Whether you go to the gym or you like the outdoors, your workouts will be more focused and bring better results if you can listen to your favorite tunes. But this can’t happen without a pair of headphones that can withstand the movement and the sweating.
So, the best workout headphones should be able to deliver audiophile-grade sound, but they also need to have other characteristics that put the sound quality on a lower place when it comes to importance.
How to Choose the Best Workout Headphones?
The first thing you need from a pair of headphones when you’re working out is a comfortable fit. While the idea of comfort is subjective and different from person to person, there are some guidelines to keep in mind. As such, the best workout headphones should be:
- Lightweight – even after wearing them for a while
- Breathable (for on-ear or over-the-ear designs) – your ears should not get hot or too sweaty
- Easy to forget you’re wearing them – if there is a headband or a wire, it should not be annoying or interfering with your activity in any way
- Easy to control – The earcups or earbuds should offer easy access to controls
Since you will be sweating or maybe exercising outside on rainy days, it’s best to choose a product designed with materials resistant to water and sweat. To make sure you’re choosing a product suited for your needs, check for the IP rating, which speaks about the resistance to water, sweat, dirt, and more.
For instance, if you know you’re mostly working out outdoors and that you only practice high-intensity activities, then you’ll need a product that’s rated IPX7 or better.
Whether it’s earbuds, on-ear, or over the ear, each person has certain preferences when it comes to design. In this situation, your preferences matter, so make sure to choose a pair of headphones that respond to your needs.
Also, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of the mentioned designs, have a look at bone conduction headphones. They don’t sit on or in your ear but send the sound using the bones in the skull. If this sounds a bit too weird, here is a detailed explanation of the way they work here.
Most headphones designed for use in the gym are not made with audiophiles in mind, and if you want high levels of sound quality, you need to be prepared to pay more. Still, even the budget products deliver a punchy and rich sound, which goes well with music destined to motivate you during workouts.
Wired vs. Wireless
As you can see from the reviews below, we opted mostly for wireless designs, with good life battery. Wires tend to get in the way, whether you’re at the gym or running, and it’s best to avoid using products that could cause accidents.
Still, if you really want a wired design, it’s best to choose one with a removable wire. This way, if the wire gets tangled, it will not pull the entire headset off your head.
Modern workout headphones come with other cool features that make the experience better. For instance, if you like to take calls while doing your morning run, you should focus on a headset with a noise-canceling microphone. This mic can also be used to do some work with the help of voice assistants (Siri or Google Now).
Another cool feature is the possibility to track your activity. For this, the headset would need to have an integrated motion sensor and work with a companion app.
The list could go on, but it’s important to keep in mind that additional settings also mean more money. So, make sure you pay attention to the most important features first, and then look for the cool ones.
10 Best Workout Headphones
The Best Wireless Workout Headphones
Marketed as the totally wireless headphones, the Powerbeats Pro are perfect for any workout because there are no wires to hinder your movements. Each earbud is fitted with adjustable hooks that allow users to wrap it around the ear. This way, the buds won’t move an inch even if you shake your head while listening to your favorite rock music. Furthermore, they’re so lightweight that you won’t even feel them!
And when we say any workout, we mean it! They have a sweat- and water-resistant design, and each earbud has volume and track controls.
Powerbeats Pro are powered by the Apple H1 headphone chip, which guarantees high sound performance and good quality. Also, you get up to 9 hours of listening time and over 24 hours if you use the charging case (delivered with the headphones).
Finally, class 1 Bluetooth technology makes sure the connection stays strong. Also, each earbud connects to the source device independently, so if the connection drops on one, the other one will keep going. They even feature sensitive mics, so it’s easy to answer calls while wearing them.
- Lightweight design and comfortable fit
- Available in several color options
- Good battery life
- Charging case
- Good sound quality
- Controls on each earbud
- Sweat and water-resistant
- A bit expensive
- The case is quite big
- They are obvious in your ear
Lightweight and Comfortable Headphones for Working Out
Vista earbuds are designed for active people who are not afraid to get dirty or wet. They have an IPX7 rating (waterproof and sweat-proof), which means you can wear them outdoors and indoors, regardless of weather conditions and workout intensity.
We also like that they come with a compact charging case that extends the battery life with up to 10 hours. You also get a quick-charge setting, where the battery will last for another hour for 5 minutes of charge time.
The Bluetooth connection is clear and solid, without any lag, and you can listen to music or take calls. Vista can be paired with the free Jaybird app that lets you customize the EQ and other settings to create the perfect audio experience for your taste. Moreover, there’s a Find My Buds setting, in case one of them gets lost.
While they may seem a bit weird at first, the Vista earbuds fit perfectly in most ear sizes and shapes and provide that perfect sealing that isolates you from the world outside. They’re also lightweight, so once you get used to them, you’ll probably forget you’re wearing earbuds.
- Lightweight & comfortable fit
- Charging case with 10 extra hours
- Good battery lifetime
- Jaybird app for customization
- Quick charge
- IPX7 rating for durability
- Impressive audio experience
- Controls on the earbuds could have more functions
- The case is really small and easy to misplace
- A bit on the pricey side
Bose SoundSport Free
Superb Bluetooth Workout Earbuds
Bose came out with the SoundSport Free version to cater to the physically active side of their audience. As such, there are no wires, only the earbuds, which can seem a bit weird if you’ve never tested a similar design.
But, once you try them on, you’ll see they fit perfectly in your ear canal (there are different sizes of ear tips in the package), and they stay on regardless of your moves. Moreover, the sound is clear and punchy, and the battery lasts for up to 5 hours. If you want more, the charging case provides an extra 10 hours, so you are set for the day.
Bose also offers a companion app that lets you customize the experience and track lost earbuds (it may happen).
The earbuds will connect with most phones and tablets, as they support the latest Bluetooth protocol for a solid, drop-free connection. They are designed with controls (on the right earbud) and with an integrated dual microphone that lets you make and take phone calls.
- Perfect fit for almost all ear sizes
- Long battery life
- Superb sound quality
- Perfect for working out at the gym
- Charging case
- A bit bulky
- Controls and phone calls only work with the right earbud
- There is some lag when watching videos
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500
On-Ear Workout Headphones with Great Range
If you don’t like wearing in-ear headphones, have a look at the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500. These are wireless on-ear headphones, that feature a cushioned headband and earcups, with sweat-resistant P2i military-grade nano-coating technology.
The battery will last around 18 hours, which means you can wear them all day long, starting at the gym and ending in the bus back home, after a long day at work. They also feature a microphone that works great for making calls but also for chatting with your favorite voice assistant (Siri, Cortana, or Google Now).
Since the earcups are bigger, Plantronics had space to include 40 mm drivers and advanced acoustic technology, which results in a deep and rich sound. The headphones support Class 2 Bluetooth connection with a range up to 10 meters (33 feet).
Furthermore, if it happens to run out of battery, you can always switch to wired by using the 3.5mm micro USB cable that comes in the package.
- On-ear design with memory foam headband and earcups
- 40mm drivers with bass tube technology
- Class 2 Bluetooth technology
- Good range
- Sweat and moisture protection
- Good battery life
- A bit bulky
- The plastic feels cheap and fragile
- Your ears will get hot after a while
- The mic doesn’t remove environmental noise on call
Jabra Elite Active 65t Earbuds
Perfect for Working Out on Your Terms
The Elite Active 65t Earbuds are exactly this: earbuds designed for active people who don’t like tripping in wires. The earbuds feature a somewhat delicate design that’s durable (IP56 rating), and they come in a wide array of colors with different ear tip sizes so that anyone can wear them.
They connect using Bluetooth 5.0 technology and work with both Android and Apple devices. Furthermore, you can customize the experience by using the Jabra Sound+ app, which also lets you chat with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant and place voice commands without taking the phone out. The earbuds come with an integrated accelerometer, which lets the app track your fitness activity as well.
Jabra equipped these earbuds with their 3rd generation true wireless stability, which means you can take calls while working out without worrying about the connection dropping.
We also love that they come in an adorable charging case (that matches the color of the earbuds). As such, while the battery lasts around 5 hours, with the case, you get an extra 10 hours!
- Wireless earbuds with amazing fit
- Perfect for working out
- Good sound quality
- Long battery life
- Integrated accelerometer
- Jabra dedicated app for a wide array of settings
- IP56 rating against sweat and dust
- Connects with voice assistants
- Buttons can be a bit painful to press
- You start feeling the earbuds after a while
- Some issues with the app
The Best Workout Headphones Under $100
Lightweight and easy on the ears, the X4 from Jaybird feature a great design for active people (although some may be disturbed by the wire that rests on the back of the neck). Moreover, they are equipped with ear fins and have an overall comfortable fit, whether you’re running or lifting weights.
Speaking of which, X4 is sweat- & water-proof (Ipx7 rating) so you can wear them regardless of the weather or intensity of exercise.
The sound quality is impressive, and the 6mm drivers manage to deliver quite a punch. But, if you don’t like the default settings, you can always use the Jaybird app to customize the EQ and make it more your style (custom settings can be saved so you won’t have to repeat the process each time).
Finally, the earbuds offer 8 hours of playtime on one charge, and it only takes 2 hours to recharge them.
- Lightweight and easy to wear
- Perfect for any weather and exercise type
- Impressive sound quality
- Durable materials
- Customizable settings
- Easy to reach controls
- The back neck wire can be annoying
- Some connectivity drops
- The proprietary charger is a bit unnerving
Under Armour JBL Sport Wireless Train
Built for the Gym
Do you know those crowded days at the gym when it’s difficult to get things done because there are so many distractions? Well, with the right headphones, you’ll be able to focus even when it seems that everyone in town decided to show up.
The on-ear design promoted by Under Armour comes with unique fabric technologies, so you don’t have to worry about ruining them with sweat (IPX4 rating). Furthermore, the ear cushions are equipped with UA Super Vent lines that ensure breathability, so your ears won’t get hot.
The headband and earpads are lined with a grip material that ensures the headphones stay on, regardless of your movements.
The sound quality is impressive and Talk Thru technology lets you answer calls without interrupting the workout. When you touch the UA logo, the music will automatically drop down, and the speech-optimized, noise-canceling mics will be activated.
Furthermore, the headphones feature oversized controls on the right cup, so they are easy to find and use during a workout. They come in a carrying case, feature a 16 h battery life, and can be used in wired mode, due to the removable wire.
- On-ear design with sweat-resistant materials
- Breathable earpads
- High-quality sound
- Wired and wireless
- 16h battery lifetime
- Talk Thru technology with noise-canceling mic
- Durable carrying case
- The headband feels tight if you wear glasses
- They can become uncomfortable for big heads and ears
- A bit pricey
Anker Soundbuds Curve Wireless Headphones
The Best Workout Headphones Under $50
When you don’t have a big budget for your gym headphones, these Bluetooth earbuds from Anker should be on your list of choices. They come with wings and tips in various sizes and secure at the back of the neck with a cord management clip.
Furthermore, they have an IPX7 rating, which means you don’t need to worry about sweat or rain – nothing will stand in your way! They also feature about 18h battery lifetime (at 60% volume), which is amazing considering their price.
In terms of sound quality, the earbuds are equipped with 10mm composite drivers, designed to encourage full immersion in the musical spectrum with powerful bass and rich treble.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Good sound quality
- Durable and waterproof
- Good value for the money
- Long battery life
- They come with a travel pouch
- The Bluetooth range is rather limited
- The bass is a bit too much
- The neck strap can be annoying at times
AfterShokz Air Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
A Unique Design for a Unique Experience
AfterShokz features the ideal design for those who don’t like wearing earbuds and heat feeling their ears sweaty from on-ear headphones. The open-ear design and bone conduction technology deliver the music through the cheekbones instead of pouring it directly into the ear canal.
This way, you will still be able to hear the environment, receive instructions from your trainer, or talk to your workout partner while listening to motivational tunes. They are fitted with a weightless band that wraps around the back of the head and makes sure the headphones stay in place.
The sound is dynamic, with wide notes, deep bass, and a rich treble, and the battery can give you up to 6h of continuous playtime. The earbuds support Bluetooth v4.2 connectivity and a multipoint pairing that works with both Android and Bluetooth.
- Virtually weightless
- Comfortable fit
- Open-ear design that lets you hear environmental sounds
- New sound delivery technology
- Good sound quality
- Difficult to wear with glasses
- Sound quality is not audiophile worthy
- You feel the vibrations at high volumes
JBL Endurance Jump
The Perfect Fit & Sound
These earbuds promise two things: the JBL signature sound and the perfect fit even when you’re jumping, running at high speeds or working on your HIIT exercises. And they deliver!
Because they fit tightly around the ear and due to the connecting headband, that keeps the earbuds together, they will stay on regardless of the way you move. Furthermore, the materials used are nice to touch, so you won’t feel weird when installing them. After a while, you won’t be feeling them at all, which is the way you want your gym headphones to feel.
The battery will hold for about 8 hours, and they feature touch controls right on the earbuds. Furthermore, they are waterproof (IPX7 rating), so you can test your limits without worrying about the headphones.
While the cost may seem a bit steep for some people, if we consider their features and level of sound quality, you can easily consider JBL Endurance Jump some of the best budget workout headphones on the market.
- Comfortable and durable
- Perfect fit even during intense workouts
- Good battery life
- IPX7 rating
- Fantastic sound quality
- Automatic power On/Off feature
- Controls need a bit of getting used to
- A bit difficult to wear with a bike helmet on
- Some connection troubles
Workout headphones need to be comfortable, lightweight, easy to use with sweaty fingers, and durable. But they should also provide a booming audio experience (to feel truly motivated by the tunes) and answer each users’ personal needs.
Overall, we consider wireless, in-ear designs to be the best for active people because they don’t have cables to get in the way and come with secure fittings that make sure they stay put. However, you are the one to make the final choice, so make sure to look for a pair tailored to your specific conditions.