In the market for school headphones, either for your child’s remote learning experience or for your entire classroom? Before you make a purchase, it’s essential to know the different types of headset jacks, what they are compatible with, and which devices won’t play well with them so that you can save yourself a lot of time and money.
Here are the 3 most common types of headset jacks and their typical uses:
Audio Lightning Jack
Anyone who has an Apple product is quite familiar with this jack, characterized by its flat, razor-thin connector. Used exclusively in newer iPhones and iPads, you won’t be able to use headphones on these devices unless your school headphones are equipped with either the audio lightning jack or an adapter, or dongle, that connects a standard 3.5 mm jack to a lightning jack.
- Advantages: Near-perfect sound reproduction free from distortion or compression of the built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter)
- Disadvantages: Unless you’re purchasing these school headphones for use with an iPad or iPhone only, not much else is going to be compatible with the jack.
3.5 mm Mini Jack
This is the plug you probably think of whenever you think of school headphones. The 3.5 mm mini-jack is the most prevalent connector in audio output devices and is used everywhere from school headphones and phone headsets to microphones and speakers. If you purchase a headset with a 3.5 mm mini-jack, the odds are good that you’ll be able to use it with just about any electronic you want.
- Advantages: The near-universal use of a 3.5 mm mini-jack means that your school headphones can be used with a variety of devices, helping to increase their usefulness.
- Disadvantages: If you want to use a 3.5 mm mini-jack with an Apple device, you’re out of luck. Newer iPhone and iPad models no longer support this plug type and have moved exclusively to lightning connectors.
Micro USB Type-C
Don’t get this connector type confused with a standard USB 2.0 plug. The micro USB Type-C connector is the preferred plug type for a variety of non-Apple tablets, smartphones, and other devices such as school headphones and gaming headsets. The micro USB Type-C connector is expected to become the preferred type of USB cable in the next 5 to 10 years, eventually replacing the original USB type A that we all know and love.
- Advantages: With a transfer rate of 5-10 GB per second, USB-C can provide 100 watts of charging power at any given time- perfect for wireless headsets that need to be charged quickly between class uses!
- Disadvantages: While it’s gaining in popularity, USB-C connectors are still nowhere near as prevalent as USB type A and mini USB plugs, which can cause confusion about compatibility with some devices.
Before you make your school headphones purchase, make sure you understand what types of jacks your devices support so you can make the best choice!