Over-Ear Vs On-Ear Headphones | The Differences

Choose the right headphone to buy can be a daunting task if you are not aware of the headphone models and their differences. There are so many different brands, colors, styles, and options to choose from and you may find yourself nowhere if you don’t make the choice before buying the headphone.

Headphones come in a range of different shapes and sizes. Over-ear and on-ear headphones are two very popular headphones model among music lovers. If you’re wondering what’s the difference between on-ear and over-ear headphone then keep reading this article.     

The Difference between Over-Ear and On-Ear Headphones

Generally, over-ear headphones fall over your ears while on-ear headphones are literally staying on your ears. Over-ear headphones are big in size so they won’t fit your bag easily; on-ear headphones are small in size so you can easily take them with you anywhere. Over-ear headphones don’t let through ambient noise so you can listen to your music quietly. On the other hand, if you use on-ear headphones, you won’t suffer from burning ears.          

Over-Ear Headphones  

Over-ear headphones usually have thick headbands and large ear cups that fully cover the ears. Listeners who don’t mind the larger headphone size and want a comfortable fit to their ear can buy over-ear headphones.


Over-ear headphones offer a better sound because of their large drivers as these drivers pump out deeper and clearer bass, which is an important aspect of good-sounding music. So for best sounding and most detailed music possible, you should be looking for a pair of over-ear headphones. Moreover, this type of headphones offers a good level of noise isolation by creating a good seal around your ears, for example, V-MODA Crossfade M-100 over-ear headphones.    


Over-ear headphones are also best for comfort. This type of headphones sits completely around your ears, and they don’t apply pressure to the ear or inside the ear. Moreover, over-ear headphones are made with premium memory foam, which is extremely comfortable.    


Over-ear headphones are best for home use. They are not very portable because of their size. Nowadays there are modes available with a fold-up option for plane use or other on-the-road uses, but if you are looking for portability then over-ear headphones are not for you.   

On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones have a more compact design then over-ear headphones. They have smaller ear cups that rest on the ears very easily. If you are looking for a compact design with decent comfortable then on-ear headphones are the right choice for you.       


On-ear headphones offer a great sound quality but they aren’t as great as the over-ear headphones. The drivers in on-ear headphones are not that large but they can still pump out nice and deep bass. Sometimes the sound quality depends on the manufacturer more than it does the size of the drivers of headphones. The noise isolation of on-ear headphones is not great as they don’t completely seal around your ear or in your ear canal. However, if you are listening to music in quite a place then it will not be a major drawback.


On-ear headphones aren’t as comfortable as over-ear headphones. But depending on the foam quality and quantity they’re still generally quite comfortable. This type of headphones put pressure on your ear and if you are listening for a longer period of time then this presser can be very annoying.    


On-ear headphones are best for outdoor use as you can carry them with you anywhere. So they are very portable and they maintain good sound quality. Manufacturers of on-ear headphones mostly focus on portability and they often include cases so that the headphones fold up easily.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, each type of headphone has its own advantages and disadvantages, so they’re all useful for different people in different situations. If you are looking for comfortable headphones regardless of size then over-ear headphones will be the right choice for you. However, if you are concern about the size and portability then on-ear headphones will be appropriate for you. Now the choice is yours!