There’s an environmental cost to all the tech products that we buy and consume, but House of Marley wants to help change that. The House of Marley Rebel earbuds are, according to the company, built from sustainable materials — meaning that you don’t have to feel quite as guilty for buying these over others.
But just being built from sustainable materials isn’t enough. If the Rebel earbuds aren’t actually good, then people won’t want to buy them. That means that the impact on the environment will be minimal. Are the House of Marley Rebel earbuds worth buying? I’ve been using them to find out.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds design
The first thing to notice about the House of Marley Rebel earbuds is their design, and the headphones are a combination of unique features, and more of the same.
First, the “more of the same.” The headphones are shaped very similarly to the AirPods Pro, meaning that they have a somewhat large bud with an angled stem that protrudes from the bottom. It’s not necessarily a huge deal that they’re similar to the AirPods Pro — I actually quite like that design. The design isn’t exactly the same though, and that does play into comfort a little.
But some things are different, too. The earbuds are designed with a more “natural” look in mind. As such, you’ll get a black design with a wooden face. It’s not a bad look, by any means — and sets these headphones apart from some of the competition. The headphones are also available in white instead of black, though I generally prefer the black model. Call me boring.
That design generally carries over to the charging case too. The case is built from a black composite type material, with wood highlights. It has LED lights on the front to indicate battery, and it has a USB-C port on the bottom for charging. It supports wireless charging too, which is nice.
The earbuds have on-ear controls, but they’re a little limited. You can use them to control volume, fast forward, and rewind, but not to play and pause. Instead, to pause your audio you’ll take a bud out of your ear, and to play, you’ll put it back in. This is a feature that I use on headphones like the AirPods, but many don’t like how this works, and honestly, it should be possible to play and pause another way too anyway.
Generally, the Mouse of Marley Rebel earbuds look nice. I like that House of Marley is trying to differentiate these from others, and the wooden highlights look good.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds features and battery
Unfortunately, the House of Marley Rebel earbuds are a little limited in features. The result is that there’s no associated app that you can use to tweak settings and features, which is a little frustrating. That’s compounded by the seemingly random noises that the headphones emit to tell you something. I was hearing a noise every few minutes from the right bud, and had no idea why. I wish they just used a voiceover to tell you what was wrong instead of a confusing noise that tells you nothing.
Thankfully, however, they do offer a decent battery life. You’ll get 8 hours of use on a single charge, and the charging case gets you an additional 24 hours. That’s among the better battery lives for true wireless headphones.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds comfort
The House of Marley Rebel earbuds have a design that’s similar to the AirPods Pro, but not the same. And they’re not quite as good for it. While you’ll get used to the fit, the buds are a little large, and they don’t quite stay in the ears as well as other true wireless headphones.
Generally, however, you will get used to the feel of the earbuds. They’re built mostly for day-to-day use — not sports use. As a result, under heavy movement, they may fall out of the ears.
House of Marley Rebel earbuds sound quality
The House of Marley Rebel earbuds aren’t the most natural-sounding headphones out there, but casual listeners will appreciate how they sound.
Generally, the Rebel earbuds are very bass-forward headphones, offering plenty of oomph for kick drums, bass guitars, and low synths. Really, if all you want is heavy bass, you’ll like these.
The mids are quite scooped, meaning that they’re nowhere near as heavy as the bass, and as a result, audio isn’t as natural. Low mids still get enough warmth carried over from the lows, but high mids are pretty tucked away.
That extends to the highs too. Highs are present, but there isn’t much high-end extension, and the highs that are there feel a little overshadowed by the bass. Again, if you like bass, that won’t be a huge issue, but I prefer a flatter frequency response.
The House of Marley Rebel earbuds are a solid option for those who want to buy sustainable products. But ultimately, they’re a little let down by their heavily altered frequency response and strange approach to controls and alerts. They do offer a solid design and a good battery life, which helps. But there are better options out there right now.
There are a number of options in the sub-$150 price range, and there are quite a few better options than the House of Marley Rebel earbuds. Notably, if you’re an Apple user, you should consider the entry-level AirPods. Alternatively, it’s worth taking a look at the JBL Live 3000TWS earbuds. They retail at $150, but are regularly discounted to a much lower price.
Should I buy the House of Marley Rebel earbuds?
No. While the sustainable approach is commendable (and I wish more companies did it), you should consider the JBL Live 3000TWS earbuds or AirPods instead.