Best Lightning headphones for iPhone and iPad in 2023

Wireless headphones have become the mainstream listening medium, and even to listen to music on any iPhone since the age-old iPhone 7, you either need a pair of Bluetooth headphones, a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter (no longer included in the box since 2018) or a pair of wired Lightning headphones, that connect to the Lightning port. And now that the iPhone 15 has officially ditched the Lightning port for the USB-C slot to comply with the EU’s mandate, it’s changing things up yet again.


However, not all iPhones have made the port-switch quite yet, so if you’re looking to swap out your wireless headphones or have a solid back-up for preference or even to make a fashion statement, here are the best lightning headphones that fit your ear, budget, and Lightning port.

Best Lightning headphones: Our top picks

Belkin Soundform

Belkin/Pocket-lint

Belkin SoundForm iPhone Headphones with Lightning Connector

1. Best Lightning headphones overall

Tangle free and reliable

These wired Lightning headphones come with a tangle-free cable and are at home with calls or music, while there’s also an in-line volume control.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Tangle-free cable
Cons

  • In-line mic/control hangs off one ear
  • Not the most secure fit

The Belkin Soundform makes our top pick because we believe what most people want is an affordable, unfussy pair of in-ears to replace the wired earpods that used to come in the iPhone box. These are arguably the closest thing to those you’ll find.

Available in both black and white, these wired Lightning headphones also come in a USB-C version for Android phones. They’re Apple-certified and come with a tangle-free cable. Naturally, they’re at home with calls or music, while there’s also an in-line volume control.

As you can see, they’re inexpensive compared to many other Lightning-headphone options, too.

Pioneer Rayz Plus

Pioneer/Pocket-lint

Pioneer Rayz Plus

2. Best Lightning headphones for noise cancelling

Simple and dependable

A genius charging port elevates the Rayz Plus over its competition.

Pros

  • Competitive price
  • Active noise cancelling
  • “Hey Siri” hands-free

The Pioneer Rayz Plus have built-in noise-cancelling technology that promises to adapt to your ears, but also lets in enough external noise to make sure you stay aware of your surroundings. When you take them out of your ears, the music you were listening to automatically pauses and starts again when you put them back in.

A convenience key on the in-line controls can be set to open a music app, mute calls or launch Rayz controls, which allows you to adjust various headphone settings. Perhaps one of the best features of the Rayz Plus though, is they let you charge your iPhone while listening to music.

All this is great, and the sound quality is brilliant for the money as well. But the fit is one area that has let some users down. They often need pushing back in or adjusting to maintain the sound quality and noise cancelling.

Still, for the money, it’s hard to argue with what’s on offer here.

Editor’s note: These headphones currently out of stock, but be sure check back to see if these headphones are available.

1More Triple Driver with Lightning

1More/Pocket-lint

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

3. Best Lightning headphones for sound quality

Great sound, poor mic

These triple driver headphones sound fantastic for the price – just don’t use them for phone calls.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Nice build
  • Great value

The sound quality on these 1More Triple Driver in-ears is superb for the money, with three drivers in each bud handling every element of the frequency range – plus a 24-bit/48kHz DAC for distortion-free sound.

The aluminium alloy design looks the part too, while a 5-in-1 control handles playback – and can be controlled with one thumb for ultimate convenience.

The mic isn’t great here though and call quality suffers because of it. There’s no noise cancellation either, which you’ll find elsewhere in our picks if that’s important to you. But for great sound quality alone, for under $100, these are a great option.

next gen apple earpods could feature accelerometers and improved voice recognition image 1

Apple EarPods

4. Best Lightning headphones for value

Basic buds

$17 $29 Save $12

The original Lightning headphones, Apple’s Earpods are a great choice for a cheap price.

Pros

  • Lightweight, comfy fit
  • Decent sound
  • Easy controls
  • Great price
Cons

  • Not the most stable fit
  • Sound is leaky

While Apple has stopped putting the Earpods into the box with its iPhone, it has continued to offer them at a very reasonable price for those who would prefer to have the option of straightforward wired headphones.

The fit will divide opinion. There’s no doubt it’s comfortable and lightweight, but they aren’t the most secure and certainly aren’t a good option for workouts. Sound isn’t bad at all though – far from the very best but for under $20 there’s nothing to grumble about here.

The mic on the cable makes you easily heard on calls and also makes for easy track and call control via the in-line remote. Sound can be a little bit leaky to those around you, but for basic wired Lightning buds, these will do the trick for most people.

Best Lightning headphones photo 6

Sennheiser Ambeo Smart

5. Best Lightning headphones for workouts

For those who need a fit that can handle workouts, this is a great offering.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Over-ear hook design for a secure fit
Cons

  • 360 sound is quirky
  • The mic unit is chunky

This one’s a bit of a wild card entry: Sennheiser’s Ambeo Smart headset. They were among the first to launch with Lightning connector included, but Sennheiser didn’t want to launch an average everyday pair of in-ears. Instead, it launched with a very unique selling point.

The Ambeo headphones feature two omnidirectional microphones to produce a 360 effect in recorded audio, which means they double as a microphone for when you’re recording videos on your phone. The idea is that you’re immersed in your audio landscape.

They feature ANC but can also allow sounds through so that you can hear what’s going on around you. Plus, now that they’re older, they’re very affordable.

The bottom line: What are the best Lightning headphones?

Because of their tangle-free and reliable design, our top pick for the best Lightning headphones overall are the Belkin SoundForm headphones. Of course, if you want to go old-school back to the days they came with your iPhone, you can always opt for the Apple EarPods.

Belkin Soundform

Belkin/Pocket-lint

Belkin SoundForm iPhone Headphones with Lightning Connector

Editor’s Choice

Tangle free and reliable

These wired Lightning headphones come with a tangle-free cable and are at home with calls or music, while there’s also an in-line volume control.

How did we choose the best Lightning headphones?

We checked back to our reviews, that is when we were still reviewing Lightning headphones, and had a look at which of those we liked and which of them are still available. Then, we took a look at the market, read hundreds of first-hand user reviews and combined them with our experience of the brands – in terms of sound quality, build quality and reputation.

Were Apple EarPods discontinued?

No, the EarPods themseleves were not discontinued, and you can still find them on Apple’s website, however, they no longer come in the box with your new iPhone as they once did.

Does Apple still make Lighning headphones?

Yes, despite moving to a USB-C port with the iPhone 15 and second-generation AirPods Pro 2, it still makes and sells the Lighning EarPods – at least, for now.

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