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The Guide to Choosing Earbuds

Earbuds are considered by many to be the most comfortable and compact pair of audio accessories on the market. One of the reasons why earbuds are so comfortable is that they rest securely on the opening of your ear canal, so they wouldn’t cause discomfort and wouldn’t fall off your ears whenever you are walking, running, or doing other activities. So, if you are always on the go, a pair of earbuds is the perfect accessory for you to listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts.

With so many different products to check out, buying earbuds can be a very difficult task, especially for those that don’t really know what to look for in terms of features and quality. If you are having a hard time finding the right pair of earbuds for you, don’t worry, as we have here a very simple guide that will provide you with the pieces of information you need to know which types and models of earbuds to buy. Here is the guide to choosing earbuds.

What are Earbuds?

earbuds on an ear

Earbuds, which can also be called earphones (although some would say that there is a difference between the two terms), are small headphones that attach to the outer ear. Because they are significantly smaller than a pair of headphones, the earbuds are considered to be more comfortable and lighter. [1] However, it is important to keep in mind that earbuds or earphones have varying sizes, so some earbuds may not be as comfortable for your ears as others.

While earbuds provide the same audio quality as headphones, most of them don’t really have noise isolation due to their smaller design. But, in recent years, various audio companies have now created new technologies that allow earbuds or earphones to have noise isolation capabilities. In case you don’t know, noise isolation is the ability of an audio accessory to block out outside noise. For example, if the room or place where you are currently is noisy, you will be able to block out that noise by wearing noise-isolating earphones.

The part of the earbuds that go into your ear canal would usually have pads made of rubber, but in the past, there were earphones that had foam pads that were not really as durable as rubber. These rubber pads would usually come in different sizes, and each size would fit specific ear shapes and diameters. While most smartphones and other smart gadgets today come with earbuds or earphones, the quality of those accessories is not on par with third-party models.

What are the Different Types of Earbuds?

In terms of different types of earbuds, there are so many to choose from. Of course, we have the main types of earbuds, but we also have specialty earbuds that have specific uses or purposes. Here are some of the best and most popular types of earbuds you can buy today.

Wired Earbuds

There are two main types of earbuds, and one of them is the wired earbuds, which are arguably the most common and the most popular. The reason why wired earbuds are very common and popular in the market is because of how affordable it is to produce and buy compared to the other main type that we will talk about later. As the name already suggests, wired earbuds would have cables attached to them, and at the other end of the cables, there will be an audio output jack that goes directly into a smartphone or computer’s audio input jack. [2] Here are two wired earbuds we recommend.

  • Panasonic ErgoFit Wired Earbuds – one of the most affordable yet highly rated pairs of wired earbuds is the Panasonic ErgoFit Wired Earbuds. The product comes with three sets of ear pads so that you can customize its fit to your ears.
  • House of Marley Smile Jamaican Wired Earbuds – if you are looking for a pair of earbuds that are made of sustainable materials, you should take a look at the House of Marley Smile Jamaican Wired earbuds. Besides being environmentally friendly, this pair of earbuds also have noise-isolating capabilities, and this feature is useful if you want to have uninterrupted sleep even if there is a lot of noise outside your room.

Wireless Earbuds

The second main type of earbuds is the wireless earbuds. As opposed to the wired earbuds that are attached to cables, the wireless earbuds don’t have any cables attached to them. In order for the music produced by your smartphone to go into the wireless earbuds, the Bluetooth function of both the earbuds and your phone should be turned on. [3]

What’s great about wireless earbuds is that there won’t be any cables that can get tangled and distract you from listening to songs, podcasts, and audiobooks. But there are a few downsides to using wireless earbuds. One of those downsides is that you would need to charge it using an included charging case that can also be charged using a USB cable charger. 

Another drawback to wireless earbuds is their price, as they are more expensive compared to most wired earbuds. Despite the priciness of wireless earbuds, they are still incredibly popular today, especially after the launch of Apple’s wireless earbuds called AirPods in 2016. Take a look below for two of the best wireless earbuds we recommend.

  • Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) – of course, when we are talking about wireless earbuds, it is impossible not to put the Apple AirPods on this short list of recommended earbuds. The second generation of the Apple AirPods features an improved battery that provides you with more than 24 hours of listening time.
  • Echo Buds (2nd Generation) – Amazon’s Echo Buds are also a great option if you are looking for wireless earbuds. It has a noise-cancellation feature that minimizes background noise, and it can also work with the Alexa app if you want to control what you listen to through voice control.

Waterproof Earbuds

If you are going to use earbuds for swimming, then you should get waterproof earbuds, which are one of the subtypes of earbuds you can buy online and in physical stores. Waterproof earbuds can work underwater, and it has a rugged and durable exterior so that the internal parts of the earbuds don’t get damaged. The majority of waterproof earbuds that you can buy are wireless, although there are some wired options if you don’t like charging your earbuds every now and then. These are two highly recommended waterproof earbuds you can check out.

  • APEKX IPX7 Waterproof Wireless Earbuds – this pair of earbuds feature true wireless technology and an IPX7 rating that enables you to use it for a few meters underwater. What’s also impressive about this pair is that its battery can last for up to 22 hours before you need to recharge its portable charging case.
  • ISOtunes PRO Waterproof Earbuds – the second waterproof earbuds we recommend is the ISOtunes PRO, which has an IP67 rating that enables the product to be waterproof and dust-proof. These earbuds also have a 27dB noise reduction rating to SafeMax volume-limiting technology so that you can protect your ears against too much volume or noise.

Bone Conduction Earbuds

This subtype of earbuds isn’t necessarily an “earbud” since it doesn’t need to be inserted into the ear canal, but it is still considered an earphone because of its appearance. This particular subtype is called bone conduction earbuds, and these earphones create a sound by transmitting sound waves through the parts of your skull that are near the ears. 

The benefit of using bone conduction earbuds is that they wouldn’t come off easily since they are fitted securely on the back of your ear instead of into the ear canal. So, if you are cycling, running, or doing other rigorous activities, the bone conduction earbuds may be suitable for you instead of ordinary earbuds that can fall off your ears once you start sweating. Here are two bone conduction earbuds that we highly recommend.

  • Shokz OpenRun Pro – this pair of earbuds features an open-ear design so that it wouldn’t feel uncomfortable while you are using it. In addition, its battery can also last for 10 hours. Furthermore, you can charge it for 5 minutes, and it will already have 1.5 hours of battery life. 
  • Mojawa Bone Conduction Earphones – one of the most affordable pairs of bone conduction earbuds is the Mojawa Bone Conduction Earphones. This product has noise-canceling technology that blocks out up to 60dB of outside noise.

Gaming Earbuds

Gaming earbuds look like ordinary wired earbuds at first glance, but it is actually different because it has an included microphone that is attached to one of the earbuds. If you have seen gaming headphones, you will see a long and flexible microphone attached to one side, and this same mechanic is found in gaming earbuds, although the part where the microphone is attached is much smaller compared to the headphones. 

The microphone in gaming earbuds is specifically used to communicate with other players during the game, and communication is often important in order to accomplish certain tasks in different multiplayer games. So, if you feel uncomfortable using gaming headphones, which are usually too bulky and heavy, then you can just use a pair of gaming earbuds. Here are two of the best pairs of gaming earbuds.

  • Turtle Beach Battle Buds Gaming Earbuds – one of the highest-rated gaming earbuds online is the Turtle Beach Battle Buds, which comes with a high-sensitivity mic that can easily pick up your voice. What’s nice about these earbuds is that the microphone is detachable, so you can use them as ordinary earbuds.
  • SteelSeries Tusq Gaming Earbuds – another great pair of gaming earbuds is the SteelSeries Tusq. This product features a dual microphone system, so it has a detachable boom microphone, as well as a built-in mic that is installed on a cable of one of the earbuds.

Helmet Earbuds

If you want to listen to music while riding a motorcycle and wearing a helmet, a good option to have is a pair of helmet earbuds. What’s interesting about helmet earbuds is their design, as they are specifically designed to be used with helmets. The earbuds or earpieces of the accessory are actually very thin so that they can fit nicely inside a helmet for motorcycling. There are also helmet earbuds that come with a built-in microphone so that you can answer and respond to calls on your smartphone while wearing a helmet. [4] Take a look at the two of the best helmet earbuds below.

  • NikoMaku Motorcycle Earbuds – this pair of helmet earbuds is only 0.27 thin, so they are barely felt or noticeable once you install them on your helmet. Moreover, it is also noise-canceling and windproof, which is beneficial if you want to hear calls clearly.
  • IASUS Motorcycle Helmet Earbuds – one of the loudest helmet earbuds you can buy is the IASUS Motorcycle Helmet Earbuds, as this product can produce up to 98dB of volume level. In order for it to attach securely to the interior of your helmet, this pair of earbuds has 3M Velcro stickers that can be quite difficult to detach once you install them.

What Should You Look for in Earbuds?

Because there are so many products to choose from, finding the best pair of earbuds for you would require research. In this section of the article, we will provide you with some tips on what to look for in order to shorten your list of earbuds to check out. So, here are the things that you should look for when buying earbuds.

Good Reviews

One of the best ways to find out which models of earbuds are considered high-quality and reliable is to read or watch reviews about the newest and most popular earbuds in the market. In these reviews, you will be able to see the pros and cons of the earbuds you plan to buy, and knowing these pieces of information will help you in making a decision on what specific model is suitable for your preferences. For example, if a pair of earbuds is rated highly based on their audio quality, then the pair is perfect for you if you are looking for audio accessories that produce high-quality sounds.

Sound Quality

Based on what you read or watch on reviews, you will already know which models of earbuds have the best sound quality without actually testing them out. In an era where online shopping is more prominent or popular, it is sometimes impossible for us to check the quality of certain products, particularly the ones that are mostly sold online. So, the only way for you to check the audio quality of earbuds is through reviews. Take the time to read or watch multiple reviews so that you can see which features some reviewers agree on to be the best on specific earbuds.

Durability

Another aspect of earbuds that you can check through reviews is their durability, which is important if you are going to use earbuds for outdoor trips, where they are exposed to various elements. There are some reviews that have a “wear test” section where they test out how long a pair of earbuds can last while being used outdoors and getting exposed to drops and scratches. There are so many flimsy earbuds out there, so knowing which ones are more durable is important so that you won’t be disappointed in the lifespan of the product you bought.

Conclusion

These are all the things that you need to know about earbuds so that you will have a much easier time finding the right pair for you. Make sure that you have enough time to take a look at reviews so that you will have knowledge about the pros and cons of the earbud products you are planning on buying. Make the best decision on what earbuds to buy so that you won’t regret your purchase days or weeks after.

References

[1] Cogan, J.M. (2022, September28). What are Earbuds? EasyTechJunkie. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.easytechjunkie.com/what-are-earbuds.htm 

[2] Hooke Audio. (2021, September 24). Wireless Earbuds Vs Wires: Which is Better and Why? Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://hookeaudio.com/wireless-earbuds-vs-wired/ 

[3] Bhattacharjee, A. (2022, May 9). Wired Vs. Wireless Earphones, Which One To Pick? Cashify. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.cashify.in/wire-vs-wireless-bluetooth-headphone-which-one-to-choose

[4] Wise, B. (2022, February 15). Motorcycle Bluetooth systems versus earbuds: Which is better for your ride? Revzilla. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/motorcycle-bluetooth-systems-versus-earbuds

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