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.
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 Sport Earbuds
Boost Your Workouts with Good Music
These BT earbuds can deliver a powerful and crystal clear sound while you’re enjoying your favorite physical activity (IPX4 resistance rating). They fit securely in your ear, due to the specially-designed StayHear Max tips, and you can wear them for a long period of time without them hurting your ears. Also, the battery life is good, at about 5h per charge and charging case.
The sound quality is impressive and very lifelike, and you can also use them to take on calls. This is due to the beamforming microphone array that was designed to pick up your voice from surrounding noise.
In addition, you can control the volume and music using the capacitive touch interface on each earbud (so you can toss the phone aside, as long as you’re within range).
- Good fit in the ear
- Very lifelike sound
- Weather and sweat-resistant (IPX4)
- Good phone calls clarity
- Easy to use touch controls
- A bit bulky
- Touch controls can be a bit erratic at times
- Not a good fit for small ears
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 75t
The Best Fitting Earbuds for Active Workouts
Jabra deems these earbuds as the best-fitting earbuds for all sorts of sportive activities. In addition, they are sweatproof, so you can truly enjoy your favorite tunes while pumping your workout.
Besides the standard noise cancelation provided by the tips, there is also an ANC module with HearThrough that can be activated from the Jabra Sound plus app. Also, there are four mics installed in the earbuds, to help you take crystal clear calls or have a chat with your favorite assistant.
Lastly, the battery is reliable, and the charging case gives you up to 24h of music (ANC module on). Overall, these earbuds are truly designed for supporting your active lifestyle.
- Secure fit – they stay in your ear regardless of your activity
- Sweatproof and waterproof (IP57-rated protection)
- 4-microphone call technology
- Long battery life
- An easy to use charging case
- Jabra MySound technology with the Jaba Plus app
- The case doesn’t have wireless charging
- They are only sweat resistant
Truly Wireless Sports In-Ear Buds
Created to provide athletes and sportives with total freedom, these earbuds offer a secure fit and have the necessary features for a truly hands-free experience (including touch controls). They are also sweatproof & splash-proof and have a good BT range so you can listen to music or take phone calls without interrupting your activity.
Even more, the digital noise cancelation module allows users to get deep in the zone. To help with this, the battery will last for up to 9h (ANC on) on one charge. If you add the case, you get up to 18h!
The sound is clear and the low end is surprisingly punchy given the size of the buds. Furthermore, the built-in mic keeps you connected with other people or your phone via Alexa (the voice assistant).
Lastly, you can keep wearing them and pay attention to what happens around due to the Quick attention mode and wearing detection technology.
- Digital noise cancellation
- Up to 9h of battery life on one charge
- IP55 sweat and splash-proof rating
- A deep and punchy low end
- Good phone call quality
- Quick attention mode and wearing detection
- They are a bit on the heavy side
- With ANC mode on, you feel a bit of “cabin pressure”
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
Soundcore Spirit X
Designed to Withstand the Toughest Workouts
Fitted with Flex-form EarHooks, these workout earbuds were designed to stay in your ear even during the most strenuous workouts. They are also resistant to dust and sweat (IP68 rating) due to SweatGuard technology, which was inspired by the structure of a submarine and allows the internals to stay dry while you are sweating buckets.
While you can’t expect too much from earbuds this size, you will be impressed by the thumping bass. This is due to their oversized dynamic drivers, which are 40% larger and 60% stronger than ordinary earphones.
Lastly, the battery life is pretty good (up to 18h) and, due to fast charging, you can get up to 3h of battery life with just 10 minutes of charging time.
- Secure fit around the ear neck
- Solid dust & waterproof protection
- Impressive bass for the size
- Great battery life
- Good value for the money
- The neckband can be annoying
- The sound is a bit flat
Enjoy the Music & Avoid Discomfort in your Ears
Bone conduction technology allows users to enjoy their music in an open-ear design that lets the rest of the world chime in as well. These workout headphones are great for joggers or people who usually workout outdoors (IP67 waterproof rating), as you can pay attention to your surroundings without having to use an ANC module.
Furthermore, the open ear design is lightweight and comfortable, even though the neckband can get a bit weird at times. These headphones are perfect for people who don’t feel comfortable wearing in-ear or over-the-ear headphones.
Also, the battery is reliable (about 8h of continuous play) and the dual noise-canceling mics are great for crystal clear calls. In addition, they are equipped with a multifunction button that keeps you in control of the play, pause, skip, voice assistant, and call answer actions.
- You don’t have to stuff your ear canal
- Open-ear audio experience
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Multifunction button for easy control
- There is some pressure around the ears
- The neckband can get in the way at times
Adidas RPT-01 Bluetooth Sport On-Ear Headphones
Designed for Athletes & Active People
Since these are an over the ear design, the removable, washable knitted ear cushions and inner headband are absolutely amazing! Otherwise, you couldn’t keep them on during a sweaty workout session.
The design is made to fit your active lifestyle while providing comfort and security. Also, the sound is absolutely impressive and you will love losing yourself in your favorite playlist! And you don’t need to keep your phone on you, due to the fast pairing BT 5.0 wireless connectivity.
The battery is more than decent (up to 40 hours of playtime) and due to the super-fast USB-C charging, there is no need to wait around. Lastly, even though they promote a solid and simple build, users still have control over their music due to the built-in control knob.
Overall, the RPT-01 headphones are practical, good-looking, and created especially for those who want to stay active.
- IPX4 rating – sweatproof & water-resistant
- Good battery life (up to 40 hours of playtime)
- Easy to control
- Quick and smooth pairing (BT 5.0)
- Washable Ear cushions and inner headband
- There is a bit of pressure on the ears
- The earpieces are difficult to remove
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.