In-Ear Headphones vs. Earphones (Earbuds) — Is There a Difference?

In-Ear Headphones vs. Earphones (Earbuds) — Is There a Difference?

First, let me tell you that everything you thought you knew about earbuds until now is wrong. Well, it probably is anyway. There is so much confusion surrounding the topic of earbuds and earphones, and it’s completely understandable.

We often refer to each of the types as the other, interchanging the terms as though they are exactly the same thing, but they are not.

In-ear headphones are also known as earphones, and their earbud counterpart is actually completely different. In this quick earphones guide, we show you how and why. 

What are In-Ear Headphones? 

These have been made to rest inside the ear, with a tighter fit that offers a good level of security. They also come in different sizes a lot of the time, with extra tips so that you can adjust them to fit your ears perfectly.

In addition to reaching further into your ear canal, they also come with cushioning for a fit that is more comfortable. They can fall out if the fit is too loose, but because of the size selections, this is unlikely to happen. 

Also Read: Most Comfortable Headphones

What are Earbuds?

These are designed to be held by the concha ridge of your ear, keeping them in place at all times, and while some models come with cushioning, the vast majority have none at all.

They tend to be designed as a one size fits all, which can make them uncomfortable for some, and if your concha ridge is not shaped exactly, you may find that they fall out a lot.

This is why models that are used for exercise tend to have loops or wings to help them stay secure and in place. 

Further Reading: Best Bluetooth Earbuds

What’s the Difference Between the Two? 

In the sections where we explain what each type is, we have gone over a couple of major differences, which we will recap quickly here. Earbuds don’t go into the ear and are instead held in place by your concha ridge, whereas earphones sit deeper in the canal for a better fit.

Earbuds don’t usually come with cushioning and are one size fits all, but earphones have cushioning and tips to adjust the size according to what is more comfortable.

Earbuds allow for ambient noise to come in, which means that you can hear your surroundings while you are walking or exercising – keeping you aware.

In many ways, this provides you with a level of safety, but if you want time to focus more in your music, then the earphones are better at blocking outside noise out so that you have a little peace.

Both models can lack security at times, but each of them comes with the option to pick up models that come with loops or wings for better attachment while you are moving around.

Earphones do have more diversity in this area though, and you will discover a wider selection as well as different wire varieties. Earbuds are often cheaper to buy than earphones, and a lot of this is because of their basic design.

Even the best quality ones tend to be lower in price than earphones, so they are worth it if you are on a budget. With earphones, there are some affordable ones out there, as well as those that reach prices you won’t believe when you see them. 

To Conclude 

Once you learn the difference between earbuds and earphones, everything becomes a lot clearer, and we hope that you have achieved this sense of clarity with the help of our guide.

There are places where the differences are subtle, and others where they are quite overwhelming, so this may also be a great way for you to figure out which one will end up working best for you.

As always, your thoughts and feedback are appreciated, so please leave a comment for us in the section below. 

About the author

Tim Rhodes

As well as being Chief editor here at - Dan is a freelance writer and blogger, as well as tech, loves a chilled weekend river fishing with his mates.