On Ear vs Over Ear Headphones: Which Is Better in 2022?

Today we will discuss the difference between on-ear vs over-ear headphones. We have decided to discuss different aspects of the use, and we’ll compare the two types.

In the end, we will briefly mention in-ear headphones if you feel unsure about both, and you feel like an alternative might be helpful.

On Ear Versus Over Ear


The differences between over-ear and on-ear headphones start with physical appearance.

Over-ear headphones have thicker headbands, and the cups that cover your ear are bigger, entirely surrounding them and the skin around them.

Over-ear headphones
Over-ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are a little bit more compact, and they have smaller cups. These cups sit on your ears but don’t surround cover the ears completely.

This might cause trouble for those with quite large ears.


Prices generally vary on the model, not on the type. You can choose a budget over the ear model, as well as a pricey one. Same with on-ear headphones!

If you look at the trend of designs and launches in the world of gadgets, lately, over-ear headphones have been a little bit more expensive due to a more considerable amount of materials.

Keep this in mind.


In today’s headphones review, we will also discuss portability, and it seems to be the case that smaller is more portable.

As a result of that logic, on-ear headphones are more portable than over-ear because of their compact size. They are lighter as well, as there is less padding, and the headband is more narrow.


Comfort is very subjective, but most people seem to like over-ear headphones more than on-ear ones when it comes to long term use.

Keep in mind, depending on the season, you might be more comfortable with on-ear headphones, as over-ear models tend to heat your ears.

In winter, that is not such a bad deal, but in summer, it will annoy you.

On-ear headphones
On-ear Headphones

As comfort depends on padding, when you compare headphones, you need to keep in mind that each model is different.

It would be best if you could try various types of padded headphones to determine which ones are best for you.

Noise Isolation

We can’t close the on-ear vs over-ear headphones discussion without discussing noise isolation.

As we often use headphones in the presence of others, we usually want them to cancel out any annoying noises and distractions.

Generally, over-ear headphones are those that provide you with a better soundproof effect, as they have more padding and are usually larger.

Depending on the size of your ears, your on-ear headphones may leave some extra space.

Leaking Noise

What’s the difference between over-ear and on-ear headphones when it comes to leakage?

With a good set of headphones, you don’t want to hear the people from the outside, and you don’t want them to listen to what you are listening to.

Well, it depends on whether the headphones are open back or closed back. Open-back headphones leak sound while closed-back headphones do not.

Sound Quality

Generally, when making a headphones review, it is tough to generalize. Over-ear headphones have better depth and echo, while the on-ear headphones cannot produce bass as well. However, this means nothing.

Depending on which model you get, what price point you settle for, what specifications you look for, there is no way to know is over-ear better than on-ear.

In Ear – The Third Choice

We just briefly want to mention these, as they are great for using in moments when over-ear or on-ear headphones fail.

For instance, if you’re going to get over-ear headphones because of comfort, but you want to take the train, you might want to use the in ear ones until you are alone.

Shure In-ear Monitors (IEM)
Shure In-ear Monitors (IEM)

If you want to get on-ear headphones, but you lack bass when doing specific editing or listening, it is beneficial to have in-ear ones as they are a budget option, and you have nothing to lose.

How to Choose The Right Headphones?

As our on-ear vs over-ear headphones discussion is coming to an end, we wanted to give you a bulletproof 3-step process that will help you decide are over-ear headphones better than on-ear ones.

Step 1 – What Do You Need?

First, you have to write down a list of features you want in your headphones. Don’t bother with the over-ear vs on-ear difference, ask yourself – is X vital to me?

The letter X can be any feature – comfort, portability, Bluetooth, padding, sound quality, bass.

Try to write down what is essential, and then don’t bother with the rest.

Step 2 – What Can You Find?

On-ear headphones vs over-ear headphones, discussions don’t matter online, as you will find enough models of both.

Try to look at at least 20 models in detail, and read the description of the product carefully.

Step 3 – Compromises

Compare the features to your list and ignore cons that don’t matter to you. All headphones have certain problematic areas, at least up to a certain premium price point, which you don’t have to pay if you’re not comfortable.

Final Thoughts

We hope that we have answered any questions you have when it comes to the headset on-ear vs over-ear dilemma.

Good luck with the buying process, and remember that your preferences matter the most

As a lover of technology. Kelvin spends most of his tinkering with stuff and keeping up to date with the latest gadgets and tech.

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