Black woman in polka dotted blue sleeveless dress wearing earbuds and smiling in cafe

A great pair of headphones allows you to switch off from the world and retreat into a state of relaxation.

Headphones are an ideal choice for running and working out, listening to music at work, and keeping up to date with your favourite podcasts. They’re also a great way to keep your little ones quiet or entertained on long flights or drives—just load up a video on your tablet and “plug in” the kids.

Figuring out what you’ll use your headphones for is the first step to identifying the type that will suit you best.

Headphones are an ideal choice for running and working out, listening to music at work, and keeping up to date with your favourite podcasts.

Figuring out what you’ll use your headphones for is the first step to identifying the type that will suit you best.

Types of Headphones

Types of Headphones

In-ear headphones, or earbuds, are lightweight, compact and portable. You’ll usually find a pair of earbuds enclosed with your purchase of an mp3 player or smartphone, but expect only average quality. A good pair will need to be purchased separately.

Earbuds are either inserted into the ear canal or rest on the outer ear, which means they won’t fall out during a strenuous workout. Higher-end earbuds should also feature a remote control built into the wire, which allows you to control navigation and volume.

Bearded man wearing wireless in ear headphones

These headphones sit comfortably over the outer ear, giving your ears the chance to breathe and reducing the possibility of irritation. Many models come with volume and navigation controls on the wire. You’ll also usually get an extra ear pad set and carry case.

On-ear headphones allow a little bit of sound from the outside world to reach your ear, making them a suitable choice for the office or at home if you want to listen out for the kids when they’re in a different room.

Preppy guy with glasses smiling while wearing on ear headphones

Large and comfortable, over-ear headphones offer maximum potential for bass and volume levels. The bigger sized earcups block noise from the outside, allowing you to completely indulge in your favourite tracks. A detachable cord and folding design make for easy transport in a gym bag or knapsack.

Some models also feature multiple 3.5mm plug-in inputs, which allows friends or family to plug in and share your music.

Woman with yellow tank top and closed eyes wearing over ear headphones

Designed for active lifestyles, sports headphones have features like ear conformity, water resistance and rugged durability to endure through all sorts of situations.

They’re also wireless, allowing you to move, run and jump with freedom and without worry over tangled wires and earbuds getting yanked out.

Woman in yellow tank top and blue headband wearing wireless sports headphones

Headphone Features

Headphone Features

1

Noise cancelling

These headphones use soundproofing technology that completely eliminates ambient noise, making them a good choice for your noisy morning commute or trip to a loud shopping centre.

Noise cancelling headphones come in all types, from earbud to full size. They usually have wireless technology built in, and you can expect on-ear navigation, volume controls and a travel case.

Black Bose noise cancelling headphones

2

Noise isolating

Noise isolating headphones work by using physical barriers to block outside noise from reaching your ears, such as with adding padding on the earcups or adjustable eartips.

They differ from noise cancelling by not using a battery and not using a microphone to pick up on ambient noise to send out a cancelling frequency.

Veho in ear headphones

3

Truly wireless

Forget about ever need a cable or wire again. Truly wireless headphones do away completely with a headphone jack so there’s no cable or connector on the headphones.

They utilize Bluetooth technology, allowing you freedom and flexibility wherever you go.

Truly wireless earbud headphones

4

Headphone controls

Most headphones will come with a remote built in to the ear piece or wire. These typically include track selection, volume control and the ability to answer phone calls if you’re using your smart phone.

Black JBL over ear headphones with controls

5

Varying cords

Certain headphones will come with two types of cords in the box: one thin, straight cord with a microphone that’s perfect for your mp3 player or smart phone, and another coiled cord that’s designed to deliver high sound quality when listening through your home stereo.

Various headphone cords

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Did you know?

MP3 players have varying degrees of power output, which can affect how loud your headphones will play. Before purchasing any pair of headphones make sure you listen to them with your own player.

Some headphones can be used as a microphone when plugged into the appropriate input on your home stereo. The sound won’t be as good as high quality microphone, but still very cool.