Men's Style

In Ear vs. Over Ear Headphones: Which Should You Buy?

Trends come and go with many things, and this is certainly the case when it comes to headphones. When music went portable for the first time back in the 1970’s large headphones were all the rage. However, when the Sony Walkman was the big thing in the 1990’s, followed by the huge success of the Apple iPod in the early 2000’s, smaller ‘bud’ earphones were the trendy thing to have to listen to your music.

Now though we are seeing a big resurgence of the larger, over-ear headphones once more, as people look to get the best sound quality possible from their music collection – which most of the time they have in its entirety in their pocket, whether it be on their phone or their MP3 player.

There are advantages to both options and what you should buy comes down to what your requirements are. Let’s weigh up the arguments…


Without question, in ear headphones are the outright winners here. There is a big reason why Apple packages it’s iPod with those iconic white earphones in every one of its boxes – it’s because the iPod was always meant to be used by those on the move who wanted to take their music collection with them. The fact that you can just keep in ear headphones tucked into your pocket ensures they cannot be beaten in the portability stakes.

Sound Quality

One of the most major criticisms of the iPod’s headphones is that, for what you have to pay for them, they lack the sound quality found in numerous other manufacturer’s headphones, which are often more affordable. It’s true that you can find in ear headphones which offer superior sound quality to Apple’s and if you are set on getting in-ear’s then you should investigate other options. However, if you are really fussy when it comes to sound quality, especially when it comes to things like bass tones then over ears headphones are for you. You can pick up a decent pair of these nowadays for anything over £30, though if you want top quality sound then you need to be looking at a specialist headphones brand like Bose or Dr Dre Beats, which can go up to £300 for the very best pair.


Lil Wayne Wearing $1 Million Beats by Dre Headphones
Lil Wayne Wearing $1 Million Beats by Dre Headphones

Go back a few years and it would have been a bit strange to see someone walking around with a pair of massive headphones on – now however is a different story. Go on any train or bus in the country and you’re likely to see someone zoned out in their own world as they take in their music with their big ‘cans’ on. Along with the fact that they offer excellent external noise cancellation, they have become a very trendy fashion accessory. However, it’s not all one winner here – there are definitely many people who would argue hard for inner-ear headphones in the style stakes, especially Apple fans who would only ever be seen with the white buds and cable coming down from their music-filled ears into their coat pockets.