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Headphones and earbuds are two of the most popular devices used to listen to music. In today’s blog, I wanted to do research on these two music streaming devices and help solve the common dilemma that is choosing between them.

Before I start, I want to say there is no easy answer to this question, however choosing between headphones and earbuds really depends on what you’re using them for and what you expect out of them. One is not better than the other and each device has its pros and cons which affect the factors that you desire in a audio device such as sound quality, hearing safety, portability, etc.


When it comes to activities that involve elevated levels of movement like sports or exercise, it’s so important and I can’t stress it enough, that you choose an audio device that is wireless. Too many times have I tried going on a jog or just shooting some hoops and then tripping over the wires in my earbuds. Even with shortened wires, manually connected headphones and earbuds are not usually equipped to withstand large amounts of movement and will most likely fall out more than once, interrupting your athletic rhythm and focus.

Now that wired audio devices are crossed off, both wireless headphones and earbuds are a good option for athletics. However, this is only true if you purchase headphones that are designed for optimal movement. I’d say most headphones are subpar for athletics because many are specifically designed for gaming and style for example, which means those types of headphones will likely not be able to withstand movement and won’t provide the best sound quality during the activities. Nevertheless, If you prefer headphones for athletics, I would recommend the Sumee Stereo Sound Wireless and the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 because they’re both sweat resistant, light and have good quality.

However, when it comes down to it, I believe wireless earbuds are the best choice by far for athletics. This is because they’re light, compact and are perfect for pretty much every scenario including sports, which means you don’t have to get multiple for each different use you have for them. In addition, when playing sports that involve multiple players, wireless earbuds knock headphones out of the park because they are tiny enough that they fit into your ears and won’t interrupt the game. You don’t want lofty headphones hurting other players when they come into contact with you or them falling out and breaking because you lost balance during contact. If you’re worried about them sticking to your ears, I assure you that there are wireless earbuds that specialize in sports, but a standard Apple Airpod will do the trick almost just as well. Here are some great wireless earbuds that I recommend, the AXLOIE Wireless Earbuds, Mpow Solo Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds, the Enacfire E90 True Wirelessand the Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds


When it comes to gaming, headphones have a clear advantage over earbuds. Headphones have long been the industry standard for gamers who have always demanded the best features in the tech they use as a way to enhance their gaming abilities. This definitely includes audio as gamers want to hear what’s going on in the game and use it to beat their opponents and/or just want to get immersed in the game’s scenery with music and sound effects in the background. This is why there has been headsets created specifically for gamers with features such as an integrated microphone, bluetooth connection, aesthetically pleasing designs and incredible audio quality. For gaming, I would recommend the Beexcellent Gaming Headset, the Razer Kraken Gaming Headset and the Mpow Air SE Gaming Headset.


With regard to style/aesthetics, it’s hard to say which is the better gadget as it’s ultimately a subjective preference that is different for everyone and because most headphones and earbuds can be characterized as visually appealing. But for me, I think headphones overall, are the more aesthetically pleasing device. This is because brands like Beats and Monster specialize in the style aspect of the headphones which has led to a thin, simplistic and attractive design that will definitely grab people’s attention when you walk past them. In addition, headphones are also really great at matching and even enhancing your appearance because they pretty much double as a fashion accessory. When it comes to earbuds, there are very few stylish designs because they usually have an ugly shape to them or have addon features that make them look geeky. However, there are brands who’ve mastered the appearance of earbuds such as Apple with their sleek and simplistic design for their Apple Airpods. In addition, I’d say that wireless earbuds are definitely trendy right now and are what most people are wearing daily. That’s why when it comes down to it, it’s more of a subjective preference and something that you as a consumer should decide.


When it comes to these two factors, wireless earbuds are clearly the better option. This is because wireless earbuds are so small they can fit in your pockets and even the palm of your hands. You don’t need to carry a bag with you to put the headphones in or uncomfortably leave them on your neck for the duration you’re in. You can even wear them at all times, like in class, and it won’t cause you any trouble because they are so small that your teacher would likely not see them from far or just from looking straight at you from close. In addition, with wireless buds, they are so light that you will often find yourself forgetting that you’re even wearing them. However, some headphones have the edge on comfortability due to their smooth and cushy interior around the ears like the Philips SHP9500 Over The Ear Headphones or the Sennheiser HD 599 SE Special Edition Headset. There are also new innovations happening in the headphone world with brands like Sony and Vankyo creating foldable headphones as a way to fix their portability issue.


It’s widely known that the sound quality of high caliber headphones are unmatched compared to any type of earbuds. I don’t want to drag this article out and bore you and myself out with lines upon of lines of research that both you and I won’t understand, but brands like Sony, Beats, Mpow and Sennheiser are renowned for their high quality features such as noise cancellation, perfect sound and hearing safety. If you are a musician, a gamer, a tech enthusiast, or a person who listens to music frequently and can afford to pay over $100 for high quality headphones, I would highly recommend it. Yet, most wireless earbuds from major brands have pretty decent sound quality and the difference between them and headphones shouldn’t be too big of a deal for a casual listener.


In closing, headphones and earbuds have their strengths and weaknesses but your purchase decision really depends on the scenario you will use them in. My advice is to trust your gut feeling about choosing between the devices and if you aren’t familiar with the complicated terminology that comes in the description, go with the established brand that you know. With these established brands, it’s hard to go wrong because they’re popular for a reason; These companies specialize in the perfection of their headphones and spend millions in R&D to improve their quality, comfortability, and so forth. Just make sure that the headsets you’re buying have the features that you want and make sure that you aren’t unnecessarily breaking the bank for some expensive headphones that you have no use for.

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A writer dedicated to helping readers make the best consumer choices when it comes to tech products!

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Daniel T

Daniel T

A writer dedicated to helping readers make the best consumer choices when it comes to tech products!

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