Types of Headphones: Features, Designs, and Choosing the Best Fit for You!

Ali Abdaal

Earphones have become an essential part of most people’s lives, which has led to their high demand. Many brands are developing headphones to meet their ever-rising demand. When buying headphones, it's important to consider what features you want them to have, which could be confusing. This article will discuss the types of headphones and earbuds to help you make the best choice.

Many types of headphones and earbuds are on the market today, all serving a unique purpose to you. The headphones come in different designs and features, so you must know what will work best for you. We will discuss several types of headphones in this article, such as over-ear headphones, Open-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, their features, and more! To find out more about them, dig right in!

Table Of Contents

Different Types of Headphones And Earbuds

They include:

1. Over-Ear Headphones

Over-the-ear headphones are also known as "circumaural headphones." Their unique design allows you to experience superior sound isolation and no noise. These headphones are the best option for you if you want to listen to music without distractions from any external noise.


2. On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are the best option if you want a great listening experience. They perfectly fit on your ears and block out any external noises. Unlike other over-the-ear models, these earphones are comfortable on your ears and do not cause sweating.


3. Open-ear headphones.

Open-ear headphones don't enclose the entire ear, enabling them to offer less sound isolation. They are also light and comfortable on your ears, so that you can wear them for long hours. Since they don’t enclose the whole ear, you can hear sounds from your immediate surroundings.


4. Clip-on headphones

The clip-on headphones are quite similar to earbuds with ear hooks. Clip-on headphones are thinner and have very flat discs that hold the speakers and hooks onto your ears. They have large drivers, ranging between 13 and 30mm, unlike earbuds, which range between 8 and 15 mm. surprisingly, there are some options that you can attach to a helmet using an adhesive.


5. In-ear Headphones

The in-ear headphones have a miniature size that fits perfectly in your ears. This miniature design causes less disruption by creating excellent sound attenuation. Again, they offer you the privacy you want as nobody can hear what you are listening to, especially in public. But, in-ear headphones are not ideal for people with sensitive ears.


6. Open Back Headphones

These headphones have a design that allows air to pass through the ear cups. Their drivers have no enclosure as the ear cup casing has some grills, which allow them to breathe. Furthermore, this allows less heat accumulation in the ear cup on the padding surface, so your ears don't sweat. The headphones produce a sound that has less pressure, so it does not strain your ears.


7. Closed-Back Headphones

Closed-back headphones are the best option for listening to music without distractions from external noises. They have similar ear cups and headband designs to over-ear headphones but are bulkier than other headphones. Sounds do not leak because the headphones immediately direct audio from the speakers to your ears so that you can enjoy high-quality sounds for various applications. Consequently, you enjoy noise isolation and less distraction when using these headphones.


8. Semi-Opened Headphones.

The semi-opened headphones allow air to pass through the ear cups, allowing some sounds to leak. These headphones either have “an open back volume’ and closed “front volume” or a “closed back volume” and “open front volume." Its exterior part of the ear cup can have grills and an airtight interior or a completely airtight exterior and a transparent ear cup interior.


9. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are similar to traditional ones, using two ear cups and a headband across your head. Their noise canceling ability allows them to remove any unwanted sound before it reaches your ears. This technology uses digital sound processors, an amplifier circuit, and a microphone to eliminate background noise. Thus, they are the best option if you want to enjoy some high-quality music without any disruptions.


10. Bone Conduction Headphones

The bone conduction headphones have drivers housed in the hard covering of the ear cup. They have an open-fit design, so they don't cover your whole ear, so you can still hear sounds from your surroundings while using them. Again, they have a design that allows air to flow through them, so your ears don’t sweat when using them. This design makes them comfortable on your ears as you don't have to adjust them.


11. Headset

Headsets have two ear cups and a headband, just like other headphones. They have a boom mic attached to one ear cup near the mouth, which enhances voice pick-up. Thus, if you are using headsets to pick up calls in the office, you can use your hands to perform other tasks while still on the call.


12. Air Tube Headphones

Air tube headphones contain drivers in each earbud to ensure high sound quality. Sound travels through the metal cables to the speakers housed in the metal hubs. Then, the sound travels again through a hollow plastic tube to the earbud without causing any radiation.


13. Noise-Isolating Headphones.

Noise-isolating headphones have a unique design that gives users noise-isolated quality sounds. It does not use power to block external noises but uses its construction materials and unique design.


14. Wired headphones

Wired headphones have a double copper cable and a PVC jack, which measures about 1-3 meters, but higher fidelity headphones have longer cables. Moreover, these headphones have four connectors, the USB, USB type C, 6.5mm and 3.5mm jacks.


15. Wireless headphones

The main advantage of wireless headphones is that they give you freedom of movement, but you must stay within the signal area. You can use the headphones without tangling, although they will use batteries, adding extra weight. These headphones use Bluetooth, Infrared or radio frequency to connect to an audio source.


16. True wireless earbuds (TWS)

True wireless earbuds use two earbuds that connect to a "Piconet" network where one earbud bridges the gap between the audio source and the other, facilitating effective communication between the three. They are wireless and come packed in a case you use to charge and store the earbuds.


17. Classic earbuds

Classic earbuds have a round structure design that allows them to fit shallowly in your ear canal. They also have a single dynamic diver in each earbud, unlike IEMs with several drivers.



Headphones allow you to enjoy music when traveling or to focus on your game. There are different types of headphones, each with unique features you should consider before buying. Some are sweat-resistant, while others have mesh on their ear cups, which allow sweat and debris to enter.

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