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Headphones vs. earbuds vs. speakers: what’s the best sound solution for your WFH office?

You’re at your desk for half the day, and answering emails isn’t exactly riveting. It’s time to turn some tunes on while you work, but what do you reach for? Earbuds, headphones or your speaker knob?

There’s a catch here, folks. People have different preferences when it comes to audio. We’ll help you determine what works best for you to pick the perfect solution to your work from home (WFH) audio needs.

Earbuds provide more treble, but less bass

Treble is a high-frequency pitch, while the bass is a pitch of low essential. Bass is vital to sound quality, depth and cohesion, but it’s not always part of the budget. Here are a few earbud recommendations.

Earbuds provide sharper sounds, which is why it doesn’t feel good to use earbuds at max volume. High frequencies can damage your eardrums if you aren’t careful. Here’s a quick look at their pros and cons.


  • Inexpensive: You can pick up earbuds without spending a fortune.
  • Decent quality: Thanks to modern designs, you can get good quality, although it will lack depth.
  • Convenient: Bring them with you to the office if you’re a hybrid WFH employee, or walk around with them if they’re wireless.


  • Almost no bass: If you pick up on the small nuances in music, the lack of bass will be disappointing.
  • Cheap wires: Unless you spend more money on wireless, you will end up with cheap/thin wires.

Headphones have a mix of large drivers and bass but don’t always have enough power

Headphones grant you decent bass while providing better volume and treble control than earbuds. They’re also personal to you. With the right headphones, sound doesn’t escape to disrupt what others are doing. Earbuds tend to have that problem. Here are a few recommendations for headphones.

They can lack the power necessary to deliver the sound you want, depending on what type of music you listen to. Since they can also harm your ears somewhat easily, a lack of power could benefit some.


  • Personal: Nobody has to hear your music, so you can focus even in a loud house.
  • Middle-of-the-road: Not too pricey with the right sound.
  • Comfortable: Headphones provide comfort. They’re not invasive to your ears like earbuds can be.


  • Ear damage: If you aren’t careful, the sound these large drivers output can hurt your eardrums.
  • Need to be cleaned: Headphones will hold onto sebum oil from your hair (and sweat from your ears). They need to be cleaned somewhat frequently.

Desk speakers give deeper, richer sound but may be more distracting

Desk speakers provide much deeper, richer sounds but also add noise pollution to your home office. If you share a space with your family during the day and need music to help you focus (as many of us do), that can be a problem. Here are a few desk speaker recommendations.

Depending on what you do in your WFH office, desk speakers can be a significant investment. Video editors and audio editors will benefit from them the most.


  • Great bass: Even if you just have 2.5” drivers, it’s more than enough to get rich bass in a small setting.
  • Deep sound: Speakers can display more frequencies depending on their quality, resulting in a better sound with more nuances.
  • Helps you focus: Loud, fast-paced music can help you focus. With speakers, you can fine-tune your ideal sound without hurting your ears (if you’re careful).


  • Pricing: There’s a much larger range of prices. Speakers can get very expensive.
  • Takes up space: Speakers can take up a lot of desk space. You might have to get speaker stands if your desk is small, which is an additional purchase.

The price difference

So what costs the most? Desk speakers can be as inexpensive as a basic pair of headphones, but you’ll get similar quality. Desk speaker prices rely on the size of the drivers, how loud they can get, and features such as Bluetooth or 5.1 surround sound capability. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $1,000 on two individual desk speakers.

Next, we have headphones. Typically, good headphones have 40mm or 50mm drivers, which produce far less depth than desk speakers. They’re personal and not distracting to those around you in a WFH environment, so you don’t need the sound to be that loud. Headphones can range from $10 up to $379 or higher.

Earbuds aren’t that expensive or difficult to produce. Until you get to AirPods and similar products, they’re inexpensive and lack sound quality. Because they’re not built like headphones, you can get them for dirt cheap, just don’t have the highest expectations. Earbuds range from $9 up to $179.

How do you like to listen?

Earbuds bring excellent treble. Headphones immerse you in the music. Speakers flood the room with deep, rich sounds. Which one works best for you?

Everyone listens differently. Some of us are more sensitive to different audio delivery methods. Find your favorite way to listen with our recommendations and improve WFH productivity simultaneously.

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