Best earbuds: NZ buying guide

Today’s earbuds are sleek and comfy with crystal clear tunes. But before you purchase, let’s find your perfect pairing.

Last updated: 27 February 2024

Looking to cut the cord on your old headphones? It’s perfect timing because wireless earbuds have come a long, long way. No more awkward crackling music and weird shapes that don’t fit your ears. Today’s earbuds are sleek and comfy with crystal clear tunes. But before you make your purchase, let’s find your perfect pairing. Here’s what you need to know:

What are earbuds?

Earbuds are the modern headphone. Unlike traditional earphones, which fit snugly inside the ear canal, earbuds rest on the outer ear, making them more comfortable for extended wear. To prevent them from falling out, earbuds have small pieces of foam or silicone that help maintain a secure fit. This seal is key. It means sound goes directly into the ear canal, giving you a better listening experience.

Types of earbuds

These days, types of earbuds are as unique as your music taste. Here’s the rundown on what’s available:

True wireless earbuds

Say goodbye to pesky cords with true wireless earbuds. These compact gems offer ultimate freedom and convenience.

Check out our range of true wireless earbuds.

Bluetooth earbuds

Enjoy hassle-free pairing with Bluetooth earbuds. Simply sync them with your device and enjoy wireless audio wherever you go.

See all Bluetooth earbuds

Noise cancelling earbuds

Want to create your own sound bubble? Noise cancelling headphones are perfect for commuting, travelling, or simply escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Shop Noise cancelling earbuds

Waterproof earbuds

Sweat it out or dance in the rain. These durable earbuds keep your new tech safe from water damage. 
See all waterproof earbud listings.

Top brands for earbuds in NZ

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting earbuds. These top brands offering something for everyone:

1. JBL earbuds

JBL earbuds are all about that bass and then some. The design? Super sleek and comfy in your ears. They also come with a built-in microphone, adaptive noise control and hands free calling.

Browse our range of JBL earbuds.

2. Samsung earbuds

Samsung earbuds pack a punch with sound that's crisp and clear, and they're smart, too — think features that let you control your tunes with just a tap. Their newest model has a playtime of up to five hours and three built-in microphones.

Find our Samsung earbud listings.

3. Bose earbuds

If you're all about audio that's so clear you can hear a pin drop, Bose earbuds are your match. They're a dream for both serious music fans and anyone who just wants to chill with some tunes. Comfort? They've got that down to a science.

Shop Bose earbuds.

4. Sony earbuds

With features like noise-cancelling to drown out the world and a fit that's snug without squeezing, Sony's got your back whether you're jamming out or taking calls.

Check our range of Sony earbuds.

5. Skullcandy earbuds

Skullcandy earbuds are like a party for your ears. They've got designs that stand out and a sound that's full-on rock concert levels of awesome. If you want to make a statement while nodding along to some heavy hits, these buds are your go-to.

See all Skullcandy earbuds.

6. Apple earbuds

Apple earbuds are all about making life easier. They sync up with your iPhone like magic, and the sound? Classic Apple — great for your daily playlist or those endless conference calls. They're a no-brainer for Apple lovers and anyone who's after earbuds that just work, no fuss.

Find Apple earbuds

7. Beats earbuds

Designed with athletes in mind, Beats earbuds are the top pick for people who need their music to hit as hard as they do. They stay in place, the bass goes deep, and the sound wraps around you. But they do come at a price. 

Shop Beats earbuds.

8. Sennheiser earbuds

Renowned for their audio excellence and superior craftsmanship, Sennheiser are the gold standard for audiophiles. 

Check out Sennheiser earbuds.

Earbuds for different lifestyles

Choose earbuds that suit your lifestyle. That way, you can optimise comfort, performance, and longevity of your earbuds. Here are your options:

1. Running earbuds

When hitting the track or trail, you need earbuds that stay put and resist sweat. Look for lightweight options with secure fits like JBL Reflect series, Bose Sport Earbuds, or Beats Powerbeats Pro. These earbuds are designed to endure rigorous workouts while delivering crisp, motivating sound.

Browse earbuds for running. 

2. Sport earbuds

If you like to play a range of sports, durability and versatility are key. Consider rugged options like Skullcandy Push Ultra, Sony WF-SP800N, or Beats Powerbeats Pro. These earbuds have robust construction to withstand intense activity.

Shop earbuds for sport

3. Gaming earbuds

Gamers require earbuds that deliver exceptional audio quality and clear communication. Opt for models with low latency and high-fidelity sound like Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, Apple AirPods Pro, or Beats Studio Buds. 

See our range of earbuds for gaming

Buying new vs. used

Yes, new earbuds offer the latest features and warranties, but used earbuds can be a great, budget-friendly option. If you’re buying used, just be sure to ask the seller about any wear and tear.

Shop new or used earbuds

Bye bye cords

Whether you're a music lover, fitness enthusiast, or you just love a long phone call, finding the right pair of earbuds will make all the difference. And with every option under the sun on Trade Me, you'll be rocking out in style in no time. Happy listening.

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Written by one of our Trade Me Marketplace experts - providing you with the latest information to help you shop smarter in New Zealand.