We've all been there - your old headphones have broken or gotten misplaced and you need to get yourself a new pair. But what kind should you get? There are lots of different types of headphones to choose from: sound isolating, noise canceling, over the ear, wireless and others. It may seem like choosing the right headphones isn't something you should really dwell on. After all, you could just get whicever ones are the cheapest at your local electronics store. But if you think about it, you're likely going to be using them for a long time. My headphones last me for years before having to be replaced. And if you don't take great care of them, you'll still have them around for at least several months. So why not take a few minutes to really think about which headphones are best for you?

How to Choose Headphones

What Will You Be Using Your Headphones For?

The first question you should ask yourself is what you'll actually be using your headphones for. If you  need something you could take with you on your daily jog, you're most likely going to want some lightweight earphones. One of the most important things with these is going to be that they stay in your ears despite all the bouncing and bobbing your head will be doing as you run. This is where it'll be helpful to read some earphone reviews before making your decision.

On the other hand, maybe you like to listen to music while using public transportation. Buses and trains are usually pretty noisy, so you'll want over the ear headphones that have good sound isolation. This will keep outside noises from leaking in and getting mixed together with your music. A good pair of sound isolating headphones will keep out around 90% of the outside noise, while also keeping your music from leaking out and disturbing those around you. Another important benefit is that you won't have to turn your volume up as loud, since you won't have to compete with the ambient noise in your environment. That's important for the preservation of your hearing, as continues exposure to loud music tends to deteriorate your inner ear health.

Another popular option for listening to your headphones in loud places is noise cancelling headphones. These are active headphones, rather than passive. Active noise cancellation refers to something more than just sound isolation. Your headphones will actually have a microphone that takes in the sounds from outside and generates tones on frequencies that cancel out the frequencies of the sounds coming in. This has the effect of negating the ambient noise and providing you with the greatest clarity in the music that you're listening to. Be careful with these, though, as you are not likely to hear anyone talking to you, cars honking at you or anything like that. It's not suggested that you walk around outside where there are cars with these on. Another drawback to noise cancelling headphones is that they require batteries in order to generate the noise cancelling feature. This means you'll have to change the batteries from time to time.

What is Your Price Range?

Your budget is going to play a big role in your final decision. If you can only afford to pay $10 for a new pair of headphones or earphones, you will probably just choose the cheapest ones available at your local electronics store. On the other hand, if you want to get the best headphones money can buy, you can easily spend several hundred dollars on a really high quality set of cans. However, that doesn't mean you can't get a good pair of headphones for a reasonable price. If you can afford to spend around $60, you will be able to find a nice pair of Sony headphones or Skullcandy earbuds that will sound pretty good. Audiophiles may not be satisfied with the sound quality from headphones in that price range, but for most people it'll definitely be good enough. You probably won't be able to find some really good noise cancelling headphones for under $80 or so, but everything has its price. When in doubt, just go on Amazon and check out the reviews for headphones in your price range - just make sure they're the right type for your intended usage!