Music Headphone Buying Guide: The Different Styles of Headphones

Are you thinking of getting some musical headphones to listen to your music? How do you find the best stereo headphones for your needs?
In today’s market there are a large number 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 slimmer headphones bring high-resolution music or home stereo sounds straight to our ears, no matter where we are. There may or may not be a style that suits all your needs. Whether you prefer tight headphones or full-size “cans” (stereo headphones) is a matter of personal preference and of course there is nothing wrong with having more than one pair. How you plan to use your headphones will also be a big determining factor in which models will work for you.
With that said, the first step in choosing a pair of headphones is deciding which style or styles will work for you.
Below is a breakdown of the different styles of stereo headphones:


You are most likely familiar with headphones blackpods as they are the headphones that normally come free when you buy an MP3 player, iPod, iPhone, iTouch, smartphone, etc. These tiny headphones sit inside the ear canal. The headphones are very small, making them ideal for travel, provide moderate to good isolation from external noise, and are fairly low cost. However, they generally do not provide the highest quality audio reproduction, can be uncomfortable during long periods of use or for those who do not like things in the ear canal, and also have a tendency to fall while running or other physical activities.
Sports or clip-on headphones

You may remember this category of headphones as the yellow headphones that used to come with the yellow colored Sony Walkman. Nowadays, some of these models have a plastic ring that is worn on the top of the head, around the nape of the neck, or hooked on the ear. These are the ones that I personally like to wear when running or lifting weights at the gym. They stay in your ears a bit better than hearing aids during activity, they don’t need to be placed in the ear canal, they don’t overheat your ears, they’re portable and easy to carry, and they’re fairly low in cost.
Ear pad headphones

The ear cushions on these headphones fit in your ears instead of your ears (like headphones) or fully fit your ears like (full-size circumaural headphones). They are usually quite comfortable, they can provide high quality audio reproduction, they do not overheat the ears as much as fully sealed headphones, they are usually moderately priced. However, they can be uncomfortable during long periods of use because they push the ears down from sitting on them.