6 Best Tangle-Free Earbuds [2021]

No to tangled earbuds!
No to tangled earbuds!

Tired of knotted headphone wires? Check out this list of the best tangle-free earbuds and learn how to choose the right one for you!

NameCable TypeCable lengthConnectorPrice
Sennheiser CX 300S Best OverallFlat120 cm3.5mmBUY
Zipbuds Slide Sport V2 Strong Runner-UpZip-lock style93cm3.5mmBUY
Sephia SP3060 Best BudgetBraided120 cm3.5mmBUY
Kirababy 3-Pack Earbuds Best BargainThick cables118 cm3.5mmBUY
Joymiso Tangle Free Earbuds Best for People with Small EarsFlat130cm3.5mmBUY
Belkin In-Ear Lightning Headphones Best for Apple Devices Flat120 cmLightningBUY

How to Pick the Right Tangle-Free Earbuds

Tangling is a well-known problem among earbud users, as well as the tiresome process of untangling your earbuds. You put your earbuds into your pocket or bag, only to find that they’ve turned into a tumbleweed-like mess.

When looking for a solution, you find out that there are actually many different ways a cable can be tangle-free. What’s the difference between them? How do they work? Figuring this all out can make the decision-making process difficult.

This article will cover everything you need to know in a clear, digestible manner. We’ll cover what tangle-free earbuds are, how they work, and what you should know when shopping for some.

What makes a pair of earbuds tangle-free?

While it may seem like your earbuds have a mind of their own when they’re put in your pocket or bag, there’s actually a science behind how they manage to get tangled around themselves and other objects.

Due to length and stiffness, the cable of your earbuds needs to coil when stored. However, with movement, the end of your cable gradually inserts its way in between the coiling parts itself. This repeated movement results in a series of random braids that cause the mess you find in your pocket.

Whether or not your cable will be tangle-free depends on the design, materials used, and length of the cable. Let’s look at a few of the different types of cables you can find.

Flat cables

Sample of Flat cables (From: Amazon)
Sample of Flat cables (From: Amazon)

A lot of tangle-free earbuds opt for a flattened design over the traditional cylindrical shape. This flat design allows them to bend in only two ways rather than the 360° bends found in regular cables. In order to tangle, it would take a lot more force.

Mesh or braided wires

Sample of Braided cables (From: Amazon)
Sample of Braided cables (From: Amazon)

Mesh or braided cables are housed by a series of small braids. The small braids or mesh cause friction when the cable rubs against itself, making it more difficult for the cord to move about freely compared to a regular cable. They also add stiffness to the cable that makes it harder for them to bend.

Thick braided or mesh cables can also protect against microphonics, commonly known as cable noise, by providing an extra layer of security. This stops sound anomalies from sources like EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) from disrupting your music.

Zipper cables

Sample of Zipper cables (From: Amazon)
Sample of Zipper cables (From: Amazon)

Zipper cables can be zipped together like a regular zip you’d find on a hoodie. When zipped up, the earbuds won’t wrap around each other.

Why does cable length matter?

A research paper found that the length of your cable has a direct correlation with the likelihood of your cable tangling. Findings show that cables less than 46cm have a significantly lower chance of knotting than those between 46cm and 150cm when placed inside a rotating box.

Cables at and above 150cm in length have 50% more chance of getting tangled.

While these tests weren’t performed on a Y-shaped string like your typical 120cm earbud cable, you can probably agree from experience that the results are accurate.

A shorter cable doesn’t just mean it’s less likely to tangle itself. It also means that there’s a lower chance of your cable wrapping around other objects in your bag, like hair ties and charging cables. Plus, it helps prevent the cable from catching on door knobs or railings as you pass them by,

While a tangle-free cable is important, so is usability. Rather than getting a super short cable that’s going to constantly tug on your listening device, take length into consideration with your height and where you usually place your audio source. A cable that’s too short can be more frustrating than having to untangle them.

Do tangle-free earbuds sound different?

The type of cable you use generally doesn’t affect the quality of your audio. If it does, it’s in such a miniscule way that the difference isn’t noticeable. However, they can help maintain the original sound quality as they’re more durable and less likely to break as soon as traditional cables.

Be warned: an expensive pair of tangle-free earbuds doesn’t guarantee great quality. Some manufacturers invest more into the tangle-free attribute of the cable rather than audio quality of the earbuds.

Build quality

In order for your earbuds to survive day-to-day use, they need to be sturdy to help prevent them from breaking. Build quality refers to the sturdiness of the earbuds based on the materials used and how well all pieces fit together. For earbuds, emphasis is put on how thick the cable is and the shape and malleability of the tips to create a secure but comfortable fit.

The weakest parts of your earbuds should also be inspected. Look at the connecting joints of your cable for loose fittings or signs of the cable material pulling away, exposing the wires inside.

A tangle-free cable doesn’t guarantee a long lifespan. While it does help maintain the integrity of the cable, it doesn’t protect against constant tugging or direct impact to the earbuds themselves. A combination of dense materials like aluminum or reinforced plastic and proper handling greatly contribute to the lifespan of your earbuds.

Comfort and fit

When buying any pair of headphones, comfort is always a huge factor. This is especially true when you wear them for long periods of time. The comfort of your earbuds heavily depends on the ear tips you use.

There are two main types of earbuds: Earbuds and IEMs (In-ear Monitors). Your standard earbuds typically have a one-size-fits-all approach, whereas IEMs provide you with a selection of tips to choose from. This is why IEMs are the preferred choice for comfort, as you can customize the size and material of your tip to suit your needs.

Each person has different ear shapes and sizes. Because of this, you should use tips that fit your own. It’s common for earbuds to come with a selection of replaceable tips for this exact reason. Aside from comfort, a good secure fit helps keep the earbuds from falling out and locking the noise in so it doesn’t escape.

Choosing the right earbud tips is important. If none of the tips included with your earbuds work, consider buying tips of a different material like foam, or even a hybrid combination of two.

6 Best Tangle-Free Earbuds [2021]

Sennheiser CX 300S

Best Overall
Close look at Sennheiser CX 300S (From: Amazon)
Close look at Sennheiser CX 300S (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Flat
  • Cable length: 120 cm
  • Connector: 3.5mm
  • Controls: 1 button, in-line
  • Mic: Yes
  • Additional eartips: 4 sets (XS, S, M, L)

Sennheiser has a consistent track record of manufacturing high-quality headphones, and the CX 300S’ are no exception. These earbuds sit at the top of our list because of their superb sound and build quality in addition to their flat cable design that stops them from moving around and becoming tangled.

With the CX 300S, you have the option of choosing between one of four different sized ear tip pairs to provide a comfortable and secure fit to your ears specifically. The silicon tips are designed to cancel any ambient noise in your vicinity, working to isolate you and your music even in public spaces.

Moreover, Sennheiser’s 18-ohm transducer technology brings you enhanced bass. For bass-lovers, this may be a benefit. But for others, the focus on the bass can seem to overpower other aspects of any track you’re listening to. This is something to keep in mind if clarity of all frequencies is something you’re looking for.

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Zipbuds Slide Sport V2

Strong Runner-up
Close look at Zipbuds Slide Sport V2 (From: Amazon)
Close look at Zipbuds Slide Sport V2 (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Zip-lock style
  • Cable length: 93cm
  • Connector: 3.5mm
  • Controls: 1 button, in-line
  • Mic: Yes
  • Additional eartips: 3 sets (S, M, L)

The Zipbuds Slide Sport V2 earbuds are made from durable military-grade bulletproof fibers and feature a patented zip-lock cable design that guarantees your cable will never be tangled again.

These are earbuds intended to be used for working out. With that in mind, there is a lot of focus on durability. The zip-lock cable can be adjusted to bring your cable in to prevent it from swaying with movement and create a more secure fit.

Zipbuds Slide Sport V2 also have a noise-filtering mic used to isolate your voice in phone calls so that you sound loud and clear on the other end.

But while the physical construction and cable-free design is impressive, the sound quality produced by the 12mm drivers is quite average compared to other earbuds on this list. Bass can sometimes be too boomy and has a tendency to bleed through the midrange, causing a muddy sound.

It sounds like more investment was placed into the design rather than audio quality.

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Sephia SP3060

Budget Pick
Close look at Sephia SP3060 (From: Amazon)
Close look at Sephia SP3060 (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Braided
  • Cable length: 120 cm
  • Connector: 3.5mm
  • Controls: No
  • Mic: No
  • Additional eartips: 6 sets of silicon tips. 2 sets of memory foam tips.

The Sephia SP3060’s are an affordable pair of earbuds that offer a wide variety of ear tips for you to choose from. The braided cable design also holds up well and makes it super difficult to become tangled around itself or other objects.

Each earbud housing is made of a lightweight metal that helps with portability, which is a must for earbuds you’re taking everywhere. They also have great noise isolation when used with tips that fit your ear.

The SP3060’s have a more modern and minimalist design compared to the gold and red found on their predecessors, the Sephia SP1050VC’s. However, it seems they’ve also dropped the built-in mic and in-line controls from the SP3060’s which seems like a step backwards.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer may have cut costs on their durability to maintain a low price point. Their fragility can be a deal breaker as they have a shockingly short lifespan and are very prone to damage through regular use.

However, according to the Sephia website, their products come with a 12-month warranty for quality-related issues. So, you can always rely on their warranty policy if any issue arises.

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Kirababy 3-Pack Earbuds

Best Bargain
Close look at Kirababy 3-Pack Earbuds (From: Amazon)
Close look at Kirababy 3-Pack Earbuds (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Thick
  • Cable length: 118 cm
  • Connector: 3.5mm
  • Controls: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Additional eartips: 2 spare sets

The Kirababy 3 Pack includes earbuds with extra thick cables that’re specifically designed to resist tangles and protect against cable pulling and fraying. If you find yourself going through earbuds quite fast, or you want to buy some for your family too, this 3-pack might be the way to go.

The in-line mic is very powerful and clear, even being able to pick up whispers. They also have a single in-line button, where you can control your phone calls and music.

Moreover, while the drivers are not expected to outperform a pair of higher-end earbuds, they deliver surprisingly good audio directly to your ears considering the price.

Yet, it would have been great if they came with tips of different sizes to accommodate those with smaller or larger ears.

And as for durability, they aren’t the sturdiest. While sound quality is good and the cable is very strong thanks to the added thickness, the earpieces can break very easily if not handled properly.

Luckily, Kirababy actually offers a generous lifetime warranty which may put some minds at ease.

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Joymiso Tangle Free Earbuds

Best for People with Small Ears
Close look at Joymiso Tangle Free Earbuds (From: Amazon)
Close look at Joymiso Tangle Free Earbuds (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Flat
  • Cable length: 130 cm
  • Connector: 3.5mm
  • Controls: 3 buttons, in-line
  • Mic: Yes
  • Additional eartips: 6 sets (3 standard adult sizes, 3 kids sizes)

Joymiso’s Tangle Free Earbuds are lightweight and use an ergonomic angled design for maximum comfort. Of the 6 different tip sizes to choose from, 3 are tiny enough to accommodate children or adults with smaller ears. Plus, they ensure a tangle-free listening experience thanks to the use of a sturdy flat cable.

The earbuds themselves are very durable, featuring a reinforced jack and a carry case to protect them wherever you go.

The in-line controls can be used to control your music, calls, and volume without getting your phone out. And, the noise cancelling mic also keeps phone calls crystal clear by only capturing your voice.

While the exterior is well-made, there seems to be an internal fault that results in the right earpiece breaking. Even if taken care of, this problem can occur just a few weeks after getting them. Thankfully, Joymiso offers a 12-month warranty if you have any problems.

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Belkin In-Ear Lightning Headphones

Best for Apple Devices
Close look at Belkin In-Ear Lightning Headphones (From: Amazon)
Close look at Belkin In-Ear Lightning Headphones (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Cable type: Flat
  • Cable length: 120 cm
  • Connector: Lightning
  • Controls: 1 button, in-line
  • Mic: Yes
  • Additional eartips: 3 sets (S, M, L)

As far as options go for iPhones, it can be hard to find a pair of tangle-free earbuds to use without the use of an adapter. Belkin’s In-ear Lightning Headphones fix this problem by using a lightweight and tangle-free flat cable with a lightning connector.

These sweat and water-resistant earbuds include comfortable tips that provide great noise isolation when used. Bass is punchy but not overbearing and the mids and highs are very crisp and clear. They also have a clean, black, low profile aesthetic that’s perfect for any environment.

As for construction, they are very delicate and flimsy. When using the in-line controls, pressing too hard almost feels as if you’ll break them. Perhaps cheaper materials were used in an attempt to make them feel less weighted when worn, but handle them with care to avoid any accidental breakage. Regardless, these earbuds come with a 2-year limited warranty to keep you covered.

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