluetooth 5.0 connection
    • Robust build quality
    • IPX7 rating and MIL-STD-810G standard
    • Superb sound quality (after EQ)
    • Proprietary silicone ear tips
    • Treble stays grainy, even after EQ
    • Annoying notifications when opening the app

    Truly impressive high quality sound if you invest a little time into EQ settings. It’s very punchy and energetic, with a nice sized soundstage.

    They have a soft rubberized finish, with a silicone ear fin that locks them securely into place no matter the ear size. Fins and ear tips are part of the same ear gel, so you don’t have to worry about losing them.

    These buds come with an IPX7 rating of water protection, making them completely submergible. For the added shockproof protection against drops, Jaybird made sure to meet the MIL-STD-810G durability standards.

    Earbuds come in a sleek case that is small enough to fit easily in the pocket, with a short string attached to it. It offers the same kind of soft rubbery finish as on the buds. Earbuds come in different color options.

    Jabra Vista review

    2. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Jabra Elite Active 75t earbuds

    The Jabra Elite Active 75t are fully waterproof and dustproof wireless earbuds and are built to last.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 20h in case | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h 20min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, BT-CVSD, mSBC | Water-resistance: IP57 | Features: EQ, "find my buds" feature, ambient aware
    • Reliably stable during movement
    • Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
    • Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
    • Great sound quality with equalization
    • HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
    • Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
    • Perfectly designed physical controls
    • High build quality
    • Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
    • Pricier than most alternatives
    • Only right earbud can be used as mono

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

    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 these earbuds 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.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    3. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

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

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type:: In-ear | Battery Life: 11h + 24h in case | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 1h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear hooks, H1 chip, volume controls on both sides
    • Deep, punchy bass that energizes modern music (slight V-shaped signature)
    • Great battery life with quick charging (we got over 11 hours out of them)
    • Perfect stability for working out
    • High build-quality and nice materials
    • Sweatproof, but can’t be submerged
    • They get slightly uncomfortable after 30 minutes
    • Pricey
    • Large charging case
    • No way to turn them off without the charging case
    • Mids sound a bit subdued

    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 frequency response, which is very enjoyable for a bass lover.

    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. 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 and volume control that are perfect for active use.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    See related:

    4. RHA T20 (Gen. 2)

    wired Best wired
    RHA T20 Gen. 2 wired IEMs

    While they don’t offer water protection, their metal housing makes them extremely durable against accidental drops.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: DualCoil dynamic drivers
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-40.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 4.4 feet (1.35m) | Features: Sound filters, over-the-ear shielded cable
    • Superb build with stainless steel housing
    • V-shaped sound with detailed treble
    • Robust OFC cable with RF shielding
    • Tons of included ear tips
    • Non-detachable cable

    These earbuds offer a punchy, V-shaped sound with a warm midrange. The frequency response is excellent, with a detailed treble up on top. You can change the sound with 3 filters that come inside the box.

    Because the cable (wireform fit) distributes most of the weight, they can make them from more premium build material and with precision engineering. T20 Gen.2 are made from injection-molded stainless-steel, providing superb sturdiness.

    You get a wide variety of silicone tips (10 pairs) and even a couple of filters to change their sound. As with any premium product, you’re getting a nice carrying case with a stitched leather.

    The tangle-free copper cable with remote control is equally durable, with robust wire reliefs and a gold-plated input jack. For added comfort, the cable goes over your ears, which also helps with microphonics.

    5. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

    anc Best noise cancelling
    Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds soaked

    Dual drivers create a balanced sound quality, while the noise cancellation mutes the ambient noise.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 11mm woofer & 6.5mm tweeter
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h (with ANC) + 13h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, SSC | Water resistance: IPX7 | Features: 6 mics, ANC, Ambient mode
    • Very balanced sound
    • Comfortable fit
    • Useful features inside the mobile app
    • Not the best noise cancelling performance
    • Only Bixby as smart assistant

    Like Galaxy Buds+, the Pro model also uses dual drivers to separately output lower and higher frequencies. The sound profile is a very balanced frequency response with a little bit of boost in the sub-bass and high-end.

    Interestingly, despite offering active noise cancellation, the earbuds appear reasonably solid with an IPX7 water-resistant rating. So far, there are no other ANC earbuds that can offer the same water protection.

    The battery life is more than adequate, playing your music for 5 hours before needing to recharge (with ANC enabled). The case holds extra 13 hours and supports Qi charging.

    Buds Pro are can also help with phone calls, offering great call quality no matter how noisy the environment gets.

    6. TaoTronics Soundliberty 97

    dollar Affordable true wireless
    TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 earbuds on the rock

    True wireless functionality often comes with a big price tag, but the Soundliberty 97 headphones are affordable and still do a great job.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: PEEK+ PU dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 9h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 3ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Touch controls
    • Good overall sound quality
    • High water protection (IPX8 rating)
    • Comfortable fit for long listening sessions
    • Impressive 9-hour battery life
    • Great passive isolation
    • Competition comes with extra features
    • No EQ presets

    They have an emphasis on bass response, which doesn’t hurt the overall clarity. The midrange feels natural enough to enjoy most music genres.

    Their construction is relatively small with a nozzle angle to project the sound directly into your ear canal.

    They’re also durable, offering an impressive IPX8 rating of water resistance. You can easily use them on your workouts and even wash them under a tap afterward.

    Playtime is generous, too, with earbuds boasting 9-hour battery life and another 20 hours inside the case.

    For minimal latency and great audio quality, Soundliberty 97 come with an aptX Bluetooth codec. Of course, they also have the AAC, which is perfect for Apple users.

    TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 review

    Check similar:

    Best true wireless earbuds under $50

    Best earbuds under $100

    Best cheap headphones

    7. Aukey EP-T32

    Aukey EP-T32 earbud

    The Aukey EP-T32 are one of the most durable in-ear headphones under $50.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 28h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Ear hooks, auto play/pause, mono mode
    • Excellent comfort and stability thanks to ear hooks
    • Reliable touch controls
    • Extreme water protection (IPX8)
    • Enjoyable, punchy sound
    • Great Bluetooth stability and coverage
    • Support for Qi wireless charging
    • No multipoint support
    • Subpar microphone quality
    • Mediocre passive isolation due to shallower fit

    Fun sounding truly wireless headphones with slight sub-bass elevation. They’re overall smooth in presentation, free of any sibilance or harshness.

    They do well for sports earbuds, with extra stability provided by ear hook design (like Beats PowerBeats Pro). The latter is very gentle and doesn’t push the earbuds into the ear canal, making them surprisingly comfortable.

    There are no visible weak points on the buds, and they come with a high IP rating of IPX8. You can practically dunk them in water and use them afterward without any problems.

    The case is quite big and not very pocketable, but it offers fast charging and Qi wireless charging.

    Aukey EP-T32 review

    8. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 88

    earbud Best earphones
    Taotronics Soundliberty 88 earbuds inside the case

    These AirPods lookalikes are one of the most durable earbuds on the market, with IPX8 to ensure the ultimate protection.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Touch controls, auto play/pause
    • Comfortable and lightweight
    • Exceptional midrange clarity
    • Responsive touch controls
    • IPX8 water-resistance
    • 5-hour battery per single charge
    • Poor fit
    • Lack of noise isolation

    Earbuds ouput a surprisingly clean midrange, but don’t expect much bass from these pair of earbuds. They’re very inoffensive, with no harshness whatsoever.

    They come in black color with a matte finish. Earbuds are very comfortable to wear since you don’t need to push them deep into your ears.

    Fit highly depends on people’s ear shapes, but they’re usually fine for light jogging. Thankfully, even if they fall on the floor, they seem sturdy enough to survive. Also, with IPX8, you can easily use them near water or wash them after a sweaty workout.

    Although they look similar to Apple AirPods Pro these aren’t noise cancelling earbuds. They do however have touch control and can summon voice assistant.

    TaoTronics SoundLiberty 88 review

    More related guides:

    Honorable Mentions

    RHA MA750 Wireless (Check MA750 price) – These earbuds offer impressive stainless steel housing with IPX4 water protection, oxygen-free cable, foam tips, shirt clip, 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 MA650 price) – Another durable earphones from RHA with uncompromising build quality. These are one of the most durable earbuds under $100. They are metal and sweat proof with IPX4 with an impressive battery life of 12 hours and a clear, balanced sound.

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

    Shure SE215 K wired (Check SE215 price) – One of the most durable earbuds with a cable (for most people). Shure SE215 do a fantastic job, thanks to the thick plastic design, detachable cables with gold-plated connectors, and plenty of noise isolation.

    TaoTronics SoundElite 72 (Check SoundElite 72 price) – 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.

    GOgroove AudiOHM RNF (Check AudiOHM RNF price) – Tough heavy-duty earbuds with thick aramid fiber cable and metal housing. Even if you’re clumsy, these are practically indestructible.

    How Long Do Most Durable Earbuds Last?

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

    Long-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 minimum IPX4, or waterproof, IPX6, headphones. You can find many among best waterproof Bluetooth headphones. What’s IPX?

    Or check the best workout 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 coating, 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.