Headphones vs Earbuds – What’s The Difference?

When you want to listen to music or any type of audio, you need to have one of these gadgets, headphones, or earbuds. But, when you face questions like what to use and when to use it, you might get confused and say there is not much difference between them except the size. But in practice, a lot of things like sound quality, type of use, battery backup, etc, are under consideration.

Today, we will see the difference between headphones and earbuds.

headphones vs earbuds
headphones vs earbuds

Before analyzing each feature in detail, let me provide a quick introduction about the headphones and the earbuds. After that, we’ll discuss each feature with the pros and cons.


The headphone is a type of electronic device or gadget which has two speakers to cover the ears. These speakers in headphones will provide better quality music or any other type of audio. Especially for gaming, headphones are the most recommended gadget.

The headphones are being used in many fields or professions like gaming, podcast, film studio, singers, YouTube streaming, etc. Let’s see the pros and cons of headphones.


  • Best quality music
  • Better gaming experience
  • Active Noise Cancellation is highly supported
  • Compatible with desktops, laptops, mobiles, etc


  • Not recommended for travel
  • High-cost


The earbuds are the next-generation devices to the headphones. Unlike headphones, earphones are small and efficient. The earbuds came with in-ear technology with a decent battery backup. Their sound quality is also pretty good along with the Active Noise Cancellation feature.

Earbuds are very useful while jogging, gym workouts, listening to music, etc.


  • Good sound quality
  • Easy to carry
  • Available at a cheap cost
  • Suitable gadget for traveling
  • Compatible with Mobile, Desktop, Laptop, etc.


  • Not recommended for gaming
  • High-volume music for a long time is not recommended

Differences between Headphones & Earbuds

You have seen what headphones and earbuds are. Now, I want to highlight the major differences between them. In the end, we can conclude what is the best device for PC users.

MeaningSmall compact devices and hence these are carryable and travel preferablyThe electronic device that we put in the ear to listen to audio.
Type of UseAudio engineering works, gaming, streaming, listening to music, etc. Listening to music, Virtual meetings, video, and audio callings, etc.
Connectivity TypeWired and WirelessWired and Wireless
Sound QualityHeadphones beat earphones when it comes to the sound qualityGood
Microphones QualityNot so good as much as earphonesHighly preferable for online conversation and recording
CompatibilityMobiles, desktops, laptops, and tabs almost all are compatibleIt is compatible with all devices like headphones
PortabilityNot so great – Bulky and hard to carry here and thereSmall compact device and hence these are carryable and travel preferably
ComfortThese are good for desktop PC usersHighly comfortable to carry and use everywhere you need, like a park, restaurant, cafe, etc.
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Gesture ControlsYesYes
GamingHighly suggestible for gamersNot so good
Best BrandsLogitech, Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, Skullcandy, Asus, etcJabra, Bose, Sony, Beats, etc
PriceFrom $20 to $500From $10 to $200
Difference between headphones and earbuds

Size and Design

The headphones came with a bulk design. It’s their nature. The primary purpose of headphones is to cover the ear and provide high-quality audio. This is suitable for static or desktop users. The device manufacturers can optimize their design a lot for a better user experience by providing flexible cushions, Active Noise Cancellation, gesture support, and more.

Earbuds are compact and very convenient devices. In the initial days, the wireless technology came with a neckband, which means the audio sync between the right and left speakers is possible through the wire in between them. But now, truly wireless technology is in the rage.

Winner – The design-wise headphones are the winner, but the size-wise earbuds are more comfortable

Sound quality

Headphones come with high driver capacity. It supports audio with high frequency. So the audio quality is extremely good in headphones. The ear covering design helps them to provide a good user experience to their users.

The driver size in earbuds is less compared to the headphones. However, because of their uniqueness (easy to carry and use everywhere), the manufacturers use different techniques like stereo, notice cancellation, etc, to provide better audio with earbuds.

Winner – Headphones provide better sound quality than earbuds

Type of use

Headphones are best for desktop PC users, gamers, and YouTube streamers. You can use headphones when you are using a device (mobile or PC) in a static position. For gaming, wired headphones are preferred. If you are using wireless headphones for gaming, make sure it is working with the latest Bluetooth version to avoid signal issues.

Earbuds are best for traveling, sports, exercise, podcasts, and voice and video calls with friends and family.

Winner – Both are unique based on the type of use


For normal use, both the headphones and earbuds don’t have much difference in price. But when we go to high-end models, we can see the price difference.

The price of the headphones would be anywhere between $20 to $500. The high-end devices have various advanced features like Active Noise Cancellation, Stereo sound, Gestures, Sensor controls, etc.

Earbuds have a price range between $10 to $200. Although their prices are low compared to the headphones, they have the best features on the budget like water resistance, good battery life, voice assistance, etc. Jabra, Bose, and Sony are the best brands to have a look at.

Winner – Earbuds have a low price range and are the winner here


Hope the information will help you understand the difference between headphones and earbuds. I prefer headphones when I am using my desktop computer for gaming or for listening to music. And when I go on a trip with my friends, I prefer earbuds.

I think now you know where and when you can use these devices efficiently. Which device do you like most and why? Make your comment below.

Also, feel free to find everything about computer accessories here.