When you get a new pair of earbuds the package will often include a wide array of eartips, but you’ll likely only find one pair that fits perfectly into your ears. Eventually even the best eartips will wear out or loosen due to repeated use. Earwax and dirt 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 the eartips will need to be replaced. Many high quality replacement tips are even more comfortable and durable than the standard tips that are included with your earbuds. Here are 5 things you should know about eartips before shopping for new ones.
Continue reading below to find the best replacement eartips that are compatible with specific models of earbuds. If you are looking for a quick recommendation, you can’t go wrong with this variety pack from Comply, which 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 many others.
Before buying new eartips, first check whether or not they are compatible with your earbuds by measuring the earbud nozzle length and diameter. The tips should fit perfectly on the nozzle.
If you’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.
The Quickest Way to Find The Right Model and Avoid the Hassle of Online Returns:
- Find the model number of your earbuds.
- Open the compatibility chart from the earbud replacement tip manufacturer.
- Do a find search 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 on PC, most phone browsers have a “find on page” tool in the upper right corner.
Our favorite replacement buds are the popular Comply Memory Foam Earphone Tips.
Comply 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. Searching online can be confusing and time-consuming. Luckily Comply publishes this chart showing all major brands showing and sizes.
Does Size Matter?
Eartips that come included with your earbuds have multiple sizes. Choosing the right size of eartips will not only give you a comfortable fit, but a better seal. This perfect seal allows you to hear exactly what the designers intended you to hear. Wearing earbud tips that are too large will cause pain in the ear canal. If eartips are too small you will have sound leakage, loss of bass impact and a loose fit that can cause your earbuds to fall out with jogging. First time users will usually feel uncomfortable inserting eartips into the ear canal, but this gets less awkward over time.
Foam, silicon and rubber are commonly used for earbud tips.
Foam tips tend to offer a better seal, so you get a more dynamic, pleasant and often wider response with foam than with silicon or rubber tips. Foam eartips are also more comfortable and give better noise isolation than silicon and rubber, but they are not as durable. Foam also catches dust and earwax easily and are not usually washable.
Silicon or rubber tips can be washable and are varied in size. With universal earbud tips like Etymotic tri-flange, how they fit depends largely on a user’s ear canals. If the tips you buy are varied in size try them all and find which one feels comfortable and snug. Due to their flexibility, silicon can be used to make bi or tri-flange tips. Rubber earbud tips are commonly included with low-end earbuds.
Most single flange eartips enter slightly into the ear canal. Indeed, these earbud tips are comfortable, but they don’t isolate ambient noise well.
Multiple flange (double or triple) earbud tips jam deeply in to the ear canal. These earbud tips give users a tighter seal, which will improve isolation, but they are less comfortable than single flange eartips. The Earphones Plus assortment pack is another great mixed pack of single and triple flange eartips.
These parts are optional. However, if you constantly have to fix the earbud position while you workout, you may need better parts to keep the earbuds in place. Sports earbuds, like the JayBird X2, come with wingtips or earhooks which sit just outside the ear canal and provide a more secure fit.
High-end, in-ear monitors are designed, form fitted by a professional, and sometimes even 3-D printed to fit your ears perfectly. If you want this same fit on a budget, there is a brand called Decibullz which lets you make your own earbud tips at home without an appointment with audiologist like audiophiles who buy high-end monitors.
Best Replacement Earbud Tips
Comply foam earbud tips offer a super soft and flexible fit. When inserted into your ears they form a custom fit which is extremely comfortable and provides maximum noise-isolating performance. This provides a warmer sound and more rumbling bass.
Shure is well known for their eartips among audiophiles and head-fi communities, but they are only compatible with a limited number of models. Sony Hybrids ear tips are versatile and provide good sound isolation.
The design of the earbud housing plays an important role for comfort and noise isolation. Generally, lightweight and small housings will be more comfortable. The FiiO EX1 is an example of how lightweight and angled nozzles, as well as small housings, make these earbuds some of the most comfortable earbuds under 100. Larger and sturdier housings used for bass heavy earbuds like the Sony MDR XB90EX are quite uncomfortable and bulky because they accommodates big drivers.
Here are some other eartips you may be interested in:
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Note that you should clean earbud tips and your ear canals regularly to prevent ear infections.
Which aftermarket replacement tips have you had amazing or poor experiences with? Tell us by leaving your comment below.