5 Worst Earbuds to Avoid – Bad Quality Earphones

In today’s digital age, earbuds have become more than just a gadget; they’re part of our apparel.

But with countless options striving for our attention, how do we separate the masterpieces from the bad ones?

Just like the challenge of identifying bad smartwatches or worst digital cameras, picking out inferior earbuds is not straightforward.

Have you ever spent your money on a pair only to be bitterly disappointed? You’re not alone.

After testing hundreds of these gadgets, we’ve prepared a list of the worst earbuds on the market.

Before investing in your next pair, ensure you know the worst earphones to avoid. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

After testing, the worst earbuds based on sound quality, reliability, and comfort are Jaybird X4, MEES, House of Marley (EM-DE011), JBL Reflect Mini 2, and Endurance Peak II.

Worst Earbuds to Avoid

Let’s get into why we’ve classified the abovementioned gadgets as the worst.

Worst Earbuds

1. Jaybird X4:

Having tried the Jaybird X4, I can’t stress enough how much they missed the mark.

For an earbud that’s all about sporty aesthetics, you’d expect some solid performance to back it up.

But it seems they fell flat with a miserable 25% overall score. The sound quality is way worse, considering the price tag of around $200.

So, while they might have some decent audio enhancements, it just isn’t enough.

These are among the bad-quality earbuds to avoid if you value your music experience.

2. MEES Black True Wireless Earbuds

The MEES Black True Wireless Earbuds, with features like Bluetooth 5.0 and noise cancellation, seemed promising at first glance.

However, using them revealed some clear drawbacks.

One limitation was the single-earbud functionality, only allowing the use of the left earbud individually.

Charging became an issue over time; the dock often indicated charging without actually doing so, leading to unexpected power-offs.

On a similar note, I gifted a pair to my friend, and the charging pod gave out in just a month.

Even the replacement had a similar problem after 2 months. And while the earbuds claim a certain playback time, they lasted about 4 hours.

Given these experiences, it is one of the worst wireless earbuds and not worth buying.

3. House of Marley Liberate Air (EM-DE011)

Upon unboxing the House of Marley Liberate Air (EM-DE011), the first thing that caught my attention was its striking faux-wood finish.

The promise of combining aesthetics with high-end performance made me optimistic. Yet, the experience was far from the initial allure.

Despite their luxurious exterior, they drastically underperformed in delivering a clear, immersive sound.

It seemed the emphasis was majorly on their visual appeal, sidelining the actual auditory experience.

Such a mismatch between appearance and performance places them prominently on the least reliable earphones list.

You might want to look elsewhere for a perfect blend of style and substance.

4. JBL Reflect Mini 2

Worst Earphones

Sure, the JBL Reflect Mini 2 is more affordable, but sometimes, a lower price isn’t a golden ticket.

While they score slightly better than the Jaybirds, they are still far from the expected sound quality.

Apart from the handy left and right inscriptions, there’s not much to praise.

With sound and comfort that leaves much to be desired, these are bad earbuds you’d likely regret plugging into your ears.

5. JBL Endurance Peak II

When you pick up a product from JBL, you expect a certain level of quality. With the JBL Endurance Peak II, however, the experience was somewhat mixed.

It’s similar to expecting the best when buying a new smartphone from a reputable brand, only to end up with one of the worst smartphones.

While they have audio enhancement features advertised, the actual sound delivery was less than stellar.

Additionally, the comfort factor didn’t fully meet expectations. It’s a reminder that even well-known brands sometimes have products that might not suit everyone’s needs.

For those considering the Endurance Peak II, it’s worth taking a closer look before deciding.

Earbuds to Avoid

How to Spot Worst Earphones?

Let’s be real; no one wants to splurge their hard-earned cash on earphones only to realize they’ve picked up a dud.

Let us give some tips to identify and avoid poor quality earphones.

Underwhelming Sound Quality

The essence of any earphone lies in its sound. While listening, you might be dealing with a poorly designed pair if the bass is too muffled or the highs come off as too sharp. 

Furthermore, distortion at higher volumes can be another telltale sign. It’s vital to ensure clarity across different volume levels.

Durability Concerns

Earphones are an everyday accessory for many, so durability is key. Fragile wires or ones that tangle easily often hint at substandard materials used.

Another pain point is loose connections; if the audio drops with the slightest movement, it’s a clear sign of suboptimal build quality.

Compromised Comfort

Comfort is subjective but is universally essential.

If you find yourself adjusting the earpieces too often or if they become painful after just a short time of use, then they might not be the best fit for you (pun intended).

Ear fatigue can directly result from poor ergonomics or ill-fitting ear tips.

Battery Life and Charging Issues

For those who opt for wireless earphones, battery life is crucial. It can be very disappointing if the earphones can’t sustain the claimed battery life.

Moreover, erratic charging patterns or exceptionally long charging times can indicate subpar battery quality.


Choosing a reliable earbud can be tricky, especially with various options available. Your music and listening experience deserve the best.

To ensure you maintain quality and avoid ending up with the worst earbuds, it’s essential to be informed.

Remember, brand names and price tags don’t always equate to excellence. Sometimes, lesser-known brands outshine their renowned counterparts.

So, before you dive into your next purchase, keep this guide handy and make a choice that resonates with your ears and heart.

Chris Evan - WorstBrands
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Christopher Evans is a Mechanical Engineer and is a distinguished expert in tire and electronic appliance testing with over 15 years of experience. Holding certifications like Automotive Tire Service (TIA) and Certified Appliance Professional (CAP). He is also a member of the the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and has significantly contributed to safety standards and testing protocols in both industries. Evans is a respected speaker and award recipient.

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