Apple iPod Touch
Apple fans have a hard time finding flaws with this music player, which has loads of storage for songs from all your favorite artists. It also comes with its own camera, which is a feature not found on most music players.
A high-resolution camera built inside this little device lets you take photos while listening to your favorite music. It comes bundled with some awesome accessories and can store thousands of songs.
This is easily one of the most expensive MP3 players on the market today. You may not like that you can only use iTunes to transfer music to the player.
Swimbuds Sport Waterproof Headphones and MP3 Player
This is really one of the top combos for those who work out a lot. The set comes with an MP3 player that works with different file types, and its waterproof design makes it resistant to sweat and rain.
Not only does this set let you listen to music everywhere you go, but both the headphones and MP3 player have waterproof cases for listening to music while swimming. You can upload music files that use either MP3 or WAV extensions.
Some reviews claimed that the MP3 player either stopped working or stopped charging after a few weeks. This set also comes with some accessories that you may not want or need.
8GB MP3 Player
A clear digital display and a simple design make this a good choice for budget shoppers. Though it only has 8GB of storage, you can add more storage in the form of a micro SD card.
With the included clip, you can carry this MP3 player with you and listen to music on the go. It comes with 8GB of internal storage and a slot that can accept a 64GB memory card.
You may have some problems connecting this player to a Bluetooth device. Some shoppers had problems with the memory function of the device too.
16GB Digital Music Player
Compatible with many Bluetooth devices, this music player lets you download apps to get more out of it. You can use the included cables to connect the MP3 player to your car’s radio too.
With an internal memory capable of storing 16GB of music, this device ensures that you never run out of tunes. It takes around three hours to charge the battery, which gives you up to 60 hours of use.
The instructions are confusing and hard to follow. Depending on the Bluetooth devices that you use, you may find that this music player isn’t compatible with those devices.
SanDisk Clip Jam
With this MP3 player, you can pick the color that you like the best. The bright screen on the front helps you easily switch between songs and adjust the volume of the music you hear.
An intuitive interface is just one of the features that shoppers like about this music player. It comes in multiple color choices and has a battery that will last for up to 18 hours on one charge.
Though the manufacturer claims you can listen to books on this device, the sound quality of audio books is not very food. Some of the reviews we found also complained about its short battery life.
Shopping Guide for the Best MP3 Player
Even though you can carry songs with you on your smartphone, you may still find yourself in the market for the best MP3 player. The best MP3 player 2021 models allow you to carry thousands of songs in your pocket without taking up valuable space on your phone. You’ll find models designed for those who love working out that are resistant to sweat and lightweight enough for carrying every day. Some shoppers love the iPod from Apple, which now comes in different models based on the generation of each one. No matter what type of MP3 player 2021products appeal to you, you’ll find all the top model on our list.
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Though some people say that they don’t need an MP3 player, the newest devices can do much more than just play songs. As long as you have a connection to the internet, you can download apps that will make your life easier. These apps provide you with directions to places while on vacation, let you check out reviews before making a restaurant reservation, download e-books and audiobooks and play games when you’re bored. Many of the models on our list of the best of the best work with some of the hottest apps around.
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Buying an MP3 player is one of those things that seems simple until you actually get into it. Apple fans swear by iPod devices, while Android users want a music player that is compatible with their smartphones. Our list of the best MP3 players includes the 6th generation iPod from Apple, but we also included products from other manufacturers, including some you bought from in the past and some you never heard of previously.
We wanted to create a full list that would make your life easier. Not only did we track down the best music players, but we also created a handy guide that walks you through the benefits of these devices and how to use one. As you move further down the page, you’ll also find out the average price of music players and the top things to consider as you shop.
When creating this list, we looked at what both shoppers and professionals said about the top models. Professionals gave feedback about battery life and other important features, while shoppers focused on ease of use and both the look and style of these players. Using all that information helped us find and rank all the top music players.
Benefits of an MP3 Player
Music and radio streaming apps now let you listen to radio stations from around the world right on your phone. Other apps let you play music that you transfer from your computer to your phone. Though you may think that you don’t need a music player, MP3 players have a number of benefits over smartphones, including:
- Battery life: Depending on the type of phone that you have, you may find that listening to music drains your battery so fast that you can’t use any other apps or even send a text message. With an MP3 player, you can listen to music and save the battery on your phone.
- Storage space: Most smartphones today come loaded with so many apps that you have less space than you expected when you bring one home. Each song that you download or upload will take up more space and leave you with less memory for the apps that you use. An MP3 player lets you set aside space just for your music.
- Phone replacement: You can use an MP3 player at times when it’s not smart to bring your phone, including when riding the bus or running at night. If you have a music player, you can listen to tunes and access all your favorite apps without keeping your phone on you.
Other Benefits of Music Players
Though you might take one look at this set and disregard it because you’re not a swimmer, if you enjoy spending time outside, this might be a set worth your money. The sport headphones that come with this set feature a number of different earbuds that fit different types and sizes of ears. You can plug the headphones right into the music player before doing a few laps in the pool or going for a run. Both the headphones and the music player have a waterproof outer shell that protects both devices from moisture. That design also keeps the MP3 player protected when you run or workout in the snow or the rain. It even protects the device from sweat.
The MP3 player included in this set can support traditional music files that use an MP3 extension as well as those that use a WAV extension. Buttons on the front let you skip forward to a new song or backward to a previous song, and a third button both pauses and restarts those songs. You can also use a shuffle feature when listening to music. This will randomly shuffle through all the songs you saved on the device.
Apple vs. Other Brands
Apple users often purchase products that will work together. If you have an iPod, you can easily transfer data from your Mac to your music player and to your iPhone. With an iPod, you must use iTunes each time that you want to put music on or take music off that player. Using iTunes lets you download and organize your entire library of songs. You can also use this app to find new songs and download individual tracks or full albums. Apple also gives you the option of storing files in the cloud and accessing those apps anywhere you go. If you forget your account information and can’t recover your account though, you risk losing all your files.
Music players from other manufacturers let you transfer songs from any computer or device to your player, but you may find that some players aren’t compatible with the extensions that you used to save your files. You also risk losing all your music if an accident wipes out the hard drive or you lose your micro SD card. One advantage that other music players have over those from Apple is that these devices are compatible with cards and accessories from all companies and not just proprietary accessories.
What to Look for in an MP3 Player
Though you’ll find info on the top models at the chart found at the top of this page and in the in-depth reviews found in other spots on this page, you may still not know whether one of these models is the right one for you. We’ll use this section to go over some of the features that experts recommend and the features that we think are the best.
Manufacturers of music players will tell you upfront the amount of storage that the device has. If you buy an 8GB device, which is one of the smallest sizes available, you’ll have room for around 2,000 songs. Buying one with 18GB of storage gives you space for up to 4,000 songs. The exact number of songs you can carry with you will vary based on the length of those songs and the size of the files. If you need additional room, you should look for a model that is compatible with a micro SD card. You should check on the size of the card that you can use with that device though.
Flash Memory vs. Hard Drive
Another feature worth considering is whether the music player comes with its own hard drive or works with flash memory. Units that come with a hard drive allow you to transfer music directly onto that drive. With a device that uses flash memory, you’ll instead put music on a chip or card like a micro SD card. One benefit to flash memory units is that you can remove the chip and put it in another device to access your music on other devices. Flash memory units often last longer and won’t fail the way those with a hard drive can. If the hard drive on your device fails, you will lose all your music and other files.
Size is especially important if you need a music player that you can wear when exercising. Heavier devices can fit uncomfortably in your pocket and get in your way as you stretch and move. Lightweight models are better for those who workout often than heavier models are. Some of the more lightweight models we found come with a clip for attaching the device to your body or clothing. You can wear one on your belt, in your pocket, on an armband or even on your hat or sweatband. To find one that is suitable for your workouts, pay attention to both size and weight.
When you look at music players for sale and see images of the home screen, don’t assume that the icons you see on that screen mean you can download new apps. Some of the cheaper devices we spotted come with apps already loaded that do things like count your steps, keep track of notes that you record and time your workouts. If you want an MP3 player that will function like a smartphone or a miniature computer, you need one that works with the Apple or Android app store. Some devices work with the Amazon app store too, which lets you purchase new apps with the card you linked to your Amazon account.
Many shoppers love the interface on this music player, which makes it easier to switch between songs and apps. Located on the sides of the device are a series of buttons that turn the music player on and off and let you move right and left to navigate between the songs stored inside. It comes already filled with apps that you can use on a daily basis, including a timer that helps you keep track of your most recent workout and a microphone app that lets you speak and save notes in a separate app. You can even use it as a pedometer to keep track of your steps. Clicking on the Bluetooth icon helps you connect the device via Bluetooth to another device for listening to music through speakers.
With 16GB of music, this tiny device lets you bring thousands of your favorite songs with you. As it’s compatible with micro SD cards, you can add your own card and significantly increase the amount of storage available. Even if you store notes and other information on the device, you’ll still have room left for music. Zerofire also made this device compatible with e-books that you transfer and save in a .txt format.
Other Features to Look for in an MP3 Player
You’ll find some music players with internal storage for music files that will also play compact discs.
With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream music from your music player through any device with works with Bluetooth. You should make sure that both devices use the same version of the Bluetooth technology though.
If you don’t want to deal with finding and pressing buttons just to change songs or adjust the volume, look for a music player that uses touchscreen technology.
Checking the size of the display ensures that you can easily see the data that moves across the screen and that you can find and select the app that you want to use.
One of the most lightweight MP3 players on the market is the Clip Jam from SanDisk. This is also one of the only models we found that comes in different colors, which lets you match the device to your workout gear or anything else you carry. Compatible with most of the more popular music files, it also compatible with some of the extensions that audiobooks carry for those who want to listen to books as they exercise. The basic interface on the front also makes this a popular choice. You can use a light touch on any of those buttons to navigate between songs and access the main menu.
Many shoppers like the screen on this model because that screen remains bright in all conditions. Even if you go for a job late at night, you can still use that screen to select the perfect playlist for running and to switch between songs. The micro SD slot on the side lets you extend the memory from 8GB up to 16GB or more. You also get a charging cable with this one, which will fully charge the music player in around two hours and provide you with 18 hours of battery life.
What Does an MP3 Player Cost?
We highly recommend that you purchase an MP3 player that fits your budget, which is why our list of the top models includes both affordable options and some more expensive players.
Apple charges more for its music players than other companies do. While the 6th generation model on our list is fairly expensive, it comes with accessories that you won’t get with the base model. Many of its newer generations cost more, and some of these models can cost $300 or more. One benefit of buying a newer model is that you get a touchscreen, which lets you switch between songs and access apps with a touch of the screen instead of using buttons. Touchscreen models from other companies retail for between $300 and $500.
Middle-of-the-road models cost between $100 and $200 and include some of the models on our list. If you can only afford to spend $50 to $100, you can still get a good quality music player with enough built-in storage to hold 2,000 songs or more.
You’ll also find some cheap products priced at less than $50. While these models aren’t very durable, they still let you carry hundreds of songs with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: It’s very important that you look at what music files a player is compatible with before you buy. MP3, MP4 and WAV are just some of the extensions that you might use for music on your computer. If the player isn’t compatible with the file type you used, you’ll need to reformat those files before moving the music to the device.
A: Though you can use a music player in your car, the way you do so will depend on the age of your car. If you have a newer model vehicle or a newer stereo with Bluetooth connectivity, you can use Bluetooth to stream music from the MP3 player through the radio. Older model cars will require that you use a jack to connect the stereo and music player. If you have an even older car with a cassette player, you’ll need an adapter that looks like a cassette that you insert in the radio.
A: If you purchase an MP3 player that doesn’t come with a case, you should invest in one. A simple case will protect the device from any slips and falls that you take and any drops that the music player goes through.
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