A workout isn’t complete without motivating music pumping you up. Which is why headphones are an important piece of workout gear (such as dumbbells, treadmills, rowing machines, etc.). Of course, not just any pair of headphones will do. Wires that keep getting tangled while you’re trying to finish that last set of burpees or headphones that slip and slide with every step you take on the trail isn’t going to going to help keep you inspired. You’ll need something that can take the abuse (not to mention the sweat) and keep you energized through hour-long workouts. If you haven’t a clue on where to start looking, check out the best workout headphones we’ve found in the market today.
Top 10 Workout Headphones of 2018 Reviewed
1. SENSO Bluetooth HeadphonesBest Workout Headphones For Sweat
The SENSO Bluetooth Headphones is the perfect choice for people who want something that will stay put throughout any HIIT workout session. It features flexible silicone earbuds and ear hooks to keep the headphones in place no matter how many burpees you make. The battery life is up to 9 hours of playback and 240 hours standby. Charging time is just 1 and a half hours. Plus, no matter how sweaty you get, your headphones won’t get damaged since it has an IPX-7 waterproof rating.
We also love the fact that these earphones come with 3 sets of ear tips – small, medium, and large so you can get the perfect fit. However, the range of the Bluetooth connection isn’t always perfect. Sometimes it can go the distance while other times, the connection will drop even if you’re just two feet away. In addition, the mic doesn’t capture your voice clearly for calls. We also noticed that it captures wind noise so this might not be ideal for running or biking outdoors.
- IPX-7 waterproof rating
- Up to 9 hours of playback
- Comes with 3 sets of ear tips
- Bluetooth connection can be iffy at times
- Captures wind noise
- Not for calls
2. Otium Wireless Sports EarphonesBest Noise Isolating Workout Headphones
These wireless headphones from Otium are quite similar to the Senso. It has up to 8 hours of continuous music, a charge time of 1.5 hours, a built-in mic, and a Bluetooth range of up to 30 feet (with obstacles, the ranges goes down to 10 feet). It also comes with 3 sets of ear tips so you can find the perfect fit. And it has a waterproof rating of IPX-7. So, what makes this one different? For one, it’s half the price of a Senso.
Two, it has a voice notification for incoming calls. And it has a noise isolating feature. However, it doesn’t allow you to skip tracks. And the voice notification for low battery is always at full volume so it can be a bit jarring if you’re caught unawares. And the ear hooks are slightly on the large side.
- Very affordable
- Waterproof rating is IPX-7
- Noise isolating feature
- Voice notifications are at full volume always
- Ear hooks are slightly large
- No option to skip tracks
3. SoundPEATS Magnetic Wireless EarbudsBest Workout Headphones For Small Ears
One thing we love about SoundPEATS is its magnets design. You can wear the headphones like a necklace when you’re not using it which makes it easier to transport. Aside from that nice little feature, these earphones have an 8-hour battery life (continuous playing), in-line control buttons, and IPX6 sweatproof rating. These headphones come with 3 pairs of ear tips plus 2 additional sizes – XL and XS. There’s no way you can’t find the perfect fit with one of these.
Another great customization feature of this earphones is the wing tip. You can remove it if you don’t like it. And you can replace it with a different size too, again, get that perfect fit. One other highlight we’d like to mention is that you can command Siri (or whoever it is on your phone) through the headphones which are a feature you rarely see at this price point. However, the controls are a bit too near to your ear and some have reported getting hit by it while running. The charging cable is a bit short. And this requires you to use a 1A charger which isn’t provided.
- Magnets design
- 5 different ear tip sizes
- Can control Siri
- Controls too near the ear
- Short charge cable
- Requires 1A charger which is not provided
4. Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones
If you have the budget for it, the SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones should be on your list of potential workout headphones. Unlike our other previous picks, this comes with a built-in heart rate monitor and a Bose Connect app that will show you the real-time readings. In addition, these earphones are compatible with some fitness apps like MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Endomondo, and Runtastic.
The earbuds feature a hydrophobic cloth which resists moisture. While it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing (a little too bulky for earphones), these fit very comfortably in your ear and comes with three ear tip sizes. The best part is that they do not move while you’re working out. However, noise isolation isn’t as good as we’d expect at this price point. And battery life could be longer. It only lasts 6 hours.
- Built-in heart monitor
- Compatible with some fitness apps
- Very comfortable
- Noise isolation could be better
- Short battery life
5. Aukey Latitude EP-B40Best Workout Headphones On A Budget
What makes the Aukey Latitude EP-B40 stand out to us is the fact you can change between three sound presets – balanced, treble, and bass. It’s not something you normally see in $25 headphones. Like the SoundPEATS model, this also has a magnetic design which makes it convenient to wear around your neck when you aren’t using this. These come with three ear tip sizes and three ear hooks of different sizes as well to provide you with a customized fit.
And once you get that perfect fit, it really blocks out the noise. You can play music for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Plus, it comes with a 24-month product warranty, a year longer than what most manufacturers offer. However, you can’t use Siri with these headphones and the control buttons feel a bit cheap. Also, the built-in mic is a bit too good at picking up ambient noise which can affect the quality of your call.
- Three sound presets
- Magnetic design
- 24-month product warranty
- Buttons feel cheap
- Built-in mic picks up ambient noise
6. Swimbuds Headphones
If your workout is more water-based than landlocked, then you’re going to need these Swimbuds headphones. These headphones come with an extra-short cord so it won’t snag on anything while you’re doing flip-turns. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating and comes with 4 sizes of earbud tips so you can find the best fit.
When you buy these headphones, you also get the SYRYN player which is a waterproof media player that can withstand being submerged in 10 feet of water. It supports MP3 and WMA audio formats and can store as many as 2000 songs. It even has an optional shuffle feature. You also get a complimentary pair of goggles, a 0.5 oz tube of FitGoo which helps you create a watertight fit, and a travel-size container of AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense.
However, it doesn’t accept the standard iTunes format so you’ll need to convert it to MP3 format. Also, there’s no fast forward and rewind option which you need if you’re listening to audiobooks instead of music. Then there’s the shuffle play which would be nice if it wasn’t so randomized that you could end up hearing the same song playing over and over during your workout.
- IPX8 waterproof rating
- Comes with a media player and other accessories
- Extra-short cord
- Shuffle option is too random
- Doesn’t play standard iTunes format
- No fast forward or rewind option for listening to audiobooks
7. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500Best Workout Headphones For Sound Quality
If in-ear headphones aren’t your thing, you don’t have to settle for having any music at all. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 are on-ear headphones that feature memory foam headband and earcups so you can enjoy your music and your workout without any distractions. These headphones feature a P2i military-grade nano-coating which ensures it stays protected from your sweat and moisture. These are wireless and can pair up with a Bluetooth device as far as 33 feet away.
Even better, you can listen to music all day for up to 18 hours straight on a single charge. By the way, these come with a wideband-enabled mic which lets you answer calls and command Siri, Google Now, or Cortana. The on-ear controls include play/pause, skip tracks, answer calls, and adjust volume.
The sound quality is good enough. It’s not going to wow you but for background music while you workout, it should be fine. However, the mic does pick up ambient noise which means it’s not ideal for calls. It’s definitely not fit for HIIT workouts because sweat makes them more likely to slip. And like any on-ear headphones, the pressure on your ears after extended wear can cause it to hurt.
- P2i military-grade nano-coating
- 18-hour battery life
- Can command Siri, Google Now, or Cortana using the mic
- The mic picks up ambient noise
- Not for HIIT exercises
- Can feel painful after extended wear
8. Yurbuds (CE) Inspire 200
The Yurbuds Inspire 200 are wired headphones that were developed by athletes for athletes. Because it does connect directly to your device with a physical cable, the sound quality is definitely one of the best. The patented twist lock technology and ultra-soft earbuds ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
These were specifically designed to stay put when performing high-intensity workouts and you can even clip the cord to your shirt so it won’t flap around. These are not noise isolating earphones which makes them great for running and hiking outdoors. However, these are just earbuds and there aren’t any controls that will allow you to skip tracks, play/pause, or adjust volume. You will get some wind noise which isn’t a dealbreaker. And they do get tangled some of the time.
- Excellent sound quality
- Secure fit
- Very comfortable
- No controls
- Wind noise
- Wires may get tangled from time to time
9. Jabra Elite Active 65t
If you want true wireless headphones, then the Jabra Elite Active 65t should be your first choice. Unlike most of our previous in-ear picks, this one does not have ANY wire at all. Instead, you only get two earbuds that fit securely in your ear. It has an IP56 rating with a 2-year warranty against sweat and dust. It features an integrated motion sensor that tracks your performance. These earphones can run for 5 hours on a single charge which isn’t as long as some of our other picks.
But we love the fact that a 15-minute charge can get you 1.5 hours of battery life which saves you a lot of inconveniences if you’re the type to forget charging your headphones. You can personalize your headphones using the Jabra Sound+ app which allows you control over the equalizer and modify your voice assistant, audio experience, and call experience. However, there are issues with connectivity which surprised us because these headphones cost quite a bit. It can be hard to find the perfect fit. And if you use a different set of ear tips (not Jabra), these earbuds won’t fit in the charging case.
- True wireless design
- Secure, comfortable fit
- Integrated motion sensor
- Connectivity issues
- Hard to find the perfect fit
- Using a different set of ear tips will make the earbuds too big for the charging case
10. AfterShokz Trekz Air
Unlike anything else on our list, the AfterShokz Trekz Air is not your regular workout headphones. It is, in fact, bone conduction headphones which provide you with premium sound while still letting you hear the surrounding environment. These are incredibly lightweight that you won’t even notice you’re wearing it. The dual noise-canceling mic ensures that all your calls are crystal clear.
And connectivity is great. However, it does take awhile to get used to the vibration and you can’t really turn the volume way up. Aside from letting others hear your music, it will start to “bounce” on your skull. And the band comes in only one size so if it doesn’t fit you right, anything that bumps it will dislodge the headphones from its ideal position.
- Aural awareness
- Very lightweight
- Crystal clear sound
- Limited volume
- The band only comes in one size
- May not be ideal in noisy locations
Workout Headphones Buying Guide
Everyone has headphones because listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts, while working, doing chores, or just commuting, has become the norm. And whatever you have right now is probably fine while you’re doing those things. But when you’re working out, the regular ones don’t always work out so well.
Cords can get tangled while you’re sweating it out on the elliptical. Earbuds that keep falling off while you’re busy doing burpees. You get the picture. Exercising is hard enough. Why make it more difficult with headphones that just can’t take the abuse? Of course, finding the right exercise headphones isn’t going to be easy. But don’t sweat it because we’ve got your back. Below is a short guide to help you find the right headphones that are going to pump you up.
In-ear, on-ear, or over-ear?
Before you start looking at different brands and models of sports headphones, think about what type you prefer to use and what kind of exercises you’ll be doing. While in-ear or earphones are typically best for working out, some people just don’t like having something inside their ear. Everyone has their own quirks.
Obviously, on-ear and over-ear headphones aren’t going to stay in place during burpees and other high-intensity workouts. And they tend to be bulky and can start to feel heavy during an extended workout. But for running on a treadmill or other low impact fitness activities, there are some like the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 that will stay in place. These headphones are ideal if you’re the kind who prefers to shut out the entire gym while you’re working out.
It’s also a great way to let people know that you are definitely not to be disturbed. Plus, the sound quality is infinitely better with over-the-ear headphones. Just keep in mind that on-ear headphones press down on the outer part of your ears which can get painful if worn for an extended period of time.
That being said, earphones aren’t always that great. They may be lighter and won’t take up much space in your gym bag but you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the right fit. There’s nothing more irritating than having to stop during a set to adjust your earphones. Plus, the wrong fit can feel really uncomfortable during a long run or workout because it may press down on nerves and pressure points inside your ears.
But if you do find the right fit, you won’t have to worry about falling earbuds and possible ear pain no matter how intense or long your workout is. Just keep in mind that not everybody is built the same so what’s comfortable for one person may not be for someone else. Look at recommendations but your best bet would still to try the headphones before you buy it.
Any other option available?
Well, there’s one more option for those who don’t want to be hyper-aware of their surroundings AND still enjoy energy-pumping music while working out – bone conduction headphones. Yes, you read it right. Unlike your regular headphones, bone conduction headphones don’t have speakers.
Instead, it uses vibrations sent through your cheekbones which goes directly to the Cochlea. This leaves your eardrums free to take in the sounds around you. When you wear this type of headphones, it sort of feels like you have your own theme music playing in the background as you go about your business. You’ll definitely be marching to the beat of your own drum. The AfterShokz Trekz Air is the only bone conduction headphones on our list.
Do you want to cut the cord or not?
The best sound will always be delivered by a direct connection – a physical cable connecting the earphones/headphones to your device. Most wired sports headphones feature a flat, tangle-free design and are extra durable. However, you’ll still to need to make sure that the cord is just the right length to accommodate the type of exercises you will be doing. You don’t want it snagging on exercise equipment. Wired headphones are the ideal option for individuals who often forget to charge wireless headphones, are only planning on performing low impact exercises such as walking, or don’t mind running a cable under their shirt.
If the sound isn’t at the top of your priorities and wires are just a PITA you’d rather not deal with, then wireless is the way to go. Keep in mind that you’ll need to charge your headphones every so often to make sure you’re always going to have tunes pumping you throughout your workout. Also, you’ll want to look for headphones with a battery life that lasts as long as your workout like the Otium Wireless Sports Earphones. More importantly, make sure that Bluetooth drop-outs are a rare occurrence.
Find something sweat-resistant
This kinda seems obvious but it’s an important enough feature that we thought it bore mentioning. Since you’re going to be exercising, you definitely will be generating sweat (at least, you should be). So, it’s very important that your headphones won’t get damaged when exposed to moisture. The padding of some full-size headphones typically wears down when exposed repeatedly to sweat.
If you plan on getting on-ear or over-the-ear headphones, make sure that the padding is resistant to sweat AND can easily be wiped down or removed and washed. Hygiene, you know? As for earphones, sweat and water resistance is still a must, especially if you plan on using it outside (running, hiking, etc.) and exposing it to the elements. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this will ensure they’re less likely to slip due to the oiliness of your sweat.
If your kind of workout involves a lot of water (e.g. swimming), then you’re going to need something more than just sweat resistant. Yes, there are headphones that are waterproof where you can fully immerse yourself in music while the rest of your body is underwater. Just make sure that you find one that will provide you with the right fit, won’t easily fall off while lap swimming, and has a cord that isn’t going to hinder your swim like the Swimbuds Headphones.
How easy is it to use?
When you’re in the zone, the last thing you want to do is to stop just to skip a track, adjust the volume, or take a call. The controls should be intuitive enough that you’ll be able to use them without skipping a beat. The SoundPEATS Magnetic Wireless Earbuds, for example, has really intuitive controls.
Does it isolate noise?
When most of us workout, we want to be able to focus on what we’re doing and not get distracted by what others are doing like that dude who keeps dropping his weights. However, it isn’t going to do your ears any good if you crank up the music too high. Instead of risking damage to your hearing, look for headphones that are able to block out sound like the Otium Wireless Sports Earphones.
However, if you’re going to be running outside, we recommend headphones that are specifically designed to let in some sound. We don’t want you to get hit by a car just because you didn’t hear it coming.
Last and the least important: Sound quality
Comfort and fit rank first when choosing a pair of headphones for working out. But that doesn’t mean that you have to overlook sound quality altogether. While it’s not at the top of our priorities, you’ll still want something that provides you with a solid sound, not something muddy or “tinny.”
Once you’re able to decide on a pair of headphones that seem to match your needs perfectly, we recommend looking for a store that will allow you to try it out or has a good return policy. Just like any other exercise gear you have, you won’t know how well the product will suit your needs until you’ve tried it. If you still haven’t found anything that suits your tastes, make sure to check out our favorites at the top of this page.