Headphones fit over your head with a small bar made of some combination of plastic and metal. Large pieces fit over your ear to act as personal speakers for you.
Headphones typically have larger drivers than earbuds. This results in the capability for better audio playback, especially when it comes to bass. They also have the unique ability to cancel out some of the surrounding sounds, which can be one of the most needed features when you're in a noisy place like an airplane or train.
The main drawback of headphones is the fact that they're large and clunky. Even lightweight headphones are hard to keep in anything but the largest of coat pockets, which can make toting them around a real chore.
Earbuds are smaller headphones the fit inside of your ears. They're a compact, portable solution for listening to your audio devices.
The main advantages of earbuds lie in the fact that they're small and generally inexpensive. Depending on the make of earbuds, they can also work to filter out some of the surrounding noise.
The main drawbacks focus on the fact that earbuds tend to be lightweight, small and relatively cheap compared to headphones. This results in poorer playback quality and a lack of true noise isolation when compared to regular headphones. Of note, some earbuds do come with various sizes of earpieces for better noise isolation, playback quality and comfort.
Once you have decided on getting ear buds or headphones, you may want to consider getting them with Bluetooth technology. With Bluetooth, you can avoid all the cords, making the headphones more portable. Bluetooth headphones are great for working out or doing anything else that requires you to be mobile.
The kind of earphones you should buy rests entirely on what you need them to do and how much you're willing to spend.
What type of earphones do you prefer?