Headphones are one of the most popular tech devices these days. There are so many models that have been adapted for different uses. Whether listening to music, playing video games or practicing sport, today's headphones allow us to enjoy amazing sound quality.
However, other factors such as comfort and design also come into play when buying new headphones. If you don't feel comfortable with a new pair of headphones, it won't be long before you stop using them. So, to help you in the selection process, we have produced this complete shopping guide just for you.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The best headphones: Our Picks
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about headphones
- 4.1 What are headphones exactly?
- 4.2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of headphones?
- 4.3 What do you need headphones for?
- 4.4 What types of headphones are there?
- 4.5 What type of over-ear headphones are there?
- 4.6 Open or closed over-ear headphones?
- 4.7 Wired or wireless headphones?
- 4.8 What is active headphone noise cancellation?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- The first thing you need to think about when buying a new headset is how you're going to use it. You’ll require different headphones for playing sports as opposed to listening to music at home or playing video games.
- One very important decision you have to make when buying headphones is whether you want them to be wireless or not. Wired headphones offer better sound quality, whilst wireless headphones are much more comfortable.
- You'll use the headphones to listen to music, watch movies or series, or even to play video games. Therefore, the quality of the sound is one of the key factors in the purchase decision and preferably you’ll want to try them out first. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. In this case, you will have no choice but to be guided by a series of technical criteria.
The best headphones: Our Picks
Here's the list we've prepared with the top headphones currently available on the market. We've made sure to include great value for money items. Of course, they all offer excellent sound quality and are from well-known brands.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about headphones
When buying headphones, it's important to consider a number of things. Don't forget that there are so many different models of headphones, each with specific characteristics that make them more suitable for one use than another. Therefore, in the following section we try to answer the most common questions of consumers.
What are headphones exactly?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of headphones?
|They allow you to listen to music without worrying about disturbing others||Intensive use may cause hearing discomfort|
|You can use them anywhere. They are lightweight and easy to transport. They are perfect for travelling||Using while driving or riding a bicycle can carry certain risks|
|Other people won’t know the music you're listening to. With headphones you’ll have complete privacy|
|They’re also an attractive fashion accessory|
What do you need headphones for?
Another perfect use for headphones is for practising sport, especially running. That's why you’d be interested in headphones that are resistant to water and sweat. In addition, there are also waterproof models available that can be used for swimming. There are even models designed to be worn as fashion accessories.
What types of headphones are there?
|Over-ear headphones||In-ear headphones|
|Placement||They surround the head completely||They are inserted directly into the ear, sealing the hole with rubber bands|
|Weight||Their dimensions are larger, therefore they are also heavier||They are much lighter and smaller in size. They are easier to transport|
|Design and use||Most video game headphones use this design||The most suitable design for sports headphones|
What type of over-ear headphones are there?
Open or closed over-ear headphones?
Wired or wireless headphones?
Wireless headphones are much more comfortable, allowing you more freedom of movement. This makes them ideal for sports and for use with your mobile phone. Their connection range is usually around 10 meters. Keep in mind, however, that the battery life can be limiting factor.
|Advantages of wireless headphones||Disadvantages of wireless headphones|
|They are much more comfortable as they do not depend on cables||The sound quality is inferior to that of the cable connection. In addition, interference may occur|
|They allow free movement, up to 10 meters from the source||The price is usually significantly higher|
|You don't have to worry about the cable breaking or the connection port failing||The battery life is limited, so it is necessary to recharge them frequently|
|You can connect to another device without having to change the cable||They are not compatible with all devices|
What is active headphone noise cancellation?
It is an ideal system for long journeys by train or airplane and to isolate you from noisy environments. However, it is not recommended to use it while walking down the street or riding a bicycle, as it can be dangerous. For this reason, some headphones allow you to turn active noise cancellation on and off.
When it comes time to purchase your headphones, it's important that you consider some key areas. To help you in the selection process, we have selected the criteria that we think are most important. We have done this in order to serve as a guide for you, to help you find the headphones that suit your needs and budget.
What will you use them for?
You don't need the same type of headphones to listen to music at home in a relaxed way as you do to play video games or as you do when you’re travelling and listening to music on the way to class or work. So if you're going to use them outside the house, whether it's travelling or in your day-to-day life, you're interested in more durable headphones.
If you're going to use them to play video games, it's a good idea to choose ones with a gaming profile. On the other hand, if you want to wear headphones with an attractive design, you should take a look at the Beats headphones, although they're not the only ones that stand out for their design. Luckily, there are options for all tastes.
Sensitivity is related to the sound power offered by the headphones and is measured in decibels (dB). In that sense, you should know that 3 dB increases in sensitivity halves the power needed to reach a given volume. Keep in mind that the human ear can only support up to 100 dB.
Impedance, measured in ohms (Ω), indicates the resistance of the headphones to the passage of electric current. The lower the impedance, the louder the headphones can sound for the same power. In general, headphones with between 16 and 80 ohms of impedance ensure good performance.
In addition to sound quality, all headphones are characterised by a particular sound profile. This depends on their pre-set equalisation, or in other words, the reinforcement or reduction of certain frequencies (low, medium or high). For example, Beats headphones stand out for boosting bass.
The most common equalisers are balanced or flat, V equalisation and basshead. In this sense, the one that respects the original sound the most is the flat or balanced. V equaliser powers bass or treble and is the most recommended for listening to rock, hip-hop or electronics. Basshead specifically focuses on reinforcing the bass.
If the headphones you buy aren't comfortable, it won't be two weeks before you stop using them. In general, comfort will depend mainly on the design, materials, softness and padding of the earpads and, importantly, the pressure they put on the head.
Additionally, in the specific case of over-ear headphones, a larger cup will generally result in greater comfort. Another thing to consider is whether or not they are connected by a cable. If they have a cable, is it has an anti-tangle system, or does it have practical clips to attach it to clothing.
Today, there are a variety of options for connecting headphones to your music player. From the traditional 3.5 mm jack socket of a lifetime to Bluetooth or WiFi connections, not forgetting USB port connections. In each case, you want to know which connection standard they support.
In the case of Bluetooth connections, the most current version is 5.1, while for USB ports, the modern standard and therefore the fastest, is USB 3.0 Type-C. However the fact is, the wired connection usually offers a higher level of quality than wireless connections.
Logically, this criterion only applies to wireless headphones. In this case, battery life is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing which purchases to make. Nothing is more annoying than running out of battery at the most inconvenient time.
Fortunately, to prevent this, many manufacturers also offer the ability to connect headphones via a cable. In any case, it is possible to find devices that offer up to 30 hours of battery life. However, keep in mind, that a longer battery life is going to mean an increase in weight and price.
After mobile phones, headsets are probably the most widely used electronic device. They are easy to use, very comfortable and can be taken anywhere. In addition, for some time now, they have been an important fashionable accessory. There is no doubt that they are in vogue.
However, we shouldn’t forget that the main purpose of headphones is to enjoy good quality sound. Thus, this is one of the main purchase criteria when purchasing a headset. Of course, along with the intended use and the connectivity options available.
Finally, if you found this guide useful in your selection process, you can leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.
(Source of featured image: Sergey Galushko: 11000669/ 123rf.com)