There was a time when headphones ruled the audio market all around the world. But with technological advancement, we now have earbuds that do the same type of job that you expect from a headphone. Both the headphones and earbuds have their own pros and cons. With so many options available on the market, it’s hard to decide for beginners which one to choose.
One way to find out is to list the pros and cons of headphones and earbuds. So this blog will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing between these two audio devices.
Earbuds or Headphones: Which One to Choose
Well, choosing between these two depends upon the preferences, needs, and situations in which you’ll use them.
1. Commuting & Travel
Earbuds: I’ll start with the convenience and portability that earbuds offer when it comes to down to traveling. Earbuds are smaller in size and they easily fit inside your pocket or a small bag while traveling on a bus, train, or plane.
Headphones: These are bigger in size as compared to earbuds, so carrying them around while traveling is a bit difficult. However, most headphones come with ANC or Active Noise Cancellation feature which removes the background noise for an immersive listening experience.
2. Excercise & Sports
Earbuds: I haven’t found anything better than earbuds during workout sessions or playing any sport. Earbuds sit perfectly into your ear canal as you exercise, go out for running, or do sports. Modern earbuds are now sweat and water-resistant, which makes them more suitable for any type of environment.
Headphones: When it comes to doing exercise or sports, headphones are not the right option to go with. Headphones are bulkier and they do not stay in one place if you are running, exercising, or playing any kind of sport.
3. Music Production and Studio Work
Earbuds: For music producers or audio professionals, earbuds are not a great choice as they offer latency and data compression. Yes, you can use earbuds for simply listening to music, but they aren’t good for producing music.
Headphones: You may have seen many music producers or content creators wearing over-ear headphones in the studio. It’s because headphones provide better audio reproduction and isolation as compared to earbuds.
Earbuds: Although there are a lot of brands that offer gaming earbuds, still I don’t prefer getting one when it comes to FPS or AAA gaming. This doesn’t mean that you can’t play games while wearing wireless earbuds, yes you can. But you may come up with some latency issues if you use earbuds while gaming.
Headphones: Whenever I play games, I use headphones as they offer better sound quality, low latency, and perfect noise isolation as compared to earbuds. Due to larger internal speakers, headphones offer you high-quality sound and immersion while playing FPS or AAA games.
Also, gaming headphones come with a high-quality microphone that allows you to communicate with your teammates in real-time. Again, using earbuds here would result in a delay, thus impacting your overall gaming performance.
Earbuds: These are ideal for taking long-hour phone calls due to their smaller dimensions and lightweight design. Modern-day earbuds offer superior call quality and come up with touch-sensitive buttons on the sides to accept or reject calls.
Headphones: Although headphones are equipped with a microphone, these are generally less suited for long-hour calls. It’s because headphones are bulkier and wearing them for a longer time can cause auditory fatigue.
6. Personal Comfort and Preference
Picking between earbuds and headphones sometimes comes down to your personal preference and comfort. Most people find earbuds more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Headphones on the other side are more suited for professional use. If you are a professional gamer or music creator, then going with a headset would give you the most value in those areas.
No matter if you go with earbuds or headphones, both will impact your comfort, audio quality and portability with respect to different scenarios.
7. Sound Quality
Earbuds and headphones, both have different approaches when it comes to sound quality. Earbuds are close to your eardrums whereas headphones envelop your ears all around.
Study shows that proximity between the sound source and receiver influences the sound quality. Another thing that impacts the sound quality in both the headphones and earbuds is the size and type of drivers (dynamic, planar magnetic, and electrostatic) used.
The size of drivers in earbuds is smaller as compared to the headphones. To understand this in simple words, the deep bass produced by earbuds is less than that of headphones.
Over-ear headphones usually come with large-size drivers which results in offering a better range of frequencies and sound depth. So headphones may excel over earbuds when it comes to playing high-quality 3D sound. This makes headphones an ideal choice for audiophiles, gamers, music producers, and audio content creators.
Earbuds on the other side offer convenience and portability when you are traveling, exercising, or listening to music while running.
8. Battery Life
Battery is the most important factor to consider before choosing earbuds or headphones. Earbuds are packed with a smaller built-in battery circuit as compared to headphones.
Earbuds can last anywhere between 4 to 10 hours on a single charge. However, the battery life mostly depends upon your usage pattern and other features that come with the earbuds.
On the other side, headphones are equipped with large battery units, so they typically last longer than earbuds. Some good-quality headphones can last as long as 20 hours on a single charge.
Earbuds, although, come with less battery life, but with the help of a charging case you can immediately charge your earbuds multiple times.
In the case of headphones, charging cases are scarce, but you can charge premium headphones using a wireless dock or USB-C fast charging port.
Personal Thoughts: Headphones or Earbuds
As I’ve said earlier in this article both the headphones and earbuds have their own pros and cons. Picking any one of these would depend upon your personal preference and usage situation.
My Take on Earbuds: To be honest, I’ve found earbuds way more comfortable and convenient as compared to headphones. Modern earbuds come with different silicon tips that you can install to snugly fit earbuds into your ear canals as you carry out vigorous tasks. Moreover, with features like Active Noise Cancellation, touch playback buttons, and a charging case, earbuds are a great deal for audiophiles who need performance in a compact size.
My Take on Headphones: If you really care about true audio performance and really don’t care about portability, then headphones offer you the most value. For gamers and content creators, there isn’t anything better than a high-end headphones. With large and better drivers, headphones produce excellent sound quality.
I’ve been writing about gadgets for over 7 years now. I have a strong taste for music, no matter if it’s pop or classic. My passion for music has enabled me to come closer to audio equipment. I like writing and sharing my personal experience with audio equipment that passes by me.