Best Types of Headphones: Which One is Better to Get in 2021?

In recent years the headphones industry sees huge popularity. Today audiophiles, students, gamers, casual listeners, etc have some kind of headphone for various purposes.

As you’re here to find out the best types of headphones so you can choose one that helps to achieve what you’re looking for.

Here is a short and quick answer for you. All types of headphones are good and whether the headphone costs $50 or $1000 it came with some kind of cons. The thing that helps you to choose the best headphone for you is to know for what purpose you’re going to buy it.

If you already made up your mind, for example, if you’re looking for the best headphones for working out, it will be easier for you to choose the right type.

So before buying a headphone identify your need and then go for which type will be more suitable.

In this article, I’ll share different types of headphones and help you to understand which one is better for you. So, without wasting any time let’s get started with our main topic.

Instead of just named all types of headphones it’s better to categorize them so it will be a lot easier to pick.

1. Types of Headphones By Size

Let’s start with the size. The size of the headphone is very important and before choosing a headphone you should check out. It also depends on how and where you’re going to use it. The smaller ones are more convenient and easy to carry outside during walk or travel.

On the other side headphones that are big in size look bulky and also because of the weight these are great for indoor use such as at home or studio.

Here are the types of headphones according to their size.

Over-Ear OR Circumaural Design Headphones

These headphones come with a headband and their earcups cover ears entirely. These are the most comfortable and popular type and used in almost every industry.

Over-ear or around-ear design headphones offer better comfort in longer sessions whether you playing a video game, listening to music, or used for studio work. They also feature bigger driver and wide frequency response than most of the other types which makes them superior in sound quality.

However these costs you more as well because of the better and superior features. Their earcups design comes in three different designs includes Open back, CLosed back, and Semi-open back design.

As the name suggests open back design headphones have an open back which leaks the sound but delivers more neutral and more comfortable. The closed-back design provides better sound isolation, the sound won’t leak that’s why private use or you don’t like to hear people what you’re listening these are an ideal option.

The last one Semi-open, these headphones leaks the sound because their backside is not open as open-back headphones and not close as closed-back headphones have. However, they didn’t leak as much sound as open-back headphones and not block as much as the closed-back headphones.

Open back design headphones are ideal for studio work where you required a more pleasant and natural sound. Furthermore, because of the open back design, they let the air in and out which won’t cause any fatigue or discomfort.

Closed-back and over-ear headphones are ideal for outdoor use or where you don’t want to leak the sound. Because of the closed-back they didn’t let the air in or out and the sound as well and after a few hours of wearing you’ll need a break to relax your ears. Both types are excellent it depends on your work and where you’re going to use it.

Related: Top 8 Best Headphones For Drummers

On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are very similar to the over-ear headphones the only difference they have is they stay on the ear compared to over-ear headphones that surround the ear. The rest of the features are very similar to both types. They also come with the headband and at similar prices.

But because on-ear design headphones stay on the ears you’ll not wear them for as long as over-ear headphones. However, these are smaller from over-ear. Speaking of sound isolation and quality over-ear headphones also offers better sound isolation and better sound quality.


The next type of headphones according to their size is earphones or in-ear headphones and earbuds. Both in-ear earphones and earbuds are very similar in shape and shape. The main difference is in-ear headphones/earphones are wired and earbuds are usually wireless.

They directly rest in the ears and are very portable. Furthermore compared to on and over-ear headphones they cost less. For an average user to audiophiles, there is a wide range of models available. However, these are less comfortable compared to over-ear headphones because they directly stays inside the ear and after a few hours of use you’ll feel discomfort.

Moreover, their sound quality is good but headphones offer superior sound. There are various reasons but most importantly earphones and earbuds feature a smaller driver, lower frequency response, low impedance, and more. If you want portable and cheap headphones to listen to music then earbuds or in-ear earphones are a great option but for professional work such as audio mixing and monitoring or professional level gaming headphones are better options.

Related Guide: 7 Best Earbuds for Small Ears 

According to Shape 

The shape of headphones depends on its size. You may be familiar with the terms circumaural or supra-aural. Circumaural headphones are over-ear headphones that are mentioned in the above section and supra-aural are the on-ear headphones.

Circumaural headphones have a headband and their ear cups stay around the ear. On the other hand, supra-aural headphones also have headband but their ear cups stay on the ear. The rest of the features, its pros and cons are mentioned above in the types of headphones by size section.

If we talk about the small size headphones like earbuds, some earbuds feature a hook or clip that sets on the top size of the ear and used to hold the earbuds for better comfort and to avoid falling off from the ears.

Types of Headphones By Technology AND Connectivity 

Along with different sizes and shapes, headphones are available with different technologies and different connectivity options. Each kind has benefits and drawbacks. All you need to do is choose one that works well for you. Here are the following headphones according to their technology and connectivity.

Wireless and Wired 

As the name suggests there is a headphone that offers two connectivity options wired and wireless. I don’t think I need to explain that however wired headphones come with a cable that we plug to an audio source and wireless headphones or Bluetooth headphones are that we connect via Bluetooth and don’t require any cable.

Both have their Pros and Cons

As far as wired headphones come even wireless headphones came to a long way in technology but still overall wired headphones are more reliable and offer superior sound quality.

One of the reason is wireless headphones still have lag issues but there are also high-quality models such as Sony 1000XM3 and Bose Quietcomfort 35 II available that offers excellent comfort, noise cancellation, and impressive sound quality. Speaking of price difference wired headphones to feature less technology compared to wireless headphones that feature advanced technologies like active noise cancellation, Bluetooth technology, battery, etc.

That is the reason usually wired headphones are less expensive. But when it comes to the portability and more ideal option to use during work, running, exercise, travelling, and so on wireless headphones feel safer and reliable option. Because at some point cables will make you uncomfortable especially during workouts and travelling.

Even wireless Bluetooth is further categorized into three technologies which are following.

  • Infrared
  • Radiofrequency
  • Bluetooth

All technologies work differently but one thing is common you’ll no longer need a cord.

In short, both types are excellent choices to have. All you need to do is to identify your requirements and use. Both are excellent options and worth buying.

By Noise Cancellation

One of the most important features in headphones is the ability to block the ambient sound. Some headphones can block and some cannot. It depends on the headphone type.

Here are the two things you need to check if you want to block the ambient sound.

  • Active noise cancellation
  • Passive noise cancellation or noise isolation

These are the two features you need to check out. Before I explain both, their task is common to block outside noises. Now it depends on the headphone quality how much noise can be blocked.


First, let’s start with passive noise cancellation also known as noise isolation. Noise isolation is done by the headphone design. I’m not going to drag anything, in simple words if the headphone has closed back and over-ear design it will offer better noise isolation means he can block the headphone sound from going out and ambient noises from entering in much better than over-ear or on-ear design with open or semi open-back design.

In noise isolation ear pads also plays an important role the better earpad can seal the more quality noise isolation of the headphone will be.


Active noise cancellation is a technology that actually designed to block the loud noises of airplanes and now it’s widely used in headphones.

Active noise cancellation features advanced technology that first calculates the ambient sound and then generates the same amount of audio waves or frequencies but in opposite directions that cancel the ambient sound and as a result, we get a calm and relaxed environment.

Many people used headphones for lawn mowing, construction work, and while driving the heavy machinery. If you want to completely block the outside noise it’s great for you.

By Microphone

Since the games, online classes/education, and video calls became popular the demand for microphones and headphones with a microphone also increased.

There are two types of microphones available in the headphones

  • External and Extended microphone
  • Internal microphone

A great example of an external microphone is the gaming headset. You may or may not familiar with gaming headset but if you see a gaming headset like Astro a10, you will clearly notice an extended microphone. These are great for making calls, communicating with friends while playing online video games.

Many people do not prefer external mic because of the extended design and chances to break. Then comes the second option which is an internal microphone.

Headphones like Sony 1000XM3 features an in-built microphone that also works impressively.

It’s your choice whether you go for an inbuilt or external microphone.


After reading different types according to different aspects you may be confused but you don’t need to be because we came at the end of the guide. To make it easier for you here are some quick and final consideration for you.

  • If you’re looking for a portable option go with in-ear headphones or earbuds.
  • Want to work at a studio or looking for THE BEST and most comfortable option: go with over-ear and open or close back design headphone (open back is more recommended)
  • Want to use headphones at noisy places such as at construction work, bus or train station, etc consider active noise cancellation headphones.
  • Want to enjoy music and movies without disturbing others go with wireless and closed back types.
  • Need for playing video games or professional work external mic is more preferred because it is near to the mouth and can record better and clear audio.

That’s it guys, I hope after reading this guide your doubt on different headphones types and which one to choose will be clear.

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