How do I Choose the Best Stereo Earbud Headset?

Dan Cavallari

Choosing the best stereo earbud headset boils down to a few key considerations: cost, comfort, construction, and sound quality. The best stereo earbud headset on the market may not be the best choice for you because it will more than likely be cost-prohibitive, and the most cost-effective set is not likely to offer the best sound quality or construction. To find the best stereo earbud headset for you, you will need to decide what is most important to you, and find some options within your price range. Finding several pairs that feature noise isolation is a good place to start; these will prevent sound outside the ear from interfering with the speaker sound.

A close up of earbuds and a headphone jack.
A close up of earbuds and a headphone jack.

The stereo earbud headset should be well constructed. This means all rubber fittings that go inside the ear should be durable and well attached, the wires should be thick, which both improves strength and sound quality, and the jack should be solidly connected to the wire. The earbuds must fit snugly within the ear canal for the best sound; noise-isolating earbuds will feature rubber fittings that will keep outside sounds out and earbud sound in. Look for noise-isolating earbuds when you are searching for the best stereo earbud headset. The set should also come with replacement rubber fittings; many companies sell their headsets with rubber fittings of different sizes to fit different sizes of ear canals.

Handheld MP3 player with earbud headphones.
Handheld MP3 player with earbud headphones.

You must choose which type of stereo earbud headset system you want. Some earbuds simply press into the ear canal and stay there, while others feature plastic harnesses that wrap over the ear. Others still feature a harness that wraps around the back of the head. For most people, a set of earbuds that fits inside the ear canal is fine, but for athletes who will be moving around often, or for people walking around through the city, the harness options may be worth looking into. They keep the earbuds more firmly in place, meaning the sound quality of the earbuds will not suffer as they slip out of the ear canal.

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Make sure you carefully read the packaging of the earbuds you are considering. Stereo and mono earbuds are very different, and if you buy a mono earbud set, you will be quite disappointed. Stereo earbuds project sound to both ears, and the way music is mixed means different sounds reach each ear. Mono earbuds each play the same sounds to each ear, which can lead to a different type of sound quality. Some mono earbuds only come with one earbud meant to be placed in one ear. Read carefully to ensure you are purchasing stereo earbuds to get the best sound quality available.

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