Wireless vs Wired Headphones

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are new to the world of personal audio, you may look to compare wired vs wireless headphones. The best headphones, after all, ship with wires or a wireless receiver. So what are the differences between these two types of headphones and which one should you purchase? Keep reading to find out?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Wireless headphones use Bluetooth or related technology to transmit signals from an audio source to your headset.
  • Wireless headphones are convenient but need to be charged once in a while in order to work. Wired headsets also feature improved sound quality.
  • Wireless technology also creates some latency during use, particularly during intense gaming sessions. The same is not true for a wired headset.

Are Wireless Headsets Better Than Wired?

Before you can pick the finest audiophile headphones, it is helpful to understand the distinctions between these two types of headphones. As the name suggests, wireless headphones have no wires and connect via a wireless Bluetooth connection or a related connection type, if you are looking for the best wireless earbuds. This allows for increased freedom, though you may wonder why your wireless headphones keep disconnecting. Wired headphones, on the other hand, have no option for wireless connectivity, even if you are comparing high-impedance vs low-impedance headphones.

Insider Tip

Make sure to keep an eye on battery life whenever you are using wireless headphones.

Beyond that, this initial difference leads to other changes between the two types of headphones.

Latency

Listening to headphones without the need for wires is incredibly freeing, but it does create one potential issue for some consumers. Wireless earbuds and other types of headphones necessitate a certain amount of latency during use, as the signal travels through the air. This latency is not noticeable while listening to music, but may be an issue while gaming or watching movies, as the audio and video, may struggle to sync up. Of course, this technology is improving all of the time and latency times are shrinking.

Price

There is no way around it, wired headphones are cheaper than wireless headphones unless you are going for a model meant for professional studio applications. Additionally, these lower initial costs also translate to maintenance and repair prices, as wired cans are easier to repair on the cheap than Bluetooth headphones. If you are shopping on a budget, go for wired headsets.

Battery Life

Another subtle disadvantage to using wireless headphones is that they need a built-in battery to allow for continued use. This means that you’ll only get so much use before needing to plug the headphones into a power outlet. Modern batteries allow for two to 30 hours of use on a single charge, depending on energy demands. Wired headphones, on the other hand, work indefinitely without any need for charging.

F.A.Q.S

Who are wired headphones for?

Wired headphones are for those who prize sound quality above all else, as wired headphones typically boast studio-grade audio quality.


Who are wireless headphones for?

Wireless headphones are for folks who don’t worry too much about sound quality and battery life while wanting convenience above and beyond what is found with a typical wired headset.


Are wired or wireless headphones better?

There is no such thing as better here, as wired headphones and headphones embedded with wireless technology both have their place. However, if your audio source lacks a headphone jack, then go for a wireless pair of headphones.


STAT: Many modern smartphones are ditching the standard audio jack, but there are adaptors and cables such as Lightning and USB-C to solve this issue. (source)

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