In the modern world where half the things we hear in our day are digital, having a pair of headphones are an essential tool for just about anyone. They allow us to keep those sounds private, and not disturb other people in the public sphere.
They also have the great benefit of being more convenient than holding your entire phone up to your face every time you want to have a telephone call. Especially in the current times where we have to be ever more careful about hygiene and Covid-19. Many people may not want to hold the phone that they touch with their hands up to their face.
And so, the answer to all of this is headphones. Whether you want simple earbuds that are low profile and sleek, or some flashy Casino Red cans as a style piece, there is a right kind of headphones for everyone.
Now, just because you like the way a pair of headphones look though, doesn’t mean it is the right kind of headphones for you. There are quite a few things I think everyone should consider before spending a cent on any headphones.
The single most important thing you should look out for in a pair of headphones is comfort! It doesn’t matter how many other features or how amazing the headphones sound, if they are uncomfortable, they will come right off your head.
So, what are the things you should look for to see if a pair of headphones will be comfortable? There are a few things, and I’ll explain each one of them hence.
First of all, there is the size of the headphones ear cup. This will give your ear the amount of space it needs to be comfortable. This means the earcup shouldn’t really touch or press on your ear.
Now, touching your ear around the rim is not the biggest deal when it comes to comfort. The Takstar Pro 82s I use are amazingly comfortable, but they do brush the edges of my ear a bit.
What is more important is the depth of the ear cup. If your ear touches, or is pressed on by, the driver (The part of the headphone that the sound comes out of) then it will certainly become more and more uncomfortable the more you wear it.
Another thing is how plush are the ear pads on the headphones? If they are too hard, they could press uncomfortably against the sides of your head and begin to hurt.
Another thing to consider is what the headphones are made of, and what weather are you usually around. Depending on the kind of material the ear cups are made of, it can become rather hot to wear over ear headphones.
So, if you have a pad that is more breathable, then it could help you keep cool. Another option in hot climates is on ear headphones, or IEMs (In Ear Monitors. They are like “fancy” earbuds). Both of which don’t box in your ears and heat them up.
In addition to all that you have to try out with the ear cups, it is important to pay attention to the headband as well! How plush is the padding? How tight is the clamp of the headphones?
It is important to have at least a little padding on the top of your headphones, otherwise, it can hurt to wear them for long periods. It will press down on the top of your head and can begin to ache.
This can be especially troublesome for someone who is bald, as they have no hair to provide additional padding to the top of their head. So, it would be worthwhile to pay attention to the padding up there!
Finally, we have the clamp of the headphones. This means how hard the headphones press on the sides of your heads. This will ultimately be personal preference, but in general, I think a looser clamp will be more comfortable for most people.
What Is Your Use Case?
Other than comfort, everything else about your headphones could be completely subjective. It entirely depends on what you intend to do with them, and what you need from a pair of headphones.
If you are just a regular commuter that wants to listen to music or podcasts on a train or bus, then what you probably would want are a pair of IEMs, True Wireless Earbuds, or Bluetooth headphones.
All of these will give the necessary convenience and portability required for easy use on public transport. They each have pros and cons, however, and you may wish to consider each.
I will start with True Wireless Earbuds as they are the most convenient. And that is about where their pros end. They are extremely portable and very convenient. However, they are also very expensive.
A pair of True Wireless Earbuds that are of decent quality and sound alright are going to run you around 100 USD. You could go lower to around 50 USD, but then you slack on the sound and build quality.
You could also go more expensive all the way up to 300 or 450 USD, but that is a huge sum of money for most people. And to be honest, the sound quality on the most expensive True Wireless Earbuds, is just not as good as other options.
So, at the end of the day, True Wireless Earbuds may be the kings of portability and convenience, but at some pretty hefty drawbacks. Although, one thing I will mention is that I have heard Air Pods Pros have the best active noise canceling money can buy if you want that.
Bluetooth headphones are next because they are probably the most comfortable out of the three options. In my personal opinion, over ear headphones will always be the most comfortable kind of headphones.
Another advantage of Bluetooth headphones is that they have no wires to tangle, and they are hard to lose. Whereas with True Wireless Earbuds, you could easily lose one and be out of luck.
However, they also suffer from the same problem as True Wireless Earbuds, in that if you want decent sound quality, you will have to spend an exorbitant sum. Two very popular models being the Bose QC35s and the Sony H1000XM4s will both run you about 350 USD.
Now we come to IEMs. What I personally think are the absolute best all around headphones for someone who is a casual commuter. IEMs are amazingly comfortable, cheap, and sound amazing for their price.
For instance, I currently use Tin T2s as my daily driver headphones that I take out with me. They are by far the most comfortable earbuds I have ever worn in my life. I went from despising in-ear headphones to being perfectly fine with them since I tried my Tin T2s.
Another great thing is that they are very cheap for what you get. My Tin T2s were only 40 USD! And for a similar price, you could get KZ ZS10 Pros if you need headphones with a microphone!
I have heard both sound great, and I can personally attest to Tin T2s being outstandingly comfortable. The only drawback is that they are wired which can be a hassle sometimes.
However, if you are someone who tries to be environmentally conscious, you may want to seriously consider buying wired headphones. Lithium is a limited resource, and buying wireless earbuds is somewhat unnecessary.
In my opinion, it is a waste of lithium that could be used for numerous other electronic devices that are necessary. In addition, lithium mining is doing a lot of damage to the environment, so the less we use it, the more we limit this damage.