After the trend set by Apple in swapping over to the lightning port as a new-fangled alternative to the different types of headphone jacks in its iPhone 7, the majority of the giant techs seem to have followed the lead and inclined towards the more advanced wireless solution for audio signal receptions in their devices, gadgets, and smartphones.

In the wake of this advanced approach, what we are expecting to see in the upcoming trends are enhanced versions of minimalistic leaner designs and features that are likely to be more user-friendly and convenient; with many already making their way into the market trying to win over the consumer market.

If you are wondering what is a headphone jack called, there are multiple names given to one thing. In our usual language, we refer to it as an audio jack,  phone connector, etc.

Nevertheless, the appeal and need of the port-style headphone jacks are not about to fade in the background as its demand still persists in the consumers’ list of needs and requirements worldwide.   Having catered to the user needs for audio requirements for decades, the trend shift to contemporary transitions cannot be envisioned so soon. Multiple devices such as; cars, electronics, professional cameras, smartphones, and digital gadgets to name a few; still, render a great user experience with their structural hollow port digital audio functioning. The headphone jacks continue to be a popular pick of customers searching electronic markets in pursuit of headphone plugs.

Variations in Headphone Jacks

There are many assortments of headphone jacks up for grabs in the market but, before we move on to penning down the best types of headphone jacks, it is worthwhile to mention the structural and functional diversity in which they are manufactured so that it makes it easier to decide which is the right choice for the right device.

6.35 mm headphone jack:

If in search of amplifiers and boosted sound experience, then this is the perfect type of jack to lay your hands on. Though it’s an old-fashioned version dating back decades, yet, it is a durable connector most frequently seen used in switchboards, handsets, telegraphs, etc. It is available in different configurations and most basically it will either endorse a stereo sound that reproduces two-dimensional audio dissemination or a mono sound channel with balanced sound levels and ranges on both sides. The distinction of which type of result it will deliver can be judged from the number of rings on the structural pin of the jack (a mono jack will have only 2 rings (tip and sleeve) at the top pin area whereas a stereo jack will have more than 2 rings( tip, ring, sleeve). It is an ideal choice of audio standard for musical professionals.

3.5mm / Mini Jack

This is a shrunk version of the 6.5mm quarter-inch jack, and it practically caters to the need for smaller portable devices such as music players and electronics. While searching the electronics shop, the most common type of jack you’re likely to come across is the 3.5mm style.

In its 3-ringed structural design, it supports stereo sounds but does not support microphones, hence limiting its use to listening to just music and not being able to make calls; which nowadays is the need of the hour where consumers look forward to purchasing products that can simultaneously cater to multiple needs.

On the other hand, its 4-ringed design supports both the microphone feature and the stereo sounding allowing you to avail yourself of both the microphone and the convenience of making calls concurrently. However, certain devices are not compatible with the 4-ringed style hence, vigilance and thorough information are required to see if the version stands compatible with your model.

2.5mm Jack

Ideally used in communication equipment, it is the smallest of the headphone jack size used for audio connection purposes in cordless phones, video cameras, mobiles, and two-way radios.

USB-C Audio Jack

This USB-styled modern version of a jack stands structurally different and unique from the earlier ones and is quite commonly seen nowadays as a replacement in the fresh assortments of smartphones and tablets making their way into the market connecting wired accessories.

Most Popular Types of Headphone Jacks

Irrespective of any minor shortcoming, some of the all-time trending picks of jacks/audio connectors are as follows:

1. 3.5mm Mini Stereo-Mic Jack

It is the most compatible version of all headphone jacks that pairs up with the majority of the devices excluding the Apple series hence, it has massive demand and popularity. It is classified into 2 types of jacks based on the structural variance of the rings (referred to as TRRS i.e Tip Ring Ring Sleeve) separated by an insulating substance. 1) Open Mobile Terminal Platform  (OMTP)  and  2) Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) / American Headset Jack.

2. C-Type Headphone Jack

Inclining towards improved and convenient designing of the jacks, the C-type ports with their symmetric structure allow easy and smooth usage while inserting and removal from the ports, and also guarantee the improved audio quality, flexibility and faster data transfer speed. It is seen as a good choice by manufacturers to save space usage unlike that of the 3.5mm ports.

Ensuring proper integration of charging features along with audio transmission will indeed be a purposeful endeavor to enhance the performance and delivery of current gadgets and smartphones. We have yet to look forward to what modifications will be shaped to cater to this need.

3. Audio Lightning Jack/ Adapter

This modern designed headphone adapter \ jack introduced by Apple comes as a feature for the iPhone. Its 8 pinned, 6.7mm by 1.5mm jack comparatively delivers the most effective rate of data transmission in terms of larger and faster transfer with minimum power consumption making it all the more an ideal popular choice.

It is generally deemed as a fresh replacement of the 3.55mm jack that functions on an audio lightning connector generating premium quality sound transmission. It has easy usage and endorses the production of audiophile quality of 24 bit-96 kHz signals, unlike the standard jacks that support 16 bits-44 kHz signals. It is costly and its replacement can be difficult. Another prominent drawback, however, is that it is limited to the provision of a single port which is to be used for both, charging and as an audio portal hence, requires an adapter to allow dual usage simultaneously.

4. USB Jack

A contemporary shift of style from the regular universal 3.5mm jack design is the USB plugs. This product is loved for its production of far more effective audio results than the trending universal ones. It easily supports both the microphone as well as the stereo sound production and transmission.  Its usage is rendered to be better with PCs and laptops, and not deemed compatible with smartphones.

5. 3.5mm Dual Mini-Jack (TRS-TRS)

Trending as one of the popular jack designs in the recent past, this double style uses one jack for the speaker (symbolized by “ SPK “) and the other for the mic ( symbolized by “ MIC” ). It delivers a stereo sound and is inconvenient for devices that have one TRS such as mobiles and the latest laptops.

6. PatchBay Connector ( Jack

Bearing visual similarity to the 3.5mm jack, this is a more viable product in use for broader scale requirements such as in the telecom industry rather than for casual use. It delivers balanced audio productivity following the TRS configuration.

Though deemed as an alternative to the 6.35mm jacks, the Patch Bay Connector jack fails to manage large power and lacks to deliver the same results, hence the weaker choice in terms of popularity.

7. Mini-Stereo 3.5mm Jack

This is another variance of the 3.5mm jack variations, and it comes in two kinds:

TRS-1: This version comes with a single ring design at the tip and does not support the microphone hence, unable to be used while making calls. This can be its drawback that may lower its rate of preference between the two kinds.

TRS-2: This comes with mono audio designed in the ring and can be used while calling hence a better choice in terms of catering to broader needs.

8. Mini Mono-Audio 3.5mm Jack (TS Jack)

The mini mono-audio 3.5mm jack displays two sections without rings and usually delivers a mono or an unbalanced audio transmission and is commonly used with musical instruments to pair up with mixers or amplifiers. It can however, be accompanied by a noise that serves as a nuisance and can be at times inconvenient.

9. 2.5 Sub-Miniature Jack

Perhaps the smallest of all jacks – a reason for being referred to as the micro jack, the subminiature jack style remained to be a popular pick of designs with old model phones like the Nokia 5030 c-2, cordless phones, 2-way radios and video cameras. These miniature jacks can be used in 3.5mm jacks with adapters that are available in the market. 

10. 6.35mm Jack (Quarter Inch)

It is commonly used in musical instruments like guitars, loudspeakers, in manual telephone exchanges, and by musical professionals. This version is not familiar or common to usage for the majority of the requirements with gadgets like smartphones and laptops that are the needs of the common consumer. It comprises TS and TRS configuration and is exclusively deemed more of a professional item than an ordinary product for casual and personal requirements on grounds of being more reliable in handling larger audio power, allowing distortion-less transmission of audio signals. Furthermore, these jacks offer durability and robustness that make them ideal for long-term usage.