Trends come and go and now wired earphones are coming back again after phone companies have unceremoniously removed the headphone jack. These time earphones come with lightning cables instead. Here are the best lightning earphones for iPhones for the people who miss the wired connection in life.
Everything You need to know about Lightning headphones
How we did this review
For our best lightning earphones for iPhones review, we rated each product against sound quality, mic quality, fit, and other key features like MFi certification.
Out of the 5 products we reviewed, the bottom of the barrel belongs to the Belkin SoundForm Headphones and the AmazonBasics Lightning Headphones. The Belkin SoundForm Headphones sounded terrible across the board and the AmazonBasics Lightning Headphones were just not good enough in anything. Especially for the price.
In order to not read everything over and over again, here are the similar features the products all had in common:
- Volume control
- Come packaged with different tips.
- Terrible to use during workouts
- Has splash and sweat resistance
top 5 Lightning Earphones for iPhones
#5 Belkin Rockstar SoundForm Lightning headphones
Things that cost more should be better right? That’s generally what happens but not with the Belkin Lightning Headphones. Belkin Rockstar SoundForm Lightning headphones cost twice as much as Apple’s own EarPods and are terrible.
Belkin Rockstar SoundForm Lightning headphones’ sound quality sounded like flat pop as everything was dull, flat and muted. The mic made our voices sound tinny and bright and picked up a lot of background noise.
One of the biggest nuisances of wired in-ear headphones is the cable noise caused by contact between the cable and any surface or clothes. Belkin uses a rigid (but thin) cable for the headphones so there was constant contact with surfaces/clothes. This cable noise made it unbearable for us to use these headphones while moving about.
We honestly can’t think of any reason to buy these headphones other than the design of the buds look a little different.
#4 Amazon Basics Lightning Headphones
We’re quite certain Amazon messed up these lightning earphones. Our expectation of Amazon Basic products is that they are as good as name brands but at a better price. The Amazon Basics Lightning headphones are the complete opposite of that expectation.
Amazon Basics Lightning headphones sounded average in terms of sound quality. The bass was heavier than Apple’s own Earpods and the mid/high ranges weren’t as bright. We did notice that pop tracks sounded better than Apple’s headphones but not rock and acoustic/voice tracks.
The mic on the Amazon Lightning Headphones didn’t sound as good as Apple EarPod’s but better than the UGreen and Belkin products. There weren’t any big pitfalls to the mic, it just didn’t sound as good.
The cable on these earphones was the shortest of the group by 3 inches. The earbuds themselves were easy to put in and other than the extra tip at the top of the stem, looked like the Apple Earpods.
The only reason we’d get these headphones would be for the fast delivery through Amazon Prime. There would be no other reason to spend an extra $15-20 on these headphones.
At Mobile Reviews Eh!, we do tests and use the products in our everyday lives for days even weeks before doing an actual review. If you like our best lightning earphones for iPhones review, please consider buying the products on the links scattered on this article.
#3 UGreen In-Ear Headphones
The standout feature of UGreen In-Ear Headphones is the sound quality. Music sounds balanced. The bass doesn’t drown everything out and the higher registers sounds crisp and full.
Cable noise is kept to a minimum because the cable diameter on the headphones is small (smallest in our test group) and flexible. Products like the Belkin Rockstar Lightning headphones have thicker, less flexible cables that cause a lot of cable noise to travel to your ears. If there was a pair of headphones that made us forget we were testing wired headphones, it would be the UGreen’s.
The only thing suppressing the ranking of these Lightning In-Ear Headphones is the mic. The mic is terrible as everything sound extremely tinny. If you take a lot of calls or need mics for your TikToks, don’t get this pair of headphones.
The UGreen In-Ear Headphones is also incredibly small which makes insertion a little tricky. They look cool but removing the earbuds requires you to tug on the cable and not the body of the earbuds which isn’t great. Also, good luck trying to find the L and R symbols on the headphones.
In short, if you like music and hate phone calls, get the UGreen.
#2 Apple EarPods
Apple accessories are usually priced out of contention in our reviews because they generally offer less functionality than the competitors but cost more. That is not the case with the Apple EarPods, which is odd.
The sound quality of the Apple EarPods were average. It didn’t have the brightness of the UGreen headphones. In our testing, acoustic and voice tracks sounded a but muted when compared to the UGreen headphones but didn’t haven’t the flatness from the Belkin and Amazon products.
When it comes to mic, the Apple EarPods were the best. It was the most sensitive and captured our voice in a non-chipmunk kind of way and picked up our voices well at all the distances we tested.
The best part is honestly the price. It’s $20 which is half the price of the UGreen product! It’s a steal of a deal!
Here’s our theory about why these EarPods are so cheap. There’s no Apple logo on them. Think about, what other Apple product that doesn’t have an Apple logo that isn’t overpriced? The Amazon Basic headphones are the complete opposite. They’re labelled and cost almost twice as much and they do not work as well as the EarPods.
#1 SkullCandy Set In-Ear Headphones
The sound quality of SkullCandy Set In-Ear Headphones was just a notch below the UGreen product. The bass is heavier but the mid and upper ranges were as clear. Now we understand that music and subsequently sound quality is a personal thing so if you like listen to hip-hop/pop tracks, the heavier bass might be a good thing so get the SkullCandy Set over the UGreen’s.
The mic on SkullCandy Set In-Ear Headphones was almost as good as the Apple EarPods. It wasn’t as strong as the Apple EarPods at distance but was a bit better than the Apple EarPods when used as a Faux Mic.
The cable on the headphones is stiffer so cable noise is a bit more apparent and the volume controls are on the left side instead of the right. Now we made sure every product in our reviews was MFi certified but with these SkullCandy headphones, they were listed under “Set Lightning” rather than their SKU/Product number. It was an odd discovery.
The last thing is the price. It’s a dollar more ($21) than Apple’s so you get headphones that sound better because of in-ear noise isolation and a mic that’s comparable.
What Are Lightning Headphones?
Lightning headphones are a type of wired headphones that have a lightning connector instead of a 3.5mm jack. Apple released their custom wired earphones in 2016 with the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 was also the first iPhone to be released with no 3.5mm headphone jack. Since then, they have not bundled earphones with new iPhones.
Lightning headphones can be used with other devices with the right dongles.
Can Lightning Be Converted To USB-C?
If you have a newer iPhone that uses a Lightning connector, you may be wondering if you can use your old headphones that have a USB-C connector. The good news is that it is possible to convert Lightning to USB-C, but you will need to purchase a dongle.
One option is the Anker MFi Certified USB-C to Lightning Cable. This dongle is Apple MFi certified, meaning that it is made specifically for use with Apple devices. It is also backed by an 18-month warranty.
The biggest issue with using a dongle to convert Lightning to USB-C is the price. The dongle itself may cost more than the Lightning headphones you have.
Can You Use Lightning Headphones On the iPad Pro?
You can’t use Lightning headphones on the iPad Pro. The newest iPad Mini, iPad Air’s and iPad Pro’s don’t have a headphone jack or Lightning port but rather a USB-C port. If you want to use your Apple Lightning headphones with those devices, you’ll need to use a special Lightning to USB-C dongle. The regular iPad will support the use of Lightning headphones.
Can You Use Lightning Headphones on Android?
As of right now, you cannot use Lightning headphones with an Android device out of the box. You will need to purchase a Lightning to USB-C dongle in order to use them. Again, the biggest issue with this is the price. The dongle itself may cost more than the Lightning headphones you have.