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.
- Our picks of the best running headphones overall
- The best wireless headphones on the market
- Save with the best cheap running 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 Beats Powerbeats Pro, which is an excellent sporty alternative to the AirPods Pro, another model that can serve well for iOS users. 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 Pro, a model that somehow manages to cram a heart rate sensor and tons of other features into a relatively affordable ($149) set of wireless earbuds. The lower-priced Amazfit Powerbuds are another solid option if you’re looking for similar features at a lower price.
Anyone in the market for something more traditional, but not too old school, can check out the wrap-around-the-neck Jaybird Tarah Pro. These workout headphones combine customizable sound and smart power management into a flexible design.
The best workout headphones you can buy today
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.
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.
Unlike other fully wireless earbuds on this list, the two buds of the Tarah Pro are connected by a wire, which helps them achieve their excellent endurance numbers. Better yet: Jaybird put an accelerometer in the headset, so the Tarah Pro will power down when you haven't moved in 15 minutes, which helps extend battery life further.
We especially liked that the cord was fabric-covered, which made them more comfortable while working out. The Tarah Pros are IPX7-rated, so they're resistant to sweat. Music sounded great out of the box, and a customized audio profile setting in the Jaybird app fine-tunes the sound, so it's perfectly tailored to your ears.
Read our full Jaybird Tarah Pro review.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With impressive audio quality and a sporty, near-indestructible design, this collaboration between JBL and Under Armour serves as the market’s best on-ear workout headphones. JBL’s warm-heavy sound signature is perfect for fitness buffs that require sonic fuel for lengthy workouts. Bass response is controlled well and the 40mm drivers pump out clean mids and highs, which are great for listening to mellow songs during recovery mode. We love the IPX4-rated rubberized chassis that protects the headphones from dust and water splashing. A full charge generates 16 hours of playtime; this is fine for about a week’s worth of exercising.
The perforated ear cushions are gentle and provide solid breathability, but the clamp force is super tight, making for an uncomfortable wear after 45 minutes on your skull. You’ll also want to be mindful of the unpairing issue that disconnects the headphones from your main audio source randomly, granted this isn’t something that happens constantly.
Read our full JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Train 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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