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Best Sounding Workout Headphones: High Quality

Last updated: 2 weeks ago
9 min read

What are the top workout headphones with the best sound quality?

Rating Price Battery Water protection Mic & Controls More info
Jaybird Vista Best overall
Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds
4.5
Under $160
6 hours + 10h in case
IPX7
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4.3
Under $180
7 hours + 20h in case
IP57
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4.6
Under $250
11 hours + 24h in case
IPX4
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4.3
Under $270
7 hours + 28h in case
IPX4
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Shure SE215 Best wired in-ear
Shure SE215 wired earbuds
4.4
Under $100
/ (Wired)
Sweat-resistant (unofficial)
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Bose Sport Earbuds Best Bose
Bose Sport Earbuds true wireless earbuds
4.5
Under $180
5 hours + 10h in case
IPX4
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Treblab Z2 Best over-ear
Treblab Z2 wireless headphones
4.3
Under $90
35 hours
IPX4
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EarFun Free Pro Best affordable
Earfun Free Pro true wireless earbuds
4.6
Under $60
8+ hours + 25h in case
IPX5
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Table of Contents

    After considering more than 30 headphones, these are the top picks for great sound quality in workout headphones.

    We considered suitability for working out; water and sweat-protection, durability, comfort, and fit plus, obviously, sound quality.


    Related guides:

    The best workout headphones
    The best headphones for running


    Wireless Bluetooth Workout Headphones with Best Sound Quality

    1. Jaybird Vista

    1st-place Best overall
    Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds on a rock

    Best sounding workout headphones right now

    You work out a lot and need great-sounding headphones to keep you entertained? Then look no further.

    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 tips
    • Treble stays grainy, even after EQ
    • Annoying notifications when opening the app

    The sound is exceptionally good once you tweak it inside the mobile app. Out of the box, it’s somewhat harsh, with the forward midrange. Thankfully, you can change their sound whatever you like with the EQ. The result is a punchy, energetic sound.

    They come with IPX7 water-resistance, giving you the option to rinse them in water to clean them after the sweaty workout. More so, you don’t have to worry about them falling on the floor. They have the MIL-STD-810G military standard to ensure high durability.

    The battery is relatively decent, with 6 hours per single charge, and another 10 spare hours waiting inside the charging case. There is the option to quickly charge them, getting you an hour’s worth of battery in just 5 minutes.

    These earbuds are very comfortable to wear, with a secure fit. In our test, we took them for a run, and we never felt like they’re about to fall out.

    Jaybird Vista review

    2. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Jabra Elite Active 75t black earphones

    One of the best headphones for workouts right now

    Ranking top spots in many of our best guides, these earbuds deserve to be on this list as well.

    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
    • 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

    Out of the box, the bass is boosted, making them great for sportspeople and bassheads. However, if you want to tame them to the point of sounding more natural, you can do that inside the app’s EQ. Like the Jaybird Vista, the sound can be fully customizable.

    Compared to slightly cheaper Elite 75t, the Active model offer better water protection (IP57 rating), while also coming in more different colors.

    They provide exceptional ergonomics and comfort. Housing is designed in a way that doesn’t require ear fins or hooks to ensure stability during workout.

    Jabra’s also come with HearThrough awareness mode, which is helpful if you tend to run near a busy road or want to talk to people without taking out your earbuds.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    3. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro outside

    The best sport-oriented truly wireless buds with good bass depth

    When looking for bassy sound and ultimate stability during movement, PowerBeats are your best choice.

    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

    Although Beats improved over the years when it comes to sound characteristics, they’re still very “Beatsy”. There is a distinct V-Shaped signature, with boosted bass and treble, and slightly subdued midrange. Fortunately, the low-end is much more controlled compared to older models.

    Related: Best bass earbuds

    Apart from their signature sound, they also make good workout headphones. PowerBeats Pro have an ear hook design that firmly grabs your ear, not letting go during rapid head movements.

    Earbuds are made from rock-solid, water-resistant hard plastic, protected by an IPX4 rating. Although to us they aren’t the most comfortable out there, many users say they can wear them for hours without any irritations.

    What makes these class-leading, is their battery life. Despite the advertised 9 hours, we got 11 hours of battery out of these, which is fantastic. You get an additional 24 hours from the charging case. They charge via Lightning cable.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    trophy Best sound
    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 true wireless earbuds

    Wireless in-ear headphone with the best sound quality

    Fantastically sounding buds that you can wear during workouts.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-21.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h (5h with ANC) + 28h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparent Hearing, companion app, EQ
    • Refined, audiophile-grade sound with natural midrange
    • Above-average soundstage
    • Great comfort and secure fit
    • Good noise-canceling performance for truly wireless earbuds
    • Premium-feeling charging case
    • Good build quality with IPX4 water protection
    • Good overall battery life
    • Futureproof with Bluetooth 5.1
    • Useful mobile app
    • Responsive and intuitive touch controls
    • Bass could be tighter
    • No foam tips included in the box
    • Call quality could be better
    • Some audio lag when watching videos

    One of the best you can get right now in terms of refinement and detail. They’re a bit bassy out of the box, but they really start to shine with slight EQ, with the lush midrange, rumbling low-end, and shimmery treble.

    Comfort is one of the essential characteristics when picking your next workout headphones. Momentum 2 can deliver both great comfort and stable fit, despite the lack of support for ear fins or hooks.

    You’re also getting some premium features like active noise-cancellation and Transparent Hearing. Buds can also connect via a companion app for changing touch controls and fine-tweaking the sound.

    Buds can also quick charge, giving you extra 1.5 hours of battery life in 10 minutes.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

    5. Shure SE215

    wired Best wired in-ear
    Shure SE215 wired in-ear monitor

    Audiophile-grade in-ear monitors

    Of course, you can use in-ear monitors during your exercise. Shure SE215 are sweatproof, comfortable, and sound amazing.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 22-17.500Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise Cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Microphone only | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: Detachable cable, optional wireless adapter
    • Good sound quality
    • Price-to-performance ratio
    • Detachable cable
    • Narrow soundstage

    If you like smooth, inoffensive high-end, these might be perfect for you. The trebles start rolling-off relatively quickly without losing too much detail.

    The bass is punchy and boosted, providing a noticeably warm sound signature. Making things even better, they’re great at imaging and sound staging.

    These earbuds are built very well, with long-lasting durability. You can also change the cable if the original one gets damaged or prefer a fancier looking one.

    Housing is very lightweight and super comfortable. Because of their design, you need to wear them with the wire going behind your ears. That is great for reducing cable noise, and weight distribution.

    They don’t offer ANC, but they still isolate incredibly well.

    6. Bose Sport Earbuds

    trophy Best Bose
    Bose Sport Earbuds true wireless earbuds

    Workout wireless headphones with great sound

    Bose Sport Earbuds are the best running headphones for most people.

    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

    While the sound is tuned to fit more popular genres, it should please most users. The bass is punchy and well-controlled, portraying drums and bass guitars with good authority. The midrange and treble remain balanced and smooth, reducing fatigue even during long listening sessions.

    Don’t let the bulky size fool you; Sport Earbuds provide a comfortable fit. They sit in front of the ear canal, preventing unwanted pressure, while ear fins ensure ultimate stability. There’s a little bit of wind noise, though.

    You can connect them with a Bose app for tweaking basic functions and updating firmware.

    Touch commands support essential commands for music playback and volume control. For good wireless stability, Bose equipped Sport Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1.

    Bose Sport Earbuds review

    7. Treblab Z2

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

    Best over-ear gym headphones with ANC

    These are great to commute, as well as for working out.

    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

    When you disable ANC, the bass boost takes over the mix. It can bleed into the midrange, masking the fine detail you otherwise hear.

    However, turn the ANC on reveals exceptional clarity at this price point. Everything sounds sharper, with better resolution. Sadly, the bass goes to the other side of the spectrum, lacking the power to balance itself.

    Headphones are made from plastic that has a soft finish to it and feels good in the hands. They come with a chunky battery life of 35 hours, which can last you more than a couple of days.

    Earcups can swivel at 100° so you can lay them flat on your chest when you stop listening. Comfort and fit are excellent, despite the gentle clamping force.

    Treblab equipped these with active noise-canceling, which works great if you want to eliminate low-end hum. They’re suitable for office work, commuting, and exercise, thanks to their IPX4 water resistance rating.

    Treblab Z2 review

    8. EarFun Free Pro

    dollar Best affordable
    EarFun Free Pro true wireless earbuds

    Most affordable sports earbuds with great sound

    They are stylish and sound good, especially if you want to use them for sport.

    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

    With a balanced sound profile and a tasteful boost in bass, EarFun Free Pro outputs an enjoyable audio performance on a budget. Everything sounds punchy and full, but not overly warm, despite the amount of low-end. They can also get quite loud, with decent detail retrieval.

    Of course, you get other features, too, like Qi wireless charging, Bluetooth 5.2, and active noise cancelling. The latter is decent but isn’t the star of the show.

    Their tiny size and lightweight design ensure long-term wear without experiencing fatigue. There are multiple sizes of ear tips and ear fins in the box to make earbuds stay in place during movement or workout.

    The battery is impressive, scoring 8 hours and 40 minutes in our test (at 50% volume, which is plenty loud). You find another 25 hours inside the charging case.

    EarFun Free Pro review

    Honorable Mentions

    Sony WF-SP800N – Pair of true wireless workout earbuds with active noise reduction and 9 hours worth of battery life. That is more than enough for a few gym sessions.

    Jaybird X4 – Bluetooth earphones with wing tips to ensure good fit for workout purposes. They deliver a decent sound that can be tweaked via companion app.


    Looking only for wired sports headphones?

    What’s Important for Sound Quality in Wireless Bluetooth Headphones?

    The only thing you need to know is that Bluetooth slightly lowers the sound quality of your music.

    Before music is sent to your headphones it has to be changed into the signal. Because the wireless signal carries less data than wires it compresses the music into “smaller pieces”. But when this happens you lose some audio quality.

    While there are many innovations in headphone technology, Bluetooth seems to be the most popular way to transfer music in workout headphones.

    Bluetooth codecs

    Thankfully, lots of modern Bluetooth headphones, even those made for working out, use special codecs which improve the process of compression. Most-known are aptX, LDAC, aptxHD, AAC, and SBC.

    There are more and better ones being developed all the time. This is good news for Bluetooth headphones.

    So if you want to get better sound quality from your workout headphones, get ones that support aptX or other Bluetooth codecs.

    Quality Bluetooth transmission is very important for sound quality in wireless Bluetooth headphones.

    How to know if my music device supports Bluetooth codecs?

    If you have one of the newer smartphones it probably already supports multiple Bluetooth codecs. The most common is probably Qualcomm’s aptX.

    In most smartphones, you can select which Bluetooth codec you prefer. You can also check your phone’s specifications. You can usually find them on the manufacturer’s site.

    Noise isolation

    Apart from efficient Bluetooth transmission, noise isolation is also important for good audio quality.

    To hear the most details you always need peace and quiet. You can’t really enjoy your music if it’s being interrupted by the sound of heavy traffic all the time.

    This is why headphones with good sound isolation are more enjoyable in non-quiet places. Basically, the only quiet place is your home, at least for most people. So if you want to use them anywhere else, passive noise isolation plays a role.

    Drivers

    The quality of the drivers and how they’re set up is important in all headphones, including wireless ones. Unfortunately, you can’t really check any stat or data to know the quality of the sound you’ll get.

    It all comes down to personal preference which means it’s impossible to know before trying.

    The best you can do is check the reviews of other people. What other people say about a particular headphone model can be of great help in making a decision.

    What Makes a Particular Set of Headphones Good for Working Out?

    The basic requirements for a good pair of workout headphones are pretty straightforward.

    Water-resistance

    Since we all sweat during exercise, sweat-resistance is very important for your Bluetooth sport headphones.

    Electronics is known to be very weak against water and moisture. Things can quickly break and stop working because of a small drop of water in the right circuitry.

    Thankfully, many modern headphones for sports have some kind of water-resistance level. The water-resistance is most often measured with an IPX standard, explained here.

    The higher the claimed IPX rating is, the better the protection from water. Some headphones can even survive a dip in the water and heavy rain.

    Physical resistance

    There’s a lot of badly made headphones out here. Headphones that fall to the ground once and stop working. You want to avoid these.

    Since you’re always moving around during exercise there’s a higher chance you drop your headphones.

    The best wireless headphones for working out are made from durable materials and in a compact and sturdy design that doesn’t break easily.

    It’s really hard to measure up front, but you can get a pretty good idea if you take the headphones in your hands and feel how they’re made.

    Comfort & fit

    Comfort and fit are important with all headphones, but even more so with workout ones. Because if your ears get irritated during a workout when you need to focus on actually working out, you’ll only get annoyed instead of motivated by music.

    Since movement can change how the headphones fit on your head, this can change comfort in between working out. You don’t want this.

    Good fitness headphones need to stay put comfortably on your head or in your ears, even during fast movement or unusual positions.

    Sound quality

    Sound performance also plays a role since you simply won’t enjoy listening to headphones if they sound bad.

    In a workout environment, you probably won’t be looking for sonic fidelity but good enough sound quality that is fun to you. This can mean many different things to different people.

    Generally, if you like how certain headphones sound nobody can tell you they have low-quality sound. On the other hand, there are a couple of standards that are important to most people.

    For most users having clear highs, a strong, deep bass, and being loud enough is good audio quality.

    Usability

    Having wireless headphones is definitely more convenient so this might be one of your requirements for good workout headphones.

    Having the ability to control music and calls with built-in buttons might be another thing you want. Some even have built-in heart rate monitor.

    There are many different types of headphones on the market today. Finding the ones best for your needs is important.

    Could be interesting; The benefits of noise-canceling headphones. Check the best noise cancelling earbuds guide.

    Do Expensive Headphones Always Last Longer than Cheaper Ones in the Gym?

    After looking at hundreds of headphones we are willing to claim this is usually true but not always.

    You can still get headphones with great build quality and durability at an affordable or even cheap price tag. Though this is more of an exception than a rule.

    On the other hand, there are some expensive headphones from “Premium” brands that don’t offer good durability. You’re mostly paying for a brand name.

    Expensive workout headphones will usually last longer in the gym, but you can sometimes still save money by buying cheap headphones simply because they’re so cheap.

    Compare buying 5 pairs of workout earbuds for $30 to 1 pair for $150. Both cost $150. But it’s very unlikely all 5 cheap pairs to die out earlier than the more expensive one. It all comes down to your personal preference.

    A lot of headphones die because of moisture. Cheat the water by getting yourself a pair of swimming headphones.

    Is Sound Quality in Headphones Subjective?

    What is considered high sound quality is a matter of preference.

    Generally, most people want a clear sound with a strong bass response and loud enough volume. Whether working out in the gym or outside this is the preferred audio quality for most users.

    Why is it Worth Getting Workout Headphones with High Sound Quality?

    Enjoyable sound quality is important because it impacts your performance in the gym or at other activity.

    Benefits of using workout music are many and proven. It has an effect on your perception of pain, endurance, improves mood and overall makes you stronger, and faster. So pick your favorite music and get moving, you will get better results.


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