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Which one to choose: In-ear, On-ear or Over-the-ear headphone?

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  • 4 min read

Headphones come in varying shapes and sizes, and it’s always natural to be confused which one will fit your needs better when going for the next buy — more so now since companies keep coming up with new technologies to enhance the performance of their headsets. There are three varieties of headphones from which you can select the right pair of headphones.

  • In-ear (commonly known as earphones)
  • On the ear headphones
  • Over the ear headphones

Each headphone comes with its pros and cons. Here we discuss the major differences between the three.

Also read: Expensive wired earphones vs cheap wireless earbuds

In-ear Earphone

Commonly known as earphones, in-ear headphones are the most common way of listening to music on the go. They are pocket- friendly and are compact. There are two sub-categories of the in-ear headphones or earphones, the one which fit deeper in your ear canal and creates a tighter seal and the other one that stays on the outside of the ear canal.

You need to find the right fit for if you want to go with in-ear headphones. Almost all in-ear headphones use a fitted design to provide better sound quality and isolation, but you can find the older style of earphones. Apple AirPods is one of the most famous traditional styled in-ear headphones.In-ear earphones vs On-ear headphones vs Over-ear headphones They also come with a built-in mic, volume control, and other options depending on the product you choose. Here are some good in-ear headphones/earphones:

Also read: Apple AirPods 2: Are they worth it?

On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are an in-between option for large headphones and compact in-ear headphones. On-ear headphones sit on your ear instead of resting in the ear canal. They have larger drivers than the in-ear counterparts and provide better sound quality.

Using on-ear headphones is the next best option for the in-ear version. Some models of this category can be folded and while others sit around the neck when not in use. Some of them come with a hard carrying case, depending entirely on the company manufacturing them.

In-ear earphones vs On-ear headphones vs Over-ear headphones

Photo by Tomasz Gawlowski

They provide good noise isolation; The cups of the headphones sit right on the ears. For better sound isolation, you should be going for the tighter fit, but it comes with a trade-off with comfort as it will get uneasy during long hours of use if they are too tight.

Here are some good options for on-ear headphones:

Also read: Bose 700 vs Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones

Over-the-ear Headphones

According to their name, over-the-ear headphones cover the entire ear. They provide superb noise isolation, great sound quality because of large drivers and are very comfortable for prolonged usage. These headphones sit on the head and don’t press against the ear canal or crush the ear.

Being the most comfortable and providing the best sound quality, the over-the-ear headphones have their cons as well. These headphones are large compared to any other variety of headphones. They are best if you want to use them at home but are not convenient at the go.

In-ear earphones vs On-ear headphones vs Over-ear headphones

Photo by Blaz Erzetic

To get the best out of these kinds of headphones, you might need to use a good headphone amp to make the music come alive. Over-the-ear headphones are costlier the other type of headphones. There is no limit to the cost of these devices. They are bulky, and you need the proper equipment to make the best out of them.

Here are some good over-the-ear headphones to consider:

You need to consider a lot of things while choosing your headphones, such as your music or audio source, portability, cost, and comfort. Spending too much money on headphones and using it to its full capabilities is just a waste of money. Choose the product that ticks all your requirements.

Also read: 10 best wireless headphones under INR 10,000


Akshit Kansal

A BTech student whose interest lies in automobiles, tech, music, coding and badminton.