Headphones can be tricky to buy for someone; the key is to consider how they’ll be using them: some people want headphones for a long commute, traveling, helping them sleep, or working out. Here are a few things to consider to help you find the perfect pair for someone on your shopping list.

How to buy headphones for someone else

The different types of headphones out there are astounding: over-ear, on-ear, in-ear, wired, wireless, noise cancellation, and much more. Before you decide what kind of headphones to buy, try to assess how the intended recipient will use them—factor in their work, hobbies and travel habits. This will help you find the right pair.

Choosing headphones for kids

Choosing headphones for kids is pretty easy; these tend to be less expensive, they’re often bigger and bulkier (harder to lose) and have wires to connect to tablets and devices. They also usually come in colourful styles and patterns so they stand out from mom and dad’s. For most kids, selecting their favourite colour will be all you need.

Headphones for on-the-go types

Battery life is key, especially when buying someone who is always traveling or commuting to work. Over-ear or on-ear headphones will tend to have a battery life of more than 20 hours, whereas truly wireless earbuds will only last about 5 to 8 (but usually hold more power in their charging cases). Look for headphones that have a noise-canceling feature to help block out any background noise. Another important features for travelers is to choose headphones without wires to get tangled in bags and armrests.

Gift for the workout fanatic 

A must-have feature for someone who loves to work-out is sweat or moisture-resistant headphones. Wireless headphones with an over-the-ear hook tend to be more convenient for working out because they will stay in place more effectively and their small size means they don’t get in the way. Being able to change volume or a song without using the phone is also a useful feature to have.  When you’re shopping for this style of headphone, look for pairs labeled ‘active’ or ‘sport’.

Gift for music lovers

If you are shopping for someone who loves music, then choosing the right headphone is extremely essential. Depending on the preferred genre of music, you might want to look for different features. For example, look for more bass for hip-hop fans, or instrument separation feature for pop music lovers. Here it’s a good idea to look at actual consumer reviews (like the ones on the Best Buy website) and shop in the premium audio category; these headphones will cost a bit more, but they’ll reward the recipient with outstanding audio quality and likley a tonne of extra features too. Brands to shop include Bose and Sennheiser.

Choosing headphones for someone who seeks relaxation

For someone who is working at an office or home or just wants to escape a little bit, noise-canceling headphones are the perfect gift. When shopping for noise-canceling headphones, look for a model with at least 20 hours of noise cancellation on a full charge and still let you listen to music even when the noise-canceling circuitry is off. Having adjustable or adaptive noise cancellation technology is also a bonus. Almost every brand out there today has a noise cancelling feature, so you can choose a preferred brand easily.

noise canceling headphones for working from homeCompact headphones for low maintenance types

If your recipient doesn’t like to carry around a big bag or a lot of stuff, shopping for truly wireless earbuds will serve you well. These compact headphones can also be worn discretely, meaning they’re also good for some office or work environments.

Headphones for gamers

Gamers are all about immersing themselves in their alt realities, and having a pair of over ear headphones can help seal out the outside world. There are also headphones and gaming headsets that bill themselves specifically for gamers (sometimes with a built in microphone). These tend to be bulkier than other types of headphones, but they will also deliver excellent sound quality and all-in-one convenience.

Shop all headphones at Best Buy.