Earbuds are the miniature versions of headphones. You plug them in your ears, and off you go with your iPhone, jogging into the horizon. Ah, but if it were just that simple.
Earbuds and headphones are notorious for their fragility. If you are the couch potato, you might not have much to worry about them, unless you manage to sit on one.
But when you are on the move, you either need flashy over-ear headphones or these little buddies to keep you entertained. And to do that successfully, they need to have a thick skin.
But that’s not the hard part. It is finding ones with that thick skin. Don’t worry; we will tell you all that you need to know to make the right choice.
The Top Things to Note When Going in for an Earbud
We hope you have already figured out things like whether you need noise cancellation in your earbud or not, and are just looking to know how you could find one that can last long.
If you are looking for an earbud that you can use for a long time, you would need to take a look at different factors. We list out a few of them.
- Does it have a sturdy design?
- Is it comfortable to wear?
- What about the warranty?
- When it is out of warranty, how much would it cost for a repair?
5 Top Steps to Choosing the Right Earbuds for Yourself
So how do you shop for one that is durable? Check out these five handy tips:
Don’t you hate it when one of the earbuds in the pair stops working? You tug and pull at the cable to see if the thing comes back on. Right? It’s because of the copper wires housed in cheap plastic or rubber break off, sometimes internally. So try to find earbuds with braided cables, reinforced near the plugs at both ends.
A Velcro strap for cable management should also be on your checklist. A spaghetti of the cables does not bode well for your sanity.
Braided cables help keep the copper wires safe from all the tugging you’d ever do. Just don’t expect it to survive a tug-of-war between you and your dog.
2. The casing or housing:
If it is made of weak plastic, you can be damn sure that it will break sometime or the other. Worse, if the housing parts are glued together, you could have a hard time making things right again.
The amplifiers and other circuitry are enclosed within this much housing. So it is also imperative that it should protect these innards. Find one that is made of hard plastic or metal. Plastic is harmless and durable and is used widely. Metal housings are more robust than the plastic ones. But they can be a bit uncomfortable to fit, cumbersome and prone to cause allergies in some people.
Most earbuds are generally sweat-proof. It means that the sweat won’t enter the housing through the holes. But nowadays, people pay more to see some severe level of waterproofing on earbuds as well. What if it started raining? Would a splash or two ruin a perfectly good piece of equipment?
There are different levels of waterproofing available to address this issue.
The IPX rating is how you can find out about the level of waterproofing you get. Earbuds with IPX rating up to 4 or 5 is excellent for most consumers. However, if you are a strapping swimmer who listens to music while submerged in water, you need earbuds with an IPX 7 rating. Don’t forget to surface for breathing now and then.
It is important to note here, that ‘waterproof’ is different from ‘water-resistant’!
4. Tips (Ear-Tips) : –
Ears are quite delicate on the inside, and they can be prone to injury. These ear-tips are the squishy things which wrap around the casing to keep it comfortable. You need to check if it is made of silicone or hard foam.
This step is crucial because you may be allergic to either one of them. Allergies cause rashes. When these rashes get irritating enough, you might feel an insatiable urge to scratch away, creating a wound to appear. And injuries in ears do not sound good at all.
You need to check the fitting of the housing as well as the ear-tips for comfort. Forcing a fit can be as mild as breaking the buds, or as dangerous as causing a severe injury.
Why? Because of reasons! Just kidding… Sometimes you get your hands on a piece which was born defective on the production line. This is your insurance policy if it comes apart.
Most ear-buds are offered with a 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects and malfunction. But check with the brand nonetheless. There are fine prints and conditional clauses all over the place in the electronics business.
It would make sense to be forewarned with all the RMA conditions. You will also want to see if there is an international warranty on the product so that even if you move somewhere else, you will have nothing to worry about.
The Final Tips to Making the Right Choice When Buying a Durable Earbud
Finding a good, durable set of ear-buds is no longer a tedious window-shopping experience. You can rely on brick-n-mortar stores, or you can order online. Just keep these things in mind before checking any add-on features or bells and whistles and then make your decision.
Checking for durability does not entirely conform to the ‘use-n-throw’ norm. However, getting one that sticks with you for a good five years or more is always better than replacing broken ones frequently. Besides, the environmentalists will thank you for not adding to electronic and plastic waste every few months.