Difference Between On The Ear And Over The Ear Headphones It’s easy enough to understand how you end up trying to find out the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones. After all, in this day and age of smartphones, these headphones let us listen to music without bothering the others around us. This post, it’s photos and table include links to products on other websites. If you purchase something through these links we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. CLICK To Our FULL Product Reviews Unlike the more subtle earbuds, headphones are also a lot more obvious. That means people know not to talk to you when you’re listening to music. The presence of the large headphones tells everyone that you won’t be able to hear them. Of course, you’re not done with your decision-making once you’ve opted to go with headphones over earbuds. Know the Difference Now you have to pick between the “on the ear” headphone types versus the “over the ear” versions. You better know the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones if you want the right model that suits your needs and preferences. This may seem like a very tiny difference, but it can actually have a huge impact on your audio experience. The Literal Difference True, in many ways they have similar features. You get the headband and the 2 earcups in both types of headphones. But the main difference here in the on-ear and overhear headphones showdown is literal. With the “on the ear” headphones, the earpads are smaller and so it sets literally on your ears. With the “over the ear” headphones, the earpads are big enough that they fit around your ears. Sonic Satisfaction With many people who are trying to research the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones, which version sounds better? There’s no easy answer to this. You’re probably better off to first consider the newness of the headphones you’re considering. Stay Away from Bluetooth What you really don’t want is to go with the older Bluetooth headphones even if they’re probably very cheap these days. Those obsolete models offer unreliable Bluetooth connections, and you also get too much compression for the music. You’re better off with the newer models, as these headphones offer greater connection reliability, and better audio codecs and drivers. The audio codecs are part of the software package like THX and aptX, while the drivers are the actual physical components that create the sound. These are the factors that will affect the audio quality, and not whether it’s on-ear or over-ear. Over-Ear Has the Edge However, it’s true that the over-ear may offer a better sound or musical experience. That’s because the coverage of the whole ear can lead to a more immersive audio environment. But this is a very slight advantage, and you have plenty of on-ear headphones that may offer more immersive audio settings than an over-ear model. Comfort What’s the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones when it comes to comfort? The short answer here is that in general, on-ear headphones are more comfortable. That may surprise some people, since on-ear headphones are supposed to set on the ear instead of around it. But the thing is, on-ear headphones are generally smaller and lighter in weight. On-Ear has the Edge While rumor has it that on-ear headphones can hurt after extended use, we also found that it’s not true. In fact, the over-ear headphone can strain your neck after many hours of use, especially when you look down on your smartphone when you use the headphone. On-ear models are also designed to fit on the ears, regardless of the ear size. That’s not exactly true with over-ear headphones, as you may have a problem if you have elephant ears to deal with. Top 5 Reviews: On-Ear and Over-Ear Headphones To better illustrate the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones, here are 5 excellent headphones that are worth considering: 1. Sennheiser RS120 II On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Cradle “Great Sound with Durable Battery” Our Rating: 4.0 Buy From Amazon With the charging cradle, you probably realized right away that this is a rechargeable on-ear headphone. The charging cradle is also the transmitter, which you can pair with an analog audio output (RCA jack or headphone out). This uses 2 AAA NiMH batteries, which can last up to 20 hours before you need to recharge. Those batteries will last up to 4½ years before you’d have to replace them. Wireless Connection The RF lets you connect to your music player up to 300 feet. That is great when you’re at home and you want the freedom to walk around. You can also walk into other rooms and even other floors since the RF signal goes through walls and ceilings. While this doesn’t really work with Bluetooth, you still get 3 RF channels selectors so you can pick the clearest channel. This also comes with a cable, in case you want a wired connection. Audio Quality This gives you a strong and clear bass, which isn’t a strong suit of many headphones out there. The sound is actually well-balanced, regardless of the music player you pair this with. It works with your TV too. Comfort Level This is comfy to wear with the pads on the headband and speakers, and it should fit just about all types of users. It’s lightweight too, weighing in at just 230 grams (and that weight already includes the batteries). The transmitter can be mounted on a wall (it weighs only 200 grams). The controls are also on the headphone, so you can adjust the tuning, volume, and the on/off switch. Poor Instructions The manual does offer poor setup instructions, which often leads to unsatisfactory setups. That’s why this model gets a lot of negative reviews. But many other customers offer great setup tips, and once you get it right, you’ll really love this. What We LikeLightweight and comfyConvenient controls on headphoneLong rangeGreat battery lifeNice audio qualityNot So GoodPoor setup instructions on the manualDoesn’t work with BluetoothStatic noise issues 2. PeohZarr On-Ear Headphones New Version, WGYP-063-Blue “Your On-The-Road On-Ear Headphones” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Lots of people consider headphones as a fashion accessory too. PeohZarr knows this, which is why it’s available in several colors. We went with the blue. It’s blue on the underside of the headband (the top is black) and with a blue lining around the black earpads. However, there are other color options, including a truly blue model that’s blue everywhere. Wired Connection This comes with a 1.5-meter braided cord so it doesn’t kink, while it offers a clearer sound than what you might get with an iffy wireless connection. However, this isn’t designed for TV use, as the wire just isn’t long enough. This is meant for use with your smartphone. That’s why it also comes with a microphone, so you can also use it when taking or making calls. This also folds up so it’s a lot more compact when you’re traveling with it. Sound The sound is both powerful and crisp, thanks to the 40mm drivers. The clarity is quite surprising, and it offers a lot of volume. It gives you that surround sound quality that leads to a great immersive listening experience. Your earpads also block out most of the outside noise, so you’re able to concentrate on listening to your music. You may still hear the honking of a loud car horn when you’re walking around town. However, you may want to be especially alert when you use this while crossing the street. Perfect Fit The fit of the headphone is adjustable, so you should be able to adjust it to fit you perfectly. It even fits kids nicely. The headband is nicely padded, and the cushions on your ears are super-soft. These cushions are made from protein padding, which looks and feels like leather but doesn’t need a break-in like real leather does. Lightweight The earpads also settle on your ears lightly, so you’re able to just relax and enjoy the music even for many hours. This weighs only 6.62 ounces. The controls on the headphone lets you play and pause songs, go to the previous or the next track, and answer calls. What We LikeLots of cool colors to choose fromSurround sound qualityComfy to wearStays put even while working outBlocks most of the outside noiseComes with a mic for callsNot So GoodNot for TV watchingNon-detachable cableSound escapes to outside 3. Vogek Lightweight Foldable on Ear Headset with Microphone “Surprising Sound with Low Price” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon This also comes in a wide variety of colors, with 9 color choices to pick from. We did go with the standard black, because we wanted to focus on other aspects aside from its admittedly stylish looks. Durable Wired Connection This comes with a 1.5-meter cable that doesn’t snag and get tangled around easily. There’s a spring by the connector that keeps the wire from bending to make sure the cable lasts for a good long while. This connector is also metal, which is a lot more durable than its plastic counterpart. The straight design is also more long-lasting than the L-type connector, which is more likely to end up getting damaged sooner. This is great for a smartphone or your laptop and for gaming, as we’ve tried it with the Xbox One and PS4. But the microphone doesn’t work with the PC. Good Sound This may be a very affordable set of headphones, but even audiophiles won’t sneer at the sound (especially at this price range). You get a nice, punchy bass, with full mids coming from the 40mm drivers. The highs aren’t all that harsh, either. We tried to play our usual music here, with lots of acoustic covers with plenty of headbanger music, and the highs were really good. The headphones also come with volume control. You can take calls with this too, since this comes with a mic. On-Ear or Over-Ear There’s actually a debate as to what type of headphone this is. Vogek calls this an on-ear set, but plenty of people say that the design covers their entire ear. These are mostly kids and women with smaller ears, though. In any case, the design really reduces the outside noise. Easy Portability and Storage This has swivel ear cups, while the headphone can lay flat for easier travel or storage. It doesn’t have a case though, but that’s not really all that crucial anyway. What We LikeGreat sound that audiophiles won’t mindReduces outside noiseComfy to wearStylish with lots of color optionsFoldable for easier storageMic works greatCable lasts a long timeNot So GoodNot for TV viewing at normal distanceDoesn’t come with a caseMic doesn’t work with the PC 4. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear “Cost-Effective Bluetooth Headphones” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Now we have a proper Bluetooth headphone. Also, we went with the black and red color combo as this seemed to match our liking for heavy metal music. You do have other color combinations, with up to 8 color options all in all. Bluetooth Connection This is a Bluetooth V4.1 headphone, with a 10-meter range so you can also use this while watching TV. The connection is quite stable, and while watching videos we didn’t have any latency issues. That’s to say, the lips of the actors move in sync with the dialogue. However, if the TV isn’t Bluetooth enabled then you have to buy a transmitter separately. This does come with a 3.5mm audio cable if you want a wired connection. 20 Hours That’s how long you can use this when you get a single full charge for the headphone. That full charge will take about 2.5 hours. But if you only have 10 minutes to spare before you want to use it, that’s still enough time to get a charge good for 2 hours. Of course, if you use it wired then it won’t power off. Music Quality The bad news is that this only supports the SBC audio codec, there’s no AptX or AAC. But the sound quality of the music is still good. The music doesn’t sound muffled, while the bass is solid and deep. Good Fit The ear cushion (Memory Protein) fits snugly around your ears, and it feels like skin. It’s really comfy, and those who use it with eyeglasses say that this is the most comfortable headphone they use. You do want to use this only in dry and cool settings for extended use. There is a bit of padding on the headband, and the stainless-steel slider can be used to adjust the headset for maximum comfort. This is also a foldable headphone, so it’s easier to store away or bring along on your travels. Controls This has a built-in mic, so you can take calls when you’re using this with your smartphone. You also get the volume control, though that doesn’t work when you’re wired in. That’s because the volume control is powered by the battery, which is cut when you’re wired in. What We LikeEasy Bluetooth connectionGood sound qualityComfy padding and cushionQuick chargingSturdy build qualityNot So GoodVolume control is off when wiredOnly supports SBC exclusivelyNot highly durable 5. COWINE7 Active Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones Bluetooth Headphones “The Perfect Headphones for Travel” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon This is significantly the most expensive headphone on this list, but at least we’re still in the 2-digit price range. In fact, this is still considered a budget model. But you do have to pay more to get more, and you really get a lot of good stuff with your money. This starts with the attractive looks, with 5 color options to pick from. Great Sound This comes with larger 45mm drivers. That means the vocals are clearer, the bass is cleaner, the guitars are nice and precise, and the drum beats crisply. You may even get subtle sounds and details you may never have noticed with your more affordable headphones before. Active Sound Cancelling With most of the other headphones, the cushion basically blocks the outside ambient noise. But this comes with the Active Noise Cancelling feature, which is most effective for lower frequency sounds. That means the noise cancelling great for travel, whether in planes or on the road. It really works to block out the traffic noise and the rumble of the car engine. However, you do still hear people talking. Also, it doesn’t block out snoring either. Connections This uses advanced Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. The setup is very easy, and with the Bluetooth it’s basically automatic after the first-time setup. It pairs with our laptop very quickly as well. This also comes with a 3.5mm AUX cable for when you want a wired connection. Fit and Comfort The cushion is decent and comfortable. But you may want to take a break every 2 or 3 hours, if you’re using this for the whole day. It’s lightweight enough to sit on your head while you’re doing chores around the house or walking around town. But the fit isn’t all that tight, which is why you can’t use this when you’re jogging. It’s still quite a portable set, and it even comes with a travel leather bag. Built-in 750mAh Battery With a full charge, you’re good for up to 30 hours of straight play. That’s significantly better than the 20 hours you get with other headphones. What We LikeBeautiful designLightweight and comfyTerrific sound qualityANC minimizes engine and traffic noiseEasy wireless connections30 hours on full chargeNot So GoodDoesn’t block out snoringComes off when you’re very active (like when jogging)Makes a rattling sound when shaken Difference Between On The Ear and Over The Ear Headphones: Conclusion There’s really no incorrect pick, really. Even knowing the difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones, in many ways you can’t really generalize. Yet even knowing that, here’s a neat guide on how to pick, depending on the type of person you are: Get the Right One Do you want really portable headphones with generally better battery life? If that’s the case, go with the on-ear headphones. But if you want somewhat superior audio quality with terrific active noise cancellation, go with the over-ear headphones. Of course, that also means you don’t really object to using headphones that are somewhat heavier. All in all, whatever difference between on the ear and over the ear headphones there is, pick from our list to make sure you get the best!