What is the Difference Between Headphones and Headsets?

Two options readily come to mind when choosing audio devices – headphones and headsets. Although often used interchangeably, there are a few distinctions between these two terms and gadgets.

The most significant difference between the headphone and headset is that a headset has an external microphone, while a headphone does not. As a result, headsets are widely used for video conferencing or video calls, whereas headphones are better suited for listening to audio files.

This article will extensively discuss the significant differences between headphones and headsets by examining their distinct features. Let’s dive in.

What are headphones?

Headphones are over-ear audio output devices with two simple speakers connected by a band. They offer superior sound quality and have the finest frequency range.

Features of a headphone

Sound quality

In terms of sound quality, headphones produce better sound, especially in the low and mid-range frequencies. They do a great job of blocking out background noise to deliver excellent bass tones

Furthermore, quality headphones do not leak sound, and they feature a sound stage that gives you a more enjoyable music experience. 

Due to their superb sound quality, headphones are generally preferred for listening to audio.


Aside from its wide popularity, headphones also score high when it comes to performance. They are available in both wired and wireless models, allowing you to enjoy music on the go. 

If you love to work out with some music on, headphones are what you need. 

Comfort and convenience

Most headphones are comfortable and lightweight so that you can wear them for as long as possible. They also cover your entire ears, providing you with better sound isolation. 

However, one major drawback with headphone devices is that they don’t easily fit into your pocket or outing bag. As a result, you’ll need to get an extra case to make them more portable. 

What are Headsets?

Headsets are similar to headphones but with a microphone attached to them. They also come in wired and wireless models and are great for video conferencing, voice calling, gaming, and other interactive sound experiences.

You can also remove their mic depending on the use of the device. 

Below are some key features of a headset.

Headset features

Sound quality

Like headphones, headsets also deliver great sound, but this is dependent on the type of headset you purchase. Bigger headsets generally produce a more pleasing sound due to their large drivers.

Furthermore, headsets provide a more immersive soundstage than headphones and have a better frequency in the mid-range. They, however, do not score well at low range frequency.


There are a lot of differences between headphones and headsets when it comes to performance. This is due to the microphone attached to the latter. 

Headsets are equipped with a microphone to help you make and receive calls. While some models are designed with a fixed mic, others have a detachable mic. 

Headsets that come with a removable mic serve dual purposes, that is, for calls and as regular headphones.

Comfort and convenience

In terms of convenience, headsets score higher than headphones. They feature an external microphone that allows you to speak more clearly with the device. 

Moreso, headsets are generally more comfortable and provide plenty of space for hearing. They also do not create additional pressure around your ears, which is beneficial.

Headphones vs. Headset – Physical differences

The most significant physical difference between headphones and headsets is a mic, which is very noticeable. 

In addition to a mic, headsets are designed with built-in speakers connected with a band. Depending on the type or brand you purchase, they deliver a mono or stereo sound. 

On the other hand, headphones are connected by two cushioned earpieces and a band. They provide exceptional sound quality and are generally better for music production

Moreover, headphones are available in wide varieties, such as open-back and closed-back

Best headphones to buy in 2022

Below is a list of the best headphones available on Amazon

Sony WH-1000XM4

71o8Q5XJS5L. AC SL1500


  • Good battery life
  • DSEE Extreme audio upscaling
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Better noise-cancellation
  • Allows for multipoint pairing


  • Not water-resistant

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone

511Du0J4hqL. AC SL1448


  • Comfortable design
  • Features three drivers
  • Unmatched value
  • Intelligent control technology


  • Plastic remote breaks easily.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones

71XSDrBlrSL. AC SL1500


  • Excellent noise-cancellation feature
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Robust Bluetooth connection
  • Quality sound


  • Earcups don’t collapse.

Best headsets to buy in 2022

SteelSeriesArctis 7P/7X Gaming Headset

81O95iCLzpL. AC SL1500


  • Comfortable to wear
  • Clear sound
  • Works with just about every system


  • 7P model is less versatile than 7X

Razer Blackshark V2

81tKykvYDdL. AC SL1500


  • Excellent sound quality
  • Work with a wide range of devices
  • THX profiles
  • Comfortable earcups


  • Hard to get a good fit

HyperX Cloud Stinger

71vhzgcnD+L. AC SL1500


  • Affordable
  • Handy controls
  • Clear sound
  • Nice design


  • Sound quality is poor at higher ranges.

Logitech G Pro


  • Comfortable to wear
  • Works with a wide range of devices
  • Excellent sound quality


  • Not easily portable


Many people confuse headsets for headphones. These devices, however, are two different pieces of equipment and differ in their functions. 

When considering which listening device to buy, determine why you need them. 

If you need a dual-functional gadget that’ll allow you to call and listen to music, then headsets are what you need. 

But, if you are particularly interested in listening to audio files, headphones will give you a better sound quality, thus, are a preferable option.

Jude is a music and headphone lover. He has tested and reviewed several audio listening devices and enjoys writing helpful tips and information for readers like you.