When it comes to purchasing a good pair of earbuds, everyone needs a pair that offers the most value for the money. The type of earbuds that you’ll buy will influence your listening experience when it comes to calls, music, and other audio activities.
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when choosing earbuds like design, comfort, sound quality, battery life, right fit, battery life, and much more. But before you go through these factors, you need to ask yourself where you will use these earbuds and what sound quality you expect out of them.
So, this guide will help you make the best value purchase when it comes to buying earbuds.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Earbuds
Here are the main factors you need to know:
1- Where you will use your earbuds?
Whenever someone asks me which brand or model earbuds are good for them, I always enquire for what purpose they need them. So, always ask yourself whether you need a pair of earbuds for listening to music/calls or you need them for going to the gym/running.
Most earbuds that you see on the market are suited for different activities. So it could happen that get your hands on the wrong pair. So always ask yourself what kind of activities you will do while wearing a specific pair of earbuds.
Some earbuds are good for listening to music while others are best for gym workouts or running. Similarly, if you spend most of your time outdoors where it rains a lot, then you may have to look out for earbuds that are waterproof and have an IPX4 rating.
Listening to music isn’t the only reason you would need a pair of earbuds. Sometimes you need to shut down the voices coming from the outside world. This is where you want earbuds that come with Active Noise Cancellation or ANC.
So everyone has some sort of intention in mind for which they buy earbuds.
2- Sound Quality
Most of the most important factors to look for is the sound quality. No matter how premium your earbuds look, they are worth nothing if they have a bad sound quality. I remember wearing awful-looking earbuds for months just because they sounded awesome.
Not every earbuds brand out there puts focus on the sound quality. Even some of the famous brands can end up making earbuds with poor audio quality.
If you are an audiophile like me, then sound quality would be your top priority. If you are a music lover who likes the bass-heavy sound, then go with brands like Beats or Sony that specialize in making buds for the music genre.
3- Right Fit
Usually, you will find two types of earbuds on the market, the one made by Apple with a long drop stem found in Airdrops Pro and the rounded ones made by other brands.
Each design has its own pros and cons, for example, the ones with the step drop design sit loosely in your ear canal whereas the more rounded design earbuds fit perfectly inside the canal.
I personally prefer earbuds that comfortably fit into my ear canal if I’m working on my laptop or running on a treadmill in the gym.
So I prefer going with the rounded-shaped earbuds that come with silicon ear tips to achieve the perfect seal to sit comfortably inside my ear canal.
The silicon tips that come with earbuds also reduce the pressure exerted by earbuds on your ear canal. This allows you to wear the earbuds for long-hour sessions without any pain in your ear canals.
Some earbuds come with multiple silicon tips for a tailored fit. Therefore, you should always check out the additional accessories that come along with earbuds.
The material used in the construction of earbuds plays a vital role in the comfortability that you’ll experience while wearing them. Mainly, there are three types of materials used namely silicon, rubber, and foam.
Silicon tips are widely used in earbuds these days as they are soft and conform easily to the shape of your ear canal.
Keep in mind that the size of the earbuds also impacts the sound quality. Therefore, it’s equally important to choose the right size earbuds or ear tips for a perfect fit and high-quality sound.
When it comes down to the design, you should prefer ergonomics over anything else. Like I’ve said earlier, the earbuds that you choose must naturally contour with the shape of your ear canal.
Ergonomically designed earbuds stay in your ear canals for long hours without creating any fatigue or pain. Also, you don’t need to adjust them again and again even if you are running or swimming.
Users who have an active lifestyle or who most of the time hit the gym, running tracks, outdoors, or swimming pools, should consider extra features in earbuds like water or sweat resistance.
Earbuds with sweat-resistant features are designed to withstand moisture and sweat. This helps keep your earbuds in one place without slipping out of your ear canal or doing any damage to the internal components.
Similarly, the water resistance feature protects your earbuds from rain or accidental water splashes. If you are exposed to external weather conditions, then make sure you choose earbuds that come with at least an IPX4 rating for protection against various weather conditions.
I’ve written an entire guide on IPX Rating System, don’t forget to check that out.
5- Battery Life
One of the most asked questions about wireless earbuds is “How long do they last on a single charge”? Well, there isn’t a definite answer to this as every earbuds brand designs their product differently with different features.
But battery life is the most crucial factor to consider before choosing earbuds. It decides how long you can use your earbuds before you need to charge them.
If you are using earbuds just to listen to short calls, then earbuds with an average battery life of 3 to 6 hours are a good deal to go with. However, if you use earbuds for listening to music or workout, then you will need a good pair of earbuds with longer battery life.
Mostly, in-ear earbuds have the shortest battery life ranging between 4 to 8 hours whereas over-ear earbuds last as long as 10 hours on a single charge.
There are many factors that affect the battery life of your earbuds. Listening to music at maximum volume consumes a lot of battery. Similarly, turning on the Active Noise Cancellation features results in faster battery drain.
No matter what the battery timing of your earbuds is, there’s a modern solution available to this now. Almost every wireless earbuds come with a compact charging case that allows you to fully charge your earbuds 2 to 3 times.
So, in case you run out on battery life, you can simply put your wireless earbuds in the charging case and carry them anywhere you want.
Choosing earbuds that support the latest version of Bluetooth not only improves the connectivity but also results in improved battery performance. Moreover, the newest Bluetooth version offers you more connectivity range to roam freely without losing connection.
Make sure the earbuds are compatible with the latest version of Bluetooth. Right at the time of writing this article, Bluetooth 5.3 is the most advanced version with a new audio-switching tech called Auracast to allow Bluetooth streaming with unlimited nearby audio devices.
Bluetooth 5.0 or higher devices allow you to connect to multiple devices at the same time. Some earbuds come with a “Find My” feature in order to locate your earbuds if they are lost.
7- Additional Features & Functionality
Although these additional features have nothing to do with the performance of your earbuds, they do help you manage routine tasks more easily if you use them.
Modern earbuds come with playback or touch-sensitive buttons to control the music or phone calls. These controls typically include options like play, pause, skip forward or backwards, and adjusting volume levels.
You can perform these actions without taking out your phone or the device you are connected to. With playback controls, you can also simply accept, end, or reject the calls.
This feature is more convenient if you are driving or in a situation where it’s difficult to take out your phone to respond to calls.
You can also customize the playback control buttons to respond differently with the help of software. For example, you can double-tap on your earbuds to reject calls or turn on the virtual assistant.
Voice Assistants & Smart Features
Modern earbuds are equipped with virtual assistant features like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. These features can be activated using voice commands or simply tapping the control buttons on your earbuds.
These features allow the users to interact with different tasks with the help of voice commands. For example, you can turn on Alexa and ask her to open your music library and play a specific song.
Using virtual assistance also lets you know about the weather, set reminders, send messages, make calls, or even control smart home devices.
I’ve been writing about gadgets for over 7 years now. I have a strong taste for music, no matter if it’s pop or classic. My passion for music has enabled me to come closer to audio equipment. I like writing and sharing my personal experience with audio equipment that passes by me.