Wireless vs. Wired Headphones: Which Is for You?

Wired vs. wireless headphones — which is better? The wired vs. wireless headphones debate is ongoing and shows no signs of ending any time soon. In fact, market research firm Grand View Research has predicted the global earphones and headphones market is expected to be worth $15.05 billion by 2024. This indicates as new, state-of-the-art headphones become available, the wired earbuds vs. wireless earbuds discussion will get louder.

Let’s face it — choosing between wired or wireless headphones can be difficult. When it comes to the wired vs. wireless headphones debate, it all comes down to your lifestyle:

  • Are you looking for headphones you can use when you stream music at your computer every day, or do you need headphones that make it simple for you to listen to music when you work out?
  • Do you want to avoid the hassles of dealing with cords, or are you comfortable with wired headphones?
  • And are you searching for inexpensive headphones that might work well for a couple of years, or do you want headphones that will last a lifetime?

These are just some of the questions you’ll need to consider before you purchase wired or wireless headphones. They also add to the difficulty of making the right selection based on your lifestyle needs.

Fortunately, we’re here to teach you about the pros and cons of wired and wireless headphones so you can make the right choice. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors to consider when you evaluate both wired and wireless headphones. If you don’t have time to read the entire article, we’ve included a summary below.

TL;DR

  • Audio Quality: Wireless headphones generally have inferior audio quality compared to wired headphones, but this can depend on price range.
  • Battery Life: Wireless headphones are constrained by battery life, which will vary based on price range and the model you purchase. Wired headphones do not have battery life.
  • Portability: Both wired and wireless headphones are portable, but some may be more convenient to travel with than others based on their design (whether they fold, have a carrying case, etc.).
  • Compatibility: Wireless and wired headphones are both very compatible. Make sure your device is compatible before purchasing. Wired headphones usually work with any phone or device with a 3.5mm jack. Wireless headphones are normally compatible with any bluetooth-enabled device.
  • Price: Wireless headphones are normally more expensive than wired headphones, but again, this depends on your price range.

Read on it you’d like an in-depth analysis of all of these factors and more!

Audio Quality

Wireless headphones offer a convenient wire-free experience, but depending on your environment and the distance from your smart device, you may experience interference. Any device that gives a wireless signal matching the frequency of the signal used by your wireless headphones can interfere and degrade sound quality. However, this issue can usually be avoided if you keep your smart device nearby.

Wired headphones minimize the risk of interference that otherwise could affect sound quality. In addition, wired headphones are available that offer high-definition audio quality, ensuring your favorite songs will sound great any time you listen to them on your headphones.

Bluetooth Headphone Options

Many wireless headphones can replicate the audio quality of wired headphones. However, the majority of wireless headphones utilize 2.4GHz Bluetooth that can make it tough for these headphones to match the HD quality of their wired counterparts.

Many wireless headphones can replicate the audio quality of wired headphones.

You also may be more likely to encounter interference with wireless headphones than you would with wired models. Bluetooth uses the same frequency as many other Wi-Fi devices, which means your smartphone and other internet-enabled gadgets may prevent you from enjoying the best sound quality consistently.

Let’s not forget about the impact of Bluetooth-compressed audio, either. Early versions of wireless headphones focused on compressing audio, which resulted in a harsh, digital sound. Conversely, new wireless headphones are making improvements in this area, and an advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) now enables wireless headphones to stream high-quality stereo audio via the SBC codec.

Although Bluetooth is considered a primary factor in the sound quality of wireless headphones, it is important to remember the quality of the headphones themselves and the audio device being used may affect sound quality as well. Thus, using a first-rate audio device may improve your chances of getting the best sound quality, regardless of whether you use wired or wireless headphones.

Battery Life

Many wired headphones do not require a power supply. This means you can plug them into an audio device and use them at any location, at any time. The trade-off for not requiring batteries, however, is sound quality. In some cases, wired headphones may use batteries that enable you to cancel out sound as you listen to music. These headphones usually require two to four AA or AAA batteries. Furthermore, wired headphones are available that feature rechargeable batteries.

Wireless headphones always require a power source, so you’ll need a battery to use these headphones. You may be able to use AA or AAA batteries to power your wireless headphones, or these headphones may come with a rechargeable battery. Wireless headphones that use a rechargeable battery usually require a mini or micro USB cable and take about 3 hours to recharge.

The battery life of wired and wireless headphones varies. For wired noise-canceling headphones, the battery life typically falls between 20 hours and 30 hours. With Bluetooth headphones, the battery life ranges from 8 hours to 12 hours, but some high-end Bluetooth headphones claim to offer up to 40 hours of battery life.

Portability

Both wired and wireless headphones are portable, but some headphone varieties may prove to be more convenient than others depending on their purpose.

Both wired and wireless headphones are portable, but some headphone varieties may be more convenient than others depending on their purpose.

For example, if you want to listen to music while you jog, wireless headphones may serve you well. These headphones won’t weigh you down while you jog. Plus, wireless headphones are simple to place in the ear and will stay in place for the duration of your workout.

On the other hand, if you work at a radio station, you may want to consider wired headphones. These headphones will deliver exceptional sound quality and will fit inside any backpack easily. That way, you can reap the benefits of superior headphones day after day and keep your headphones on while you travel to and from work.

Of course, the cords associated with wired headphones can be problematic at times. You’ll need to wrap up cords any time you put them inside a bag, or risk getting them tangled. Cords also may get in the way if you are jogging, working out or performing other light or strenuous activities, and wireless headphones may provide a better option than wired models for athletes and other active individuals.

Compatiblity

If you’re looking to purchase wired or wireless headphones, you’ll want to ensure they are compatible with various audio devices in advance. By doing so, you’ll be able to pick up headphones you can use to listen to music, chat on your smartphone and much more.

For many wired headphones, you can use a 3.5mm cable that enables you to connect them to an audio device. Link one end of the cable to your headphones and the other end to the audio device, and you’ll be able to get your desired results.

If you plan to use wired or wireless headphones for your smartphone, review the headphones closely to ensure they are compatible with your device. For instance, the iPhone 7 requires a separate adapter to connect a 3.5mm cable to the smartphone. The iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack, and if you don’t have the iPhone 7 headphones adapter, you’ll only be able to use wireless Bluetooth headphones with your device.

With most wireless headphones, you should be able to connect them to any Bluetooth-enabled device. Many wireless headphones are compatible with the latest versions of Bluetooth and may be backwards-compatible with older devices that use an earlier version of Bluetooth. The lone exception is smartphones that are not designed to use with Bluetooth Smart, a technology that lacks basic Bluetooth compatibility.

Price

The price of your wired or wireless headphones may range from $1 to $5,000 depending on where you shop for headphones and the model you purchase. Industry analysis and advisory services firm NPD Group indicates nearly 30 percent of Bluetooth headphones sold in the first six months of 2016 were $50 or less. NPD Group also noted the average price of Bluetooth headphones fell 5 percent from the first half of 2015 to the first half of 2016 — a positive sign for wireless headphones shoppers around the world.

The price of your headphones may range from $1 to $5,000 depending on the model and where you shop for them.

Digital technology expert Geoffrey Morrison says headphones that deliver an optimal combination of fashion and function cost between $200 to $400 on average. Ultimately, the price you pay for wired or wireless headphones depends on the features included in your headphones:

  • If you need the bare essentials, wired headphones may prove the most cost-effective option. These headphones might lack the style and features of various wireless headphones options but will enable you to connect to any audio device.
  • For those searching for the latest and greatest headphones, you may be more likely to pay more to get the headphones you want. Headphones technology continues to evolve, and as new headphones are released, the prices associated with these devices may fluctuate.

Proximity to Device

Wired headphones connect to an audio device, and the only thing separating you from the device is the headphone cord. Therefore, there are only a few feet between you and your device any time you use wired headphones.

Usually wired headphones include a 4-foot to 6-foot cable attached to the left headphone. If you’re sitting on the couch listening to music, this cable provides sufficient distance between you and your audio device. And if you need extra distance, you can always purchase an extension cable as well. For portable devices, wired headphones with a cable of about 3 feet commonly deliver an excellent choice.

The range of many wireless headphones is 30 feet or more. For wireless headphones, interference increases with distance. As such, you’ll want to examine the range of wireless headphones before you make your final decision.

What Are the Best Lifestyles for Wired headphones?

The best lifestyles for wired headphones include:

  • Desk Jockeys: Wired headphones are ideal for those who work at a desk for an extended period of time. Office workers who want to listen to music on their computer or mobile device can connect their wired headphones and enjoy superb sound quality. Wired headphones may even help desk jockeys make the work day go faster than ever before.
  • Audiophiles: If you demand the best sound quality — without exception — then wired headphones are right for you. Audiophiles such as DJs and musicians set the bar high for sound quality. And with wired headphones, these individuals won’t have to sacrifice sound quality at any time.
  • Individuals Who Are Hard of Hearing: Wired headphones deliver unsurpassed sound quality. As a result, they represent a viable option for those who are hard of hearing.

Wired headphones offer many benefits, including:

  • Terrific Sound Quality: Wired headphones commonly deliver top-notch sound quality in comparison to their wireless counterparts.
  • No Batteries Required: Unlike wireless headphones, wired headphones do not require batteries.
  • Simple to Use: Just plug in your wireless headphones to the audio jack, and you’ll be able to use them immediately.

Wired headphones are offered in a variety of styles and sizes. These headphones represent a great option for individuals who are searching for basic headphones at affordable prices. They also provide a wonderful choice for those who want unmatched sound quality.

What Are the Best Lifestyles for Wireless Headphones?

The best lifestyles for wireless headphones include:

  • Athletes: Want to take your workouts to the next level? With wireless headphones, you can run on a treadmill, lift weights and perform other exercises and activities while listening to your favorite music, without having to worry about getting tangled up in wires.
  • Travelers: If you enjoy listening to music but are constantly on the go, wireless headphones are a must. These headphones will enable you to rock out to your favorite music as you travel the globe.
  • Gamers: Want to feel like you’re a part of your favorite video game? Pick up wireless headphones, and you’ll be able to do just that. Thanks to wireless headphones, gamers can become a part of the action of any video game. Wireless headphones also ensure gamers won’t have to sit too close to the TV to listen to their favorite games.

Wireless headphones deliver many benefits, including:

  • No Cables: Wireless headphones guarantee you’ll never have to worry about cables getting in the way.
  • Bluetooth Compatibility: You can connect your wireless headphones to a Bluetooth-enabled device quickly and effortlessly.
  • Increased Comfort: Because wireless headphones don’t have cables, they often are more comfortable to wear than their wired counterparts.

If you’re struggling with wired headphones, wireless headphones may provide an amazing alternative. Wireless headphones are easy to use and offer many of the same benefits as wired headphones — all without having to deal with cords.

Are Wired or Wireless Headphones Better?

Clearly, wired and wireless headphones deliver a wide range of benefits. Both types of headphones provide proven results, making it simple for you to connect to your audio devices. Also, dozens of wired and wireless headphones are available, providing you with lots of headphone options to explore.

Wired and wireless headphones deliver a wide range of benefits.

Deciding between wired and wireless headphones can be challenging, and the final decision is entirely up to you. If you consider your lifestyle needs, you will be able to determine how you’ll use your headphones. Then you can narrow your search for the right headphones based on your budget, style preferences and other criteria.

As you choose between wired and wireless headphones, understand you cannot go wrong with either option. Wired and wireless headphones are constructed from top-of-the-line materials and built to last. And if you ever need help deciding between wired and wireless headphones, you can always reach out to Decibullz for support.

The Right Choice for Your Audio Needs

At Decibullz, we’re all about innovation. We provided the first thermo-fit custom molded earbuds, along with the only customer earphones that can be remolded. We offer both top-rated wired and wireless earphones tested by top athletes, including Olympic gymnasts. Our headphones are even tested by a third-party lab and represent the highest commercially available headphones on the market today.

If you’re uncertain about whether wired or wireless headphones are right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you evaluate the pros and cons of wired and wireless headphones so you can make an informed decision.