Editor’s Note: This guide has been updated with our selections for 2016.

The term “disposable clothing” has, somewhat regrettably, surfaced in the last five or ten years. We like high-quality, long-lasting apparel, so unless we’re in a pinch, purchasing cheap clothes with the intention of truncating our relationship with them isn’t the most appealing thought. Same goes with most electronics, since in that world cheap almost always means crappy. Almost.

Earbuds, rather than full-size headphones, are essential for most because of their compactness. Wind them up (okay, wad them up), shove ’em in your pocket and you’ll be ready to untangle them go at a moment’s notice. You can go for quality (and costliness) like other kinds of ‘phones — though odds are you’ll lose or ruin them in no time flat. The best solution is a decent pair that won’t disappoint aurally or financially. If you’re a commuter or jogger or some other type of person who can’t balance one-pound earmuffs on your head all day, and you don’t want to spend a pretty penny on something that you’re likely to lose or break, these budget earbuds are for you.

Additional contribution by Tucker Bowe.


Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds
Best for Variety: Silver, black, green, blue, red, pink, orange and purple — these Panasonics come in lots of colors. $15


Sony MDR-EX37B/BLK Earbuds
Best Value: These earbuds come with 9mm drivers and cost about what you’d spend on a decent lunch. $30


Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Enhanced Bass Earbuds
Best for Big Bass: The Germans know how to make the bass boom, even in a compact package. $30


RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating
Best Noise-Reducers: Because a crowded subway car shouldn’t get between you and your tunes. $30


Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
Best for Blending In: There’s no shame in admitting that you love the earbuds that came with your iPhone. $29


Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 In-Ear Headphones
Best Active Noise Canceling: Believe it or not, over-ear headphones aren’t the only ones that can pull off ANC. $44


JLab Audio Fit 2.0 Sport Earbuds
Best for Workouts: Because a little sweat and wear ‘n tear shouldn’t impede your workout tunes. $26


AYL Bluetooth Headphones
Best for Minimalists: Welcome to wireless, meet the future. $30