Before heading to our ‘Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide’, let us first understand a few general considerations pertaining to Bluetooth headphones. Headphones these days are more than just an accessory for entertainment. They are now a solid medium to make use of the new age smartphones to the fullest and enhance the user experience of the phones. The wireless technology makes this experience even better. Therefore, when buying headphones online, the very first thing that most of you look at is whether the headphones are wireless or wired.
Wireless Bluetooth headphones have been around for quite some time now and have improved significantly over the years. Today, in this era of wireless electronics where almost everything you use is cable-free, wireless headphones empower the users with a lot of features and conveniences that they can enjoy. These headphones are your constant companion in your day-to-day activities- be it your fitness sessions, work, household activities, or even commute.
As buying wireless headphones is becoming more common, we have come up with this article offering expansive Bluetooth headphones buying guide for you. This article is intended for both beginners, who are looking for information on buying Bluetooth headphones online for the first time, and experienced users who are planning to switch. Keep reading to know more about what these headphones are, the various things you need to see when buying headphones online, different parameters, precautions, and more. But, first thing first, let’s get started with what type of headphones these are.
What Are Bluetooth Headphones, and How Do They Work?
Headphones are broadly classified into two different types- wireless and wired headphones. While wired headphones are the traditional ones that have wire or cable attached to it that helps in transmitting the audio signal, the wireless headphones use Bluetooth, Infrared, or RF technology to transmit the signals. In these types of headphones, there is no involvement of wire at all. Even though Bluetooth and RF are two different kinds of wireless technologies, Bluetooth headphones also actually use RF waves to transmit the signals from one device to another.
Initially the Bluetooth technology, due to its limited speed and connectivity range, was only limited to transferring data files from one device to another. Gradually, it was integrated into headphones and other devices for making calls and using it to listen to music. But this technology has been rapidly growing and improving over the years. With newer versions, Bluetooth has made the communicating devices more functional and useful.
Coming back to the Bluetooth headsets, they are either integrated with the technology into the headphone or some headphones also come with a separate Bluetooth chip or transmitter. In order for these wireless headphones to work, your phone or the audio source should also have Bluetooth on. The headphone uses the RF waves to pair with your mobile device, laptop, television, tablet, etc.
A single Bluetooth headphone can be connected to multiple devices for ease of use but the number of devices it connects to depend on what the headphone has been designed for. On average, a Bluetooth headset can connect to at least 2 to 3 devices at the same time. The best part about these headphones is that they do not need a line of sight like the Infrared headphones. This gives you more freedom to move around with your headphones on.
Why Are Bluetooth Headphones So Popular?
The main reasons why Bluetooth headphones have become a hot favorite among users other than the conveniences they offer are – they use low power, offer high-speed connectivity, and are rather inexpensive than other wireless technologies. You are set free when you use wireless Bluetooth headphones and do not have to stick to one particular place with your audio device. In fact, you can leave your audio device stationed at one place while you speak to someone or listen to the music and simultaneously run other errands. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is to stay within the range.
Another reason for these headphones’ high demand is that they come with multiple different cutting edge features that make your life so much easier and make the headphones more like a gadget than just audio gear.
Now that you have a fair idea about how these Bluetooth headphones can literally change your way of living, here’s a comprehensive headphone buying guide to help you with your search.
Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Buying Wireless Headphones
Bluetooth headphones aren’t really complicated, but if you are buying them for the first time, you might probably feel lost given the ocean of options available today. It can be even more challenging when you are buying headphones online. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with a few features and some not-so-complicated technical aspects that you should look for can make your life much easier.
While the market is saturated with these types of headphones, it is not necessary that all of them are going to suit your preference or live up to your expectations. These headphones come in different types, with a wide range of prices, under different brand names, etc. This headphone buying guide will help you with some of the crucial things that you should know before buying wireless headphones:
Form Factor and Comfort
Bluetooth headphones are available in different form factors: over-ear, on-ear, and earbuds. All these types of headphones have their own benefits and downsides, but the most important thing is which form of headphone will make you more comfortable and have an ergonomic design.
The over-ear or circumaural headphones have ear cups that go around the ears and are considered the most comfortable option in the lot in case you need to use them for long hours. These headphones have a large design and even though many of them come with foldable design, they still occupy a lot of space in the bag, hence, not the best option in terms of portability.
The on-ear headphones rest on the ears and are not as comfortable as their over-ear counterparts because they sit right on the outer ear rather than in or around them. But being slightly smaller, these headphones have better portability and are usually lighter. These headphones are typically used in places where you do not want to completely shut yourself out from the rest of the world but can still use the headphones effectively. So you will mostly find these headphones in workplaces rather than homes.
The in-ear headphones or wireless earbuds are one of the most popular options among people of all ages because of their compact size, features that they offer, and sound quality. Not only are they wireless, but they also fit into the ears snugly forming a tight seal inside the ear canal. While some sports models have control buttons on the earbuds, some of them have touch-sensitive controls as well.
What you need to know is their form factor is independent of the Bluetooth functionality which means that no matter what type the headphone is, the Bluetooth connectivity remains the same.
Where or How Are You Going to Use It?
This is also another aspect that you should keep in mind when buying wireless headphones. These days different headphones are designed for different lifestyles or to suit different needs. There are headphones that are specially designed for sports, for the workplace, or for casual use. The features of these headphones vary depending on what purpose they are designed for.
This is a very useful feature that you need to check when buying headphones online or at the store. This feature allows the headphone to connect with more than one Bluetooth device at a given time be it laptop, mobile, speakers, or computer. Having multipoint connectivity not only saves time but is also beneficial because you can take a call from your mobile effortlessly in the middle of playing games on TV or tablet.
Buying wireless headphones means you need to check the Bluetooth codec support. It can be quite annoying to get interrupted while watching a movie or playing games, right? Well, the codec that the headphone is supported with is responsible for the quality of streaming you get. Codecs like aptX Low Latency, aptX HD, AAC (for Apple devices), LDAC (Sony’s devices offer high-quality streaming with no time lag in between.
What’s the point of buying wireless headphones if you cannot make optimum use of them, right? The range of Bluetooth plays an important role depending on how you prefer using the headphones. If you are a person who loves to walk around while talking, then go for the audio gears that offer a long Bluetooth range. A shorter range will limit your movement and going beyond the range will break or interfere with the signal which in return will distort the music.
The range of the Bluetooth doesn’t depend on the old or latest version, but the Class of the Bluetooth where Class 1 has the longest range Class 4 is the least. Most Bluetooth headphones belong to Class 2 which gives you about 33 feet range. In very rare cases, you may find headphones that are Class 1 with up to 300 feet signal range.
Not every manufacturer, however, mentions the class in their specifications. So while buying headphones online, check what range is specified in the notes so you will have an idea.
Bluetooth headphones need to be charged because they run on battery, and you obviously do not want a headphone that has poor battery performance. That is why looking for good battery life when buying wireless headphones should be one of your top criteria. Bigger headphones have better battery life than smaller ones. You will see the over-ear headphones having 24 to 35 hours of battery life whereas the earbuds have an average of about 7 to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge on an average.
While compact headphones are travel-friendly and easy to store and handle, if you are looking for a headphone for long conference calls or for your long haul flights, then you might want to check out the bigger options.
You should also see the charging time of the headphones and the backup charge capacity of the charging case in the case of earbuds. Clearly, the bigger the battery the more time it is going to take to charge completely. However, these days the manufacturers are designing headphones with fast charging capability which reduces the overall charging time to some extent. When it comes to the charging case, look for a charging case with a higher charge holding capacity. The higher the backup, the more times you can charge your earbuds fully.
Advanced features like noise-canceling technology, voice controls, etc. consume more battery. So, if you are looking for headphones with these features, you need to ensure that you have the best battery life possible, so you do not get interrupted in the middle of your listening sessions.
Sound Quality and Audio Type
Buying headphones online has various advantages like discounts, saving fuel by not having to go to the store physically. However, one of the biggest downsides of buying wireless headphones from online stores is not getting a chance to try them out to know how they sound. This is why the Bluetooth headphones buying guide helps, but, more than that, the reviews from the users and technical experts on various portals can give you an idea about the sound quality of the headphones.
One of the things that you should look for when ensuring good sound quality is the frequency response of the headphone. While most of the headphones have a full range frequency, some have extended lows and uppers as well. This, along with the driver size (larger the better) delivers more accuracy and clarity. The earbuds usually have about 8 mm to 15 mm large drivers while the bigger headphones have a driver size of 20 to 50 mm depending on one ear or over-ear headphones.
Sound quality and the audio type also depend on your listening preference. For example, some prefer a bassy sound to get that oomph factor, some like a natural presentation. Stereo and HD sound options are something to keep an eye on.
If you are going with earbuds, then it can be useful to check if each earpiece functions independently (work in mono mode). This way if you do not need two earpieces, you can save the charge by keeping one in the charging case while you use the other.
Voice Assistant Feature
The demand for smart voice assistant features is tremendously growing because it allows people to give commands and get information effortlessly without having to use their hands. Most Bluetooth headphones these days have this feature. However, while some headphones are integrated with Alexa, Google, and Siri, some are compatible with just one. So depending on what devices you are going to use the headphones with, you need to pick up your headphones.
It is important to note that cheaper Bluetooth headphones may or may not have this feature so it is always recommended to check the specifications and reviews when buying headphones online.
A good quality microphone is extremely important for those who are looking for Bluetooth headphones mainly for calling. The quality of the mic varies with the budget. Premium headphones obviously have higher quality mics than budget-friendly ones. If you are buying headphones online, you will find it more challenging to understand the mic’s performance because you cannot try it out. In that case, do go by the reviews on the headphones and know the warranty stats and replacement or exchange policies, so there is a window to do so if need be.
If you have a chance to test the headphone before buying, then check the microphone’s intelligibility, voice clarity, volume levels, and how it sounds in different environments. Speaking of microphone and voice quality brings us to the next point- noise canceling features.
Noise Cancelling Feature
One of the significant features of Bluetooth headphones these days is noise-canceling technology. Depending on the quality of the technology and the feature set, the price of this technology varies from mid to high range. Some headphones do not have ANC features at all but are designed to isolate the noise passively.
If you are planning on buying wireless headphones to stay away from noisy places, for traveling, etc., then ANC Bluetooth headphones will work best for you.
The control system is very important when it comes to wirelessly connected headphones. Unlike the wired ones, they have all their controls on and around the ear cups. When buying headphones online, check the specifications from the manufacturers carefully and see how controls are placed, whether they are buttons or touch controls, etc. All the necessary controls should be on the headphone because this is the only place in the case of Bluetooth headphones where you can navigate to various functions. They do not have separate remote controllers like in the case of the wired ones.
Some touch-sensitive headphones also have customizable controls that can be personalized using the company’s software. If you are buying earbuds then see that both of them are independent of each other having their own controls on each bud. This way you can easily use them in mono mode, so there is no need to rely on the other bud to access any function.
All headphones and earbuds are not designed for complete water resistance, but there are some headphones geared for sports that are made with materials that can hold up well against water. If you are specifically looking for water-resistant or waterproof headphones, then see the headphone’s IP rating. Different ratings indicate different grades of water resistance with IPX7 and IPX8 being completely waterproof. A lower rating may protect the headphones only from accidental water splashes or sweat during your fitness sessions.
Price is an important factor in determining the overall quality of the headphones and how many features do they come with. Headphones with a premium price tag have a better sound quality and more features than the ones under the budget lines. Realistically speaking, if you want more features, excellent sound, and more features, then you should be ready to spend.
With all this information, you are now probably all set to pick a headphone for yourself, but there are a few issues that you may want to know before you invest your money in it.
Here’s is a list of the pros and cons that will give you better transparency about these products and you are pre-prepared for any kind of circumstances:
Pros and Cons of Bluetooth Headphones – Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide
- Allows you to go wireless.
- No more getting bothered by tangled wires.
- Excellent sound.
- Plenty of cutting edge features.
- Offers huge conveniences.
- Great for sports or traveling.
- Allows portability.
- Multipoint connectivity.
- Can be used with different bluetooth enabled devices.
- Relies on Bluetooth.
- Drains battery quickly when advanced features are turned on.
- Needs charging periodically.
- Emit RF radiation.
- Can be expensive.
- Life of Bluetooth headphones are shorter than the wired ones.
- Bluetooth earbuds can get easily misplaced.
- Connectivity issues if you go beyond the range.
Some Common Issues Related to Bluetooth Headphones and How to Resolve Them
While Bluetooth headphones bring in a lot of benefits, they are ultimately electronic gadgets, and you might face some common issues with them once in a while. Here are a few issues that generally people face and how you can resolve them:
Phone is not able to detect the Bluetooth of the headphone:
This is a very common issue that many of you might have faced while connecting two Bluetooth devices. This can be caused due to several reasons and it is not a big deal at all. All you need to do is-
- Check if the Bluetooth of the headphone is turned on.
- Ensure that the headphone is compatible with your mobile or the device you are trying to connect to.
- Remove any kind of obstacles that are in between the two devices while connecting them.
- Bring the headphone closer to the phone while pairing.
- Turn off the power of both the devices and turn them on again.
- Sometimes, the headphones may have different ways of pairing than the regular way you do. If you are using the headphones for the first time then check the manufacturers guide on how you can pair them.
- You may also want to get away from your wifi router and then try pairing them again. At times the wifi signals may interrupt with the Bluetooth connectivity signal and the phone fails to detect the headphone’s Bluetooth.
Unable to Pair With the Headphone
There may be several circumstances under which this may happen and here’s what you can do-
- Check the list that shows all the Bluetooth connections and remove the ones that you do not want. Sometimes the old pairing can override your current Bluetooth headphone.
- Remove any other Bluetooth devices around and turn them off while pairing these two.
- Restart the devices and try pairing again.
The Connection Keeps Getting Disconnected
One of the many common issues that people often face is the fluctuation in the Bluetooth connection every now and then. If you face this once in a while-which is not unusual, it is okay. But if you keep experiencing a disconnect sometimes, then here are a few things you can do-
- Stay within the recommended Bluetooth range. Every Bluetooth device does not have the same range. While some have a shorter range of 10 feet, some have a range of 30 to 33 feet. If you go beyond the device’s wireless range, the connection will get interrupted or disconnected due to lack of signal.
- You may also experience disconnection due to low battery. Make sure that your devices have sufficient power in them, if not, charge them before you use them again.
- Removing the pairing and re-pairing again may at times resolve this case.
- Restarting both the devices may restore the connection properly and the headphones may work fine.
- Sometimes if your firmware or the software of the phone is not updated, these issues arise. So make sure to update your firmware regularly.
Experiencing Static When Listening to Music?
While watching a movie or listening to your favorite track, experiencing static or sound distortion, voice breakage can take your mood away. Well, this usually happens due to some kind of interference.
- Ensure to keep all the obstacles away from the headphones.
- Disable the Bluetooth connectivity of any other device that is not in use. Reset the Bluetooth connectivity of your headphone and the mobile you are connecting to.
- Bring the pairing devices close to each other and make sure there is a barrier in between them.
- If you still experience static, then, it may be because of the codec that supports the headphone. If your headphone has a wired connectivity option, then you may want to connect it via cable and watch.
What Are Some Best Bluetooth Headphones?
There are many nice Bluetooth headphone options in the market that have different features depending on the price range. Sony, Bose, Audio Technica, Beats, Jabra, Apple are some top brands to name a few that offer Bluetooth headphones. A few Bluetooth headphones and earbuds that are currently in high demand are:
Jabra Elite Active 75T (Best performance earbuds)
Sony WH-1000XM4 (overall best wireless headphones)
Bose 700 (Best noise-canceling headphone)
Beats solo wireless headphones (Best on-ear headphones)
Apple Airpods Pro (Best wireless earbuds for Apple users)
If you are on a phone hunting spree and confused about which one to pick, this detailed Bluetooth headphones buying guide will help you get in the right direction. With the world changing completely into wireless, these headphones are becoming the future. Bluetooth headphones come with a lot of convenient features that equip you to get accustomed to modern-day technologies and prepare you to transition to a more advanced tomorrow.
However, because they are wireless, there are some downsides to this type of headset as well, some of which can be overcome if you get a mid to high-end headset instead of a cheap one. The truth is, the higher you are willing to go model-wise, the more features you get, and the performance gets better. This also means that you should be willing to spend more as well. As we always suggest, do not forget to check the warranty details and exchange policies of any headphones you buy to be on the safer side. With that said, we hope that you found our ‘Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide’ helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions – Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide
Using wireless Bluetooth headphones for mixing, monitoring or other studio work depends on you and how big the project is. If you are working on a small project or something temporary these headphones can be used if you do not want to invest in wired studio headphones. However, if you are working on a high fidelity music production where accuracy is extremely important, these wireless headphones are not going to suffice. No matter how good the quality of wireless headphones is, there is a significant difference in the audio quality from the wired counterpart.
Yes, there are many popular and well-established eCommerce websites that offer hundreds of different options to pick from. In fact, the selection range online is more than what the physical stores and showrooms have. The only thing you need to remember is to understand and be aware of their exchange and return policies, see the specification of the product carefully and read the reviews before you purchase. Also, make sure to read our ‘Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide’ to understand more.
Not necessarily. Having a detachable audio cable depends on the model and the manufacturer. While some models have the facility, some don’t. It is always recommended though to go for a headphone that has an audio cable port, so you can have uninterrupted streaming in case your Bluetooth connection doesn’t work for some reason. Having a detachable audio cable also makes the headphone more versatile allowing them for wider applications in studio functions, unlimited gaming hours, etc. Read our ‘Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide’ for a better understanding of your query.