When you get a new pair of earbuds, the package will often include a wide array of earbud tips (eartips) but you’ll likely only find only one pair that fit perfectly into your ears and the others get left unused (mine usually end up in a junk drawer). Eventually even more expensive earbud tips will wear out or loosen and fall off due to exposure to stretching and repeated use. Earwax and dirt eventually wear on your your earbud tips and make them less hygienic.
While there are a few ways you can clean your earbuds, at some point your earbud tips will be in need of a replacing. It’s time to search for replacement earbud tips (earbuds covers) and if you’d rather try a new pair than original one. Surprisingly, some good quality replacement tips are even more comfortable that the standard tips that are included with the earbuds, here are 5 things you should know about.
Continue reading below to find the best replacement earbuds that are compatible with specific model of earbuds, but if you are just looking for a quick recommendation you can’t really go wrong with this variety pack from Comply, it includes replacements that work with: 1More, AKG, Audio-technica, B&O Play, Beats, Denon, Jabra, Jaybird, LG, MEE Audio, Philips, RHA, Samsung, Sennheiser, Skullcandy, Sony and others…
Before buying them, first check out whether the replacement earbud tips you like are compatible with your earbuds, by measuring earbud nozzle length and diameter, the tips should fit precisely to the nozzle. If your’re having trouble getting a precise measurement of the inner diameter and length of tips, don’t worry, most major brands publish compatibility charts showing which earphone models are compatible with their earbud tips.
Actually the measurements are so small that it’s easy to make a mistake, I think it’s much more reliable to go off of the manufacturers recommendations since they precisely measure and test compatibility of most major earbud models.
Quickest way to find the right model and avoid hassle of online returns:
- Find the model number of your earbuds.
- Open the compatibility chart from the earbud replacement tip manufacturer.
- Do a find on the chart if needed, some of these charts are really long lists with very small fonts. (To “find” use Command (⌘)-F) on mac, Ctrl+F (pc), most phone browsers upper right options has a “find on page” tool.
Just for example, our favorite replacement buds are the very popular Comply Memory Foam Earphone Tips.
But the manufacturer currently makes a total of 8 different series of tips. If you order the wrong one, they won’t fit your earbuds so it’s important to make sure you select the appropriate model. But searching online can be confusing a time-consuming. Luckily they publish this chart (link will open PDF in new window) with all major brands showing which model to buy to match your earbuds.
Does Size Matter?
Earbud tips shipped with your earbuds have multiple sizes. Choosing the right size of earbud tips will not only give you the comfort, but a better seal. Also, this makes the sound emitting from earbuds exactly match to the designer’s target. Wearing earbud tips that is too large will cause pain in ear canal, and if earbud tips are too small, it will result in loosen fit and sound leakage, loosing considerable amount of bass, and earbuds falling out. But remember whatever situation, first time users will always feel uncomfortable with the earbud tip insertion.
Foam, silicon and rubber are commonly used for earbud tips.
By properties of foam material, foam tips tend to give a better seal to your ears, so you get a more dynamic, pleasant and often wider response frequencies than silicon or rubber tips. While foam earbuds tips are more comfortable and give better noise isolation than silicon and rubber, they are not durable that a pair would last for several weeks of daily use. They are also easy to catch the dust, particles or earwax, and most of them are not washable.
We think the most comfortable foam earbud tips are manufactured by Comply, and a package of foam tips normally sells for about $15 (Check current price of the T-50o), which is slightly more expensive than getting the best cheap earbuds like Panasonic Ergofit but overall, users seem to agree for the small extra cost of Comply tips is worth it.
Comply foam tips are compatible with a a wide variety of earbud models.
Silicon or rubber tips can be washable. They are universal or varied in size. With universal earbud tips like Etymotic tri-flanges, how they fit depending largely on user’s ear canals. If the tips are varied in size, it is up to their size, S, M or L to choose a suitable pair, which you feel comfort and snug fit. Due to their flexibility, silicon can be used to make bi or tri-flanges tips. Rubber earbud tips are commonly included with low-end earbuds like Xiaomi Piston 2.
Most single flanges enter slightly into the ear canal. Indeed, these earbud tips are comfortable, but they don’t isolate ambient noise well.
These multiple flanges (double or triple) earbud tips jam deeply in to the ear canal. These earbuds tip give users more tight seal, which will improve isolation, but truly they are less comfortable than single flanges. Earphones Plus assortment is among my most favorite tri-flange tips.
|Silicon||Earphones Plus/Sony Hybrids||3.5||4||5||Yes|
These parts are optional. However, if you constantly have to fix earbud position while you workout, it may need additional parts to keep earbuds right in place. Sports earbuds like JayBird X2, aside from regular eartips, they offer wingtips or earhooks, which sit just outer ear canal for a more secure fit.
High-end in ear monitors offers custom mold, which is designed for your ears. However, there is a product, Decibullz 200, which lets you make your own earbud tips at home without an appointment with audiologist like audiophiles who buy high-end monitors. The Decibullz 200 will be custom-molded to your ear canals. However, the designer’s sound target may not match with this custom fit. Once you ears are accommodating custom fitting, you will get best comfort and best possible sound quality from earbuds can deliver.
Best Replacement Earbud Tips
The Comply foam earbud tips offer super soft and flexible experience. When they are inserted into your ear, they will form a custom fit, which is extremely comfortable and provides maximum noise-isolating performance. You will get a warmer sound and more rumbling bass (The opening of eartip sometimes defines how “bassy” the earbuds are that you get more bass if the opening is smaller). Indeed, the frequency response is improved and you get a better sound quality. However, based on my experience the foam tips can slip out of my ear canals easily if they are too large or it is not comfortable for me if they are too small.
Shure Olives is well-know eartips among audiophiles and head-fi communities, but they are only compatible with a number of models, mostly Etymotic Research earbuds and Shure. Sony Hybrids ear tips are versatile, and they provide good sound isolation.
The design of earbud housings play an important roles for comfort and noise isolation. Generally lightweight and small size are supposed to be more comfortable. The FiiO EX1 is an example that how lightweight and angled nozzle as well as its size make it one of the most comfortable earbuds under 100. Larger and sturdy housing like Bass earbuds, sony MDR XB90EX is quite uncomfortable because it accommodates big drivers.
Here are other ear tips you may be interested in:
Note that you should clean earbud tips and your ear canals regularly to prevent ear infections.
Which aftermarket replacement tips have you experienced? Tell us by leaving your comment below.
Last updated 04/27/2018