Sony headphonesSource: Android Central

In addition to my smartphone, I want to be sure that I keep my headphones working for when I need them, whether I'm at home or traveling. It's a huge pain to reach for a favorite pair of headphones or earbuds only to find that they're broken or no longer in the condition that you expected them to be in. You want your headphones to be reliable and ready to go whenever and wherever you may be. Plus, a quality pair of headphones or earbuds can cost a pretty penny, and nobody wants to be dropping a ton of cash every year or so to replace a good set of cans. That's why it's essential to take good care of them so that they don't wear out or break prematurely. Here are a few tips we've collected to help you do just that.

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Keep your headphones working: Don't just throw them anywhere

Taotronics ANC caseSource: Android Central

A good pair of headphones or true wireless earbuds are a significant investment and are often delicate pieces of technology. As such, why would you just toss them aside when you're not using them? Many mid-range and high-end headphones either come with some sort of carying case and/or charging case, or you can find a good one for a reasonable price. Take care of your tech, and put it away in its proper spot when you're not using it. Not only will it be easier to locate the next time you need it, but it will likely be safe and protected from the elements (kids, pets, junk, etc.).

Keep your headphones working: Careful with the cords

These should be the only USB cables you needSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

While true wireless earbuds and headphones are all the rage these days, many sets of headphones still have cords that connect to your phone or stereo. More often than not, headphone problems can be traced directly to issues with the cords and cables, whether they were not wrapped, folded, or stowed correctly, or the plugs and ports were not taken care of. This is another easy win here. Wrap your cords up properly, and store them with your headphones. Both will last much longer and be more effective if you do so.

Keep your headphones working: Clean them properly with the right tools

How To Clean HeadphonesSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Headphones and earbuds are made out of fragile materials, so you don't want to use just any brush or chemical solution when cleaning them. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines when trying to clean dirt, dust, grime, or earwax (eww) from the headphones. Purchase some dedicated cleaning supplies to avoid cross-contamination with other household cleaning items. And above all, be gentle!

Keep your headphones working: Repair or replace components

Earpad Guys Bose 700 Earpad ReplacementSource: Amazon

If you do have an equipment failure like a torn ear cup, broken cable, or burnt-out bud, often, you can find replacement parts for much cheaper than the cost of replacing the entire unit. Sometimes this involves going through the manufacturer's website or warranty department. Other times, you may be able to find the parts you need on third-party websites like eBay or Newegg.

What are your tips?

Do you have additional tips for keeping your headphones pristine? Share them with us in the comments below!

Our top equipment picks

If the time has come for you to replace your favorite headphones, or if you're just looking for another pair to add to your collection, try one of these on for size.

Still the G.O.A.T.

Sony WH-1000XM3

Still among our favorites

Most over-ear headphones nowadays feature ANC. The XM3 do everything well: ANC, battery life, sound quality, and reliability.

True wireless wonders

Jabra Elite 75t

On the go buds

The Jabra Elite 75t are by far the best wireless earbuds when it comes to sound quality, battery life, comfort, and portability.

Great value

Mpow H12 IPO

Hard to beat that price

If you're looking for a comfortable, attractive, and great-sounding set of affordable headphones, these from Mpow are a great choice.

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