PHOENIX — Of all the electronic devices you may be shopping for right now, earbuds could be the smallest that takes the most time to research.
Are they water-resistant? How long will the battery last?
It makes sense that stores won't allow you to put them in your ears to try before buying, so comparing brands can be tricky.
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors says it starts with deciding on which type you want.
True wireless earbuds are separated, and each have batteries. Tethered wireless has a wire connecting the two earbuds.
Colburn says the individual earbuds could mean battery issues. "You may not get as much battery life from true wireless as you would something that has more storage place," he said.
And the earbud container can be a charging station. "So, you want to do the research to find how much storage does the container have," Colburn said.
And how are you going to use the earbuds?
If it's an office setting, you want to know if they can connect to two devices like a smart phone and computer at the same time?
Will you be using them more for running or for long trips?
To compare, Colburn trusts a website called rtings.com.
We found earbuds that are rated for sound, for use in offices, for travel, and for sports or exercising.
And, if you're using the earbuds while perspiring or near water, you want to know if they are they moisture resistant?
"If they're not designed to deal with some moisture, you could damage them," Colburn warned.
That's why you need to know the earbuds IP rating. It's the last number following the letters IPX. The higher the number, the more water resistant it is.
So IPX0 offers no protection while IPX8 protects if immersed in more than 3 feet of water.
IPX4 is seen as the minimum if using near water.