On-Ear Vs. Over-Ear Headphones: Which to Buy?

Headphones are a necessity these days, but it must check your list. It should be the one you want in terms of features, wearability, and price. But before you get in-depth, it is essential to know what you are looking for. Is it a decent pair of over-ear headphones or a pair of on-ear headphones? 

To make a decision, you need to know the differences between them. Stay tuned till the end because we have on-ear vs. over-ear differences to find out all the details!

Over-ear Vs. On-ear Headphones: Which Headphones Sound Better?

Both on-ear and over-ear headphones offer many advantages to music listeners and callers. The choice between the two is often swayed by personal preferences, emphasizing sound quality.

On-ear headphones are more compact than their over-ear counterparts, and some find them more comfortable. On the downside, they may have a smaller speaker enclosure, which could mean there’s less bass than you would get from an over-ear set of cans.

Over-ears offer improved sound isolation; this is a big plus when you need to focus on your music or don’t want to disturb your fellow passengers. They also usually provide better low-frequency responses, but they are bigger, heavier and not everyone likes wearing them for long periods.

On-ear Vs. Over-ear Headphones: Which Headphones are Comfortable?

On-ear Vs. Over-ear Headphones: Which Headphones are Comfortable?

On-ear headphones are typically lighter, cheaper, and more portable than over-ear headphones. They sit on your ears or on top of your ears instead of surrounding the ear with a cushion as over-ear headphones do.

The downside to this type is that they don’t block out as much outside noise and aren’t the most comfortable headphones. This can be incredibly inconvenient for some people who need to be aware of their surroundings to be safe. It is also not for those who want something perfect to wear for extended hours or throughout the day. 

Over-ear headphones are generally regarded as the most comfortable choice. Still, they come with a heavier price tag, which is usually justified by their increased wearability when compared to on-ear models. 

On-ear Vs. Over-the-ear Headphones: How is the Battery Life?

It is essential to know if your headphones are on-ear or over-the-ear headphones because they will significantly impact the battery life. On-ear headphones have a shorter battery life than over-ear headphones.

On-ear Headphones are smaller and cheaper, but they won’t be as comfortable as over-ear headphones. They also have a shorter battery life, averaging around 8 hours versus the 18 hours you’ll get with an over-ear pair.

The advantage of Over-ear Headphones is that they have a better sound quality and provide better noise isolation, but they also last longer on a single charge. On average, they can last you for 18 hours of continuous use versus 8 hours for ear sets.

On-ear Vs. Over-ear: Can You Carry Them Easily?

On-ear headphones sit on your ears, while over-ear are more prominent and go all around your ears. One significant difference is how portable each type is. 

Over-ear headphones need to be worn with a headband as they are not usually self-supporting. On the other hand, on-ear headphones can easily be folded or put in a bag, making them more portable than their larger counterparts. 

So if you are looking for headphones that are easy to carry, then On-ear is a suitable gadget to invest in!

On-ear Vs. Over-the-ear Headphones: Noise Cancellation

There is a difference between on-ear vs. over-the-ear headphones regarding sound leakage, with on-ear headphones leaking more sound than over-ear headphones. On the other hand, over-ear headphones provide better noise cancellation than on-ear ones.

The truth is it depends on the person. Many people prefer on-ear headphones because they consider them to be more comfortable and look better in public. They also believe that they are less conspicuous. But in reality, these headphones don’t have the best noise cancellation abilities.

On the other hand, over-ear headphones offer a better noise cancellation because they cover a more extensive surface area of your ear and provide better sound insulation and comfort.

Why Should You Get the On-Ear Headphones?

With on-ear headphones, you can enjoy your music while being in public with more peace and comfort.

We often hear people say that they want to get rid of ear ringing, fatigue, and even dizziness. These are some of the benefits that on-ear headphones provide by keeping sound waves away from the ears.

Hearing is one of our five senses. Almost 50% of the noise is transferred through sound waves, so we need to protect our hearing through on-ear headphones or earplugs when we’re in a noisy environment.

On-ear headphones are also helpful for long flights and noisy workplaces where you need to block out external noises while still communicating with others using the microphone. With the excellent experience that you get, these headphones can easily fall into your budget. They are cheaper and of good quality!

Why Should You Get Over-the-ear Headphones?

While there are many benefits to both on-ear and in-ear headphones, over-ear headphones provide an unparalleled listening experience.

There are many benefits to these headphones regarding sound quality, comfortability, and price. 

Over-ear headphones provide an expansive soundstage with an exceptional audio experience. They also come with more padding for your ears, making them more comfortable than the other types of earbuds

But keep in mind that these are bigger, which makes them expensive. So if you have the budget and want to go big, these headphones can be a good option for you!


Are over-ear headphones safer than on-ear?

Many people recommend over-ear headphones as they are the safest option when compared. These headphones provide better sound quality and are pretty good at blocking out all the external noise. 

Can over-ear headphones cause headaches?

Over-the-ear headphones may have a band around your head, but these are not the cause of your headaches. These headphones may be bulky, but we believe that excessive headphones may be the cause of your headaches. 

Are in-ear headphones uncomfortable?

Not really! On-ear headphones, especially those that are good quality, have a good amount of padding and feel like a pillow for your ears. 

But it is preferable to use them just for an hour or two; after that, you will start noticing pressure on your ear lobes. That’s a clear indication to take them off and give yourself a break. 


It all comes down to what you’re trying to do with your headphones. Are you looking for headphones that will fit in your pocket or will be easy to carry around in a handbag? 

An on-ear headset might be a better option. Or are you looking for headphones that will block out sound interference and drown out the cacophony of noisy streets and public transport? The over-ear design is likely to be more suitable for your needs.

Be sure to choose the ones that fall into your checklist, and before deciding, just write down what is imperative, sound quality, battery life, comfort, price, and portability. Whichever ticks more boxes would be the right one for you!

Abdul Wahab is a Software Engineer by profession and a Tech geek by nature. Having been associated with the tech industry for the last five years, he has covered a wide range of Tech topics and produced well-researched and engaging content. You will mostly find him reviewing tech products and writing blog posts. Binge-watching tech reviews and endlessly reading tech blogs are his favorite hobbies.

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