How to pick the right headphones for you?

Your colleagues hate your penchant for 90s pop, your treadmill workout needs some new vooma or you fancy yourself a DJ. We all have different reasons to want a rocking pair of headphones – the trouble is just, where on earth to start? Because Granadilla has always got your back, we’ve tried to unpack what can be quite a technical treasure hunt into a simple guide to picking the right headphones. You can thank us later.

ONE: A couple of basic considerations

With headphones, getting to grips with the basic considerations before you get into more detailed decisions is helpful. These priorities are totally personal, but key!

  • Sound quality
  • Portability
  • Affordability

TWO: Be clear about your needs

Office earphones: Want to drown out your colleagues’ incessant chatter? The perfect office headphones need to be super comfortable (obviously so you aren’t distracted from the riveting calculations on your spreadsheet), and good noise isolation so you can tune out the office gossip around you.

Travelling headphones: What you’ll look for in headphones for commuting and long-haul flights are almost the same as those required for office use: comfort and the ability to block out the mayhem around you.

Gaming headphones: Gaming headphones are a bit more unique, they prioritise sonic performance over sound quality. Gamers need to hear the position of sounds with clarity and precision, so that a player can intuit the source of things like approaching footsteps

Headphones for exercise: This is probably the most difficult category to get right. If you’re going to run and jump around like a maniac, your earphones will need to withstand sweat, rain, and accidental drops, simple enough to save you from a mess of cables, or wireless ones that actually connect. Good luck!

THREE: Open or closed?

Who knew – open-back headphones literally have an open back so the music they generate is audible both to you and to the people near you. You can also hear them, a bit. This sounds inconvenient, but open backs produce the best possible sound quality so are ideal for professional use.  Closed-backs have a hard shell that isolates you and your music from exterior noise, making them ideal for public use.

FOUR: Know your type

Circumaural, or over-ear, headphones sit around the ear and are generally the best-sounding of all three classes of headphones. Because they are large, there is a trade-off between portability and great acoustics.

Supra-aural, or on-ear, headphones, sacrifice the sound quality, noise isolation and comfort of over-ear headphones for portability.

In-ear headphones can have surprisingly good sound, and are of course the most portable option of the three – but a lot can be done to make them more comfortable.

Once you’ve decided what you can afford, what you need the headphones for, and what your type is, it’s time to start reading reviews like a fiend! Buy, listen, enjoy – and don’t forget to insure your new goodies of course. ?


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash