Earphones (Earbuds) vs Headphones: What’s the Difference

Earphones (Earbuds) vs Headphones: What’s the Difference

Do you want to enhance your sporty lifestyle by working out to the beats? That’s why buying earbuds or headphones is now on the agenda? Then, you need to understand what is the difference between the two types of devices. 

Also, you need to know the main characteristics to pay attention to in the first place when surveying the products, such as:

  • Sound
  • Noise-cancelling quality
  • Comfort 
  • Portability
  • Fit for sports

Keep reading and by the end of this article you’ll get a clear idea which type works best for you. Let’s get started right now.

Table of content

  • Pros and Cons of Headphones
  • Pros and Cons of Earphones
  • Earphones or Headphones Which Is Safer?
  • Which One Is Better for Children?
  • Conclusion

Pros and Cons of Headphones 

Headphones and earbuds typically differ in design. The ear-cups of headphones embrace the outer ears, whereas earbuds are supposed to enter your ear canal. Their sound quality, the way the ambient noise is processed, wearing comfort, and usability are different as well. 

Look at TREBLAB Z2


Headphones feature larger drivers - from 40 mm to 50 vs. 7 mm to 15 mm of the earbuds. Thus, they deliver deeper and meantime softer bass and steadier performance in the overall audio cycle, from the lows to the highs. 

Music in headphones sound more voluminous. It gives the feeling of total immersion into music. You can better catch the tiniest tones and assess the width of musical mix. 


Earbuds vs headphones process differently the ambient noise. Hence, there are passive noise cancellation and active noise cancellation. The technology identifies the ambient sounds outside and transforms the stage of the sound waves. The latter block them out. 

Headphones use mostly active noise cancellation, which means they do not let any external noise creep into your listening experience. (In the following chapters, we’ll see why it’s beneficial for working out, but not for running.)

Comfort Headphones


High-quality headphones contain soft cushions made from premium materials. They are supposed to provide a tight but comfortable seal. After wearing them for a few hours, there shouldn’t be any sore ears or head fatigue. 



Headphones are obviously bulkier. Although a lot of headphones are compact and foldable, yet they cannot compete with earphones whose carrying case fits any pocket. However, it also depends on where exactly you’re going to wear them, which brings us to the next point. 

Headphones for workouts

For Sports

When regarding earphones vs headphones for workouts, the last ones are definitely an ideal choice. First of all, they provide that kind of seal that doesn’t allow ambient noise. So, an athlete can focus more on music and exercise. The headset doesn’t move during push-ups. 

Headphones are sweatproof. They do not slip off the headset when the workout gets tougher, while in-ear earbuds might slide off the ear when sweat gets there. 

Pros and Cons of Earphones

Earphones are supposed to sit in your ear canals. They might be wired and wireless. Nowadays, wireless Bluetooth earbuds are mainstream.


Earbuds vs headphones sound quality is not something diametrically opposite. Since the earbuds are so close to the ear canals, they are more exposed to the decibels high levels. So, the music sounds more “closer”. The sound quality depends on the brand, but it might be as good as the headphones’ one. Except, there will be more ambient noise allowed. 

Look at TREBLAB X5


Earbuds usually feature passive noise-cancelling technology. It reduces ambient noise but doesn’t block it at all. It was made on purpose. This type of earphones are mostly used by runners who need to be aware of the surroundings for safety measures. Thus, earbuds allow hearing what’s around. 

Comfortable earbuds


Headphones or earbuds - which ones are more comfortable? Since they differ in design, it’s up to a user to decide. Moreover, it depends on the sport. As for earbuds, they come with a few sets of ear-tips. So, by trying on different-size ear-tips, one has all the chances to find the most convenient fit. 


They also might have ear-fins and ear-hooks for a snugger hold. Some even have adjustable ear-hooks that bend and take the shape of the outer ear. 


A pair of earbuds are more portable than the one of headphones. Basically, earbuds are much lighter, more compact and their carrying case can fit any pocket. Some earbuds’ case looks like a cigarette lighter. 

For Sports

Earphones are mainly designed for jogging or just having fun outdoors. However, it depends on your preferences since both types are used as at a gym, as for running.


Which Is Safer?

Earphones or Headphones Which Is Safer?

Earphones or headphones can affect your hearing. Doctors say that the second leading cause of hearing loss is an improper use of listening devices. It’s not surprising since it’s literally the blast of music right into your ear canal, sometimes at the highest volume. 

The damage is measured with decibel levels. The sounds higher than 85 decibels are unsafe. The longer you listen and the louder the volume is, chances are bigger to damage the hearing. A lot of listening devices deliver the sounds above 120 decibels!

Herewith, earbuds sit inside your ears and already increase the volume of about 9 decibels. Headphones are outside the ear, so eventually there’s more need to crank up the volume. From the flip side, since earbuds do not block entirely the ambient noise, you’d want to turn up the volume not to hear it. 

Therefore, when regarding over-ear headphones vs earbuds in terms of safety, headphones are found safer. However, hearing health depends on the maximum volume and the number of listening hours.

Which One Is Better for Children

Which One Is Better for Children? 

The same safety rules might be applied for kids - the more and the louder they listen to music, the more damage they cause to their hearing health. That’s why parents should control how much time they listen to music and how loud. Some devices feature parental control that allow managing the volume level. 

Which one for sport?


As you can see, the difference between earphones and headphones lies in design and comfort of use, sound, the kind of noise cancelling, portability. However, the biggest advice here will be to focus on your needs and decide accordingly. Headphones are mostly used for exercising at a gym and earbuds - for running. However, both might be used vice versa if a user finds it comfortable during the physical activity. 

TREBLAB’s lineup of earphones

TREBLAB’s lineup of earphones is widely in demand amongst runners as well as hardcore gym rats. It provides in-ear earbuds with different-size ear-tips, ear-fins, and custom ear-hooks so that everyone can find their ideal fit. 

As for over-ear headphones, the TREBLAB Z2 deliver True-HD sound with deep bass; feature active noise cancelling for a total noise isolation, and assure a comfortable hold. The ear-cups are made of high-end material (Alcantara). No ear fatigue guaranteed!

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