Music Headphones Buying Guide: The Different Styles Of Headphones

Posted by LauraDerb on July 10th, 2020

Are you thinking of buying a pair of headphones to listen to your music? How do you find the best stereo headphones to meet your needs?

In today's market there are a lot of headphone manufacturers and models to choose from. Headphones have become increasingly popular because music is everywhere; it's on our phones, MP3 players, and laptops. New generations of reduced earbuds bring high resolution music or home stereo sounds directly to our ears no matter where we are.

There may or may not be a style that fits all your needs. Whether you prefer close-fitting headphones or full-size "cans" (stereo headphones) is a matter of personal preference, and there's nothing wrong with having more than one pair, of course. How you plan to use your headphones will also be a determining factor in which models will work for campfire audio.

With that said, the first step in choosing a pair of headphones is to decide which style or styles will work for you.

Below is a breakdown of the different styles of stereo headphones:


It is very likely that you are familiar with earphones like earphones which are generally free when you buy MP3 player, iPod, iPhone, iTouch, smartphone etc. These little headphones sit inside the ear canal. The headphones are very small, making them ideal for traveling, provide moderate to good isolation from external noise, and are fairly low cost. However, they usually do not provide the highest quality audio reproduction, they can be uncomfortable during long periods of use or for those who do not like things in their ear canal, and also have a tendency to fall off during running or other physical activities.

Sports headphones or earphones with clip

You can remember this category of headphones as the yellow headphones that used to come with the yellow Sony Walkman. Today, some of these models have a plastic ring that extends over the top of the head, around the back of the neck, or attaches to the ear. This is the type that I personally like to wear when I run or lift weights in the gym. They stay in the ears a little better than headphones during activity, they don't need to be placed in the ear canal, they don't overheat the ears, they are portable and easy to carry, and they cost quite low.

Headphone pads

The ear cushions of these headphones are placed on your ears instead of your ears (like headphones) or fully encase your ears like (full-size circumaural headphones). They tend to be quite comfortable, they can provide high quality audio reproduction, they don't overheat the ears as much as the fully sealed headphones, they are generally moderately priced. However, they can become uncomfortable during long periods of use because they press on the ears as soon as they sit on them.

Fully sealed earphones

These headphones are also known as "cans", stereo headphones, cup headphones, and even some other names. Basically they are sealed around the ear so that it is completely closed, helping to eliminate outside noise while producing a very high quality audio experience. These headphones provide the highest quality audio audio experience, offering a wide range of sounds and eliminating external noise. These headphones can overheat your ears and be uncomfortable for long periods of time, they are generally not as portable as the first two styles above, and can be quite expensive depending on the model.

Noise-canceling headphones

These headphones help eliminate noise by creating anti-noise. You may have seen people on the plane wearing these types of headphones to help eliminate noise from jet engines, while listening to music or maybe not. These headphones help reduce ambient noise, allow you to listen to your music at lower volumes, and can produce very high audio quality. Some users may be upset by the pressure created to eliminate ambient noise (those with really sensitive ears), they can be bulky and heavy, traditionally use batteries for power, and they can overheat the ears.


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Joined: October 25th, 2017
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