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Headphones and headsets | Difference between headset and headphone

Many times, people get confused with these two terms of headphones and headsets. Some people even use them alternatively as well. Those who do not know the difference refer to headphones as headsets & headsets as headphones. There are people who do not know both of these terms and use only one of them to refer to all of such devices whether it is headphones, headsets or even earphones. Let us finish this here and determine what are the key aspects that make these two products different from each other and which one comes out on top in Headset vs Headphone.

difference between Headphones and headsets

Nowadays, headphones and headsets play a very important role in a lot of different industries. Headphones are a small pair of speakers, which are mainly designed to be placed close to a user’s ears. Today, the earbuds version is most commonly used. Before the amplifiers were developed, the earpieces were the only way to listen to audio signals.

The first unit was developed in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin. Over the years, there have been multiple types of headphones including over ear, on ear, wired and wireless. All of these types are available in all price ranges. They range from being inexpensive to the most expensive, where one can choose a decent quality depending on his/her budget and requirements.

On the other hand, headsets are a type of headphones that have a microphone attached to it. This added feature allows you to speak while gaming or other uses that may require your audio input. It plays a role of two in one. A user can listen to a song, as well as, also speak to a person at the same time. This is the key difference that lies in a headset as compared to headphones. Headsets were invented the same year and by the same person as headphones. Recent trends have observed that maximum people demand for headsets because they get the ability to speak through a microphone. They are also available in single-earpiece and double-earpiece.

Attached Microphone

headset with microphone

 Having an attached microphone is the main difference between headphones and headsets. This is how you can set them apart just by seeing. Headphones do not have an attached microphone while a headset has an attached microphone. You can also say that the headphones that have an attached microphone with them are called headsets.

The microphone in your headset can be of any type. It can either be a boom microphone, where the microphone is attached to a boom that you  can move in any direction depending on your comfort and need or It can also have an in-line microphone, where the microphone is attached to the cord which connects your headset to your device. With an in-line microphone, the bulkiness of the headset is considerably reduced but then you lose the flexibility to adjust the mic accordingly. Headsets can also feature a removable microphone that you can detach from the body of the headset when it is not required. This is an amazing option because many users do not use microphones all the time. Whenever, you think that the mic will not be required and is just adding extra weight to your headset, you can detach it and then connect it later whenever you need.


 One other factor that lets us differentiate between headphones and headsets is the price of the device. As you would have already guessed, headsets tend to be more expensive as compared to headsets. If they feature an additional component, then they are definitely pricier. Headset is one step ahead of headphones.

Whenever you are buying a gaming headset, then due to an attached microphone already available, you will not have to pay extra to buy a separate one. On the other hand, when you are buying a headphone then you will have to buy an external microphone if you want to use the headphones for multiplayer gaming or other uses that may require a mic.

Sound Quality

There are tons of high-quality headsets available in the market. If we talk about the performance of these headsets, then it tends to be top-notch with an amazing sound quality. When you compare the sound quality of headsets with that of headphones, you will notice a difference. You may not be able to identify that difference in quality if you are not an avid user, a professional gamer or a studio editor.

For professionals, it is extremely necessary that they hear even the faintest sounds as well, and this is possible only if you are using a professional headset. Headphones are great for listening to your favourite music and other low-level applications but if you want to buy something for professional use then you must opt for headsets.

Headset vs Headphone (What To Buy?)

Headsets are ideal for gaming purposes or call centres. They provide great sound quality along with surround capabilities and also offer an attached mic which makes your own audio clear and crisp for others. For gaming purposes, there are separate gaming headsets that offer you complete clarity so that you can enjoy your experience. If you need a headphone with an in-built mic, then the headset is the perfect choice for you.

wireless headphones

On the other hand, headphones are more easily portable, and that is the reason most people prefer to buy headphones while travelling. Open headphones give you a surround sound experience, so they are perfect for studio needs as well. Foldable headphones can be carried in any case with you. They are available in the wired and wireless forms, so you can choose according to your requirement. Headphones are preferred for listening to music. If you do not have any mic requirement, then choose a headphone.

It can be quite difficult to choose what to prefer. Both quality and brand are key factors to consider when you are purchasing one. If the quality is good, you will not face any issues with the sound no matter whatever you choose. However, a branded headphone can last longer than an unbranded one. This holds true for each comparison of headset vs headphone. Always invest in a good brand to experience the best range and sound.

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