Best clip-on headphones

Headphones

Did you know that the first modern headphones sold to the United States Navy in 1910 were made by Nathanial Baldwin in his home kitchen?

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which clip-on headphones are best?

Are you sick and tired of losing your expensive earbuds while engaging in your favorite outdoor activities? Are your beloved gaming headphones too clunky and ill-suited for public transportation, school or work? Clip-on headphones may be the answer.

With a reliable pair of clip-on headphones, such as the Treblab XR500 Bluetooth Headphones, you can enjoy hours of music and other entertainment without wearing gigantic headphones all day or the fear of losing earbuds.

What to know before you buy clip-on headphones

Secure fit headphones

As opposed to traditional headphones that use a headband to stay in place or wireless earbuds that are placed within your ears, clip-on headphones are physically connected to your clothing or apparel via a mechanical cable or cord clip. This simple but effective feature will prevent your clip-on headphones from being dropped, jostled loose or damaged from falls or being stepped on. Thanks to this simple yet effective invention, you can go about your day without having to worry about accidentally losing your headphones.

Headphones with bluetooth

As one of the primary means of connecting wireless devices without using the internet, Bluetooth technology makes it possible for your clip-on headphones to pair wirelessly with just about any compatible device, including your smartphone, laptop or tablet. With either Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.1 at your disposal, you’ll be able to link your clip-on headphones to a wide variety of compatible electronic devices. Be sure to check out the full buying guide for clip-on headphones at BestReviews.

What to look for in quality clip-on headphones

Water-resistant headphones

For those who are unfamiliar with the term IPX, the IP stands for Ingress Protection, and the X represents the level of protection that is provided. In other words, a higher IPX number represents a greater level of protection against harmful elements like wind, water and even your own sweat. 

For example, an IPX rating of 6 means your device is guarded from high-pressure water jets from all directions, while an IPX rating of 7 means that your device can still operate after being underwater for thirty minutes at a depth of one meter. Before purchasing a pair of clip-on headphones, be sure to determine the level of environmental protection that will best suit your needs. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution whether you expect inclement weather, going on sweaty morning jogs or simply hanging out beside the pool.

Clip on headphones battery

As with virtually every wireless device, one of the most important things to consider when buying a pair of clip-on headphones is the length of time they can operate before recharging. In addition, it’s also important to consider just how long it will take to get your device fully charged and ready for action. Let’s face it. No one wants to be ready to hit the hiking trail only to discover their brand new clip-on headphones take an incredible amount of time to recharge. Double check the recharge rate as well as the battery life of your headphones. If you plan on being outdoors or away from places to charge your headphones for long periods of time, a pair with a longer battery life is the best choice. 

Clip-on headphones features

Just like how your favorite pair of traditional headphones or wireless earbuds possess features like noise cancelation and call management, you should make sure to purchase a pair of clip-on headphones that will meet your specific needs. Another thing to consider is how easy your clip-on headphones are to pair with other devices as well as their maximum range of operation. A wide range of options are available. Make sure to go over your clip-on headphones’ additional features and ensure they meet all your needs.

How much you can expect to spend on clip-on headphones

Depending on your desired features and their ability to resist damage from the elements, a pair of clip-on headphones can cost between $14-$30, with high-end models costing a bit more.

Best clip-on headphones FAQ

How does the clip prevent the headphones from falling off?

A. The clip will prevent your headphones from being lost or dislodged by attaching your headphone cables to your shirt buttons, collar, bag strap or other location. Other models clip or hook directly over your ears.

Will my clip-on headphones leak music and disturb other passengers?

A. There should be no issues if you keep the volume at a normal level, though higher settings can sometimes lead to noise pollution.

What are the best clip-on headphones to buy?

Top clip-on headphones

Treblab XR500 Bluetooth Headphones

Treblab XR500 Bluetooth Headphones

What you need to know: These clip-on headphones provide excellent service while at the office or at the gym.

What you’ll love: This unit offers 5-second Bluetooth 5.0 device pairing, is water and sweat proof and provides nine hours of battery on one and a half hours of charging time. 

What you should consider: This model sometimes has trouble pairing to other devices.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top clip-on headphones for the money

Otium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Otium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

What you need to know: These clip-on headphones offer excellent protection against the elements for an affordable price.

What you’ll love: This unit has IPX-7 level protections against wind and water, Bluetooth 5.1 CSR technology, IMPROVE acoustic components and works up to 30 feet away from the paired device.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with audio quality, especially related to both the speaker itself and its bass capabilities.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Panasonic Slim Clip On Earphone

Panasonic Slim Clip On Earphone

What you need to know: These clip-on headphones are ultra-compact and won’t weigh you down on your commute.

What you’ll love: This unit offers a 30mm Driver Audio Unit, a headphone jack and comes in a Deluxe High Gloss Finish in black or white.

What you should consider: This model is made from cheaper materials than some others, which can make them uncomfortable or fit poorly for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.