General Headphones

Open back vs. Closed back Headphones: What’s best for you?

Open back vs. Closed back Headphones

The dilemma of whether to buy open back or closed back headphones in common. You may be a victim of the above, and that is why you are here. Count yourself lucky because you have come to the right place.

Headphones have gained much popularity especially among the young people and tourists traveling around the world. It is the hope of many people to acquire the best item in the market.

That is the main reason why this article was written to make it easy for you to make the right decision. There are two main types of earphones namely open back and closed back. It is crucial to know detailed information about them before making any choice. Do you want to find out what you are getting into but settling on either type? That is a wise move and congratulations are in order.

Being informed before deciding what to take home is vital. What is the primary purpose of you buying the headphones? That is a question which answer is important as well. Below is a comparison of open back vs. closed back headphones. In addition to comparing the two types, there are pros as well as cons of each model. Check the details out!

Open back Headphones

Open back headphones as the name suggests has the feature of having the earcup’s back opened. That sees to it that there is a flow of air through the ear cups to the speaker. That ensures that no pressure can affect your sound. Also, there are no echoes inside the headphones.

best open back headphones

The design consequently gives their sound effect clarity and makes the sound natural. This effect becomes a reality when there is no noise in the surrounding places. Open back headphones allows you to hear most of what is going around your surrounding as they do not block the noise.

Equally important, open back headphones are mostly identifiable due to the use of mesh or sometimes some perforated material on the back side of the ear cups. That enables the sound from outside world to penetrate through the headphone easily.

The result is quite disturbing. Why not when the headphones cannot block the noise near you? They also leak whatever content you are listening. That hinders comfort and privacy since everyone can hear what you are listening to at any time. It is very advisable to ensure that you do not take with you your open back headphones to your workplace as this may be a disruption to your colleague.

Check Out: How do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work

Open back headphones tend to be more fragile in comparison to closed back headphones. The main reason why they are fragile is that there is nothing to protect them in case of moisture. This moisture ends up getting into sensitive parts of the headphone.

When to use open back headphones

I would recommend open back headphones for three primary purposes. One, when you want to listen critically. Secondly, in case you have very high-quality audio files and last but not least when you are at home relaxing, and you have some content to listen.

When not to use open back headphones

I would discourage the use of open back headphones for the following purposes. When using a public means of transport, I would highly discourage the use of this type of headphones. That is because it will affect commuting via the use of the bus or a fight with an airplane with other passengers as this would be a nuisance. Also, keep in mind not use this type of headphones in offices.

Benefits of open back headphones

Breathing space: If you intend to use headphones for quite a long time, you can be comfortable enough and not have to worry about heat and moisture buildups inside the ear cups. Your ears can operate freely without disturbance. As a result, the headphones will increase the enjoyment of either the music or any other content you are listening.

Better Effect: Your music will sound relatively loud. Additionally, you will be able to feel the sound effects of the beat. You will feel like the sound is coming from all around your surroundings. That becomes not only fun but also enjoyable.

Awareness: These headphones ensure that you keep tab of the surrounding environment. With these headphones, it is effortless to hear someone calling you or the hooting of a vehicle.

Reliable sound: These headphones do not affect the clarity and most importantly the accuracy of the music.

Cons of open back headphones

Privacy: This one remains the main disadvantage of these headphones. It is easy for someone to listen to whatever you are talking abo. Imagine having that one song that some people would term the wording bizarre. That can be quiet embarrassing. The fact that all of us do not share the same choice of songs is another demerit. You may be forcing someone to listen to content they do not like. Sometimes, people can quickly judge you from what they hear you listening. You may make other people very uncomfortable when they are around you.

Noise: If the area surrounding you have a considerable amount of sounds, you will be able to listen to them. If one gets stuck in traffic, he or she will be able to hear the hooting of buses. When you are in a coffee shop, you can be able to listen to baristas clinking and clanging away.

High Volumes: Since the noise may become too much, you may feel the urge to increase the sound levels to extreme heights. That is mainly to compensate for the noise. However, it is important to note very high volumes may damage your ears.

Buying guide for open back headphones

The following are some qualities you should consider before purchasing open back headphone. The merits of buying open back headphones above may be what you seek. If you feel you need to own these headphones, then below are the features that you should be looking into before purchasing one.

Quality of the sound

While it is apparent that you should buy headphones that have very high-quality audio, it is essential to ensure that you get to acquire the one that has super sound, highest clarity, and impressive bass. The most effective ways to ensure that you get this quality is getting to know the professional critics as well as customer feedback regarding them.

Sound leakage

If you are using these headphones in the studio where there is minimum noise, then you are safe. Otherwise, if you are using them in open fields, it is important to ensure you get headphones that have acceptable noise cancellation features. That does not mean it will entirely get rid of noise, but it will keep at levels that they will not be a disturbance. In addition to that, it will help you focus when listening and ensure you will not disturb those seated next to you.

Comfort and durability

If your work revolves around music, you know that most of the times you will be wearing your headphones over your ears. Unless they are comfortable enough, you may end up living very uncomfortable. That could be to the extent of not even enjoying your career. Headphones that are light, well cushioned around the ear cups and a headband that can easily be adjusted may make you live very comfortable. Because you will require these headphones for a more extended period, it is important to pick more durable headphones. Best long-lasting open head headphones’ construction is with quality and sturdy materials that don’t require too much care when handling them.

Feedback from customers

Customer feedback and ratings are an excellent avenue to check how good or bad a product are. They are perfect if you have not used it which means you have not had the first-hand experience. Getting to read the professional audio critics is advisable. If you have a friend who in the past used the kind of headphones you want to buy, it would be advisable to ask for their opinion before proceeding to buy them. If your friend has the headphones you want to order, wear them and listen to the beats. Does it serve the purpose you need them for as you would wish? Are they comfortable enough to wear them? Well, above are some of the questions to ask yourself.

Closed back headphones

Closed back headphones’ description is as headphones that have a seal on the back. That means that they only allow sound out enough to reach your ear. However, irrespective of the fact that the sound quality may not be compared to open back headphones, closed back headphones will ensure to block out a lot more outside noise.

Most Comfortable Headphones

When wearing this kind of headphones, it is difficult to hear echoes in the bass notes. Also, if you wear these headphones for a long time, your ears will get warm. They are the most common of the two types, and they come in different sizes and colors.

Closed back headphones can make it sound like the sound is coming from inside your head!

Closed back headphones are among the best-recommended headphones for commuting or when you in public. When traveling in an airplane, train or even in a car, this is your choice for headphones. If you are a recording musician, then closed back headphone is a closed deal. They allow you to listen to yourself when recording without any hazard of your microphone picking up more noise.

When to use closed back headphones

I would recommend closed back headphones for four primary purposes. The main one is casual listening which is a big tick. That is listening mainly without paying much attention. It is important to note that attention levels are different from person to person. Our subconscious is always keen to listen.

The second purpose of this closed-back headphones is that they are ideal for use in offices. These headphones will enhance your privacy in comparison to open back headphone as it will be so much difficult for other people to listen to your content. Also, you can easily be able to listen to your favorite songs much more comfortably.

More: Do You Need a DAC?

Thirdly, during commuting. While boarding public means of transport, you can be sure to listen to your content without the worry that you will be a nuisance to other people on the train or airplane. The fourth use is in use in recording studios. I have discussed in details the use of closed-back headphones in studios.

When not to use closed back headphones

The main drawback of closed-back headphone is the fact that they tend to vent heat around your ears making you after a long time feel very uncomfortable. If you are trying to isolate yourself and trying to create your small ‘world,’ where it is only you together with your music, then this is one of the best choices you can make. Closed back headphones will give you that feature and ensure you get to enjoy your music.

If this is not your primary aim and yours is just to ensure that no one will hear whatever you are listening, closed back headphones will provide this feature at ease. If the environment around you is noisy, closed-back headphones is a great way to keep off this noise. That makes them suitable for airports or train stations.

Merits of Closed-back headphones

Noise isolation: The closed back headphone has splendid isolation for the noisier environment. For that reason, they will ensure you get to enjoy your music or other content without any interruptions.

Volume: When one is using closed back headphones, one does not have to turn up the volume when listening music entirely. Even a lower volume can be enough.

Privacy: The music you are listening will not easily reach others which will guarantee you your privacy. Therefore, you can easily enjoy your music without having to care about what the people around you are going to think. You have the freedom to be you with no limits or restrictions. How awesome is this!

Frequencies: Closed back headphones will ensure that there is improved lower frequencies. That will generate a better quality of music that you are listening and also, more enhanced quality.

Costs: This type of headphones available at very fair prices. More importantly, they are available in a vast range. Due to that, they will give you as the customer the opportunity to be able to make the right choice for yourself.

Demerits of Closed-back headphones

Clarity: The overall clarity and accuracy are compromisable.

Comfort: Ears at most times end up being hot and sweaty over an extended period of use.

Sound: When using closed back headphones, you do not get to hear the live music you usually get when using open back headphones. Instead, closed back headphones tend not to have this feature. Most of this headphone uses a specific type of materials known as anti-resonant material to help reduce the effects of having too much loud music in a small field.

Buying guide of closed-back headphones

The following are some of the factors to consider when buying closed back headphones:

Sound quality

Just like in open back headphones, it is important to ensure that the headphones you buy have very superior and high-quality sound quality. It is quite a hill task to be able to find headphones that can be able to produce more natural sound. However, closed headphones can deliver deep bass, louder volume and you will be able to listen and hear more details from your music.


If you ask many fans of open back headphones, they will readily tell you that they are very comfortable as heat does not build up and they allow the skin to be able to breathe freely. However, it is not a fact to say that the closed back headphones do not offer comfort too. In fact, most people prefer them as they provide warmth around their ears especially in very cold seasons. Good closed back headphones can have well-cushioned ear cups and headband, and they are adjustable to fit most head sizes.


It is a very common behavior always to want to get value for your money. When buying headphones, it is common to want them to last for some time. They should be durable as most common pairs have a tendency to drop, squished inside the bag and they tend to get exposure to dirt and high temperatures.

Other characteristics

The primary purpose of most headphones is to listen to music. However, there are unique types of headphones built with very additional features. One of the attributes is noise isolation. It enables you to listen to music with no disturbance and with this you can even be able to memorize music off the head.  It is common for headphones to come with Bluetooth feature. They go ahead and include a mic so that you do not have to disconnect your headphones when you receive a call and you want to pick it. Other features include extra cable plugs, adapters or storage cases may come hand in hand with it.


The above-detailed information is meant to help you make an informed choice. It is no doubt better, and better headphones are hitting the market on a daily basis. The most common way to get the best is by comparing the features and the purpose for which you want them to serve. All the best in choosing between open back and closed back headphones. You are as we speak in a better position to know which one is for you.