Best Earbuds for Fitness, Running and Sports

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Music is a necessity for many of us to get up and get moving. Whether you're lifting weights in the gym or running out in the countryside, workout headphones can give you the push you need to go the extra mile. We tested several sports earbuds from the most popular brands to see which are worth your money.

News and Updates (May 2018)

  • Plantronics was one of the trendsetters in wireless fitness headphones, but its newest entry, the $160 Backbeat Fit Boost Edition, costs too much for what it offers. For a better fit and sound at a lower price, try the $80 Jabra Sport Coach, our current top pick for wireless sport earphones.
  • We are currently testing and reviewing truly wireless sport earphones to determine which fitness-friendly Apple AirPods rival is worthy of your money. (And unlike the AirPods, these buds are all rated for sweat resistance.) Check out our reviews of wireless contenders Samsung's Gear IconX and Bose's SoundSport Free.

Here are our current favorite earbuds for sports and exercise.

What to Look For

Since you'll be breaking a sweat in these headphones, you'll want to look for water- or sweat-resistant devices. Some simply say they can withstand water and sweat, and some are IP-certified. If you want to know you are protected, look for headphones with at least an IPX7 rating, meaning they're resistant to water and sweat.

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 some prefer earbuds for their secure fit and lightweight portability.

Be 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 taps 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.

If you're considering wireless sport 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.

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  • Sammy_2
    What about Jaybird X2?
  • Eric_31
    So essentially this article can be summed up with "all the headphones listed have great noise cancelling and great sound." I would have appreciated at least a bit of effort in comparison. The only point of comparison is the price and the seemingly arbitrary and unexplained rating. This article was absolutely no help at all.
  • LizzyHarris
    Great, thanks! :)
  • Peter_133
    How bout Audio Technical MTH 50X or Sennheiser 598SE or Jaybird X1 or X2 or Grado SR 60E and maybe NoiseHush nx80 for $12.00 on Amazon.com. I know music is subjective but the equipment listed here is mostly crap.
  • neuronet
    Eric I agree this seems to have none of the usual standards they would use to evaluate, say, a motherboard.
  • neuronet
    Peter also great points they mostly included mainstream brands that the audiophiles would agree are not very high quality. For instance, Sennheiser is sort of a "go to" brand for people that really want great sound. They really need to do a much more thorough product test. This is sort of like doing an evaluation of laptops and only including Dell and Lenovo.
  • Royharper
    Great article, I'm surprised to not see the JBL Everest Elite 700 on here. I saw a review on Audio46 where they compared it to The QC 35 and said the Everest was better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn18BkBnZ5U When I a&b tested the two I felt the same way that they did, and was actually underwhelmed by the sound quality on the QC35. While it has great noise cancelling It didn't sound as good as I would expect.
  • Geoff_11
    looks to me like maybe this review was done on paper without actually testing all the products? Otherwise, you'd know that that the SMS biosport is no longer supported by any apps (i.e. the HR monitor is useless because you can't get anything to read it). This has been the case for about 6 months!
  • hydrangea
    The Sentey earbuds are no longer available. Do you have a new suggestion?
  • jumavictor49
    great article, but terming this list as the 'best headphones' I would disagree. Can you please update the list and also feature planar magnetic headphones, they are one of the best technology headphones in the market.
  • SkyBill40
    Given your relatively sample size and the exclusion of brands seen as audiophile grade or higher than average, I find difficulty in accepting the results here. That's not to say that what is shown here are poor choices or anything, but the testing could have and should have been a lot more robust given the"best" tag thrown into it.
  • coolmantinator
    I have used the earphones for around 6 months now. Boult Audio Curve is an amazing choice to be considered if you are planning to buy wireless earphones. With A great battery life as well. Good for calling purposes too...
  • cajunvol
    To this day I don't know who the makers of the bullet have made mad. You never see them listed and there are even knockoffs out there.(which sound just as good) smallest true wireless out there, can hot swap then in the pocket charger while using just 1 giving you like a total listening time of 40 hours, either will handle calls since both have a Mic or use both in stereo, come with choice of pocket charger so you can do one on a small keychain version or my fave that take 2, list goes on. I have used a lot of bluetooth ear buds and these are my favorite hands down. I even bought the cheaper knockoff version and they do just as well.
    Companies should be looking at these as the bar to beat. Not something 3 times bigger with no added benefits or even less options. I know when I read these articles to see what is the newest best thing, I just skim it to see if I see the bullet of one of the knockoffs. If I don't see it I just move along assuming they didn't do their homework.
    And heads up. I have bought a few versions of these. One brand starts with an S and runs like 300+ for the pair and charger, Rowkin makes the same for just under half that and there are a few versions under 100 for a pair of 2 and the same bigger pocket charger. There is no real difference. I have the first 2 mentioned and one total knockoff for sure. All 3 kick butt. The cheapest I didn't like as much because the button to turn on and off is flush and not as easy to push because of that. Since the whole bud is so small it does make a difference. If the button looks round and not a bar, then that is the one I didn't like. Overall quality was the same though.
    Also, I have seen these up to bluetooth 4.2 and not 5 yet.
    Anyway, want me to take an article serious, include these so I know where your limits of good are at.
    Oh, you can find multiple versions of these on eBay from the expensive to the cheaper version. I think they are on Amazon too. If you feel more pride in something the more you pay, knock yourself out and go for it. I thought they were all 3 very comparable. There are more than 3 brands though. I just wouldn't do the 340 price tag again. Seriouly no difference justifying that
  • keerthivr1
    Why is everything from Amazon? Although I love amazon, I dont like having it as my only option!
  • rgd1101
    You don't need to buy thru amazon. just google it to see where else you can buy them from.
  • lucky_123
    I'm using my mixcder ms301 aptx headphones for one year. It works very well.
  • top_earbuds
    I vote vastland earbuds!