Just like the way you like your steak prepared and the way you take your coffee, the type of headphones we use is personal preference. Some of us always have a pair stuck in our purses or backpacks for long commutes and time at the gym, while others use headphones less often—if at all. Thinking of upgrading your current headphones? Learn about different types of headphones in our buying guide below.
While we all probably have a couple of pairs of headphones from our MP3 players or smartphones lying around, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the other types of headphones available on the market so you can decide what’s right for you. From discreet in-ear headphones to larger models that rival sound quality found in luxury speaker sets, be sure to consider these factors when choosing your next pair of headphones:
Most of us have received a pair of earbud headphones with our smartphones and use them—or lose them. These types of headphones are a great choice because they’re compact, lightweight, and offer decent sound quality. While you’re still going to hear noise from your surroundings, you’ll get little to no interference from hats, hairstyles or even glasses.
If you like the concept of earbuds but find they’re constantly falling out of your ear, you might consider in-ear-canal headphones. In-ear-canal headphones, also called “canalphones,” use little ear-tips so they can fit snugly into your ear and provide great noise isolation and sound quality. However, they’re not for everyone. Some may find them uncomfortable or distracting.
Canalbuds, on the other hand, are a middle-of-the-road option between earbuds and in-ear-canal headphones. This type of headphone features a larger earpiece that helps it stay in place and in some cases may have headband or clip that slips over the ear. While still portable and comfortable, they’re typically not as compact as earbud and in-ear-canal headphone models.
Lightweight headphones are a great option for those who don’t like having the small earpieces of in-ear headphones and instead want something that fits over the ear. Most lightweight headphone models feature a thin headband to keep the earpieces in place, or in some cases, a lightweight clip that slides over the ear. Lightweight headphones are, by name, lightweight and in most cases, easy to carry, and typically provide better sound quality than most in-ear headphones.
If you’re looking for the classic headpieces of yesteryear, full-size headphones are here to stay. This type of headphone model fully covers your ears and has soft padding around the earpieces for a very comfortable wear. In most models, full-size headphones block a lot of external noise and have some of the best sound quality on the market. However, because they’re big and bulky, they’re not great for travelling.
If you’re one who likes to experience the music you’re listening to—or you just want to drown out the nuisance around you—noise-cancelling headphones might be for you. These headphones typically feature similar wear qualities as full-size headphones, but cancel out external sounds with inverse audio signals. While the peaceful experience may be one thing, noise-cancelling headphones frequently don’t have the same sound quality as full-size headphones.
Using Bluetooth technology to stream audio from your listening device, wireless headphones let you listen cord-free. Perfect for gym time or running around the yard, wireless headphones are portable and comfortable but sometimes lack in sound quality.
Now that you know the different types of headphones out there on market, the next step is to go into a store and test a variety of types and models to determine which kind of headphones you should buy. You can also refer to our helpful speaker buying guide for tips on testing audio devices before you buy.
To find the best brand of headphones for you, browse our large selection of headphones online or visit an hhgregg store to talk to a sales associate. Not only are they audio experts, but they can also help you find a pair of headphones that fits your listening needs, lifestyle, and budget.