Choosing the right pair of headphones can be a daunting task—especially when there are so many different options that all sound great. In this article, we’ll quickly breakdown some of the most important points about over the ear vs Bluetooth headphones. Then we’ll give you our recommendations about who should opt for which kind.
The Pros & Cons of Over The Ear Headphones
Over the ear headphones are quite possibly our favorite option in the world of headphones. That’s not to say that all the rest are a waste of time and money. But we do find these to be some of the most versatile headphones out there.
- Great sound quality - When you invest in a good set of over the ear headphones, you are investing in perfect sound. The bass, the clarity—it’s unbeatable.
- Great price to quality ratio - While you can’t expect perfection from the absolute cheapest over the ear headphones, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house just to get a great set of over the ear headphones. There are amazing products at affordable (even if not the cheapest) prices. Plus, with the quality, they last much longer than cheaper options.
- Noise isolation - Over the ear headphones are designed to block out as much outside noise as possible which adds to even better sound quality. This is something you will have a hard time finding in many Bluetooth headphone designs.
- Comfort - Over the ear headphones tend to be the most comfortable designs. They pinch less than full size headphones (and don’t make your ears as hot) and they fit more securely and comfortably than in the ear headphones (which is the form most wireless headphones have).
Basically, for most situations, investing in a quality set of wired, over the ear headphones is going to be your best option. They offer crisp, clear sound, great bass, sound isolation, and they are relatively portable.
The one area that Bluetooth headphones have them beat is in convenience. While they are portable, they simply aren’t as convenient as having a set of headphones with no wire at all. So if convenience is more important to you than having top of the line sound quality, comfort, and sound isolation, then Bluetooth headphones might be more to your taste. You can read more about them below.
The Pros & Cons of Bluetooth Headphones
Bluetooth headphones are a relatively new invention that do make some things convenient and can provide some surprisingly good sound despite usually using an in the ear design. Here are some of the greatest advantages of using a set of Bluetooth headphones:
- Wireless - This is really the key advantage that Bluetooth provides. No cords getting tangled up or accidentally unplugged or worn down and broken. Wireless frees you to enjoy you music without worrying about a cord. This is the most convenient for sports. When you go on runs, you can’t beat this kind of convenience.
- Long battery life - There are a few different technologies that can be used to make wireless headphones. Bluetooth is a relatively low energy option that allows headphones to last for many hours on one charge.
- Convenience - Even when you aren’t being active, it can be pretty freeing to be able to sit with headphones on without worrying about wires. The Bluetooth range isn’t endless but it’s wide enough that you could get up and move around the room without having to carry your phone or laptop with you.
With these advantages in mind, there are some drawbacks that should definitely be mentioned:
- Lower sound quality - Now, the sound quality isn’t awful but it is certainly not going to be the absolute best you could get. For that you need a wired headset because then the technology inside the headphones themselves is entirely devoted to sound quality.
- Lower price to quality ratio - Basically, this means that you pay more for lower quality (in terms of sound and comfort). So in order to get the same sound and comfort of a moderately priced pair of wired headphones, you would have to buy a very high end pair of wireless headphones.
These drawbacks can be deal breakers for some. If you’re a DJ or someone who needs a high level of sound quality, you definitely need to stick with wired headphones. However, for others, the sound quality and comfort is perfectly fine for their purposes.
For example, if you mainly want a wireless option for exercising, then you really don’t need the perfect pair of headphones. In fact, wearing super expensive, high end wired headphones while you’re sweating bullets is probably not the best idea.
So, for most purposes and uses, we would strongly recommend the over the ear headphones. They generally provide better sound quality, last longer, and fit more comfortably.
However, for active people or anyone who enjoys music while they workout or do other physical activities, the wireless functionality of Bluetooth headphones is a very convenient feature. You don’t need or want perfect noise isolation or cancellation when you need to be able to be alert and aware of your surroundings, anyway.
As always, it comes down to your own set of priorities and needs in the end. Ideally, you would have a pair of each so that you can use which ever set of headphones best suits the current situation. But if you don’t feel like shelling out the extra cash, just decide where your top priorities are when you choose which headphone design will work best for you.