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10 Best Workout Headphones in 2021

Last updated: 4 months ago
14 min read

Need robust, sweatproof sport headphones that don’t fall out? Find the best workout headphones for sports activities.

Rating Price Battery Water resistance Fit Connection Mic & Controls More info
Jabra Elite Active 75t Best overall
Jabra Elite Active 75t
Under $180
7h + 28h in case (USB-C)
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
Under $250
11h + 24h in case (Lightning)
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
Jaybird Vista Best sound
Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds
Under $160
6h + 10h in case (USB-C
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
Bose Sport Earbuds Best all-around
Bose Sport Earbuds true wireless earbuds
Under $150
5h + 10h in case (USB-C)
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.1
Aukey EP-T32 Best value
Aukey EP-T32 true wireless earbuds
Under $40
7h + 28h in case (USB-C)
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
EarFun Free Pro Budget noise cancelling
Earfun Free Pro true wireless earbuds
Under $60
+8h + 25h in case
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.2
Sony WF-XB700 Best affordable
Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earbuds
Under $70
9h + 9h in case
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
AfterShokz Aeropex Best open-air
AfterShokz Aeropex
Under $160
8h (proprietary)
Bone conduction
Bluetooth 5.0
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Best under $50
JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless
Under $40
6h + 18h in case (attached USB)
In-ear, true wireless
Bluetooth 5.0
Treblab Z2 Best over-ear
Treblab Z2 wireless headphones
Under $90
35h (Micro-USB)
Bluetooth 5.0
Table of Contents

    There are many headphones for sports available on the market right now, but only a good dozen made the top list. We’ve scoured all the options and made the selection.

    The best workout headphones here are picked based on:

    • stability of fit for sports
    • battery life and Bluetooth technology
    • build-quality
    • water and sweat resistance
    • sound quality
    • noise isolation

    Find the best-rated and most popular headphones for working out below.

    Hone down your search:

    Best wired workout headphones

    Best running headphones

    Best waterproof Bluetooth headphones

    Best Workout Earbuds

    Small workout earbuds are the most popular choice when it comes to sports. Because of lighter design and better passive isolation, most people choose them as the first choice.

    If you have an iPhone X or another phone without the 3.5mm support, you don’t have any other option. You need wireless headphones, and wireless buds are the best in this class.

    1. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    1st-place Best overall
    Jabra Elite Active 75t black earphones

    Jabra Elite Active 75t are the best true wireless earbuds for working out (for most people).

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 20h in case | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h 20min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, BT-CVSD, mSBC | Water-resistance: IP57 | Features: EQ, "find my buds" feature, ambient aware
    • Reliably stable during movement
    • Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
    • Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
    • Great sound quality with equalization
    • HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
    • Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
    • Perfectly designed physical controls
    • High build quality
    • Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
    • Pricier than most alternatives
    • Only right earbud can be used as mono

    The sound profile is perfect for an avid athlete who likes bass-heavy presentation but also works for those who prefer a calmer sound signature. You have the option of full equalization with the Jabra Sound+ app.

    With a super stable fit, you don’t have to worry about the earbuds falling out. You can use them for working out, using the treadmill, or even gymnastics.

    The HearThrough mode offers versatility for when you want to be able to hear your surroundings.

    To protect against sweat, rain, and dust, IP57 rated protection keeps them safe even if you dip them underwater or use plenty of chalk when wall climbing. The Jabra’s survive all of it.

    To top it all off, a 4-microphone system provides high call quality on the go with superb built-in controls. Their playtime is slightly higher than advertised, giving around 7.5 hours of battery life.

    At a slightly lower price point, the Jabra Elite 75t are a cheaper and less protected version.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    2. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro in charging case

    Beats PowerBeats Pro are arguably the most stable true wireless headphones for sports, plus they come with strong bass.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type:: In-ear | Battery Life: 11h + 24h in case | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 1h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear hooks, H1 chip, volume controls on both sides
    • Deep, punchy bass that energizes modern music (slight V-shaped signature)
    • Great battery life with quick charging (we got over 11 hours out of them)
    • Perfect stability for working out
    • High build-quality and nice materials
    • Sweatproof, but can’t be submerged
    • They get slightly uncomfortable after 30 minutes
    • Pricey
    • Large charging case
    • No way to turn them off without the charging case
    • Mids sound a bit subdued

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    Beats is known for strong bass and PowerBeats Pro workout earbuds are no different. The bass and highs are boosted to give your music more rhythm and get your heart rate faster.

    Plus they’ve taken good care of muddiness and harsh treble that’s hard to spot. These sound the best we’ve seen from Beats earbuds. If you like your music bassy and want to work out in style then these Beats PowerBeats Pro are for you.

    The fit is amazingly stable for all kinds of exercise. They also have longer battery life than most other best workout buds, and you top it off with a Lightning cable. High-quality materials and IPX4 water protection make these a fantastic choice.

    Auto on/off feature with physical built-in volume controls and a multifunction button enables you to make calls or give voice commands.

    They’re a great pair of truly wireless earbuds with sports in mind.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    More: Find out, which are the best noise-cancelling earbuds and best bass earbuds.

    3. Jaybird Vista

    trophy Best sound
    Jaybird Vista on a rock

    High-end truly wireless headphones with extremely robust, water-resistant construction, and engaging audio performance.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 10h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC (with JBS1 chip) | Water resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins, EQ, "find my buds" feature
    • Comfortable fit
    • Excellent stability, even with small ear fins
    • Good Bluetooth 5.0 connection
    • Robust build quality
    • IPX7 rating and MIL-STD-810G standard
    • Superb sound quality (after EQ)
    • Proprietary silicone ear tips
    • Treble stays grainy, even after EQ
    • Annoying notifications when opening the app

    Jaybird Vista review

    Earbuds produce a punchy and energetic sound, regardless of how you tweak it inside the app’s EQ. They’re quite detailed and spacious, too. You really can’t go wrong with these.

    They fit in your ear very securely. You can choose between different ear fin sizes to make sure they stay stable. Since ear tips are too big to fit the ear canal, they rest in front of it. That provides excellent comfort since you don’t feel any pressure during usage.

    Sports earbuds need to be water-resistant. Fear not, since Jaybird Vista boast an IPX7 rating, with an additional MIL-STD-810G military standard. That makes them the best workout earbuds in durability, being both completely water-resistant and shockproof.

    The runtime duration is quite decent, with 6 hours of battery life on a single charge and 10 hours inside the charging case.

    Jaybird Vista review

    4. Bose Sport Earbuds

    trophy Best all-around
    Bose Sport Earbuds on a rock

    A successor to the popular Bose SoundSport Free Bluetooth earbuds with exceptional comfort and fit, great sound, and sweatproof housing.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 10h in case | Wireless range: 30ft (9m) | Noise cancelling: / | Charging: 2h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water-resistance: IPX4 | Features: Auto pause/play, ear fins
    • Exceptional fit and comfort
    • Great audio quality with controlled bass
    • Massive soundstage (for an in-ear headphone)
    • Sweatproof housing with an IPX4 rating
    • Support for Bluetooth 5.1
    • Good passive noise isolation
    • A barebones mobile application without EQ
    • Somewhat average battery life
    • Lack of extra customizations

    Bose Sport Earbuds review

    The audio performance is on the bassier side, and you can’t change it, but it’s pretty great when you listen to music. The bass shows excellent control and punch without skipping a beat, whereas the mids and highs remain slightly subdued yet clean.

    Even though Bose Sport Earbuds appear bulky, they fit securely in your ears without creating pressure points. They’re using StayHear Max wing tips, a combination of an ear tip and fin, that only differ in fin length. The latter latches into your ear and prevents earbuds from moving around.

    Regarding ear tips, they rest gently in front of ear holes, providing excellent comfort for long listening sessions. Despite that, you never feel like earbuds are about to fall out during workouts.

    These have an IPX4 rating, which should keep the sweat away from the internals. After the last software update, you can change the volume, too.

    Bose Sport Earbuds review

    5. Aukey EP-T32

    dollar Best value
    Aukey EP-T32 case and buds

    Great sports true wireless buds that compare to higher-end models for less money.

    An essential equipment in your gym bag.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 28h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Ear hooks, auto play/pause, mono mode
    • Excellent comfort and stability thanks to ear hooks
    • Reliable touch controls
    • Extreme water protection (IPX8)
    • Enjoyable, punchy sound
    • Great Bluetooth stability and coverage
    • Support for Qi wireless charging
    • No multipoint support
    • Subpar microphone quality
    • Mediocre passive isolation due to shallower fit

    Every workout headphone needs bass, and EP-T32 deliver precisely that. Overall, their tuning is quite safe, with the smooth, lush midrange, relaxed treble, and emphasized low-end. Especially in the sub-bass region, which makes for a rumbly experience.

    Visiting a gym with these true wireless earbuds shouldn’t be a problem. They provide excellent stability with an ear hook design that gently grabs your ears during intense cross-training. The wind noise is there, but minimal.

    IPX8 rating gives you the ability to wash them under a tap without causing damage. Other useful features are a sensor for auto play/pause feature, controls for changing volume levels, and support for aptX Bluetooth codec.

    You can top them off via USB-C cable or on a Qi wireless charging pad.

    Aukey EP-T32 review

    For similar options go to the best earbuds under $50.

    6. EarFun Free Pro

    anc Budget noise cancelling
    EarFun Free Pro on a moss

    Active noise canceling and great quality sound on a budget.

    Dynamic sound that makes snare drums stand out in the mix.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: Dual composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 25h in case | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: ANC, ambient aware, ear fins, mono mode, touch controls
    • Excellent sound quality for the price
    • Natural, dynamic audio performance
    • Punchy bass with good extension
    • Great comfort and stability
    • Stable connection with Bluetooth 5.2
    • Long battery life
    • Many useful extra features
    • Decent active noise cancelling effectiveness
    • … but not the best ambient mode
    • No mobile app or built-in EQ presets
    • Flimsy charging case

    Punchy bass that is accompanied by a lush midrange and sparkly treble. Free Pro’s are a unique pair of true wireless earbuds on the budget that sound great with most music genres and get loud enough. And the soundstage isn’t too shabby, either.

    As for the rest, you get a decent performance out of active noise cancellation. There’s also a transparency mode, which lets you hear ambient sound.

    Comfort is great, and due to their size, you barely feel them in your ears. Since the tips go slightly deeper into your ear canal, passive isolation remains quite strong. To lock them securely in place, ear buds use wing tips.

    Despite their size, they last you for around 8 hours and more on a single charge, with an additional 25 hours hiding in the Qi-compatible wireless charging case.

    EarFun Free Pro review

    7. Sony WF-XB700

    trophy Best affordable
    Sony WF-XB700

    A Sony budget pick for gym.

    They should cover all your workout essentials.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 9h + 9h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2.5h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Tri-Hold design, physical controls
    • Robust construction
    • Bassy sound that is great for exercising
    • No companion app
    • Some find Tri-Hold design uncomfortable

    Sony’s XB series is known to deliver some serious punch. Thankfully, that’s exactly what sportspeople want in their headphones. XB700 don’t disappoint, giving you a good amount of rumble and slam. They have a decent sound, with good midrange and treble response.

    These true wireless earbuds come with a Tri-Hold design, which rests in 3 areas in your ear. That ensures great stability, although it can cause fatigue after prolonged listening.

    Their housing is somewhat bulky (8g per earbud), but it stays in your ears nicely. One physical button on top gives you access to basic commands for controlling music.

    With an IPX4 rating, they’re fully sweatproof, giving you the freedom of soaking them in sweat during intense exercises. The battery life is good, with up to 9 hours on a single charge and an extra 9 hours inside the charging case.

    More headphones under $100:

    8. AfterShokz Aeropex

    trophy Best open-back
    AfterShokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones

    Best bone conduction headphones with open-air design, fanastic for outside sports.

    AfterShokz Aeropex bone-conducting headphones have reliable Bluetooth functionality and keep your ears free during an exercise.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conduction transducer
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Bone conduction | Battery life: 8h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Proprietary cable | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IP67 | Features: Moisture detect alert, EQ, multipoint
    • Stable fit for all types of sports
    • Perfect environment awareness due to open-ear design
    • Lightweight (almost 30% lighter than Air)
    • Waterproof and dustproof (IP67)
    • Good battery life (8 hours)
    • Improved bass response from previous models
    • Vibrating transducers might be annoying
    • Sound quality is suffering (compared to regular earphones)
    • Lack of bass

    Aftershokz Aeropex review

    Undeniably, the sound has vastly improved compared to the AfterShokz Air (older model). These headphones have boosted bass. Bone conduction headphones sometimes don’t have the low-end power of standard headphones, but these are the best yet.

    These headphones fit the bill for running headphones. They are very stable and stay in place around the head during rigorous exercises.

    Whether you’re doing cardio or lifting weights, they stay out of the way. AfterShokz Aeropex are the lightest yet (30% lighter than the AfterShokz Trekz Air model).

    Also, the Bluetooth is very reliable, and they keep connection even at around 30 ft (10m) without disruption.

    A waterproof IP67 rating means they are water-resistant. Even the most sweaty gym sessions can be dealt with by the Aeropex.

    AfterShokz Aeropex review

    For similar alternatives, see the best bone conduction headphones.

    9. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    dollar Best under $50
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    Jlab Jbuds Air are the best workout earbuds under $50 with both water and dust resistance.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 2h – USB-A (attached) | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: Rubber sleeves
    • Good water protection IP55
    • Stable fit suitable for sports
    • User-friendly magnetic design
    • Good sound quality for the price
    • Annoying physical controls (Air Icon have touch controls)
    • Can become uncomfortable after prolonged time for small ears
    • Phone calls require the right earbud

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    Sound quality is good for the price that you pay and comes with 3 different EQ presets (Jlab signature, balanced, and bass boost).

    Its main preset is V-shaped with emphasis on treble and bass which makes them great for a fitness environment. Unfortunately, there’s no aptX support, so you have to do with SBC and AAC.

    Jbuds Air are one of the best cheap headphones for working out. The low price under $50, stable fit, and solid performance make them a top choice.

    You get water and dust-resistant earbuds—rated as IPX5 (IP55 rating)—with a stable and comfortable fit due to their lightweight and ergonomic design. They’re suitable for all types of sports except swimming.

    While five hours isn’t fantastic it should last you more than a whole workout. Most people stay in the gym for around 1 hour.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    Find more best cheap earbuds.

    Best Workout Headphones (on-ear, over-ear)

    In case in-ears aren’t comfortable for you, take a look at on-ear and over-ear headphones for working out.

    Made specifically for sports, you get all the features, durability, and a stable fit in a classic headphone design. Here are our best workout headphones picks.

    10. Treblab Z2

    trophy Best over-ear
    Treblab Z2 Bluetooth headphones on the table

    Full-sized gym headphones with active noise cancellation for all of you over-ear lovers. They offer great comfort, bassy sound, and have a sweatproof design.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 35h (ANC on), 20h+ (ANC off) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 3h – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, 3.5mm port, multipo supportint
    • Comfortable, plush earpads
    • Great noise isolation
    • Good build quality
    • IPX4 water-protection
    • Great sound performance
    • Hard carrying case
    • 35-hour battery life
    • Micro-USB port
    • Average ANC performance
    • Earpads get a bit sweaty

    Treblab Z2 review

    Without noise canceling, the sound is quite bassy and warm, but it lacks detail. With ANC, the sound signature becomes more balanced and detailed. However, the bass is almost completely gone.

    See the best bass headphones.

    Their build quality feels nice, with a hard plastic body that has a soft, premium finish. The design is quite understated yet trendy, so they don’t look weird on your head. Earcups go around your ears and create a snug fit that remains comfortable to wear for hours.

    Z2’s are one of the best budget noise cancelling headphones, although it’s not quite on par with more expensive models. In practice, they do a good job blocking low-end humming noise but can’t completely eliminate speech, which is reasonable in this price range.

    Apart from the IPX4 water resistance rating, Treblab also included a hard carrying case and a carabiner for more secure transport. With up to 35 hours of runtime, the battery shouldn’t be a problem.

    Treblab Z2 review

    Honorable Mentions

    JBL Under Armour Flash X – One of the best workout earbuds from JBL that won’t fall off, even when performing jumping jacks. They come in a durable aluminum charging case and are water-resistant up to 1m (IPX7). (Check Under Armour Flash X price)

    Apple AirPods Pro (AirPods Pro review) – One of the best headphones in terms of noise reduction performance, are comfortable to wear, have a rock-solid connection with H1 chip, and seamless user experience on iOS. There is also good sound and call quality and a very useful Transparency mode that lets you be aware of your surroundings. (Check AirPods Pro price)

    Skullcandy Push Ultra (Push Ultra review) – True wireless earbuds with ear hooks that are fully waterproof (IP67) and come with a 6-hour battery life per charge. Their open design lets you hear background noise. (Check Push Ultra price)

    Sony WF-SP800N – A nice pair of Sony workout buds that sound great and come with active noise cancellation. With 13 hours of battery life and a secure fit, these are worthy of consideration. (Check WF-SP800N price)

    Jaybird X4 (X4 review) – Still one of the best wireless earbuds from Jaybird, that ensure rock-solid stability and sound quality. You can connect them with the app to unlock more features and tweak the EQ settings. (Check X4 price)

    What Sports Headphones to Avoid?

    We see some big websites recommending Jlab Audio Epic2. We recommend against Jlab Audio Epic2 because of their poor durability. It seems they have a problem with sweat and moisture in general and die out pretty quickly. Avoid the 1st Jlab Audio Epic model as well.

    Beats PowerBeats3 – Used to be our recommendation for Beats workout headphones but ever since 2017 the durability has gotten worse.

    Plantronics BackBeat FIT 300/305 – Might seem like a good option since the BackBeat 500 are first-rate, but they seem to have a build-quality issue.

    Sennheiser CX Sport – These are the newer Bluetooth workout headphones from Sennheiser. In contrast to their positive reputation, this model seems to suffer from signal interruptions and is better to avoid.

    More related guides:

    How to Get Good Workout Headphones – Buyer’s Guide

    Most headphones are not suited for workout purposes.

    You need to look for specific features. Before you buy something, ask yourself these questions:

    To learn why asking this is important check the explanations below.

    How Will They Fit During a Workout?

    Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or exercising on fitness machines, you need your headphones to stay put.

    There’s nothing more annoying than constantly readjusting a bad-fitting pair of headphones.

    You want to focus on your exercise in comfort and enjoy music without distractions.

    For these reasons you need to know that:

    Small earbuds (in-ear headphones) have the most stable fit for working out. They’re lightweight, usually, come with stability ear-wings or ear hooks, and offer plenty of “staying power” even for the most intense sports.

    Earbuds also come with a variety of ear tips to fit most ear canals.

    The best are memory-foam tips which are comfier and more stable than silicone eartips. You can get them separately for most in-ears.

    A pair of memory foam ear tips
    Memory-foam tips provide superior comfort and fit.

    Here’s more on how to improve the fit of earbuds.

    The other options are:

    On-ear and over-ear workout headphones, which offer superior comfort but less stable fit. These aren’t suitable for fast exercise like sprinting due to higher weight (prone to fall off).

    But many people use them for a slower activity like lifting weights.

    Are They Water or Sweat-Resistant?

    Sports headphones have to be resistant to moisture.

    When you’re pushing yourself, you’ll be sweating heavily. And, when the sweat comes in contact with the headphone’s electronics, it can damage it.

    Also, you might get caught running in the rain or get splashed if you do water sports.

    It’s not uncommon that a little bit of sweat kills a set of headphones forever.

    That’s why you should look for (at least) sweat-resistant or sweatproof headphones—even better if they have a certified IPX rating.

    A higher IPX rating (from 1-9) means better water protection. In-depth IPX explanation here.

    Generally, an electronic device needs at least an IPX4 rating to be sweatproof.

    • Sweat-resistant is < IPX4
    • Sweatproof is IPX4
    • Waterproof (or water-resistant) is IPX5 – IPX7
    • Fully waterproof IPX7+

    Full water-protection or “waterproofness” starts at IPX7 and IPX8 ratings.

    These headphones can be submerged in water up to 30ft (1m) but not further.

    Can I swim with waterproof workout headphones?

    You can, but there are limitations.

    First, you need waterproof headphones with a minimum IPX7. Then if you have Bluetooth headphones, you can only swim with the head above water.

    Can you swim with headphones
    Bluetooth stops working underwater.

    Furthermore, Bluetooth technology has a limited range (most around 33ft/10m) and stops working underwater.

    Water is too dense for Bluetooth signal to travel through (rain is fine, but pools and lakes are not).

    So if you’re serious about swimming, get dedicated swimming headphones.

    As for wired workout headphones, there aren’t many fully waterproof plus you need a water-resistant MP3 player, and the wires will be in the way of swimming.

    Can I shower with my workout headphones?

    You can, but only if the water protection of your headphones is high enough.

    We recommend waterproof headphones with at least IPX5 rating/water protection.

    Any rating lower and you risk damaging them.

    Also, Bluetooth works fine under the shower but not underwater in the bath.

    Keep in mind, just because the manufacturer says the headphones are waterproof or sweatproof, it doesn’t mean you can shower with them.

    You need at least IPX5 (more is better) to shower comfortably. IPX explained here.

    The problem is, not all companies reveal their IPX ratings. Bose, for example, won’t give you the info.

    In cases when you don’t know it’s better not to try it. Thankfully, we’ve made a guide for best waterproof Bluetooth headphones you can check out.

    How Durable are They?

    Build quality is an essential factor.

    During workouts, you are moving fast, and you’re more likely to hit and damage your headphones accidentally.

    Perfect gym headphones have to sustain hits and bumps without suffering damage.

    If you’re a regular gym-goer—as most are—you’ll be using your headphones quite a lot. Picking a well-built product that doesn’t break after a couple of months will save you money in the long run.

    It’s tough to measure durability just by looking at headphones.

    It’s best to test them (waterproof test) and check for feedback from other users.

    In this guide, we recommend only the better quality workout headphones that have lower rates of failure.

    How Will I Connect Them, Wirelessly, or With Wires?

    For working out, wireless Bluetooth headphones are the most popular. They offer a better overall experience.

    It used to be a hard question. However, today, all the major headphone manufacturers make their flagships wireless.

    When Bluetooth technology was in diapers, it was less reliable and more expensive. That’s not the case today.

    Here are the benefits and flaws of wireless workout headphones.


    • You’re free to roam around—in the Bluetooth range of roughly 30ft (10 m)
    • No wires to entangle and annoy you
    • All Bluetooth headphones support phone calls


    • Must charge the battery (battery capacity lowers with age, increased failure rate)
    • More expensive on average—though you can still get them on the cheap

    The freedom of not having any wires is a strong selling point.

    You can put your iPhone or Android smartphone somewhere in the gym, connect it with each other, and start working out.

    If you’re exercising outside, you can put your phone in the pocket and never have to worry about pulling on wires.

    The only problem with Bluetooth headphones—now that audio quality isn’t such a problem anymore, thanks to bit rate efficiency—is the battery.

    It needs constant charging, it adds weight and is prone to deterioration. Thankfully, the new wireless in-ears can last around 8 hours and are filled up in under 2 hours with quick-charging.

    If you don’t mind charging the battery, wireless headphones are the way to go.

    When to get wired workout headphones?

    On the other hand, wired sports headphones are usually cheaper and more reliable.

    Wires are a proven technology that works really well, especially with improved tangle-free cords.

    There’s no need to think about charging the battery, only plug in and play. You do have to keep your music device in your pocket, but then again, you’re probably used to it.

    In case you aren’t working out too intensely and have a 3.5mm audio device (many new smartphones don’t have the AUX), then wired workout headphones are a good choice.

    In the end, it comes to personal preference.

    Overall, wireless headphones have become excellent. Thus they easily out-compete the wired competition.

    Do I Want Good Noise Isolation or Better Awareness?

    Passive noise isolation is great for when you don’t want to be bothered by the ambient noise (like gym music, traffic noise, etc.).

    Also, other people might hear your music, which might be embarrassing—if you’re a Hannah Montana fan.

    To block the maximum amount of background noise, check the best noise isolating headphones.

    On the other hand, in situations like running in the city, good situational awareness is critical.

    Being aware of the surroundings can save you from injury.

    Good awareness protects you from driving vehicles.

    In this case, you should get open-back or semi-open headphones with little passive isolation.

    Or use smaller ear tips for earbuds to let more air (and ambient noise) in, but this will also diminish audio performance.

    You can check the best running headphones here.

    How is the Sound Quality?

    Just because you’ll use the headphones for exercise, doesn’t mean you have to suffer lousy sound.

    You want to enjoy your music without irritation. Most people prefer a bass boost for exercising because it gives them rhythm and motivation.

    In any case, most of the Bluetooth workout headphones in this article have a bass emphasized sound signature.

    And many also come with an equalizer that makes it easy to change the sound to what you want (those at a higher price tag).

    Check the reviews for more info.

    What’s the Minimum Battery Life I Need? (if wireless)

    Wireless headphones come with a battery that needs to be charged.

    But how long do you need it to last?

    Your wireless workout headphones need to have enough power to get you through at least one workout—if not more.

    The battery dying right in the middle of a exercise is irritating.

    You should look for exercise headphones with at least 4-5 hours of battery duration (or more).

    Better models can last up to 10 hours while the smaller, true wireless earbuds around 4 hours (don’t go for less).

    Earbuds vs. Headphones for Working Out

    Which type of headphones is best for exercise?

    We know a couple of types:

    • Earbuds/in-ear headphones (wireless and wired)
    • True wireless earbuds (wireless only)
    • On-ear headphones (wireless and wired, smaller than over-ears)
    • Over-the-ear headphones (wireless and wired, the biggest)

    The best and most popular type is the earbud or earphone type.

    They’re small, lightweight, and offer the most stable fit and decent comfort.

    You can choose from wired, wireless, and truly wireless earbuds.

    Due to their small size, their battery capacity is lower.

    On-ear and over-ear headphones are most popular with weightlifters.

    Man running with on-ear sport headphones
    Full-sized headphones are a good alternative to smaller earbuds.

    Bigger headphones with earcups offer superior comfort. Many gym-goers prefer them but some also use them for jogging.

    You can get wired and wireless over-ear headphones for working out that are sweat proof and have a decent fit.

    In the end, it’s a question of better comfort or fit, and it’s up to you.