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Klipsch X12i vs X20i Review

Klipsch has been an American manufacturer of sound systems since 1946 and have grown from living room speakers to a wide range of products, including earbuds. Unlike headphones, earbuds are small enough to fit just inside the ear. With new technology, earbuds are starting to reach the same standards of high-level sound quality as headphones, while maintaining a lighter weight and more intimate feel.

With their oval-shaped ear tips, Klipsch pride themselves on delivering the most comfortable and well-fitting high-end earbuds on the market. The Klipsch cords and plugs are now made even sturdier to last longer. Because the earbuds fit so snugly into the ear, the Klipsch X12i and X20i models are not only desired for their reliable sound quality, but their noise-cancelling abilities as well. They even have a reputation for blocking outside noise better than expensive noise-cancelling headphones.

With both the X12i and X20i models promising the most comfort and quality, which ones are right for you?

Klipsch X12i

Klipsch X12i
Klipsch X12i

The X12i model is so lightweight – Klipsch calls them “featherweight” – that you supposedly cannot feel them once they are in your ears. And they are small enough to be almost unnoticeable. Because of this comfortable, custom fit the X12i model stay in the ear even during activity.

This model provides a wide range of audio quality, from clear bass to accurate treble. There is excellent balance in sound with plenty of integrity in pretty much all styles of music. Audiophiles definitely enjoy being able to hear every single subtle tone in their music thanks to the almost complete blocking out of ambient noise. This allows listeners to pick up on nuances in their music they may never have heard before.

The X12i includes a microphone, which has a tendency to fall into place around the head that might not be convenient for everyone, and possibly include too much cord shuffling noise.

Klipsch X12i Features

  • 0.48 oz
  • Lower price
  • Aluminum
  • 4 different sizes of ear tips

Klipsch X20i

Klipsch X20i
Klipsch X20i

Klipsch’s top-end model boasts both style and the highest quality sound of their entire line of earbuds. The eye-catching design is made of brushed stainless steel and copper. With the X20i model, Klipsch promises the type of audio quality you might find in the most expensive, high-end home sound systems with the comfort and portability of their patented oval-shaped ear pieces.

The sound quality of the X20i model ranges from rich, thumping bass that stays in a manageable level, to clear treble that doesn’t get too bright, and a perfectly balanced midrange with crisp highs and mellow lows. However, some audiophiles mention a lack of range in their sound when the music source is of poor quality.

The microphone on the X20i model also delivers high quality sound going both in and out, making phone calls clearer on both ends.

Due to all these features, the X20i model is also Klipsch’s most expensive set of earbuds in their entire line.

Klipsch X20i Features

  • 0.64 oz
  • Top of the line
  • Stainless steel
  • Balanced woofer and tweeter


As with most other purchases, the cost of the product must be weighed against your wants and needs. If you are going to invest in high-end earbuds you want to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

With that said, plenty of audiophiles get enjoyment out of the lower-cost X12i model. They are so lightweight and comfortable that one of the biggest complaints they get is that you really can’t hear anything else going on around you – a problem if you need to listen for your children, or for commuter announcements, or anything else happening. However, if you really want to drown out the rest of the world and focus on your music or podcasts, the X12i model is for you.

The X20i delivers a much higher quality of sound than the X12i but also costs more. It’s slightly heavier and not meant to “disappear” in your ear the way the X12i model is. If you need a solid set of earbuds that will last while also delivering the truest sound quality of the Klipsch line, the X20i model is your best bet. They are stylish enough that they are meant to be noticed, not disappear. Like the X12i model, they block out the ambient sound around to – sometimes to a level you might find inconvenient in certain situations.

For comfort and ease of use, go with the X12i. For sturdiness and better sound quality, the X20i model is better.

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