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Earphones vs Headphones: Which Ones are Better?

Posted on 17 September 2021

With more and more new technologies and gadgets available on the market, it’s difficult not to get lost in all its vastness. And when it comes to headphones, we really need to consider our needs for that one specific purchase. Some may think that there’s no real difference between the buds and the over-the-ear headphones, after all, they serve the same purpose – you can listen to music or podcasts and that’s it, really. Why would you stress about something else? But not everybody has the same point of view. There’s a great majority of us who think that identifying the differences and similarities between the two is essential when making a decision. Let’s take a look at both types of these gadgets and decide which ones would be more suitable for our needs.


First are foremost, what are earphones? We all know what they look like, they’ve been around for years, however, it would be useful to point out that nowadays the appearance of the earphones has changed tremendously. Very often we tend to come across just the two buds and no wire, which means that they connect to your device via Bluetooth, or in other words, wirelessly. Of course, there are still traditional wired earphones available on the market, but they are becoming less and less popular.

Now, there are two types of earphones that you need to know about: in-ear monitors (IEMs) and standard earbuds. To simplify this for you, it’s going to be enough to say that IEMs are designed in such a way that they go directly into your ear canal, while standard earbuds sit on the inner part of the ear. No matter the design, both are supposed to deliver the audio directly into the ear of a recipient but to make the visualisation process easier, let’s take a look at Gear Geek Earbuds Pod 2, which happen to be standard earbuds and Gear Geek Earbuds Pod Pro, which are IEMs.

The most amazing thing about the earphones, however, no matter the type, is that they are small and portable, so you can take them anywhere with you. If you’re in a rush, just put them in your pocket or throw them into your bag – you won’t feel the weight of them there either way. That’s definitely a massive advantage when it comes to the earphones.


Headphones, unlike the earphones, aren’t so portable and small. Essentially, they are just two loudspeakers which are connected to each other by a band. You can’t really put them in your pocket and forget you have them, but at least you can style them by wearing them around your neck when you’re not listening to music.

Just like the earphones, headphones come in different types. Let’s have a look at the two most common ones: over-ear and on-ear headphones. Let’s start with the over-ear type. These headphones are typically larger and heavier in size as they are designed with an intention to cover your ears completely, so they might have more padding on the earpads or on the band. Moreover, they are great if you want to really conceal all that noise around you and forget about your surroundings.

On-ear headphones, on the other hand, are smaller in size, as they are designed to only sit on your ears, instead of fully covering them. There’s less padding, so they are generally lighter and somewhat more portable. That being said, however, it’s important to note that after using them for a longer period of time, you might experience some discomfort due to the pressure of the headphones. So really, are they all that convenient?

"Music is the only thing I’ve ever known that doesn’t have any rules at all."

- Josh Homme

Which ones are better?

It’s clear that the purpose of the earphones and the headphones is to deliver quality audio. However, in order to know which ones to choose, you need to establish your primary need. First of all, consider the sound quality you’ll be getting. Do you want something with a nice bass, or a simple crisp sound would be enough? While it is true that in most cases headphones outperform the earphones, the sounds quality hugely depends on the model. So, ideally, read the reviews and if you have a chance, test them out – this way you’ll have a good base and you’ll be able to determine what is better for you.

Next, portability. As we have mentioned before, the earphones are so comfortable because they are small, and you can carry them everywhere you go. Of course, headphones can be used on the go as well, however, you need to take into the consideration that they will take up more space. What’s more, after a while they might even get difficult to carry around as they also tend to weight more than the earphones.  

Lastly, the price. Usually, you would find the earphones to be cheaper than the headphones, although the price, again, largely depends on the model. Set up your budget, do your research and see how much you’re willing to spend on a good set. After all, it’s your decision what you’re going to be using for the following few months. What you want to do, is pick something that will last you for as long as possible, that would have a decent audio quality, and would be comfortable. That’s a lot you need to take into consideration.

To sum up, there’s no easy answer when it comes to choosing earphones or headphones. Frankly, it all depends on what you want it to function as, what your budget is, and what is your general preference. Some people would never wear headphones in public as they’re too big or too loud. Others, on the other hand, would not even consider investing in earbuds, thinking they are close to being useless. There are people on both sides of the spectrum, but it doesn’t mean that one group is wrong and the other is right. As humans we tend to have our own preferences, so the choice (an informed one!) is in our own hands.

Stay tuned for more useful and varied Gear Geek resources in the coming weeks and months, including guides on our new and exciting products.

Thank you!

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