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If you are planning to buy a new headphone or have plans to upgrade to a new feature-rich model, you might as well choose one that has a foldable design. Because why miss out on the one extra feature that can ease your everyday commutes and holiday travels? 

Foldable headphones can become 60% to 70% smaller than their overall size when folded. However, the overall folded size is not the same for every headphone as it largely depends on the type of folding design used. 

Foldable headphones are often differentiated from non-foldable models just with the fact that they can fold. However, it’s much more than that if you take into account the folding design and mechanism used. 

In this post, we have dived deep into helping you understand which is the exact foldable headphone that is right for you and not just any random foldable headphone. 

Different types of folding designs of foldable headphones

Foldable headphones aren’t all the same, neither are they a one-size-fits-all solution when looking from a technical perspective. Foldable models differ in the type of folding design they use. The folding design determines their overall size (when folded) which, in turn, concludes the overall portability. 

Here are the different types of folding design and mechanism foldable headphones are available with:

1. The lay-flat fold

Many modern wireless Bluetooth headphones come with a lay-flat fold design. These types of headphones have ear cups that swivel sideways to lay flat on any surface. In most cases, the foldability of these types of headphones is limited to flat fold. 

These types of models are not the most portable as the ear cups do not fold or swivel inwards for a fully collapsible fold. 

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2. The lay-flat and flat-swivel fold

Many wireless headphones come with a lay-flat and flat-swivel fold design. These types of headphones fold flat and swivel flat towards the headband. Unlike headphones with a lay-flat fold, these types of models are more compact as their ear cups swivel towards the headband in a flat orientation. 

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3. The lay-flat and full-swivel fold

Headphones that use the lay-flat and full-swivel fold are the most compact and portable. These types of models snugly fold inwards and the two ear cups stack on top of each other. The ear cups can also swivel flat or sideways. Also, these types of headphones often have a headband that’s collapsible in length. 

Image credit: Rtings

Two levels of portability 

Another important insight that can help you choose the right type of foldable headphones is to view portability at two levels. The first level of portability is choosing a foldable headphone that has an over-ear fit. And the second level of portability is choosing a foldable headphone that has an on-ear fit.

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Over-ear and on-ear headphones have significant differences between them in terms of overall size and form factor. Over-ear headphones (wired and wireless) cover the entire ears and therefore have larger ear cups. The larger size of the ear cups translates to a larger overall form factor of the headphones.

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On-ear headphones aren’t as bulky as over-ear models as their ear cups rest on top of the ears and do not entirely cover them. The overall smaller-than-over-ear-headphones form factor of on-ear headphones combined with a foldable design makes them more compact and portable. 

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5 best foldable headphones: over-ear models

Choosing a foldable headphone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to trade off sound quality for portability. With over-ear foldable headphones, you get the best of both worlds. Explore these 5 foldable over-ear headphones that meet different types of requirements: 

1. Sony WH1000XM4/S – check it out here

Sony WH1000XM4/S comes as one of the best options if you want to get your hands on a feature-rich foldable headphone. This model packs all the high-end features in a sleek and foldable form factor. It can fold and swivel inwards and can become fully collapsible. 

This model uses industry-leading active noise cancellation which works wonders in accurately blocking out ambient noise to deliver an immersive listening experience. Also, it uses top-tier sound drivers to deliver full-range audio performance. What’s best is the option for customizing sound profiles lets you tweak the performance of the headphone as per your preference.

Pros:

  • One of the best active noise cancellation performance
  • Customizable sound profiles
  • Touch and tap controls included
  • Quick charging supported

Cons:

  • The headband flex can feel fragile to some

2. Skullcandy Crusher Evo – check it out here

If you are a bass lover and want to get your hands on a foldable headphone that delivers a great bass performance, you cannot go wrong with Skullcandy Crusher Evo. It includes a dedicated bass button that lets you choose from normal bass to thumping bass. Similar to Sony WH1000XM4/S, this model has a fully collapsible fold. 

Skullcandy Crusher Evo also offers the option to customize the audio performance of the sound drivers in order to help you personalize your music listening experience. 40 hours of battery backup, built-in Tile finding feature, and hearing tune are the other important highlights of this model.

Pros:

  • Fully collapsible folding design 
  • Bass-rich audio performance
  • Audio customization options included 

Cons:

  • No support for touch or tap controls
  • The overall form factor may seem bulky to some

3. Philips TAPH805BK/27 – check it out here

Philips TAPH805BK/27 offers an unmistakable balance of portability and industry-leading tech features. It is designed to fold flat in order to help you carry it with style using the included hard-shell carry case. 

This headphone delivers punchy bass, warm mids, and crystal clear highs. Also included is the option to customize the sound profiles of this headphone. External noises do not get in your way of enjoying your favorite music, thanks to the active noise cancellation feature of this model. Also, the battery offers up to 30 hours of playtime which is enough for all-day use. 

Pros:

  • Flat fold design used
  • Quick charging supported
  • Swipe, touch, and tap controls supported

Cons:

  • Battery backup limited to 25 hours with active noise cancellation enabled
  • Not fully collapsible

4. Sennheiser HD 350 BT – check it out here

When it comes to delivering industry-leading audio performance, Sennheiser knows best. Similar to other top-tier headphones from the brand, Sennheiser HD 350 BT delivers exceptional wireless sound that is rich in bass, and has soothing mids and highs. Despite having large-sized ear cups, this model has a fully collapsible fold.

Sennheiser HD 350 BT lets you enjoy your music the way you want by offering options for audio customization. You can also use this headphone to improve the accessibility of your phone as it includes dedicated support for voice assistants. An impressive 30 hours of battery backup makes this model ideal for all-day use.

Pros:

  • Dynamic and full-sounding audio performance
  • Dedicated support for voice assistants
  • Customizable audio profiles

Cons:

  • Active noise cancellation feature not included
  • No support for touch or tap controls

5. Koss KPH7 – check it out here

Koss KPH7 is unique in its own right. Despite having large-sized ear cups, this model has one of the sleekest headbands. Further improving the portability and compactness of this headphone is its flat fold design. 

Koss KPH7 uses Bluetooth 5.0 for interrupted wireless connectivity. Using large-sized sound drivers, this headphone delivers the signature Koss sound that the brand is renowned for. This headphone also comes as an unmistakable choice for bass lovers as it delivers deep bass. 

Pros:

  • Bass-rich audio performance
  • Sleek headband combined with a flat-fold design
  • Lightweight overall form factor

Cons:

  • Active noise cancellation feature not included
  • No support for touch or tap controls

5 best foldable headphones: on-ear models

In order to get the most out of portability, foldable on-ear headphones come as the best option. This is because not only do they fold to become compact, they also have a smaller-sized overall form factor than over-ear headphones. Here are 5 foldable on-ear headphones that are highly portable and great performing

1. Philips TAUH202BK/27 – check it out here

If you want a compact and foldable headphone that does not fail to meet your everyday use requirements, you cannot go wrong with Philips TAUH202BK/27. This headphone combines its relatively compact on-ear form factor with a fully collapsible fold design to help you make the most out of portability. 

Philips TAUH202BK/27 delivers an unmistakable audio performance that is versatile enough to adapt to almost every type of audio content. The acoustic audio performance of the sound drivers also makes this headphone suitable for long hours of usage. 

Pros:

  • Fully collapsible fold design
  • Echo cancellation feature integrated into the mic
  • Soft ear pads improve comfort 

Cons:

  • Active noise cancellation feature not included
  • Battery backup limited to 15 hours
  • Touch or tap controls not used

2. JBL Tune 600 BTNC – check it out here

JBL gives a tough competition to other brands when it comes to packing top-tier tech features and audio performance at an affordable price point in their headphones. JBL Tune 600 BTNC is an affordable model and it doesn’t make any compromises in terms of audio performance and tech features. It includes a flat fold design which makes it compact enough for everyday use.

Despite having a compact on-ear form factor, JBL Tune 600 BTNC delivers bass-rich audio performance. Also, this model comes equipped with an active noise cancellation feature that lets you block out external noise and get fully immersed in your favorite music. 

Pros:

  • Bass-rich audio performance
  • Active noise cancellation feature included
  •  Flat fold design used

Cons:

  • Battery backup limited to 12 hours
  • No support for touch or tap controls

3. Sony WH-XB700 – check it out here

Deep bass audio performance isn’t just reserved for large-sized over-ear headphones. This is because on-ear models such as the Sony WH-XB700 deliver all the bass you need to enjoy your favorite playlists. Similar to JBL Tune 600 BTNC, this model has a flat fold design 

Sony WH-XB700 uses neodymium sound drivers that maintain clarity while delivering deep bass audio performance. The battery of this headphone lasts up to 30 hours which is enough for continuous usage. Also, the option to customize audio profiles makes this model versatile in terms of functionality. 

Pros:

  • Deep bass audio performance
  • Up to 30 hours of battery life with quick charge support
  • NFC pairing supported

Cons:

  • Touch and tap controls not included
  • No support for active noise cancellation 

4. AKG N60NC – check it out here

AKG headphones are in a league of their own in terms of audio performance and overall functionality. AKG N60NC offers the best of portability and audio performance. It includes a flat fold design that also allows it to be fully collapsible. 

With best-in-class audio performance, AKG N60NC doesn’t leave any room for compromises. It also includes an active noise cancellation feature which helps you enjoy your favorite audio content even in the noisiest environments. Lossless wireless audio playback, dedicated voice assistant support, and customizable audio profiles are the additional features of this model. 

Pros:

  • Signature AKG sound
  • Active noise cancellation feature included
  • Flat fold design used

Cons:

  • Battery life limited to 15 hours
  • Touch or tap controls not supported

5. Beats Solo Pro – check it out here 

When it comes to making the perfect style statement with headphones, Beats headphones are a great choice. Beats Solo Pro helps you effortlessly elevate your style profile while enjoying your favorite audio content. This headphone is fully collapsible, thanks to its flat fold and swivel design. 

Beats Solo Pro eliminates the sterile audio performance that is common to many wireless headphones with its acoustically designed natural-sounding ear chambers. Also, this headphone is effective in blocking out external noise with its highly effective active noise cancellation feature. The transparency mode quickly bypasses active noise cancellation should you need to be aware of the surroundings.

Pros:

  • Warm and natural-sounding audio
  • Fully collapsible fold design
  • Up to 22 hours of battery backup

Cons:

  • Not touch or tap controls used
  • Proprietary charging port used

Hinge damage risks with folding headphones

One of the common issues associated with folding headphones is the risk of hinge damages. As it is with almost all types of mechanical moving parts, the moving hinges of foldable headphones can get damaged over time or when used forcefully. 

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In some cases, the hinges can get completely damaged due to aggressive/forceful opening and closing of the fold. Also, there’s a risk of hinges breaking this way if you put the headphones inside your luggage without using a hard shell cover/carry case. 

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Apart from hinge damage, there is also a risk of the internal cable (which connects one ear cup to another for power and audio) damage in the hinge intersection of the headband. 

Image credit: ifixit

Image credit: ifixit

Over to you

It’s totally worth going for foldable headphones if you are always on the move. However, it’s important to use them with care so that the hinges do not break on you. Fold your headphone only when necessary, such as when you’re packing for work commutes or holiday travels 

When taking short breaks, you can remove your headphone and keep them in close reach by tucking them in your neck. Many modern wireless headphones with wear detection automatically pause the audio content when you take them off. 

Image credit: Sony

Also, it’s best to flat-fold your headphone on your work desk instead of completely folding it if you’re taking longer breaks. Lessening the number of folds will work great in improving the longevity of the hinges which, in turn, makes your headphone last longer. 

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