Earphones Vs Earbuds: What is the Difference?

Earphones Vs Earbuds, wait, aren’t they the same thing? Of course notThough they both function to serve the same purpose, they appear quite different from each other. As the world seems to be going sleeker and smaller, the need for ‘compact’ is the call of the day. But, did you know that the first-ever prototype for the earphones was widely used for defence by the US navy in the early 1900s? This was designed by Nathan Baldwin, an engineer who designed it on his kitchen table. By the year 1937, the first-ever earphones for personal use were invented by Beyerdynamic. This was a basic on-ear type headphone comprised of a thin metal headband comprising two cables that connected individually to each earcup. The next few decades saw various changes in the basic design of the earphone when finally, in the year 1979, Sony launched its Walkman. This was the first-ever portable headphone (MDR 3L2) which comprised of an on-ear design with sliding metal headbands. This was not just a piece of ‘wired-gadget’ but iconic in its appeal. Every other person owned the Sony Walkman and was instantly labelled as ‘cool’. In fact, despite being a nostalgic piece, there still are homes where a Sony Walkman is snugged in some corner of the attic. Fast forward to 2001; Apple launched the revolutionary iPod, and this introduced the tiny, white little earbuds that could simply smug into your ears. Today, we have various designs for different people, and each of these is just as relevant as the other. Likewise, earphones and earbuds are the two most popular designs in the latest times. So, how do you choose for yourself? Let us find out.


Both the devices are electroacoustic transducers that are designed to convert electrical signals into meaningful sounds. These have been designed for the single user purpose and are known to offer privacy in the choice you wish to listen to. These are connected to the signal source in the form of an audio amplifier, mobile phone, electronic instrument, video game console. These utilize cords or use the wireless technology like FM radio, DECT, or Bluetooth. So between earphones Vs Earbuds, how do you decide? Let’s examine each of them individually: 

What are Earphones?

The basic earphone design comprises of the following:

    • These feature a ‘cushion’ which is made from Silicone, Rubber, memory foam that snug carefully within the ear.
    • In a way, these function like two tiny speakers placed very close to your ears. The earphones work like transducers that convert electrical energy into sound energy.
    • Within the surface, the earphone is just a simple circuit that comprises a conductor that derives current from a battery source and transfers it to the load or a transducer.

Advantages of Earphones

    • High-quality sound deposition.
    • These are affordable in comparison.
    • The frequency response ranges from 5 to 40000 Hz.
    • Noise cancellation is excellent.
    • There are available brands that offer form-fitting ear tips for a better experience.

Disadvantages of Earphones

    • The wires get entangled at times (most times), leaving you with the task to ‘detangle’ them.
    • Are not the best choice when indulging in some physical exercises/dance/running.

What are Earbuds?

The earbuds are the new-generation ‘in-ear device that works very much like the earphones, minus the wires. In this case, the moving diaphragm causes vibration in the nearby air, and the resulting signals are propagated to the coils ‘wirelessly’ via a wireless sensor. These are also of the wired types, with a ‘necklace band’ at the back of the head to keep still or magnets to do the same.
Many devices like Apple do not even have the jack slots anymore.

Advantages of Earbuds

    • Portability is the main essence of the Ear Bud style.
    • These are lightweight and easy to manage.
    • The earbuds are comparatively less expensive.

Disdvantages of Earbuds

    • These are generally of just one size and can slip off in case of a loose fit.
    • Are not exactly private, and noise cancellation is not that great.

Comparison Between Earphones and Earbuds

Both the Earphones and the Earbuds have their pros and cons. However, it is nothing but a matter of preference with various user types that can set the two apart. So what are the basic differences between an Earphone and Earbuds? Let us find out:



These enter the ears completely

These simply rest on the outer canal of the ears.

These are also available as the ‘ in-ear type. 

Earbuds are simply known as earbuds and do not have a variety

The earphone cushions come with memory foam/silicone/rubber

Earbuds no cushioning provided

Are comparatively more isolating.

Are not completely isolating

Are more expensive in comparison

Are more economical

Are a more ‘privacy’ oriented choice

Are not all that private

Not exactly portable

Are portable


Yes, as they tend to push the ear wax deeper into the ear, thus, causing blockages and having you turn up your volume all the more

No, headphones are a better choice when it comes to the ultimate gaming experience.

As compared to the earphones, the earbuds are the not-so-healthy choice.

The Conclusion

When it comes to earphones VS earbuds, what is it going to beWell, that depends upon a lot of factors. Also, music and noise tolerance are purely personal choices, that need to be considered on a more individual level:

Inexpensive And On The Move:  Are you one of those people who wish to take long walks and love your momentum? Well, it is earbuds for you. These are not that expensive and are easy to manage. No more tangling or coming on the way of your ‘conversations’. They simply ‘pop’ into your ears, and you are good to go. These also are great if you need our music as you work out. Or do you have to gift a child something? Well, to start with, these are just good. 

High-Level Noise Cancellation If you are serious about your music and do not wish to lose a single note, then earphones are your perfect choice. These offer the best in isolation and noise cancellation. Also, for meetings, online conferences, earphones are the best bet, as they ensure you do not miss out on any important information.