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Best Headphone Jack Adapter

(Image credit: Future)

If you're not ready to give up your wired earbud or headsets quite yet, a headphone jack adapter will allow you to enjoy your new iPhone or iPad while staying connected the old fashioned way. Overall, Belkin's Rockstar Lightning + 3.5mm adapter is your best bet. It offers high-quality audio while being super durable and versatile. But here are a few more options that work well, too.

Best adapter overall

(Image credit: Belkin)

Belkin Rockstar audio adapter

HQ audio and fast charging

Belkin products are as close to first-party Apple products as you'll ever get. This adapter works as expected and can be purchased directly from Apple. 12W is more than enough for charging, and the 3.5mm jack allows avoids having a double dongle.

Pros:

  • Lightning and 3.5mm
  • Fast charging up to 12W
  • Rugged and well built
  • Great audio quality

Cons:

  • Bulky

Belkin has two variations of this adapter. One converts one Lighting port into two lightning ports, effectively requiring two different dongles. Get this one only if you plan on using Lightning headphones such as the EarPods that come with your phone. However, the one we recommend is the version that includes one Lightning and one 3.5mm port. 

The adapter is rugged and the cable is thick, avoiding potential cables breaking at all. Sound quality is solid, and it, of course, allows you to charge your phone with a Lightning cable and use a wired speaker or headphones. While it won't provide full speed fast charging over USB-C, it will enable faster charging, up to 12W. This is the same speed you get when using a standard 12W iPad power adapter. 

Best value adapter

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Lightning to 3.5mm adapter

Inexpensive and MFi certified

Apple products work best with other Apple products. This Lightning to 3.5mm adapter offers the basics and will work with most headphones, including some high-end ones with higher impedance ratings.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • MFi certified
  • Small and easy to stow away
  • Great sound quality

Cons:

  • Easy to lose
  • Thin cable, could break easily

Apple's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter is easily the best adapter around if you're planning to listen from your iPhone. It is relatively inexpensive, is MFi certified, and even comes included in the box for certain older iPhone models. That's assuming, of course, that you don't need passthrough charging (wired charging while listening to wired headphones).

It also features a similar amp and DAC to the one found in the iPhone 6s. This translates to an adapter that can drive most consumer level headphones or speakers. 

Best cable adapter

(Image credit: Belkin)

Belkin Lightning to 3.5mm cable

A non-dongle solution

Perfect for a home theater setup, a car, or anywhere where you know your iPhone is the only thing you'll need to plug in. Expensive, but worth it if you'd like to avoid dongles entirely. The only downside is no passthrough charging.

Pros:

  • Avoids the "dongle"
  • Stationary usage
  • Solid audio quality

Cons:

  • Non-Lightning devices
  • Expensive

The Belkin Lightning to 3.5mm cable is different than the rest of the crowd. It's not an adapter, but rather a cable that plugs directly into your iPhone's Lightning port and directly into your car's stereo or headphones with a male 3.5mm port on the other side of the cable. 

While it's not the most practical situation, this cable works best if you plan on keeping it in one place like your home stereo, in a car, or on a dedicated pair of portable headphones. This is definitely not worth it if you plan on using your headphone or speaker with multiple non-Lightning devices. 

Best flexible adapter

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bojuren headphone adapter

For case-free iPhones

If you're brave and rock your iPhone naked, this adapter will do the trick. It's built out of high-quality metals, so grab this if you need your charging and audio cables on opposite sides (for example, a bulky charging cable).

Pros:

  • T-shaped design
  • Compact and durable
  • Supports wired audio controls

Cons:

  • Very specific use case
  • Won't work with most cases

This adapter from Bojuren is interesting, to say the least. It aims to fix a problem that I don't think many users will have. However, if you fall into this category, this adapter will be a godsend. It splits the lightning charging port and the lightning (for audio) port into a T-shape. If you have a super bulky Lightning charging cable or Lightning to 3.5mm dongle, this solves that problem.

However, due to this design, if you rock a case that covers the bottom portion of the phone to any extent, the Bojuren simply won't work. Again, this is designed for a very specific use case. 

Best for Android devices

(Image credit: ESR)

ESR 2-in-1 USB-C headphone jack adapter

Flexible and durable

It enables fast passthrough charging while retaining that standard 3.5mm adapter. The adapter allows high-resolution sound with audio stability. It is compatible with Android devices 

Pros:

  • Good audio 
  • Fast charging 
  • Works with Android phones 

Cons:

  • Must be connected precisely to work 

Apple isn’t the only device that needs a headphone jack adapter. While the ESR 2-in-1 USB-C adapter works with iPhones and iPads, it also works with Android devices. This headphone adapter both charges your Android phone and lets you listen to your playlist at the same time. There is a jack port at the bottom and a side port for your charger. The ESR then attaches to your cell phone through its charging port. This adapter includes a high-resolution DAC chip which ensures stability in your audio while giving you excellent sound. And it doesn’t diminish the charge time of your device, still giving a maximum output of 30W. Sometimes this adapter is a little fickle and will not work. When this happens ESR suggests plugging in your charger and headphones into the adapter before connecting the entire setup to your phone. 

Bottom line

The Lightning + 3.5mm adapter from Belkin is your best bet if you want a combination of everything. It allows for quick charging and has a port for the standard 3.5mm audio jack. It is slightly bulky but has a thicker, more rugged design that will last for years to come. Belkin is also a reputable brand that is as close to first-party as you're going to get when it comes to iPhone products.

Some other adapters, including ones on this list, have two Lightning ports which means that if you want to adapt to 3.5mm, you'll need to pull out yet another Lightning to 3.5mm adapter to get what you want. There are benefits of having two Lightning ports, though, such as using your included Lightning EarPods or other Lightning-enabled headphones. Pick the best fit for what you're looking for.