Jabra bids farewell to my favorite workout headphones — should you still buy the Elite Active earbuds?

Jabra Elite 8 Active in black held in hand of reviewer
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I’ve been testing headphones for almost a decade, but have never found a pair I love as much as the Jabra Elite 8 Active. They’re comfortable, sound great, and last all day — to me, they’re the perfect set of earbuds for while I’m writing, out on a walk, or working out.

So it was a surprise to find out that Jabra plans to discontinue the Elite range, along with all of its other consumer headphones, effective immediately. We’ve consistently ranked the Elite Active buds as the best workout headphones, but their popularity apparently wasn’t enough to balance the books.

According to a press release, the company said that the consumer lines “cannot generate a fair return on investment” compared to its medical, business, and gaming divisions. Confusingly, Jabra announced this on the same day it launched the upgraded Elite 8 Active and Elite 10 earbuds. 

So, you have to wonder: is it still a good idea to buy these second-generation models? Here’s what we know so far.

Are the new Jabra Elite 8 Active and Elite 10 worth buying?

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 on a table next to a fitness watch and smartphone

(Image credit: Jabra)

On the same day that Jabra announced it was pulling the plug on its Elite and Talk consumer ranges, the company unveiled the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 ($229.99) and Elite 10 Gen 2 ($279.99). Both models are available for pre-order right now from Jabra’s store and are due to ship in “mid-June.”

There are some minor, but welcome, upgrades on 2023’s Elite 8 Active and Elite 10, including improved noise cancellation performance, a tweaked HearThrough (transparency) mode, and AI noise removal for calls, like the feature due to come to the AirPods Pro later this year.

But the most notable improvement is that you can plug the charging case into any device and stream audio wirelessly to the buds. So, if you’re at the gym, you can plug the case into the treadmill and stream the monitor’s audio directly to the headphones.

However, as Jabra also plans to pull the plug on the entire Elite range after these two second-generation devices, you might be wary of buying a new pair and getting locked out of the app’s customization features or frustrated by a lack of ongoing support if something goes wrong.

We asked for confirmation on support timelines and were told that “support will continue at least the two-year warranty period on the new products and also beyond. [The] Sound+ app — or any new apps in the future — will continuously support all Jabra products.”

Which Jabra headphones should you buy on sale?

With new models about to hit the shelves, I’d expect that many retailers will start to discount the first-generation Elite 8 Active and Elite 10. Ordinarily, this can be a great way to get premium features and save some money, as long as you don’t need the case streaming feature.

So, you might come across a good deal on an older set and consider picking them up over the latest editions. Since the app will continue to support all of Jabra’s headphones for the foreseeable, there’s no reason to avoid purchasing previous models and save yourself money.

It is worth keeping in mind that previous editions, like the Elite 7 Active, use older Bluetooth standards (5.2 versus the Elite 8 Active’s 5.3). Bluetooth 5.3 introduced improved multi-device connectivity, reduced latency, and better battery life, so it’s something to factor into your choice.

Jabra Elite 8 Active: was $199 now $179 @ Amazon

Jabra Elite 8 Active: was $199 now $179 @ Amazon
The second-gen Elite 8 Active have some useful performance tweaks, but I couldn't be happier with my OG set. They're extremely comfortable, even over extended periods, never fall out, and can either block out distractions or let the world in for when you need to keep an ear on your surroundings. 

Jabra Elite 4 Active: was $120 now $83 at Amazon

Jabra Elite 4 Active: was $120 now $83 at Amazon
Jabra's budget-friendly workout 'buds come with many of the same features, and impressively at this price, even pack in effective noise cancellation. They're not quite as durable and can't connect to multiple devices simultaneously, but they're ideal if you don't want to break the bank. 

Is the Jabra Sound+ app still available?

The Jabra Sound+ app allows you to customize the audio experience, adjust the noise cancellation and HearThrough modes, and tweak the equalizer. You don’t have to use it, as you can connect the headphones to your phone without the app, but it's a useful tool.

Although the company didn’t mention it directly while announcing the new (and final) ‘buds, we clarified that Jabra intends to keep the Sound+ app available but may release a new tool in the future for managing its consumer headphones.

It’s not a cast-iron confirmation that the app will stay around forever, but there’s no indication that Jabra intends to shutter Sound+ for good or remove it from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, so you should still be able to download it if you buy a new pair of Jabra headphones.

What are the best Jabra alternatives?

Person wearing the Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Beats and Shokz are Jabra’s closest competitors but for different reasons. Apple-owned Beats has carved out an exercise-friendly niche, with models like the Powerbeats Pro offering effective noise cancellation, a transparency mode and 9 hours of battery life.

Instead of Jabra’s ShakeGrip design to keep them in place, the Powerbeats Pro have hooks that sit on top of your ears to prevent them from falling out. If you’re after a more discreet design, the Beats Fit Pro are closer to Jabra’s Elite models, but with wingtips to fix them into place.

But if you’re a keen runner looking for a set that’ll help you stay aware of your surroundings, then the Shokz OpenSwim Pro could be ideal. These bone conduction headphones sit on your cheekbone and use vibrations to create audio, leaving your ears completely open.

Since the decision will largely come down to how you like to exercise, many of the best sport headphones make for great Jabra alternatives. However, if you’re going to focus mostly on running, you might be better off with a set of the best running headphones instead.

More from Tom’s Guide

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing. His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym. Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones. He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.