Are tangled headphone cords are ruining your life? Now that headphones and corded earbuds double as mics for smartphones and remotes for connected devices, tangles are more of a problem than ever. We set out to solve this incredibly frustrating issue by rounding up, testing, and reviewing the best tangle free headphones, earphones, and earbuds.
Want to go totally wireless? Be sure to check out our roundup of the best Bluetooth earbuds for battery life too!
1. The Best Tangle Free Headphones: Activate BX Waterproof Bluetooth Earbuds
Admittedly, the Activate brand is a recent obsession. They’ve managed to win us over in a number of ways, including by being about half as expensive as our #2 tangle free pick, yet just as powerful and with added water-proofing to boot. As Bluetooth headphones have come down in price while boosting sound quality and battery life, there’s now no excuse to own a pair. The trick is finding that perfect mix of quality and value. Thankfully, Activate has done it for us with the BX earbuds.
Activate BX Tangle-Free Headphones Review
- The best price to quality ratio in our roundup of tangle-free headphones.
- While we wouldn’t take them scuba diving, IPX-5 rated waterproofing is a great feature for a more active lifestyle.
- Includes a carrying case as well as ear tips to fit various sizes. This is a big plus for comfort during long use.
- Three fun color options: Electric Yellow, Deep Blue, and Pitch Black allow for personalization.
- The BX is offered on endive at the $49.99 sale price for the time being, which means inventory may be limited. We’ll see if Activate opens up the market in due time for these incredible little earbuds.
2. The Best Tangle Free Headphones: JLab Audio Epic Executive with Active Noise Canceling
If you truly want to go tangle free, get rid of the cord altogether with the JLab Audio Epic Executive.
If you don’t want tangles ever again, there’s only one fix you should be considering: JLab’s Epic Executive. In this compact form factor you’ll get the best Bluetooth headphones on the market and active noise canceling technology that actually works. So now we’ve solved two problems for you. Eliminating tangled cords and annoying background noise. Just pop on active noise canceling and kill outside ambient noise. That leaves just you and your music, podcasts, or whatever you want to listen to.
JLab Epic Executive Tangle Free Eabuds Review
- Best sound in the game with beautiful, crisp treble and rumbling bass. Active noise canceling only enhances this experience.
- Over 11 hours of use time before charging is a best in class for the category. We’ve never seen numbers like that before. Flip on active noise canceling and you’re still working with over 7 hours before a charge is needed.
- Generous included accessories: Aux cord adaptor, micro USB cable, comfortable neck band, 4 sets of silicone ear tips for a perfect fit, 1 set of triple flange ear tips, 1 set of cloud foam ear tips, 2 Cush Fins™, and sturdy travel case.
- We wish JLab Audio included other color options. The black looks sleek and stylish, but sometimes we want to accessorize!
- Relatively expensive, but worth every penny.
3. Newcomer Expanse is Burning Up the Playing Field – $89.99
Expanse True Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case – $89.99
Perhaps the best way to untangle your life is to get rid of cords altogether. That’s what the wireless solution from Expanse does in spades. Not only did these earn a top spot on our list of best Bluetooth earbuds for battery life, but they also wound up taking a top tangle free spot thanks to their leading edge innovation, portable charging case, and all around high quality sound. We can’t recommend them enough. A final benefit? Should you happen to get them wet or sweaty their near waterproof rating will keep these little dynamos cranking out the tunes, calls, and podcasts with no issues.
Expanse True Wireless Earbuds Review
- Portable charging case can double as a USB charger for your phone or other devices. And it holds a lot of charge…
- Fun color combinations adds individuality, even if the buds are so tiny you can’t see too much when they are in.
- Best in class water and sweat resistance.
- Sound can never be as rich as over ear solutions.
- You get what you pay for, and Expanse is on the higher side.
4. Sliding Tangle Free Cord Tech from Zipbuds
The company that invented the tangle free headphones has released an updated and much improved version for 2017. With over 450 favorable Amazon reviews it looks like these tangle free earbuds are already a hit. The Slide Sport Pros feature new color combinations, better sound, and a slightly higher price point. That’s fine by us, as the performance is near perfect – these headphones promise zero tangles and deliver.
Zip Buds Slide Sport Tangle Free Earbuds Review
- Cool color combinations that offer a level of personalization not available in other tangle free options.
- Unique sliding design prevents all tangles before they happen with an ingenious combination of cord shape and materials.
- Lifetime warranty from an established brand is a confidence booster.
- More expensive than the basic first generation Zipbuds.
5. Style, Sound, and Tangle Free Substance with JLab Diego
Jlab’s Diego (no relation to Dora the Explorer) comes in a variety of pretty sweet color options. That’s about where we end with what is passable but high quality sound coming from the lower end of the price spectrum. Podcasts, music, and games all sound great on the Diego, and the contrasting color options add to the appeal. A flat, no-tangle cord is smartly made from a more plasticky material (not sticky rubber) that helps maintain a tangle free zone.
Jlab Diego In-Ear Headphones with Tangle Free Cord Review
- The design looks slick, and color options are different from other brands sold at this price point.
- Sound quality is on par for this price. You can get much richer bass from more expensive options, but you’ll pay for it.
- Lifetime guarantee is provided by the company. We didn’t get a chance to test this feature out, but we assume it means a speedy and helpful customer service team. Alpha XR reviews seem to agree this is the case.
- No major differentiator from other brands at this price point. Basically, if you like the overall look better than other brands, go for it.
6. Big, Deep Sound with Alauda’s Tangle Free Earbuds
If you appreciate music and don’t want to drop a cool $300.00 on studio headphones Alauda may fit the bill. Recently an International Design Excellence Awards Finalist in the headphone category, these high-quality earbuds have received over 400 positive customer reviews on Amazon that highlight a measured frequency response, inline microphone/remote for iOS devices, and multiple color/sound configurations for personal flare.
Alauda Tangle Free Earbuds Review
- Beautiful design with sturdy-feeling materials.
- Great sound at all ranges, even bass is pretty good with these earbuds.
- Outstanding price/quality ratio makes Alauda a compelling try.
- A bit awkward feeling in the ear, the perfectly rounded shape isn’t for everyone.
- High ranges are not better than more expensive in-ear solutions, though totally-acceptable.
7. No Wires, No Compromises with LG’s Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Headset
When only the best in wireless will do, the LG Tone Pro HBS-750 should be at the top of your list. Manufacturers have been trying to perfect stereo Bluetooth for a long time. It’s so hard to get right that even Apple had to delay the highly-anticipated AirPods for months due to missteps with sound transmission. Thankfully, LG knows what they are doing in this department. Not only was sound transmission crystal clear with rich tones and deep bass, the battery life was also outstanding, taking a beating from our team without wearing down early. If you’ve got the cash, these are a must own. Keep in mind you can use LG’s wireless headphones with older devices via a Bluetooth transmitter.
LG Electronics Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headset Review
- Perfect, uninterrupted wireless sound in any conditions with deep bass and high ranges that don’t sound tinny.
- Stays put when running, lying down, or moving about your day without issue. While not the best headphones for runners, they make for a decent active lifestyle set.
- A battery that is more than enough to get a full day’s use in. One of our testers was able to go two full days of talk with periodic music and podcasts before recharging.
- Lightweight design was much more comfortable during daily use than other similar-shaped headsets.
- These are definitely on the pricier side, as many wireless headset models come in at half the price or less. That said, LG’s superior quality in construction and sound is worth it if you are willing to part with your money. Basically, if you are looking for cheap earbuds you’re out of luck.
- The style is a little too Robocop for us to get 100% behind. This is a minor – and personal – opinion that we just couldn’t let slide. Maybe if LG offered some options we would be happier, but as it stands black on black is the only option available.
- The only way to charge out of the box is via USB cord. No AC adapter is included, which may or may not be a problem for some. It’s nice to be able to plug into a wall when traveling, especially now that many devices are changing to USB-C formats.
8. Innovative Tangle Free Noise Isolating Technology from Noisehush
Customizable with bright colors and an exclusive noise cancelling design, these high quality headphones prevent outside sounds from interfering with your vibe. Noisehush also has hands-free amenities and universal compatibility options standard. They’re perfect for trendsetters and for those who enjoy having the latest tech gear.
NoiseHush NX80 Tangle Free Earphones Review
- Noise isolation is a novel feature for earbuds, and made our listening experience better overall.
- Decent sound for the money, but a bit weak in the lower ranges.
- The noise cancellation worked, but not as well as we hoped. During our test certain ranges were isolated and blocked much better than others. For daily office use its acceptable.
- Though the cord is rated to be tangle free (that’s what this review is about, after all) we found that the cord often tangled, though not as severely as standard iPhone headphones.
9. Zip It Real Good with Zipbuds Juiced 2.0
A new update to an old favorite adds more colors and keeps the exclusive zipper design. Zipbuds prevent cord tangles by mimicking the up and down action of, well, a zipper. The latest additions to this time-tested line (check the Amazon reviews below) include glow in the dark, PRO, and Sport editions. I would take precaution and ask all non-wearers to keep their hands off, because this brings back haunting memories of my zipper-pants wearing days…
Zipbuds Zipper Tangle Free Earbuds Review
- A tried and true design that has stood the test of time. Zipbuds simply won’t tangle, no matter how furiously you stuff them into your bag.
- New editions allow for a wider range of use including better sound.
- You’ll pay big comparatively to get the Sport or PRO edition Zipbuds, see Amazon pricing below.
- When we tried jogging with Zipbuds the novel zipper design added a bit of awkward bouncing to the cord. It’s by no means a total negative, as we got used to it fairly quickly.
- We did not feel a difference in audio quality between regular and PRO editions to justify the higher price.
10. Kinbashi: The Japanese Swiss Army Knife of Earbuds
Fully equipped with just about every feature known to man, the Kinbashi In-Ear Earphones are a cult favorite. In fact, we’ve had readers asking why these haven’t made our lists for some time. Finally, here they are. Noise cancellation, tangle-free, over ear securing tabs, 3 sizes of rubber ear pieces, one-touch controls, all for a next to nothing price. But how does Kinbashi stack up with our panel of casual listeners?
Kinbashi In-Ear Tangle Free Earphones Review
- Super cheap (we mean in cost). The value here is probably the best in our entire list.
- A slick, 90-s comic book style that for whatever reason we really love.
- These may over promise a tad in areas like noise cancellation. When Kinbashi says these things cancel noise, what they mean is you have a rubber plug in your ear, so it is harder to hear ambient noise. Kind of a cheap shot, but for the price we can’t complain.
- As several readers pointed out, the flat cord design is somewhat tangle free, but not a true solution to the problem. Ours came out of the bag tangled on more than one occasion.
- Zero customization options. What you see is what you get.
11. Wear a Rubber with the Nest Case
This simple alternative to tangle free headphones and earbuds is a cheap win. Digital Innovations’ The Nest is a durable, easy to use case that holds any corded earbuds without letting them tangle. It’s a nice way to keep yourself organized, especially if you have multiple pairs of headphones or earbuds that need safe keeping. The process of encasing your phones in The Nest is a simple as just about anything else, requiring a couple of deft moves you’ll be used to in no time.
The Nest Earphone and Tangle Free Earbud Case Review
- 100% does the job, and if you love your current earbuds in all their tangled glory, you won’t need to get a new pair to prevent a spaghetti situation.
- Multiple colors, incase retina-burning green isn’t your thing.
- This is one more thing you have to deal with when packing or unpacking your earbuds. Not particularly convenient when your boss calls and you need to pull out those phones and get connected in under 5 seconds.
- You kind of look like a doofus pulling this thing out of your bag and turning out the rubber outer cradle, more so if you get one of the obnoxious colors.
- For the money, you could also pick up a second pair of fully-functional headphones from our list, like the Kinbashi pair listed above.
12. Premium Beauty and Rugged Tangle Free Construction with Tweedz
The Tweedz tangle free earbuds are an excellent accessory, including all expected standard features and capped with a unique, braided nylon cord casing. The casing doesn’t tangle easily, even when we stuffed it into bags. This makes it super easy to grab and go without worrying about tangles, and the soft, patterned nylon cord in multiple colors adds to the fun. Tweedz put some love into these earbuds, and it certainly shows. It’s worth noting that Tweedz also made it to our top list of braided earbuds for 2017.
Tweedz Tangle-free Noise Isolating Tangle Free Ear Buds Review
- Multiple colors to choose from and fun patterns in the woven nylon make Tweedz stand out from the crowd. These also match perfectly to several of the products in our USB bracelet roundup, creating an opportunity to design a wearable tech wardrobe.
- The finish on these earbuds is absolutely superior. Tweedz feel rugged and durable while maintaining an understated elegance.
- Nylon is a fiber, and over time fibers fray. We tested this out by vigorously rubbing the Tweedz cord over surfaces like Velcro (a common material used on jackets and outerwear). The results are as expected, with fuzzy fraying developing over time. This likely won’t apply to the average user, and may take years to develop even with regular use.
- Tweedz spent some money making these earbuds, and you’re going to pay for it. At 3x the price of other options in the tangle-free space, we expected a bit more in areas like noise cancellation.
13. Avantree Has Wires When You Need Them, Bluetooth When You Don’t – Editor’s Pick Best for Gaming
What’s better than a tangle free cord solution? No cord at all. Avantree’s dual mode over ear headphones seamlessly change from flat, tangle resistant cord to wireless via Bluetooth. Just unplug and go. Boasting a fairly long battery life (see our notes below) and high quality audio output with the deep bass only over ear devices can provide, these headphones are some of the best in our roundup, and may be one of the best values out there for Bluetooth headphones period.
Avantree Bluetooth+Corded Over Ear Tangle Free Headphones Review
- Super versatile design allows you to utilize a cord when sitting at home or work, and Bluetooth when in the gym or on the go. The seamless integration works simply and elegantly, recognizing when you are plugged in vs. not with no interruption to sound and no use of battery power when plugged in.
- While many Bluetooth headphones suffer from signal degradation and interruption, Avantree gets it right. The signal is strong with zero interruption even during rigorous use. During testing we were able to get 20 feet of distance between the headphones and device before signal loss occurred, showing Avantree did not go for cheap tech.
- Audio quality is one of the best in this group, even for some of our more picky testers.
- Accessories like a headphone stand and low latency gaming version are nice to haves
- You pay for feature rich equipment, and thanks to high quality parts Avantree is no exception. Be ready to shell out the dough, though not as much as some super-premium systems.
- Bluetooth is awesome and solves all manner of cord-related issues, but it does mean battery power is used when no plugged in. Avantree says you get 40 hours of use, but in practice we achieved between 32 and 35 hours.
14. The Ailihen C8 is a Flashy, Foldable Over Ear with Tangle Free Nylon
These fun, lightweight, basic over ear headphones do their job as promised, and at under $16.00 they are some of the best for the money. AILIHEN may not be a household name, but the C8 headphones deliver sound quality as good or better than many other recognizable over ear brands without the expense. While extra features are minimal, the headphones are designed to stand up to an on the move lifestyle with mic and smartphone controls. Combined with a braided nylon cord to prevent tangling, the C8s are a great daily driver.
AILIHEN C8 Foldable Over Ear Tangle Free Headphones Review
- Woven, thick nylon cord won’t tangle. Trust us, we tried.
- You can’t beat the style on these over ears. Fun colors and high quality materials adds up to a sleek, cool look from larger over ear headphones.
- The folding mechanism is sturdy; we didn’t detect any weakness even after repeated foldings and rather rough bag stuffing.
- We have heard better sound from other over ears, especially as it relates to rich bass. That said, better sounding over ear headphones are at least twice the price (and some way more). Non-audiophiles shouldn’t mind at all.
- The woven nylon cord is not detachable from the headphones, meaning you can’t really replace a frayed or broken cord without buying a whole new pair. Again, at this price point a detachable cord isn’t a huge negative, but something to note.
15. Bose QuietComfort 35: Not Your Daddy’s Wireless – Editor’s Pick: Best Overall Sound
We know, we know… Bose was your dad’s brand. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, Bose was the de facto best in home audio. But as we moved from listening to tunes on our sweet home hi-fi system to iPods and eventually smartphones, Bose has gone by the wayside and lost some of it’s “cool” luster. Guess what kids? Bose is back in a big way. The QuietComfort 35 is a marvel in audio engineering with an absolutely unmatched active noise cancelling system. If these are in your budget and you want to cut the cord completely, there should be no other choices on your list.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones Review
- The Bose QuietComfort 35’s take you to a magical palace of sound. When noise cancelling is on, you feel like you are in the middle of the music. It’s an experience that you have to try to believe.
- Absolute quality in construction with sturdy, good looking parts.
- Extreme battery life. In our wear down tests Bose QuietComfort 35 actually doubled the battery life of the next closest competitor, the LG Tone Pro HBS-750.
- Audio prompts help you set up and use the headphones. It sounds weird, but it’s actually really useful and helped us get going right out of the box.
- These are for sitting at home and enjoying serious tunes or on a long leg plane flight where you won’t be doing much moving. Working out or generally being mobile isn’t a possibility, though once you get used to the sound quality you may find yourself sitting around the house more often.
- The cost. My God, the cost. If you truly have no financial limits and want to immerse yourself in music, podcasts, television, or computer audio this is the end all be all of headphones. Go ahead, treat yo’self!
16. Samsung Level U Pro Offers a Good Value With Minor Complaints
Considering this Bluetooth headset has over 500 positive reviews on Amazon, Samsung’s Level U Pro Bluetooth Wireless In-ear Headphones compelled us to test. These wireless headphones are made for athletes, featuring a comfortable neck strap to hold them in place as well as a number of other movement-friendly functions. The Level U Pro is also a good value, scoring a spot in our list of Apple AirPod alternatives for under $50.
Samsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Headset Review
- Athlete-oriented design is light with a moisture-resistant coating that is similar to Plantronics BackBeat FIT and Bose Soundsport Pulse at a fraction of the cost. We tested the Level U Pro in a number of environments (including a brisk urban jog) and found it to be comfortable and fixed reliably in place.
- Great sound quality in spite of the lightweight parts. Samsung credits a
secretive UHQ Audio feature for the excellent overall sound performance. We had no complaints when mixing the Level U Pro with the many ambient sounds of the city.
- Long battery life in the 8-10 hour range depending on use. This is typical of Samsung, one of the best brands that seldom skimps on hardware.
- Other colors and styles take you up the price bracket. Unfortunately Samsung charges more for other Level U Pro color options. That stings a bit, and seems unnecessary. Color styles are standard in many other headsets on our list, and while Samsung delivers on audio and sports performance, we wish there were options here as well.
- If we’re totally honest, you can get bigger, better sound if you move up a notch to the Bose Soundsport Pulse. The bigger, bolder sound from Bose is what we were hoping to see matched in the Samsung Level U Pro.
17. Bonus: Quick Tangle Free Cord Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Fixes
Also known as “Friendship” headphones, this idea has spread quickly in the Pinterest world. It’s a bit time consuming yet affordable, plus it holds the hipness factor of Zipbuds (above) along with the bracelet wearability benefits of the CordCruncher (also above).
Another Pinterest favorite uses Hama beads (or “ironing beads”) to cover all exposed cables.
If I could write an entire post about these fantastic little guys, I would. Hanging them off a push pin on the wall is a neat idea for added organization.
18. It’s All In the Tangle Free Wrap
Maybe it’s time you learned a new skill. YouTube is here to help. With some patience and practice, you’ll be a true ear bud aficionado. If there is such a thing as a Bluetooth record player, then certainly headphones can step into the tangle free era. And if you’re a new parent, you’ll want to learn about protecting baby’s hearing with our roundup of best noise cancelling headphones for babies. Looking for something with a little more oomph? Our roundup of best Bluetooth speakers will keep your eardrums ringing.