There’s no shortage of choices on the market when it comes to headphones. On the upside, the variety of styles means that there’s something for everyone. On the downside, the breadth of choice can be a little overwhelming. This list is here to help make your search for the perfect pair of headphones just a little easier.
1. Know your headphone options
Knowing is half the battle, as they say. Here’s a quick rundown of the basic types of headphones:
Over-ear headphones have cups that fit snugly over the ears. This type of headphone comes in two varieties: open-back and closed-back. Closed-back headphones have ear cups with a solid outer shell, creating a contained sound. Open-back headphones have a shell with small openings similar to a grill or speaker, which creates an open, concert-like sound.
On-ear headphones fit loosely over the ears. The band can also be designed to rest on the back of the neck instead of the head. They tend to let in more outside noise than open-ear headphones but are more portable and less bulky.
In-ear headphones and earbuds are small headphones that go directly into the ear. In-ear headphones have a cylindrical, bullet-like shape or can even be molded to the shape of the ear canal. Earbuds have a rounder shape and rest just outside the ear canal. In-ear headphones are less likely to fall out but tend to be less comfortable than earbuds.
2. Choose headphones that fit your lifestyle
In order to buy the perfect pair of headphones, they have to fit perfectly into your everyday life. It’s important to think about where and when you’re going to be using your headphones before making a choice.
For example, over-ear headphones are great for listening casually to your favorite songs at home. Long commutes by train or frequent business trips by air can be made a lot more tolerable with a pair of noise-cancelling over-ear headphones. On-ear headphones are a better choice if you want to listen to music, but need to be able to hear what’s happening around you.
If you’re a person who’s always on the go, mobility is an important factor in your headphones. Go for headphones with a short cord that won’t get tangled, that are durable enough survive being tossed into your bag on a daily basis.
If you love to listen to music while exercising, it’s probably best to choose a pair of in-ear headphones. Some in-ear headphones are designed specifically with exercise in mind, with built-in heart-monitoring features and no-slip over-the-ear bands.
3. Invest in quality headphones
It may be tempting to buy a pair of headphones for under twenty dollars, but with headphones, what you pay for really is what you get. In the long run, buying one pair of more expensive headphones that sound great and last several years will be a better investment than buying several pairs of cheap headphones that fall apart in a few months. Fifty dollars will net you a decent pair of headphones. Anything from one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars will probably give you the best bang for your buck. You probably don’t want to spend any higher than that unless you’re a dedicated audiophile, you work with music for a living, or are buying headphones with special features like noise-cancellation.
4. Try before you buy
If you’re able to wear a set of headphones before you buy them, it’s a good idea to take the opportunity to test them out. Make sure they fit comfortably. Listen to a few different songs. Classical music and symphonic movie soundtracks are some good choices for getting a feel for the headphones’ range. If there’s a mirror handy, check them out to make sure they look like a good, stylish fit.
5. Do your research
Headphones can be quite an expensive investment, so it’s important to do some research on your prospective new pair before you buy. Try to find online reviews of the headphones you’re interested in purchasing. Look out for complaints and try to get a good idea of how long the headphones will last.
When looking for that perfect pair of headphones, type, function, and comfort are key. Put in a little time and care before committing to a pair, and you’re sure to find your favorite pair of headphones that will last you for years to come.