Different Types of Headphones (Clear and Simplified)

Different Types Headphones

Yes there are different types of headphones on the market today.Technology is ever changing! and new ones are being introduced every year.

You can agree with me that it is hard to imagine the world today without headphones.

we use them everywhere we go, from the office, the gym, for watching movies, gaming and even travelling.

Music in our ears suddenly makes our surroundings much better!

That’s why you need the best headphones that deliver the best sound quality and all the features that you need.

But how do i choose the best headphones you may ask:

That is why we did all the homework for you and compiled a detailed list of the different types of headphones on the Market.

Now let us get down to it!

The Different Types of headphones

1. EarBuds Headphones

These headphones are similar to the in-ear headphones.

Perhaps the main difference between earbuds and in-ear headphones is that they don’t penetrate your ear canal as much and don’t have the slim design but have larger circles that press against the ear.

These types of headphones are one size fits all type:meaning that they depend on your ears to be held in place.

They mostly don’t come with cushions for the ears so the comfort depends on size of the earbuds and individual unique ear features.

Earbuds allow in ambient noise from the environment, this is a positive as well as a negative because you can be safe in traffic while using them, but they are lacking when it come to noise isolation and don’t produce the best sound quality.

The main advantage is that they are mostly less expensive than earphones or in-earphones and are smaller in size. The sound quality is also not accurate but depends on the model you find.

A great example of earbuds is the  Bose QuietComfort 20 acoustic earbuds and

 Aelec Bluetooth wireless earbuds

They are definitely for you if you are looking for headphones that are compact and easy to carry around.

Things we Like
  • They are portable and compact
  • Very affordable
Things we Don’t like
  • They fall easily, thus not good for the gym, or outdoor activities.
  • They don’t give any noise isolation
  • Not so good sound quality because of their small speakers, thou this depends on the model and company.
  • They can hurt your ears and cannot be worn for a long period of time

2. In-Ear Headphones (also known as canal phones)

As the name describes these headphones enter the ear canal.

These headphones are the most portable, as they can be folded and carried easily. This is mainly because their drivers are very compact.

They are most popular with musicians, audio engineer and audiophiles, since the  in-ear monitors(IEMs) are of higher quality.

They generally have a silicone ear tip for protection and comfort .As for the sound quality and style design depends on the model that you find.

They can block noise from the outside environment, if they are placed properly into the ear canal. This is important as you don’t have to increase the volume of your music, which is actually not good for your health in the long run.

The 1MORE Triple Driver In-ear headphones are a great example of good In-ear headphones.

These feature aluminium in-ear built that is designed to fit in your ear comfortably.

These headphones have three drivers packed in this tiny unit to ensure that awesome sound quality. You can clearly not go wrong with these headphones.

In –earphones are for you if you are looking for headphones that provide portability, versatile and convenient. They are also for suitable for travel, the gym, listening to music and the best bet for on the go headphones.

Things We Like
  • They are very portable
  • Sound clarity
  • understandable noise isolation
Things We Don’t Like
  • They might be dangerous since they are so close to the ear canal
  • They are prone to sliding out.

3.Over-Ear Headphones

These are larger than most headphones and cover the entire ear. They are also known as circumaural or full-size headphones.

Now when it comes to over-ear headphones, there are two major types. These are the closed-back Headphones and the open back headphones.

The main difference between the on-ear headphones and the over- the ear headphones is that these are a bit larger and cover the entire ear and are padded all round.

They feature a fully closed design this way they can close off the ambient noise and this offers good enough noise isolation.

They fit tit and snug and are quite comfortable, but this depends on the model of headphones that you buy, as the padding is different.

They are a lot heavier than other types of headphones and can cause you to sweat if you wear them for a period of time. The weight can also cause your neck to ache if you wear them for a long period of time.

A good example of over-ear headphones is the AKG K72 headphones. These are closed-back over-ear headphones.

The best thing about these over-ear headphones is that they are lightweight with an adjustable headband.

This makes them very comfortable to wear and the other great thing is that they are also affordable.

Things We Like
  • They fit tight and snug
  • They over a great deal of noise isolation
Things We Don’t Like
  • They are heavy
  • Can cause you to sweat

4. Closed Back Headphones

They are bulkier than other headphones. They come in different styles; they can be either, over-ear or on-ear and are worn over the head

They can get rid of ambiance noise regardless of your environment so that you can hear only what you want.

This makes them good for hearing your favorite music or podcast. They can also produce excellent sound quality.

They can be used by a variety of purposes. They are mostly preferred as studio headphones as they block out the external noise and don’t have sound leakage and ensure that you hear every bit of the vocals.

A great pair of closed-back headphones is the Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro headphones.

They are a bit on the expensive side but they are totally worth it because of the sound quality that they offer.

They are bulky but they have a sleek built design that feels expensive.

Another great pair of closed-back headphones is the OPPO Pm headphones.

These headphones best quality is that they produce the best sound.

Things We Like
  • excellent noise isolation
Things We Don’t Like
  • They can lead to ears sweating if used over a period of time.

5. Open Back Headphones

They are also known as Semi-open headphones. They are similar to the closed-back headphones; the main difference is that these allow sound to leak to the environment.

These like the closed- back headphones come in an on-ear style and the over ear style.

The design of sound leakage is mostly preferred by audio engineers and audiophiles because it allows the mix to remain accurate and avoid build-up of certain frequencies which happens with the closed back headphones.

There are more comfortable since there is generally less pressure created when wearing these headphones. So you can wear them comfortably for a long period of time.

Since they cover the whole ear they can also offer sound isolation.The Philips Fidelio X2 headphone is a great example of open back headphones.

These headphones are a great bang for your buck because they offer premium sound quality.

These headphones will not disappoint.

The other example of a great pair of open back headphones is the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones.

Things We Like
  • They offer noise isolation
  • They are more comfortable
Things We Don’t Like
  • They have sound leakage
  • They are still heavier than other headphones

6. On-Ear Headphones

They are also known as Supra-aural headphones. These as the name suggest the ear-pads rests directly on the ear.

These are a lot smaller than the over-ear headphones.

The sound quality and comfort depends on the type of model you get, thou they are a lot lighter than the over-ear headphones.

They also offer sound isolation but there is sound leakage to the environment.

They are comfortable and unlike the over-ear headphones they don’t cause you to sweat if you wear them over a long period of time.

They fit quite snug since they mostly rest on the ears, so one has to buy ones that are of the right size otherwise they can be uncomfortable.

If you are ready to try a pair of on-ear headphones

The best of on-ear headphones that deliver the ultimate quality is the Grados’ SR6e headphones hands down.

These are open on-ear headphones that are very comfortable to wear and because of the design, they are breathable.

The other example of on-ear headphones are the AKG N60N wireless headphones.

This best thing about these on-ear headphones is that they are noise cancelling headphones that are wireless, meaning that you are hassle free from cords and they are very affordable.

The other great thing about the AKG N60N on-ear headphones is that they are very affordable with great sound and compact design.

Things We Like
  • Lighter than the over-ear headphones
Things We Don’t Like
  • Sound leakage to and from the environment
  • They can fit too snug and become uncomfortable with the wrong fitting

Well, you might be wondering;

Are open-back headphones better than closed-back headphone?

Check out the Video below to make a better conclusion.


7. Wireless Headphones

Wireless headphones have truly changed the way we listen to music; they offer flexibility for travel, listening to music and mostly for exercise purposes.

The wireless headphones can be either in the earbud style or full-size headphones.

These headphones used to use infrared or radio frequency before to connect to devices, but now that technology is close non existent; we are in a new era now. These days they use Bluetooth for connectivity.

These headphones have a small computer chip inside them that allow you to pair with devices when you want to play music.

This offers great benefits as you are able to go wireless, this no doubt  so far is  their greatest advantage as they offer flexibility and versatility unlike other headphones.

You can use them at the gym, for outdoor activities, in the office and practically anywhere you want to be cordless.

They also produce great sound quality just as the wired counterparts, thou people complain of sound lagging but this depends on the model of the headphones, as this is factored in seamless Bluetooth connectivity.

They come in various styles, in-ear, wireless earbuds, over-ear and on- ear headphones. There is wireless style that has a connecting cord to the other pair and true wireless that don’t have any cords at all.

They are a bit more expensive than the other wired headphones due to their advanced technology.

An example of the best wireless headphones which are also earbuds is the offer the best sound quality are the Jaybird X3 earbuds.

They have a compact design with great sound and impressive battery life.

SoundPEATs bluetooth earbuds is an example of true wireless headphones; they are small in size and are relatively cheap.

Great wireless headphones are the Sennheiser PXC 550 and the Jabra MOVE wireless.

Jabra MOVE wireless

With a sound delivery that is crisp and balanced and an adjustable steel headband that is comfortable, the Jabra MOVE wireless on-ear headphones are the overall best in the market.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones are the perfect pair for travel, they have a folding design and have noise cancelling capabilities.


Things We Like
  • They are versatile
  • They come in various styles
Things We Don’t Like
  • They are bit expensive
  • They require charging, the wired ones depend on the charge of the connected device.

Wireless Vs Wired Headphones

Whether wired or wireless headphones each type of headphones have their advantages and disadvantages.

The overall choice that you make depends on your personal preferences.

Additional features on headphones

There are different additional features that make a difference in headphones.

These features depend on the manufactures of the headphones and also the alignment to human needs.

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones

These headphones can be either passive noise isolating headphones  or active noise cancelling headphones.

They also come in both as over-ear and earbuds styles.

The Active noise cancelling headphones

So gone are the days when you had to increase the volume on your headphones to block ambient noise.

These headphones are able to offer you active noise cancellation.

This is different from noise isolation.  Since they have a simple built in electric circuit that blocks sounds from the surroundings this is done by emission of sound waves that counter those of the outside noise thus cancelling it out this is the active- noise cancellation.

This feature is important; you now have the option on canceling the sound from your surroundings without putting on very loud music on your headphones. This adds to the comfort and the sound quality.

For more on how the Active noise cancelling headphones work you can read here How stuff works.

The best example of active Noise cancelling headphones is the Bose QuietComfort 25 and the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones.

They are idle for airplanes and train commutes they can be used for the gym but not advisable for outdoor activities as there is a safety concern as you might not be able to hear incoming traffic.
Things We Like
  • Active Noise cancellation
  • Offer ergonomic features for the ear(health benefits)
Things We Don’t Like
  • They have the underwater dizzy effect
  • They a very expensive

Passive Noise cancelling headphones

These are also called Noise-isolation headphones.

These are mostly circumaural headphones with high-density foam or some type of sound absorbing the material.

They are generally heavier than most headphones because of the packed material.

Good examples of passive noise cancelling headphones are the Sony MDR10RNC headphones

and the Soul Transform headphones.

If you by any chance are wondering if noise cancelling headphones are worth the buy kindly find more here.

2.Microphone Headphones

Here we have extended microphone headphones and in-line microphones headphones.

The extended microphone headphones have an extended side where the microphone is they make it easier to make the phones calls on Skype calls and when you  also want to game and to talk clearly to a microphone.

The in-line microphones have the microphone on the cable or on the cord of the headphones.

A good example of in-line headphone is the Klipsch Image S4i headphones.

3.Waterproof/Sweatproof headphones

These are headphones that offer resistant to water or sweat.

Because of this features, they are ideal for sports activities like running and gym.

They come in various designs and the Rate of waterproof depends on the manufacturer.

A good example of waterproof headphones is the Sennheiser CX 680 sports earbuds.

These headphones are not only comfortable and lightweight but they also give great bass output.

4.Clip-on headphones

The beauty of clip-on headphones is that you don’t have to insert the earbuds in the ear canal,

“Which by the way leads to the growth of bacteria on your ear and is not the healthy choice.”

They clip to your earlobes and stay comfortably there, this enables you to enjoy listening to your music are you work without worrying at they will fall off.

This also makes the ideal for sports activities.

The Sony MDR-Q381W clip-on stereo is a good example of quality affordable clip-on headphones

Wrapping up!

These are generally the major types of headphones in the market today.

All headphones fall under these major categories.

Yes there are other additional features that you can find in other headphones like;

Audiophile headphones– these  headphones are made for those who are die- hard for great sound , deep bass that is crystal clear and crisp.

True wireless headphones-these are headphones that do not have any wires attached to them.

The premium headphones– these are plush headphones that tend to have leather cap cushions and all other luxury items added to the headphones.

Thank you for being here, you are amazing!

I hope that you found this information helpful , don’t forget to share and bookmark us for reference later!

If we left out out anything, please feel free to leave us  a comment.


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