Why Do Earbud & Heaphone Cables Get Tangled?

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If you’ve ever stuffed your earbuds in your pocket, backpack, or anywhere really without wrapping the cord in an organized way, you’ve likely dealt with the incredibly frustrating result – a cable that is totally a twisted and tangled mess.

Why Are You So Twisted? 

It’sc can be mindboggling just how tangled headphone cables or earbud cables can get in a short time, just from being jostled around or left mixed in with other items in a purse or bag. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few reasons why headphones cables get so tangled and a few tips to prevent this hassle and easier ways to get them untangled. 

Here’s a nice looking pair of earbuds with the cable neatly coiled and secured. 

how to wrap your earbuds
Earbuds were rolled up in the right way

Of course, this is not the reason you’re here! You’re probably used to seeing something more like this:

woman with tangled mess of eabuds
Multiple earbud cables tangled together.

Have a look at some cheap earbuds with rounded and thin cables, these are the worst kind of cable as they very easily get messed-up. 


Tangling cable
Panasonic Ergo Fit 120

The problem is compounded when you have two or more pairs of earbuds in together. 

Knotting cable
Stock earbuds

Why Do Headphone Cords Always Get Tangled?

This topic is not new, but until 2014 a paper named spontaneous knotting of an agitated string was submitted to pnas.org by Dorian M. Raymer and Douglas E. Smith, which revealed that there are a number of factors involved in the conformation of tangling and knotting of earbud cord.

Those factors include the cord, which is split at Y-joint to L and R channel, the length, shape, and size. They exploited the simplified model to predicts cable behavior and the possibility of knotting.

In reality, let’s say your earbuds are stored in a carrying case, pocket, bag or even you stuff them in a drawer (this doesn’t move anywhere). In the first situation, when the carrying case is carried on, it will shake, stumble and the cable will tend to “mix” together following what forces them to do so.


The complication of earbuds cord tangles relies on how the earbuds are agitated and how long the cord is. The more the carrying case vibrates the more tangles are possible. The longer cable also means there is less room for a number of “short cable”.

The cord with larger diameter also reduces the possibility of tangling. But this will add weight to your earbuds.

Flat cords have been proved to significantly reduces, but large cords may cause microphonics and look awkward.

If you don’t have true wireless earbuds, How to avoid tangling and knotting?

  • Roll up your earbuds in the right way
  • Store them in Nest case
  • Replace your cable with a flat cable.
  • Or you just get a free tangle earbuds, here are our recommendations.

Tangle Free Earbuds 


Sony MDR-XB50AP/R Extra Bass Earbud Headset
Sony MDR-XB50AP/R (Amazon)

Tangle cable, sound good with strong bass


Zipbuds JUICED 2.0

Case Star 2 PCS EVA Clamshell Style Case Bag for Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 Never Tangle Zipper Earbuds Featuring ComfortFit2 Earphone Earbuds Charging Cable with Case Star Cell Phone Bag (Hot Pink and Red)
Clamshell Style Case Bag for Zipbuds JUICED (Amazon)


Never Tangle Zipper Earbuds, mediocre sound

Vogek Tangle-Free Flat Cord Earbuds 


Earbuds, Vogek Tangle-Free Flat Cord Ergonomic in-Ear Headphones with Dynamic Crystal Clear Sound, Earphones with 3.5mm Jack, S/M/L Eartips Compatible with Samsung, Android Phone and More-Black
Tangle-Free Flat Cord Earbuds (Amazon)


Another option is to buy one of these accessories that can help keep your earbud cables organized and prevent tangles: 

Earbud Cable Organizers

Leather Earbud Holder


TOPHOME Cord Organizer Earbud Holder Earphones Headphones Winder Keeper Earbuds Case Storage Wrap Headset Genuine Leather Cable Organizer, Orange Yellow
Leather Earbud Holder

This leather tab with metal snap helps keep headphone cords organized by wrapping them around and securing in place. 

Tangle-Free Earphone/Earbud Case Storage System

Budley - Tangle-Free Earphone/Earbud Case, Compact Storage System, Silicone (Teal, Set of 1)

This patented silicone storage system helps keep your buds organized by wrapping them around the spindle. 

There you have it- some of the reasons why cables get tangled and a few tricks for keeping them organized. 

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