Normally, headphones are classified as in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear based on their sizes and ways of wearing.
This headphone guide explains the differences in size and sound quality among these 3 types of headphones. Then we explain whether you should get an in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones to meet your needs (and comfort).
Why do you need to know the differences among in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones?
When buying a new headphone, the first question you need to ask yourself is what “size” of the headphone should be.
In the market, there are roughly 3 types of headphones based on their sizes (both wired headphones and Bluetooth headphones):
- in-ear headphone (aka earphone, or earbud);
- on-ear headphone; and
- over-ear headphone.
The differences among in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones are NOT just about the size.
Quite often, a certain type of headphone may be better than others for a special group of users (e.g. people with glass), or better for special occasions (e.g., for running).
So, it is important to know the differences among in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones to get the headphone that is most suitable for you when you plan to get a new headphone.
Size matters: the obvious difference among in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones
In-ear headphone, aka earbud or earphone, is the smallest among the three. For example, Samsung Galaxy Buds, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite Sport are all in-ear wireless earbuds.
Because of the small driver (aka transducer), a unit that converts an electrical signal into sound (air pressure), in-ear headphone is small enough to fit inside your ears.
The on-ear headphone usually uses larger drivers. But the padding is not large enough to cover your ears. Instead, the headphone sits on your ears without fully covering them.
The over-ear headphone has a large enough padding to cover your ear. Manufactures can put larger drivers in over-ear headphones thanks to the additional space.
Sound quality difference among in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones
When sound quality is concerned, size is NOT the major factor.
Many headphone buyers have the wrong impression: the bigger driver means better sound quality. This is wrong.
Large drivers generally can boost high volume (louder) with higher capacity for the bass. But unlike the volume or bass, the sound quality (audio quality) is NOT simply determined by the driver size.
For all headphones, sound quality … Read the rest