Earbuds vs Headphones – What’s the Difference?

Earbuds vs Headphones

Ear buds and headphones can liven up music that is playing on cell phones or other portable gadgets with music players and enhance users’ listening experiences. Have you ever realized that some songs, when you listen to them via your normal radio are not as pleasant as when you do, through a quality set of ear buds or headphones? If you want to enjoy all your songs to the fullest, you have to invest in good ear buds or headphones.

Ear Buds vs Headphones – What’s the Difference

Knowing how to distinguish between ear buds and headphones is essential when shopping for the right piece of in-ear or over-ear music listening equipment. That said, a set of ear buds could be a better option than headphones or vice versa, depending on your needs and preferences. If you do not know the differences between ear buds and headphones, here are some:

1. Ear Buds and Headphones Go In and Over the Ears, Respectively

The first fundamental difference between ear buds and headphones is how these types of audio devices are worn. For instance, ear buds go in, whereas headphones over the ears.

2. Ear Buds Have Smaller Transducers Compared to Headphones

A transducer is the tiny speaker that is incorporated inside both ear components of an ear bud or headphone. The fact that ear buds go in ears means they have transducers and ear components, in general, small enough to fit inside listeners’ ears.

Headphones, on the other hand, have ear components large enough to cover the ears of listeners. After all, these music listening equipment pieces need to cover the external part of your ears in order to be properly effective.

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3. Headphones Have a Headband Ear Buds Do Not

Another fundamental difference between headphones and ear buds is that the former come with a headband whereas the latter do not. Headphones require this feature, which allows for proper placement of the transducers over the wearer’s ears. The band is designed to rest on top or behind the listener’s head.

Earphones, on the other hand, do not require a headband since their transducers will properly fit in the wearer’s ears. Plus, the in-ear design ensures their transducer components will not fall out of ears easily.

4. Headphones Are More Powerful Than Earphones

There is no getting away from the fact that headphones are generally more powerful than ear buds. Part of this is because this over-ear music listening pieces of equipment boast larger transducers compared to their in-ear counterparts. Gamer and PC users are choosing this type of powerful PC headsets for their gaming activities, music and calling.

Earphones, on the other hand, are weaker than headphones due to the size of their transducers, which needs to be smaller, in order to fit inside wearers’ ears.

5. Headphones Are Less Comfortable than Ear Phones

Headband components for some headphones present a major setback in terms of the comfort capabilities of these over-ear audio listening accessories. So are their respective ear pad designs. Some headphones feature very tight, inelastic headbands with hard ear pads that will press hard on wearers’ ears, causing too much discomfort, especially if worn for long durations.

While earphones can also be relatively uncomfortable, especially if worn for many hours, the discomfort they can cause is less than that which headphones can. Thanks to the ear pad design, which ensures ear pads go in as opposed to over the ear.

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6. Headphones Are Stronger than Ear Buds

Headphones have thicker cables made of stronger materials compared to ear buds. Additionally, these music listening accessories have a harder ear component casing than earphones. This can be attributed to the fact that they go over as opposed to in the wearers’ ears, hence the extra hardiness for the transducer casing is necessary.

Ear buds, on the other hand, have thinner cables made of weaker rubber or plastic materials compared to their above counterparts. Since their ear components are supposed to be more comfortable than those of headphones due to the in-ear design factors, the use of soft materials for those components is key. This makes their ear components more comfortable and less hardy than headphones’.

We are seeing a few brands starting to produce ear buds that are as strong as traditional headphones. These earphones have relatively strong cables and other components without reduced comfort levels. Some of them even have advanced capabilities only high-end PC headphones had such as Bluetooth.

The best part is these ear buds are not as costly as they may sound. After all, I found plenty of Bluetooth earbuds under $50 with advanced capabilities that are retailing for much less than you could imagine.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand some fundamental differences between ear buds and headphones, you can safely buy the right music listening equipment according to your needs and preference. For instance, if durability is what you are looking for, narrow your list down to headphones. However, if comfort is your top priority, shop for a good set of ear buds as opposed to headphones.