Do Earbuds Explode


So, you’ve heard about users complaining that their earbuds exploded. Surely, you’ve heard about the case where a plane passenger had their earbuds explode. Samsung had a similar issue with one of their models. I understand if you’re worried and wondering: Do earbuds explode?

Yes, earbuds can explode. Only wireless earbuds can explode. The problem is with the lithium-ion batteries(Li-ion). One cell short circuits and overheats the other cells. That is how the “explosion” is caused.

Don’t be discouraged by this short answer, there’s more to know about this.

How Can Earbuds Explode

I know that this worries you, and it really shouldn’t. Perhaps, if we explain how earbuds can explode, you’ll feel a bit calmer. More so, you’ll know how to prevent this ever happening to you.

Wired earphones can’t explode. The actual hardware of the earbuds can’t explode in any way. So, the problem is with earbuds that have a rechargeable battery. That’s why we’ll focus here on wireless earbuds.

All earbuds have a lithium-ion battery. This has certain advantages and disadvantages. Let’s be honest, for now, earbuds can’t exist without Li-ion batteries. There’s no way to make the earbuds that small and to have that playtime without these batteries.

The main disadvantage of Li-ion batteries is that they lose their capacity over time. So, the battery can’t last longer than 3-4 years. And, these batteries can leak and cause a short circuit.

Li-ion Batteries – Fire Hazard

Li-ion Batteries - Fire Hazard

Now, “explode” can be quite a strong word. Earbuds don’t actually explode, they just catch on fire which is still dangerous. However, you don’t have to be worried about an explosion that will damage nearby objects.

Li-ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte. Because of it, every manufactured battery has to go through strict regulations and testings. If there’s pressure or heat acting upon the battery, the electrolyte can catch on fire.

That’s what the testings and regulations are for. Manufacturers are aware of this issue and they are doing everything they can to make sure a fire doesn’t occur. It’s easier to test the battery than to look for a new energy source.

Earbuds Short Circuit

In order for that electrolyte to catch on fire, there must be a source of pressure or heat. When a battery cell short circuits it overheats the other cells and the electrolyte catches on fire. So, why do batteries short circuit?

Believe it or not, mostly it’s the user’s fault. It doesn’t have to be the case though, it may just be a manufacturer’s issue. That was the case with Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

[Related Article: Can You Use Bluetooth Headphones On An Airplane]

What Causes A Short Circuit In Earbud Batteries

You should know this if you’re willing to continue to use wireless earbuds. And why shouldn’t you? They give you the freedom to move.

  1. Overcharging earbuds. Experts advise on stopping the earbuds from charging when they reach 100% battery status. Now you know why. Overcharging causes the battery to increase the temperature more and more, which leads to a short circuit and a fire. Some earbuds have protection against this, which stops charging after 100%.
  2. Charging with the wrong charger. The earbuds should be charged with the appropriate electrical load. So, if you use a charger with a higher load, the battery will short circuit. You already know what happens when a cell short circuits.
  3. Damaging the battery. A battery can short circuit when damaged, dropped, or squashed. Damaging the battery leads to leaks which cause the short circuit.
  4. Exposure to high temperatures. As I said, Li-ion batteries can’t handle high temperatures. You may have noticed that the earbuds are getting warm when charging which is okay. But when you add external temperature to that, the battery cells can overheat.
  5. Manufacturing problems. The batteries always have protection which makes it really hard for an explosion to occur. But if there was a manufacturing problem with thermal protection, a slight increase in temperature will cause a fire.

What can you do to prevent all this from happening? Let’s see.

[Related Article: 5 Best Earbuds For Sleeping Without Disturbances]

How To Keep Earbuds From Exploding

How To Keep Earbuds From Exploding

We should clear things up a bit. I don’t want you to be worried about this because it rarely happens. The fact is if you buy quality earbuds, them exploding will not be an issue. That is if you don’t do anything stupid.

Just in case, you should know and follow the steps that I will list. It’s nothing complicated. This will not only ensure that your earbuds will not explode but increase battery life too.

  1. Use a charger with an appropriate voltage charge. All earbuds have the voltage requirements inscribed on the case. If you follow these requirements, all the better for the earbuds. Preferably, use the charger that came with the earbuds. If there wasn’t one, use one with the right voltage range.
  2. Don’t overcharge your earbuds. Now, most earbuds have thermal overload protection which stops them from overcharging. Just in case, you should always disconnect the charger when they are fully charged. This will also improve the battery life of the earbuds.
  3. Avoid exposure to high temperatures while charging. The battery has the highest temperature while it’s charging. So, you should make sure there aren’t any external sources that may add to the temperature. Don’t charge near heating units.
  4. Travel with the earbuds in their case. We concluded that a damaged battery is prone to fire. Taking precautions to make sure your earbuds are safe means a lot actually. Just keep your earbuds in their case and you should be fine.
  5. Avoid cheap earbuds. You all know that cheap earbuds have bad batteries. Mainly, they have bad battery life. More so, the thermal protection is not that. Make sure the earbuds are certified, regulated, and tested.
  6. Buy proven, high-quality earbuds. Besides all of the audio features that come with expensive earbuds, there are other advantages. Quality earbuds have significantly better batteries than the average model. That means, added protection and thorough manufacturing testings.
  7. Consider wired earphones. Although earbuds exploding shouldn’t worry you, I understand how someone can still be worried. So, if all of this is just an annoyance to you, consider switching to wired earbuds.

That’s about it. Follow these steps and you should be fine. I hope this helped you.

Related Questions And FAQs

Can Headsets And Headphones Explode

All audio devices that use a battery can explode. The problem is not with the device but with the battery. Modern wireless headphones use a Li-ion battery. That means that they can explode.

What To Do If Earbuds Catch On Fire

It’s highly unlikely that an explosion from earbuds will spread a fire. Nonetheless, you should ask fast. Put the earbuds in a safe place, and wait for the fire to go out. If you have a fire extinguisher, you can use that if the fire is spreading.

Andrej Jovanovski

Hi there, I'm Andrej. I've always been an electronic devices addict, especially audio devices like headphones, earbuds, and headsets. I am staying up-to-date with the technology, so why not write about what you know? I'll share some useful tips about all your headphones related questions.

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