Choosing the perfect pair of headphones can be a truly daunting task! With so many options out there on the market, it can feel like you need to be a genius and headphone-insider to select the headphones that you need.
Fortunately, the hype and stress are unfounded. Selecting the perfect headphones for you is a surprisingly easy task. As a result of determining the following four factors, buying headphones that suit your needs will become effortless and stress-free. No more regrets!
What Is Your Budget?
Of course, one of the first things that you want to do is clearly establish your budget. The idea is to invest in headphones that you can effortlessly replace if something were to happen to them. Nothing is worse than investing in extremely pricey headphones that may eventually break, leaving you waiting for ages to save up the cash to buy another. Unless you’re Bill Gates, be sensible with the amount of money you’re putting on the table.
Another thing to take into consideration when determining your budget is the frequency in which you will use your headphones. If you plan to use your headphones every single day, then it’s worth splashing a decent amount of cash on your new headphones. However, if you’re only going to be using the new headphones here and there, then perhaps it’s worth being conservative with your budget since headphones will be a low-priority investment.
Where Will You Use It?
The location in which you will use your headphones is another crucial factor that will influence the headphones that you want to purchase.
If you plan to travel a lot, then you may choose to go for noise canceling and comfortable headphones to drown out the noise from a busy environment. In this context, you definitely want to consider investing in closed-back headphones. This is because closed-back headphones are meticulously designed to block out any sound from your surroundings — while keeping your music and audio from being heard by people around you.
On the other hand, if you plan to simply use your headphones in the comfort of your own home where noise cancelation isn’t required, then you can use open-back headphones. Open-back headphones are not noise-canceling but produce much better sound quality.
How Important Is Comfort & Portability?
The next thing to consider is how comfortable and portable you want your headphones to be. We will go into more detail into this topic within the “How will you use them?” section, but it’s worth informing you of the three categories of headphones and how they relate to comfort and portability.
Circumaural headphones are the most comfortable headphones as they fit completely around the ear with plenty of soft padding. The major trade-off is that the Circumaural headphones are regarded as typically inferior in portability in comparison to the other headphone categories due to their bulky design.
The In-ear headphones are significantly more portable than Circumaural headphones while still producing excellent quality audio. Unfortunately, the headphones penetrate deep into the ear to provide the same quality audio as Circumaural headphones. This means that in-ear headphones can be relatively uncomfortable and intrusive for a lot of users.
Last but not least, Supra-Aural headphones are the safe middle ground between portability and comfort. The design is smaller than the Circumaural headphones, but not as small as the in-ear headphones. Similarly, the headphones are more comfortable than the in-ear headphones, but not as comfortable as the Circumaural headphones. Thus, the supra-aural headphones are bang in the middle of the comfort portability spectrum.
How Will You Use Them?
Now that you know your budget, what headphone are indoor-outdoor-friendly and what headphones are comfortable and portable, now it is time to map out what headphones are suitable for their use.
If you plan to use your headphones for work and travel, then you most likely want to go for headphones that are comfortable for long commutes, and noise-canceling to avoid unwanted attention. Therefore, you should lean towards the Supra-Aural closed-back headphones as they will provide a convenient yet portable noise-canceling experience.
If your headphones are primarily for gaming, then you are most likely looking for great sound quality — especially for identifying gunfire in intense first-person shooters — and comfort for long gaming sessions. Thus, gamers should lean towards Circumaural open-back headphones as they provide plenty of comfort and excellent quality sound — while portability is not an issue when you’re sitting down and playing.
For gym and exercise, you are most likely looking for portable headphones that you can bring along on your way to the gym. In-ear headphones are fabulous for this purpose as they sit deep into the ear to prevent them from falling during exercises. They are also very portable. Purchasing Bluetooth in-ear headphones will be even better as there are no wires to get in your way mid-workout.
If you like to listen to music to help you sleep or use headphones before you go to bed (whether it’s for white noise, ASMR, relaxing music, or more), then you’ll be glad to know that there are headphones specifically designed for sleep. Therefore, your search time will be significantly reduced if you laser focus your headphone choice to ones that are designed solely for sleep.
Last Words on Choosing a HeadPhone
After taking into account the four factors discussed above, you no longer need to stress about purchasing the perfect headphones. The key is to identify exactly what you want to get out of your headphones. Once you know what you want, it’s much easier to go out and get it!