What is the Difference Between Headphones and a Headset?

What is the Difference Between Headphones and a Headset?

What is the Difference Between Headphones and a Headset?

For most people, there is often a confusion between headphones and headsets. Knowing the difference between the two is a good start but then we must dive deeper into the headphones vs headset debate.

When you decide which is the best option for you, Valuehunta can help you make the right choice. You can then enjoy the sound the way that it was meant to be enjoyed. Without further ado, here is the comparison between the two.

What are Headphones?

What are headphones? For starters, they are extremely similar to headsets with minor differences. For one, there is a difference in audio performance between them. Finding headphones with the best frequency range is a must.

But the main difference is that headphones have an integrated microphone that cannot be seen. The microphone can be used and accessed easily, but that is not the primary function of the headphone. No, listening is the primary purpose of headphones and the overall sound quality tends to be superior with headphones versus a headset.

The Features of Headphones

Now that we know the main difference between the two, what are headphones used for? For one, they are all about sound quality. They can be used to block out the noise thanks to noise cancelling headphones. There is also active noise cancelling headphones and passive noise cancelling headphones for more specific purposes.

Good quality headphones can vary depending on what you are looking to achieve out of them. Soundstage headphones are all about sound performance. Wireless headphones or wireless Bluetooth headphones, meanwhile, are more about convenience.

Comfortable headphones are a must as well. The majority of these go over the ear with some sort of padding built in. Tied into the comfort is the ease of use. Wireless headphones with a rechargeable battery are more popular than ever because there is no tangling. For more cost effective options, there are headphones with a detachable cable as well.

Headphones also have an integrated microphone in them. That said, the primary goal of headphones is superior sound quality. You want to hear whatever it is you are listening to in superior quality and that is what you get with headphones.

What are Headsets?

So, now we know what headphones are, but what are headsets? Well, a headset has a microphone attached and is generally used for communication. The mic attached to headphones makes it easier for meetings, gaming, and more. Even better, you can use a headset for the telephone or computer.

Like headphones, there are also wireless headsets and wireless headsets with Bluetooth for even greater convenience and ease of use. While the sound quality might not be quite as high, it is the improved communication that users value when using headsets.

The Features of Headsets

Now, let’s get down to the features and the million dollar question: “what are headsets used for?” If you are looking for sound quality, there are now headsets that can deliver some of the best sound around. But those cost major money, so you are more than likely going to have to settle for reduced quality versus headphones.

Generally speaking, a headset with a mic is used for things like meetings. That’s why headsets for call centers are such a popular option. The headset microphone allows for clear communication be it in a work setting or while gaming.

There are even headsets with a removable mic if you don’t like having the mic by your mouth the entire time. Whether it be headsets for calls, headsets for gaming, or a mix of both, having a comfortable headset is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, you will spend more time fidgeting with your headset than anything else.

Headphones vs Headsets: A Comparison

So, what’s the difference between headphones and headsets? The simplest explanation is that the former is about sound quality while the latter is more about communication. But the headset or headphones debate is more complicated than that.

When choosing between headphones and headsets, it comes down to the intended use. And here’s something you may not have expected to read: in the headphones vs headset debate, most people won’t tell the difference.

There are noticeable sound quality differences in favor of headphones versus headsets. For those just looking for decent sound quality, either will do fine. But when you dive deeper, the differences get a little bigger.

Not only do headphones have superior sound quality on the whole, but they also have better performance. That means with functionality like Bluetooth, headphones tend to have better, more stable connections and longer life. That’s not to say that headsets won’t do fine but headphones generally have better performance.

When it comes to calls and gaming, headsets may be the better option. The attached mic allows for clearer sound and communication, meaning less repeating, less muffling, and smoother communication on the whole.

Again, it all comes down to the intended use. If you are listening to music or gaming on your own, headphones are probably the better bet due to noise cancellation and superior sound. But if you are in a meeting or gaming with friends, communicating is better with headsets. In a pinch, either will work fine for any application.


Though the differences can be somewhat subtle to the uninitiated, there are more than a few differences between headphones and headsets. Having an understanding of the two is the first step towards making the right selection.

If you value noise canceling or sound quality in whatever you are listening to, then headphones are the better choice. But if you are looking to communicate, either in a meeting or with friends over a gaming channel, then a headset is the better choice.

Both are somewhat interchangeable if you do not care about sound or mic quality. But if you are looking for the best quality for the proper application, then it is important to not only get the choice right but find a high-quality option as well.

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