How to Pick the Best Pair of Headphones

Technology  ·  Guides   Updated October 2019

Headphones were designed to let you listen to your audio privately. They come in two main designs: in ear / earbuds and over ear. If you want to improve on the earphones that came with your smartphone, this article will help you decided what to invest in.

Earbuds

Also called in-ear headphones or earphones, these are small devices that fit in your ears. You can usually differentiate between those that sit at your ear's entrance, and those that go in quite deeply.

The main benefit of earbuds is portability, they are very small and you can keep them in your pocket wherever you go. They're ultra light, which makes them suitable for all kinds of sports, including jogging. Many people also find them more comfortable than over-the-ear headphones, especially cheaper models. Many earphones offer a good noise isolation, almost like earplugs.

There are some downsides too. Due to the tiny speakers, the audio can be less natural and the bass not as rich as over-the-ear headphones. Also, not everyone likes to keep things inside their ears, especially over longer periods. Photo by StevenW.

Ear Pad Headphones

This type of headphones don't go inside your ear, and don't cover your whole ear either. They are simply little pads that touch the outside of your ears.

Ear pad headphones usually won't block the outside noise, which can be good in some situations, when you want to abe aware of what is going on around you. This, however, makes them not suitable in places where you would like to reduce ambient noise, such as on a plane.

On the other side, they can be light and comfortable. Photo by AudioTechnica

Over Ear Headphones

Full size over-the-ear headphones are designed to go around your entire ears. They can sometimes be quite bulky, which means they are not best suited for travel, but rather a home or studio use.

Over ear headphones usually provide the best listening experience as they offer natural sound in the whole audio spectrum and rich bass. Because they surround your ear completely, they tend to offer a good noise isolation, although there are also "open" models, which let more sound in and out. Because of the large padding, most users find them comfortable to use, also during longer listening sessions. Photo by invencible92

How to Find the Best Headphones?

Besides looking at the specs, perhaps the best way to find to pick the best headphones is to read reviews about them. The most obvious things to look for is sound quality and comfort. However, there are a few features that could be important too, such as noise cancellation and wireless connectivity, depending on what you need in your situation.

In the list below you can find a few models worth considering.

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