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Headphones Buying Guide

Headphones Buying Guide: Choose the Perfect Pair

If you’re in the market for new headphones, you might be overwhelmed by the variety of options available to you. From in-ear to over-ear, wired to wireless, and with or without noise-cancellation, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using your headphones for before making a purchase.

Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate the world of headphones and choose the perfect pair for your needs:

Headphones Buyers Guide

1. Consider the purpose

The first thing you should think about when buying headphones is what you’ll use them for. If you’re looking for something portable for travel or working out, consider a pair of in-ear headphones.

These are usually lightweight, and compact, and can form a seal to keep out ambient noise. They also come in wired, wireless, and true wireless models, and can cost anywhere from $20 to $350.

If you’re looking for something to use at home, studio-style headphones that go over or on your ears are a great option.

These are usually better for sound quality, as manufacturers can focus on that instead of portability. They come in two types – closed-back and open-air – and can range from $20 to $350.

2. Look for noise-cancellation

If you need to get work done in a noisy environment or want to block out ambient noise during your commute, consider noise-canceling headphones.

They come in both passive and active models, with the latter using battery-powered electronics to cancel out outside noise.

Active noise-canceling headphones work best with low-pitched, consistent noises, like the hum of an airplane engine. They can cost anywhere from $50 to $550.

3. Wireless or wired?

Nearly every type of headphone comes in a wireless version, with most using Bluetooth to connect to your device.

True wireless headphones come with a charging case and can last for up to five or six hours before needing a charge. Wireless home studio-style headphones usually last for around 15 hours or more.

For serious listeners, corded headphones are usually the best option. The best-sounding models in ratings often come with a cord, and while some have single-exit cords or asymmetrical styles to reduce tangling, they can still get in the way.

4. Other features to consider

Other features you may want to consider include water resistance, a microphone, smartphone controls, and monitor or transparency mode. Water-resistant headphones can handle sweat during a workout or even be designed for swimming.

Many headphones also have a microphone and smartphone controls, letting you answer and end calls and control your music without having to take your phone out of your pocket.

Monitor or transparency mode amplifies outside sound, and some noise-canceling headphones come with variable noise-cancellation so you can adjust how much sound you block out.

5. Don’t forget to try before you buy

While online reviews and ratings can give you an idea of what to expect, it’s always a good idea to try headphones before you buy them, especially if you’re considering a higher-end pair. This will give you a chance to test out the sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort before making a purchase.

6. Additional Points to consider

Here are some additional points to consider when choosing new headphones:


Comfort is an important factor when choosing headphones, especially if you plan to use them for long periods. Consider the weight and padding of the headphones, as well as the shape and size of the ear cups.

Sound quality

Sound quality is subjective, but generally, you want headphones that produce a clear and balanced sound. Look for headphones with a wide frequency response and a low level of distortion.


Consider what devices you’ll be using the headphones with and make sure they’re compatible. Some headphones may require a certain type of cable or connector, or they may not work with certain devices at all.


Consider how durable the headphones are and whether they can withstand regular use. Look for headphones with sturdy construction and strong materials.

Brand reputation

Consider the reputation of the brand when choosing headphones. Brands with a good reputation for quality and reliability are more likely to produce headphones that meet your needs.


Consider the style of the headphones, including the color and design. While style isn’t the most important factor, it can be a consideration for some people.


Price is always a consideration when buying headphones. Set a budget and look for headphones that offer the features you need within your budget. Remember that price doesn’t always equate to quality, so don’t assume that more expensive headphones are always better.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What about wired vs wireless headphones?

Wireless headphones have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the convenience of not having to deal with cords. However, some audiophiles will argue that wired headphones still offer superior sound quality. It’s really up to personal preference and how important sound quality is to you. Keep in mind that wireless headphones will also need to be charged regularly, which can be a hassle for some.

Q2: What should I look for in terms of sound quality?

Sound quality is subjective and what sounds great to one person may not be as pleasing to another. However, there are a few things to look for when it comes to evaluating sound quality in headphones. Look for headphones that offer a good balance of bass, midrange, and treble. The bass should be powerful without overpowering the other frequencies, and the treble should be crisp and clear. You should also consider the soundstage, which refers to the spatial dimension of the sound. A good soundstage will make it sound like the music is coming from all around you, creating a more immersive listening experience.

Q3: What about noise-canceling headphones?

Noise-canceling headphones use active technology to block out external sounds, making them a great option for anyone who needs to focus in a noisy environment or wants to enjoy their music without any interruptions. However, noise-canceling headphones are typically more expensive than their non-noise-canceling counterparts, and some people find the sensation of noise-canceling technology to be uncomfortable.

In conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right headphones for your needs can be a daunting task, but by considering the purpose, noise-cancellation, wired or wireless, and other features, you can narrow down your options and make an informed decision. And remember, the most expensive headphones aren’t always the best – sometimes a budget pair can be just as good or even better for your needs.

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