Which Is Right for you? In-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Headphones

In-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Headphones - Which Should You Choose?

by Bestwireless
In-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Headphones

Back then, the headphone was a thing of luxury, but nowadays it has become one of your necessities. Why not, the reasons are quite obvious as well. People tend to listen to music on their phones most of the time. No matter how good quality your phone speakers are, it is never enough to satisfy your musical taste. That is when you need a headphone. Also if you like to listen to music in public places including bus, train, mall or even office then there is no better option other than a headphone. All gamers also need a Gaming Headphone with Mic for online multiplayer games. So if you are one of those persons we mentioned earlier then you must know the different kinds of headphones.

There are three major types of headphones. They are In-Ear Headphones, On-Ear Headphones & Over-Ear Headphones. If you are willing to buy one or need to know which type of headphones you are currently using then this article can be your proper guideline. There are always some positive sides & drawbacks of every type. So, in the future, you will not face any difficulty while choosing one headphone for your day-to-day use. Just stay with us till the end.

Before we start the comparison, first you should have the exact idea regarding those three types of headphones.

What Is In-Ear Headphones?

What Is In-Ear Headphones?

In-ear headphones are the most common types of headphones that you can find. In fact, it is the most common & traditional type. Though through time there are many innovations that you will find in today’s in-ear headphones. This type of headphones is well known with many names. In fact, some of them are so unique that you may not have heard them before. For example, Earphones, earbuds, Intra-aural headphones, ear pods, IEMS, Canal Phones, etc. People use to search them on google with many names they want. Since then it is known by many names. Whatever you call it, the main theme of an in-ear headphone remains the same. There is a pair of earphones or earbuds that fit inside your ear & deliver you the music you play. It is the smallest & most used headphone of all. Right after apple launched their AirPods, the popularity of Bluetooth earbuds has reached its extreme level. There are different types of in-ear headphones available now. The most popular are Sports Earbuds, Wireless-Bluetooth Earphones, etc.

  • Cheaper price tag compared to other two
  • Both wireless & wired design
  • Earbuds are very comfortable & travel friendly
  • Compact design that fits on your pocket
  • Sports in-ear headphones come with a waterproof feature
  • Sometimes comes with noise isolation feature
  • Comfortable on ears
  • Audio quality is not the best


What is On-Ear Headphones?

What is On-Ear Headphones?

People often get confused between On-Ear Headphones & Over-ear Headphones. You may also have mistaken one with another. The reason is quite obvious because On-ear Headphones & Over-Ear Headphones both come with a headband. But On-ear headphone is a combination of both in-ear headphones & over-ear headphones. It comes with a portable & simple design which is easy to carry & also delivers great audio quality like an over-ear headphone. When you wear an on-ear headphone, it does not cover your ears completely like an over-ear headphone. Other than that it sits on your ear & delivers the music you play. That is why most of the time the on-ear headphones come with an open-back design. A good quality Open-Back Headphone is the perfect example of on-ear headphones. Those headphones are also known as Supra-Aural Headphones. On-ear headphones also come with wired & wireless features.

  • Small & ravel friendly design compared to Over-ear headphones
  • Better audio quality
  • Combination of both in-ear & over-ear headphones
  • Very comfortable for ears
  • Delivers natural & authentic audio
  • Best suit for audio mixing & editing (Only a good quality open-back headphone)
  • Bit expensive compared to the other two (Only if you are willing to buy the best one)
  • No noise isolation


What is Over-Ear Headphones?

What is Over-Ear Headphones?


This is the most favorite type of headphones for the Audiophile out there. (If you don’t know What is Audiophile then click here: What Is Audiophile-Grade Audio Quality?). Over-ear headphones are mostly used by professional gamers who are passionate about music. Those headphones have a quite big & bulky structure. It will completely cover your ears & the ear cups will deliver a comfortable fit. Having a bulky design, those headphones are not very travel-friendly. Those are mainly used for home & professional uses. This type of headphone is often known as Circumaural. The main thing that differs it from an on-ear headphone is the bigger earcups. Those ear cups will completely cover your ear to provide noise isolation. Some over-ear headphones also come with Mechanical Noise Cancelling Feature that you will not find in any on-ear headphones or in-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones also come with wired & wireless features. The wired design is always more preferable for better quality audio.

  • Best quality audio
  • May feature both noise isolation & noise cancellation
  • Best for professional use
  • Moderate price tag
  • Best for gaming
  • Comfortable fit
  • Bulky design, not very travel friendly
  • Sometimes one may cause ear hitting


In-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Headphones

Here are the key differences between those three types of headphones:

Statements In-Ear Headphones On-Ear Headphones Over-Ear Headphones
Price Low-Medium High – Very High Medium-High
Portability Very much portable Portable Not very portable
Design Not very eye-catching Very much eye-catching Eye-catching design
Size Very small Small-medium Large – Very Large
Bass Moderate Moderate-High High -Very High
Vocals Clear Very clear & natural Clear
Waterproof Very common Rare Not at all
Best Uses Regular basis & during travel Regular basis, during travel & professional use Home & professional use


Which One is Best?

If you are at this point of our article then you may want to know which type of headphones is best for you. Well, we can not exactly answer this question. But we sure can give some clues following which you will definitely find your answer. If you are looking for a budget-friendly headphone that you need for daily uses like listening to songs, receiving phone calls, using while traveling or in any public place then an in-ear headphone will be the best choice for you. But if you are willing to pay more & concerned about your stylish look as well as music quality then On-ear headphones can be the best choice for you. Though on-ear headphones are not very reliable in an over-crowded & noisy place. But for travel, office use & home use those are very reliable. If you need a headphone that sounds the best & you must use time sticks to your home then you should go for an over-ear headphone. If you are a gamer or professional steamer then this type of headphone is also the ideal one for you.

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