Headphones and earbuds are considered personal items as they’re something you would wear for a long period of time amongst other audio products.
Hence it is important that you understand what you’re looking at when choosing a pair of headphones or earbuds. Their quality, comfort, and usability can all make a difference in your user experience.
So today we’ll be talking about headphones and earbuds, what’s better for you, and what you should look out for.
Like every product you buy, headphones and earbuds have strengths and weaknesses each on their own, and the choice between one over the other solely depends on what, when, where, and how you’ll be using them.
Do you want something that is lightweight and water-resistant for a workout, or do you need one that comes with noise cancellation so you’re not easily distracted during online lessons or meetings.
Generally speaking, over-ear headphones have larger audio drivers (ranging from 20mm to 50mm), therefore they tend to produce a much better sound quality than a pair of earbuds could, especially the bass.
Noise isolation is another advantage of the headphones. Even though most earbuds come with noise-cancellation functions, the over-ear headphone’s innate ear-encompassing design adds an extra level of isolation, providing you with the focus you need when working or learning online.
Some headphones that are specifically designed for kids also come with a protective function that curbs the volume at 85dB, which prevents loud bursts of sound that can cause hearing damage.
The encompassing nature of a headphone, with its headband, is also more comfortable overall as the weight and pressure are evenly distributed around the ear.
You may also want to further enhance the comfort by buying a wireless version, that way, you’re truly free to enjoy the best quality sound without literally being ‘tied’ down.
This is where the over-the-ear headphones differ the most from earbuds. When it comes to sound quality, comfort, and battery life, over-ear headphones are definitely a very good choice, but mobility-wise, they’re obviously heavier than earbuds and less convenient to carry around.
The quality of earbuds nowadays is getting better with technology, from noise-cancellation to truly wireless options. But with its smaller audio driver (less than 16mm in most cases), technology can only do so much for earbuds to match that of the over-ear headphones.
Earbuds with superb sound quality do exist though, but often at a price much higher than a headphone of a similar spec.
This is a subjective area, why?
Because earbuds are worn by putting them into your ear canal, different people have different ear shapes and sizes.
Unlike over-ear headphones that have less of a fitting problem, earbuds can be uncomfortable if you have smaller ears, or fitting can be a problem for those with bigger ears.
But do not despair, many big brands have their design thought out and most provide a variety of insert sizes to allow you to change to the one that fits you the most.
Many also have a fin design that provides a nicer fit and prevents the earbuds from falling out of your ear.
This is where earbuds can easily outshine the headphones in a comparison challenge hands down.
By far, earbuds are the only go-to for active users, be it going to the gym or a jog in the park. Earbuds are extremely portable, lightweight, and water-resistant, though their battery life is shorter, most come with a carry case that doubles as a charging port.
Wired or Wireless
Again, this would depend on what you’re using your headphones for. A lot of the concerns when it comes to choosing between wired and wireless have something to do with the connection stability of wireless headphones. But with many brands upping their game with Bluetooth 5.0, this becomes less of a concern.
With over-ear headphones, if you’re buying a wireless version, be sure to check if the headphones come with a 3.5mm jack for connecting to a cable. Not only will this provide you with better connectivity when needed, it also allows you to continue listening even when the power is used up.
From a personal point of view, over-ear headphones and earbuds are not meant to replace one another but to complement each other based on your particular needs during the point in time.
Over-ear headphones are very suitable for indoor usage where sound quality is important when you really want to enjoy your music or listen in on something when sound quality matters.
The earbuds, on the other hand, are the most portable device you can have when you’re on the run when you’re moving in-between places for meetings, or out in the gym where mobility and functionality outweigh sound quality.
I hope the above shed some light on what you should go for the next time you’re out shopping for a pair of headphones.
Rock On nn/,