in article about best headphones for college students, illustration of various people wearing headingphones
Illustration by Tryn Cheng, Academy of Art University

The Best Headphones for College Students

From battery life to sound quality, many factors should be taken into consideration, as choosing the right brand is essential to the listening experience. 

College /// Sounds x
in article about best headphones for college students, illustration of various people wearing headingphones
Illustration by Tryn Cheng, Academy of Art University

From battery life to sound quality, many factors should be taken into consideration, as choosing the right brand is essential to the listening experience. 

Headphones are an essential part of a college student’s experience. The ability to tune out the world with music for a certain period of time is a great feeling, especially for stressed-out students. Once you start blasting your favorite song, nothing else matters; for just a few peaceful moments you can escape life’s problems.

Given the power of music and its soothing effects, incoming college students should seriously consider investing in a pair of wireless headphones. The most popular headphones among students today are Apple AirPods (including Maxes, Pros and 2nd generations), Beats by Dre, Bose’s headphones and Sony’s Wireless M4 headphones.

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Headphones can be a bit pricey for the average college student, but in the long run, they are definitely worth it. With the proper care and maintenance, a good pair of headphones can last years before needing to be replaced or upgraded.

Sony Headphones

According to TechRadar, the Sony Wireless M4 model is considered to be the best set of headphones a student can buy in 2022. They have great noise cancellation — an essential for college students — and good sound quality. The headphones come in two models: over-the-ear, which offers a more visual aesthetic, or in-the-ear, which provides a smaller and more seamless look. Both pairs come in different colors, including black, silver and gold.

Sony headphones have many benefits, including a battery life of up to 30 hours, a volume-control feature and the option to skip songs or answer phone calls from the device. They also come with a personalized app called Sony Headphones Connect, which allows users to change the level of noise cancelation, control the audio and adjust bass levels.

On Amazon, the M4 headphones are priced at $228, which may be out of reach for some students. If you’re not worried about the price, then Sony’s product is the way to go, as the headphones have great reviews and are worth the price tag in the long run. However, if you’re looking for a reason not to buy them, just look at the cost and know that they are incompatible with some Apple and Google products.


Moving on to Apple products, the Apple AirPod Pros rank sixth on TechRadar’s list and are cheaper than the Sony model. However, priced at $234 on Amazon, AirPods are still on the higher end.

Apple’s pro-version of the wireless earbuds is a major upgrade from the original AirPods. Offering more comfort and greater sound quality than the first model, AirPod Pros also have a feature that enables listeners to change the volume and noise cancellation from the headphones themselves. The earbud case has also improved, with a new built-in speaker that allows users to find their case — not just the AirPods.

The newest AirPod Pros also have a six-hour battery life once fully charged. Apple focuses heavily on using spatial audio, and the headphones will customize the sound based on your head’s movement. The cool feature uses your camera to measure your head and adjusts the sound based on its findings. Furthermore, these headphones are water resistant and come with some great perks; if you buy AirPods from Apple’s website, then you’ll get six free months of Apple Music.

Overall, Apple headphones are a great investment if you enjoy using Apple products. They easily connect to other IOS devices and provide a sleek and simple look. However, they do have their fair share of cons. Not only do they only come in the color white, but they are incompatible with non-Apple products and are still relatively expensive.


Beats by Dre were not included in TechRadar’s list, but they are still a good option. Coming in at a lowest cost, the Solo Wireless headphones are about $200 at Best Buy. This price also includes free subscriptions to Apple TV+ for three months, Apple Music for four months and Apple News+ for four months. Students can also find the headphones on other websites such as Target, with sale prices as low as $99.

The headphones have good sound quality and come in many different colors including red, black, rose gold, white and gold. They also have a battery life of 22 hours, even if the user has noise cancelation turned on the entire time. Beats are compatible with Bluetooth, so they are also great for Apple users.

Overall, Beats are good headphones, but they are considered to be a bit outdated. Considering the price, users may want a better quality product, as some reviews indicate that the headphones don’t hold up over time and are easy to break. If you’re looking for a cheap, decent headphone option, then these may be the ones for you.

Bose Headphones

Lastly, Bose has many great headphone options that are comparable to Sony in both price and ranking. The QuietComfort 45 headphones have very high reviews and are retailed at $329. However, like the Sony M4 model, Bose’s product also isn’t the most budget-friendly option for students.

Bose headphones come in multiple different colors (black, blue, gray and white) and rate well in sound quality and noise cancelation. They also have an Aware mode that enables users to change the bass, midrange and treble settings of a song. Other cool features include their 24-hour battery life and the ability to connect more than one device at a time. Bose headphones are a great option for students who want to spend a little bit less than they would for Sony headphones but want a very similar quality.

If these options are out of your price range, there are many alternatives are out there. Dupes of each product can be found online and in stores like Target for cheaper prices. Students can also purchase used versions of the headphones, seek out old models at discounted prices or buy new versions with installment plans such as Afterpay to minimize the burden of the cost.

When choosing which product to buy, you should always factor in affordability, durability and sound quality. It’s also great if you can try on the headphones in person to get the best feel. Ultimately, deciding which headphones to buy comes down to your personal preferences. And you may just fall in love with your destined pair at first sight.

Writer Profile

Chelsie Ross

Otterbein University
Creative Writing

Hello! I’m Chelsie Ross and I enjoy reading and writing. I’m in my fourth year of college and am excited to be writing for Study Breaks magazine! I also enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix.

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