Stick It In (or On) Your Ear

2 minute read
| Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode 200

I love to listen to music and often find myself in places where the only polite way to listen is with earphones or headphones. Apple’s EarPods, included with iPhones, aren’t bad for “in-the-box” earphones, but the longer I use them the less comfortable they become. And they’re not the best for exercise. For one thing, they’re not water- or sweat-proof. And because of their “one-size-fits-all” design, they don’t stay in my ears when I’m active.

So, I’m always testing alternatives—both earphones (in-the-ear) and headphones (on and over the ear)—looking for ones that stand out from the crowd in some way. I’ve tested more than a dozen different brands and models this year; here are a few that stood above the rest.

Good Cheap Waterproof Earphones: BlueAnt Pump for $24.99

I’m still a fan of the original (now discontinued) BlueAnt Pump wireless sport buds, which sell for around $35 on when you can find them. I love ‘em because they’re not only sweat proof, they’re also completely waterproof, so they are fabulous in the hot tub.

BlueAnt Pump earphones are a bargain and 100% waterproof!

BlueAnt Pump earphones are a bargain and 100% waterproof!

But, since many people don’t care for in-the-ear-headphones, and many people would be OK with sweat-proof rather than waterproof, I’ve been looking for a reasonably-priced wireless sport headset to recommend.

Water Resistant On-the-Ear Earphones: Kinivo BTH260 for $44,99

I finally found it in the Kinivo BTH260 ($79.99 list; $44.99 at, an on-the-ear wireless headset that’s comfortable enough to wear for hours, yet designed to stay in place during moderate activity, like, say, walking my dog. I’ve tried many over-the-ear and on-the-ear headsets that wouldn’t stay in place during a walk to the park, not to mention more active pursuits like skiing, bicycling, or jogging. I don’t ski, jog, or bike anymore, but I’m relatively certain that these headphones would stay in place just fine if I did.

Kinivo BTH260 are water resistant on-the-ear earphones that won't break the bank.

Kinivo BTH260 are water resistant on-the-ear earphones that won’t break the bank.

One last thing: The on-the-ear design means that unlike in-the-ear-buds, they won’t block out all ambient sound, which can be a good thing.

My Favorite Wired Earphones: Klipsch S4i for $69.00

Moving right along, for years my go-to wired iPhone headset was the (now discontinued) Klipsch S4i, which are currently available at for $69. It’s the best-sounding in-the-ear headset with remote I’ve found yet for under $100. But when I mention them, someone always asks if I know of anything almost as good at half the price.

Klipsch S4i and Inline Control

Klipsch S4i


Good Sounding Inexpensive Wired Earphones: Inateck BH1105M for $15.99

I wasn’t expecting the Inateck BH1105M noise-isolating in-ear headphones with mic and remote, which list for $30, to be great, and they’re not. But they are surprisingly good for $15.99—their price at—and sound better than many of the $40 and $50 headsets I’ve tried.

The Inateck BH1105M sounds better than you'd expect for $15.99!

The Inateck BH1105M sounds better than you’d expect for $15.99!

That’s how things stand today; I’ll continue my search for better and/or less expensive earphones and headphones and keep you posted.


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