Headphones are a convenient way to listen to sounds from a computer during instruction or while working. K-12 educational institutions, for example, have students use headphones while taking computerized standardized testing. Some professions, like call center agents or work-at-home customer service agents, need to wear headsets to filter out noises from the environment.

While both wireless and wired headphones are widely used and available, each version has distinct capabilities and may be more appropriate depending on the user and intended use. When considering various factors, there may be significant differences in some categories and very little distinction in other areas. What’s most important is to consider the top priorities or needs and compare how each form compares in those areas.

Quality of Sound and Overall Durability

The sound capabilities differ between wired and wireless headsets. Typically, wired headphones can support a wider range of sounds and will produce a higher quality of audio. If being able to hear sounds above 768 kps is critical, it is better to go with wired headphones. If interference from other sounds or interference during the transmission process is a concern, wired headphones can be the more ideal choice.

Users who are seeking the best in quality from their next pair of headphones should check the ratings between brands and models. Since the overall quality can vary between make and model, it is best not to simply compare the overall quality between wired and wireless versions. Looking at user reviews can be a good place to start, but also consult trade magazines for computer equipment, and consumer reports.

Distance and Battery Life

Will you need to move around a room or take frequent steps away from a computing device while listening and talking? If so, wireless headphones will probably be a better fit. One of the main advantages of wireless headphones is that a person’s range of motion is not limited while working. Wired headsets, on the other hand, limit the range of the user’s motion and must remain plugged into a port on the device to work. Anyone needing to move around is encouraged to explore the advantages of a wireless headset.

That being said, wired headphones do not need to be charged and the power source will not run out. Wired headphones are powered by the computer’s power while they’re being used. A wireless set, on the other hand, must be charged according to the frequency and duration of use. There is also the small possibility that the headset will stop working if the battery goes out or is not properly recharged.

Convenience, Portability, and Upkeep

Although both forms of headphones can be taken anywhere, some might consider the need to wrap and watch out for the cords on wired headphones to be inconvenient. With wireless versions, you may not have to wrap up cords or worry about the cords sustaining damage, but wireless headphones may require you to keep track of a wireless USB device or dongle. The USB device or dongle plugs into the computer and communicates with the headset. If this device is lost or damaged, the headset may no longer work if a replacement is unavailable.

For this reason, some people prefer wired headphones because they don’t have to keep track of two separate components. Also, many wired versions maintain compatibility with multiple types of devices. Whether someone is working on a two in one laptop, a standard laptop, or tablet, many of these headsets simply plug into a standard audio jack. Similar to wired versus wireless internet connections, a wired headset can also provide higher levels of stability and won’t be as prone to lost or unstable connections.

Comfort and Price

In terms of comfort, both wireless and wired headphones can provide adequate cushioning. However, some people do not like the feel or placement of cords. These can get in the way or become a source of irritation. In these cases, a wireless set will be more comfortable. A lightweight version of either wireless or wired headphones can help increase comfort when needing to wear them for extended periods.

The price ranges of either wireless or wired versions can vary, depending on brand, model, added features, the selling vendor or retailer, and whether the user is able to get a volume discount. Typically, headphones that are of a higher quality include advanced or cutting-edge features or are manufactured by a well-known brand will be more expensive. Whether the headset is wireless or wired does not necessarily impact the price in a significant fashion.

Compatibility and Requirements

Before purchasing any headset, check the requirements they must meet and whether the headset is compatible with the exact computer device they will be used with. Some headsets have the ability to mute the microphone from the headset itself, while others must be muted from the computer’s software or interface. Others have a noise-canceling feature, which some work at home jobs may require in addition to a wired connection.

Older headsets may no longer be compatible with web-based applications and the new software that comes pre-installed on most computers. You can try testing older headsets, but it’s best to check any audio requirements and capabilities to see if they match. With wireless headphones, consider whether there will be a lot of interference from other wireless devices in the home or in the vicinity. Apartment and condo buildings can be especially challenging as wireless devices compete for the same spectrum and crowd out available channels.

Purchasing a wireless versus a wired headset can take some time, as you review the different capabilities and advantages of each. Large variances can exist within each format, according to brand reputation, brand quality, and model. It’s best to first consider how the headphones are going to be used and what type of computing device they will be used with. In addition, prioritize the environment the user will be in as well as any requirements stipulated by employers or applications the headphones will be used with on a frequent basis.