Headset vs Gaming Earbuds

Updated: Feb 15, 2024 7:56 AM
headset vs gaming earbuds guide

New gamers must decide between using a headset vs earbuds for gaming if they want immersive sound and open communication with other online players. The best gaming headsets provide excellent sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort for the user throughout their gaming session experience.

Key Takeaways_

  • Headsets provide comfort, ambient noise reduction, and sound quality.
  • Earbuds remain easier to transport, smaller, lighter, and cheaper than gaming headsets.
  • You must find your preferences to pick the ideal gaming headset for yourself.

When it comes to headsets and earbuds, consider the effect of the sound quality and comfort of the two designs. If you are on a budget or travel a lot, take into consideration different models’ price and size variations.

insider tip

Gaming headsets often include many features that earbuds cannot provide.

Earbuds vs a Headset for Gaming

The many differences between these devices primarily focus on size and portability. However, think about sound quality and comfort variations to find the best option based on your personal preferences.

Remember to consider the prices of each type of product, too, during your decision-making process, especially if you are on a budget.


As you can tell from the basic design of earbuds and headsets, earbuds are more compact. They sit just within the ear canal and directly deliver music and media content into your ear. In most cases, you can easily carry your in-ear headset with you wherever you go.

Gaming headsets have numerous features. As a result, you may find them harder to carry around with you, especially if you travel a lot. Some gamers may also find it difficult to find a way to store them when the headset is not in use. They also feel heavier than earbuds or smaller on-ear pairs of headphones. Moreover, if the size isn’t right or they’re too heavy, that would explain why your gaming headset would make your ears hurt.

Sound Quality

In most cases, you will probably find the audio quality and noise cancellation better on gaming headsets than earbuds. Of course, this depends largely on the particular headset used and your personal preference. Most earbuds do not offer the same suppression of external noise from your environment as regular headphones.

Earbuds are usually of lower quality than a headset because they cannot hold as much balancing technology. Some earbuds that feature gel tips that mold your ear provide decent background noise cancellation or reduction of ambient noise. If you buy a set of earbuds for gaming, you must get a pair with a decent microphone to communicate with your teammates in-game.


Many consider headsets more comfortable for long gaming sessions, particularly over-ear headphones. This is due to the padding on and around the ear and along with the headband. However, on-ear models may cause pain due to the pressure placed on the ear for any period of time.


In-ear headphones can cause pain when they push against your ear canal, so you may prefer over-ear headsets or earbuds for comfort.

Earbuds do not put pressure on the outside of your ear or the top of your head. However, if they are too large for your ears, they can push against the opening. You may notice your earbuds fall out of your ears if they are the wrong size.


Earbuds come in a wide range of prices, but the better models will cost you more money. The average $20 earbuds from the store won’t have excellent sound quality or noise cancellation. Many of these headsets do not have microphones on the cables. However, the more expensive earbuds remain cheaper than high-end gaming headsets. Wireless earbuds cost more than wired models.

A gaming headset with a microphone included costs a decent amount of money. You can find cheaper models at game stores, like earbuds, but they may not have the sound quality, noise cancellation, or microphone quality you’d like. If you look at a separate headphone and microphone setup, you may see the cost soar even higher.

STAT: Because earbuds deliver sound directly into the ear canal, there’s a much greater risk of damaging your ears if the volume gets too loud. (source)

Overall, the most important thing is to consider what sounds the best and most comfortable for you. Wireless headphones provide more mobility at a higher price.

Alexis Labadie Avatar

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