Headphones and earphones have gone wireless thanks to Bluetooth technology. To me, this has come with a wide range of benefits and conveniences. Both have different features, which we discussed in determining the choice between headphones vs earphones. However, the benefits of a Bluetooth headset depend on its quality and features. As such, you should make your pick wisely.
There are a variety of factors to consider when shopping for a Bluetooth headset. I have 3 headphones and 2 earphones, and I applied these 6 factors on how to choose Bluetooth headphones and earphones. Here is a brief guide to help you get the best, as you choose your pair of Bluetooth Headphones and Earphones.
Factors to Consider in Bluetooth Headphones
Headphones are different from earphones in a variety of factors, and so are the criteria for choosing a pair. All in all, as discussed in the article on safety, the safe use of headphones is the most important factor. Both other factors come in play later. Here are factors to take into consideration when shopping for a pair:
1. Battery Life
This was my main consideration since Bluetooth headphones run on batteries. This means that they have to be charged regularly. They are wireless, which is convenient as you don’t have to fumble with wires, but like many other wireless devices, they use a lot of power. As such, battery life should be the first thing to take into consideration.
A long-lasting battery is necessary especially if you listen to music regularly and for prolonged periods. It is also necessary to charge your headphones regularly if you want to enjoy your music on the go – all too often Bluetooth headphones run out of juice and leave users stranded.
It is also important to take the battery life of the device you will be using into consideration as Bluetooth connectivity also places strain on devices such as phones and iPods. When selecting the headphones for working out, for instance, it is important to consider their battery life, since you will need it to work out or run for longer.
2. Wiring Option
Most Bluetooth headphones can also be used as ordinary wired headphones. They come with slots where you can insert cords and connect to your device on the other end. This is convenient considering that wireless headphones run on limited power – it saves you the trouble of having to keep an eye on your batteries especially if you are listening to music on the go.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t go for a Bluetooth headphone with the option for wiring. In fact, it is only smart to do so; at least until manufacturers come up with longer-lasting batteries.
3. Sound Quality
This was my main factor to consider on how to choose Bluetooth headphones and earphones. Initially, Bluetooth headphones, like every new technology, were terrible in performance. The audio quality was especially wanting.
This, however, has improved significantly over the years as better Bluetooth technology has been emerging. As such, you should take the version of Bluetooth technology on your desired headphones.
The best wireless headphones run on Bluetooth version 4.1 going up. We would suggest going to the latest version as it will offer the best sound quality. Quality does not always go with price. We saw a number of Open Backs with very Clear Sound. Check them out.
4. Control Options
There are certain basic control options that every Bluetooth headphone is capable of. Every headphone will allow you to pause, skip tracks, toggle volume levels, and even fast-forward.
However, music enthusiasts will agree that this is not enough. You should be able to control every aspect of your music including aspects such as bass and treble, noise cancellation, and many others. Such controls are usually embedded into the headphones themselves with dedicated buttons for each control option.
Bluetooth headphones with advanced control options cost more than ordinary ones, but they are worth every extra dollar. Just make sure that the control buttons are easy to reach and identify.
5. Design and Size
There are two types of headphones: on-ear and over-ear headphones. On-ear headphones rest on your earlobes while the latter goes all the way around them. The former is smaller in size than the latter, and each has its strengths and shortcomings. For instance, on-ear headphones are more easily portable than over-ear headphones, but the latter is less tiring and better and noise isolation.
Bluetooth headphones have not only improved in the quality of audio output but also in volume output. High volume levels are thrilling, but they can also damage your ears by causing tinnitus and even hearing loss. As such, avoid headphones with high volume capacities – we recommend one with mid-level frequency range.
Factors to Consider when buying Bluetooth Earphones
Bluetooth earphones share some similarities with headphones, but their features can vary. One of the main factors to consider is safety. However, as we noted in how to use headphones safely, safety starts with you and how you use them. Here are factors to take into consideration when shopping for a pair:
Again, battery life should be the first thing to consider as there is no music without power. Earphones have longer-lasting batteries than most headphones, but battery life depends on the make and design.
The average earphones have a battery life of 5 hours of continuous playtime. Sub-standard earphones, however, barely last 3 hours of continuous playtime. However, emerging Bluetooth earphones are pushing the limits to up to 10 hours and more. To know how to charge and maintain your headphones well, check our guide on using them well.
However, it is important to keep in mind that battery life decreases with time, so use your earphones well. Most importantly always ensure that the batteries are running low before recharging and leave them to charge to full capacity when you do so.
Earphones, whether wireless or not, perform slightly worse compared to headphones. As such, you should be particularly picky with your choice if you want to get the most out of your music.
Go for earphones that can balance sounds and frequencies well. This will depend on the make as well as the version of Bluetooth technology that they are running on – we recommend going for the latest Bluetooth technology version.
Also, check for sound control systems that will give you greater control over sounds and frequencies – for instance, earphones come with sound controls at the back of the earphone that is controlled via voice commands while most other makes feature sound control buttons.
Sweat Resistance and Durability
Bluetooth earphones are especially popular with trainers and gym-goers. This means that they are prone to sweat, dust, and other harsh elements. These elements can compromise their performance and durability. This is why almost all Bluetooth earphones are sweat-resistant, but their resistance varies. For instance, some earphones are completely resistant to water while others only take enough measures to prevent moisture from getting into the driver chamber.
The best way to measure a wireless earphone’s water resistance is by considering its IPx rating. IP stands for Ingress Protection while ‘x’ signifies the level of IP protection. IPx ratings currently range from IPx0 to IPx8. Nevertheless, it is important to take good care of your earphones as they are not entirely unbreakable.
Fit and Comfort
People have varying ear canal sizes. Unfortunately, earphones are not custom made. They come in a one-size-fits-all, and the only variations depend on make and design. To this end, the chances of getting the perfect earphone size for your ears are dependent on luck.
Unlike headphones that fit snugly on your ears, earphones are designed to go inside. Sometimes they may too big or too small for comfort – it is usually the former. In these cases, wearing earphones for prolonged periods becomes uncomfortable, and in some cases, they may cause irritation and mild pain.
If you listen for long, then you need to find the recommended headphone volume for your phone. You don’t want this, so you should try to find the best possible fit for your ears. This may be difficult as you cannot try earphones on before buying, but you can estimate sizes and come up with a close fit.
Ideally, your earphones should not slip off your ears even when exercising vigorously, and they shouldn’t be too big as to cause you irritation after some minutes or hours of use.
So, how do you Choose Bluetooth Headphones or Earphones?
Simple, go for safety, battery life and comfort. Bluetooth headsets are both convenient and classy, but just how convenient or how classy depends on the features they have to offer. The tips here and another article will guide you on buying headphones or getting the ideal pair of wireless headsets that you can wear comfortably for as long as you like.