Best Headphones For Working Out 2022

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 Psychology notes 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. Which means you’re looking for the best headphones for working out.

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

Editor’s Pick

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.

Pros:

  • Has six microphone ANC with built in wind protection
  • Great battery life
  • Secure fit

Cons:

  • Bass-range audio suffers with active noise cancellation enabled
  • Call clarity slightly behind sibling Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds

Best Over-Ear Workout Headphones

Rare Model With Sweat Resistance And Amazing Noise Cancellation

Battery life: 20 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: 40mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active

Best for: Someone who prefers wearing headphones during activities involving sweat and light exposure to water.

It’s rare for headphones to offer sweat and water resistance, which is why the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 gets our nod for Best Over-Ear Workout Headphones. Whether you’re participating in a hands-free phone call, listening to music while sitting at your desk or engaged in a more physical activity, these headphones provide clear audio with really impressive active noise cancellation. Between the hands-free and noise-canceling feature, the headphones use a total of eight built in microphones. You can choose from 10 noise cancelling pre-sets or switch to “conversation mode” when you need to hear what’s happening around you.

These headphones’ battery lasts up to 20 hours, and can get an additional 3.5 hours of listening time from a 15-minute quick charge. In addition to using voice commands, the touch sensors built into sides of the earcups make it easy to control what you’re listening through simple taps and swipes. This model pairs with two devices at the same time, and you can switch between as needed.

Pros:

  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Clear sound and excellent active noise cancellation
  • Up to 20 hour battery life

Cons:

  • Headphones don’t fold for easy transport

An Honorable Mention With Comfort And Superior Noise Cancellation

Best Features

Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Water resistance rating: None | Driver size: 30mm

Best for: Audiophiles who don’t sweat or go out in the rain.

Whether you engage in guided meditations that involve listening to someone speak, or you want to immerse yourself in music while doing light activities, the premium-priced Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones produce premium, luscious sound. These headphones are best among the wider competitive set for their incredible active noise cancelling abilities, but their lack of sweat resistance is why this model gets an honorable mention for working out.

The WH-1000XM5 has a massive 30-hour battery life, and they can give another five hours more on a 10-minute quick charge. Adaptive sound control—one of many audio features powered by the proprietary Sony V1 and QN1 audio processors—lets you personalize how audio sounds. When you remove the headphones from your ears, these headphones automatically pause pre-recorded content you’re listening to. Their overall design provides long-lasting comfort whether you’re walking in a 5K or hitting the gym, but they aren’t a great choice if you know your workout is going to make you sweat.

Pros:

  • Terrific active noise cancellation
  • 30-hour battery life
  • Touch sensor controls

Cons:


Best Budget Workout Earbuds

A Low-Priced Workout Companion

Editor’s Pick

Battery life: 5 hours | Water resistance rating: IP55 | Driver size: 11mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Charging case: Yes

Best for: Budget-minded fitness fanatics.

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 use their built-in microphones to continuously analyze your surrounding area and produce noise-cancelling counter-frequencies (up to 40 dB noise reduction) to virtually eliminate ambient noise. 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.

Pros:

  • Fast-charge case
  • 11-millimeter dynamic drivers
  • Dolby Atmos support

Cons:


Best Wireless Earbuds For Sports

These JBL Earbuds Are Built For Active People

Battery life: 10 hours | Water resistance rating: IP67 | Driver size: 6mm | Charging case: Yes

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 are designed not to 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 tapsor 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.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Strong battery life on a single charge
  • Touch controls

Cons:

  • No active noise cancellation

Best Earbuds For Runners Or Cyclists

Bose Sport Earbuds Are Ideal For Highly Active Audiophiles

Battery life: 5 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: 6mm | Charging case: Yes

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.

Pros:

  • Comfortable to wear for extended periods
  • Supports Apple Siri and Google Assistant

Cons:

  • No active noise cancellation

Best Earbuds For The Gym

These JBL Endurance Peak II Earbuds Stay In Place During Workouts

Battery life: 6 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX7 | Driver size: 10mm | Charging case: Yes

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 and appealing low price. These earbuds work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls, and 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.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Secure behind-ear fit
  • Waterproof for use in rain

Cons:

  • No sound isolation or noise cancellation

Best Earbuds For Sweating

Under Armour True Wireless Flash By JBL Earbuds Are Sweat- And Water-Resistant

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 charging case is bulky but has been updated to 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.

Pros:

  • Strong battery life
  • 40 hours of extended battery life with charging case
  • Snug fitting tips

Cons:

  • Bulky charging case
  • Lacks voice assistant support

Best Earbuds For Longer Workouts

Behind-Ear Comfort Paired With Drivers With Oomph

Battery life: 9 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: 12mm | Charging case: Yes

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 can be used 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.

Pros:

  • Audio sharing pairs two sets of headphones to one device
  • Plays well with native Apple devices
  • Secure behind-ear fit

Cons:


Best Swimming Headphones

These Headphones Are The Ideal Companion For Swimmers

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. Using bone conduction technology, these headphones wrap behind your head and are designed exclusively to be used by swimmers who get fully submerged in the water. The headphones connect 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. In addition, the transmitter that comes with headset can be used 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.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, fully waterproof design
  • Uses bone conduction to listen to music while in water
  • Can be securely worn with or without goggles and cap

Cons:

  • Poor battery life
  • Expensive
  • Extra-cost app is expensive

Best Workout Earbuds For iPhone Users

The Perfect Workout Companion For An iPhone Or Apple Watch

Battery life: 4.5 hours | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: 11mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Charging case: Yes, wireless

Best for: Any iPhone or Apple Watch user who wants earbuds that match.

When used with an iPhone, iPad or other Apple device, the Apple AirPods Pro carry all the benefits you’d expect from earbuds optimized to work best with Apple’s ecosystem. The AirPods Pro automatically pair with any Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac, and automatically switch to whichever device you’re currently using. Plus, you can see battery status in your iOS status screen, and can use Apple’s Find My app to locate your earbuds if they go missing.

These distinctively designed earbuds have a stem with touch controls, active noise cancellation, spatial audio support, and adaptive equalizer with automatic head tracking. The MagSafe-enabled wireless charging case easily fits in a pocket, and adds 20 hours to the AirPods otherwise mediocre battery life.

For people who enjoy running, working out, or who lead an active lifestyle, AirPods Pro may fit well-enough, and they will sound great when making calls or playing audio. They’re water and sweat resistant, but not a good choice for say running in the rain. AirPods are best used with Apple devices, as many features won’t work with Android phones, and it’s a hassle to connect them on an Android phone.

Pros:

  • Middling battery life
  • Has spatial audio and head tracking
  • Comfortable fit

Cons:

  • Many features won’t work with Android devices

Best Workout Earbuds For Android Users

Primed For Use With Android Devices

Battery life: 11 hours (7 hours with active noise cancellation) | Water resistance rating: IPX4 | Driver size: 11mm | Noise cancellation: Yes, active | Charging case: Yes, wireless

Best for: Untethered Android users, thanks to its impressive on-board battery and additional charge on its wireless charging case.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro are a new addition to Google’s lineup, and the company’s first with active noise cancellation (ANC). These perform well, with effective pre-configured ANC and transparency mode profiles. Three microphones work to block ambient noise, and capture your voice clearly in voice calls—even if it’s windy while you run.

In addition to a compact design, you get all-day comfort, access to Google Assistant and a fit that’s designed to stay firmly in place during workouts. You can also control these earbuds with simple tap gestures. And they’re sweat and water resistant, making them a reasonable choice for workouts. The included wireless charging case boosts total playback time to 31 hours without ANC enabled. They automatically pair with any Bluetooth-enabled Android device and will switch between devices when you do; they also connect to a laptop via Bluetooth. One note: These earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0, which isn’t as effective as the newer Bluetooth 5.2 at stable, low-latency transmissions.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Compact and comfort-focused design
  • Impressive ANC when listening to audio

Cons:

Potential Contender: Updated Samsung Earbuds On Pre-Order Now

Battery life: 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 new Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro are now available for pre-order in graphite, white or purple and will begin shipping as soon as August 30. When you pre-order these wireless earbuds from Samsung, you get a free wireless charger with travel adapter (a $60 value) and up to $75 in trade in credit with any eligible device. We expect these to be a strong choice for workouts given their high IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof rating.

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. Using the Smart Things app, you can easily locate the earbuds if they’re misplaced. Look for our take on these when they begin shipping.


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.

Activity

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.

Style

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.

Comfort

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.

Battery Life

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.

Fit

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).

Price

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.

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