What is the difference between headphone and earphone (Which is better for you ?)

Headphones and earphones both are identical words with some major difference and own advantages and disadvantages over each other. In this article, we will discuss the core differences and advantages/disadvantages of these two items in depth. After reading this article you will be able to decide which one you should buy earphones or headphones.

This list of these comparisons will never be enough because the first thing which matters in deciding the winner between headphones and earphones is personal preference.


Of course, this is the first thing which makes people able to identify whether its an earphone or a headphone.

Headphones, as the name suggests, has an over the head design with a strip connecting two speakers. Headphones in term of design are of two types “on-ear headphones” and “over the ears headphones”. There is not much difference between these two types of headphones except the size of cushioning and speakers.

Earphones (aka in-ear headphones) are relatively smaller than the headphones. Size of speakers is also small and are meant to be placed inside the canal of ears. Earphones are various sizes and designs but earphones with buds and without earbuds are main types.

2. Driver size and sound output.

Sound output means the loudness of sound which an earphone produces. Generally, headphones have a larger driver unit with a large sound output as compared to earphones. This is because headphones are placed over the ear and earphones are inserted into the canal. Small sound output is produced by earphones because even that small sound output can be heard clearly.

A driver may be referred to a small speaker inside an earphone/headphone which converts electrical signals into vibrations and thus produces sound. The larger drivers will have larger sound output as compared to the small drivers. The size of drivers is referred to as the diameter of that small speaker which is present in earphones/headphones. As I said above headphones has to produce more loud music as compared to earphones so generally the size of drivers of headphones is larger than that of earphones.

3. Comfort and flexibility.

Headphones with good cushioning are comfortable to wear whereas in-ear earphones may start aching your ear canal (again some exceptions are there).

I am addicted to listening to music before going to bed. Listening to music with over-ear headphones may be the worst music experience. Earphones look less awkward when worn and chances of not noticing them are also more. Headphones are also bulky and take more space as compared to earphones.

4. Noise Isolation and sound leakage.

Earphones have better sound isolation than headphones. A pair of perfectly fitted earphone blocks the outer sound like hell. Whereas headphones (doesn’t matter how much costly) will tend to pass the sound through its cushioning. Earphones produce less sound than that of headphones so the sound leakage from them is also less. Headphones at higher volume often leak sound to the surroundings because of larger sound output.

5. Sound quality.

Sound quality is a matter of personnel preference some people may find earphones sounding good or some may call it bad too. Although if we consider on paper specifications then definitely headphones provide better frequency response and a wide frequency range. A headphone sounds clear at high volumes whereas an earphone can start muffling the sounds. Again let me remember you one can find a good pair of earphones which sounds better than a low-end cheap headphone or vice-versa.

6. Which is safe headphones or earphones?

Listening to music on larger volumes can damage the hearing capacity whether its a headphone or earphone. According to an article published in Atlanta hearing doctor, they say that using earphones is more dangerous than headphones. As the earphones sit inside the canal and length of contact is very less which may affect hearing capacity.

  • Conclusion

From the above comparison, it is unfair to decide the clear winner and after reading the above points we leave the decision at you. Tell us in the comment section what you chose according to your needs. If you are looking for a good pair of earphones than don’t forget to check our list of best earphones under 1000 Rs in India.


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