Ever wondered what the best headphones are for commuting? Only got $200 to spend (or less)? We're here to give you our Top 3 earphones for planes, trains and automobiles under $200.
If you ever spend time commuting on trains, buses and planes you will appreciate the value in a good pair of headphones. This post is focused specifically on earphones/earbuds. The criteria to be selected for this awesome list included:
- Noise Cancelling - do they shut the world out
- Microphonics - are they sensitive to passing noise through to the earbuds as you move around
- Audio Quality - do they sound good
- Price - does the audio quality match the price range
- Easy of Use - are they easy to travel with, move with, put in/take out etc
These are in no particular order but are listed from least to most expensive.
Top earphone #1: Shure SE112 $55.00
First in at a great price is the Shure SE112. These have good sound isolation and sound excellent for the price range. One of the best things about these is the durability. They have a fixed cable which seems a little thicker than most earphones, especially at this price. Sporting a single driver they seem to be able to take a beating which is important for any travel earphones. Not a lot of bells and whistles here, just solid made, good sounds earphones. Good bass representation.
Top earphone #2: Shure SE215 $99.00
Number two in the list is an all-round best seller everytime. They also made our best IEM's under $150. The Shure SE215 are useful for musicians and regular folks who listen to music on iPhones and the like. The noise cancelling is excellent and for a single driver they have a really great sound. The bass response is solid and the mids are very strong. Perfect for pulling out the passion of vocals, guitars and similar. No microphonics on these at all. Our advice is put these over your ears and run the cable down your back under your shirt. Run the cable into your pocket with your phone or music player and you get some great benefits:
- 1: There are no microphonics (there won't be any down the front of your shirt anyway but you know...)
- 2: You won't catch the headphone cable on anything - this is an awesome feeling - never wondering if you are going to catch the cable on a handle, that seat arm or similar, pulling your ears off the side of your head.
- 3: The cable is long enough to use your phone in front of you on the train but if you're not people will hardly notice your wearing earphones. The profile is low so unless you turn your head you look normal - no weird wires sticking out from the site of you head like most earbuds.
- It's comfortable. Really.
The Shure SE215 are durable and have a replacable cable. They don't come with iPhone/Phone controls on the cable but you can buy a cable separately for that if you need it. They come in clear or black to suit. They come with multiple ear foams for different size ears, a cleaning tool and a nice semi-head case for travel. For the price, we love these earhpones.
Top earphone #3: Westone W10 $199.00
The Westone W10 just make it into our earphone price limit of $200. These come with some awesome accessories. 3 different faceplates you can switch out and change as you're mood takes you. They have 2 cables which can be changed up - classic EPIC cable and an i-device cable (including mic) which works best with iPhones and also works with Android phones with basic functions all covered. Multiple foams are available for different ears which provide excellent noise cancellation. They also come with a hard case.
These have super sound but don't overdo the bass - so if you're looking for inflated bass these are not them. We love what Westone make - they do really have their focus on producing superb earphones and we couldn't not include the W10's in this review. If you want earphones under $200 and you commute, and you appreciate well balanced audio the Westone W10's will keep you loving your music as you bustle between destinations on public transportation.
One of the biggest, and most important considerations for commuting headphones is the noise-isolation. The problem with cranking music through your 'came with my phone' earbuds is that you have to get the music loud enough to hear over the ambient noise of the train, bus or plan. This ultimately leads to damaging you hearing. With decent sound isolation (in all the above headphones) you are able to hear more of music. This means you can keep the volume down while actually hearing more, and it sounds so much better!
There are benefits to using passive noise-isolation earhones on your commute. For one the sound signal is not manipulated like it would be with active noise cancellation headphones, the other is that you never need batteries to keep the music playing. Earbud style headphones provide a low profile, high comfort option with the abiltity to shut the world out. They are small and compact to travel with which is an enormous benefit.
Let us know about your commute below in the comments section.