Looking for ways to save money on headphones? Here’s 3 things I do

How to save money on new and used headphones and earbuds, including buying and cleaning tips

How to save money on headphones and earbuds
(Image credit: Apple)

Due to the rise in energy bills, phone plans and petrol prices, the cost of living has made it much harder to buy new products or replace old household items. Unfortunately, we can never predict when things are going to break and most of the time, it’s when we’re least prepared or have the tightest budget that things stop working.

While they might not be regarded as necessities, the best wireless headphones (opens in new tab) or best wireless earbuds (opens in new tab) have become extremely important and used almost everywhere and everyday. From popping on your headphones as you travel into work to connecting your earbuds to make video calls, headphones are a big part of both work and play, and without them, most of us feel very lost.

I never used to stress too much about not having headphones. However, my headphones stopped working earlier this year and I didn’t replace them straight away so I could see whether not having them would affect me or not. While I did feel I was more aware of the world around me without headphones in, there were many more cons of not having headphones than having them.

For example, it made working out more of a chore, I couldn’t concentrate as much at work as I couldn’t block out any background noise (see our guide to the best noise cancelling headphones (opens in new tab)) and it made taking video or voice meetings almost impossible if I couldn’t find a spare room.

As a Deals Writer, I knew exactly where and when to look for a new pair and managed to find a good pair of wireless earbuds at an incredibly affordable price. Whether you need a new pair of headphones or you want to prolong the life of your earbuds, here are 3 things I do to save money on them, including buying tips, cleaning tricks and the best places to shop for cheap deals.

1. Look past the brand

My first tip when trying to save money on buying new headphones is to look past the brand. Many of us assume that the big name brands offer the best products but these are often way out of our price range and don’t have all the features or specifications that we want. By looking past the brand name, you’re less likely to find yourself paying big prices for the name and not the quality, so consider that before you fork out hundreds of pounds.

When shopping for a new pair of headphones or earbuds, make a list of what features you need and how much you’re willing to spend. The top features to look for include audio quality, noise cancellation and connectivity. It goes without saying that you’re going to want a pair of headphones that sound good, aren’t glitchy and the audio doesn’t go in and out as they get older. You can ensure this by checking the speakers and specifications in the description of the product. Active Noise Cancellation is also a good feature to have as it blocks out unwanted noise so you can fully concentrate on what you’re listening to or what you’re focusing on.

Finally, consider how your headphones or earbuds are going to connect to your device. While wireless devices are the most popular style of headphones you can find right now, you can often find cheaper prices and bigger discounts on wired versions.

The big headphone brands are Apple, Sony (opens in new tab) and Beats (opens in new tab) but you can find the best cheap wireless headphones (opens in new tab) from other brands like JBL, Cambridge and Grado. If you love a specific brand or style of headphones but don’t want to spend too much, look for alternative makes and models. These will not only be similar to the brand you like but will be significantly cheaper.

Apple AirPods Pro review

(Image credit: Future)

2. Consider the most compatible option for your device

My next tip is to consider which headphones or earbuds are going to work best or be the most compatible with your device. The headphones you’ve bought might be the best of the best but by not considering the device you’re using, you’re not getting the best sound, quality or price. Think of it this way: Although AirPods do work with Android, why would you want to pay Apple prices when the earbuds aren’t properly suited to your device?

I’d suggest picking headphones or earbuds that are most recommended for your phone, tablet, laptop or any other device. For example, if you’re an Apple user, pick Apple headphones, if you’re a Samsung user, go for Samsung and so on. In terms of different brands that don’t make phones like Grado or JBL, have a good look through the product description of the headphones you like and you’ll often find that it’ll suggest what device it works best with. This is a handy way to save money as you’re not splurging on a pair of earbuds which won’t sound good when connected to your device.

3. Keep them clean & store them properly

My final tip is to make sure you’re taking proper care of your headphones by cleaning them and storing them properly. If your old headphones are looking a bit worse for wear but you can’t afford to replace them straight away, giving them a clean or getting them looked at is a great way to prolong their lifespan for a bit longer until you can replace them.

As headphones or earbuds touch your body and face, you’re going to want to clean them regularly, especially if you use them while exercising. Dirt, sweat, dust and other substances can get all over your headphones and can prevent them from working properly so make sure you’re giving them a wipe after each use. See our guides on how to clean true wireless earbuds (opens in new tab) and how to clean Apple AirPods (opens in new tab) for more maintenance tips.

Next, make sure you’re storing them in the protector or charging case it came in. This prevents them from breaking or being crushed in your bag, plus it helps you find them easier, particularly in the case of wireless earbuds. If you’re more of a wired fan, make sure to take care of the cable. Headphone or earbud wires should be wound in loose loops and follow the natural coil of the wires. This keeps the wires intact and less likely to twist out of shape or the protective covering to break and expose the wires underneath. Finally, some general housekeeping rules for taking care of headphones is to avoid getting them wet and to not turn up the volume too loud so you don’t blow the speakers.

Headphones & Earbuds

(Image credit: Beats)

Where to shop for headphones & earbuds deals

If you need a new pair of headphones or earbuds, there are a few retailers that offer some of the best and cheapest deals across a full range of brands and styles. Firstly, the Today’s Deals page on Amazon (opens in new tab) has its own ‘Headphones and Earphones’ section which you can select to find all the latest deals. Currys (opens in new tab) is another retailer that has huge offers on both wired and wireless headphones and I’ve found some of the best price drops on Beats headphones at Very (opens in new tab). Finally, John Lewis (opens in new tab) has tons of offers and often has ‘Reduced to Clear’ deals on headphones and earbuds from big name brands.

If you prefer to shop on the brand website, make sure you check out if they have any discount codes or special offers. Take a look at JBL discount codes (opens in new tab), Bose discount codes (opens in new tab), Philips discount codes (opens in new tab) and Samsung discount codes (opens in new tab) for unique and exclusive discount codes on audio devices.

To help you save even more money on top tech products, check out my guide on how to save money on TVs (opens in new tab) and how to save money on laptops (opens in new tab).

As T3's resident Shopping Expert and Deals Writer, Beth covers deals, discount codes, how to save money and seasonal holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day, Boxing Day and Easter sales. Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting DIY craft projects that will probably end in disaster!