After my cheap-o Panasonic earbuds — which have gotten me through many years and are great for a mere $8! — lost yet another ear pad (and I always lose the extra ear pads too), I caved and decided to look into spending a little more $$. I also wanted noise-canceling earbuds, which obviously come at a higher price point. So I combed through Amazon and reviews on tech sites I never frequent otherwise, and finally landed on these TaoTronics noise-canceling bad boys.
They have a snug but not too-tight fit — and not that I'm ever traveling at a pace faster than a brisk walk, but it's nice not having to constantly adjust my buds. Also, the ear pads seem like they're super secure and won't fall out when tossed around with other objects (again, lookin' at you, Panasonic). As a whole, they're obviously a tad bulkier and longer than my usual earbuds, but I can easily overlook that for the added value they bring.
The most life-changing part about these headphones is that I can listen to the same songs at least two volume notches lower than I did before! It may not sound like much, but my eardrums are thankful. The noise-canceling feature works via a little, flat, rectangular box with an on/off switch. When I'm in a quieter environment, like home or work, I can usually just go without it. But I also went on vacation recently and took a total of four flights (the ultimate test), and I don't know how I ever took flights with normal earbuds! The noise cancellation isn't perfect (these aren't $200 or $300 buds, people), but these are a very smart choice for overall comfort and, you know, not having to subject my innocent ears to dangerously high volumes! Now, back to listening to the new BTS album on repeat. —Sarah Han.
Get them from Amazon for $43.99.