Which Is Better WAV or MP3?: A Detailed Comparison Of WAV And MP3

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wav vs mp3 featureWAV and MP3 have been and still are very popular formats for digital music. Most music formats uploaded and available for download use these formats. WAV or MP3 can be a big decision affecting how your audio is heard. The quality of your audio greatly impacts the perception of your listeners. Learning about the difference between WAV and MP3 files will help you make the best choice. Properties such as quality, file size, and more are tackled in this article. We also answer frequently asked questions and give some tips for converting files. Please read the information below to learn more about WAV and MP3 and their key differences

A Quick Comparison Between WAV and MP3

Format File Size Quality Compatibility Compression File Extension
WAV Due to WAV's lossless format, a file is bigger than an MP3 Lossless formats are better in quality compared to lossy formats. Since WAV is lossless, it is of better quality than MP3. Many platforms and devices recognize WAV. However, there are still platforms that do not recognize it. WAV is a lossy file format. .WAV .WAVe
MP3 MP3'sMP3's lossy quality allows it to save files in smaller sizes. MP3 loses a bit of data that should not affect quality. However, repeated saving can lower the file quality. MP3 is a universal file format recognized by many devices. MP3 is a lossless format. .mp3

What is WAV and MP3?

WAV: What is it?

IBM and Microsoft made WAV (Waveform Audio File Format). It was intended to be the main format used on Windows for uncompressed audio. WAV can support compressed audio, but it is best for uncompressed audio.

MP3: What is it?

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) is a lossy format. It was made the Fraunhofer Society with the support of sponsors and scientists. MP3 is known nowadays as the standard audio format for most audio files.

wav and mp3 logo

Key Differences Between WAV and MP3

File Size: One of the biggest differences between WAV and MP3 is the file size. The file compression of both formats is the opposite. MP3 is a lossy format, while WAV is a lossless format. Lossy formats remove bits of data in your file to compress and save size. Naturally, as a file loses bits of data, it shrinks in size. Lossless formats, on the other hand, do not touch or compress any data. This is why WAV can take up more file storage than MP3. MP3 is a better file format if you want to save space. Learn more about WAV vs MP3 quality below.

Quality: Quality is the most important part of the debate about WAV vs MP3. WAV is better for high-quality or detailed files. As discussed before, lossless files do not touch the data or compress your files. WAV can give you a detailed and high-quality file even after resaving. MP3 is a lossy format that removes certain bits of data in your file to compress it. Though it removes bits of data, it still delivers a great quality like a CD. But it is not a good format if you are resaving it. A good comparison that shows the difference is listening to transitions. Transitions often fade, making them a target for data deletion when compressed. Listening to transitions with WAV delivers a clear and detailed experience.

Compatibility: When looking at what's the difference between mp3 and WAV we must look at compatibility. WAV and MP3 are very popular formats supported by many devices. You can use them on your Apple and Android devices. However, MP3 has a slight edge in terms of compatibility. Most software and media players support MP3. It is difficult to find platforms that do not use or support MP3 as it is standard. WAV is compatible with many platforms and devices, but some do not support it. The size of WAV files may be a factor that prevents some platforms or software from supporting them. That said, their difference in compatibility is few and far between. MP3 is the go-to format if you want a more universal one.

difference between wav to mp3

How to Pick Between WAV and MP3

When picking between WAV file vs MP3, you must consider the key differences in formats. For people looking to share audio files fast and with good quality, MP3 is best. The small size of MP3 files allows for faster data transfer. MP3 also has great quality as long as no resaving is done. WAV is a format great for editing or professional work and there are various software that allows to record WAV files for professional needs. You may need to resave it if you're editing or developing an audio file. Lossless formats are great for receiving since they do not lose any data. Professional workers can also benefit from the great details that WAV brings. Since most professional works need great information, lossless files are best. For smaller files and better compatibility, go for MP3. High-quality and detailed files are best with WAV.

how to pick between wav mp3

How To Convert WAV To MP3?

After answering “is WAV or MP3 better” you may want to change formats because of your situation. In that case, you can use VidElement. VidElement is a file converter tool that allows you to convert to WAV files and more. You can convert files to WAV, MP3, AAC, AC3 and more. You can also use this app to convert video files in many formats. The best feature of VidElement is its toolbox. With the toolbox feature, you can add tools to enhance your files. You can add a noise remover, audio compressor, and more. You can also customize the settings before converting. For a quick guide on VidElement, read more information below.

Try it for Free

Free DownloadWindows 8/10/11

Secure/Safe Download

Step 1 Download VidElement and Start

Click the provided link to go to the AceThinker VidElement download page. Click the "Free Download" icon to start the application’s download. After opening the short tutorial, you can familiarize yourself with the program.

videlement interface

Step 2 Select a File and Convert

To add files for conversion, select the "Add File" icon. Then click the "File Format" icon to choose an output file format after importing your file. Click the "Custom Profile" icon to make changes to the settings.

videlement file section

Step 3 Check your Files

Once your files are properly converted, you can select the "Converted" tab. You can also use your file explorer to find the file you saved. To make the file on the program easier to see, you can rename it.

videlement converted tab

If you're also interested about compressing videos on your Mac. You can check the best compressor for Mac for your best experience

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WAV better than MP3?

It depends on your position and what you want to make. If you want highly detailed audio, then WAV is for you. If you want a small file with good quality, then MP3 is better. You can learn more about other differences that best suit your situation.


Which has a smaller size, WAV or MP3?

In terms of size, MP3 takes the cake. It is generally 75% to 50% smaller than WAV since it is a lossy format.


Is WAV uncompressed?

Yes, WAV is uncompressed and does not remove bits of data. WAV being uncompressed gives it its high-quality feature. WAV can still be compressed but will lose details and not have as many.



WAV and MP3 are both great formats that offer uniqueness. Both files have key differences that you need to know before choosing. Quality, size, and compatibility are important features to understand when deciding. If you want a smaller file size with good quality and compatibility, then MP3 is best. WAV is for people looking for high-quality and highly detailed audio. You can create a good impression on your listeners by the format alone. Picking the best one can enhance the listening and sharing experience. Look at your situation and start from there. Hopefully we’ve helped you answer “which is better WAV or mp3”, if we've missed details, then comment down below.

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