Who said choosing a pair of headphones was an easy task? Choosing any device is not easy nowadays with the new technologies that keep getting developed by the minute.
Not only are there different fits of headphones, but there are also different connectivities, specifications, and a huge price range.
Do you really need Noise Cancelling Headphones? Do you want your headphones Wireless or Wired? Or does it not matter? How much are you willing to pay? What will you be using your headphones for?
These are all factors that will affect your decision when purchasing a new pair of headphones.
In order to find the right pair of headphones for you, follow the next four steps that’ll walk you through the different types and fits of headphones, and the pros and cons of each one.
First of All, Choosing The Right Fit.
Over-Ear, On-Ear, and In-Ear are three different fits of headphones, each fit has its own style, recommended usage, and shape.
Do you care about noise isolation? Are you looking for comfortable headphones? Stable headphones? Or just headphones that will get the job done?
The big bulky ones that cover your whole ear and even some of your hair. They’re mostly known for being comfortable for the ear, and for their noise-isolation.
- Over-Ear headphones go over your ears and enclose them with cushioned ear cups making them the most comfortable headphones, especially for extended periods of usage.
- Their bigger size and enclosement of the ear allows for more noise-isolation than other headphones so you wouldn’t have to turn your volume as high as you usually do.
- They can mess with your glasses, earrings, or hair.
- They also are the biggest sized headphones, thus making them the least portable and not stable enough for sports.
- They can get hot on your ears because there’s not much airflow.
Recommended for trains, flights, and gaming.
They’re for getting the job done. Medium noise-isolation. Medium size. Medium comfort. They’re the safest option out of the three types.
- On-Ear headphones are medium-sized, smaller than Over-Ear but still bigger than In-Ear headphones.
- They are just big enough to fit on your ears.
- They are portable and stable so they can be used for sports.
- They allow noise to leak in and out
- They are not as comfortable as Over-Ear headphones.
- They don’t offer padding around your ears like Over-Ear headphones.
Recommended for commutes, sports, and at-home usage.
Compact headphones for when you’re on-the-go and you want something that’s easy to carry around or in a bag rather than hang around your neck the whole day.
- They are the smallest. They fit perfectly in your ears or on the outer ridge of your ears,
- They are the most stable and the best for sports.
- They also are the most portable as they can fit in your pocket (good luck trying to detangle them though).
- They wouldn’t bother your glasses and earring like other types would
- Also, they provide noise-isolation.
- Generally, they have lower audio quality than Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones.
- They are uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.
- They are easy to misplace due to their small size.
Recommended for everyday use, sports, and travelling.
Secondly, Open Back vs Closed Back.
Do you care if the person sitting next to you can hear what you’re listening to? Do you want to cancel outside noise to focus on your music? Or do you want your music to be playing casually and still be able to hear what’s happening around you?
Your music belongs to you and not to other people in the room.
- Closed-Back headphones cancel outside noise that might interfere with your audio.
- They prevent leakage of your audio to the outside.
- Closed Back headphones are for when you want to isolate yourself and your music, you don’t want outside noise nor do you want someone sitting next to you to hear what you’re playing.
- Cancelling outside noise is not always the best decision, especially if you’re in a public place or on the streets.
- They apply more pressure on your ears.
The safer option that you can use almost everywhere,
- They allow the illusion of listening to speakers which some people would describe having a ‘more natural’ sound.
- They are the better choice when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
- The person sitting next to you can clearly hear what you’re playing if the volume is loud enough.
- Unlike Closed Back, Open Back headphones allow sound leakage and outside noise.
Third, Wired or Wireless?
How much do you move around? Do you have the will to charge your headphones every now and then? How much are you willing to pay?
The more modern type you might say. However, modern doesn’t always mean better. There are two types of wireless headphones though: Wireless and Truly Wireless.
Truly Wireless headphones are little earbuds that are not connected together with a wire, and each side of the headphones has its own Bluetooth.
Wireless headphones, however, are connected together with a cord, but together they connect to your phone or laptop wirelessly (using Bluetooth).
- Wireless headphones are much more convenient for mobility. You can lean back, get up, and walk away without having to worry about the cord or accidentally pulling your laptop with you when you get up (we’ve been there).
- Wireless headphones tend to have lower audio quality.
- They’re more expensive than wired headphones.
- You’d have to deal with battery life. They don’t need that much time to charge and most wireless headphones can last 10 to 20 hours, but they’re still another device you’d have to worry about charging.
- Their small size (especially In-Ear headphones) makes them more likely to be misplaced.
The traditional wired headphones we all know and love.
- They tend to have higher audio quality than wireless headphones.
- They’re more affordable.
- Wired headphones are more convenient if you don’t move much. There’s no need to bother yourself with battery life and charging when the cord is not an issue.
- They can get annoying when having to deal with the cord tangling or getting stuck in your clothes.
- You don’t have much flexibility in movement.
- The cord can get damaged over time.
Finally, Do You Need Noise Cancellation?
Significantly more pricey than regular headphones, but does that mean they’re worth the money?
How Noise Cancellation Works
Noise-cancelling headphones have a small microphone on the outside of the earcups. They measure the frequencies of the outside noise and create an opposing frequency to cancel that noise.
Noise Cancellation vs Noise Isolation
Like mentioned, noise cancellation creates a frequency opposite to that of the noise to cancel it out. On the other hand, noise isolation depends on physical factors. Noise-Isolating headphones (like the Over-Ear headphones) have a physical barrier of padding surrounding the ear that prevents noise from entering, rather than cancelling it.
- Great for flights to cancel out airplane engine noises.
- No unnecessary noise to disturb or distract you.
- They are more expensive.
- Not convenient for when you’re in a public place.
In order to find the right pair of headphones for you, there are a few things you need to ask yourself.
If you care about noise isolation and comfort, you should go for Over-Ear headphones.
If you want a safe pair of headphones that you can use almost everywhere, On-Ear headphones are the right pair for you.
If you want something portable and good for when you’re on the go, In-Ear headphones are the one.
If you don’t mind if the person next to you can hear what you’re playing, Open Back headphones could be a great choice. On the other hand, if you don’t want anyone beside you to hear what you’re playing, then you should go for Closed Back headphones.
If you constantly move around then you should consider Wireless headphones, then again, if flexibility isn’t necessary for you, then Wired headphones are a good choice.
Lastly, if you’re willing to pay a higher price for noise cancellation and you believe that you need it, then go for it. However, if it is not necessary, then you should invest the difference in price in a higher quality regular pair of headphones.