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How to Choose the Right Pair of Headphones for You

by Nora Jaymes

Picture this: your tried and true headphones have finally played their last note and you’re in the market for a new pair. You haven’t researched the market in recent years, so you’re not sure what’s out there. Well, never fear – we’re here to navigate the waters with you! Check out this guide on how to choose the right pair of headphones for you!

Now, in order to select your ideal pair, there are several questions you’ll have to ask yourself:

1. How will you be using your headphones? What activities will you be doing?
2. What type of headphones do you want?
3. Do you want them to be wired or wireless? Or – a step further – truly wireless?

Let’s break it down:

Man in a blue shirt and white wireless headphones getting ready to exercise

1. How will you be using your headphones?

The activities you plan on doing while you wear your headphones are a major factor in which kind you should purchase! Are these going to be your gym headphones? Are they strictly for attaching yourself to your record player? Is hearing every aspect of the song important to you? Are they going to be your folding laundry headphones?

Write down how and when you plan on using your headphones and see if there are more “active” or “inactive” activities! This will help illuminate what aspects of your headphones will be the most important.

Woman singing at a desk with green wired headphones

2. What type of headphones do you want?

There are three different types of headphones you can choose from that we will cover here: on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear.

On-Ear: There are generally smaller and lighter versions of over-ear headphones. They’re often more portable in design and use slight pressure to keep them positioned on your head. On-ear headphones also don’t envelop the entire ear, so they can be “cooler” and more comfortable for travel or commuting than their larger counterparts. The cons: Due to staying on your head with pressure, they can become uncomfortable when worn for an extended time and/or pinch your ears.

Over-Ear: The general consensus of over-ear headphones is that they are bigger and “more” in every way! Bigger speakers, bulkier, longer battery life, more comfortable, etc. This style tends to have more padding (both around the ears and on the headband), so you can wear them for an extended period of time without discomfort. Over-ear headphones usually have the best sound quality, and therefore would be the most expensive option of these three. The cons: This style would not be the top choice if you are planning on using your headphones at work or for exercise. Due to their size and padding, they can cause your ears to get sweaty; and due to the noise canceling aspect most of them include, even a coworker tapping on your shoulder could send you out of your skin.

In-Ear: This style is the smallest of the three options, sitting directly in your ear and the ear canal. These are the choice for working out or doing anything active since they are portable and often water/sweat resistant. The cons: While the flexibility this offers is off the charts, they do have several cons associated with them as well. In-ear headphones can be easy to lose and uncomfortable for long-wear. It can be a lot of trial and error to find a pair that fit your ears properly, so for that reason, it’s important to purchase a pair of headphones that include a variety of earpiece sizes. In-ear also tend to have the poorest quality sound, simply due to their size.

Woman walking on the street and talking on the phone with wireless headphones

3. Wired Versus Wireless?

This is almost a no-brainer and most people would go with wireless. Wireless headphones offer you the freedom to be away from your devices and still listen to your podcast or music uninterrupted. The sound quality is often similar, if not the same, as their wired counterparts. Wireless also offers “truly wireless,” which would be the headphones you think of when you think of Apple’s Air Pods. These are entirely free from wires and often come with a small, portable charging case.

Now, why might you consider wired headphones instead? Wired headphones often offer higher quality audio and consistently better sound – no matter what. So if you are an audiophile, this would be the way to go. Additionally, you don’t have to consider battery life; your headphones will never quit on you expectedly.

Here’s a Quick Recap:

Before you go out headphone shopping, here are the top three things to consider: What will you be doing in your headphones? What kind of headphones would you like? Would you prefer wired or wireless headphones?

Still not sure? We are here to help! Call us or stop on by and we can help you find the perfect pair for YOU!