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The best workout headphones in 2021

Best workout headphones
(Image credit: Beats)

You’ll want the best workout headphones in your ears when you hit the gym — everyone knows the motivational benefits of listening to music while you exercise, but these headphones and earbuds possess design traits or features that make them particularly well-suited to keeping fit.

For example, all of the best wireless earbuds sound great, but few have such a strong fit in your ears that you can run, jump, squat and crunch without working them loose. The headphones on this list, which we’ve tested ourselves in full, are much more resistant to falling out, even if they weren’t designed for exercise specifically. Expect to see water resistance and sweatproof too, as you read through our top picks of the best workout headphones.

What are the best workout headphones?

Based on our testing, our pick of the best workout headphones is the Jabra Elite Active 75t. It provides amazing comfort and outperforms most competitors in several key categories, including battery life, durability, sound and special features. 

iPhone owners should check out the AirPods Pro, which produces impressive sound and is cinch to pair with any iPhone. Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners should consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, another pair of high-end buds with some Galaxy-exclusive tricks.

Budget-conscious exercisers who want quality performance at a low cost should check out the Amazfit Powerbuds, which somehow manages to cram a heart rate sensor and tons of other features into a sub-$100 set of wireless buds.

The best workout headphones you can buy today

Best workout headphones: Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

1. Jabra Elite Active 75t

The best totally wireless workout earbuds

Size and Weight: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.6 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Doesn't budge during runs+In-app audio customization+Active and passive noise cancellation
Reasons to avoid
-Can be extremely loud at max volume

An all-around performer that hits every mark, the Elite Active 75t currently stands as the best workout headphones. Jabra somehow managed to scale down the design, while increasing battery life (7.5 hours per charge, 28 hours with charging case) and the IPX rating (IP57), making these buds waterproof, dust- and sweat-resistant. Jabra also sells the buds in a variety of striking colorways, including Copper Black, Grey, Mint, Navy, Sienna, and Titanium Black.

Even with its smaller form, the Elite Active 75t affords great comfort and on-ear stability. Seriously, the buds didn't move at all while we were working out. You’ll also enjoy the same vibrant audio associated with the Elite series, only this time the bass has been fine-tuned to achieve full, detailed sound. You can further customize the audio through Jabra's app, and there's also active noise cancellation to block out ambient noise when exercising in rowdy environments.

See our full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

Best workout headphones: AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

2. AirPods Pro

The only true workout-friendly AirPods

Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Batttery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours; 24 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Modern, functional design+Great active noise cancelling+Comfortable semi-custom fit
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life could be longer

The AirPods Pro is one of the best workout headphones, especially if you own an iPhone. The sweat and water resistance adds an extra layer of protection that the regular AirPdos lack. The included ear tips also make a big difference for comfort and sound quality, maintaining a secure, relaxed fit and improving clarity by sealing out ambient noise. 

Speaking of which, the AirPods Pro welcomes active noise cancellation to the party, and it’s very good. You’ll be able to silence external sounds around you, whether in the gym or on neighborhood speed-walks. There is even a Transparency Mode for outdoor runners to hear their surroundings more clearly without pausing their music. The enhanced controls, hands-free “Siri” feature, and cool updates like Spatial Audio to enjoy theatrical-like audio when binging Netflix shows on the Peloton also make this one of the best workout headphones for iOS devices.

See our full AirPods Pro review.

Best workout headphones: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

The best Samsung headphones for working out

Size and weight: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.8 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 8 hours (ANC off), 18 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Improved design+Full waterproofing+High call quality
Reasons to avoid
-Need Galaxy phone for some features-AirPods Pro has better ANC

The Galaxy Buds Pro are the first in Samsung’s wireless earbud series to be attain an IPX7 rating for waterproofing. That’s a major upgrade on the IPX2 rating of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, as it effectively guarantees complete protection from water and sweat. As such, this newer pair of buds is much better suited to fitness.

The high price is justified further by high audio quality, adjustable ANC with a transparency mode and, crucially, a secure fit. This is another major point of improvement on the Galaxy Buds Live, which fell out too easily. Anyone who owns a Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone can also use the 360 Audio surround sound feature, too.

See our full Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review.

Best workout headphones: Amazfit Powerbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

4. Amazfit Powerbuds

Smart, cheap workout earbuds with tons of functionality

Weight and Size: 3.2 x 2 x 1.2 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 8 hours, 24 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Bass-forward sound with adjustable EQ+Long battery life+Heart rate monitoring
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky and stick out-Amazfit app has limited support

To call the Amazfit Powerbuds an impressive product would be an understatement. It’s remarkable to see the amount of functionality jammed into these buds, especially for under $100. They have a PPG heart rate sensor that collects biometric data, which can be saved on the companion app. Speaking of which, the Zepp app has a lot of activity tracking fields (e.g. calories burned, BMI, step count) and personalized settings, from a customizable EQ with multiple presets to workout modes. Then there’s the generous playtime (8 hours) you get on a full charge, along with impactful bass response to keep adrenaline levels high.

Comfort may be an issue with some users, as the buds are on the bulky side, and the sensor, which nestles against the ear for a stabilized fit, presses against the skin. It also would have also been nice if the app worked with other popular running apps; Strava and Relive seem to be the only ones compatible right now. Still, it’s impossible to overlook the level of performance you’re given for such a low price.

Best workout headphones: Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

5. Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose's best workout earbuds

Size and Weight: 0.74 x 1.05 x 0.83 inches, 0.24 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 15 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Bright, balanced sound+Secure, personalized fit+Bluetooth 5.1
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life lower than competition-No EQ or Transparency Mode

The Bose Sport Earbuds is a more workout-friendly version of the popular QuietComfort Earbuds, minus the listening modes and massive design. It's lighter and smaller, features with IPX4 water resistance and comes with a variety of ear-tips to accommodate different ear shapes.

The low end has been toned down from the SoundSport Free, which can be a positive or negative, depending on your sonic preference. However, music lovers will appreciate the punchy bass and nice detail these buds deliver. Connectivity is also a highlight with Bluetooth 5.1 at the forefront; pairing is seamless, and wireless range is higher than advertised (est. 40 feet).

Fitness fanatics looking to use the Sport Earbuds daily will just need to keep their eyes on the battery levels since the buds and charging case do not hold the longest playtimes.

Read our full Bose Sport Earbuds review.

Best workout headphones: Beats Powerbeats 4

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

6. Beats Powerbeats 4

Reasonably affordable, high-performance workout headphones

Size and Weight: 2.2 inches tall, 0.9 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 15 hours
Bluetooth Range: 100 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Highly secure fit+Impressive sound and call quality+Best battery life 
Reasons to avoid
-Interfering wire-Feel uncomfortable after a while

The Powerbeats 4 is similar to the more expensive Powerbeats Pro, minus one or two features, different colors, and the true wireless design. Does that make it inferior? Not at all. It still, for instance, makes the most of the H1 processor to give iPhone users terrific wireless performance across the board. Connectivity is instant with all major Apple products, and the Beats app makes it easier to pair the earphones with Android devices, too.

But what really makes the Powerbeats 4 a superior upgrade from the Powerbeats 3 are the sturdier aesthetics and improved sound and call quality. The latter is to be expected since Beats uses the same drivers and beamforming mics as the Powerbeats Pro. Comfort could be a little better and the wire becomes annoying after a while, but all is forgiven when considering the low price of entry.

See our full Beats Powerbeats 4 review.

best workout headphones: Sennheiser CX True Wireless

(Image credit: Future)

7. Sennheiser CX True Wireless

Secure, cheap true wireless earbuds for workouts

Size and Weight: 0.8 x 0.8 x 1 inches, 0.2 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 27 hours
Bluetooth Range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Strong yet comfortable fit+IPX4 rating+Affordable
Reasons to avoid

Even though the CX True Wireless is relatively cheap, especially by Sennheiser standards, it rarely feels like you’re compromising because of it. Sound quality is good, battery life is great, and there are plenty of features available via the app.

This extends to the more workout-friendly aspects. The CX True Wireless earbuds’ fit is superb, balancing comfort with snug ergonomics that make it almost impossible to work them free during strenuous movement. Sennheiser has also added IPX4 water resistance, enough to prevent damage from sweat, rain or water bottle spillages. There’s no ANC, but a bit of spatial awareness can help at the gym anyway. Give this pair a try if you want true wireless earbuds, but your budget won't stretch to the models listed above.

Read our full Sennheiser CX True Wireless review.

Best workout headphones: Adidas RPT-01

(Image credit: Adidas)

8. Adidas RPT-01

Durable on-ear workout headphones with impressive sound

Size and Weight: 2.8 x 5.6 x 7.5 inches, 7.6 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 40 hours
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Flexible and sustainable design+Up to 40 hours playtime+Customizable sound
Reasons to avoid
-No carrying case-Feels uncomfortable after a while

Adidas isn’t a brand you think of when discussing sports headphones, but the RPT-01 has the design and features to draw your interest. This pair of on-ear cans shares the same sustainable aesthetics as the company’s running shoes, wrapped in a stylish, strong mesh fabric and IPX4-rated water-resistance protection. You can even remove and wash the ear cushions and inner headband. 

Sound quality is where the RPT-01 showcases its dexterity, with Adidas launching a companion app featuring multiple EQ settings that are fine-tuned to select music genres and sound great. The controls are inventive as well, and the cushioned pads feel gentle on the ears. That said, to maintain a secure fit, the headband is quite tight.

Best workout headphones: Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Future)

9. Jabra Elite Active 65t

Wireless workout earbuds with amazing performance

Size and Weight: 1.2. x 1.1 x 0.9 x inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 15 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Superb sound+15-hour battery life+Accelerometer for run tracking
Reasons to avoid
-Charging case difficult to open-HearThrough can't be disabled while tracking runs

The Jabra Elite Active 65t blends advanced features and superb sound into a compact, water-resistant package. Granted. it’s an older model, but it still performs well in all major categories. We found that the buds stayed in place even during the most strenuous exercises and hold up well against sweat to prevent slippage. We also appreciate how Jabra managed to stuff an accelerometer inside the buds for run tracking, meaning the Elite Active 65t can double as an activity tracker.

The fact its sound just as good as its successor, the Elite 75t Active, also speaks to its quality. You get access to the Jabra Sound+ app to customize audio and enable different modes like HearThrough for ambient listening. With an excellent fit and 15-hour battery life, you’re getting superior performance at excellent value.

See our full Jabra Elite Active 65t review.

Best workout headphones: Beats Flex

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

10. Beats Flex

Cheap workout earbuds with inline controls

Size and Weight: 4 x 0.6 x 34 inches, 0.7 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 12 hours
Bluetooth Range: 300 feet (91 meters)
Water Resistant: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent connectivity and Siri performance+Stable battery life+Ideal for movies and podcasts
Reasons to avoid
-Sound could be better for music-No IP rating

You could save a lot of cash by looking away from true wireless earbuds and picking the Beats Flex instead. This still connects over Bluetooth, it just has a cable connecting the two earbuds, which dangles behind your neck during use.

The Beats Flex can bounce around when running but for more static forms of exercise, it’s not a problem, and the inline controls offer a convenient alternative to needing to dig out your phone to skip tracks or adjust volume.

The main drawback is a lack of IP-rated waterproofing, so the Beats Flex should stick to gentler workouts. That said, the buttons are sealed against water ingress, and we didn’t have any problems with sweat during our more strenuous testing.

See our full Beats Flex review.

Best workout headphones: Master & Dynamic MW07

(Image credit: Master & Dynamic)

11. Master & Dynamic MW07

Eye-catching wireless earbuds with a workout-friendly fit

Size and Weight: 1 x 1 x 1.1 inches, 0.3 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 3.5 hours, 14 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
Water Resistant: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Well-defined sound+Effective noise isolation+Snug fit
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life

Master and Dynamic has launched the MW08, which might make buying the older version seem a little odd. However, while the MW08 is easily among the best noise-cancelling earbuds in general, it’s the MW07 that makes for a better pair of workout headphones, thanks to its silicone “fit wings.” These mold themselves to your ear shape for a more snug and secure fit than the MW08 earbuds manage.

The high sound quality also accommodates a wide range of musical genres, and the onboard controls work well. There’s even a little volume rocker on the left earbud. Battery life is mediocre, at 3.5 hours between charges, but that should be enough for all but the longest workouts. USB-C charging allows for fast top-ups, too: we got 50% charge back in 15 minutes, and were at 100% in 45 minutes.

See our full Master & Dynamic MW07 review.

How to choose the best workout headphones for you

The best workout headphones offer some form of water or sweat-resistant protection. Some might say they can withstand water and sweat, and some are IP-certified. If you want the best protection, look for headphones with at least an IPX4 rating. IPX7 denotes full waterproofing, including against shallow submersion.

You'll also want to look at the design of the headphones and consider how you want to wear them while working out. They should not only be easy to wear, but also stay on your head without the need for constant readjustment. For earbuds, look at how many ear inserts and wings the pair comes with, to give you the best fit option. Some people may prefer over-ear or on-ear headphones because they tend to do a better job of blocking noise, but earbuds are often preferable for their secure fit and lightweight portability.

For headphones with cables, make sure to check for an inline remote, which will let you easily control your music without pulling out your smartphone. Completely wireless fitness earbuds allow you to control your music with physical buttons or tap gestures on the earpiece rather than a remote. Some headphones are device-specific; make sure you get a pair that's fully compatible with Android and iOS. 

For wireless workout headphones, make sure they have the endurance you need. Some people need headphones with only 6 to 8 hours of battery life to last through a week of workouts, while others might want a device with extended longevity to get through long runs, bike rides, and hikes.

How we test the best workout headphones

We've tested all the headphones in this list to see how they stand up to vigorous workouts, evaluating both how securely they fit during exercises and how well they handle ambient sound (e.g. noise at the gym, oncoming traffic). Our reviewers also test every feature for app-enabled headphones, along with ease of setup.

During the testing phase, each pair of headphones is worn for 2 hours at a time throughout the course of a week. On occasion, we’ll perform further testing when comparing top-rated and popular models for our Face-Off features.

To determine sound quality, we listen to many tracks across multiple music genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical, and electronic, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. Movies, podcasts, and video games are also considered, when necessary.

Once testing is completed, we rate the best workout headphones based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that hit nearly every mark are awarded an Editors' Choice badge.  

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