Wav File vs MP3 File: What Are the Differences?

Would you believe that the MP3 is over 20 years old? The first MP3 player was sold in 1997. That same year is when the MP3 file format was opened up to the public. It’s been quite a fun ride so far!

Sometimes people can be confused with the differences between WAV and MP3. They think they’re the same thing, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

So what are the differences between a WAV file vs MP3 file? Here’s the breakdown.

WAV File vs MP3 File

There are many different types of audio files, but two of the most popular are WAV files and MP3 files.

Both have their own merits, and it really depends on what the person is looking for in an audio file. Normally, it is up to the individual to decide which type of audio file is best for them, but we are here to help you see the differences between them.


WAV files are uncompressed, which means they have a higher quality than MP3 files. This is because MP3 files are compressed, which means that some of the sound is lost. So, if you’re looking for the best audio quality, you should go with a WAV file. If you’re looking to save space, an MP3 file is the better option.

File Size

Due to the uncompressed nature of WAV files, they’re typically larger than MP3 files. When a file is compressed, some of the data is removed in order to make the file smaller. This means that a WAV file will have better sound quality than an MP3 file, but the tradeoff is that the WAV file will be larger.


WAV files are not compatible with as many devices as MP3 files. This is because MP3 files are more widely used and are more universally accepted. There are also more apps that support MP3 files, such as the very common MP3 YouTube converter.

Supported Bitrates

What really sets the two formats apart is the supported bitrates. A WAV file can support up to a 96kHz/24-bit audio quality, while an MP3 file is limited to a 48kHz/320kbps quality. This difference is due to the way each file is encoded and compressed.

Converting WAV to MP3 and Vice Versa

Both WAV and MP3 files can be converted to the other format, though there may be some loss of quality in the process. When converting WAV to MP3, it is important to use a high bitrate to preserve as much quality as possible. When converting MP3 to WAV, the file size will increase, but the quality will be the same as the original MP3.

Hear the Difference

When it comes to choosing between a WAV file VS MP3 file, it really depends on what you need the file for. A WAV file would provide you with a file that has a better quality due to its uncompressed format, but the files are larger. On the other hand, MP3 files are much smaller, and they have more applications and devices which support them. At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Only you can hear the difference.

Did this article teach you about the differences between WAV and MP3? Keep reading our blog for more informative topics!