Working from home has its perks. Depending on the job, you can choose your own schedule, work in pajamas, make a fresh lunch, and save on gas. Most people will agree that working from home is a sweet gig, though there are certainly some parallels with an office job, such as the necessity of some sort of workspace. Having a dedicated place to work is usually the best route so you don’t fall into the traps of clicking on the tv when you should be working, and with a dedicated working space comes dedicated equipment. An essential piece of equipment for working at home is a nice pair of comfortable headphones.
Choosing the right pair of headphones can be a daunting task. There are countless features, designs, and brands to choose from and finding the right pair for you can be overwhelming at first.
While working on that big project, it can be easy to get distracted by the ambient noises around you, especially if you live with a roommate, spouse, or kids. Music is a great way to help focus the mind on the task at hand. It keeps your brain from wandering off and getting caught up in the distractions around the house. It helps to further separate yourself from the world at large while trying to make a deadline is by using headphones to listen to your music. Blasting music on your speakers will not only fail at blocking out whatever is happening in your house, but can be very distracting for everyone else there. Just because you are hard at work in your office doesn’t mean that your roommate wants to listen to your music all day. A pair of comfortable headphones allow you to tune into your work and zone out of the distractions of your home to allow you to get the job done.
Comfort may be the single biggest factor when it comes to choosing the right pair of comfortable headphones. There are several different styles of headphones including in-ear, over-ear, and on-ear. Each style has its own pros and cons, and everyone has their own preference.
This may be the most popular headphone style and for good reason. In-ear headphones are compact, easy to carry, don’t interfere with glasses or headwear, and can be very affordable. This makes them ideal for anyone that is going to be active and frequently on the move or someone that desires general portability. If your work from home style relies on constantly bouncing between coffee shops or various rooms in your house, this may be the style for you. A disadvantage of these is that, for some, they can be very uncomfortable since the headphones have to physically sit in your ear. Depending on your particular ear shape, it can be difficult. Additionally, since they sit in the ear rather than covering it, you can experience noise bleed from ambient sounds.
Pros: Mobile, affordable
Cons: Lower quality, less comfortable
Over-ear headphones are the complete opposite of in-ear ones. Rather than sitting in the ear and out of the way from glasses and hats, over-ear headphones are large and bulky and sit completely over the ear. This style is often considered the more comfortable of the options as they are often made with a soft foam padding on both the ear cuffs and the headband. This style of headphones also offers arguably better sound quality. Due to the lack of size restriction of the design, manufacturers don’t have to compromise on technology to fit in a smaller space. The downside is the opposite of what makes in-ear headphones so mobile – a lack of portability. This would not be great if your work at home job has you on the move throughout the day.
Pros: Great sound quality, comfortable
Cons: Not very portable, can be expensive
This style is a bit of a compromise between the previous two designs. On-ear headphones sit directly on the ear rather than in or over it. They are made much smaller than their over-ear counterparts offering easier portability without sacrificing much sound quality or comfort. They are often cheaper than over-ear headphones and offer more audiophile quality sounds than in-ear headphones. The cons for this style is a bit of the same cons from both the in-ear and over-ear designs. They are still bulky and can be uncomfortable to difficult for activities requiring movement,, while their design of sitting directly on the ears can be uncomfortable for some, especially while wearing glasses.
Pros: More portable than over-ear, better sound quality
Cons: Slightly bulky and less portable, slightly less comfortable
After comfort, the decision whether or not to deal with a wire will be the next thing to tackle. This will largely depend on personal preference, but can also be influenced by the work you are doing and where you will be doing it.
Going wireless, not just with comfortable headphones, has many advantages. The obvious one being that you don’t have to deal with that pesky wire. Being untethered is a very freeing experience. You don’t have to worry about getting tangled up the cord when maneuvering around your desk. If you need to get up you won’t have to worry about that fear inducing moment of either having the headphones ripped off your head or pulling your computer or phone off the desk and to a potentially fatal fall. No matter the style, wireless headphones offer a lot of freedom of movement when setting up your at home work space.
While wireless headphones may sound like they are the way to go, there are some disadvantages to consider. The first, while rare, is that depending on the type of connection your headphones use, you can experience some interference or lag. All wireless technologies have range restrictions that can limit your potential freedom. The largest downside to wireless headphones are batteries. Despite advances in battery technology, whether your headphones have a built-in battery that needs charged or uses disposable batteries, it will die after a few hours of use. This can be damper if they go out in the middle of your work, especially if they require recharging.
Cons: Uses batteries, interference possible
If you are concerned about battery life or interference and latency, then wired headphones may be for you. Sticking with the traditional wire means the usage time of your headphones is only limited by the battery life of what they are connected to. Meaning that if you are working from a computer that is plugged in, then you are setting for a marathon session of work and tunes. Interference is also of no consequence when it comes to wired headphones as the signal travels through an insulated wire and can’t be interfered by other signals from various wireless devices around.
Wired headphones, of course, have their cons. What makes wireless headphones so special is what wired headphones lack: freedom from a tether. The cord can get tangled up and interfere with movement and that dreaded moment of standing up from your desk without removing your headphones can end in an expensive crash if you aren’t careful.
Pros: Doesn’t require batteries, less chance of interference
Cons: Being tethered can be inconvenient
There are many other features to consider while shopping for headphones. A big one is noise cancellation. This is a technology that seemingly mutes all outside noise. While this feature will add a few bucks to the final price, and isn’t available on all styles of headphones, it is a feature worth looking into if you frequent coffee shops and wish to tune out that coffee house rock and crowd noise in favor of your own music or podcasts.
Choosing the right comfortable headphones for working at home largely comes down to personal preference, but style and features are definitely things to consider while shopping. It all depends on how you work. Whether your office is the living room couch or that corner table in the coffee shop, choosing the right equipment for the job is just as essential as the job itself.