headphones for back to school

Headphones are a back to school essential. From over-ear headphones to noise cancelling earbuds, there are a lot of different options for a new school year. Here are a few things you may want to consider when you’re choosing your on-ear or in-ear headphones for back to school.

How to choose headphones for back to school

When choosing a pair of headphones for back to school, narrowing down your options is key. There are so many models available that it can be hard to narrow your choices down, so you may want to start by choosing the type of headphones you or the student in your life would like to wear. Once you know your favourite style, you can select your feature options—wired or wireless, active noise cancellation or noise suppression, water-resistant or splashproof? You can take a look at the headphone buying guide and the true wireless headphone buying guide for a full list of features to choose from.

If you still aren’t sure what type you’d like, you can find the right pair by looking at how they will be used. I would have loved a pair of over ear noise cancelling headphones in University because I spent a lot of time commuting for classes and the bus was always crowded and noisy, but maybe you’re on a few sports teams at school and you’d rather have a pair of waterproof ear buds. Here are just a few examples of headphones you can choose.

Headphones for commuters

If you’re always on the go, whether that’s running to get to class or commuting back and forth on a bus, a pair of wireless headphones is a good option. The perfect pair of headphones for a student or commuter can be on ear or in ear, but they should have a few core features.

headphones for commuters back to school

As you spend time on public transit or while rushing to class, active noise-cancelling will block out any outside audio. It’s a great feature for commuting because it lets you take a nap in complete silence, even if you’re surrounded by people. Some models with ANC offer an ambient or adaptive mode you can turn on if you’d like to block noise but still be aware of your environment.

Headphone choices for kids

Kids headphones are useful for helping your child focus on homework or for them to use during noisy classes. One of my sons used a pair of headphones in class every day because he couldn’t focus when there was a lot of outside noise. Kids headphones have a few main characteristics.

  • They are mainly avaiable in on-ear or over ear types
  • They are available in a variety of colours with fun themes or characters
  • They have volume limiting so they can’t damage children’s hearing
headphones for kids back to school

The easiest way to choose a pair of kids headphones is to focus on their favourite character or colour. They are less expensive than other types, but they are extremely durable and designed to stand up to a child’s day-to-day activities. Most parents will appreciate a pair of wired headphones because they don’t need to be charged to work, but you can also choose wireless kids headphones.

Headphones for sports and fitness

If you are part of a team at school or you like working out to ease the daily stress of classes, a pair of headphones can really help. Workout or sports headphones share a few of the following features.

  • Sweat or water resistance rating of IPX4 or higher
  • Snug fit (if choosing wireless in-ear headphones) so the earbuds stay in place when running or at the gym
  • Controls on the earbud so they don’t have to pull out their phone to change playlists
headphones for fitness

Music can provide motivation for a long workout, so having a set of wireless headphones is a must for a workout fan. If you’re choosing a pair of headphones for daily workouts on campus or you’re someone who plays a lot of sports, you’ll want to look for a wireless earbud design. The headphones should have several different earpiece options you can try out to get the best fit.

The most important feature of a pair of active or sports headphones is the IPX rating. An IPX4 rating means the headphones can withstand sweat and an occasional splash of water. If the person you’re buying for is on the swim team, you’ll want to look for a pair of earbuds with IPX7 or higher rating. IPX7 will keep their headphones safe in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

Headphones for the music fan or audiophile

When you know a student or you’re a student who only wants to listen to high-fidelity music playback, you’ll love a pair of high-quality headphones that can reproduce music the way it is recorded. High-end headphones share a few features.

headphones for back to school
  • Over ear headphones with acoustic features like vents
  • Wireless design but also includes a cable to plug into devices for lossless playback
  • Compatible apps with built-in synthesizers to customize playlists
  • Look for brands like Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser

Comfort and audio quality are key when choosing a pair of premium headphones. You can enjoy your favourite playlists for hours between classes so having a long battery life of 25 hours or more is important. Bluetooth connects you to your phone so you have the freedom to move, and some headphones have compatible apps so you can use the equalizer to customize the low, mid- and high range of every song.

Headphones for gamers

You might need to hit the books, but there’s always time for a game or two. One of the most important devices for any gamer is a PC or a console, but if you live in the dorms or have shared accommodation, a high-quality gaming headset is a must. Gaming headsets have a few key features.

  • Over ear or on ear design so you are comfortable to wear for hours
  • Virtual surround sound so you can hear every detail in-game
  • Multi-directional microphones that can be muted on the headset

If you’re choosing a new headset to game with you’ll want to look for long battery life of 30 hours of more and low latency RF wireless connectivity for lag-free audio. The best gaming headsets have multi-directional Discord microphones you can control with a tap on the headset and compatibility with PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. It’s even better if the headset offers 7.1 virtual surround sound so you can hear every footstep, gunshot, or approaching enemy in game.

Headphones for the tech fan or trend setter

If you’re a student who likes to keep up with the latest devices or who wants to stay ahead of the newest trends, a pair of smart audio glasses will be a new favourite accessory. Smart glasses are glasses with headphones built into each arm. Most types share the following features.

  • Microphone and speakers built into the frame of the glasses
  • Protects your eyes from harsh sun and keeps you hands-free while enjoying music or taking calls
  • Crystal clear low latency audio to enhance music, podcasts, or for taking calls

Smart glasses offer the perfect blend of hands-free listening and style. They protect your eyes while playing your favourite music, and some models have touch controls or pair with your voice assistant for hands-free commands. With so many styles to choose from, you’ll be sure to find a pair you’ll love.

Which headphones will you take back to school?

Headphones are at the top of a lot of back to school lists. With so many options you’re sure to find a pair that will be with you for the school year and beyond. You can find the perfect headphones for back to school at Best Buy.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag


  1. This blog is a lifesaver for students, combining quality audio with the practicality needed for a successful academic year.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here