How Durable Are Cheap Headphones? (With Examples)

How durable are cheap headphones?

Here’s What you Need to Know About Cheap Headphones:

The lifespan of cheap headphones depends a lot on the build and not on the brand. When it comes to durability, cheap headphones can be a hit or miss. Some would last a few months, while there are interesting models that are affordable but can last you years.

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How Long Do Cheap Headphones Normally Last?

While the brand plays a role in developing an initial impression on durability, it is about the build itself.

A well-designed and assembled headphone made by a lesser-known brand can still beat one made by a popular brand but made with cheaper materials.  

Do They Last as Long as Other Headphones?

Cheap headphones can be a hit or miss.

Some diamonds in the rough are of good quality and can last as long as the more popular models, and other cheap headphone models won’t last as long due to the quality of parts used.

What Typically Breaks First on Cheap Headphones?

Due to the lower quality of materials used on many cheap headphones in the market, different weak spots may break easily, when not cared for,

These include cables and the jack on the headphones, the headband, and even the earcups, which would not be secured well.

That’s on top of internal wirings that may break during transit.

How Long is the Warranty Normally on Cheap Headphones?

The warranty of cheap headphones depends on the manufacturer.

If you bought those cheap ones that cost less than $20, you’re likely only to get a return guarantee for a set number of days and not a warranty.

For the bigger name brands, you can get as long as a two-year warranty.

That’s why, if you’re on a budget, it’s highly recommended to go for a brand with a good reputation to get the most of your money. You’re likely even to get warranty coverage, too.

What Exactly Does the Warranty Cover?

Warranty coverage, when available, covers any manufacturing defect that may be found on the headphones.

This warranty does not cover misuse or deliberate actions that may destroy the headphones, including attempts to repair by an unauthorized repairman.

Are Cheap Headphones Worth Buying? 

Cheap headphones are worth buying if you look for a pair of decent headphones that you can use as your daily driver.

If you don’t want to wear out your $500 headphones, then consider getting a cheaper unit that you don’t mind breaking during a commute or misplacing during a trip.

Cheap headphones are also worth buying if you run a business where headphones are part of the overall service that you offer.

A good example of this would be in a recording studio, where clients may sometimes forget to bring their headphones to track their parts.

Are Cheap Headphones Worth Fixing? 

Not all cheap headphones are worth fixing.

Sometimes, the repair cost may cost almost as much as the price of the headphones you are fixing.

And in the case of headphones with thin wires, they tend to be harder to repair, thus making it more practical to buy a new pair instead.

Do Cheap Headphones Need Maintenance from the Owner?

If you want your headphones to last longer, then you need to provide care for your headphones.

You get more value for your money if you know how to care for your headphones.

Cheap headphones may not have a good resale value, but proper care goes a long way, especially if you are out and won’t be able to get a replacement immediately when your headphones break.

How Do you Care For Your Headphones?

Because you want to get your money’s worth, here are some tips for caring for your headphones. 

Regularly Clean your Headphones

Headphones get exposed to dirt, whether you’re outside or indoor.

And sometimes, you may end up sweating while wearing them, and the list goes on as to how your headphones can accumulate dirt, which can result in damage. 

That’s why it’s important to keep them clean. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wipe your headphones after use, ideally with a soft cloth that’s dampened with alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • For those using earbuds or in-ears, avoid letting others them, as both of you may transmit dirt to each other.
  • Brush off any dirt on the drivers.
  • Clean the jack by spraying with compressed air, or use a thin paper clip with double-sided tape to collect any particles.

Give Attention to the Cables

If you’re using wired headphones, caring for your cables is very important, as they serve as the link between your media player and your ears. 

And while you can swap out cables for some models, it can be frustrating to have a broken cable, as it can be hard to trace where the problem is.

More so, if you’re using in-ears or wired earbuds, having a broken cable can render them useless.

Here’s how to care for your headphones:

  • Don’t store them in your pocket, especially if you wear tight clothing. The wires inside may break when pressure is applied when moving.
  • Avoid dangling the wires, as these also put pressure on the internal wires, especially when bent at an angle.
  • Ensure your cables are not tangled, as untangling them may also cause pressure to the wires inside.
  • Pull out the plug and not the cable.
  • Please don’t leave your headphones plugged in, as they can damage the spring inside the jack.
  • In relation, coil your cables properly when storing them. You can check this guide to help you wrap your cables.

Invest in Storage for your Headphones

If you are always on the go with your headphones, it’s necessary to have a decent case for your headphones.

While it’s tempting to shove everything into your daypack or sling bag for easy access, your bags were not designed for holding headphones properly unless there’s a dedicated pouch. 

Having a case for your headphones ensures that it is protected from pressure and impact during transit.

The proper storage also means it’s the right fit. You don’t want something too tight or too loose as it can still damage your headphones when shaken. 

You don’t need Pelican case level of protection, as many affordable options for headphone cases are on the market. 

Replace Headphone Pads Now and Then

Your headphone pads are not just there for aesthetics but are there to provide comfort.

Especially for those that have vinyl-based leather pads, which can get damaged with humidity. 

Once your headphones start flaking, it’s time to replace them.

Avoid Moisture and Humid Environments

A moist environment or setting can expose your headphones to corrosion, while your sweat can stain the earpads and eventually cause them to flake off.

One thing you can do is put silica gel desiccant packets in your headphone’s case so they can absorb moisture.

If you sweat a lot or use your headphones in humid environments, you should consider getting headphones designed for sports.

These headphones were designed with better resistance to liquids or wet environments.

Match the Impedance Between your Device and Headphones

Impedance matching is specifically for wired headphones.

If you have high impedance headphones and your device has a low impedance, you will not get an accurate volume level and equalization in some cases.

In this case, you may need to get a headphone amp to compensate for the volume and EQ.

On the other hand, low impedance headphones may get damaged when using high impedance sources.

This is the advantage of Bluetooth headphones, as you don’t have to worry about your phone or computer’s impedance and headphones.

Set the Volume and EQ Levels Properly

The speakers of your headphones vibrate when sound runs through them. 

And the louder the volume is, the more it vibrates, which puts moving parts at risk of damage.

The worst thing that can happen here is the sound warping with the potential to damage your sense of hearing.

It’s important to know when to adjust your device’s volume concerning your use of headphones.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Mute the volume when plugging and unplugging your headphones to avoid any popping sound that can damage your headphone speakers.
  • Avoid using the bass boost a lot, as heavy bass frequencies can damage your headphones, especially those not designed to accentuate the bass frequencies.

Know When to Charge your Headphones

If you are using wireless headphones, be sure to know when to charge them:

  • Ideally, it would be best if you didn’t wait for them to drain completely.
  • Please don’t leave them charging inside your car while parked under direct sunlight.
  • Try charging them at the same time with your phone, so they’re both ready to use at the same time.

What Are the Best Cheap Headphones?

If you’re on the lookout for a pair of budget-friendly headphones, here are some suggestions.

JBL Tune 500

The JBL Tune 500 is a comfortable pair of headphones with a good sound profile at a very affordable price.

It features compatibility with the Google Assistant and Siri, so you can make the execution of voice commands easy to do.

Bass frequencies are quite exceptional for this budget-friendly headphones, as it features JBL’s Pure Bass drivers. If you’re looking for more oomph on your headphones, the Tune 500 should fit the bill.

The padded ear cushions and headband are very comfortable so that you won’t have any problems wearing these headphones for long periods.

Unfortunately, these headphones don’t have volume controls, which means relying on your device to adjust levels.

Another weak point would be the tendency for sound bleeds, which can be a problem for people around you in a quiet environment.  

Jlab Studio Wireless

If you want something that can last you long trips, the Jlab Studio Wireless is for you. 

Featuring up to 30 hours of battery life, the Jlab Studio Wireless features Bluetooth 5.0 and three EQ settings that can help you get the best sound.

The Jlab Studio Wireless also features compatibility with Google Assistant and Siri so that you can easily handle voice commands for faster workflows.

These headphones are also comfortable to use, making them a welcome feature to match the long battery life the Jlab Studio Wireless offers.

Meanwhile, the Jlab Studio has an exposed wire, which can be problematic if you don’t store it in a proper case.

Sony MDRZX110

Lastly, here’s a budget offering from one of the top brands when it comes to headphones.

When you say Sony, you know you’re getting a good deal. And that holds for the Sony MDRZX110.

The MDRZX110 is a bass monster that brings a lot of power to your ears. It’s like having a subwoofer of your own but designed for headphones.

If you listen to a lot of EDM, then these headphones are perfect.

The MDRZX110 is well-built, so you know these headphones will last you. These come in two versions: one with a microphone and one without it.

Unfortunately, these headphones aren’t as good when it comes to non-bassy tracks. You may need a headphone amp to compensate.

Sources:

The best cheap headphones in 2021

10 Simple Hacks to Make Your Headphones Last Longer

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