How to Find the Best Headphones for You

How to Find the Best Headphones for You

Good headphones for running or workouts

Pros: These should be built to stay put during intense movement, and constructed to be sweat-resistant. Cons: They get thrown around, so don't make a huge investment. However, it might be worth paying for a pair that fit better or are more durable, even if the sound quality is similar to cheaper models. Tips: Try to find out if the headphones won't slip, and if they pass a stress test. You can't always depend on the packaging. Recommended: Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Duros ($40) and Adidas OCX 685i Sennheiser Sports Earphones ($54).

Best over-ear headphones

Pros: Feels good on your head and ears for long periods of time. Higher-end models are built to last—designed more for an at-home listening experience than a workout. Cons: Less likely to block ambient sound, so they're best in a quiet space. Tips: Try these on at a store before you order—they should feel comfortable and sturdy. Recommended: Koss KSC75 ($17), Grado Prestige Series SR-60i ($79), and Sony MDR7506 ($85).

Best noise-canceling headphones

Courtesy V-MODA

Pros: Sound-isolating headphones minimize ambient noises; noise-canceling headphones eliminate them, so you get excellent sound quality pretty much anywhere. Cons: Expense. Also, noise-canceling headphones often require batteries and can generate a soft "buzz" sound. Tips: Buy these for at home (not treadmill) use, or whenever you want to block out outside sound. Look for durable, extremely comfortable models, with a good replacement plan just in case. Try them on before you buy. Recommended: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ($300; sound-isolating) and Bose Quiet Comfort 15 ($300; noise-canceling).

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