Which is Better: Headphones or Earbuds?

Which is Better: Headphones or Earbuds?

Looking to buy a new audio gadget and confused between headphones and earbuds? Well, there is no denying that both headphones and earbuds are good choices, but people often wonder which one is better than the other. Don’t worry; I am here to help you.

Both headphones and earbuds are really good, and no one is better than the other. These two have their own features & advantages and which one you should buy depends on your priorities.

  • If you prefer sound quality, better battery life, and durability, then headphones are perfect for you.
  • If you prefer comfort, style, and portability, then go for earbuds.

Want to know more? Here, I am exploring the supreme advantages of both headphones and earbuds and which ones are the best for you.

Headphones vs. Earbuds- A Long-Time Battle

Which is Better: Headphones or Earbuds?

People have been making “Headphones vs. Earbuds” comparisons for a long time (probably since when both of them were invented). It is because both are great audio devices, but it is also critical to know what are the unique advantages of both gadgets.

So, now I am discussing which points make headphones better than earbuds and when the earbuds have the edge over the headphones.

Why Are Headphones Better Than Earbuds? Some Points

Headphones are better than earbuds when it comes to several factors, which are:

Sound Quality

Headphones have superior audio quality than earbuds. It is because better drivers and microphones are used in the manufacturing of this audio device because of its relatively large size.

Also, the ear cup size is bigger and covers the whole ears. This makes the Noise Cancellation better than the one that you experience when you wear earbuds.

In addition, the Bluetooth connection stability is stronger in headphones. That is why you won’t feel sound distortions when you wear them. Furthermore, you can also decide to buy wired headphones too. Due to the cord, there are no signal issues and the sound travels smoothly toward your ear.

So, if you prefer audio quality over anything else, then headphones are ideal for you.

Better Battery Life

Top-quality headphones have a better battery life than earbuds. They have better rechargeable cells that can run for hours. For example, Sony Wh-1000XM3 headphones have a battery life of 30 hours on one charge, while Sony WH-1000XM4 earbuds have a battery life of 8-12 hours (depending upon whether you listen to music or attend calls only).


When it comes to durability, headphones also win over earbuds. They can stay in great shape for many years. On average, you can use headphones for about 4 years (if you take care of them properly). When it comes to earbuds, the average time is around 2 years.

In addition, headphones have better resistance to different things like water resistance, heat resistance, etc. Also, when you drop them, it is highly unlikely they are going to get damaged.

On the other hand, there is always fear of internal damage when you drop the earbuds.

The reason for the strength and durability is that headphones are made with better material (like metal, silicone) that has the capacity to stay in the same shape and bear undesirable conditions.


It’s no secret that both headphones and earbuds are bad for the ears if you wear them the whole day. Still, if you compare their health status, you will find that headphones are, in fact, much safer to wear than earbuds.

The reason is that earbuds are inserted into the ear canal. Some are designed just to stay in touch with the ear canal tip, while some go far in. No matter what, it can cause problems for the ears. How? The sound produced from the earbuds will go straight toward the eardrums, which will affect your hearing in the future. Also, the canal can face skin irritations, which is highly frustrating.

When it comes to headphones, you won’t face such things. They only cover the ears and do not go inside them. Therefore, it is much safer to wear headphones than earbuds.

So, these are the main reasons why headphones are better than earbuds. If you also give supreme importance to these factors, then go for headphones.

But there are also some points at which earbuds defeat the headphones. Let’s now have a look at why earbuds are better.

Which is Better: Headphones or Earbuds?

Why Are Earbuds Better than Headphones?

Earbuds are not all bad. They are better than headphones in a lot of factors.

Earbuds are Lighter

One of the biggest problems with headphones is their big size. This size makes them hard to put on for a longer time and you start to feel irritation. You will feel a burden on the ear and neck when you keep on wearing headphones.

But earbuds are lightweight, so your ears feel relaxed.


As mentioned above, bigger headphones size is a problem. Due to it, it is hard for people to pack them in their bags as they take up more space. So, they have to wear them around their necks, which also start to cause irritation.

Contrarily, you can just put the case of the earbuds in your pocket. You can also put the case in the bag or anywhere you want to.

That is why earbuds are the first choice for those who have to travel a lot.


Headphones are a lot more expensive than earbuds. All the advantages of headphones discussed above come with a hefty price tag. You can get top-quality headphones for around 300 dollars and more. There are also some headphone models that cost more than 50,000$ (For example, Sennheiser Orpheus/HE-1 costs 60,000$).

Earbuds, on the other hand, are affordable and cost-effective. You can get good ones for about 200$ and enjoy all of its top-notch features.

Better User Experience

Earbuds provide a better user experience than headphones, which is why they are now more popular.

When you start looking to buy ones, you will realize that you can get them in lots of different colors. When it comes to headphones, the color choice is somewhat limited. Similarly, you can also paint the earbuds easily in any way you want to. Furthermore, the things like portability, low price, fast charging speed, and decent battery life also make the user experience a lot better.

In addition, earbuds are now in trend and are now being purchased more than headphones.

So, if you prefer the above factors and want to go with the trend, then get earbuds.

Still, having trouble deciding whether you should buy headphones or earbuds? Well, don’t worry. I am now exploring when is the best time to wear headphones and when to put on earbuds. Check out which audio device suits your lifestyle the most and purchase it straight away.

When Should You Wear Headphones And Not Earbuds?

Headphones are perfect for some specific occasions, and it is better not to wear earbuds at that time.

For Editing

If you are a video editor, then there is no better choice as an audio gadget than headphones. It is because their sound quality is amazing, which will help you in adjusting the audio effects to perfection.

To Play Games

If you are a gamer, then you will have to keenly listen to the enemy’s footsteps. It is very hard to do when you are wearing earbuds. But if you have headphones on, it is really easy.

For Jogging

If you go jogging, then you should wear headphones. It is because earbuds will keep falling out, and you will have to keep on stopping to pick them up. Furthermore, since they are light in weight, sometimes, people don’t even realize that the earbuds have dropped out of their ears.

When You Want Noise Isolation

If you want quietness, then go for noise-cancellation headphones. They have better ones because their ear cups cover the whole ears. That is why you will see offices using headphones and not earbuds.

Similarly, if you frequently go to Parks, the library, or just have a noisy neighborhood, then purchase headphones.

If You Have Kids

You have to be always vigilant around the kids. They can pick up and swallow any piece they want. So, leaving the earbuds around them is risky for a kid’s health too.

You won’t have to face this problem when you have headphones.

But there are dozens of headphones and it is hard to decide which one is the best. Well, worry no more as I am suggesting to you the best models too.

Which Headphones Are The Best?

Out of all, the three best headphones you can buy are:

Each of them has impressive sound quality, better battery life, and an elegant design.

Now, it’s time I discuss earbuds.

When Should You Wear Earbuds And Not Headphones?

Just like headphones, there are some specific occasions that only suit earbuds.

When You Have To Travel

The small size of earbuds makes them a great traveling companion. You can put them in your pockets or in a bag and set on the journey.

But with headphones, it is not that simple. You will have to make a considerable amount of room in your bag (which is not possible most of the time).

So, traveling with earbuds is easier.

For Work Out

If you go to the gym for workouts, then choose earbuds. It is because headphones won’t let you bench press or deadlift easily because of the bigger size. Furthermore, if the headphones are wired, then it is an even bigger problem. The wires can tangle, causing you more trouble lifting weight. And we all know that dropping weight can get us banned from the gym by the manager.

For Online Classes

Earbuds are also ideal for online classes. They also have a great sound quality and decent battery life. Buying expensive headphones just for online classes is just a waste of money.

If You Have Tight Budget

If you are short on money, then earbuds are an automatic choice. They are affordable, and you can get a really good one for around 200$. There are also cheaper ones that only cost around 60-80$.

Headphones, on the other hand, are a luxury that should only be bought if you have more money.

So, which earbuds should you buy to experience all the advantages?

Which Earbuds Are The Best?

There are lots of companies now that manufacture earbuds. But out of all, the top three ones you can buy without any hesitation are:

Related: Why Do People Prefer Earbuds?

Comparison Table of Headphones vs. Earbuds

A comparison table is a great way to know which product is better for you. So, here’s a table about headphones and earbuds.




Sound Quality

Better than earbuds

Slightly lower than headphones

Battery Life

Around 30 hours

Around 8 hours


Big in size

Small in size


Less comfortable than earbuds

More comfortable than headphones


Hard to travel with

Perfect traveling partner




When to use?

  • For editing
  • To play games
  • To jog
  • For traveling
  • To work out
  • To watch online videos/classes

Related: Why Are Good Headphones So Expensive?

Final Verdict

All in all, both headphones and earbuds are good. No one is completely better than the other.

If you prefer sound quality, durability, and better battery life, then go for headphones. If you prefer comfort, portability, and affordability, then purchase earbuds. Keep in mind that earbuds also have a pretty good sound quality and battery life.

I suggest if you are an editor, gamer, or jogger, then buy headphones. If you travel a lot, work out in a gym, or just have a tight budget, then earbuds are an automatic choice.

That’s all about headphones vs. earbuds and which one is better.

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