Headphones Buying Guide

A great set of headphones can bring hours of enjoyment with your favourite bands, books and podcasts. This headphones buying guide offers info and insights to help you make an informed choice.

Headphones 101: How to buy the right headphones

A great pair of headphones allows you to switch off from the world and retreat into a state of relaxation. Headphones are an ideal choice for running and working out, listening to music at work, and keeping up to date with your favourite podcasts. They’re also a great way to keep your little ones quiet or entertained on long flights or drives — just load up a video on your tablet and “plug in” the kids. Figuring out what you’ll use your headphones for is the first step to identifying the type that will suit you best. 

Types of Headphones


In-Ear Headphones

In-ear headphones, or earbuds, are lightweight, compact and portable. You’ll usually find a pair of earbuds enclosed with your purchase of an mp3 player or smartphone, but expect only average quality. A good pair will need to be purchased separately. Earbuds are either inserted into the ear canal or rest on the outer ear, which means they won’t fall out during a strenuous workout. Higher-end earbuds should also feature a remote control built into the wire, which allows you to control navigation and volume.

On-Ear Headphones

These headphones sit comfortably over the outer ear, giving your ears the chance to breathe and reducing the possibility of irritation. Many models come with volume and navigation controls on the wire. You’ll also usually get an extra ear pad set and carry case. On-ear headphones allow a little bit of sound from the outside world to reach your ear, making them a suitable choice for the office or at home if you want to listen out for the kids when they’re in a different room.

Over-Ear Headphones

These large headphones offer maximum potential for bass and volume levels. The bigger sized earcups block noise from the outside, allowing you to completely indulge in your favourite tracks. A detachable cord and folding design make for easy transport in a gym bag or knapsack. Some models also feature multiple 3.5mm plug-in inputs, which allows friends or family to plug in and share your music.

Headphones Buying Tips:

  • Sound quality isn’t only dictated by your headphones; the standard of your device also plays a part
  • Headphones with wider frequency ranges provide better sound quality — a range of 10Hz to 25,000Hz is recommended
  • Noise cancelling headphones tend to be the most expensive but offer the most immersive audio experience

Headphone Features

Wireless +

Ideal for running or working out, these headphones completely eliminate those annoying wires that get in your way at the gym. Also known as Bluetooth headphones, they use active noise cancellation to effectively block out the rest of the world, allowing you to concentrate fully on your music, podcast, or audiobook. Wireless headphones are available in over-ear, on-ear and in-ear styles.

Noise Cancelling +

These headphones use soundproofing technology that completely eliminates ambient noise, making them a good choice for your noisy morning commute or trip to a loud shopping centre. Noise cancelling headphones come in all types, from earbud to full size. They usually have wireless technology built in, and you can expect on-ear navigation, volume controls and a travel case.

Headphone Controls +

Most headphones will come with a remote built in to the ear piece or wire. These typically include track selection, volume control and the ability to answer phone calls if you’re using your smart phone.

Varying Cords +

Certain headphones will come with two types of cords in the box; one thin, straight cord with a microphone that’s perfect for your mp3 player or smart phone; and another coiled cord that’s designed to deliver high sound quality when listening through your home hi-fi.

Shop Accessories & Related Products:

Headphones Maintenance Tips:

  • Remove headphones from your device or stereo by firmly pulling the plug, not yanking the cord
  • Do not wrap your headphones around your device
  • Store headphones in a dry pouch or bag when not in use
  • Keep food and liquids away from your headphones
  • Clean your headphones periodically with a slightly dampened cloth or Q-tip to avoid earwax build up

Did you know?

MP3 players have varying degrees of power output, which can affect how loud your headphones will play. Before purchasing any pair of headphones make sure you listen to them with your own player.
Some headphones can be used as a microphone when plugged into the appropriate input on your home stereo. The sound won’t be as good as high quality microphone, but still very cool.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details