Exercising is tough, but finding earbuds that keep up with you shouldn’t be. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the five best workout earbuds money can buy. We hope these push you through even the most strenuous workout regimen. Whether you’re looking for a pair of affordable buds or the best money can get we hope to have you covered with these picks.

Editor’s note: this list of the best workout earbuds was updated on October 23, 2020, to include the Jaybird X4 and make note of the Bose Sport Free.

The best workout earbuds are the Jaybird X4

The Jaybird X4 are the best workout earbuds for most consumers, despite the availability of the Jaybird Tarah Pro.

Jaybird X4

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The X4 are IPX7-rated, last for 7.5 hours, and support fast charging. All you have to do is connect the inline module to the proprietary charging cradle (annoying, we know) for 10 minutes to get one hour of playtime.While battery life isn’t the best, it should cover a week’s worth of workouts for most of us. And after polling Android Authority readers, we found that 61% of voters only listen to music for less than two hours a day anyway.

What the Jaybird X4 lacks in stamina it makes up for in sound customization via EQ settings in the Jaybird MySound app. You can save your preferred profile to the headphones and apply it to any device that the Tarah connects to. The X4 earbuds’ price dramatidcally reduced when the Tarah Pro were released, so we recommend saving a good chunk of change and getting the X4.

Athletes should invest in dedicated workout earbuds

An image of the Jaybird Vista earbuds being held in a hand with the open charging case in the background.

Each of the Jaybird Vista’s buttons takes up the entire housing and may be remapped to adjust volume or access a designated virtual assistant.

Sure, you may already have Bluetooth earbuds, but if they’re not sweat-resistant, I’d caution against using them during vigorous training sessions. Water damage may void the warranty of your everyday earbuds, but getting something that’s explicitly water-resistant protects you from throwing money down the drain each time a non-water resistant pair short-circuits. Workout earbuds and headphones aren’t just more durable, they’re also specifically designed to be used during vigorous movement. In the case of earphones, this means the fit is made more stable by silicone wing tips, an ear hook design, you name it. Also, on-board controls are formatted so they’re easy to use when exercising: this usually means the buttons are larger, making them easier to operate without looking.

See: How listening to music improves your workout

The listed best workout earbuds have all been tested firsthand by various members of the SoundGuys team, and we can attest to each product’s durability. What’s more, if you’re just the average consumer looking for your next pair of wireless earbuds, any of these are a great option. It’s important to make sure that your earphones are water-resistant: accidents happen. At the very least, an oleophobic coating can go a long way.

The Anker SoundCore Spirit Dot 2 are the best workout earbuds for true wireless fans on a budget

If you’re an exercise enthusiast who has tried a few pairs of true wireless buds, you may be familiar with how poor fit and unreliable connection make them a hard sell over traditional Bluetooth earbuds. The Anker SoundCore Spirit Dot 2 are excellent true wireless earbuds to take for a spin. With IPX7 certification, the Spirit Dot 2 are fully waterproof. No matter how hard you sweat, they’ll hold up without a problem. Their durability and affordability are the main reasons they’re some of the best workout earbuds.

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2

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In addition to the IPX7 rating, you get several options for ear tips and wing tips, so nearly anybody will be able to find a stable fit. While they only support AAC, their connection strength is excellent. Their sound quality isn’t going to amaze anybody, but they’re perfect for workouts because they let in some ambient sound so you can remain aware of your surroundings, and a slight bass boost.

You may like: Best true wireless workout earbuds

Need something tough? Get the Jabra Elite Active 45e

Jabra has some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market and isn’t slacking in the traditional wireless department either. These feature Bluetooth 5.0, an IP67 rating, and quick charging capabilities.

Jabra Elite Active 45e

Full Review

While they’re not as versatile as some of the other earbuds listed, the ear tips are designed with safety in mind. You’ll never miss what’s going on around you as the ear tips allow for external noise to be heard at all times. If you like to run outside, these are a smart choice. These Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds include other features too: you can access your virtual assistant, control playback, and take calls all from the earbud housings. While said housings are undeniably bulky, they remain in place due to the stabilizing hooks protruding from the ear tips.

Related: Jabra Elite 65t vs. Jabra Elite 75t

Battery life is on-par for wireless in-ears, clocking in at 9 hours, 1 minute of playback. They also support quick charging: 15 minutes connected to the included microUSB cable grants one hour of playback. A full charge cycle requires two hours, though.

Again, sound quality is lacking, but that’s the sacrifice athletes make for safety. Plus, they still sound better than bone conduction headphones, which have their own niche purpose. If you spend most of your time exercising outside, these are a great deal.

What you should know about the best workout earbuds

Fit matters

best workout earbuds - ear tips in the palm of a woman's hand.

Ear tips make a big difference in regards to the fit of a pair of headphones

Different wing tip shapes and textures make a world of difference when it comes to comfort and stability.

A proper fit is key to excellent workout earbuds. Thankfully, most companies provide you with multiple sizes of ear and wingtips for extra security. For some, ear tips like this can be unwieldy and actually undermine a solid seal. This was an issue for me when I used the original Jaybird X, so I chose to forgo the wing tips. If your earbuds are falling out too often or hurting your ears, try altering the sizing or ear tip style.

Sometimes earbuds aren’t for you you, though. If that’s the case, be sure to read up on our lists of the best workout headphones and best running headphones.

Bluetooth codecs

There’s also Bluetooth codec support. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry we have an entire podcast explaining it. Basically what you need to know is that two devices need to have the same codec in order to transfer information between them. Think of it kind of like a language. If two people speak the same language, information gets passed between them quicker than two people gesturing at each other.  The same is true with codecs, and if two devices have the same codec information is passed quicker than two that don’t.

Unfortunately, not all codecs are equal and some are better than others. For example, the AAC codec is best supported by iOS and the aptX codec is best supported by Android. While this isn’t a huge deal for workout earbuds since you probably aren’t going to be doing any critical listening while doing your squats, it’s still something to take note of.

What are IP ratings?

Additionally, a key aspect of the listed best workout earbuds is that they’re, at the very least, sweat-resistant. So here’s a quick rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and fit. The X is just a placeholder for a dust resistance rating.

 Water-resistantWaterproofCan withstand
IPX0Not water-resistant
IPX1Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
IPX2Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
IPX4Splashes, omnidirectional
IPX5Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
IPX6Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
IPX7Complete submersion
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
IPX8Complete submersion
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min

The Beats Powerbeats Pro are great for iPhone users

These IPX4 earbuds get a lot of things right. Not to mention they’re entirely wireless, and if you took the Beats Powerbeats and ripped the wires off, you’d get the Powerbeats Pro. Though to be fair, the design on these is definitely sleeker than their wired counterpart. Inside is the new H1 chip from Apple that makes pairing your iOS device with them just as easy as the Airpods Pro, with a small card popping up prompting you to connect. If you’re on Android you won’t get the cool animation, but pairing is similarly easy thanks to a small button on the inside of the case.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Full Review

The problem with most true wireless earbuds is, of course, battery life. But that isn’t the case here. Whether you’re rocking an iOS device or an Android device we managed to squeeze out around 10.5 hours of constant playback before these need to be put back in the case which is no small accomplishment.

Related: Beats Powerbeats vs. Beats Powerbeats Pro

Still, it comes at a price. The charging case that you’ll eventually need to put back into is huge. Plus, it charges via a Lightning cable which isn’t great for anyone buying devices in 2020 that doesn’t already have an iPhone. Still, when you take into account the sweatproof certification, the hook design that keeps these from falling, and the 10+ hour battery life, we have no problem recommending these. They’re that good.

What about the Beats Powerbeats?

A picture of the Apple Beats Powerbeats workout earbuds on cycling drop bars against an orange background.

The Apple H1 chip allows users to access Siri by voice.

If you want to save some cash, Apple just released the new Powerbeats earbuds that are also really good. You’ll still get Class 1 Bluetooth 5.0 with the H1 chip for easy pairing and a strong connection, and these also support AAC. The earbuds are joined by wire. If you prefer standard wireless headphones then they might be for you, but we find it’s easier to exercise with true wireless earbuds; hence why we left the Powerbeats Pro on this list instead. Still, everyone is different and if you disagree then the new Powerbeats are definitely worth checking out.

iPhone users who want something more versatile should get the Apple AirPods Pro

Top-down shot of the eartips on a white iPhone X.

The AirPods Pro comes with three different sized ear tips, one of which comes pre-installed on the earbuds.

Apple’s AirPods Pro has been completely redesigned from the AirPods and AirPods (2019); the Pro model has angled nozzles that seal to the ears. This is imperative for its hero feature: noise cancelling. H1 chip integration permits hands-free Siri access and seamless usage across iOS devices. It also benefits power efficiency, a big reason standalone battery life is just over five hours. Unlike the AirPods (2019), the AirPods Pro includes a wireless charging case by default, so you don’t have to shell out more money for that feature. Microphone quality is just as good as before, and the new IPX4 rating means you can sweat in the AirPods Pro to your heart’s content.

The Bose SoundSport Free are some of the best workout earbuds with excellent sound

Bose hopped onto the true wireless train with the SoundSport Free, an update to the SoundSport Wireless. With Bose’s patented StayHear+ ear tips, the bulbous buds remain in your ears during the most vigorous of workouts. I was able to squeeze out five and a half at 50 percent volume, and the matte black case provides an extra 10 hours. During our objective testing at a louder 75dB(SPL), however, constant playback time came out at 4.58 hours.

Bose SoundSport Free

Full Review

Just like their predecessor, the SoundSport Free earbuds sound great. However, the low-end is underemphasized for sport earbuds. What’s more, athletes retain full control of the music with traditional playback controls and a multi-function button. Plus, if an earbud is lost, the Bose Connect app attempts to locate it. All of these features in addition to the great overall sound make the SoundSport Free a pair of the best workout earbuds on the market.

If you want to stay within the Bose ecosystem, and are willing to spend some extra cash, consider the company’s follow up to the SoundSport Free: the Bose Sport Earbuds. They feature a sleek design based off the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, built with an IPX4 water-resistant housing, 5-hour battery life, capacitive touch controls, and Bose’s trademark StayHear+ ear tips to ensure a proper fit.

Keep an eye out for the Bose Sport Earbuds

The Bose Sport Earbuds boast Bluetooth 5.1 firmware and improved hardware for greater connection stability. It only supports AAC and SBC for Bluetooth streaming, but that’s perfectly fine for iPhone owners. Bose dropped the SoundSport Free’s buttons in favor of touch panels on the Sport Earbuds. The company refined its ear tips, and the StayHear Max ear tips are even more ergonomic. Battery life is okay, and they last five hours on a single charge. You get two hours of playtime after charging the buds for five minutes though.

Best workout earbuds: notable mentions

A picture of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 true wireless workout earbuds with water splashed on them.

The extended silicone ear tips provide just enough friction to keep the buds in place without creating hot spots.

  • Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2: These true wireless earbuds have an IPX5 rating and excellent isolation. While that does mean you don’t want to wear them if you’re running down city streets, its nice for the gym when you want to ignore the music the gym is paying.
  • Anker SoundCore Liberty Neo: These true wireless earbuds are the very best that pedestrian audio products have to offer. They create a cogent seal and block out plenty of background noise, which is great for indoor training. Listeners who plan to take to the streets should listen in mono mode, get something with more specialized ear tips, or ambient passthrough listening.
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless: These earbuds are the traditional Bluetooth version of the Bose SoundSport Free. Aside from the varying wireless technology, it’s virtually the same.
  • Google Pixel Buds (2020): While these IPX4 water-resistant earbuds won’t make the most sense for everyone, Google nailed it on its debut true wireless earphones. Anyone who uses Google Assistant regularly will appreciate the convenience of  hands-free Google Assistant access.
  • Jabra Elite 65t: This used to be the best pair of true wireless workout earbuds available until the cheaper JLab JBuds Air entered the market. The earbuds are IP55-rated and feature a 5.85-hour standalone battery life.
  • Jabra Elite Active 75tWorkout earbuds are a dime a dozen, and the Elite Active 75t is one of the shiniest dimes around. These IP57 earphones are comfortable, durable, and last for over seven hours on a single charge.
  • Jaybird VistaJaybird upped its game with from the Run XT earbuds. The Vista are handsomely designed with a reliable fit and IPX7 water-resistant rating. No matter how you move, the Vista will move with you.
  • JLab Epic Air SportThese earbuds reproduce your music with some added low-end emphasis to keep you motivated during your workouts. The Class 1, Bluetooth 5 firmware keeps connection strength reliable while the IP66 rating marks their durability.
  • Plantronics Backbeat Fit 3100: For a pair of true wireless buds that can keep up with getting beat down, check these out which really impressed us.
  • Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100: You can wear these in the office and quickly transition to the gym without worrying about durability, thanks to the IP54 rating. Integrated sensors facilitate automatic ear detection for auto-play/pause when the earbuds are inserted or removed.
  • Sony WF-SP800N: This is the sportier little sibling to the WF-1000XM3, built with a durable IP55 water and dust resistance rating, active noise cancelling, deep integration with the Sony Headphones Connect app, and a long-lasting 9-hour battery life.
  • V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless: This neckband-style pair of wireless headphones is outfitted with a sweat-resistant coating and maintains a stable connection for long workouts.

How we chose

Beats Powerbeats, Apple AirPods, and BeatsX on a white surface.

We throw down to see how various earbuds stack up against each other.

We’ve reviewed our share of products at SoundGuys before deciding on the best workout earbuds. Doing so which makes it easier to determine what the best workout earbuds available are. However, we aren’t superhuman and admittedly haven’t reviewed every product out there, but we have done our research and all top five products and notable mentions.

For this list, I was able to test our curated selection of models. I also used these casually around the house, in the office, and generally while out and about. When testing earbuds for workout purposes, I do a bit of cardio, mainly biking and running paired with weight-lifting and calisthenics. All the products listed were able to withstand my workouts.

How we tested the best workout earbuds

We subjected the best workout earbuds nominees to our objective testing which includes isolation, battery life, and frequency response. You can read all about it here, but the truncated version is as follows.

Best workout earbuds: The Optoma NuForce Be Sport4 in a test head's ears.

We use objective readouts to determine the earbuds’ frequency response.

  • Each product was subjected to multiple sine sweeps through the headphones, and we recorded the frequency response once we were able to repeat a result that demonstrates the hallmarks of a good seal.
  • For battery testing, we used a real-time analyzer to calibrate the necessary setting for a 75dB(SPL). We then played infinitely looped music until the battery ran out. This lets us compare each product’s readout to the others.
  • With the isolation tests, we used pink noise at 90dB(SPL) and set the speaker one meter away from the headphones. We first recorded with the headphones off and then with the headphones on. From there, we just subtract one from the other to get the isolation.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

We’re all fully committed to SoundGuys and working here is each of our nine-to-five jobs. Collectively, we have multiple years of reviewing audio products under our belts and are able to keep pace with the ever-changing world of audio. That way, we can easily separate the diamonds in the rough from, well, the rough.

A photo of the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 true wireless earbuds, a contender for the best workout earbuds, being worn and used by a woman in profile view.

We try and get as much hands-on experience with a product before recommending it to our readers.

At the end of the day, we want you to enjoy what you listen to, which means we want you to enjoy what you’re listening through. None of us see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases, and we absolutely don’t benefit from swaying to one product or another. If you’re interested in learning more about our ethics policy, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which workout earbuds are the most comfortable?

How comfortable your earbuds feel depend on your specific ear shape as well as the ear tips you have on your buds. Ear hooks and wing tips provide stability, which factors into comfort because it prevents you from having to constantly adjust your earbuds during your workout. We recommend the Bose SoundSport Free from this list if comfort is your main goal. They are stable with wing tips and won't give you pain after wearing them for a long time. The only thing to note is that they are bulky, so if you have a lot of ear piercings, you'll want to go with a sleeker set.