You’ll want the best workout headphones in your ears when you hit the gym — everyone knows the motivational benefits of listening to music while you exercise, but these headphones and earbuds meet all the design and feature needs to make them particularly suitable for those with active lifestyles.
For example, all of the best wireless earbuds and best wireless headphones sound great, but few have such a strong fit in your ears that you can run, jump, squat and crunch without working them loose. We’ve tested all the headphones in this list to see how resistant they are to falling out while running and working out, and several models that perform well in these conditions aren’t specifically designed for exercise. As you read through our top picks of the best workout headphones, all models are water resistant to some degree and can handle sweaty outbreaks during exercise at the very least.
Don’t forget to take a look at our pick of the best running headphones overall and save with the best cheap running headphones.
Plus: If you’re looking for an extra pair of value earbuds to throw in your gym bag as a spare, then don’t forget to check out the best wireless earbuds under $100.
What are the best workout headphones?
Based on our comprehensive testing, the top spot in our best workout headphones goes to the Beats Fit Pro for packaging most of the AirPods Pro’s features into an updated, yet familiar design. Improvements to audio quality are welcomed, backed by a new proprietary transducer that balances sound, while maintaining a bass-forward presence. Additions like spatial audio are huge for exercisers that want more immersive sound during workouts. Most importantly, the integrated wingtips keep the buds securely in place while you’re working out or on a run.
Budget-conscious fitness fans who want quality performance at a low cost should check out the Amazfit PowerBuds Pro, a model that somehow manages to cram a heart rate sensor and tons of other features into a relatively affordable set of wireless earbuds. The lower-priced Amazfit PowerBuds is another solid option if you’re looking for similar features at a lower price.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro are another excellent sporty alternative to the AirPods Pro.
The best workout headphones you can buy today
We wondered what Beats would do for an encore after releasing two critically acclaimed true wireless models in the Powerbeats Pro and Studio Buds. The answer: launch its best workout headphones to date. Enter the Fit Pro.
This sporty variation of the Studio Buds maintains the Beats aesthetic with a clean, water-resistant design, and welcomes much of the same functionality found on the AirPods Pro. You get strong active noise cancellation and Spatial Audio to enjoy 3D-like sound when vibing out to compatible tracks on Apple Music. Adding wingtips was a simple and effective upgrade that benefits exercisers, producing a secure fit that won’t have the buds falling out when running or performing floor exercises. Battery life is also respectable at 6 hours with ANC on.
As with all Apple products, iOS users gain access to more functionality since the Fit Pro runs on the proprietary H1 chip. We also found the Eartip Fit Test to be unreliable and not nearly as good as when using the same tech on the AirPods Pro, but the universal wingtips and multiple tips complement all ear sizes.
Read our full Beats Fit Pro review.
While the original PowerBuds are a fantastic offering for budget-conscious exercisers who want wireless earbuds with smart fitness features, the PowerBuds Pro is a more enticing upgrade that throws adaptive noise cancellation into the mix. Four modes are available — Adaptive, Travel, Workout, and Indoor — each one effective enough to minimize distractions at the gym or outdoors. Sound is bass-rich to energize your workouts, though you can personalize it in the companion app by selecting from 10 different presets. However, you’ll want these buds for their extra features, many of which come in handy for exercising such as built-in heart rate monitoring, Cervical Protection for analyzing and calibrating posture, and Motion Beat to automatically raise bass for a livelier presence.
You’ll want to be mindful of the activity tracking recorded by the buds since not all performance stats are as accurate as what the Apple Watch or Fitbit delivers. Furthermore, be sure to adjust the buds before use since the tips aren’t the most secure and have a tendency to work loose.
Read our full Amazfit Power Buds Pro review.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro is the closest thing to sporty AirPods that you’re going to get from Apple, at least for the time being. Many series hallmarks remain intact, including the secure ear-hook design, energetic sound, which is more balanced this time around, and the signature B logo that doubles as a multifunctional button. Speaking of buttons, this was one of the first models in the category to introduce on-board volume controls via rockers atop each bud. You’re also receiving some of the same performance perks as the AirPods Pro, thanks to the H1 chip, which gives you 50% more talk time, audio sharing capabilities with other Apple/Beats headphones, “Hey Siri” wake-word activation, and much more. IPX4 certification for water resistance comes part of the package as well.
If there’s any real complaint, it is the large and heavy charging case. Will it completely throw you off track or weigh you down while you’re on a run? No. Is it uncomfortable to carry around? At times, yes.
Read our full Beats Powerbeats Pro review.
Still working out with a pair of the original AirPods? It’s time to upgrade – the AirPods Pro 2 are wildly comfortable by comparison. The difference is that the silicon tips gently conform to the ear canal rather than force it to open wider for the hard plastic casing. In practice that means you can wear the earbuds a lot longer without having to take them out — allowing for all-day wear without issues.
So why aren’t they higher? They may not feel quite as secure in your ear when you’re doing more intense athletic activities — we certainly wouldn’t wear them while playing sports, for example — however they are safe to be taken to the gym and are among some of the best running earbuds and best workout headphones.
Read the full Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.
Many of today’s earbuds have true wireless connectivity with nothing linking the earbuds together, but Jaybird’s Tarah Pro buds has the earbuds are connected by a wire, which helps them achieve some excellent endurance numbers. Better yet: Jaybird put an accelerometer in the headset, so the Tarah Pro will power down when you haven’t moved in 15 minutes, which helps extend battery life further.
We especially liked that the cord was fabric-covered, which made them more comfortable while working out. The Tarah Pros are IPX7-rated, so they’re resistant to sweat. Music sounded great out of the box, and a customized audio profile setting in the Jaybird app fine-tunes the sound, so it’s perfectly tailored to your ears.
Read our full Jaybird Tarah Pro review.
The recently introduced Elite 4 Actives are an impressively good mid-range model with effective ANC, excellent call quality, rich sound, strong connectivity, and waterproof protection. Access to the Sound+ app for audio customization sweetens the deal even further.
Jabra’s HearThrough technology is handy for runners who want to maintain awareness of their surroundings while out and about. The mics capture enough ambient noise to keep listeners alert of oncoming traffic. I felt safe hearing bicycle bells and garbage trucks from a block away, along with police sirens and whistles.
The proprietary EarGels provide a tight seal and keep the buds in place — not once did I feel them slipping out when running outside.
The lower price tag means that the Elite 4 Actives do cut back on features like multipoint technology and wireless charging, but with strong noise cancelling they’re a great purchase for active lifestyle and fitness types on a budget.
Read our full Jabra Elite 4 Active review.
The Sport True Wireless are a noteworthy introduction for Sennheiser in the sports headphones category. Backed by durable aesthetics, long battery life, personalized fit, and versatile sound, they stand out as a smart pick for audiophiles who want to kickstart their fitness journey on a high note.
Not everything is a home run, though. Compromises are to be expected at the price, but Sennheiser’s Adaptable Acoustics feature is not a suitable replacement for Transparency mode. The lack of popular wireless features (Find My Buds, multipoint technology, and wireless charging) don’t work in these buds’ favor either.
Read our full Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review.
The JLab JBuds Air Pro offer durable construction, instant auto-connect capabilities, and a tiny charging case with integrated USB cable. They also come with useful features like ambient listening mode, long(ish) battery life, and multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously), which gives them enough distinction to stand out at the price.
There are three EQ modes (Balanced, Bass Boost, JLab Signature), which can be directly enabled on the buds for those who wish to tinker. With their bold sound, responsive controls, stable connectivity, and respectable playtime in a water-resistant design, the JBuds Air Pro are an appealing purchase for brand enthusiasts and budget-conscious exercisers everywhere.
Read the full JLab JBuds Air Pro review.
Samsung finally has a serious AirPods Pro rival, at least for Galaxy owners. Sound alone makes the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro worth the investment, giving you a high quality audio experience and compelling 3D sound with precise head tracking. Samsung’s ANC holds its own against the category best and blocks out close to 90% of ambient noise. The updated design also provides improved comfort and noise isolation.
These buds operate well across all Bluetooth-enabled devices, but Galaxy smartphone owners get to enjoy cool features like Easy Pairing and compatibility with Samsung’s Scalable Codec. It’s upsetting that Bixby doesn’t perform up to its potential, though the mediocre battery life with ANC on is a greater disappointment.
We’ve tried these ‘buds out several times in the gym, where they performed well. They stay in place while running on the treadmill, and the IPX7 water resistant rating stands up well to protect against sweat during workouts.
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See our full Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.
It’s remarkable to see the amount of functionality jammed into these Amazfit PowerBuds, especially for under $100. They have a PPG heart rate sensor that collects biometric data, which can be saved on the companion app. Speaking of which, the Zepp app has a lot of activity tracking fields (e.g. calories burned, BMI, step count) and personalized settings, from a customizable EQ with multiple presets to workout modes. Then there’s the generous playtime (8 hours) you get on a full charge, along with impactful bass response to keep adrenaline levels high.
Comfort may be an issue with some users, as the buds are on the bulky side, and the sensor, which nestles against the ear for a stabilized fit, presses against the skin. It would have also been nice if the app worked with other popular running apps; Strava and Relive seem to be the only ones compatible right now. Still, it’s impossible to overlook the level of performance you’re given for such a low price.
Read our full Amazfit PowerBuds Pro review.
The Bose Sport Earbuds is a more workout-friendly version of the popular QuietComfort Earbuds, minus the listening modes and massive design. It’s lighter and smaller, features with IPX4 water resistance and comes with a variety of ear-tips to accommodate different ear shapes.
The low end has been toned down from the SoundSport Free, which can be a positive or negative, depending on your sonic preference. However, music lovers will appreciate the punchy bass and nice detail these buds deliver. Connectivity is also a highlight with Bluetooth 5.1 at the forefront; pairing is seamless, and wireless range is higher than advertised (est. 40 feet).
Fitness fanatics looking to use the Sport Earbuds daily will just need to keep their eyes on the battery levels since the buds and charging case do not hold the longest playtimes.
Read our full Bose Sport Earbuds review.
The Powerbeats 4 is similar to the more expensive Powerbeats Pro, minus one or two features, different colors, and the true wireless design. Does that make it inferior? Not at all. It still, for instance, makes the most of the H1 processor to give iPhone users terrific wireless performance across the board. Connectivity is instant with all major Apple products, and the Beats app makes it easier to pair the earphones with Android devices, too.
But what really makes the Powerbeats 4 a superior upgrade from the Powerbeats 3 are the sturdier aesthetics and improved sound and call quality. The latter is to be expected since Beats uses the same drivers and beamforming mics as the Powerbeats Pro. Comfort could be a little better and the wire connecting the two earpieces becomes annoying after a while, but all is forgiven when considering the low price of entry.
See our full Beats Powerbeats 4 review.
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The Jabra Elite Active 65t blends advanced features and superb sound into a compact, water-resistant package. Granted, it’s an older model, but it still performs well in all major categories. We found that the buds stayed in place even during the most strenuous exercises and hold up well against sweat without slipping out. We also appreciate how Jabra managed to stuff an accelerometer inside the buds for run tracking, meaning the Elite Active 65t can double as an activity tracker.
The fact its sound just as good as its successor, the Elite 75t Active, also speaks to its quality. You get access to the Jabra Sound+ app to customize audio and enable different modes like HearThrough for ambient listening. With an excellent fit and 15-hour battery life, you’re getting superior performance at excellent value.
See our full Jabra Elite Active 65t review.
It’s taken Sony several attempts to create a noteworthy pair of sport noise-cancelling wireless earbuds, but the WF-SP800N is a huge step in the right direction. This durable, water-resistant model carries over Sony’s popular bass-forward profile. The lively audio can be personalized through the Sony Headphones Connect app by tweaking the frequency levels via built-in EQ or selecting from nine different presets that lend themselves well to specific genres. Battery life is 9 hours on a single charge, and holds strong with noise cancelling on.
Speaking of ANC, the earbuds do a much better job of minimizing ambient noise than its predecessor, though the lack of Sony’s QN1e processor doesn’t provide it the powerful noise reduction or hi-res audio performance found on the WF-1000xM3. It’s still serviceable for those who want to enjoy distraction-free workouts at the gym, but keep in mind that the digital assistant and pairing can occasionally act finicky.
See our full Sony WF-SP800N review.
How to choose the best workout headphones for you
The best workout headphones offer some form of water or sweat-resistant protection. Some might say they can withstand water and sweat, and some are IP-certified. If you want the best protection, look for headphones with at least an IPX4 rating. IPX7 denotes full waterproofing, including against shallow submersion.
You’ll also want to look at the design of the headphones and consider how you want to wear them while working out. They should not only be easy to wear, but also stay on your head without the need for constant readjustment. For earbuds, look at how many ear inserts and wings the pair comes with, to give you the best fit option. Some people may prefer over-ear or on-ear headphones because they tend to do a better job of blocking noise, but earbuds are often preferable for their secure fit and practical portability thanks to their size and low weight.
For headphones with cables, make sure to check for an inline remote, which will let you easily control your music without pulling out your smartphone. Completely wireless fitness earbuds allow you to control your music with physical buttons or tap gestures on the earpiece rather than a remote. Some headphones are device-specific, so make sure you get a pair that are fully compatible with your Android or iOS music player.
For wireless workout headphones, make sure they have the endurance you need. Some people need headphones with only 6 to 8 hours of battery life to last through a week of workouts, while others might want a device with extended battery life to get through long runs, bike rides or hikes, for example.
How we test the best workout headphones
Each of the headphones listed here are tested to see how well they stand up to vigorous workouts, evaluating both how securely they fit and stay in place as well as how effective they are at preventing noise from intruding into your listening experience. Our reviewers also test every feature for app-enabled headphones, along with ease of setup.
During the testing phase, each pair of headphones is worn for 2 hours at a time throughout the course of a week. On occasion, we’ll perform further testing when comparing top-rated and popular models for our Face-Off features.
We evaluate sound quality for clarity and sonic balance and listen to different tracks across all types of music genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and electronic, while assessing volume levels and how easy the earbuds are to drive. Movies, podcasts and video games are also used where necessary.
Once testing is completed, we rate the best workout headphones based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that hit nearly every mark are awarded an Editor’s Choice badge.