Best headphones this Christmas

From sporty lads to executive dads, we show you how certain headphones will suit certain people this Christmas...

29 Oct 2013


Headphones come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes these days.

We have big ones, little ones, loud ones, quiet ones, ones endorsed by rappers and ones with funny looking ear clip things.

So if you're buying a pair for someone this Christmas how the heck do you find the best headphones for them?

Like clothes, cars and a million other things, certain headphones suit certain people - think about what they do for a living, how old they are. Ask yourself questions: do they like keeping fit? Are they into tech? Think about their daily lives. Do they fly all over the world with work, or is their commute a simple two-stop Tube ride?

Basically, think of headphones as an extension of someone's personality and you won't go far wrong- we've provided a few examples below, looking at signature models for in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones. 

Buying for a relative with the running bug? Choose in-ear headphones designed for sport, such as Monster iSport...

Monster I Sport

If there's someone on your gift list whose idea of a good time involves Lycra, sweat and some seriously aching muscles, look no further than a pair of in-ear headphones designed for sport. The tiny ear buds are inserted into the ear canal, and often feature clips for a more secure fit around the ear and materials to better grip our skin.

Take Monster's iSport headphones. They feature clips and ear tips to ensure they stay in place as your loved one puts themselves through the misery of a gruelling run on a rainy January night. When it comes to sound, they can expect enough pounding rhythm and driving bass to see them through to the bitter end.

Buying for a teenage fashionista or campus hipster? Then it has to be Beats Solo over-ear headphones...

Beats Solo

If you're shopping for a teenager who's obsessed with what's in and what's most definitely not, then Beats Solo are definitely the only way to go. The de riguer headphones of the celeb crowd, a set of Beats Solo will win you a lopsided smile from even the surliest teenage hipster - and it won't even be ironic.

They're known as on-ear headphones, resting lightly on your ears with a band going across your head. On-ear headphones are comfortable and generally fold-up for easy storage.

Designed by Rapper, Dr Dre, Beats headphones have been seen around the necks of Eminen, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and countless others. The Solo come in a range of colours and will give your teenager some serious playground or common room kudos - and they sound pretty damn good too.

They can be easily folded and popped in their college bag, and if you need to speak with them they no longer have an excuse to ignore their phone - Beats solo can switch between songs and incoming calls. They even include a microphone so there's no need to even take out their phone.

Buying for a relative interested in tunes and not expensive tech for their short daily commute? A set of Sennheiser in-ear headphones it is...

Senn CX299

Your relative has always loved listening to music, but they've really never been too bothered about tech. If you know they'll appreciate some headphones that sound good, are reasonably priced and aren't stuffed with loads of features they won't understand let alone use, you want a pair of in-ear headphones such as the Sennheiser CX 299.

In-ear headphones such as these slot inside the ear canal and will be the perfect accompaniment to their decade-old iPod Nano. The CX 299's are lightweight and won't get in the way of their hat, hair or specs. Your relative always said it was the music not the medium that was important, and with these they'll enjoy it in that stripped back way they've always romanticised about.  

The fact the CX 299 sit inside the ear means they're pretty good at keeping in noise too, so they shouldn't make too many enemies on the Tube home. Crucially, they're good value too.

Buying for a jetset exec husband who thinks he's cooler than Don Draper? It has to be Beats Executive

Beats Executive

Your husband was one of the cool kids back in the day (so he says), and still fancies himself as a bit of a hipster on the sly. These days he's a proper executive, getting his style tips from GQ and Mad Men rather than the NME.

Back in the day he would have worn Beats Solo, so it makes sense he'll now wear Beats Executive - the firm's more sophisticated, grown-up take on its signature style.

Over-ear headphones such as these fully enclose your ears, and keep the sound in. They also place less pressure on your ears and make wearing them for hours comfortable - all of this means they're great for use during a business flight or a long train journey.

This means Beats Executive are as comfortable on the road as they are in the boardroom. As well as being comfortable to wear and stylish, they feature noise-cancelling technology so he can listen to the music of his youth on the plane without riling fellow passengers. Adult life is so much fun. 

If you follow our rule of thumb you should end with the best headphones this Christmas - no matter who you're buying them for...