There’s lots to consider when choosing the best wireless earphones or headphones to suit your needs. Let’s look at some of the things to look for.
- Do you want headphones or earphones (also called earbuds)?
Headphones sit over your head while earbuds sit inside your ear canal. Sometimes earbuds include a ‘clip’ that sits behind your ears to make sure the buds don’t fall out. These are especially common on earbuds designed for sport or exercise.
Headphones also come in two ‘varieties’ – over ear or around ear. As the name suggests, the around ear option completely surrounds your ear and therefore minimises sounds from external sources. They are often padded, so they’re comfortable for long listening periods. However, they can make you feel a bit hot and sweaty. And they’re usually bulky to carry around. In contrast, the over ear options are usually lighter, less bulky to carry around, and you don’t get sweaty. But they will let in more ambient noise.
So, it really comes down to personal preference and your most important needs – lightweight for exercise, discreet and easy to carry versus something you can comfortably wear for a long time while relaxing or working.
- Sound quality
Serious audiophiles believe that headphones will provide the best sound quality, but the advances in technology and engineering in recent years means a good set of earphones/earbuds will still deliver great audio. Many of them also include noise cancellation features.
- Background noise
Once again, this can be a personal choice depending on how you use the device. For example, if you’re using the headphones on public transport or while flying, you probably want to block out as much background noise as possible. But if you’re commuting to work or exercising on a bike, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you for safety. So, earphones that allow some ambient noise in will suit better.
- Comfortable fit
It goes without saying that no matter how good the quality of the audio, if the headphones/earphones don’t feel comfortable over an extended period of time, they’re not much good to you. With headphones, you don’t want anything too heavy or that make you sweat, while with earphones, you need them to stay in your ears whether you’re sitting, walking or running. Look for nice snug and soft fitting earbuds. Many come with different tips sizes so you can adjust the fit.
- Built in microphone
If you’re planning on using your earphones or headphones with a mobile phone, then a good quality microphone will also be an essential feature. Or if you’d like to use your personal assistant like Siri or Google Assistant to play, pause, change tracks or alter volume, you’ll need a mic too.
- Long lasting battery/listening time
Whether you’re travelling, exercising, or lying on a beach listening to an audiobook, battery life is an important consideration. The convenience you get from going wireless means you have to consider battery life of both your music/audio device and the headphones. Look for listening or talking time specifications, not just how long they can remain on standby. Additional features like active noise cancellation will drain batteries quicker.
- Simple recharging (and battery level assessment)
You don’t want to be at the mercy of yet another type of cable or power adapter. Look for earphones or headphones that can be charged via USB – whether that’s from your computer, a battery bank or a power adapter plugged into the wall that can be shared among devices.
Better still, some earphones come with a storage case that doubles as a ‘charging station’ so you’ve got plenty of power on tap.
Most of us probably listen to music, podcasts or radio on the move or at least out of the home. In simple terms, headphones and earphones are ‘personal speakers for your ears’, so portability is a must. That’s where the earphones shine. Slip the storage case in your pocket or purse and you’re ready when the moment strikes. Much better than unpacking bulky headphones and looking for somewhere to put the protective case.
- Bluetooth connectivity
Bluetooth simplifies the ability to connect between devices. Once your headphones are paired with your device it’s usually an instant connection next time your turn them on. They remain paired until your unpair them. As important, Bluetooth connectivity expands the capability of your earphones, meaning you can enjoy hands free listening and answering phone calls.
- Price – value for money
The final piece of the puzzle is price. The best headphones or earphones need to fit your budget as well as your ears – and they need to be good value. You don’t necessarily need a big-name model or something with every bell and whistle that you may never use or appreciate. If you don’t need active noise cancellation, don’t buy it. Choose good fitting earphones and get ‘noise cancellation’ for free.
If you’d like to check out some great value wireless, Bluetooth earphones, look no further than the Quantum Sonic True Wireless Earphones here.