Several factors come into play when deciding what kind of headphones to purchase. From your surrounding environment to budget to listening habits, these are just a few factors that can help determine what headphones are right for you and your lifestyle.
What is their intended use, beyond, you know, listening?
Are you using your headphones for long-distance runs and high-intensity workout routines? Or are you listening to your music and podcasts at a desk or on the bus each morning?
People’s lifestyles and intended use of headphones largely determine their purchase, so before narrowing down your options, this is a big question to take into consideration.
Type of Headphones
Are you looking for over-ear, on-ear, or in-ear headphones? Each has its pros and cons of course.
Over-ear headphones can be great for sound quality, which is why so many music junkies and producers can be found with the biggest set of headphones money can buy. This style completely covers your ears which helps with tuning out external noise.
Over-ear headphones do tend to be a bit on the bulky and heavier side, so they might not be best for vigorous activity, but can be great for at-home use or tuning out the world when you’re on an airplane for 5 hours. Over-ear headphones provide a comfortable listening experience for longer periods of time, as they fully surround your ear.
According to audio experts and headphone retailer Selby, “These are the prime choice for audiophiles in our shops. The sound quality is unparalleled, especially in the high-end brands like Sennheiser..”
- Better noise-cancelation
- Comfortable for extended periods of time
- Quality of sound
- Tend to be more expensive
- Not ideal for physical activity
On-ear headphones are a bit lighter and more compact and sit directly on the ears. They also tend to run a bit less expensive than over-ear headphones. Since they don’t completely envelope the ears, they do allow a bit more ambient noise in and don’t sit as securely.
This style still offers a comfortable fit with slightly less bulk. On-ear headphones are often more affordable and can produce the same quality of sound, but are not recommended for periods of use longer than an hour before experiencing some ear pain or discomfort.
- Lighter in weight and more compact
- Allows some noise in so you can still hear surroundings
- Quality of sound is still high
- Can cause discomfort or pinching if worn for a long period of time
- Lose out on deeper bass tones
- Do not sit as securely as in-ear or over-ear
In-ear headphones, which are often referred to as earbuds, fit directly inside the ear. Their lightweight and exceptionally compact size make them ideal for physical activity and those who are constantly on the go.
They can be stored virtually anywhere and tend to be less expensive than both of the aforementioned headphone styles. Designed for comfort during multiple hours of use, earbuds are a simple and inexpensive option for audio on the go.
- Noise isolation
- Minimal noise leakage
- Compromise of sound quality
- Wires tangle easily
Attached or Wireless?
While wireless headphones tend to be a bit more expensive, they allow you the freedom to roam freely without tangling the chords tethering you to your device. So for you runners and gym-goers, this may be the best option.
However, the quality of sound can be disrupted and compromised if you wander too far from your device, and of course, given their wireless state, they do require charging or battery replacement.
Ultimately, the quality of your headphones is reflected in the price tag, and depending on how much time you spend listening, can be worth the investment.
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