A great set of workout headphones can energize you with heart-pumping audio. Whether you opt for an over-ear headphone or a pair of unobtrusive earbuds, listening to music during a workout can power you to a new personal best. In fact, research from the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychologynotes motivational music can help you push through fatigue—and the American Council on Exercise confirms music boosts endurance by up to 15% during a workout. The best headphones for working out make an excellent motivational companion to accompany your workouts.
Our advice: Get a pair of high-quality, comfortable and sweat resistant Bluetooth wireless headphones or earbuds specifically designed for people who maintain an active lifestyle. We’ve rounded up 11 of the best headphones and earbuds for working out, along with some additional helpful advice below. All of these models are great choices for highly active, fitness-minded people. For additional options among earbuds, see the results of our hands-on tested best wireless earbuds or our overview of the best headphones and earbuds.
Best Workout Earbuds Overall
Secure-Fitting Comfort and Crystal-Clear Audio
Battery life: Up to 8 hours | Water resistance rating: IP57 | Driver size: 6mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Charging case: Yes, wireless
Best for: Comfy workouts with earbuds designed to stay in place through rigorous activities.
What sets these Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds apart is their very intentional design for active lifestyles. They’re small and light, weighing just 0.19 ounces. Whether you’re running, biking or bouncing around, these earbuds will stay firmly in your ears thanks to a liquid silicon rubber coating Jabra dubs “ShakeGrip.” That same secure fit enhances the active noise cancellation (ANC), which uses six microphones and has wind protection—useful if your workout activities are outdoors. The ANC turns on and off with the tap of a finger. And if you want to hear the ambient noise around you, Jabra’s adjustable HearThrough transparency mode can let that noise in as needed. In addition, you can customize the ANC using the Jabra Sound+ mobile app. This model’s adjustable ANC and HearThrough are features lacking in other, more pricey earbuds in Jabra’s lineup.
These earbuds can pair with two devices at once and switch between them automatically. They’re available in black, white or mint with a matching pocket-sized, wireless charging case that adds up to an additional 30 hours of use. Mono mode allows you to use each earbud independently, so you can take one out and still hear music in the other ear—a feature not all earbuds have. The Jabra Sport Life app helps you track indoor and outdoor workouts.
Has six microphone ANC with built in wind protection
Great battery life
Bass-range audio suffers with active noise cancellation enabled
Call clarity slightly behind sibling Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds
The OnePlus Buds Z2 provide a punch far above their reasonable price. These wireless earbuds have it all: active noise cancellation and wind resistance, a comfortable and secure fit, water and sweat resistance and even Dolby Atmos spatial audio support. These wireless earbuds’ built-in microphones continuously analyze your surrounding area and virtually eliminate ambient noise by producing noise-cancelling counter-frequencies (up to 40 dB noise reduction). But if you want to hear what’s happening around you, switch to transparency mode in a few taps.
Using the earbuds alone, you get up to five hours of continuous listening. The quick-charge case gives another five-hour boost per 10-minutes of charge, up to 33 hours of additional battery life. The sensors built into these buds’ are sensitive, to the point of sometimes accidentally activating features. These earbuds are an excellent value and sound great for the price. Check out Forbes Vetted’s full review.
Best for: Runners who crave a snug fit and ambient noise awareness.
The JBL Endurance Race earbuds are terrific running companions, with a wingtip to enhance its snug fit in-ear. These earbuds’ design helps them stay in place and not pop out, even as you get moving. Prepare to rock out with JBL Pure Bass and an adjustable equalizer (via mobile app). The battery lasts a strong 10 hours, while the charging case holds 20 more hours in reserve—and can quick charge an extra hour of playtime in just 10 minutes.
Change the volume, skip to the next track, answer a call with simple taps or access your choice of supported voice assistants (Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa). The earbuds lack active noise cancellation, but have an “Ambient Aware” feature which lets you hear what’s happening around you.
Best for: Active people who want audiophile quality.
The Bose Sports Earbuds are among the lightest earbuds around, and make a great companion for the active lifestyle—whether running, cycling or working up a sweat indoors and out. Silicone wing tips help these sweat and water resistant (but not waterproof) earbuds stay in place regardless of your movements. They produce clear and crisp audio, with a volume-optimized active equalizer to optimize sound on-the-fly. Beam-forming microphones hone in on your voice during calls, and help mitigate the effects of wind.
Touch controls on the surface let you handle calls, music playback and volume, without needing your phone. And they work with both Apple Siri and Google Assistant for hands-free controls. You can pair these wireless earbuds with up to seven Bluetooth-compatible devices, including any smartphone or smartwatch. If you want active noise cancellation, look at the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.
Best for: Fitness fiends who prefer the extra security of an behind-ear loop to secure their wireless earbuds.
The JBL Endurance Peak II earbuds have a different design than most sports earbuds. With a distinctive silicone ear loop that sits behind your ear, these earbuds target those who engage in activities where their head isn’t always right side up and pointed straight ahead—such as CrossFit, yoga or rowing. The loops add comfort and stability, so you won’t be wondering if your earbuds will stay put. Another benefit: The IPX7 rating means these earbuds will withstand both sweat and a rainstorm.
As with other JBL models, the Endurance Peak II has JBL Pure Bass inside; together with its 10mm driver, they produce bass-heavy sound at an appealing low price. These earbuds work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls, and they can work independently if you only want to wear a single earbud instead of as a pair. Unfortunately, they lack noise cancellation, but this might not be a feature you need when engaged in many types of workouts or exercise activities.
Secure behind-ear fit
Waterproof for use in rain
No sound isolation or noise cancellation
Best Earbuds For Sweating
High Sweat- And Water-Resistance
Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX7 | Driver size: 5.8mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, passive | Charging case: Yes
Best for: Workouts that need sweat and waterproof accompaniment.
Activewear maker Under Armour teamed up with JBL to create this pair of wireless earbuds. With its high waterproof rating and stay-put design, these earbuds are good for when your workout gets sweaty, or you get caught in a surprise downpour. A bit bulkier than some competitors, these earbuds have a silicone wingtip to keep them securely in your ears. This makes them particularly ideal for working out or when engaging in even the toughest fitness activities.
These earbuds use JBL’s technologies to maximum advantage, with Bionic Hearing for hearing speech more clearly when it’s mixed with music or sound effects, Talk-Thru passive noise cancellation and Ambient Aware for hearing noise in your environment. The physical buttons on the earbuds make it easy to control playback when your hands are slick. The updated charging case is still bulky but now has USB-Type C charging, and now holds a massive 40 additional hours of charge, on top of the already-impressive 10 hour battery life. If water and sweat are a regular part of your workout, then these earbuds will serve you well.
Strong battery life
40 hours of extended battery life with charging case
Best for: Apple users who wants a sport-friendly design with features like Find My support.
Since Beats Electronics is an Apple subsidiary, its headphones have the distinction of supporting Apple features others cannot. This is a big distinction for the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro earbuds, which feature a secure, behind-ear design paired with Apple-friendly integrations like support for Apple’s Find My feature for finding misplaced your earbuds and automatic connection to nearby Apple devices.
The Powerbeats Pro loop around each ear to provide a comfortable and secure fit. They’re also water and sweat resistant, and you can use them as a pair, or independently. Unlike Apple’s AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats come in a variety of colors. The charging case adds 15 hours on top of the earbuds’ nine hours on a single charge.
Audio sharing pairs two sets of headphones to one device
Plays well with native Apple devices
Secure behind-ear fit
Best Workout Headphones For Swimmers
The Ideal Companion In The Pool
Battery life: Up to 3 hours | Water resistance rating: IP68
Best for: Water rats who are serious about incorporating swimming into their workout routine.
The Zygo Solo works very differently than traditional wireless headphones. These headphones use bone conduction technology and wrap behind your head, perfect for swimmers who get fully submerged in the water. The Solo connects to a separate wireless transmitter which then pairs (wirelessly) with your smartphone. Whatever audio your smartphone generates, you can hear when wearing the headset—even if you’re up to two feet underwater and up to 50 feet from the transmitter. The included transmitter also works for one-way communication between a coach and the swimmer, for example (live swim workout coaching available via Zygo’s app). Because the headset uses bone conduction, the swimmer can still hear what’s happening around them. The mobile app for this headset has built in guided workouts for swimmers along with curated playlists; the app’s services cost $15 a month, or $120 paid annually.
Lightweight, fully waterproof design
Uses bone conduction to listen to music while in water
Can be securely worn with or without goggles and cap
Poor battery life
Extra-cost app is expensive
Best Workout Earbuds For iPhone Users
Perfect For Apple Enthusiasts
Battery life: Up to 6 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: Not disclosed by Apple | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Case: Wireless charging
Best for: Apple users looking for superior earbuds with newly enhanced features.
The second-generation AirPods Pro are an upgrade to our prior pick for best wireless earbuds for Apple users. They have a new processing chip inside for better noise cancellation and overall performance. Each earbud’s post gains touch-sensitive controls and the new ear tips are designed to offer a more comfortable and secure fit.
Battery life increases to six hours—and with the wireless charging case, the earbuds can gain an additional 30 hours. The compact charging case adds a lanyard loop and a speaker to make it easier to locate the case using the Find My app. Perhaps the biggest improvements to these earbuds are the enhanced personalized spatial audio with dynamic head tracking so music adjusts to your movements; adaptive transparency mode; and upgrades to the earbuds’ adaptive equalizer.
Personalized spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
Improved active noise cancellation with adaptive transparency mode
Convenient touch-sensitive controls
Best Workout Earbuds For Android Users
High Water- And Sweat Resistance With Useful Optimizations
Battery life: Up to 5 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX7 | Driver size: 10mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Charging case: Yes, wireless
Best for: Android users—especially Samsung users.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro come in graphite, white or purple and are a strong choice for workouts given their high IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof rating. Plus, buy at Samsung to get up to $75 in trade-in credit with any eligible device.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro automatically sync with your Samsung smartphone, tablet and smartwatch, they also automatically pair with any Samsung TV, so you can enjoy a private listening experience regardless of the equipment you’re using. These earbuds also work with any Bluetooth device capable of streaming music, including your Windows computer. The Smart Things app makes it easy to locate the earbuds if they’re misplaced.
Best Deals On Workout Earbuds You Can Find Now
The fall shopping season is here, and with that comes headphone and earbud deals aplenty. We’ve rounded up some more discounts to save you money today.
Snap Up These Top-Rated Wireless Earbuds For $30 Off
The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds is tops among our best tested wireless earbuds. They have an IPX4 sweat and waterproof rating, good enough for light activities and workouts. And they have outstanding noise cancellation and customizable listening options. Save $32 and buy them at Amazon for $248.
Shave 25% Off These Hybrid Noise-Cancelling Picks For Workouts
The Life P3i earbuds from Soundcore by Anker carry an IPX5 rating for sweat and water resistance. They have Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling, with four microphones and a transparency mode, 10mm drivers and 36 hours of playing time. Get 25% off and buy them at Amazon for $45.
Bring Home These Bargain-Priced Earbuds For A Bigger Steal
The SoundPeats Free 2 Classic wireless earbuds work well for workouts, with an IPX5 sweat and water resistance rating. They lack active noise cancellation and other fancy features found in more expensive earbuds, but you can’t beat this price. Get 53% off and buy them for $19 from Amazon.
Save 40% On These Inexpensive, Secure-Fit Options
If you’re not fixated on buying one of the big brand names, the Apexx Bluetooth Headphones BE1032 is a great deal for working out. These earbuds carry a high IPX7 rating for sweat and water resistance, and have an over-ear loop to keep the earbuds snug. Get 39% off and buy them now for $34 Amazon.
Get Fitness ’Buds With Siri Support For $40 Less
These Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds have a wingtip design to ensure they stay in place during your workouts. They also have noise cancellation, Apple’s H1 chip and work with the Siri voice assistant. However, they only have an IPX4 rating for minimal water and sweat resistance. Save $40 and buy them for $160.
Score 33% Off All-Purpose Earbuds With Great Call Clarity
Jabra’s Elite 7 Pro emphasizes call clarity, with adjustable active noise cancellation enabled by four microphones and a transparent mode so you can hear ambient noise without removing the earbuds. They last up to 8 hours, or 30 hours total with the case. They have an IP57 rating for protection from dust and water. You can currently save $60 while this deal lasts.
Get High Moisture Protection In General-Use Earbuds For $100
These JBL earbuds can play for up to seven hours, and you get an additional 14 hours from the wireless charging case. While intended for general use, this pair has an IPX7 waterproof rating and can handle the sweat and elements if you use them in a workout. Snag these earbuds with active noise cancelling for 40% off at Amazon.
Save $50 On A Pair With Robust Dust And Water Protection
The JBL Reflect Aero earbuds have a wingtip design for a secure fit, and they use four microphones to enable both its adaptive noise cancellation and its transparent mode so you hear ambient sound. Each earbud has three beamforming microphones to boost your voice’s clarity, even when standing in a windy area. And it is both dustproof and waterproof, with a robust IP68 rating that makes them perfect for using in a range of environments and activities.
Inexpensive, Waterproof ‘Buds For $38
The Tribit FlyBuds 3 earbuds have a strong IPX8 waterproof rating, which means you can use them through sweaty workouts or while on walks in the rain. They lack noise cancellation, but they can last up to five hours on per charge, and the wireless charging case adds another 95 hours of playtime. Or, you can use the case as a power bank to charge your phone. The additional coupons brings the price down to just under $40.
How To Buy Workout Headphones Or Earbuds
A number of factors go into choosing headphones or earbuds which match your day-to-day needs while providing amazing audio accompaniment for your workouts or physical activities. Here are some things to look for beyond personal preferences and aesthetics.
Consider the activities and environments you want to use your headphones or earbuds. If your head will be in constant and rapid motion, a secure fit is essential. For some scenarios, an over-ear headphone makes sense; in others, earbuds can work just as well, if not better.
After determining if you want over-ear headphones or in-ear earbuds from a fit point of view, focus on the unique style and appearance each option offers. Available functions is as important as how they look when you’re wearing them.
Wired Versus Wireless
While virtually all earbud options these days are wireless and rely on Bluetooth, headphones typically offer a wireless or wired option. When you’re dealing with wireless options, consider the Bluetooth version the headphones or earbuds support. If you wind up choosing a wired option, consider the length of the cord and whether it supports a 2.5-millimeter, 3.5-millimeter or .25-inch plug.
Noise Cancellation With Transparency Mode
Many earbuds and headphones use active noise cancellation to remove the ambient noise wherever you are. This allows you to focus entirely on the audio you’re listening to and create an immersive listening experience, especially if a spatial audio feature is also utilized. Active noise cancellation zaps more battery life when engaged.
If you’re working out at home, listening to a guided meditation or want to eliminate the loud sounds at a busy gym, active noise cancellation is a great feature. However, if you’ll be running or cycling outside, in and around traffic or other people, blocking out all outside noise can be dangerous. Many earbuds and headphones have a transparency mode of some sort so you can allow some outside noise in as desired.
Water And Sweat Resistance
If you plan to be in or around water or expect to sweat while wearing the headphones or earbuds you choose, sweat and water resistance is essential. Otherwise, even a little bit of moisture could damage your equipment. (Read on for more details on waterproof ratings.)
For people who work out for extended periods on a regular basis, the overall comfort of the earbuds or headphones is an important consideration. Focus on how the equipment feels in or around your ears. You’ll want to ensure a snug fit so you can move freely without the headphones moving around or the earbuds falling out of your ears.
Wireless headphones or earbuds rely on internal batteries to function. Headphones typically have a much larger battery, and thereby much longer battery life, than earbuds.
When evaluating earbuds, you want to know the average battery life using just the earbuds, how much listening time you get after a five or 10-minute quick charge in their case and how much overall listening time you get when the earbuds can fully recharge within their case. Also note the time earbuds last with active noise cancellation enabled.
Audio Playback Technologies
Being able to experience stereo sound from earbuds or headphones is a given. However, some are equipped with added features like adaptive equalizer (which uses integrated microphones to adjust audio output to match the environment’s ambient noise), spatial audio, dynamic head tracking and Dolby Atmos support. Each of these features will directly impact your immersion when listening to audio, as well as the audio quality generated by the device.
A perfect fit is essential for enjoying an optimal experience with your earbuds or headphones—especially when they have noise reduction or spatial audio. Fit also matter to keep headphones or earbuds in place while you move around; it’s never a good thing for headphones to slide around or get too warm on your ears, or for earbuds to fall out and get lost.
Most earbuds come with multiple ear tips, so you can choose the tips which provide the best fit. Ideally, after a few minutes wearing them, you want to be able to forget the earbuds are in your ears. When it comes to headphones, the best fits come from those with an adjustable headband and over-ear cups which surround your ears with a sound-dampening cushion (on-ear cups sit on the ear instead, and tend to be part of lighter, more portable headphones).
Thanks to sales, technological advancements and competition amongst manufacturers, the price of high-quality earbuds and headphones continues to drop. Meanwhile, the features and functionality built into these devices are becoming more advanced.
For around $200 or less, you can find a high-quality pair of earbuds or headphones to serve as your workout companion at the gym or wherever your fitness activities take you. Expect to pay a premium for name-brand headphones or earbuds from companies like Apple or Bose. While these companies offer excellent-quality products, you can typically find similar products for less money.
How Can Wireless Earbuds Connect To Gym Equipment?
Ever wanted to use your wireless earbuds with the equipment at your local gym or on an airplane—only to be stymied by seeing a 3.5mm audio jack instead? Here’s the workaround for using any Bluetooth earbuds with a 3.5mm audio source.
AirFly Pro is not another pair of wireless headphones or earbuds. Instead, it’s a tiny adapter that allows you to plug your existing wireless headphones or earbuds into the 3.5mm audio jack built into your gym equipment (or the airline seat of a commercial plane). Because this is a transmitter, once you plug the adapter into any standard 3.5mm audio jack, simply pair the device with your wireless headphones or earbuds and then enjoy whatever audio the adapter is plugged into generates. This handy device makes it easier to run on a treadmill, expertise on an elliptical machine, or hear the audio from your favorite gym equipment without any cables hindering your movement. Its rechargeable battery lasts for up to 16 hours.
Is It Better To Work Out With Headphones Or Earbuds?
This is a matter of personal preference, but your decision should be based on the specific activities you plan to do and what you find most comfortable. While some over-hear headphones are extremely lightweight, if your head will be bouncing around a lot during a workout, these could easily fall right off your head. Earbuds often provide a more secure and snug fit, but not everyone likes the feeling of having objects stuck in their ears.
If you’re on a stationary bike, for example, wireless headphones offer a longer battery life and often a more comfortable fit. However, if you’re participating in aerobics or yoga, earbuds are likely a more secure fit.
Do Headphones Get Damaged By Sweat?
Unless headphones or earbuds are specifically designed and rated to be waterproof and sweat resistant, yes, they could easily be damaged by moisture. While most earbuds are sweat and water resistant (which is different from waterproof), most headphones are not (unless they’re designed specifically for it, such as headphones for swimmers).
Waterproof means the earbuds can be submerged in water and will function flawlessly. Water resistant, however, means the equipment can get wet, but needs to be dried off promptly and should not be submerged in water for any length of time.
As a general rule, each time you sweat or wear earbuds (or headphones) for an extended period of time, you should clean them off after each use. Follow the cleaning directions provided by the equipment manufacturer when it comes to maintaining and disinfecting your equipment. For example, Apple’s website explains how to safely clean the AirPods Pro.
What Do Dust And Water Resistance Ratings Mean?
When earbuds’ specs list an IP (ingress protection) or IPX rating, this refers to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)’s industry-standard system to rate a product’s ability to withstand dirt, dust and water.
With two-digit IP ratings, the first digit refers to the level of protection a product has against solid objects like sand, dirt or dust. The second number marks this quality against water. If a product doesn’t get tested against objects, the rating replaces the number with an “X”, so it looks like “IPX” followed by a single number reflecting its water rating.
For protection against solid objects, the scoring scales up to 6, where a higher number reflects the amount and size of the individual solid objects the device can withstand. A 3 means the device is good against solid objects 2.5 millimeters in size or larger, while a 6 means the device has protection against dust particles.
The scale goes higher when ranking a product’s protection against water, where the second digit of an IP rating (or the single digit of the IPX rating) can be between zero and eight. A rating of one means the product has protection against water droplets and is water-resistant, not waterproof. A rating of four means you can splash water on the object from any angle without causing damage, while a rating of seven means you can fully submerge the product in up to three feet of water. A rating of eight means the product can handle submersion in up to 13 feet of water.
What’s Best For Running?
We strongly believe that earbuds are a better choice for running than headphones. But which earbuds are best? If we could only choose one, we’d go running with the Bose Sports Earbuds thanks to the sound quality and fit—there’s nothing worse than having one of them work its way loose in the middle of a jog.