Over ear headphones vs earbuds – it’s the question every music lover or audiophile is asking themselves.
Which one should you choose?
Well, you’ve come to the right place, but let’s start with the basics.
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.
When deciding between over the ear headphones vs earbuds, it helps to know a little bit about the basics of each.
Overear headphones or onear headphones are kind of like cars – it’s easy to find a favorite and stay with what you like.
It’s like getting a Range Rover driver to trade in their keys for a Ford Escape. It’s probably not going to happen.
However, with a huge variety of overtheear headphones to select from and rapid advancements in inear headphone comfort and sound quality, the choice must be made.
How to Choose
If you really want the best fit for you, you need to understand the differences between over ear headphones vs earbuds and the strengths of each.
Some people don’t even choose between over the ear headphones vs earbuds and actually use both types depending on what they’re doing.
You might end up doing the same, but you’re here for an answer to the over ear headphones vs earbuds question, and we aim to deliver.
Let’s start by looking at the comfort, sound quality, noise cancellation, and portability of each.
When choosing headphones or earphones, comfort is one of the first things you should consider, and with earbuds and inear models, comfort is even more important.
After all, since you’re going to likely be wearing them for extended periods of time, they should be comfortable to wear.
Over ear headphones can either be very comfortable to wear or very uncomfortable.
The key is to find a pair with a nice, thickly padded headband, comfortable earcups with sweatproof properties, and a design with evenly distributed weight.
Since they’re inserted in the ear canal, anything not silicone, foam, or any other soft, custom-formed material and shape will be uncomfortable to wear.
Although some people argue that most earbuds will cause discomfort, it’s worth checking out a few different styles for yourself to come up with your conclusion.
If the way your headphones sound is really important to you, which it probably is, then a pair of overear headphones may be best.
Some of the best wired and wireless headphones are over or onear models as they’re known to provide the best possible and most consistent sound.
That said, there are some in-ear headphones that sound great in their own right and allow you to increase the volume as well.
In fact, some of the most accurate sounds come from earbuds.
However, most are known to be finicky and offer less bass, and since they’re inserted in the ears, they’re unable to provide any real acoustic effects.
Whether you’re looking for the best earplug headphones for talking on the phone or someone who listens to music, keeping out background noise is a must.
Over ear headphones naturally provide a lot of noise cancellation, but their noise cancelling abilities differ from one model to the next.
The best noise cancelling models use external microphones to create inverted waveforms that remove environmental noise, giving you nothing but crisp, clear tunes.
In ear headphones like earbuds are also able to reject outside noise.
However, since they’re inserted in the ear canal, they do so simply by blocking out outside sounds and not by using active noise cancelling technology.
Depending on their fit, some models are better at this than others.
When discussing over the ear headphones vs earbuds and audio equipment in general, portability is another key consideration.
You can take over ear headphones with you just about everywhere you go, which makes them portable.
However, they take up quite a bit more space than a pair of earbuds, wired or wireless, while earbuds are the epitome of portability.
Just stick them in your pocket and you’re good to go.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – our top five picks for the best earbuds and over ear headphones on the market today.
Our TOP 5 Over Ear Headphones vs Earbuds!
“Good Sound at Cheap Price”
Our Rating: 4.0
At under $10, the Panasonic ErgoFit Earbud Headphones are super affordable, ultra-comfortable, and deliver good overall sound quality for the price.
That said, the biggest thing these Panasonic earbuds have going for them is their cheap price.
Since price is a chief concern for anyone doing their over ear headphones vs earbuds research, we included this at the top of our list.
Despite being the type of earbuds you would pick up at an airport because you left your others at home, these Panasonic’s fit surprisingly well.
This is due to their ErgoFit design, which features soft and squishy silicon tips attached to cone-like backs.
Are they the best earplug headphones ever made in terms of fit and comfort?
Probably not, but they’re comfortable enough, especially at such a cheap price.
On a side note, they’re also wired, so if you’re looking for a wireless earbud, these aren’t it.
Part of the reason for their comfortable fit is the variety of insert sizes to choose from.
Let’s face it; each one’s ears are different.
With three different sizes of ear inserts, the Panasonic ErgoFit Earbud Headphones help ensure you get the best possible fit for your ears.
The large worked best for me and kept snuggly in place during workouts.
Audio Quality Not Bad
Masquerading as low-priced, poor-quality earbuds, these Panasonic’s produce surprisingly good sounds.
While they can’t compete with over ear headphones when comparing wireless headphones vs earbuds in terms of sound quality, it’s pretty darn good.
The bass is strong and deep.
Aside from that, the sound quality is just about spot on with what you would expect for the price.
Another feature of the Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones worth talking about is their remote control.
It’s a tiny inline remote with a button for playing music, pausing music, and controlling the mic.
Although it would be nice if it included volume controls, having a separate remote at all is a plus.
“Excellent Overall Quality and Design”
Our Rating: 4.5
You’ll see a few big names in this over the ear headphones vs earbuds review, but Mpow isn’t one of them.
Nevertheless, the Mpow 059 Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones deliver the goods, earning them a place front and center in the discussion.
With a 40mm neodymium driver, CSR chip, and a contoured around-the-ear cushion design, these headphones produce hi-fi stereo sound.
The sound is dynamic and full at very level with nice lows, mids, and highs.
You can just kick back, put your feet up on the foot rest, and lose yourself in your tunes.
The Mpow 059 headphones don’t use active noise cancellation like many of the other great headphones and earbuds in this onear vs inear review.
Instead, they use passive noise isolation.
While this doesn’t completely cancel noise like active noise cancellation, it quiets most of it without damaging the sound and draining the battery.
Memory Protein Ear Cushions
Made with special memory protein, the ear cushions on these Mpows are some of the most comfortable around.
Unlike most earbuds, you can wear them for hours on end for some serious musical enjoyment.
Plus, the ear cushions create an excellent seal to keep outside noise out and the music in.
Since they’re made of memory protein, however, they must be stored in a cool dry place to prevent cracking and early signs of wear.
An especially unique feature of the Mpow 059 Headphones is their foldable design.
In addition to being softly padded for comfort and featuring a stainless steel slider for the perfect fit, they also fold up.
When not in use, you can fold them up to save desk space or take with you on the go.
They even come with their own travel bag.
That’s right; they seemed to have thought of everything.
Wired or Wireless
Speaking of thinking of everything, these headphones are also both wired and wireless.
On wired mode, you can use the provided audio cable to listen to music for hours on end.
If you don’t like wires, we don’t blame you, and neither do the folks at Mpow.
When wireless, you can get up to 20 hours of music and talking time per charge, which is much longer than other assistive listening devices.
In fact, a quick 10-minute charge provides two of hours of play, so they’re great headphones for at home, work, or anywhere else.
Mpow 059 Headphones also provide hands-free calling.
Thanks to their built-in microphone, control buttons, and Bluetooth 4.1 technology, you can make and receive calls, adjust the volume, change tracks, and more.
“Expensive But Worth It”
Our Rating: 4.5
With a supremely refined fit, sweat resistance, and active noise cancellation, they’re what many consider the masters of the wireless earbud universe.
When shopping for a new earbud or headphone, fit and sound should both be priorities.
In terms of fit, the Apple AirPods Pro earbuds are arguably the best earplug headphones in the business.
With them, there’s no need to worry about a loose fit or an imperfect seal.
For the first time in the history of AirPods, the new AirPods Pro now features silicon ear tips.
You not only get one set of tips – you get three.
If you’re not sure which ones to use, you can just use your phone and Apple’s “Ear Tip Fit test” to find out.
Apple AirPods Pro earbuds are as high-tech as earbuds get, and they should be at their price point.
For the money, you get three microphones, access to Siri and her hands-free features, and some serious noise cancellation technology.
This product offers cutting-edge tech and the versatility to listen to music or talk on the phone.
You can also customize your experience from an app.
Apple AirPods Pro earbuds are great for working out too.
In fact, they’re IPX4 rated.
This means, they’re not only sweat-resistant, but they’re water-resistant as well.
For you gym rats and heavy sweaters, these are for you.
Decent Sound Quality
Apple’s AirPods have never been targeted to music lovers and audiophiles, and the AirPods Pro aren’t either.
As such, they won’t provide the same quality sound as a premium pair of over-ear headphones.
However, they still manage to deliver clean, crisp, and balanced audio with plenty of volume and enough bass for most.
The Apple AirPods Pro earbuds don’t just use Bluetooth 4.0 like other earbuds.
Instead, they tap into Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
With it, you can connect the AirPods Pros faster to other devices and enjoy a more stable connection.
Bluetooth 5.0 also gives these earbuds an extended range of up to 800 feet.
This means, you can keep your phone inside on the charger while jamming out in the great outdoors
“Popular and Easy to Use”
Our Rating: 4.5
Cowin’s E7 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones cost a lot less than Apple’s AirPod Pros, but they manage to deliver great noise cancelling Bluetooth performance.
With an option to go wired or wireless at a reasonable price, they’re intriguing headphones worth checking out.
That’s what we did, and we were impressed enough to put them fourth in our over ear headphones vs earbuds review.
Since “noise cancelling” is in their name, I guess we should talk about this first.
Overall, the E7’s noise cancelling was pretty good.
They definitely don’t aren’t the best earplug headphones or compete with much more premium brands in this regard, but they do a good job.
Aside from their noise cancelling abilities, what I like most about these Cowin headphones is the simplicity of their design.
There’s a plus and minus button located on the right headphone.
You hold either button down to change the volume up or down or press once to change the song.
If you press in the middle between the two, you can start and stop whatever music you have playing.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll be impressed with the comfort and fit of these headphones.
They’re designed to be worn for hours without causing discomfort or fatigue.
The pads are soft and sized just right to comfortably fit over the ear without being too big.
However, they are pretty loose on the head, which can sometimes create a poor seal and ironically cancel out their noise cancellation.
No Sound Delay
If you’ve been doing earbuds vs in ear headphones shopping for long, then you know many wireless Bluetooth models have an issue with sound delays.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case with the Cowin E7s.
In fact, we’re happy to report there’s virtually none.
Another bad thing about Bluetooth headphones is their constant need of charging.
For Bluetooth headphones, the battery life on these is impressive.
Average users report their batteries lasting for weeks!
Decent Audio Quality
Saving the best for last on this one, let’s talk about audio quality.
When it comes to taking calls, the audio quality is just fine.
It’s also just fine when listening to music.
The mid-range and highs are average, while the bass is slightly above average.
The quality of the sound itself, however, is nice and clear, especially with noise cancellation turned on.
“Great Value and Features”
Our Rating: 4.5
Last but not least in our quest determine the best of the best in the over the ear headphones vs earbuds debate, we have the PowerLocus.
Budget-friendly, well-made, and offering great sound quality, these over ear headphones won’t disappoint.
They won’t protect your hearing either.
Want to listen to your favorite artist or band in high-definition stereo?
With noise reduction technology and specially developed software, these PowerLocus over ear headphones deliver solid, high-quality sounds.
The bass is deep and the Dynamic Power Sound feature provides superior audio quality, even with the volume cranked up.
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, these headphones connect quickly and easily.
Just slide the power button and they will begin pairing automatically.
Best of all, they’re compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Although the best earplug headphones are comfortable, they can’t match the comfort of these PowerLocus Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones.
Made with ultra-soft memory protein, the foam leather earmuffs feel almost like you’re wearing clouds.
The headband is also comfortable, and it’s adjustable to ensure a great fit.
These headphones have some serious style.
Long gone are the days of black plastic headphones.
The PowerLocus are just about as stylish as over ear headphones can get.
In addition to classic back, there are nine color and style combinations to choose from, including camo.
As far as style goes, there are options for guys and gals of all ages and tastes.
Final Thoughts on Over Ear Headphones vs Earbuds
Well, there you have it.
You now know what to look for when shopping for earbuds or headphones.
You also know all about the benefits, drawbacks, and differences of each kind.
Remember, a great set of earbuds or headphones isn’t just a tool or a toy – it’s a bit of both.
So, read this over ear headphones vs earbuds guide one more time, weigh the pros and cons of each, and get your groove on today!