The 7 Best MP3 Players to Buy in 2018

Keep your music in the palm of your hand

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MP3 players were all the rage when they hit the market in the late '90s. They were the hot, must-have electronic device. But if you think they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur as smart phones have taken over the earth, think again. Even though most people have a smartphone that performs many of the same functions, MP3 players offer an alternative that many still rely on for a variety of activities.

They’re typically smaller, lighter and less expensive than a phone and allow you to take your music and other audio (and in some cases, video) files with you without worrying about damaging your phone. Today, MP3 players come in a variety of styles, from those that are waterproof and allow you to take your tunes below the waves, to those that are good for children who aren’t quite ready for a phone. Here are the best MP3 players you can buy now.

Best Overall: Apple iPod Touch 32GB Blue MKHV2LL/A (6th Generation)

For an MP3 player that does a whole lot more than just store and play your music, it’s hard to beat the iPod touch from Apple. Not only can you store a ton of music, but you can also download tunes directly when you’re in the mood for something new. Beyond that, you can take pictures and videos, play games, and do pretty much anything else you can do on your smartphone except make phone calls.

It’s great as an extra device or one for kids who aren’t ready for the responsibilities of a phone yet. This bundle comes with some other fun accessories including a case, stylus pen, stand, and wireless Bluetooth speaker. Overall, customers say the iPod Touch is a great device with a ton of functionality for a reasonable price.

Best Sound Quality: Cowon Plenue D High Resolution Music Player

If high-quality sound is a priority, this MP3 player from Cowon promises to delight your ears with high-definition sound that blows most other players away. Small and light, it’s designed to deliver original studio sound any time, any place. It features a touch display, 100 hours of music playback, a 32G internal memory and a microSD card slot in case you want to add more memory.

Customers say this music player exceeds expectations with incredible, crisp, clean sound for a reasonable price. One reviewer on Amazon wrote: “As an audiophile I declare: Sound is amazing no less.”

Best Budget: Sandisk 8GB Clip Jam MP3 Player (Black)

This tiny MP3 player from Sandisk is a favorite with customers. Its no-frills design and low price make it a hit with those who just want to carry their tunes on the go without much fuss.

It comes in a variety of colors, and while this one features 8GB of storage, it also comes in models with 4GB and 16GB of storage capacity. There’s a built-in microSD card slot too, so you can add more storage if you choose, and it features an FM radio tuner so you can listen to your favorite stations as well.

The battery lasts up to 18 hours, and the screen is bright and easy to navigate. It also comes with an attached clip, so you can easily clip it onto your clothing, hat or anywhere else that’s handy, which makes it great for running or other activities when you don’t want to haul along a lot of gear.

Best for Swimming: Underwater Audio Waterproof iPod Shuffle

Just because your workouts take you underwater, doesn’t mean you can’t take your tunes with you. This waterproof iPod Shuffle is perfect for swimming laps or just lounging around in the water. Heck, you can even wear it in the shower if you want. This one features 2GB of storage, has a 15-hour battery life and is equipped with a clip that can be attached to your goggles or swim cap. It comes also comes with waterproof headphones.

Customers love this option for underwater music, noting its excellent sound quality, and say it makes swimming much more enjoyable. With more than 3,100 reviews on Amazon, 85 percent of customers gave it five stars.

Best for Running: AGPTEK A26 8GB Bluetooth MP3 Player

There’s nothing like pounding the pavement to the beat of your favorite songs, but taking them along can be a pain without the right gear. This Bluetooth player from AGPTEK makes it a snap though. It’s small (just 1.33" x 2.12"), lightweight (just about 3 ounces) and features a built-in clip you can attach to your clothing.

It comes with 8GB of storage, though it will support up 64GB with a micro SD card. It features FM radio and recording capabilities among other features. Runners and other exercise enthusiasts love to pair it with wireless Bluetooth earphones. They say it’s so small and lightweight, they get lost in the music and forget they’re wearing it.

Best for Kids: MP3 Player / MP4 Player, Hotechs MP3 Music Player

The price point (just about $20) makes this MP3 player from Hotechs a great choice for kids who have a tendency to drop, lose, or otherwise destroy their electronic devices. It comes with 16GB of storage, can hold up to 5,500 songs and is simple and straightforward to use. It comes in a variety of fun colors and includes earphones and a USB cable as well.

Customers say the quality is good, the price is right, and it’s easy for kids to use. Many are impressed with all the functionality it provides, including the ability to watch movies and listen to FM radio, for the price.

Best Headphone MP3: SONY NW-WS413LM BLUE Waterproof Sports Wearable MP3 Player

SONY NW-WS413LM BLUE Waterproof Sports Wearable MP3 Player
Courtesy of Walmart

When you want to keep things as simple as possible, there’s this wearable MP3 player from Sony. It’s an MP3 player and earphones all in one, so you don’t have to worry about messing with wires. Just put them on, and let the music play. Great for sports, they’re not only sweat-resistant but also waterproof, so you can use them to swim in salt water or fresh water.

Ergonomically designed, they come with 4GB of storage and feature up to 12 hours of playback and an optional ambient noise function, which allows you to still hear some of what’s going on around you while your music plays. It also comes with two sets of earbuds—one standard and one waterproof—and you can drag and drop audio files from most any music service.

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