Our guide will help you understand the key differences between earphones and headphones, and review the top brands that you should know.

As technology continues to develop, one of the things that have benefitted most is the way that we consuming audio technology. Headphones and earphones are commonplace throughout the world, people using them to listen to music, audiobooks, and so much more.

But knowing which of the two is for you and which one is right for you is essential before choosing one of those options. Knowing what comes with each one and which brand is the right one to use can mean the difference between an enjoyable audio experience and a transcendent one.

Listening to music at work can make you more productive, according to research

What is the difference between earbuds and headphones


Earbuds are the smaller option of the two. They usually won’t have a cushioning to them but they certainly can. Unlike headphones, which go over your ears, earbuds are meant to fit into your ears. Depending on the overall shape of the ridges of your ears, they might not fit securely and can fall out on a regular basis.

In addition to comfort and fit issues, most earbuds will also allow ambient noises to drift in. This can create interference when trying to hear the audio and can provide a distraction that can be annoying to have to deal with.

The one caveat is that earbuds are generally far less expensive than a quality set of headphones. If you find that you either do not use listening tools often or are particularly harsh on them, it might be difficult to make the investment in a good pair of headphones.

There are, of course, wireless earbuds that have larger earpieces. With companies like Apple and Samsung eliminating the audio jack port on their iPhone, the move to wireless earbuds has taken place.

Apple sold 35 million AirPods in 2018, currently the most popular 'hearable' brand


Headphones are much larger and fit over the entirety of your ear. While this can be a bit more cumbersome and may be uncomfortable depending on the type of headphone that you buy, it also provides a much different audio experience.

Because of the over-the-ear fit of headphones, this allows for a noise-canceling feature. Being able to eliminate the ambient noise in the environment around you can make a world of difference in the audio quality that you experience.

Speaking of audio quality, headphones have much better capabilities when providing additional audio options like bass and treble. The right pair of headphones can amplify your listening experience in a way like never before.

Most headphones are now moving into wireless territory thanks to the Bluetooth functionality that has become so popular. You can pair your headphones with your phone effortlessly and begin listening to music without a cumbersome cable hanging in your way.

As mentioned in the earbuds portion, headphones are much more expensive than their counterparts. This is due in part to the convenience of Bluetooth as well as the improved sound capabilities and the ability to cancel out ambient noises.

What are some of the best wireless headphones available?

There is a huge selection of wireless headphones on the market today and it can be difficult to know which one suits your needs best. Fortunately, this is a guide that will give you a few of the best options for the price and genre.

JBL Tune 500T

One of the most cost-effective choices on the list, these headphones are just $60. They are over-the-ear headphones that are completely wireless, using Bluetooth functionality to connect with the device of your choice.

It comes in a variety of colors for the ultimate design choice and the battery life is up to 16 hours with just two hours of recharge time. You can connect effortlessly to the device of your choosing and get an amazing audio quality that rivals some of the more expensive options that you will see.

This is one of the most cost-effective choices that you will find and the audio quality definitely will not be any different than some of the more expensive options out there.

JBL Under Armour Train

The popular audio maker has paired with the popular athletics company to bring you one of the swankiest and coolest looking options on the list. These headphones are made for those living an active lifestyle.

The sound remains outstanding even with frequent usage and they are meant to take a beating while working out or enjoying the great outdoors. Even if you are a marathoner, you can use JBL headphones for up to 16 hours at a time.

These headphones are designed by athletes for athletes and are one of the more popular options for those that lead an active lifestyle.

Bowers & Wilkins PX

These are some of the finest wireless headphones that you can buy. They are the luxury automobile of the headphone world: sophisticated, beautifully crafted, and luxurious. These stand out from those that are mass-produced like Bose and Sony.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX provides the kind of sound that makes you feel right there. It comes across clearly and in a dynamic way that makes it into an experience all itself. With 22-hour battery life, you can get unprecedented use out of these beautiful headphones.

There might not be a finer choice in headphones than these. They come with a high price tag, but rightfully so.

What are some of the best wireless earbuds out there?

If you prefer earbuds – either because of the size, you don’t like having your ears covered, or you are leaning towards a more cost-effective option – there are definitely noteworthy options available for you. Here are some of the best wireless earbuds available.

Sony WF-1000X

A bit pricier than many of the other earbud options, these are worth every penny. There is no wire connecting the earpieces nor is there one that connects to your phone; this is completely wireless. These earbuds also come with a variety of different sized ear tips so that you can get the best possible fit for your ears.

With your smartphone, you can control a variety of options on these earbuds. Things like pairing, rewinding, skipping, volume control, and more can be controlled with just a few taps on your app. This is a highly versatile yet easy pair of earbuds.

Bose SoundPort

One of the better sounding earbuds on the list, you get a lot more bass without having to sacrifice your mid or high range tones in the process. These are excellent earbuds for working out, giving you outstanding sound while meant to take a beating.

They are not totally wireless: they have Bluetooth connectivity like most smart earbuds but they have a connecting cord between each of the earbuds. This can tuck behind your ears so they don’t intrude on your workout and become an annoyance.

The Bose SoundPort gives you the ease of wireless earbuds with the sound of a great wireless headphone. Never worry about whether these will hold up during your next workout or outing.

AKG N5005

The price tag is staggering ($1,200) but there may not be a finer option for wireless earbuds on the market today. Given their size, this might be the very ceiling for quality earbuds. With a high-resolution sound, they are highly tunable and come with 4 changeable filters to find your optimal sound.

Simply put: there are no better earbuds on the market today. These are the Cadillac of earbuds and match even the highest of quality headphones without the size that can be cumbersome in a good pair of headphones.

The price is worth it: these are excellent earbuds.

Which is the best choice for me?

This ultimately comes down to your personal preference. There are a lot of features in each that are comparable and it will ultimately depend upon the price point of the audio equipment that you are purchasing.

Generally speaking, earbuds are the cheaper option but they may not have some of the features that a good headphone has. Things like omitting ambient noise, providing quality bass that doesn’t sound tinny, and adjustable settings are not necessarily common in earbuds. They are certainly available in the more expensive options, but you likely won’t see them in your cheaper models.

With headphones, even a cheap pair will provide great sound quality as well as the ability to block out ambient noise. The quality of a low-end headphone versus a low-end earbud can be pretty drastic. You are also likely to get far more adjustable features with a pair of headphones than you would with a pair of earbuds.

There is the matter of comfort level for each. Some might not like having earbuds directly in their ears while others might not enjoy having their ears covered by headphones. The comfort fit is unique to you and that is why you should try out multiple options before making your choice.

From a cost standpoint, earbuds are likely to be the far more cost-effective way to go, especially if you are on a serious budget. If you have a few more bucks to spend, getting better quality audio and more versatile options will make the headphones the better choice.

It ultimately comes down to personal preferences. Comfort and audio quality are different for each of us and some might be willing to sacrifice a little in one of those areas to get more in the other. There are pricier options out there that can meet all of your needs and provide you with the kind of audio listening experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

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