There are many different varieties of headphones, and with this variation comes some confusing subject terminology. Even the most knowledgeable people sometimes struggle to comprehend all of the terms and phrases used when talking about audio peripherals. We have made a list of different variations of headphones, and what they are used for.
Headphones: They have a strap that goes your head, and the earcups themselves usually go on or over your ear. They have drivers, or speakers, in the ear-cups and their main purpose is for audio consumption.
Headsets: Headsets are just like headphones, but they have a microphone built in. They can be used for a whole range of things, such as communication in call centers or talking to friends.
Earbuds: These are sometimes called referred to as earphones and ear pods and they are miniature headphones. They go inside of your ear and they are great for portable use. They are usually less powerful, as they have smaller drivers, and they sometimes include an in-line microphone.
So which one of the three is best for you?
Earbuds vs Headphones
Earbuds are excellent if you like to consume audio, whilst you are on the move. They offer fantastic sound quality, depending on the earbuds you purchase, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. You can get Active Noise-Cancelling earbuds, which are perfect for isolating sound and for use in noisy places. You can also get wireless earbuds, and some of those also feature Active Noise-Cancelling technology, which is perfect for sporting activities because there is no cable awkwardly tugging on your ears.
On the other hand, headphones are also fantastic in some cases, and although they are not that portable, they offer far superior audio quality. Their larger case can accommodate far more technology, and this results in sounds that will blow you away. Just like earphones, there are also wireless variants, however, these versions are far more superior to the earbuds. They have a stronger signal, which carries stronger audio, and the ANC variants also have far superior technology. As well as the option for active noise-cancellation, they also have thicker ear cups, providing far more passive noise-cancellation.
Overall it is hard to compare earphones and headphones because they both are for very different uses. Earbuds are aimed towards people on mobile devices who are in need of mobile headphones, and they are also far more useful for sports enthusiasts and athletes. If you are interested in which of the two to buy, we suggest you assess what you will use them for. This will give you a clearer picture about which one will suit you better, as they are not that similar.
Gaming headsets vs headphones
Gaming headsets are much, much more similar to headphones, and they can largely be used in place of one another. Gaming headsets are just like headphones, although they have a microphone, for communication, and their design is often aimed at gamers. Gaming headsets can also be wireless, and some also have ANC. They are often larger and bulkier because they are designed for prolonged use in mind, so they have more padding and larger headbands.
Like we mentioned when comparing headphones to earbuds, headphones have brilliant sound quality. In some cases, headsets can surpass this quality as they occasionally use a USB connector. When they are using USB they can use software to change things like the bass etc. based on the user’s personal preference. They are also more suited towards gaming, as you would expect, and they can feature surround sound, which will immerse you in the gameplay.
Overall headphones and gaming headsets are a much closer match, and there are many things to consider when you are choosing between them. Firstly, if you predominately listen to music and audio on a computer or laptop, I would hand down recommend a gaming headset. If you need a wireless gaming headset, you should get one too, as they do a pretty good job. They do their job perfectly, and for computers, they are the best match. Headphones are better if you would like a lighter, smaller device. I would recommend a gaming headset in most cases as they offer much more comfort and a better experience for gamers.
What do I need to consider when buying a pair of headphones?
There are a few things you should consider in order to decide upon the best product for you, so we have outlined the best characteristics of all three:
- Larger drivers, offering louder, clearer sound
- Often the most premium out of the three, and there are far more headphones to choose from
- Can feature wireless technology, as well as Active and Passive Noise-Cancellation
- More comfortable for long use, as they have more padding
- They often have a unique design and they can be customized. For example, some include programmable LED lights, as well as macro keys on the side
- They feature a microphone, which is great for communicating with your team in games, as well as professional use like music recording
- They can also be wireless
- Earphones are the most portable out of the three, and they are best for mobile devices.
- They are small and compacts, however, they can become extremely uncomfortable over long periods of time
- They can feature wireless and ANC technology although the passive Noise-Cancellation they offer is very minimal