The Ultimate Guide to Buying Open Headphones

Your Guide to buying the best open headphones


Open headphones are becoming increasingly popular among audiophiles and casual listeners alike, due to their ability to deliver natural, spacious sound that can dramatically improve the quality of your music or gaming experience. However, choosing the right pair can be a daunting task given the wide range of options available in the market. This guide aims to navigate you through the key factors to consider when buying open headphones, from sound quality and comfort to price and durability, helping you make an informed purchasing decision. Whether you're a professional musician, a dedicated gamer, or simply someone who loves to lose themselves in their favorite tunes, this guide is here to simplify your search for the perfect pair of open headphones.

Key features

  1. Sound Quality: Open headphones are well-renowned for their superior sound quality, offering a natural and spacious soundstage. Look for models that offer high-resolution sound and a wide frequency range for the best audio experience.
  2. Comfort: As headphones are often worn for extended periods, comfort is crucial. Search for headphones with adjustable headbands and soft ear cushions. Lightweight designs can also enhance comfort over prolonged use.
  3. Price: Open headphones range in price, from affordable models to premium, high-end options. Determine your budget before shopping and remember that while higher-priced models often offer superior sound quality, there are also many cost-effective options that provide excellent performance.
  4. Build Quality: Durable materials and robust construction can extend the lifespan of your headphones. Look for headphones with a strong, adjustable headband and high-quality ear cups.
  5. Brand Reputation: Consider the reputation of the brand. Established audio companies typically offer reliable and high-quality products. Check customer reviews and ratings to gauge user satisfaction.
  6. Connectivity: Some open headphones come with wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth. If you prefer a cord-free listening experience, look for models that offer this feature.
  7. Impedance: The impedance of headphones can affect their performance and compatibility with different audio devices. Lower impedance (less than 25 ohms) is suitable for portable devices like smartphones, while higher impedance (over 25 ohms) is better for home audio systems or professional setups.

See the most popular open headphones on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Superior Sound Quality: Open headphones typically provide a more natural and clearer sound than closed-back models, making them a top choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.
  • Soundstage: Open headphones offer a wider soundstage, giving users a sensation of listening to live music in a room rather than through headphones. This makes them ideal for gaming or watching movies, where a sense of spatial awareness is important.
  • Comfort: Open design headphones are generally more comfortable and cooler to wear for long periods, as they allow for better air circulation around the ears.
  • Reduced Sound Pressure: Due to their design, open headphones can help reduce sound pressure on the ears, which can contribute to longer listening sessions without discomfort.
  • Lightweight Design: Open headphones are often lighter than their closed-back counterparts due to fewer materials being used in their construction, making them more comfortable for prolonged use.


  • Sound Leakage: Open headphones are designed to let air pass through the earcups to the speaker element. This can cause sound leakage, which may be undesirable in quiet environments where others can hear your audio.
  • Noise Isolation: Open headphones do not isolate noise well. In noisy environments, outside sounds may interfere with your listening experience.
  • Lack of Portability: Open headphones are typically larger and not as compact as their closed counterparts, making them less suitable for travel or use in public spaces.
  • Less Bass: Open headphones typically have less powerful bass compared to closed headphones due to their design which offers no sound reflection back to the ears.
  • Price: High-quality open headphones can be on the expensive side. While there are budget options, you often get what you pay for in terms of audio quality.
  • Sensitivity to Weather: The open design of these headphones means they are more susceptible to damage from rain or high humidity conditions.

Best alternatives

  1. Closed-Back Headphones: These are the direct alternative to open headphones, providing more noise isolation and preventing sound leakage. However, they may not offer the same soundstage breadth as open headphones.
  2. In-Ear Monitors (IEMs): IEMs are portable, lightweight, and provide excellent noise isolation. They are perfect for on-the-go music enthusiasts but may not match the audio quality of high-end open headphones.
  3. On-Ear Headphones: On-ear headphones are a good middle-ground between in-ear and over-ear headphones. They provide decent sound quality and portability, but they might not be as comfortable for extended wear.
  4. Bone Conduction Headphones: These headphones send sound through the bones of the skull, leaving the ears unblocked. They are a great alternative for those who need to remain aware of their surroundings.
  5. Wireless Earbuds: These offer the utmost convenience and portability. Best for casual listeners who prioritize ease of use and portability over the ultimate audio quality.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Headphone Amplifier - This is a device that provides high-quality audio output for your open headphones. It can improve the sound quality significantly, especially for high-impedance headphones.
  • Headphone Stand - A stand for storing your open headphones when they're not in use to prevent them from getting damaged.
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm Adaptor - This adaptor is often necessary for connecting your open headphones to certain audio devices.
  • Cleaning Kit - Regular maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your open headphones. The kit usually includes cleaning solutions and microfiber cloths.
  • Replacement Ear Pads - Open headphones' ear pads can wear out over time. Having replacements will ensure you can continue to use your headphones comfortably.
  • Portable Case - A protective case for transporting your open headphones safely without damaging them.
  • Extension Cable - If the attached headphone cable isn't long enough for your needs, an extension cable can provide additional length.

Common questions

  1. What are open headphones?
    Open headphones are a type of over-ear headphones, which are known for their design that leaves the back side of the ear cups open. This design allows air to pass through the ear cups to the speaker element, reducing pressure and offering a more natural or speaker-like sound.
  2. What is the difference between open-back and closed-back headphones?
    The main difference between open-back and closed-back headphones lies in their design. Closed-back headphones have a sealed back that traps sound within the ear cups, resulting in high sound isolation, but they may lack in sound quality compared to open-back headphones. On the other hand, open-back headphones have a perforated ear cup back that allows sound to escape, offering higher sound quality and a more natural listening experience, but with less sound isolation.
  3. Are open headphones better for sound quality?
    Yes, open headphones are generally considered to offer a superior sound quality compared to closed-back headphones. This is because the open design allows the sound to resonate freely, leading to a more natural and spacious sound. However, this comes at the cost of lower sound isolation and increased sound leakage.
  4. Where should I use open headphones?
    Open headphones are best used in quiet environments where you don't have to worry about sound leakage, such as at home or in a personal studio. They are not ideal for noisy environments or places where sound leakage might disturb others, like public transportation or at the office.
  5. What should I consider when buying open headphones?
    When buying open headphones, you should consider factors such as sound quality, comfort, build quality, price, and the brand's reputation. Also, consider your intended use for the headphones. If you're looking for a pair to use in a noisy environment, you may want to consider getting closed-back headphones instead.


In the world of audiophiles where the sound quality reigns supreme, there's a funny piece of trivia about open headphones. Open headphones, known for their superior sound quality and natural acoustics, are also notorious for their complete lack of privacy. They’re designed to allow sound to leak out to create a more diffuse, natural listening environment, but that also means anyone nearby can hear what you're listening to just as clearly. It's not unusual for open headphones users to receive some odd looks or even comments from strangers who can hear every note and lyric of their music. So, if you want to keep your guilty pleasure music choices a secret, open headphones might not be the right choice for you. As a user on Reddit humorously said, "Open-back headphones: For when you want to share your music with the world, whether the world wants it or not." ([source](

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.