Questions to Ask When Buying Used Headphones

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Questions to Ask When Buying Used Headphones

Headphones are a marvellous way to listen to music privately, whether it is on a crowded bus, a long car trip, or within the comfort of home. High quality headphones made today come with many useful features, including wireless technology and noise isolating designs. However, these headphones tend to be too expensive for many buyers who simply want a set of reliable headphones.

Therefore, it is a good idea for anyone who is on a tight budget, or simply looking to save a little extra cash, to look into purchasing used headphones. Stores rarely sell used headphones, but they are commonly found on websites like eBay. Purchasing any type of headphones, new or used, does not need to be difficult as long as the buyer is well-informed. By asking different questions to assess their audio needs and comfort levels, buyers can be certain that they can get the right set of headphones.

Where are Headphones Used?

The first question all buyers need to ask themselves is how they plan to use the headphones. Of course, the headphones are going to be used to listen to music, but the larger question is where the listener is going to use them. This influences the design type, connectivity issues, and other features. For example, if the buyer is mainly using his or her headphones with a portable listening device, it makes good sense to choose smaller, more compact headphones.

If the buyer plans on using the headphones while simply doing chores around the house, then it might be worthwhile to look at wireless headphone options. By assessing these factors, buyers can select a style that is right for them.

What Types of Headphone Designs are Available?

Headphones come in several different designs that fit either into, or around, the ear canal. The smallest type is the earbud headphone, and these are most commonly used for digital portable devices. The earbud model slides into the ear, and some models such as the earbud canal, can actually go further into the ear canal for a more secure fit. However, some users find the earbud design to be uncomfortable, and it is also not very sturdy. For example, earbud headphones don't work well when running since they can easily fall out of the ear. They have small drivers which can also affect the sound quality.

Ear-Pad Headphones

Ear-pad headphones are a little larger than earbud headphones. Instead of fitting into the ear canal, ear-pad headphones rest just outside of the ear. The speaker is placed against the ear and usually covered with a soft padding. Some ear-pads come with a headband, while others might use an ear-hook that fits over the top of the ear. Women, for example, may prefer the ear-hook option since this means they don't have to keep sliding a headband over their hair. Others who find the ear-hook uncomfortable may prefer to use a headband style instead.

Ear-Cup Headphones

Largest of all, are the ear-cup headphones. These are also the heaviest models and typically are not used when exercising or going to work, simply because it is not easy to store them. Instead, they are often used at home or around the house. The ear-cup model fits like the ear-pad, but it is slightly more comfortable since it seals the ear off from all outside noise. Many people feel like the ear-cup gives superior sound for this exact reason.

Furthermore, most ear-cup models use drivers larger than 40 mm, producing better sound levels than smaller headphones. The padding around the ear is greater than the ear-pad style. Almost all ear-cup designs use the headband style, but some are foldable, allowing owners to fold them in half for storage.

How Does Wireless Technology Help?

Wireless technology is more beneficial to users in some cases. Both the cordless and corded designs are interchangeable, meaning that they can be used with different devices. Therefore, the main issue is how the listen plans to be to the device while the user is listening. For many portable models, corded headphones work just as well as cordless ones, and do not require batteries. However, listeners who want headphones with their home cinema system, should go cordless simply because of the additional freedom these headphones offer.

Wireless Headphone Options

There are two different ways most headphones work through a wireless connexion, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Digital RF headphones use a radio frequency to communicate with a receiver that is attached to the audio device. They can work up to 45 meters away from the device, allowing the wearer to use them while doing household chores or yard work. They are a good option if the owner is only going to use them at home, since the additional purchase of a receiver makes them a pain with portable audio devices.

Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth enabled headphones use the latest technology, and they can work with any device compatible with Bluetooth. The good news is that most modern audio devices do come with Bluetooth, so it is easy to find compatible models. The bad news is that each audio device can only work with one pair of Bluetooth headphones at a time. This is not true of digital RF headphones, which allows multiple sets to be used from the same device. However, one advantage of Bluetooth is that is more secure than the RF signal.

What are the Additional Headphone Features to Choose From?

Headphones come with several optional features, including noise reduction, volume control, and surround sound. Volume control on the headphones itself is optional if the user is close to the listening device, but is necessary for long distance wireless headphones. Noise reduction models use either noise cancelling, or noise isolating technology. Between the two, noise isolating technology is generally preferred, as these models block outside noise by their sealed design around the ear.

Noise cancelling headphones actually stop outside noises by emitting a frequency that distorts them, but this bothers some users who are more sensitive to sound. Speaking of sounds, the surround sound headphones are great for using with a home cinema system or a PC. They really only work with tracks that are setup for surround sound, and may be a waste of money if the listener primarily uses the headphones to listen to music instead of watching movies.

Purchasing Used Headphones

Ideally, used headphones should work just as well as their new counterparts. It does the buyer no good to save money purchasing a set of used headphones only to find out that they don't work properly. The best way to gauge how well the headphones work is by assessing their condition. If the headphones look very worn on the outside, chances are they have internal damage. Also, any wireless models that require batteries should be sold with pictures of the battery compartment. Many used models have damaged battery compartments caused by leaking batteries, and this affects their overall performance.

How to Buy Used Headphones on eBay

When it comes to purchasing used headphones, nobody has a greater selection that eBay. Buyers can find many different styles, from the ultra-light earbud models to DJ-quality ear-cup headphones. Furthermore, since these models are being sold used, buyers can get them at a great deal for only a fraction of their original price. By shopping intelligently, buyers can easily save a lot of money on eBay.

Finding Used Headphones on eBay

Searching for used headphones requires using the search engine on eBay. Products that were previously owned are classified in one of two ways on eBay. Products that sustained some damage and were rebuilt are considered refurbished. You can find these models by doing a search for 'refurbished headphones'. Products that are sold in their original condition are considered used, and you can discover them by searching for 'used headphones'. Between the two options, the refurbished headphones may cost more than the used models, but this does not mean that refurbished is always superior to used. In fact, used headphones that were carefully kept by their owners still sound great even if they are old.

Finding Headphone Features on eBay

The amount of headphones on eBay is staggering, so it is helpful for buyers to narrow down their search when looking for specific products. For example, if you want earbud headphones, then do a search for 'used earbud headphones'. If you want Bluetooth wireless headphones, then search for 'used Bluetooth wireless headphones'. You can also search by name brand and specific features, such as 'used surround sound headphones'.


Searching for used headphones is an exercise in extremes. Buyers are sometimes underwhelmed by the pitiful selection of used headphones found in many local stores, but they will be overwhelmed by the gigantic selection on eBay. Therefore, when buying used headphones, customers need to ask themselves questions so that they can determine which product is best for them. By understanding how a person is planning to use the headphones, he or she can select a style and connectivity type that is right for their needs.

Determining what optional features, if any, are wanted is also important in regards to narrowing down the selection. Finally, customers should always carefully examine the condition of used headphones before deciding to purchase them, since it is best to stay away from damaged headphones even if the price is incredibly cheap. Asking these questions helps a potential buyer make an informed decision about his or her headphones, allowing them to purchase a quality product at a decent price.

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