7 Tips to Choose the Best Kind of Headphones for Yourself

7 Tips to Choose the Best Kind of Headphones for Yourself

With hundreds of different types of headphones, choosing a new pair can get confusing. There are tons of options — from the basic $30 ones to advanced recording gear. 

To make sure you choose the right pair of headphones for your needs, learn more about the most popular modifications on the market. This post is a full buyer’s guide to the most common types of earphones.

Table of Contents

  • Closed-back Headphones
  • Open-back Headphones
  • On-Ear Headphones
  • Over-The-Ear Headphones
  • In-ear Headphones
  • Noise-canceling Headphones
  • Earbuds
  • Types of Headphones Comparison Chart

Closed-back Headphones

Closed-back Headphones

Closed-back headphones are the most common. The defining quality of the model is the hard enclosure of the headphone cup. Closed-back headphones are generally more immersive and offer better sound quality. However, they provide no situational awareness — you will be fully isolated from the outside world. 

Pros:

  • Don’t leak sound into recordings. Unlike the open-back model, closed-back headphones don’t allow sounds to leak into recordings. A high level of isolation comes in handy for any type of recording — a video, a podcast, or a track. 
  • Cancel outside noises. Noisy rooms and environmental sounds will not distract you from listening since closed-back headphones offer excellent noise cancellation. 

Cons:

  • Tire the ears out. As no sound from the headphones is coming out into the world, the audio will feel quite heavy. The big sound of closed-back headphones might tamper with your concentration for working or studying. 
  • Sound is not wide enough. There’s no ‘music in the concert hall’ effect and the sound may feel slightly unnatural for some.

What these are best for

Closed-back headphones are the best kind of headphones for working in noisy spaces and mixed-use. If you don’t want to worry if others can hear what’s playing, the closed-back modification is the right one for you. 

Open-back Headphones

Open-back Headphones

Open-backed headphones don’t have a cover on the outer part of the cup — as a result, sounds go straight to the outside world. These headphones create a more natural listening experience, but they could be distracting for those around you. 

Pros:

  • Airy, wide sound. Open-back headphones spread the sound waves across the room. They are the best type of earbuds when it comes to creating a more lightweight and realistic listening experience. There’s more freedom to the music as it sounds richer and larger. 
  • Situational awareness. Open-back headphones leak ambiental sounds from time to time — this ensures that you will not get into trouble by ignoring life-saving warning signs and will be able to hear people talking to you. 

Cons:

  • Sound quality is not enough for recording sessions. Using open-back headphones for content creation puts you at risk of hearing side noises too. 
  • Lack of isolation in a noisy environment. Using open-back headphones might make you uncomfortable as they offer little-to-no privacy. People around you can hear your tracks anytime you decide to use the model (at the office for example). 

What these are best for

Choose open-back headphones out of all types of headphones for listening to music at home, or while running or walking. This way, you’ll benefit from the situational awareness and airy sound quality they bring to the table. 

On-Ear Headphones

On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are extremely versatile and range in cost — you can find both a cheap model or an expensive professional one. These headphones are not too lightweight, yet not as big as an over-the-ear model would be. On-ear headphones are known for high immersion and noise cancellation — that’s why they are most people’s go-to headphones for public places. 

Pros:

  • Not likely to fall off. Unlike over-the-ear headphones, this model would not slide on your head as you move your neck. 
  • Easy to carry around. Though on-ear headphones are much larger than earbuds, you can still wear them discreetly in public. Most on-ear models are compact and lightweight — that makes them one of the best options for traveling. 

Cons:

  • Cans tend to absorb sweat. The headphones are designed in a way that the foam around the cans will eventually acquire a light stench of sweat if you carry them to the gym too much.
  • Uncomfortable to wear for a long period of time. Having the headphones on for a while will tire ears out. The design of the model presses the ears down and makes them sore after an extended time of use. 

What these are best for

On-ear headphones are discreet and fit well for wearing at work, at the coffee shop, or on a trip. You can carry them around easily and you won’t stick out if you use them in public. 

Look at Treblab BT5

Over-The-Ear Headphones

Over-The-Ear Headphones

This headset type is the largest one at any shop. Their distinctively big cans and large speakers make it impossible to confuse over-the-ear headphones with any other type. 

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality. Over-the-ear headphones are a cut above the rest when it comes to creating deep low-end tones and capturing the depth of the sound in incredible detail. In terms of the sound isolation, no other type of gear comes close to over-the-ear headphones — wearing Treblab headphones, you will not be disturbed by outside noises. 
  • Comfortable to wear. You might be surprised given their large size, but over-the-ear headphones put no pressure on the ears and don’t wear them out as much as other different types of earbuds do.

Cons:

  • Large size. Over-the-ear headphones are too big to effortlessly carry around every day. For the same reason, they are not the best traveling option either. 
  • Cost. Over-the-ear headphones are the most expensive among all types of earbuds and earphones. The cost of some advanced models can be as high as $500 per pair.

What these are best for

Over-the-ear headphones are the best kind of earbuds for professional recording. You can get them for listening to music at work and benefit from noise-cancelation. Over-the-ear headphones are the number one option in gaming. 

Look at TREBLAB Z2

In-ear Headphones

In-ear Headphones

In-ear headphones are small and easy to hide from others. They are also the most affordable ones that you can get at any store. Keep in mind that in-ear headphones lack the immersion common to other types of recording gear. 

Pros:

  • Barely noticeable. You will be able to hide the headphone cable under your clothes and listen to music without anyone noticing. If you want to listen to music at school or at work without attracting attention, there’s no better choice than a pair of in-ears. 
  • Affordable. Unlike over-the-ear models, in-ear headphones are not much to worry about. You can get different types of earphones for as little as $30. 

Cons:

  • Sound quality. The compact size of in-ear headphones deprives them of depth and sound volume that larger models can provide.
  • Uncomfortable to wear over extended periods of time. In-ear headphone buds have to be picked to match your ear canal. Otherwise, your ears may get tired when listening to music over long periods of time.

What these are best for

Affordable in-ear headphones are a good fit for walking or doing sports activities. You can get them for kids to use at school or have a pair for work. 

Noise-canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones help eliminate all outside distractions and focus on the track that’s playing. Depending on where you want to use the model, the noise-canceling technology has its pros and cons to take into account. 

Pros:

  • Boost concentration. Loud outside noises get in the way of our concentration and productivity. To get more done in a day, consider getting a pair of noise-canceling headphones and cutting off all distractions. You don’t have to listen to music to block outside noises — your headphones will take care of it. 
  • Improve the experience of answering calls. Noise-cancelling helps avoid miscommunication during calls, improves your focus, and frees you from having to go outside to answer the phone. 

Cons:

  • Cost. Some noise-canceling headphones are above-the-fold in terms of cost on the market today — you might have to pay around $300 for a professional pair. At Treblab, however, we have more affordable options to choose from.
  • Lack of situational awareness. For the sake of safety, you shouldn’t use noise-canceling headphones when driving, crossing the street, or jogging outside. If you do, you can lose touch with reality and increase the odds of accidents. 

What these are best for

Noise-canceling headphones are a classic must-have for travel enthusiasts. The model is a good fit for working at noisy coffee shops and recording or mixing audio.

Earbuds

Earbuds

Earbuds — wireless in-ear headphones — are your go-to choice for working out. With this type of gear, you will no longer have to struggle with the cable swinging up and down as you run. When using earbuds, make sure you don’t lose them since they are so small. 

Pros:

  • Compact. An earbuds case can easily fit in your pocket. As for the headphones themselves, you will be able to wear them discreetly, without having to hide the cable or attracting attention with a big cap. Most earbuds are lightweight and will not add to your travel carry-on. 
  • Synchronized with your phone. Use a button on the earbuds or Bluetooth controls to pause and resume tracks, switch to the next song, etc. Some earbuds have a built-in microphone as well, allowing you to answer calls effortlessly. 

Cons:

  • Bothersome controls. Getting the hang of wireless earbuds takes time and effort. You might need a dedicated smartphone app to manage your headphones. 
  • Can get lost. It’s easy to lose track of one or both earbuds in a bag or a pocket. Make a habit of carrying the case around to ensure your headphones will not be lost. The good news is, some manufacturers equip the earbuds with a geolocation feature — you will then be able to track the pair via a smartphone. 

What these are best for

Compact earbuds are your go-to choice for traveling or working out — they don’t take up much space or tire out your ears. 

Look at TREBLAB XGO

Types of Headphones Comparison Chart

If you still haven’t decided which is the best type of headphones for you, take a look at the comparison chart to settle the matter once and for all. 

Type

Comfort

Size

Sound quality

Cost

Closed-back

Low

Medium

Medium

Low

Open-back

Medium

Medium

Below average

Low

On-ear

Low

Medium

Medium

Medium

Over-the-ear

Medium

Large

High

High

In-ear

Medium

Small

Low

Low

Noise-cancelling

High

Varies

High

High

Earbuds

Medium

Small

Medium

Medium 

Join our newsletter

Comments (0)

Write