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The Best Wireless Headphones for Working Out

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We biked, burpee’d, and bench pressed in all the headphones we could get our hands on to figure out the best buds for a good sweat.

A collage of three 45 pound weight plates with headphones on them on a colorful background

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The search for the best wireless headphones for working out used to mean choosing between options that sounded like tinny garbage, refused to pair with your phone, and fell apart if you so much as looked at them the wrong way. Thankfully, the technology has improved immensely. “Bluetooth audio quality” is no longer an oxymoron. Headphones actually hold charge for longer than an hour. Most good pairs are actually capable of staying connected to your phone (some cheaper models still, admittedly, struggle here). And most importantly, these headphones actually fit and stay in your ears, no matter how much or how fast you’re moving. The upshot of these improvements is that most wireless headphones make totally adequate workout headphones, especially since some measure of water- and sweat resistance has become standard. But there are some workout headphones that do these things so well you’ll find yourself wearing them even when you aren’t working out.

To find these truly superlative pairs, we’ve spent the past couple of years (yes, years!) running, biking, lifting, and…walking briskly, with a couple dozen different pairs of Bluetooth headphones. Our overall favorites either offer a combination of features that never makes us want to take them off (like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts), or work so much better in one specific context (like the Jaybird Vista 2 or AfterShokz Aeropex) than anything else available that its limitations won’t bother you. These are our top picks for the best wireless headphones for working out—ones that function so well you won’t really have to think about them at all.


The Best Sport Headphones for All Kinds of Workouts

Jabra Elite Active 75t true wireless headphones

The Jabra Elite Active 75t headphones, winner of our 2020 Fitness Awards, are as close to perfect as wireless headphones can get. Thanks to their in-ear design, diminutive size, and the multiple silicone ear tip options, they stay securely in your ears and are extremely comfortable to wear. The headphones will play music for just over seven hours between stints in their charging case, which holds enough juice for three full charges. That means, unless you’re preparing for the Olympics, you only have to plug them in every few days. Plus, they’re about as water- and sweat-resistant as any fully wireless headphones we’ve tested. On top of that, Jabra backs these buds with a two-year warranty. The fact that they’re also some of the best sounding headphones we’ve tested is an extra bonus.

The Jabra Elite Active 75ts opt for a more neutral sound profile than a lot of other workout-oriented headphones—the kinds with skulls on the side and names like “CRUSHER X”. That means whatever you need to get you through your last set of burpees, whether bass-forward hip hop or a treble-forward talky-podcast, will sound great in your ears. And on the off-chance you want a different sound-profile, you can use the Jabra app to fiddle with the EQ settings. The app also allows you to adjust the amount of ambient noise in “hear through” mode, activated by pressing the left earbud, which is very useful for working out in a crowded city, where you want to be able to hear the sound of incoming traffic, but where too much of that noise could be a grating distraction.

After their release, the Active 75ts also got a software upgrade that unrolled new ANC (active noise cancellation) features. This probably won’t make a difference to your workouts. Eating ambient sound is just another ability that makes the Active 75ts not just excellent workout headphones, but actually some of the best headphones available right now. Also a big check in the “pros” column: The charging case is about as small and sleek as an AirPods case, so they fit easily in your pocket. 

The Best True Wireless Earbuds for Using Beyond the Gym 

Beats Fit Pro true wireless earbuds

One of the biggest things going for Beats’ new workout headphones, the Fit Pros, is streamlined design. The ear cups feel soft and cushy, while the shape is blessedly ergonomic compared to more bulbous fitness models from Jaybird and Jabra. That’s a huge plus if you’re looking for a multi-tasking, sweat-resistant, stylish AirPods alternative that you can wear while you’re commuting, working out, and maybe even dozing off to white noise. It’s also notably more comfortable to wear for long periods of time than the wraparound style of its predecessor, the beloved Powerbeats Pro.

Compared to the Powerbeats, you still get easy Bluetooth pairing and device switching thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, though the Fit Pros charge up with a USB-C cord instead of the standard iPhone lightning cable. You’ll also find a suite of new sound features at your disposal, borrowed from the Airpods Pro. The active noise cancelling mode is a plus (though maybe not quite as enveloping as that of the Airpods Pro), and there’s a transparency mode for balancing out background noise, spatial audio for a surround sound feel, and enhanced audio performance that digs into Beats’ signature bass-heavy notes without getting too murky in the mids and highs. Another upgrade is that the carrying case on the Fit Pros has shrunken to a considerably less clunky size for slipping into a pair of gym shorts.

In other ways, the Fit Pros feel like a downgrade from its predecessor for workouts, specifically—which is why we’d recommend the Jabra Elite 75ts instead for any true fitness nuts. The Fit Pro’s battery life maxes out at six hours of continuous use, compared to the Powerbeats’ nine hours (though both are still remarkably quick-charge models), and its touch controls for volume feel jankier than the dedicated buttons on the Powerbeats for crescendoing your way through a particularly punishing set of reps. The earbuds also sometimes lose suction when you’re in a downward dog or wobbly quadruped position that calls for resisting sweat, gravity, and motion (though they do stay put during high-intensity pavement pounding). Still, if you want one pair of buds for everything from working out to listening to podcasts, consider the Fit Pros. Their crisper, more balanced sound make them well worth the upgrade.

The Best Mid-Priced Wireless Headphones for the Sweatiest Workouts

Jaybird Vista 2 true wireless sport headphones

Last year Jaybird took everything we loved about its original Vista model, and scaled it up with the Vista 2. It earned a nod at last years Fitness Awards for its souped-up sound profile, an impressive IP68 durability against sweat and dust (these can handle full submersion in water), new protections against drops, plus a better battery life at eight hours—instead of six. It’s also kept up with its competitors in the sports headphone space by offering active noise cancelling and a SurroundSense feature that allows you to control environmental noise. One of the best continuous features Jaybird has in its corner is its companion app, which lets you get super precious about your EQ settings with a range of presets (or the option to add your own). Maybe you want to dial up the bass on your headphones so it sounds like you’re surrounded by subwoofers in the middle of a set—the world is your oyster. The Vista 2 still comes in a tank of a carrying case, which is a real clunker for carrying around, but not a huge setback for what’s an otherwise great set of workout headphones. 

The Best Running Headphones

Jaybird Tarah Pro wireless headphones

Decent true wireless headphones exist in the sub-$150 price range, but they’re outclassed in sound quality, comfort level, connectivity, durability, and ease-of-use by semi-wireless headphones like the Jaybird Tarah Pro, which have a cord connecting the two ear buds. The Tarah Pro running headphones have generally excellent sound quality, a lengthy 14-hour battery life, a ton of included ear tips, and a hearty construction that can handle anything in your workout plan.

The design is completely sealed off, with no openings that could let in dust, water, or sweat. You’re not supposed to swim in them, but if you could almost certainly run with them through a refreshing spring rain without any issue. The only downside of the sealed-off design is that the Tarah Pro charges with a short proprietary snap-on charging cable. Of course, thanks to the lengthy battery life, unless you’re hitting multiple marathons a week (really bad for you!), you shouldn’t need to charge them more than once a week.

The Tarah Pro’s feature a relatively neutral sound-profile, like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts. Head-to-head, the Active 75ts sound a little bit better. Occasionally, the Tarah Pros struggle with any frequencies that are a little too low or a little too high, like the synthy dynamics on “Love Lockdown.”

Minus the charging cable caveat, the Tarah Pros are just about as easy to live with and use as any true wireless headphones. That’s partially because of the design of the cord itself, which is relatively thick (so it won’t fray) and wrapped in a fabric that feels nice against your skin. The ear buds are also magnetic, so if you need to take them off, they clip securely together to create a necklace. In the ear canal, Jaybird has designed its eartips (which it calls…“eargels”) with little wings, so they’re more likely to stay in place.

The Best Budget Headphones for Working Out

Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 wireless earbuds

There is very little in this category under $50 that’s sweat-proof, sounds decent, and actually connects easily with your phone. But after testing some real stinkers, we found one actually kinda good pair at $50: the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2. Soundcore kind of owns the universe of super cheap, beater headphones. The sound quality won’t win any awards, but for $50, these Soundcore earbuds sound fuller, clearer, and more balanced than you’d expect. Water-resistant headphones aren’t super common at this price, but these are IPX5 rated, which means they’re protected extremely well against water and dust. The flexible silicone “airwings” easily conform to the shape of your ear and, impressively, they offer a whopping 100 hours of battery life in total from the charging case (eight hours per charge). We’ve never tried to workout for 100-hours straight, but rest assured these are not headphones that are going to die on your way to the gym. 

The Best Workout Headphones for Biking

AfterShokz Aeropex wireless bone conduction headphones

If you’re a city biker, you know that using any pair of headphones while you’re riding can be dangerous. You need a ton of spatial awareness to safely navigate all the trucks, cars, pedestrians, and other bikers zooming around the streets. The simplest way to address the problem of quiet commutes while biking is with a portable Bluetooth speaker. But if you don’t want your entire neighborhood to know you’re still listening to the Carly Rae Jepsen album from 2019, you have other options.

The best option we’ve tried is AfterShokz Aeropex. AfterShokz is a proponent of bone-conduction headphones, which have speaker pads that rest on your temples instead of in or around your ears. You pick up some of the sound through your outer ear, but the majority of the sound travels through the bones of your jaw in the form of vibrations to your inner ear. The result is a pretty hollow sound, leagues away from the high-fidelity experience of something like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts, but it’s plenty good enough for listening to talk-y podcasts. And, more importantly, you can listen to those podcasts while also hearing literally everything else around you. Other advantages? The Aeropex headphones are light, have a decent eight-hour battery life, are fully waterproof, and come with a two-year warranty. If you’re looking for headphones for your bike workouts and commutes, this is your safest and best option.


7 Other Wireless Headphones We Like for Working Out

Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless headphones

The Beats PowerBeats Pro are true wireless headphones, just like the brand’s latest Fit Pros, but the biggest difference you’ll notice is the design. The PowerBeats employ ear hooks, which loop around the top of your ear and provide an immovable secure fit. Compared to a more loose-fitting earbud, the security offered by these ear hooks might understandably be preferred by people who enjoy workouts using a full range of motion, no matter what jumps and lunges and jostling that involves. The Powerbeats make good use of Beats’ mastery for a specific kind of bass-heavy sound, though we’d say these are more bass-forward than bass-heavy, and less balanced than the Fit Pros. It’s not the kind of sound profile you’ll get much out of when listening to This American Life, but it’s perfect for a Playboi Carti track. The PowerBeats Pro headphones also pack up in a clunky charging case the size of a clenched fist, but on the plus side, that little brick fuels a long battery life of 24 hours (and nine full hours between charges). The headphones don’t have as much water resistance as the Jabra Elites above, but they’ll certainly hold up through the sweatiest of workouts.

Jaybird Vista true wireless headphones

Jaybird was late to the true wireless game—by the time it announced the Jaybird Vista in 2019, Jabra was set to release the third version of its own true wireless headphone—but the headphones are decent enough to be worth the wait. The Jaybird Vista has a great sound profile, not as good as the Elite Active 75ts, but much better than the AirPods you’re likely comparing them to. They connect to your phone easily and have a battery life of six hours. The real advantage is in their more rectangular design that supports the use of a bunch of different kinds of ear tips. All the provided options mean that there’s a zero percent chance these workout earbuds won’t fit and stay in your ears. And if any five hour ultra-marathons are in your future, that’s all you need to hear.

Beats Flex wireless headphones

Beats’ new cheap workout headphones, one of our favorite things released in 2020, offer a slightly better sound quality and pairing experience than the Soundcore Spirit X headphones, for a bit more money. They offer sound quality that’s about as good as the Apple AirPods most people are perfectly happy with—a little hollow but not distorted—and feature the new Apple W1 chip that allows for the same seamless pairing and connectivity experience as AirPods. The in-ear Flex also features a solid 12-hour battery life, a comfortable fit, and little magnetics on the wireless earphones so that they’ll rest around your neck when not in use. They aren’t rated for sweat-resistance or water-resistance though, which makes these more ideal for casual workouts than for the kind of runs that leave you soaked.

Skullcandy Sesh Evo true wireless heapdhones

We’re only just starting to reach a point where the true wireless earbuds available under $100 aren’t frustratingly bad. The Skullcandy Sesh Evo isn’t nearly as good as other in-ear headphones, like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts or Jaybird Vistas (or even the Ankers), but it offers a decent fit; good sweat-, water-, and dust-resistance; along with 24 total hours of battery life with the charging case (each single charge gets you five hours). The connection quality and pairing process isn’t as good as that from other budget headsets like the Anker and Beats Flex, and the sound quality is similarly inoffensive. But for $40 and under, these are the perfect headphones for tossing at the bottom of your gym bag at the end of a workout and completely forgetting about until you start your next circuit.

Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds

The Bose SoundSport headphones look visually similar to the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but come with the fuller sound profile you’ve come to expect from Bose. Unfortunately, they only have six hours of battery life and chunky ear tips. The latter of these is the real kicker—not only do these headphones stick out of your ears, which looks weird, but they’re also pretty heavy. Even though you can work out in them, it won’t be nearly as comfortable as using the Tarah Pro. But if you want the higher-fidelity experience of a slightly wired headphone, with plenty of weather resistance, the SoundSports will do the trick.

Sennheiser CX semi-wireless earbuds

Like the Bose SoundSport, Sennheiser’s earbuds sound great—clear and full, without the thuddy bass that accompanies other pairs in the same price range. The two control pads on the neckband are a little clunkier than we’d like, but the option to pick both from ear tips and ear fins means you can get a pretty solid fit in your ears with just a little tinkering. For slightly less than the Bose, you get a great-sounding pair of headphones that holds up to most moderate types of exercise. We prefer the sound quality of the Bose pair, but appreciate that the Sennheiser comes with multiple tips and has a more comfortable design.

Apple Airpods Pro

The premium AirPods are about as cheap as they’ve ever been.

AirPods wouldn’t be our first choice for good workout headphones for most people, especially its First Generation model which isn’t sweat-resistant.  Even though the newer Airpods Pro offer a little bit of sweat-resistance, interchangeable ear tips for fit, and pretty much the same functionality and sound features as the Fit Pros, they’re not quite as comfortable or secure in the ear, and $50 more expensive full-price. They’re also less geared for workouts than our top choice, the Jabra Elite Active 75Ts, which offer a better battery life and higher levels of sweat-resistance. But if you’re partial to your Airpods, they’re still great noise-cancelling headphones, with stellar audio and call quality for using beyond the gym, and offer wireless charging through MagSafe (which the FitPros don’t have). 

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