13 Best MP3 Players in 2018

Best MP3 players
Are you a passionate music-lover or audiophile? Do you enjoy listening to music or audiobooks while traveling, exercising or studying? While many people use their smartphones to listen to music, having an MP3 Player can give you more freedom and flexibility when it comes to listening to music whenever, wherever and however you want.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to get an MP3 Player (even if you have a smartphone):

  • You want the enjoyment of having a device that’s solely dedicated to playing great quality audio
  • You don’t want to use your phone because you want to save on battery life and space
  • You want to be able to take your music with you anywhere, without the interruption of phone calls or the worry of wearing out your phone

With this guide, we’ll help you find the best MP3 player for your lifestyle, budget and personality.

How to Choose the Best MP3 Player

There are five main questions you should ask yourself in order to choose the best MP3 player for your needs:

  • How much do I want to spend?
  • How much storage space do I need? (How big is my musical library, am I using large audiobooks?)
  • What extra features, if any, do I want in my MP3 player? (Do I want it to play videos, Bluetooth, FM radio, etc.?)
  • What size, shape and overall design am I looking for? (Do I want something compact and portable or unique and personalized?)
  • What type of audio files do I have and how do I prefer to manage and enjoy my music? (Do I prefer shuffling, creating playlists, gapless playback, etc.?)

There are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to shopping for MP3 players. Ask yourself these questions and follow up with research to make the best choice worth your investment.

MP3 Sound Quality

Sound quality is one of the most important aspects of any MP3 player. Sound quality is commonly influenced by the way the audio files are compressed. There are two notable forms of data compression found in MP3 Players: Lossy and Lossless.

  • Lossy: The file size is reduced significantly to help save space, with a sacrifice to quality.
  • Lossless: The original data in the file is preserved (it can be compressed or uncompressed) to maintain the original quality.

Which is better? Lossy compression actually removes some of the data from the file to reduce the size, whereas nothing is lost with lossless. What this means for your music is that lossless audio may sound more realistic and better quality. The noticeable difference between lossy and lossless audio may not always be apparent, but this can be an important feature for audiophiles. Choosing a lossless MP3 player may not be necessary unless you’re also using higher-end headphones or speakers.

Storage Capacity

Many MP3 players typically store files with internal flash memory or external memory in the form of a card. In other words, you can choose to add additional memory to the MP3 player depending on whether or not it has a memory card slot.

Some MP3 players can only hold a certain size of SD card in them. For example, if the MP3 player can only read SD cards up to 64GB, any cards larger (such as 128 or 256GB) will not work. If you already have an SD card that you’d like to use, it’s important to make sure that it’s compatible with the device that you’re looking at purchasing.

The amount of storage you need will vary depending on how many files you want to keep on your device. To put things in perspective, one gigabyte can hold an average of about 200 songs. However, this also depends on many factors, including the quality of the music files and the length of the songs. If you tend to listen to a large amount of audio files, it might be worthwhile to invest a bit of extra money into an MP3 player with a good amount of expandable storage.

MP3 Player Screen Size and Resolution

While screen size and resolution shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when it comes to buying the best MP3 player, you should definitely consider the appearance and quality of the device’s screen before buying.

Screen size and resolution will be much more important if you’re planning to use your player to watch videos. MP3 players that double up as video players can have a resolution of 480p or more. That’s not a lot compared to what most smartphones and tablets can do, but there are a few higher resolution MP3 player options available.

Screen size generally ranges from 2.5 inches to 4 inches, with some screens being even less than 2 inches. A smaller screen can mean more portability, but always remember to consider the overall design of the device, including the button placements and the user interface. The actual size of the screen may not be as important has how easily you can navigate your controls.

File Support

The types of files in your music library can play a large role in which type of MP3 Player you choose to buy. If you have already downloaded your music in a certain file type, then you will want to make sure that your new MP3 player can read those files.

The most common types of files are WMA, MP3, M4A, FLAC and AAC. If you have mostly FLAC files, then you will want an MP3 player that can play Lossless files. The rest, with the exception of WMA, are lossy file types which most players can handle. WMA can be either lossy or lossless. Nearly all MP3 player product pages will list which file types they are able to read and play.

MP3 Player Portability

The best MP3 player should be portable enough that you can take it with you in your pocket, purse, bag or car without it weighing you down. It should be slim and lightweight enough to be easy to carry, but not so light that it can break in two if you drop it. For MP3 players with the best portability, look for devices with screen sizes of 3 inches or smaller and avoid devices with sharp corners or awkward shapes.

A smooth, compact and sturdy MP3 player is your best bet if you want something you can carry in your pocket throughout the day. Keep in mind that many MP3 players can come with their own cases, which will add bulk as well as protection. If you are especially active, look for MP3 players that include a clothing clip.

MP3 Player Battery Life

When you’re traveling, jogging or commuting to work, you want to be able to listen to your music without the worry of a dead battery. For many people, carrying around a portable battery pack isn’t a practical solution. The best MP3 player will have a long battery life and the ability to play hours of music without the need for a charge.

Battery life in MP3 players can vary depending on what features your player has and the way that you use those features. If you’re using wireless Bluetooth technology on your MP3 player, then your battery usage will be much higher. If you want to save on battery life, opt to listen to your MP3 player with a good pair of wired headphones.

As a side note, it’s important to remember that the level of volume you use has an effect on the drain of battery life. If you listen to music at a higher volume, it can drain battery life quicker. The brightness of your MP3 player and how long the screen is on for can also quickly drain the battery. For this reason, a lot of manufacturers have an auto-sleep or lock time on the device. If you want to preserve the battery life of your MP3 player, make sure to adjust the screen settings and minimize track skipping.

13 Best MP3 Players in 2018

Apple iPod Touch (6th Generation)

The Best MP3 Player for Audiobooks

apple ipod touch 6th generation - The Best MP3 Player for Audiobooks
The Apple iPod Touch is smooth and versatile, making it a great option if you’re looking for an Apple product with plenty of extra features. The 6th generation iPod Touch also has fitness tracking, improved GPU, an 8MP camera and five different color options.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 16, 32, 64GB
  • SD Card Slot: No
  • Screen Size: 4 Inches
  • Battery Life: Audio: Up to 40 Hours, Video: Up to 8 Hours
Pros:

  • Several color and size capacity options
  • Accessory bundle comes with screen protector, case and more
  • Includes 8 MP Camera with FaceTime capabilities
Cons:

  • Must use iTunes to load with music
  • May be overboard if you just want a simple MP3 Player

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Sony NW-A35

The Best Non Apple MP3 Player with Size and Color Options

sony nw-a35
The Sony NW-A35 has a minimal touchscreen design, excellent sound quality and convenient Bluetooth capabilities. If you’re looking for something simple and reminiscent of the classic Walkman that still has modern features, the Sony NW-A35 is a great choice.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 16, 64GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.1 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 45 Hours
Pros:

  • Clean, stylish design
  • Three color options, two size options
  • Features DSD playback
Cons:

  • May have problems with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Difficult to replace charging cable

Check Prices

 

Cowon Plenue D

Great Portable MP3 Player with Long Battery Life

cowon plenue d
The Cowon Plenue D is a lightweight MP3 Player with a wide angle touch display and a simple interface without frills. If you need a small, portable MP3 Player with great battery life, the Cowon Plenue D is a good candidate.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 32GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 2.8 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 100 Hours
Pros:

  • Compact and portable
  • Excellent battery life (up to 100 hours of playback)
  • Simple user interface
Cons:

  • Low resolution screen
  • No Bluetooth capabilities
  • Buttons are similar and close together

Check Prices

 

FiiO X7 Mark II

The Best Sounding MP3 Player

fiio x7 mark ii - The Best Sounding MP3 Player
The FiiO X7 Mark II is a high-end lossless MP3 player designed to enhance audio with three separate crystal isolators. If you’re someone with an extensive music library, you might choose the FiiO X7 Mark II based on its expandable ability to hold over 570GB of audio files.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 64GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.97 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 Hours
Pros:

  • Lots of expandable storage
  • Optimized for superior sound quality
  • Excellent output balance
Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Heavy
  • Software issues sometimes reported

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SanDisk Clip Sport Plus

The Best Budget MP3 Player

sandisk clip sport plus - The Best Budget MP3 Player
The SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is a solid yet compact MP3 player that includes a clip so you can attach it to your clothing or gear while you walk, jog or run. This Bluetooth MP3 player also comes with a built-in FM radio and eight unique color options.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 4, 8, 16GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes on 4 and 8GB models, No on 16GB
  • Screen Size: 1.44 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 20 Hours
Pros:

  • Can be clipped to clothing
  • Water-resistant
  • Built-in FM radio
Cons:

  • Small capacity sizes
  • Not ideal for audiobook listening
  • Narrow volume range

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Apple iPod Nano (7th Generation)

The Best MP3 Player for Kids

apple ipod nano 7th generation - The Best MP3 Player for Kids
The Apple iPod Nano combines the feature-richness of an iPod with the portability of a smaller sized body. There’s also ten different color options to choose from, making this MP3 player an excellent option if you want something lightweight and personalized to your style.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 16GB
  • SD Card Slot: No
  • Screen Size: 2.5 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 30 Hours
Pros:

  • 10 color options
  • Smooth and simple user interface (good for kids)
  • Built-in pedometer and Nike+ support
Cons:

  • No SD slot available, limited storage
  • Must use iTunes to load music
  • No clip

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Sony Walkman NW-ZX100

Great MP3 Player with Bluetooth

sony walkman nw-zx100
The Sony Walkman NW-ZX100 comes with noise cancelling earbuds and 70 hours of music playback, making it a good choice if you’re a busy music-lover with an active lifestyle. If you’re willing to pay more for premium quality from Sony, this reliable little Walkman MP3 player likely won’t disappoint.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 128GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 70 Hours
Pros:

  • High durability
  • Great battery life
  • Effective digital noise cancellation
Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • No color or size options
  • Difficult to replace charging cable

Check Prices

 

Popwoods MP3 Player

The Best MP3 Player for Running

popwoods mp3 player
The Popwoods MP3 player comes with lossless sound, an audio equalizer and a sleek, convenient interface that’s easy enough for everyone to use. This versatile MP3 player also features a pedometer and an armband, so you can use it for your workouts and keep track of your steps.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 16GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 1.8 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 50 Hours
Pros:

  • Great quality yet affordable
  • Simple, sensitive user interface
  • Accessories for exercising and working out
Cons:

  • No Bluetooth
  • No color or size options

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Onkyo DP-X1 MP3 Player

Great MP3 Player with Lots of Storage

onkyo dp-x1 mp3 player
The Onkyo DP-X1 is a uniquely designed MP3 player that has physical buttons so you don’t have to worry about constantly turning on the screen. If you’re an Android lover willing to spend more for a balanced audio MP3 player with good storage, this might be a good option.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 32GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 4.7 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 16 Hours
Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Unique physical buttons
  • Lots of storage
Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Poor battery life
  • Headphone jack may become loose

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AGPTEK M20

Another Great Cheap MP3 Player

agptek m20
The AGPtEX M20 is a very affordable MP3 player with great battery life, FM radio and lossless sound quality. If you’re looking to spend under $30, this sturdy yet tiny MP3 player will likely meet your basic needs for portable music listening.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 8GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: OLED screen
  • Battery Life: Up to 28 Hours
Pros:

  • Sturdy metal body
  • Extra functions such as voice recording and FM radio
  • Very affordable
Cons:

  • Can be difficult to navigate interface
  • Below average battery life

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Astell & Kern AK Jr

Good Portable MP3 Player

astell kern ak jr
The Astell & Kern AK Jr MP3 player has a slim, aluminum body that won’t weigh you down. This MP3 player also produces excellent sound quality based on its crystal clear DAC audio features.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: 64GB
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.1 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 Hours
Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Plenty of storage
  • Convenient physical buttons
Cons:

  • Confusing/cumbersome user interface
  • Poor battery life
  • Slow with large playlists

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FiiO X3 (3rd Generation)

Great Bluetooth MP3 Player with Balanced Output

fiio x3 3rd generation
The FiiO X3 includes 4.1 Bluetooth technology so you can stream your music wirelessly without crowding your pockets with cables. This MP3 player has a unique touch wheel navigation design for a more user-friendly interface experience.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: No Internal Storage
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 2.3 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 15 Hours
Pros:

  • Multi-function button lets you access features quickly
  • Two color options (black or red)
  • Good sound quality
Cons:

  • Requires SD card for storage options
  • Bass is lacking
  • Below average battery life

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AGPTEK ROCKER V2

Great MP3 Player Under 100 Dollars

agptek rocker v2
The AGPTEK ROCKER V2 is a lossless MP3 Player with gapless playback, making it ideal for listening to live albums. This MP3 player might be a good option if you want something affordable with expandable storage and Bluetooth technology.

Specs

  • Storage Capacities: No Internal Storage
  • SD Card Slot: Yes
  • Screen Size: 1.8 Inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 Hours
Pros:

  • Lots of expandable storage
  • Available music controls with Bluetooth
  • Gapless playback for smooth song transitions
Cons:

  • Requires SD card for storage options
  • Poor battery life

Check Prices

 

Listen to Music in Quality and Style with the Best MP3 Player

Music is medicine for the soul. If you’re passionate about your music, you should think about investing in the best MP3 player that you can rely on for several years of audio enjoyment.
In addition to finding the best MP3 player, you should also be on the lookout for the best wireless headphones, earbuds and the best noise cancelling headphones to truly enhance your audio listening experience.

Our Picks

If you want a high-end MP3 player designed for great functionality and top audio performance:

  • Sony NWZX100HNSM. This superior-quality MP3 player features digital noise cancellation, 70 hours of music playback and expandable storage capacity. You can listen to audio for hours from a wide range of file formats while also enjoying its convenient wireless Bluetooth technology.
  • FiiO X7 Mark II. Everything about this MP3 Player, from its three separate crystal isolators to its high-performance DAC, is optimized to deliver the best possible sound quality. You can also expand the storage on this MP3 Player to over 570GB so you don’t have to cut back on your long playlists.

If you need a mid-range MP3 player with good battery life, storage and durability:

  • Apple iPod Touch (6th Generation). With its smooth interface, high resolution display and 8MP camera, the Apple iPod Touch has more than enough features to keep you entertained. It also comes with plenty of personalized accessories, size options and color choices.
  • Cowon Plenue D. If you’re in search of a very compact MP3 player with incredible battery life and a very basic interface, look no further than the Cowon Plenue D. This little device can have 100 hours of music playback, making it a good choice if you’re a busy person and you listen to music on a daily basis.

If you’d like a budget MP3 player where you can store and listen to your music without overpaying:

  • Popwoods MP3 Player. This is a really spectacular MP3 player that has everything you could want, including portability for running, an FM tuner and lossless audio quality. It’s also under $50, making it a great choice for performance if you don’t mind the lack of Bluetooth and color options.
  • SanDisk Clip Sport Plus. If you enjoy listening to music while you work up a sweat, then the waterproof SanDisk Clip Sport Plus might be a great match for you. You can also choose from eight different color options and clip your SanDisk to your clothing for added portability.

No matter what kind of audio you listen to, choose the best MP3 player for your lifestyle!

2 Comments

  1. Lynne Essam March 13, 2018
    • The Tech Lounge Staff The Tech Lounge Staff March 26, 2018

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