Difference between Headphones and Earphones: Which is Better?

Headphones and Earphones have become an integral part of our life. Whether you are travelling, working, or jogging, it is an unavoidable one.

difference between headphones and earphones

Most audiophiles and professionals prefer headphones over earphones. Here we discuss why headphone is preferred on a comparison between earphone vs headphone.

In the latter portion, we will also discuss the difference between headphones and earphones. Actually, we can classify headphones into 10 types, and headphones and earphones are two of them.

Do you know why headphones are better than earphones?

Before discussing why headphones are better than earphones, let us have a comparison between headphones vs earphones vs earbuds. 

Difference Between Headphones and Earphones

Actually, what is the difference between earphones and headphones? Most of us believe both are the same. But there are some fundamental design differences between earphones and headphones.

If the earpiece can be inserted into the ear canal, they are called earphones, while those are designed to wear around the ear are called headphones. The earpiece of both earbuds and earphones looks almost similar, but earbuds are free from cables and use Bluetooth technology.

Headphones, the best?

headphones vs earphones

There are two types of headphones, on-ear and over-ear. Earcup of on-ear headphones just covers your ear, whereas over-ear headphones cover your ear entirely.

Both types of headphones perform far better than earphones in all aspects, such as audio quality, noise cancellation, comfortability, and safety. So we always recommend headphone usage.

Headphones are of two types based on connectivity, wired headphones and wireless headphones.

Also see: Best over-ear headphones under 3000 in India from Premium brands.

Audio Quality

If we compare earbuds vs headphones sound quality, the sound quality offered by headphones is supreme and audiophile quality. These are the favourite among music professionals and studio workers.

The bigger earpiece lets them use bigger drivers that ensure deep and controlled bass. 

Noise Cancellation

Have you ever thought, why do headphones sound better than earphones? The answer is the effective noise cancellation feature.

Noise cancellation is the most significant part of headphones. When coming to noise cancellation, no one can compete with headphones. Even an entry-level headphone can deliver a performance higher than premium earphones.

The courtesy for the high standard noise cancellation goes to design, to be precise, the bigger earpiece. Most of the headphones come with an active and passive noise cancellation ability.

In Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, headphones produce audio that can cancel the noise before it reaches the eardrum. The actual physics behind ANC is exciting.

Whereas in Passive noise cancellation, which is used in earphones also, the earpiece is specially designed to prevent the outside noise from entering into the ear canal. Here also, the bigger earpiece works pretty well compared to an earphone.


Which are more comfortable headphones or earphones? The fundamental question we all need to find an answer to before making a purchase.

Even though the headphones are bigger, they are very comfortable to wear—the earpiece of most of the headphones is made with a soft cushion that feels like a feather to your ear. Since the headband takes care of the weight, our ears would be free. 

The large area of the earpiece ensures more freedom, so it is recommended for long time use.


Portability is one downside of headphones. Even though the latest headphones come with a compact foldable design, still it is an issue compared to earphones.


Headphones are expensive than earphones. 

  • Recommended for audiophiles and real music lovers
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Difficult to port compared to earphones

Earphones, too Bad?

earphones vs headphones

No, absolutely not. Headphones are better does not mean that earphones are bad.

Earphones also have their own benefits. They are easy to carry and best during workouts compared to headphones.

Just like headphones, earphones can also be classified into two, namely wired earphones and wireless earphones based on their connectivity. Neckband and TWS earbuds are two types of wireless earphones.

If you want to proceed with earphones, find our latest list of best earphones under 2000 in India.

Audio Quality

If we compare the sound and note precision of an earphone and headphone, the output by earphones is slightly inferior. But this problem can be solved by selecting earphones from premium brands at a higher price.

Due to the compact size, an earphone can use only small drivers whose output will be lower. 

Noise Cancellation

Even though passive noise cancellation is available with earphones, they can not claim the effectiveness delivered by headphones. Active noise cancellation is rare in earphones. 

When we study headphones vs earphones hearing damage, the latter one is more prone to ear problems because of its design and mediocre noise cancellation.


If you want to compare earbuds vs headphones for gym workouts, then we would say earphones are comfortable, especially the one with a fin. But make sure that your device is water or sweat-resistant. The IP chart will help you to understand this.

Since earphones are designed to insert into the ear canal, we may feel discomfort after continuous use. Sometimes you may be forced to adjust the earbuds regularly to prevent them from dropping off.


If you ask me, what are the advantages of earphones over headphones? My first answer will be portability.

They are too convenient to carry. Especially the wireless models like neckband and TWS earphones are easy to carry. The TWS’s charger cum casing can be used as a charger and a protective pouch.


Earphones are cheaper than headphones. It is not a herculean task to find quality earphones under a budget of 500.

Headphones vs Earphones pros and cons:-

  • Easy to carry and compact
  • Low cost
  • Recommended for gym workouts
  • Audio quality is inferior
  • Noise cancellation is also inferior compared to headphones


Audio QualityBestInferior
Noise CancellationExcellentAverage
ComfortabilityConvenientNot convenient

Safety Aspects

Both Headphones and earphones can lead you deaf if you continuously listen at a very high volume for a very long time. 

But do you know why headphones are safer than earphones?

The credit goes to noise cancellation. From the previous comparison of noise-calling earbuds vs headphones, we found headphones are far better in noise-canceling. That is why headphones are better than earphones.

Since the noise cancellation feature of earphones is not adequate to prevent the ambient noise, you will be forced to turn up the volume to maximum to hear the song. This is gonna hurt your ear.

We also have some recommendations to use earphones safely.

Let’s Sum Up

Headphones, the winner!

The headphones are miles ahead compared to earphones in terms of sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort. If you could manage to tolerate the portability issues, headphones are the best.

The convenient foldable already negated the majority of problems associated with porting. So use headphones for a better experience and safer listening.

This is all about the battle of headphones vs earphones. Comment your valuable experiences with headphones vs headsets vs earphones.

We hope you understood the difference between headphones and earphones now. Next time make your choice wisely.

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