What Are Infrared Headphones, and What Are Their Uses?
As the technology is constantly changing, the headphones are seeing significant improvements and developments too. People are shifting their preference from wired headphones to wireless ones, and the market is currently booming with the latter. Other than the various features that have their benefits, the headphones also come in different types of wireless connectivity.
Most people know about the Bluetooth connection that supports these wireless headphones as these types of headphones are the most popular ones in the market today and are available in abundance. But, did you know that there are two other types of wireless connectivity in headphones as well? There are Infrared headphones (also commonly known as IR headphones) and Radio Frequency headphones (also known as RF headphones).
This article is dedicated to infrared headphones and some of the best IR headphones that you will get in the market today. However, before moving forward with that, let’s first understand the basics. For those who are unaware of what infrared or IR headphones are, here’s a quick overview of them.
What are infrared headphones?
IR or infrared headphones, as the name defines, are headphones that use infrared waves or signals to connect with the audio source. ‘Infrared’ is the electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength longer than the visible red light in the frequency spectrum, but they are shorter than the microwaves.
Infrared technology has many uses in general. For example, it is used in security detectors, wireless microphones, remote control used for television and other entertainment gadgets at home, printers, and modems, and others. Headphones, of course, are also one of the most common applications where infrared is used. It is also important to keep in mind that the higher the quality of the IR headphone, the better performing it is going to be.
Why should you buy infrared headphones?
IR headphones offer unmatchable sound quality, almost similar to a wired headset if the signal is allowed to transmit properly without any obstruction. They are often preferred in a private space like home, classrooms, professional set-ups (workplaces, studios, broadcast houses, conference rooms in an office, etc.). They are also often used in the car by the backseat passengers who love to sit back and relax until they reach their destination. You might also want to check out our best wireless headphones for TV from here.
Why should you avoid them?
However, due to their shorter connectivity range of just 7 to10 meters, when compared with the other wireless headphone options, they are not suitable for outdoor use. Additionally, they are only great when their signal is not interfered with by other radio waves or obstructions like walls, furniture, etc. This means that it is essential for these headsets to have a direct line of sight. (Line of sight is the path through which the infrared waves travel from the transmitter to the receiver). Here’s a simple example to make you understand better-
Have you ever experienced a situation where you are changing the TV channel with the remote, and you are suddenly not able to do it anymore when your pet starts playing or jumping right in between you and the TV? This happens when the line of sight of the remote (the transmitter) and the TV (the receiver) is interrupted. Yes, infrared signals are extremely sensitive to any little obstruction.
Well, in case you are wondering if the headphones need a transmitter too? Then, yes. IR headphones come with a transmitting device that also works as a charging or mounting dock for the headphones. We will discuss how these headphones exactly work in the latter part of the article.
Let’s move on to see which are the best-infrared headphones that are available in the market now.
Best Infrared Headphones: List of Some of the Best Ir Headphones, Their Prominent Features, Price, Pros, and Cons:
You will probably not find an ocean of options to look at when it comes to the IR headphones as you get for the Bluetooth counterparts for obvious reasons, but, there are a good number of options to put you into a dilemma as to which one you should go for. If you are attempting to buy this type of headphone for the first time, then it may seem like an acid test. So, to make your life easier, we have put together the best Infrared headphones for cars, TV, or other purposes that you will get in the market today and their benefits and downsides to help you weigh them before you make an investment.
Sony MDR-IF245RK: (Overall best infrared headphones)
If you are looking for the best infrared headphones for TV or rather for different applications, then this headphone from Sony is a great choice. Coming from one of the leaders in the audio equipment industry, these headphones are completely reliable, high performing with sophisticated looks making sure that you have a pleasant music time.
Designed with 40 mm neodymium drivers, the headphones have a frequency response of 10 Hz to 24 kHz which is extended beyond the human hearing limit. This means that you will get detailed audio with clarity in every note across the entire frequency spectrum. The overall sound is dynamic and is perfectly suitable for any type of music genre you love.
The headphone comes with a charging dock come transmitter that features a quick charging mode. The moment you place the headphone on the dock, it starts charging. The battery life of the headphones is pretty impressive. You will get about 28 hours of battery back up on a single full charge. This means that you can have an uninterrupted audio stream for hours without having to charge.
You can connect the headphones with the RF module by just pressing a single button without any hassle. All the features packed with superior sound quality make it one of the best IR headphones available currently.
- Powerful and immersive sound performance.
- Detailed audio output.
- Excellent battery life.
- Ergonomic design.
- Lightweight with a self-adjusting headband for a comfortable fit.
- Headphones are compatible with multiple devices like mobile phones, TV, gaming consoles, etc.
- AAA alkaline batteries can be used as an alternative power source.
- The wireless range is shorter than other similar headphones (8 meters).
- There is interference in the audio when the transmitter is moved or shifted.
Able Planet Infrared headphones: (Best infrared headphones at a bargain price)
One of the best Infrared headphones for cars, this pair is extremely handy and portable because of its sleek and lightweight design. You can simply drop it in your backpack or keep it in your car before planning on a long road trip. The best part is, with 2 AAA batteries, the headphones can give you a run time of about 50 hours which means no more waiting for getting your headphones charged.
Other than the in-vehicle audio, this IR headset is perfect to go with most of the gadgets at home like TV, stereo or music system, mobiles, laptops, etc. Its versatility makes it a great option for anyone who wants to have personal leisure time with their favorite tunes on.
Another interesting feature of the headphone is its automatic on and off technology which turns the headphone’s power on as soon as you wear it and turns off when you take it off. You just need to make sure that there is a clear line of sight for the uninterrupted flow of music or audio. The headphone comes at an affordable price of $69.99; so if you are looking for one for the first time and do not want to spend too much, this one is definitely worth considering.
- Versatile option.
- Sleek design for better portability.
- Affordable price.
- Some users felt that the ear cups can get comfortable when wearing them for long hours.
Simolio IR Headphone: (Best infrared headphones for kids)
A long drive can be extremely boring if not for some nice groovy music to play in the background as you enjoy the scenic beauty. It can get even more difficult to deal with the kids as they often lose their patience. So to keep them engaged you would need a phone or a tablet and a good pair of headphones.
Equipped with all the features here’s one of the best IR headphones for cars that both adults and kids can use for watching movies, listening to the tracks, or even playing video games. Although wireless, the headphones deliver exceptional sound output, with accuracy throughout the entire frequency spectrum.
Keeping in mind the comfort of both the kids and the adults, these headphones are designed with two different adjustable headbands convenient for different head sizes and shapes. Simolio headphones come with dual connectivity mode. Other than the battery-operated IR mode, it can also be connected via a 3.5 mm aux cable at the time of the emergencies when the battery runs out. This makes the headphones pretty ear to use.
You will get two headphones in this set, that can be connected with the help of an aux 3.5 cable through the sharing port provided in the headphones. If two kids want to watch two different movies, that is also possible with these headphones by connecting them to two different devices making these the best headphones for watching movies.
- Flexible design for a comfortable fit.
- Easy storage with foldable construction.
- Engineered with Universal Vehicle Entertainment System, they are one of the best IR headphones for cars.
- The dual-channel option helps you to choose whichever works best for your audio content.
- Distortion in the audio quality when the volume is turned up.
- The connection gets interrupted if the transmitter is not positioned properly.
Rockville RFH3 Infrared IR Car Headphones: (Best IR headphones for car DVD with a budget-friendly price tag)
Here is another pair of great infrared headphones to suit your car audio needs. The headphones are two channeled headsets which means that you can connect two or more headsets and use them individually to listen from different sources. This is also a great option for video gamers or dual-DVD headrests in vehicles.
As for the sound, the headsets are engineered with 40 mm large speaker drivers that deliver powerful high-quality sound with prominent bass response. They are constructed with lightweight materials for comfortable wear for long hours. The ear padding has a leather finish and the headsets are foldable which makes it travel-friendly and easy to store.
You will get these headphones at an extremely pocket-friendly price of $21.95 which is pretty impressive considering the different features and functions the headphone brings to the table.
- Good acoustics with enhanced bass.
- Lightweight and strong built ensures both comfort and durability.
- Extended frequency response offers audio clarity and good detailing.
- Dual-channel functioning capability.
- Provides an immersive listening experience.
- None specified.
KeyAudio IR Headphones: (Best infrared headphones for both TV and car)
Whether you love traveling or you are a couch person staying at home watching your favorite shows, these headphones will work great in both situations. The headphones not only have a visually appealing look but are also high-performing.
The manufacturers have used cutting-edge technology in these headphones to make them multifunctional. The elongated ear cups offer effective noise isolation which in return lets you have improved listening. This unique shape also ensures that they sit around the ears comfortably for long hours. There are sliders on the side of the headband that makes it more convenient to wear as you can adjust the size as per your comfort.
When charged fully these headphones can give you a playback time of up to 20 hours. Additionally, they can also work in the wired mode by connecting them with the 3.5 audio cable. This is beneficial when you are traveling and the battery runs out. The automatic shut-off feature saves battery by turning the headsets off when they detect the headphone is in idle mode or is being taken off from the ears.
They are powered with AAA batteries when used in the car or with the audio jack but when you are at home, you need to use an IR transmitter to connect them with the TV.
The overall sound is impressive and with the volume controls provided you can adjust the sound as per your hearing preference.
- Good battery life.
- Ideal for cars and home.
- Both wired and wireless modes.
- Auto power off saves battery.
- Doesn’t come with an IR transmitter. You need to buy one separately.
- You may face some distortions in the audio once in a while.
Unisar TV Listener J3 Infrared Wireless headphones: (Best infrared headphones for TV)
So far we have been talking about the IR headphones having a maximum range of 8 to 10 feet, but things can’t get any better with Unisar Listener J3. This headphone surpasses all the others in the line with its long connectivity range of up to 30 feet which you usually don’t get to see in IR headphones. This means that you get more flexibility to move around while using them.
One of the best-infrared headphones for TV, this headset features superior sound, a stylish look, 15 hours of playback time on a single charge, and a comfortable fit. You can use the volume control to adjust the sound as per your comfort zone, but the headphone sounds best at mid-volumes rather than the upper limit.
The headphones need an IR transmitter to transmit the audio signal which comes bundled with this. You can pair multiple headsets with the receiver so you can enjoy a movie or audio/video content with your friends or family as well. The headphone is retailed at $39.95 including the IR transmitter.
- Long connectivity range.
- Superior comfort.
- Good battery performance.
- Multi-headset pairing.
- There is a little static in the audio once in a while.
This headphone is a universal pair that is suited for any type of application and compatible with different devices be it mobile, car, or TV. The headphone has a well-balanced sound profile with crisp vocals, sharp upper range, and rich bass so ensuring that you enjoy any type of music with this pair.
The headphones are compact with adjustable memory foam padded head straps so they can fit any type of head shape and size. This makes it open to kids as well. You can wear them for long hours without a complaint, thanks to their lightweight construction.
This headphone can be used as wireless and with the wire as well. It is powered by 2 AAA batteries and when the battery drains out you can simply connect it with the 3.5 mm audio cable to continue enjoying your music. The headphone uses an IR transmitter to work wirelessly. The headset will cost you around $24.99.
- The headphone is backed by a 2 years warranty.
- Compatible with multiple devices
- Decent wireless connection.
- Elegant look with swiveling earcups for easy storage.
- Amazing technical support with lifetime validity.
- The on-ear design may get a bit strenuous for some when worn for several hours.
- Doesn’t include a storage box.
XO Vision IR630P Universal IR Headphones: (Best infrared headphones for TV and car with stylish look)
Here’s a trendy pair of IR headphones meant for universal use and it is not all about the looks here. These headphones are a complete package of sound, design, comfort, and look.
The sound quality of the headphones is impressively loud and clear and there is no white noise or hiss as in the case of many IR headphones. There is no disruption even when the volume is turned up. You can enjoy well-balanced acoustics in any type of music genre.
Comfort is yet another aspect that these headphones are appreciated for. The earpads are well cushioned and soft with padding on the underside of the headband. You can adjust the size according to your head size for an accurate fit. The plush headband also allows you to hang the headphone comfortably around the neck when you are not listening.
The headset is powered by 2 AA batteries and you need to change them once they drain out. Other than that, you also have the provision to connect it with an audio cable and use it. The auto shut off feature saves the power when the headphone is not in use.
The headphone can be easily paired with your car DVD player and the IR transmitter. The control buttons are easy to use with a dedicated power on and off button and a volume control wheel. You will get this pair at $18.99.
- Foldable design for easy storage.
- Great sound.
- Can be used both wired and wireless.
- There are no navigation buttons for changing the channel.
- Since they use AA batteries, it drains off fast.
This headphone is a solid contender to the best IR headphones for car lists with its compact design and convenient usability. With a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz, the headphone delivers good sound. However, to get the best out of these headphones, you need to sit at a 35-degree angle within the 6 feet range rather than sitting right in front of it.
The headphones are comfortable to wear and the padded elliptical shape of the earcups sit on the headphones comfortably without exerting excessive pressure over and around the ears. This way you can use them for long hours without experiencing ear fatigue. The headphones will cost you around $18.95 which is on par with the average pricing of these products.
- Versatile application- can be used for cars as well as TV or other stereo systems.
- Sturdy build.
- Swiveling ear cups and foldable design.
- The ear cups have volume control, power led, and auto on/off features.
- Can be used on all types of video monitors using infrared transmission.
- The battery cover keeps coming off and you will have to set it back.
- The headband doesn’t have padding which may cause discomfort to some users.
As already mentioned the headphones are of three different types when it comes to the wireless versions: Infrared, Bluetooth, and Radio Frequency headphones. If you ask which one is better than the other, well, all three have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s move on to the next segment to know more.
Differences Between Infrared, Bluetooth, and Radio Frequency Headphones:
There is always an ongoing debate on which type of wireless headphones are better. The truth is none of them is 100% perfect. While Bluetooth headphones are the most popularly used headphones in the present day scenario, infrared and radio frequency headphones have their dedicated uses, and they perform well in those areas.
Now, many people also ask if Bluetooth headphones are similar to radiofrequency ones because they also use RF waves to transmit audio signals. To clear the fog, yes, Bluetooth also works on RF frequencies, but they have different technology than what is used by proper RF headphones.
This section will give you a clear difference between these three wireless headphones by jotting down the pros and cons of each so you know which one you should go for.
|They are compatible with multiple different systems.|
Pair easily with mobile devices, computers, and car audio systems. You just need to turn the Bluetooth on and the pairing starts instantly.
Can directly connect with the audio source without the need for a transmitter or an adapter, unlike the other wireless headphones.
Has numerous conveniences like you can take calls, watch movies and podcasts, listen to music, on the go.
Bluetooth headphones have a long operating range that varies from 10 to 30 meters depending on the class of the Bluetooth.
Available in a wide range of headphone models.
Many models have great battery life that can last for 2 to 4 days depending on the usage.
Consume low power and have a flow interruption.
|Bluetooth headphones do not have the same level of audio quality as wired ones.|
They are battery-powered and need to be kept on charging.
There may be slight latency when you watch a video but if it is paired with a good codec like aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD then the lag is minimal or zero.
The connection may be disruptive at times.
|Capable of producing the same quality of sound as the wired ones if the headphones are of high quality.|
The signal doesn’t get interrupted so you will get seamless streaming of audio.
Compatible with a wide range of devices like TV, Laptop, car audio system, headrest monitors, DVD players, or anything else that are compatible with infrared signals.
Much cheaper than Bluetooth headphones.
The headphones are quite flexible and easy to store.
The battery life of these headphones that use a transmitter and rechargeable built-in battery lasts for up to 20 hours.
|The connection range is restricted to only 7 to 10 meters. |
They require an unobstructed line of sight to operate. If there is an obstruction like furniture, wall, or anything they will not work at all.
The IR signals cannot transmit through any object.
Many of the infrared headphones operate with AA or AAA batteries and you need to keep changing them once they drain out.
Limited to over-ear and on-ear headphones. You will not get them in earbuds.
Radio Frequency headphones:
|The connection range of RF headphones is better than its other two counterparts.|
The signal can reach up to 300 meters and can pass through the walls thus enabling the user more flexibility and free movement.
Doesn’t require line of sight to operate like the IR ones.
The RF transmitter can connect up to 100 different RF headphones or other receivers at a given time so everyone can listen at the same time. This works great during training sessions, silent parties, etc.
Their battery life is pretty similar to the IR headsets and lasts for about 20 hours.
Easier to set up than Bluetooth ones.
|You will not find a wide array of models or designs in these types of headphones. |
Only limited to over-ear or on-ear models.
These headphones are susceptible to electromagnetic signals that are produced by other devices. The signal gets disrupted and affects the audio when this happens.
How do IR headphones work?
IR headphones work on the principle of As mentioned earlier, IR headphones use infrared signals to function. The infrared transmitter or the dock that comes with the headset is connected with the audio source like the TV or the stereo system with the help of AC plugs. The transmitter takes the signal from the audio source and converts it into IR light waves that travel through the air. When the headphone is turned on, its in-built photoreceptors capture the light waves and convert them into electrical signals, and you can hear the audio.
Now, if you are planning on purchasing the infrared headphones, here are a few parameters you should keep in mind to ensure you get the right headphone for you:
What Are You Going to Use the Headphones for?
The IR headphones work best in cars or for television. You need to see what you are going to need the headphones for and whether this type of headphones will work fine or not.
People generally prefer Infrared headphones for their sound. Their sound reproduction is as clear and of high quality as wired headphones. So make sure that the IR headphones that you purchase have a wide frequency response with good sound quality.
Compatibility with the receiver device:
While most of the IR headphones these days are compatible with almost every kind of car, some may not fit in. Ensure that the headset you are buying fits your car or the gadget you are going to use it for. Sometimes if your vehicle is an old one, its audio system may not be compatible with the headset. Check the specifications of the headphones, and the vehicle’s year of manufacture, model, and construction before you invest in it.
Check the features:
Although the IR headphones do not have a bunch of features or variations as in the case of the Bluetooth headphones, you will need to keep an eye on them. Go for the ones that have easy volume settings, comfortable fit with soft ear and headband padding, adjustable fitting, quick pairing, automatic shut off feature, etc.
Foldability and storage:
It is also recommended to go for a headphone that can be folded when not in use. This allows easy storage, helps with better maintenance, and thus increases the durability of the headphone.
Getting two instead of one:
It is always better to get two or three headsets instead of one. This way two kids or two people in the car backseat can get entertained from the same source. Amazon offers these IR headphones in bundles (pack or 2,3 or 4) at great pricing deals.
Understanding the warranty terms and checking the length of the warranty always helps, so you can return or exchange if the headphone gets damaged or is malfunctioning.
Ultimately, the decision on the best-infrared headphones for you completely depends on your preferences. The IR headphones have their benefits and issues that we have presented in this article along with the list of some of the best IR headphones for cars and TVs.Your final decision on the choice of the headphone should be driven by the various parameters we have listed in this article. You may not be able to get a lot of choices when it comes to colors and models in this category of headphones, but getting a high-quality one will surely give you the best results in terms of sound quality and comfort. Also, check out our recommendations for loud headphones from here.
Yes, kids can use IR headphones safely because they are wireless and operated by a battery. These headphones are a great way to keep them occupied when they get restless during a long drive. We have listed in this article some of the best IR headphones for cars that are suitable for kids as well.
Not necessarily. It is always recommended to check the compatibility of the headphone with the car’s audio system or other gadgets before buying. This way you do not have to go through the hassle of returning or exchanging it.
The IR headphones are quite affordable. They are more affordable than some of the cheaper Bluetooth headphones. You will get these headphones between $14 to $60 depending on the model and whether it comes bundled with the IR transmitter or not.