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Whether you’re working in the studio or working out at the gym, padded headphones keep your ears comfortable while playing your favorite music, podcasts, movies and more. But over time, your headphones’ cushions can break down and even fall apart completely. But that doesn’t mean you immediately have to drop money on a new pair. Instead, you can replace the padding for a fraction of the price, making your headphones as comfortable as the day you bought them. Read on for everything you need to know about replacing your headphones’ earpads.
Earpads Buying Guide
For replacing over-ear headphone earpads, we have you and your favorite headset covered with these points to consider ahead of your purchase.
Size: It can be difficult to find a replacement that fits your brand and model, since not all manufacturers offer them, and relying on other sites can be a gamble. But an oversized pad can slip off and slide around, while smaller earpads can get stretched and torn. It may take some extra effort to track down the right size of replacement pad, particularly if you have a less common type of headphones, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. On the other hand, if your set came with average pads from the start, replacements can be an upgrade for both better sound and comfort.
Material: Just like with your size, one material doesn’t always work for every person’s ears. And while important, comfort isn’t the only thing to consider about material, since this can actually also affect the sound.
Microfiber or velvet, while soft and breathable and ideal for gaming headphones, can feel thin when compressed against your head. A large, deep pad that’s made of a material like leather should be durable, and it may even add some extra echo and bass to what you’re hearing. Even if a seller has the shape and size for your exact set, the material may not be as durable and resistant to rips as the original was, so be sure to check and compare.
Density: Especially with foam, this can control the amount of sound that escapes rather than resonates, changing the entire sonic signature. Depending on what you want, density can also instantly fix an issue you’ve been dealing with. For example, a denser foam can hold bass tones for a longer period of time, while thinner pads let them slip through, which can create a brighter tone.
Style: Sound may be what’s most important here, but because these are most likely traveling everywhere with you, be sure you’re happy with the color and style before making the final purchase.
How to Install Replacement Earpads for Your Headphones
Once you have your replacement cushions, make sure they are the same size and shape as your originals. If that looks good, gently pop off the old pads and fit the new ones on carefully. These should be a snug and taut fit without stretching the material, which can lead to new rips and tears.
If your ear cups flip around, the replacement process is going to be way easier, since you have clear access to the pad from the outside. Gently pull off the old pad, making sure the surrounding lip comes out from under the cup’s edge.
Installing the new soft padding may take some patience. When hooking the new pads over your headphones, it’s better to start at the top rather than from the side, making sure you position the inner speaker as central as possible and close to where it was with the old pads. Slowly and carefully make your way around the entire edge, making sure the lip is secured.
Keep working your way around. Don’t put your fingers inside the new pad to keep it centered on the inner speaker either. Though it may sound like a faster way to get the job done, the material inside is thinner than the bulky padding outside, and a finger can easily rip through your new replacement.
The Best Headphone Replacement Pads
Looking for a pair of replacement cushions for your headphones? Here are three of our favorites to consider.
1. Brainwavz Sheepskin Leather Angled Memory Foam Earpad
Brainwavs makes a bunch of different types of pads with a variety of soft, thick materials. This pair, made of real sheepskin leather, are designed to be a universal fit, strapping on to most brands of cans.
The memory foam inside makes it extra comfortable to wear for long stretches, and they’re angled for a more ergonomic fit.
They’re nicely fat, at 40mm x 25mm, with a height of 110mm and an 80mm width, contouring to your head as soon as you strap them on.
2. Dekoni Audio Replacement Ear Pads
Dekoni makes replacement pads for specific brands, but there’s a bunch to choose from, including multiple Audio Technica and Sony.
These are lined with smooth Velour, not just for comfort, but to retain bass and the lower end of the sound spectrum. It’s comparable to leather, but way softer and without the stickiness.
Installation is made a little easier too, thanks to the elastic lip around the edges.
3. WC Upgraded Replacement Ear Pads
For those with Bose headphones, these are an extremely comfortable replacement set of silicone pads, with the durability to stand up to years of constant wear.
They do a nice job of enveloping your ear, and further isolating the sounds around you, making any noise-cancelling headphones even more efficient. Perimeter stitching that’s reinforced with glue makes sure that these don’t rip, split, and over-stretch, and some users are so satisfied with this one they say it even beats the original manufacturer’s pads.