What headphones should I buy?
There are all several types of headphones, which are in-ear or earbuds, on-ear or supraaural, over-ear or circumaural, active noise canceling headphones, and wireless headphones. In choosing the right headphones for you, you'll want to make sure they are appropriate for when you'll use them and what you'll be doing while using them. Note that each type of headphone might have some features that are shared with other types.
- In-Ear Headphones / Earbuds - These are they style of headset that often come free with MP3 players and similar devices. Fitting closely into your outer ear or ear canal, they are ultra compact and lightweight, and are the least likely to mess with your hair, earrings, glasses, etc. They also generally lack great audio quality, and some people find that long term use of these is not comfortable. Other features are that they usually have in-line audio and playback control, as well as a microphone for use with devices such as smartphones.
- On-ear Headphones / Supra-aural headphones - Other names these might be known as are semi-open, open-backed, ear-pad, or closed-back headphones. These are often light and softly padded to rest comfortable on your ears. Supra-aural headphones are able to provide quality audio, but are prone to let in external audio, as the ears are not completely surrounded by the earpad. This can be beneficial if you want to listen to music or hear you movie audio but still need to hear other noise, such as an airport departure announcement or co-worker in the office. This can also be a negative, along with leaky audio at higher volumes and less powerful bass. Look out for features like collapsible, folding headphones in this category, as well as carrying cases.
- Over-ear Headphones / Circumaural Headphones - You might also hear these called closed-back, ear-cup, or full-size headphones. These are able provide more pronounced bass due to their larger size, hence support for larger drivers, noise-cancellation thanks to ear-surrounding padding, and a higher level of comfort due to the padding as well. The major drawbacks to these are simply that the size and weight often makes them cumbersome, and can more easily fall off or interfere with glasses, hair, and earrings. Some handy extra features you might find with these are playback and volume controls, boom microphone (some are detachable), replacement pads, and some may even have a extra 3.5mm audio port to let you share audio with a friend.
- Noise Canceling Headphones - For audiophiles that know what they want to hear, and can't stand anything else to impede or mar that beautiful sound, they require noise-canceling headphones. These actively reduce external noises by sending out white-noise, or anti-noise to lessen the soundwaves' impact on the listener's ears. Noise-canceling models are available as earbuds, on-ear, and over-ear headphones.
- Wireless Headphones - If you prefer to be free of wires and cables, then this is definitely the way to go. Wireless headphones are most commonly Bluetooth, making it pretty simple to connect to your devices. They downside is that you'll be bound to a battery life and compatibility with Bluetooth compatible devices, although many do support 3.5mm auxiliary as well.
Will my device work with Wireless Headphones?
Wireless headphones are generally Bluetooth compatible, which is supported by nearly all smartphones and tablets. Laptops are hit-and-miss when it comes to Bluetooth technology, and most desktops will require a Bluetooth adapter installed either via USB or internal hardware.