Headphones Buying Guide

Whether you love loud music to entertain yourself during a workout, peaceful listening at work or home to spice up your gaming experience, or just a stylish and high-performing device that suits your personal taste, we would help you find headphones that suit you best and meet all your needs. There are so many headphone styles, and many of them are used for different purposes. So it is important that you first identify your needs and then decide accordingly. Shopping for the right headphones is a challenging task, and our main goal is to help you find the perfect headphones. Therefore, consider these important factors before buying headphones:

Types: A Style That Suits Your Ear

There are different types of headphones available, and the choice depends on personal preference. Some listeners like insert-style headphones that are close to the ear canal and provide a crisp and clear sound, while other listeners find it irritating and they prefer over-ear or on-ear headphones. Some people do not like big headphones because they do not like them interfering with their earrings or spectacles. In some cases, you might want to consider noise-cancelling headphones if you want to enjoy music in a busy environment, or a wireless one to avoid the hassle of cords mingling with each other. Considering all these factors, you must decide on the type of headphones.

In-Ear Headphones:

In-ear headphones are mostly called earbuds as they are inserted into the ear canal. Some earbuds rest outside the ear canal or in the ear bowl. These types of headphones are very common and are available with many smart devices such as iPods and other different types of portable audio devices. Most of the in-ear headphones come with canal tips of different sizes to fit in various ear sizes.

On-Ear Headphones:

These headphones are more portable and lightweight as compared to the over-the-ear headphones. The on-ear headphones sit on the ears and not on the head. If you have to go through a long listening session or want to enjoy music for long hours, these headphones are a good choice because they do not heat up as they do not cover the ear. The on-ear headphones are also available in open and closed styles. Some of these headphones come in pouches while others provide a folding storage option.

Over-the-Ear Headphones:

The over-the-ear headphones come in two styles: open and closed. The open style headphones are open, and there is a chance of external noise entering your ears. While the closed headphones seal your ears and block the noise from surroundings. The closed style headphones might not be a good choice if you are at home and do not want to miss out a door bell or a crying baby.

Noise-Canceling Headphones:

Noise-cancelling headphones are perfect for those who do not want to pay attention to the surroundings and want to listen to music without being interfered. Noise cancellation depends on the style of the headphones, that is, closed over-the-ear headphones and in-ear headphones cancel noise more accurately as compared to the on-ear and open style ones. The battery-powered headphones have tiny microphones that sense the external noise frequencies and cancel them by producing the same frequencies. This is called active noise cancellation. The passive noise cancellation models reduce noise physically and are as effective as the passive ones.

Wireless Headphones:

The wireless headphones are very common these days and are connected through a smartphone or any other portable audio device. These headphones have a range of around 30 ft. from the device. However, many wireless headphones still use the radio frequency or Infrared (IR) technologies. The RF headphones are very powerful, and you do not have to be near the system because the sound waves can pass through the walls too. These headphones are, however, prone to interference from the surroundings. The wireless headphones that use IR technology need a line of sight to work properly. The digital wireless headphones give better performance as compared to the analog ones, and the 2.5 GHz headphones are more capable than the 900 MHz models.

ModelConnectivityFrequency ResponseImpedanceSound Pressure Level (SPL)Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)WeightPrice
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Cable10 - 44,100 Hz
(-10 dB)
300 Ohms102 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
0.02 %
(1 kHz 1 Vrms)
11.6 oz.Read more
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BoseQuietComfort35
BoseQuietComfort35
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, Cablen/an/an/an/a10.9 oz.Read more
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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Cable15 – 28,000 Hz38 Ohms94 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
n/a10 oz.Read more
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AKG Pro Audio K812PRO
AKG Pro Audio K812PRO
Cable 5 – 54,000 Hz 36 Ohms110 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
n/a14 oz.Read more
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Sennheiser PXC 550
Sennheiser PXC 550
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Cable with remote 17 – 23,000 Hz Active: 490 Ohms / Passive: 46 Ohms110 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
<0.5%
(1 kHz, 100 dB)
8 oz.Read more
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Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation
Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation
Cable5 – 50,000 Hz600 Ohms102 dB (1 kHz / 1 Vrms)0.05% (1 kHz, 100 dB)12.7 oz.Read more
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Sony Premium MDR1000XB
Sony Premium MDR1000XB
Cable 4 – 40,000 Hz
(-10 dB)
46 Ohms103 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
n/a9.7 oz.Read more
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Sony MDR-1A
Sony MDR-1A
Cable3 – 100,000 Hz24 Ohms105 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
n/a7.9 oz.Read more
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Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
Bluetooth, NFC, Cable with remote16 – 22,000 Hz18 Ohms113 dB
(1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
<0.5%
(1 kHz, 100 dB)
7.4 – 9.2 oz.Read more
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Beats Solo3 Wireless
Beats Solo3 Wireless
Bluetoothn/an/an/an/a7.6 oz.Read more
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Beats Studio Wireless
Beats Studio Wireless
Bluetooth, Cable with remote20 – 20,000 Hzn/an/an/a9.2 oz.Read more
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Bose SoundSport Pulse
Bose SoundSport Pulse
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC10 – 44,100 Hz (-10 dB)n/an/an/a0.8 oz.Read more
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Size:

Smaller & Portable Headphones:

If you are in search of portable headphones that you could take with you on the go, then you should buy ones that are smaller in size. The small and lightweight models should also be foldable so that they can easily be kept in the pocket or somewhere in the bag. The smaller and portable headphones are mostly the ones that are available with the smartphones. The ear-bud style headphones are very portable and comfortable to wear as compared to the large-sized ones, but their sound quality is not better than the bulkier models.

Larger & High-Performing Headphones:

The bulkier and heavier headphones are the ones that provide amazing sound quality and deliver a home studio effect to the listener. The large headphones are mostly the ones that have earmuffs and are connected through an adjustable headband. Some of these headphones come with a pouch and can be folded for easy storage. These headphones are mostly wired and can be connected to an audio player or a TV. However, the large headphones are also available in the wireless form now and are battery-powered or use Bluetooth technology to connect to a smartphone or other device.

Headphones Specifications:

When you are looking forward to buying headphones, you must go through their specifications to have an idea about how well they meet your requirements. If you are shopping online, compare the specifications of different headphones and narrow your choice. However, you would get the best idea only when you will use them yourself. The following are the specifications of headphones that should be considered before purchasing them.

Frequency Response:

Headphones with a larger range of frequency response are expected to produce better sound quality than others. Frequency response is the headphone’s power to produce audio frequencies. These frequencies are measured in Hertz and the value represents some information. Normally the headphones specifications show the value in the range from, for example, 20-20,000 Hz. In this frequency range, the lower number represents the bass response cut-off of the headphones, while the higher number represents treble production roll-off. However, it should be kept in mind that the frequency range is just to give an idea, and not all of the frequencies are used, but it is good to have the headphones which have a larger frequency range.

Most of the unreliable headphones manufacturing companies misuse this figure and indicate wrong frequency response ranges, and thus one should not be particular about this specification. Most of the headphones manufacturers state the frequency response as ±3 dB and this value tells that the particular headphones can play while keeping a volume within a range of three decibels. However, some manufacturers are more intelligent with these numbers and represent them more technically.

Total Harmonic Distortion:

Harmonic distortion could be very annoying because it changes the musical notes and causes popping and crackling. This happens when we listen to music at high volumes, and the diaphragm of the headphones does not handle the pressure properly. Good quality headphones have a low total harmonic distortion, and their sound quality does not distort easily. So, if you see headphones with a high percentage of total harmonic distortion, you must know that when you listen to music on high volumes, these will cause distortion. These days the most excellent and top-notch headphones are available, which have total harmonic distortion below 0.1%.

Impedance:

The impedance is measured in ohms, and it is the resistance that it offers to various distortions and interference. Good quality headphones have high impedance levels, and thus they tend to resist the electronic distortions that cause a hissing sound. There are many factors that affect the impedance of headphones, and the headphones with high impedance need a more powerful amplifier to power them. Headphones with an impedance of 100 ohms can easily by powered by the amplifiers in the audio players, while those with impedance as high as 300 ohms need a separate amplifier to power them.

Sound Pressure Level:

The sound pressure level depends on the quality of the materials being used in the headphones. Headphones with higher sound pressure levels tend to produce louder sounds when they are used with any source such as phones, tablets, and audio players. If the headphones have a higher sound pressure level, they will produce louder sounds when connected to an audio source. However, higher sound pressure level does not necessarily indicate the quality of the headphones.

Size, Weight & Length of the Cord:

The size, weight, and cord length of your headphones depend upon your usage. If you want to use the headphones with your PC, you would need a pair with a cable length of around three meters that would allow you to move in nearby areas. If you are using the headphones during workout or jogging, you would need smaller and lightweight headphones. The bulkier headphones cause more stress to the head and ears and make the listener exhausted as time passes. Headphones with plugins for amplifiers are not suitable for traveling as they are not portable.


HD 800 S is top-notch with designing and construct quality. These headphones have very accurate sound, super comfortable over-the-ear design, and detachable earphone cable. The Sennheiser HD 800 S is at the top level of ultra-high earphones. These are spectacular earphones. Furthermore, they are certainly justifiable to listen with.


The Bose QuietComfort 35 is one of the best and top-notch wireless noise-cancelling headphones. They deliver excellent value for money. Using these headphones, you will get the same sound quality as you get from wired headphones. They are very comfortable, and they would not let you feel exhausted or irritated even wearing them for long. Moreover, they can be folded into a smaller size, and that makes them portable too.


This product is a great example of studio headphones that are accessible to the public. When you factor in the fact that these headphones are quite affordable, you would realize that you have quite a bargain on your hands, which you should try your best not to miss out on. Comfort and durability are certainly going to be issues, but the benefits that you are going to get when you use this product far outstrip any potential drawbacks that you may have to deal with.