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The Best Headphones for Cycling in 2019

Last updated: 2 months ago, Sep. 27. 2019
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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
    Beats PowerBeats Pro
    best bass
    4.1
    More info
    under $250IPX4wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    9 hours+
    (Lightning to USB)
    Jaybird X4
    best sound
    2.9
    More info
    under $100IPX7wireless
    Bluetooth
    8 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    AfterShokz Aeropex
    best awareness
    4.3
    More info
    under $170IPX7
    (IP67)
    wireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    8 hours
    (proprietary)
    Jabra
    Elite Active 65t

    best true wireless
    3.6
    More info
    under $200IPX6
    (IP56)
    wireless
    Bluetooth
    5 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    Aukey
    Key Series B80

    great value
    3.9
    More info
    under $100IPX6wireless
    Bluetooth
    8 hours
    (USB-C)
    Plantronics
    BackBeat FIT 350

    best value
    3.8
    More info
    under $80IPX5wireless
    Bluetooth 4.1
    6 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    Aukey
    Key Series B60

    best affordable
    4.2
    More info
    under $60IPX6wireless
    Bluetooth
    8 hours
    (USB-C)
    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 Bluetooth 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 earbuds.

      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. Beats PowerBeats Pro (best bass)

       Beats PowerBeats Pro

      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.


      2. Jaybird X4 (best sound)

      Jaybird X4 wireless sports earbuds

      Best sounding headphones for cycling

      These headphones are sleek, small, and convenient for cyclists. They also have adjustable (with EQ app) high-quality sound for listening to music.

      Check the full Jaybird X4 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: Unspecified
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      These headphones have a lot of good tech features. For instance, you can customize the sound by Jaybird’s equalization app.

      The app comes with many different sound presets, and you can make your own too.

      The battery life is good, with 8 hours available from a 2-hour charge. This is pretty standard for many of the top wireless headphones.

      Comfort is also great, and the memory-foam tips are built with “Comply Ultra” technology. They’re designed to conform to your unique ear canal.

      IPX7 waterproof protection makes these some of the best waterproof headphones for cycling. This means you can run even in the pouring rain, and sweat won’t impact these headphones either.

      Plus, the in-ear fit offers good noise isolation.

      The Bad

      No headphones are perfect. The excellent sound quality of these is offset somewhat by the fact that the build quality isn’t the best, as explained in our X4 review.

      The Sound

      The sound fidelity is the biggest plus point with these earbuds. For punchy lows and crisp mids and highs, consider the Jaybird X4.

      Read the full Jaybird X4 review.


      3. 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.

      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.


      4. Jabra Elite Active 65t (best true wireless)

      Jabra Elite Active 65t

      The best true wireless headphones for cyclists

      True wireless headphones are exceptionally popular. With no annoying cables to get in the way while cycling.

      Jabra Elite Active 65t true wireless earbuds are a top choice for cyclists.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 5 hours (10 hours spare batteries included)
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      There’s a lot to like about these in-ear earphones. They work just as well with Apple and Android, but vitally, they link to Alexa so you can use your voice commands to control music.

      Stability within the ear is excellent, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out.

      They come with multiple tips and conform to the size of your ears to stay secure.

      You can use them for 5 hours at a time, and there are two more charges within the case to give 15 hours in total. Plus a 2-year warranty protects your purchase.

      The Bad

      A microphone is included to make calls, but it isn’t the best quality.

      The Sound

      A clear sound with plenty of power, especially for true wireless earbuds. If you want small and compact, wireless listening, think about the Jabra Elite Active 65t.


      5. Aukey Key Series B80 (great value)

      Aukey Key Series B80

      Great value headphones for cyclists

      Some headphones and earbuds outperform the price point they’re selling for, and this is a great example of a good value set of wireless earbuds.

      Check the full Aukey Key Series B80 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      The Aukey B80 is a good set of wireless sports headphones, with features to match.

      The ear hook design means they curve around the back and stay put. They’re pretty stable and comfortable (with memory-foam tips), meaning a viable option for cyclists.

      Moreover, most of the ambient noise is blocked, so you have to be careful when riding on the streets.

      IPX6 water resistance is suitable for sweat and most weather conditions. Your earbuds should stay safe even throughout adverse weather.

      8 hours of battery is more than enough for most, and a 10-minute quick charge is useful if you’re in a hurry, giving 2 hours of listening time.

      Plus, USB-C charging means one less cable to own.

      The Bad

      Constant white noise at lower volumes takes away from the listening experience.

      The Sound

      A dual-driver system gives a nice punch to the sound, with ear hooks and foam eartips, make the Aukey Key Series B80 one of the best all-around earphones under $100.

      Read the full Aukey Key Series B80 review.


      6. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 (best value)

      Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350

      The best value earbuds for cycling

      Not only good value, but the best value we’ve found for cycling headphones, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 headphones.

      Check the full Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 review.

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

      Why Buy These?

      The earbuds are designed to block out sound, something you need to be careful of.

      But for indoor cycling that’s great. At lower volumes, they don’t block out all traffic so you should still be able to hear threats.

      You can listen for 6 hours on a single charge, and a 15-minute quick-charge gives a full hour, suitable for short journeys on the bike.

      The fit is super stable. Having ear loops to stay in place, plus a cable clip means you can fix these onto your shirt just in case they fall out.

      The Bad

      Occasionally, spotty Bluetooth connection.

      Cable noise if the cable rubs against skin.

      The Sound

      The sound is better than expected considering the price tag, and quite impressive for any headphones under $100.

      It’s slightly bass emphasized while keeping the highs clear and distortion-free. It’s fun audio suitable for working out.

      Get the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 wireless earbuds that have a great fit, sweatproof design and enjoyable sound.

      Read the full Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 review.


      Most Affordable Headphones for Cycling

      Here are the top picks under $60.

      7. Aukey B60 (best affordable)

      Aukey Key Series B60

      Best affordable headphones for cycling

      The second Aukey headphones on this list, and another great option for cycling, this time at a price of under $60.

      Check the full Aukey Key Series B60 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      You’ll struggle to find better headphones at a similar price. These aren’t far off the quality of their sibling product, the B80 headphones.

      A shallow fit in the ear means they don’t block out much external sounds.

      This makes them a perfect choice for safe cycling. Much safer than noise-cancelling headphones.

      With up to 8 hours of battery life, combined with a 10-minute quick charge giving 80 minutes of listening mean these are suitable for both long and short cycle rides.

      Designed with sports in mind, they are IPX6 certified for water resistance and sweatproof functionality.

      Small and medium ear wings allow you to choose the one which fits best in the ear to keep stability.

      The Bad

      In spite of proprietary eartips with multiple sizes, they don’t fit snugly in all ears. It’s more of a soft fit.

      The Sound

      All-in-all, the sound quality is good, especially considering the relatively modest price. It’s somewhat balanced with good clarity and details. More info in the full review.

      For a safe and affordable option which is also reliable, consider the Aukey B60.

      Read the full Aukey Key Series B60 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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