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Like the best headphones in the market, the best USB-C headphones are perfect for listening to music, watching videos, and taking phone calls. Designed for use with USB-C devices, these headphones and earbuds plug into USB Type-C ports and offer wired listening — perfect if your smartphone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone port.
Thanks to the wired connection, you can enjoy the lossless sound quality and catch all the details in the audio. What’s even better is that these headphones are available across a wide range of prices, so irrespective of your budget, you’ll have many options to choose from.
In this article, we cover everything about USB-C headphones so that you can choose the best one for yourself. We’ll look at what USB-C headphones are, how they work, why you should buy them (and when you should skip them), factors to consider when purchasing, and much more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: With three pairs of ear tips, this device fits a wide variety of ears. It also has a built-in microphone, facilitating calls. This headset has in-line buttons for adjusting the sound and controlling calls.
Equipped with a USB-C connector, these Palovue headphones are compatible with a wide variety of phones, including Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel models. The headphones have a sound-isolating design, keeping background noise to a minimum. With high-quality 10mm dynamic drivers, this device produces crisp sound with accurate mids and deep bass. The cables on this device are durable, featuring high-quality oxygen-free copper wires and a reinforced TPE coating. However, the audio cord may be prone to tangling.
This device has a high-quality steel-reinforced USB Type-C connector that provides excellent conductivity. It comes with three different sizes of ear tips, so users can pick the perfect size. With a three-button controller, this unit enables hassle-free customization, and it has a built-in microphone, allowing users to make calls easily. The controls let users adjust the volume and make or reject calls. This portable headset is compact and lightweight, so it’s suitable for travel.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed for Samsung devices, this unit works with a variety of devices including the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Note 10. It comes with several pairs of ear tips and has a tangle-resistant cord built to last.
The Samsung EO-IC100BBEGUS headphones have a compact design that will appeal to people who want to listen to music on the go. These headphones have a USB Type-C plug that provides excellent sound quality. A built-in DAC enhances the audio quality, providing crisp treble and deep bass. This headset has high-quality AKG-tuned audio drivers that provide refined audio. It is compatible with a variety of Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Note10. However, this device won’t work with some non-Samsung devices. For that, you’ll need a pair of high-end Sony headphones.
With two-way speakers, this device produces rich, balanced sounds. It has premium materials that offer durability and comfort. This device comes with a wealth of ear tips, so users can find the right fit. A fabric-wrapped cable that comes with this model is resistant to tangling and holds up well in the face of frequent travel. It has a built-in microphone, allowing users to answer calls and communicate during gaming. This device has a black color scheme that complements most smartphones and tablets.
Award: BEST CONTROLLER
WHY WE LIKE IT: With an intuitive in-line controller, this device simplifies adjusting the sound level, navigating through music tracks, and making calls. It has an advanced DAC chip and outstanding sound drivers that deliver crisp audio.
The CKLYYL ME-46-C headphones have a versatile design compatible with a wide variety of mobile devices. This headset works with devices from brands such as Google Pixel, Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung. It has a built-in DAC chip, producing crisp, clean sounds. This unit comes with four ear tips of varying sizes, so it fits a wide variety of people. These ear tips come in four different sizes of ear tips, offering users variety. However, the materials of the ear tips are uncomfortable for some users.
An in-line controller features buttons for adjusting the volume and navigating through songs during music playback. The controls can also be used during calls for hanging up and accepting calls. This device has a built-in mic, which captures sound in detail, facilitating conference calls and gaming. We like the fact that the headset is compact and lightweight, so it’s suitable for use at home, in the office, or during business or leisure trips.
Award: BEST COMPATIBILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This device is quite versatile, working with a variety of smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. It has a high-quality DAC chip and features an excellent microphone that captures sound in crisp detail.
With a ground-breaking DAC chip, unlike the standalone device in the HIFIMAN HM-101 USB DAC, these WarmGra JP54 headphones deliver high-fidelity sounds that will impress audiophiles. The headset has a high-quality USB-C connector that provides plug-and-play connectivity. This unit has a built-in microphone for capturing sounds and it’s compatible with a selection of devices from brands such as OnePlus, Samsung, Apple, and Google Pixel. It even connects to select iPads and MacBooks. However, this unit has mic compatibility issues when plugged into select iPads and MacBooks.
An in-line controller features buttons for adjusting the volume, navigating through music, and answering calls. With a lightweight construction, this device is comfortable and it can be used comfortably for extended periods. It has high-quality ear tips that provide a tight fit, reducing extraneous noises for an engaging listening experience. The headset boasts a high-quality 47-inch cord that is stretchable and resists fraying and tangling. The connector on this device is quite durable and supports fast data transmission.
Award: BEST MAGNET-EQUIPPED
WHY WE LIKE IT: Equipped with a carrying case, this device allows safe transportation from place to place. It has a refreshing white palette that will catch attention, and the sound isolating ear tips provide an engaging listening experience
The Titacute TITACUTE0248 headphones are designed for excellent music playback. This device was designed for Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold models, and it’s also compatible with select OnePlus, Google Pixel, and iPad devices. With a high-quality USB-C connector, this device provides fast data transmission for lossless playback. It has a refreshing white color scheme that will stand out. This unit also comes with a case for safe transportation. However, the 3.94-foot power cord is relatively short.
A built-in microphone allows users to communicate during calls and gaming. This device has in-line controls for adjusting the volume, toggling and pausing soundtracks, and receiving or ending calls. The device features high-quality ear tips that provide a comfortable fit. It isolates sound, providing a hypnotic listening experience. This headset has a high-quality stretchable cord that provides durability. Featuring a unique design with magnets on the back of each bud, this headset prevents tangling.
Award: BEST CARRYING CASE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Equipped with a carrying case, this device is easy to transport. It has a high-quality driver system and chip, delivering crisp audio. This headset is compatible with a wide variety of devices.
These iMangoo headphones have a USB Type-C connector, providing compatibility with various Samsung, Google Pixel, Motorola, and iPad devices. It has a built-in DAC chip and advanced audio drivers, delivering hi-fi stereo. This headset has a built-in in-line mic to facilitate making calls and in-line controls for customizing the headset easily. With a metal-plated connector, the headphones are durable and support high-speed data transmission. However, the 47-inch cord is too short for some users.
A nylon braided cord endures over 5000+ bend bears tests without giving way, providing remarkable anti-tangling performance. This device comes with an earphone case for safe transportation and storage. It’s equipped with three different sizes of ear tips, enabling customization. These tips have a 45° design, providing a pleasant wearing experience. We like the multifunction controller on this device, which enables adjusting the speaker volume, receiving and ending calls, and controlling music playback.
USB-C headphones also referred to as USB Type-C headphones, are headphones that connect to your device through a USB-C port, unlike traditional headphones that connect through a 3.5mm audio jack.
USB-C is fast becoming the next universal port, and it’s already replacing the old micro USB and USB-A connections. Earlier, phone manufacturers would add a USB-C and a 3.5mm audio port to smartphones, but many are now ditching the 3.5mm audio port in favor of a sleeker and more premium design. Without a 3.5mm audio port, users are left with two options — wireless headphones or wired USB-C earbuds.
The main difference between USB C headphones and other headphones, like the best TV headphones for seniors, is the connection type. Since most new smartphones and tablets come with a USB-C port, you need headphones with a USB-C connector to plugin for wired listening.
Most USB-C models offer excellent audio quality and feature a built-in microphone, with the more expensive options featuring active noise cancellation, lightweight design, and lossless audio quality. But you can only use wired USB-C earbuds with devices that have a USB-C connection. Some wired USB-C earphones have wireless connectivity as well, and you can use them with devices that have Bluetooth functionality.
In terms of the audio, wired and wireless USB C earphones work exactly like traditional headphones or the best USB headphones.
Wired USB-C headphones are pluggable headphones that connect to your source device through a USB-C port. The source device sends audio signals through the USB-C cable to the headphones. Then, the drivers vibrate the air using built-in magnets, converting electrical energy into acoustic energy (sound) and releasing it into the user’s ear canal.
Wireless USB-C earphones work the same way, but without wires. They utilize encoded radio frequencies to receive sound signals from the source device. The headset’s drivers decode the audio signal and release the sound into the ear canal.
USB-C headphones are perfect for you if you use a device that only has a USB-C port and no 3.5mm port for the headphone jack. For example, if you’ve got a newer Apple iPhone but don’t like the earbuds it comes with, a pair of USB-C headphones is what you’ll want.
Wired USB-C headphones will provide you with lossless sound quality and last for years if you maintain them well. Let’s discuss these reasons and why you may not need USB-C headphones.
The lifespan of headphones with USB-C connectors varies because it’s dependent on many factors. You’re looking at the quality of the material, how the headphones are used, what temperatures they’re used in, and how well they’re maintained, among other things.
If maintained well, like traditional headphones, your USB C headphones can last you between 3 to 5 years and sometimes more than 10 years. With a wired pair of headphones, you’ll have to be particularly careful with the USB-C plug and cable because these parts tend to malfunction first.
If you’re using wired headphones with wireless functionality, they’ll have a built-in battery. But the battery will degrade over time, and the hours of battery life will reduce. How soon that happens depends on how frequently you use it, for how long, and how large the battery size is. The more the battery degrades, the lower it’ll last on each charge. True wireless earbuds generally last between 1.5 to 3 years, and wireless headphones could survive for 2 to 4 years.
Once you decide to purchase a pair of USB-C headphones, you’ll have to assess a wide variety of products while keeping some key factors in mind. This includes connectivity options, noise isolation, audio type, build type, and budget.
Some wired USB-C headphones offer wireless connectivity, too, making the headphones quite versatile. Although wireless use compromises audio quality, it provides supreme convenience, and you can enjoy unrestricted movement. If you prefer shuffling between high comfort (wireless) and high quality (wired), then headphones with both these connectivity options would be perfect for you.
USB-C headphones come with passive and active noise cancelation. Passive noise cancelation is a simple noise isolation method that relies on tightly sealed earbuds or earcups to keep external noises out.
Active noise cancelation (ANC) is more advanced because it uses built-in microphones to negate ambient noises by producing inverse sound waves. ANC may not reject all ambient sounds, but it does better than passive noise-canceling headphones. Since it’s an advanced feature, models with active noise cancelation will cost you much more than regular headphones.
If you’re using noise-canceling headphones, they’ll block out external sounds as long as you wear them. And that’s why the best models come with different levels of noise isolation, one of them being the transparency mode.
In this mode, the headphones make it possible for you to hear external sounds clearly without taking them off. The headphones use microphones to receive sounds from the outside and release them into your ear. This feature is super handy whether you’re traveling outdoors or staying indoors.
If you’re buying headphones, you’ll find them in two builds: over-ear and on-ear. Over-ear headphones are more comfortable than on-ear models and provide greater noise isolation. They have large earcups covering the ears entirely and preventing pressure from building on the skull and ears. But their larger size means they lack portability.
On-ear headphones are more compact and have foldable designs, but their earcups rest directly on the ears. Even with an adjustable headband, it can get quite uncomfortable using these headphones for several hours because of the pressure they apply to the ears.
Headphones come in two types of cables: round and flat. Most earphones generally feature round wires, and although it’s easy to bundle them, they are notorious for getting super tangled up.
On the other hand, flat cables are known for their “resistance to tangling.” If you’re not a fan of tangled wires, you’ll do well with flat cables. But remember that they’re not as easy to wrap up as round cables.
The headphone design determines how comfortable it is, how it sounds, and how good its noise isolation capabilities are.
An open-back design features an exposed outer casing that allows air to pass through its earcups. This comfortable design is more breathable and will let you wear your headphones for several hours without pain. Despite its comfort, open-back headphones aren’t good at noise isolation, and there are plenty of sound leakages, so people around you will be able to hear what you’re listening to. It’s a great option if you want natural-sounding audio, but you’ll want to skip this if you need noise cancelation and zero sound leakage.
The closed-back design has the outer case sealed off, and that’s why it works impressively at keeping ambient noises out. But this design is less breathable and can get hot if you’re using it for a few hours. This is suitable for immersive film viewing and gaming sessions.
Between earbuds and headphones, the former is more portable and convenient to use. Earbuds have an in-ear design, so they’ll fit in your ear canal, and you can wear them for long periods without discomfort. They’ll be easier to carry around owing to their slim design and size. Earbuds also offer decent noise isolation, especially those with ANC, but they won’t match the noise isolation that headphones can provide.
Unlike earbuds that release sound directly into the ear canal, headphones release the sound around the ears to create a more natural-sounding listening experience. With their large earcups, headphones will block out external sounds, and if they use ANC, you’ll enjoy unparalleled noise isolation. Also, since headphones release sound around the ears (rather than in the ear canal), the audio will sound more natural.
With wired and wireless USB-C earphones, you’ll want to check how effective the controls are. If it’s a simple pair of wired earphones, it should have the standard wired remote control with a multi-control button to operate volume, playback, call functions, and your device’s voice assistant. Sometimes, the remote control panel will also have a built-in mic.
Wireless headphones will have different controls on their surface. They may also have dedicated apps for controlling various aspects of the device, like the noise cancelation level and equalizer settings. If the playback and volume controls are handy and easy to use, you’ll have an easier time using your headset.
You’ll find USB-C headphones across a broad price range. You have wired USB-C headphones at the lowest rung for as low as $15. Along with passive noise cancelation, they’ll offer decent audio, a microphone, and a multi-control button on the cable. But since they feature low-quality material, don’t expect these cheaper options to last you for years.
Between $30 to $50, you’ll find an affordable pair of headphones with better durability, comfortable material, and nicer color options. Above $80, you’ll find USB-C headphones with active noise cancellation. Once you cross $200, you’ll find plenty of wireless USB-C headphones with exceptionally soft earpads, comfortable design, advanced noise cancellation modes, smart controls, high-resolution audio, and an adjustable headband.