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The Best Headphones for Cycling in 2020

Last updated: 1 month ago, Aug. 23. 2020
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    Listen to music or podcasts while riding a bike with the best headphones suitable for cycling.

    Comparison of Best Cycling Headphones

      RatingPriceWater-
    protection
    ConnectionBattery
    (charging)
    Mic & Controls
    Jabra Elite Active 75t
    best overall
    3.8
    More info
    under $200IP57 (IPX7)
    waterproof
    wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    7 hours+
    20h in case
    (USB-C)
    Beats PowerBeats Pro
    best bass
    4.1
    More info
    under $250IPX4wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    9 hours+
    (Lightning to USB)
    Jaybird Vista
    best sound
    4.3
    More info
    under $170IPX7wireless
    Bluetooth
    6 hours
    10h in case
    (USB-C)
    AfterShokz Aeropex
    best awareness
    4.3
    More info
    under $170IPX7
    (IP67)
    wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    8 hours
    (proprietary)
    Apple AirPods Pro
    best Apple
    4.5
    More info
    under $250IPX4wireless
    Bluetooth
    5 hours
    24h in case
    (Lightning)
    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo
    best value
    4.3
    More info
    under $40IPX7wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    3.5 hours
    9h in case
    (Micro-USB)
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air
    best under $50
    4.0
    More info
    under $50IPX5wireless
    Bluetooth
    5.5 hours
    +15h in case
    (Micro-USB)
    Bose SoundSport
    best wired
    4.0
    More info
    under $50IPX4wired
    3.5mm
    n/a
    iTeknic
    Bluetooth Earbuds

    best battery
    4.2
    More info
    under $20IPX7wireless
    Bluetooth
    24 hours
    (Micro-USB)

    Many cyclists can’t imagine going out on their bikes without entertainment.

    Headphones give you the option to listen to music or podcasts while cycling.

    But not every pair of headphones is good for driving a bike.

    Some don’t fit well under a helmet, and some create too much wind noise.

    We present the best headphones for cycling in this guide.

    We also address questions you may have about the safety, and what makes good workout headphones for a cyclist.

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      Related:

      Best workout headphones

      Best headphones for running

      Top waterproof wireless headphones

      Key Features of Headphones for Cycling

      The key features go far beyond just sound. There is a lot to look out for when buying cycling headphones.

      You need to consider both your listening comfort and your safety. We’ve selected the following features as vital for cyclists.

      Safety

      Safety is paramount, especially for road cyclists.

      Don’t take any chances of not being able to hear traffic.

      Keep the volume low enough, so you can still hear the oncoming cars. It’s dangerous to do otherwise.

      Bicycle accident with car

      Active noise-canceling headphones are impressive, but shouldn’t be used at the expense of having your wits about you when cycling with headphones.

      Most wireless earbuds and true wireless earbuds don’t totally block out sound, so you should still be able to hear some traffic.

      For great peace of mind, though, bone conduction headphones allow you to keep your ears uncovered as the sound is able to vibrate via your cheekbones. This is an excellent solution for cyclists.

      Is it even legal to wear headphones when riding a bike?

      Stability

      Cycling can be quite strenuous and fast. Whenever there is a lot of movement, we recommend specific sports headphones.

      This means headphones which are designed to stay in place even while you’re active.

      You should be looking mainly at in-ear headphones, as they aren’t overly bulky.

      On-ear and over-ear headphones are generally a no-go (plus won’t fit under a helmet).

      An in-ear design with wings or ear hooks that stays in the ears is important for uninterrupted listening.

      Durability

      Replacing headphones every few months because they’ve broken is a pain.

      A durable set of headphones is essential if you are using them for something active.

      You might sweat a lot or get caught by a shower.

      Therefore water-resistant headphones are a must (look for high IPX rating).

      They can potentially get scraped or thrown around a bit.

      If you cycle a lot, and on challenging terrains, think about getting some durable earbuds or headphones.

      Wired vs. Wireless

      Choosing wired headphones can save you the hassle of charging but can tangle when moving.

      Some cyclists don’t mind wires, especially if you’re cycling on a stationary bike (when movement is more uniform).

      Even so, wireless headphones have come a long way in recent years and have a lot to offer to active people, including cyclists.

      Key features of wireless headphones:

      • Not getting in the way since there are no wires, perfect freedom
      • You can keep your music device (smartphone) in a bag instead of attached
      • Often sweatproof or even waterproof
      • All have convenient controls and microphone for phone calls
      • You need to charge them regularly

      Obviously, the lack of cable is the main plus point, and so is the fact that you don’t have to have your music device attached.

      You can keep it in your backpack if you like. Also, you can use voice control on some of the headphones we’ve reviewed for even easier control.

      Battery and Bluetooth

      If you are going down the wireless route, think carefully about the battery life.

      You don’t want the battery to die in the middle of a tour, especially if you like to cycle long distances.

      Nonetheless, the Bluetooth connection is reliable enough to make sure the sound is constant with no interruptions.

      How to Choose Headphones for Cycling

      Choosing the right headphones for cycling is a case of matching up your own unique needs to the type of headphones on offer.

      While some features such as good sound quality and stability are essential, different cyclists may prioritize different functions.

      How do Cycling Headphones Differ?

      One of the key differences when finding headphones for cycling is that the priority may shift from sound to stability.

      Having a decent quality of sound is important but useless if you are wearing true wireless earbuds and they keep falling out.

      Cycling headphones don’t tend to come in over-ear or on-ear models, and they need to be able to fit under helmets.

      Depending on how your bike helmet fits, make sure you can comfortably fit under a pair of in.ear headphones.

      Normally, you will be looking for in-ear headphones/ear buds.

      They don’t get in the way as much, and there is less chance of getting them sweaty. Earbuds are also less bulky and therefore more comfortable for sports.

      Consider Where (and How) You Will be Cycling

      Being able to hear is always important for cyclists. However, in some areas, it may be even more vital.

      If you often cycle around busy traffic, bone conduction headphones could be useful.

      If you are more of a leisurely cyclist, you might be able to pay a little less attention to the high tech functions some headphones have.

      For instance, if you cycle on a static bike or just slowly around local villages, then wired workout headphones may be fine.

      Cycling in streets

      If you cycle for long periods of time and need headphones you can rely on for constant music while cycling, go for Bluetooth headphones with longer battery life.

      If you are a tour cyclist, you might be on the go for long periods of time, and your headphones should be able to keep going as long as you can.

      As you can see, knowing how to choose headphones for cycling is a case of establishing which features you think will be important for you.

      Use these features as a guide when looking at the headphones below. We’ve selected 8 models of top cycling headphones.

      Best Headphones for Cycling

      1. Jabra Elite Active 75t – best true wireless

      Jabra Elite Active 75t wet

      The best headphones for most cyclists

      Jabra Elite Active 75t true wireless earbuds are the top choice for avid cyclists.

      See the Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Over 7 hours (20h in the case)
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Charging case & USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      There are no dedicated cycling headphones, but you can find great options if you know what to look for.

      You need good comfort and awareness. The latter is especially important if you ride on busy roads.

      Great awareness is the reason why the Jabra Elite Active 75t make the top of the list. With the HearThrough mode, the 4-microphone system picks up the ambient sound and diverts it to you.

      You’ll hear an approaching car before you see it.

      Together with the safety, you get a secure fit that stays comfortable for hours.

      And the physical controls are easier to use than touch controls, especially if you’re wearing cycling gloves. The microphone also works for hands-free phone calls or giving a command to your favorite voice assistant.

      With 7-hour battery life and full water and dust protection, you don’t have to worry about durability.

      And, when you just want to use your cycling machine, you can block most of the ambient noise.

      The Bad

      If you wear a bike helmet that goes over your ears, the buds might be in the way. You may accidentally press the controls. Some wind noise is present and picked up by the mics.

      The Sound

      Jabra Elite Active 75t have bass-boosted sound, but it can be equalized in the Jabra Sound+ app. It works well for all types of music, though modern, bassy genres work best. Get more info in the review.

      Read the full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.


      2. Beats PowerBeats Pro – best bass

      Beats PowerBeats Pro outside

      Best bass headphones for cycling

      For a fully free wireless experience with powerful bass, the PowerBeats Pro are a no brainer for every cyclist.

      Check the full Beats PowerBeats Pro review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 9 hours (24h with the case)
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Lightning to USB

      Why Buy These?

      Even though they have ear hooks they should fit nicely under a helmet for most people.

      They’re lightweight and completely cord-free which makes it impossible to entangle. The fit is highly secure and doesn’t require adjustments.

      To protect them against weather, they have IPX4 rain and sweat protection.

      And, since you’re a busy person, you can make phone calls or give voice commands from your bike with built-in mics in each side.

      You also don’t have to worry about running out of juice. With quick-charging capability, you will get around 9h per charge (24h with the case), and charging takes less than 1 hour.

      The Bad

      Earbuds might irritate the ears of smaller people. They’re quite pricey. Some wind noise is present due to larger design.

      The Sound

      PowerBeats Pro are perfect for all bass lovers who want deeper and stronger lows in their music. The true wireless buds have emphasis on bass and treble which results in a fun V-shaped signature.

      Read the full Beats PowerBeats Pro review.


      3. Jaybird Vista – best sound

      Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds on a wooden log

      Best sounding headphones for cycling

      If you like to listen to music on your bike, do it with one of the best sounding true wireless earbuds out there.

      Check our Jaybird Vista review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours (10h with the case)
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      You don’t have to worry about Vista’s durability since they come with both IPX7 water-resistant housing and MIL-STD-810G military standard of ruggedness.

      With the packaging, you get 3 different ear gels, with two sized ear fins. We found them to be incredibly comfortable, with a secure fit during various activities.

      6 hours of battery life is good enough for a decent run, with an additional 10 hours from the charging case. The latter can also be used for quick charging the earbuds, with a 5-minute charge providing an extra hour of playback.

      The Bad

      Annoying notification sounds every time you open the app.

      The Sound

      To get the best sound out of these, you need to use the mobile app’s EQ. You can tweak the audio output just the way you want to, from super bassy to almost neutral. Regardless of what you do, the bass stays punchy, with a natural-sounding midrange.

      Jaybird Vista are a bit on the bulky side, but they stay firmly inside your ears while providing excellent sound quality.

      Check our Jaybird Vista review.


      4. AfterShokz Aeropex – best bone conduction

      AfterShokz Aeropex

      The best bone-conduction headphones for cyclists

      It’s a vital requirement to hear your surroundings when cycling. The AfterShokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones leave your ears free while still providing clear sound.

      Check the AfterShokz Aeropex review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Proprietary cable with magnet

      Why Buy These?

      Bone conduction technology has been invented to allow more knowledge of your surroundings. The sound vibrates through facial bones, leaving ears free.

      This is great for cyclists who can hear what is on the road while wearing headphones.

      8 hours of battery life is pretty good for all kinds of cycling tours, even if you go on longer journeys.

      The Bluetooth is highly reliable, so you can keep your device tucked away in your bag.

      The Bad

      The feel of the vibrations on your face takes some getting used to, and it isn’t the best for everyone. Also, the technology of bone conduction struggles to replicate bass.

      The Sound

      A bass boost has been included to try and tackle some of the bass problems of previous models (Aftershokz Air).

      The sound clarity is respectable, and the frequency response is great, for bone-conduction headphones.

      They are currently the best bone-conduction headphones for sound.

      To keep your wits on the road, consider the clever technology in the AfterShokz Aeropex.

      Read the full AfterShokz Aeropex review.


      5. Apple AirPods Pro – best Apple

      Apple AirPods Pro on the case

      Best for iOS users

      Feature-packed AirPods Pro are a great choice if you already own an iPhone.

      Check our Apple AirPods Pro review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 5 hours (24h with the case)
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Lightning to USB

      Why Buy These?

      Pro version of the AirPods is a significant upgrade over the classic ones. They seal better due to their in-ear design, but they also support some of the features regular AirPods aren’t able to.

      The first thing is the active noise-cancellation, which works fantastically. However, as a cyclist, you are probably more excited about the Transparency mode. It helps you hear things around you without taking your earbuds off.

      They come with IPX4 certification, which is more than enough to protect themselves from sweat. The battery can last up to 5 hours per single charge, with the charging case storing another 19 hours of playtime.

      The Bad

      If used on Android, you don’t get all the features.

      Proprietary ear tips.

      The Sound

      Despite the impressive features, the sound quality leaves lots to be desired. It’s not bad, but it’s not exciting either. You can expect a very balanced sound, with a slightly emphasized treble.

      If you have an iOS device at home and want all the latest features, Apple AirPods Pro are a no-brainer.

      Check our Apple AirPods Pro review.


      6. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo – best value

      Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo true wireless earbuds

      The best value earbuds for cycling

      Liberty Neo’s are proving you don’t have to pay a lot of money to get great value in-ear headphones.

      Check our Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      These are very lightweight (only 5.5g per earbud) and comfortable to wear. They come with 3 different rubberized ear fins, that lock them firmly into place. Once in your ear, you have to shake your head really hard to make them fall out.

      No matter how much you sweat or get surprised by the pouring rain, you can rest assured these can survive anything. They have IPX7 water-resistance and can be fully submerged in water.

      The Bluetooth connection remains strong, even when putting one brick wall between your transmitting device and earbuds. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about drop-offs during cycling.

      The Bad

      Physical controls can be annoying to use since you’re pushing earbuds deeper into your ears.

      The Sound

      It can make all but most demanding users satisfied. Punchy bass with the natural-sounding midrange. Treble stays smooth and clear of sibilance. They work great with the most popular genres.

      Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo fit securely in your ears and remain comfortable for extended periods. They’re inexpensive and easy to listen to. If you can only spend $50, these might be it.

      Check our Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo review.


      Most Affordable Headphones for Cycling

      Here are the top picks under $60.

      7. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air – best under $50

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

      Best true wireless earbuds for cycling under $50

      True wireless earbuds are an excellent choice for cycling because there are no wires to get in the way.

      Keeping the cycling helmet on with a strap and then getting the wires somewhere in between can be complicated. The Jlab Jbuds Air don’t have any of these problems.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      The Jbuds Air review.

      Why Buy These?

      Like mentioned before, the design is much more convenient to wear under a cycling helmet. The earphones don’t stick out of the ears too much, so it’s easier to fit them.

      Another benefit of a shallower design is less wind noise. While some is still present, it’s less than with comparable wireless headphones.

      Hearing your music instead of the wind noise at faster speeds is important.

      Now, you get almost 6 hours of playtime per charge. The charging case is small enough to fit into a smaller pocket. And, if you get caught in the rain, it’s no problem thanks to water protection – IPX5.

      Plus, you only pay $50 and can control music and make calls with onboard buttons and microphone.

      The Bad

      They might be uncomfortable for smaller ears. Their noise isolation is quite good, which can impair safety.

      The Sound

      The sound quality is the most average aspect of the Jbuds Air. You get the sound you can expect from cheap earbuds. It’s good for the price and for listening during activity, but you won’t win any award. Read more in the review.

      Read the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review.


      8. Bose SoundSport Wired – best wired

      Bose SoundSport Wired workout headphones

      The best-wired in-ear headphones for cycling

      Some cyclists are perfectly happy with wired earbuds. You can pay less and get, usually, better audio quality and reliability.

      Connection: Wired (3.5mm)

      Why Buy These?

      Bose is one of the biggest names in the world of headphones, whether you’re looking for sports headphones or noise-canceling headphones for home listening.

      The SoundSport design has the brand’s StayHear tips, which are designed to stay securely in your ear, pain-free.

      There are three sizes to choose from, and they do a good job of comfortably staying put.

      An inbuilt mic allows you to make calls, and there are also inline controls for volume.

      Though not IPX rated, the SoundSport headphones are designed to be sweat-resistant and rainproof.

      The Bad

      A 3.5mm connection is good for a lot of devices, but Apple recently switched to using their lightning connection. This means that modern Apple devices may not work without an adapter.

      The wire is liable to get in the way, as is always the case with wired earbuds for cycling or sports.

      The Sound

      Typical Bose sound that’s enjoyed by many happy customers. While not the best you can get for the price, they sound better than average wired earphones.

      If you don’t mind wires, and want very respectable audio fidelity under $50, consider the Bose SoundSport headphones.


      9. iTeknic Bluetooth Earbuds – best battery

      Best affordable cycling headphones with a monster battery life (24h)

      If you cycle for long periods of time, such as cycling tours, you need a battery that can match your needs.

      The iTeknic earbuds have an extraordinary battery life to keep you going as long as you do (for 1 whole day).

      Check the full iTeknic BH001 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 24 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      24-hour battery life is three times as long as any other options on this list. It is an impressive feature, and if you spend long stretches on the bike, this can be valuable.

      The headphones come with different sizes of internal ear hooks, so you can choose the ones which best fit your ears. There’s also an inbuilt mic for making and receiving calls.

      Plus, they’re affordable and fit reasonably well, even though the buds are bigger.

      The Bad

      For such affordable earbuds, you aren’t going to get audio fidelity which matches the best options on the market. The sound is decent, but not amazing.

      On top of this, Slightly bigger earbuds might be harder to fit under a helmet (depends on your model).

      The Sound

      Though not groundbreaking, the sound is good for a set of affordable earbuds with 10mm drivers producing plenty of volume.

      If you’re looking for a long-lasting battery first and foremost, for a cheap price, the iTeknic BH001 Bluetooth earbuds should be your first choice.

      Read the full iTeknic BH001 review.


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