6 Different Sizes of Headphones and Earbuds

6 Different Sizes of Headphones and Earbuds


Which type of headphones is best for me? What type of headphones should I buy? Everyone should have had this question, and today we help you understand all the different sizes of headphones in detail, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Which type of headphones is best for me? What type of headphones should I buy? We understand - just searching for "headphones" on a search engine or online shopping site can even make the process more difficult than it was at first, as the way to limit headphone searches becomes so complex and ultimately confusing. Today we help you understand all the different sizes of earphones in more detail, and understand their pros and cons. let's start!

1. Over-ear headphones

Over-the-ear (also known as over-ear or over-ear) headphones are the most common type of headphones, with ear pads large enough to fit the entire ear. They are the largest in size and have a headband that connects the two ear cups.

What are the pros and cons of in-ear headphones?


Comfort: The large over-ear cushions are comfortable and generally well padded. High-quality headphones with premium materials feel especially luxurious.

Passive isolation: Since your ears are completely closed, very little ambient sound passes through. Leather ear cushions ensure optimal isolation. Better passive isolation means less outside interference. This ensures you can hear more detail without raising the volume.

Sound quality: Compared to smaller alternatives (earbuds), the sound produced by over-ear headphones feels larger and more realistic.

Soundstage: Since the drivers are farther from your ears, over-ear headphones produce a wider soundstage.


Comfort (with cheap headphones): Sometimes cheaper over-ear headphones come with thin ear pads. As a result, your ears can come into contact with the hard plastic inside the ear cups, eventually causing pain. Also, some can be very heavy or have strong clamping forces to hold them in place.

Stability: Large, heavy earphones can't withstand vigorous exercise, they'll fly off your head.

Price: High-end over-ear headphones are expensive, costing over $300 or even $1,000.

Portability: Due to their size, they take up a lot of space. To get around this, some of them are foldable and come with a carrying case.

2. Headphones

Over-ear headphones are constructed in the same way as in-ear headphones, but with smaller ear pads. Therefore, the earpads are attached to your earlobes.

What are the pros and cons of in-ear headphones?


Stability: On-ear fit and overall lighter construction provide better stability during physical activity compared to over-ear headphones.

Portability: Due to their smaller size, they are slightly easier to carry around.

Comfort: If the earpads are not well padded, the pressure on the earlobes can be annoying. After a while, it can become painful, which will force you to take a break.


Sweat: Just like over-the-ear ear cups, the ear pads fit snugly against your skin, preventing airflow. Eventually, your skin will get hot and start sweating.

Passive isolation: Our earlobes are not flat, which is why on-ear ear cushions don't create a perfect seal. In addition to poorer noise isolation, sound leakage can also be an issue.

3. True wireless earbuds

True wireless earbuds (TWS, or true wireless earphones) have gained popularity due to their complete absence of wires. They come in a charging case for easy portability and help extend battery life.

All necessary components are built into the shell:

DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)

DSP (Digital Signal Processing)

So wireless earbuds sound the same regardless of the source (the Bluetooth codec's signal processing is more important).

What are the pros and cons of truly wireless earbuds?


Passive isolation: They completely seal the ears and provide excellent noise isolation. Isolation varies with earbuds. Silicone tips are the most durable, but foam tips provide the best isolation.

Sound quality: Since the earbuds are located in the ear canal, there is little resonance. Therefore, the sound from the earbuds can be very clean and detailed.

Comfort: Most true wireless earbuds are ergonomically designed for comfort and stability.

Stability: Thanks to the deeper fit, they are firmly attached to the ear, especially the ear hooks and ear wings. They are by far the best option for exercise.

Portability: True wireless earbuds are small enough to fit in any pocket.

Durability: No cables mean fewer potential weaknesses. Many true wireless earbuds have some water resistance.


Hygiene: Your ears clean themselves naturally. However, when you insert the earbud into the ear canal, it pushes the earwax back into the ear canal. Some wax ends up sticking to your earbuds, which attracts dirt and can lead to ear infections if you don't clean them regularly.

Narrow sound field: The earbuds do not interact with your pinna, which is essential for wide sound field perception. While the results are still good, the breadth is nowhere near what larger headphones can achieve.

Battery life: True wireless earbuds work on batteries. Thankfully, the battery lasts longer and longer (average 7 hours per charge). However, you can expect a significant drop in battery life after 2 years due to battery aging.

Audio latency: The Bluetooth codec must pack the audio signal on one side and unpack it on the other. It takes time, which is why you experience noticeable audio lag when watching videos and playing games.

4. Wireless earbuds with cable

The in-ear headphones receive audio wirelessly via bluetooth but have a wire to connect the left and right earbuds.

What are the pros and cons of wireless earbuds with cables?


Portability: They usually come with a carrying case that can be easily carried in a pocket. They take up as much space as their wired siblings.

Sound quality: Sound quality is on par with the latest true wireless earbuds.

Stability: Many sporty models tighten cables to minimize movement. Plus, you can hang them around your neck when you take them out of your ears.


Cable noise: The cable rubs against your clothing and skin, creating cable noise (microphone), especially if the cable is woven with fabric.

Battery life: While there are exceptions, most wireless earbuds last under 10 hours. Also, after a year or two, battery life degrades.

5. Wired earbuds

Wired earbuds are becoming a niche, and only popular among the audiophile community.

What are the pros and cons of wired earbuds?


Sound quality: The wired solution is still the better-sounding option. They don't rely on DSP for tuning, making their sound performance more scalable (better amps and cables produce tighter, more detailed sounds).

Noise isolation: The in-ear fit provides optimal isolation from the outside world. Passive isolation gets better if you choose a foam tip or a multi-flange silicone tip.

Stability: Earbuds with wires that run through the ear provide excellent stability.

Cost: The cheapest earbuds are wired. You can get great stuff for under $10.

Zero audio latency: Cable is the most reliable way to transmit audio, achieving zero audio latency when watching videos or playing games.


Lack of compatible devices: Modern phones ditch the headphone jack. You need a USB dongle or separate MP3 player.

Cable noise: When wires rub against your clothes, they vibrate and create cable noise. The cable coating changes its strength. Fabric or cheap plastic cables vibrate the most.

Cables: While reliable, they are annoying. The cable gets stuck on the doorknob or armrest, and you yank your earbuds out.

Durability: The cable is a weak point, and if damaged, could render your earbuds useless. Also, wired earbuds cannot handle water (except swimming earbuds with special protection).

6. Classic earbuds (not in-ear)

Classic earbuds (or headphones) sit in front of the ear canal and rest on the earlobe.

What are the pros and cons of classic headphones (not in-ear)?


Better awareness: Headphones don't block your ears, they let in more ambient noise. This is fine if you want better awareness.

Comfort: No in-ear pressure means better overall comfort. Many headphones are so lightweight that you can barely feel them.

Soundstage: They are further away from your eardrums, which is why they are able to create a slightly wider soundstage than in-ears.


Sound quality: While much sound good, they can't achieve the same level of quality as in-ear headphones. The lack of isolation significantly reduces their bass performance.

Stability: The earphones don't grab your ears, which makes them easy to fall out during movement. They are not suitable for physical activity.

The above introduces 6 different sizes of earphones in detail. If you don't know how to choose or want to buy earphones, please contact us.

JunYe is a professional custom earphone manufacturer, we provide one-stop service, design-development-production, and shipment. With more than 400 employees, 60000㎡ factory, specializing in OEM/ODM. We have our own mold center and the whole industry chain: hardware, injection molding, wire, cushion, assembly and packaging. Has 8 production lines, including two professional TWS lines. We manufacture each part in-house to ensure quality and on-time delivery.