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Best workout earbuds
Exercising is tough, but finding earbuds that keep up with you shouldn’t be. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 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 November 16, 2022 to update formatting.
Why is the Jabra Elite 7 Active the best pair of workout earbuds?
Jabra has some of the best wireless earbuds on the market, and the Jabra Elite 7 Active builds upon the company’s empire. Like the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, the Elite 7 Active has an IP57 rating so you don’t have to worry about dust or water damage. Unlike other workout earbuds from Jabra, the Elite 7 Active is wrapped in a ShakeGrip cover to keep the earbuds in place. You don’t get wing tips but the earbuds fit our reviewer and test head well.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active doesn’t come cheap but you get plenty of features here like active noise cancelling, wireless charging, and one of the best mobile headphone apps around. While Jabra’s default sound is a bit more bass-heavy than what we recommend, it doesn’t pose an issue because you can just equalize the sound directly in the app. This headset can’t outperform the Bose QC Earbuds or Sony WF-1000XM4 when it comes to noise cancelling but it’s fine, and the passive isolation is better than most in-ears.
The microphone sounds pretty good when you speak from ideal, quiet spaces and it even does a fair job of isolating the speaker’s voice from our simulated office environment. Take a listen below!
Microphone demo (Ideal):
Microphone demo (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
If the Jabra Elite 7 Active appeal to you but seem like a bit too much for your needs, try the Jabra Elite 4 Active. They’re essentially a toned-down version of the Jabra Elite 7 Active. Still, the Elite 4 Active delivers where it matters most.
You don’t get any extra frills, but if you’re focused on working out, you may not even miss them. The IP57 rating remains, however, so you can go hard for hours and not worry about your buds. And you can use the (somewhat basic) equalizer in these buds’ companion app to customize your tunes beforehand if you want.
At the end of the day, despite the lack of many fancy features, the sound quality, noise cancelling, and durability of the Jabra Elite 4 Active are all elite.
The Jaybird Vista 2 is the most durable set of workout earbuds you can buy
Most athletes are best off with the Jaybird Vista 2, which includes a set of IP68-rated wireless earphones and a MIL-STD 810G-rated charging case. The Vista 2 is made for athletes of any proclivity and supports important safety features like mono listening.
Jaybird’s signature ear and wing covers keep the earbuds in place, though it doesn’t make for the most comfortable fit. While this isn’t ideal for regular use, it shouldn’t prove to be much of an issue when exercising. After polling Android Authority readers, we found that 61% of voters only listen to music for less than two hours a day anyway. The earphones last for 5 hours, 20 minutes on a single charge and the USB-C case supplies an additional two charge cycles, and can fast charge the earbuds.
This is Jaybird’s first set of active noise cancelling (ANC) earphones, and it shows. The ANC performance is better than no noise cancelling at all, but it can’t compete with the likes of Sony or Bose. Sound quality is quite good and closely follows our ideal consumer curve, with amplified bass and treble notes. The great thing about wireless Jaybird earbuds is that you can EQ the sound in the Jaybird MySound app. No matter your needs, the Vista 2 is bound to be a great pick for your workouts.
Although the Vista 2 features a design that’s built to reduce wind noise transmission during phone calls, it’s not the most effective. You can still use the microphone for general phone calls and it works well in quiet environments though.
Jaybird Vista 2 microphone demo (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
The Sennheiser Sport True Wireless is best for staying aware of your surroundings
For joggers and other outdoor exercise enthusiasts, the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless is the best earbud option. It comes with both closed and open ear tips, so you can choose whether or not you want to block out your surroundings. There’s also a wide variety of wings to select from to ensure you get a secure fit on any adventure, and you can attach a lanyard to the case which makes it easy to hook it onto your bag. Moreover, the IP54 rating protects the earbuds from both dust and water. No matter what, these sporty earbuds from Sennheiser are ready for anything.
You can also activate the “Aware” mode on the earbuds, which amplifies environmental noise while also boosting the low-frequency response of the earbuds to avoid some auditory masking of bass. With the Sennheiser Smart Control app, you can also use a rudimentary custom EQ to adjust the sound to your liking. Since the Sport True Wireless has a consumer-friendly frequency response, we’re confident most people will enjoy how the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless sounds without any equalization.
You can use the onboard microphones for phone calls, but the microphone quality isn’t as good as some other true wireless earbuds. Listen to the demonstrations below to judge for yourself:
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless microphone demo (Ideal):
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless microphone demo (Office):
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless microphone demo (Street):
iPhone users, get the Beats Powerbeats Pro
This set of IPX4 earbuds gets a lot of things right and it’s entirely wireless. If you took the Beats Powerbeats and ripped the wires off, you’d get the Powerbeats Pro. Though to be fair, the design is sleeker than its wired counterpart. Inside is the H1 chip from Apple that makes pairing your iOS device with it 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.
The problem with most 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 hours, 30 minutes of constant playback before these need to be put back in the case which is no small accomplishment.
Still, it comes at a price. The charging case that you’ll eventually need to put back into is huge. 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.
The microphone makes voices sound fine for casual phone calls, but if you try to speak from a loud or windy environment, the person on teh other end of the call will hear just about everything.
Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone demo (Ideal):
Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone demo (Wind):
Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone demo (Office):
How do these sound to you?
The latest Beats has workouts in mind and plays nicely with Android phones and iPhones. Unlike the Powerbeats Pro, the Beats Fit Pro has no hooks but it does have active noise cancelling (ANC). While noise cancelling is a nice feature, it isn’t the most reliable. As of May 2022, we still have not been able to get the ANC to work properly with our test setup. It worked for a bit but malfunctioned and hasn’t resumed since even after weeks of troubleshooting, hence why it doesn’t merit a spot as a top pick.
That said, if you don’t care for ANC and just want a pair of earbuds that fits well, stays in place, and has other premium features like automatic ear detection and an IPX4 rating, the Fit Pro may still be worth it. You can read all about the pros and cons of the headset in our Beats Fit Pro review.
The Bose Sport Earbuds is among the best workout earbuds with excellent sound
Bose takes a second swing at wireless earphones with its Sport Earbuds, which is much sleeker than the original SoundSport Free earphones. The Sport Earbuds includes StayHear Max ear tips, akin to the secret sauce in your Aunt’s best recipe. The StayHear Max ear and wing tip combo keeps the buds in place during vigorous movement, and the IPX4 rating means that you can perform almost any exercise without worry.
Sound quality is very good with the Bose Sport Earbuds. Generally speaking, the Bose Sport Earbuds modestly amplify bass notes and give a good bump to upper-midrange frequencies. Though some people would prefer a heavier bass boost in workout earbuds, this gentle response is pleasing to almost all consumers, and the earbuds relay audio clearly. But if you want to customize the sound profile to suit your workouts, there’s an EQ in the Bose Music app if you’ve got firmware version 2.0.7 or later installed.
If you want to stay within the Bose ecosystem and are willing to spend some extra cash, get the Bose Sport Earbuds.
Microphone quality is good too, but not the best we’ve tested. Things have certainly improved since the SoundSport Free, but where the Sport Earbuds’ four-mic system really shines is how it cancels out predictable background noise.
Bose Sport Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal):
Bose Sport Earbuds microphone demo (Wind):
How does the microphone sound to you?
iPhone users who want something more versatile should get the Apple AirPods Pro
Apple’s AirPods Pro has been completely redesigned from the compared to the AirPods (2nd generation); the Pro model has angled nozzles that seal to the ears. This is imperative for its hero feature: noise cancelling. While the latest AirPods (3rd generation) marks an upgrade over the previous iteration, the fit is not stable enough for workouts.
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 (2nd generation), the AirPods Pro includes a wireless charging case by default. Microphone quality is just as good as before, and the IPX4 rating means you can sweat in the AirPods Pro to your heart’s content.
What makes the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC a good pair of cheap workout earbuds?
JLab’s hooked Epic Air Sport ANC earphones are very good for the sub-$100 USD price. Not only do you get a secure fit thanks to the earbuds’ hooked design, but it’s also durable, so they can get knocked around and still work. These earbuds aren’t anyone’s hi-fi pick, but they’ll sound plenty good for working out and have no trouble going the distance—it boasts an impressive 9-plus hour battery life on a single charge.
The JBL Endurance RUN is a great set of wired workout earbuds
Wired earbuds and wired headphones may be falling out of style, but there are still some holdouts that you can use while exercising. We recommend the JBL Endurance RUN for its price and flexible design. You can wear these buds in a standard fashion here you just pop each one into your ear, or you can flip the earbuds to go behind your ears like an ear hook. The earbuds have an IPX5 water-resistant rating and feature an in-line microphone and control module that you can use to take calls and access your phone’s smart assistant.
The Shokz OpenRun keeps you completely aware of your surroundings
Anyone who exercises outdoors knows just how important vigilance is, and the Shockz OpenRun allows you to keep an ear on your surroundings while listening to your music. Unlike other earbuds that don’t seal to your ear canal, the OpenRun leaves your ears completely unoccluded by way of bone conduction. We often recommend bone conduction headphones to runners and even bike commuters because safety comes first.
Two bulb-shaped pieces connect to a band that wraps around the back of your head, which has plenty of flexibility to fit most head shapes. The headset has an IP67 rating against dust and water, making it a great option for rock climbers and beach runners too. Unfortunately, the headset charges via a proprietary 2-pin connector rather than USB-C but this is a minor inconvenience considering all of the benefits.
Put simply, bone conduction headphones rest on your cheekbones and transmit audio by sending vibrations through the bones in your skull into your inner ear. Those who wear certain hearing aids can also benefit from bone conduction headphones since they don’t interact with the outer ear.
The best workout earbuds: Notable mentions
- Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: These 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, it’s nice for the gym when you want to ignore the music the gym is playing.
- Anker Soundcore Spirit X2: If you like ear hooks for a secure workout earphone experience these sub-$100 earphones provide excellent battery life and IP68 protection from sweat.
- Jabra Elite 3: This is Jabra’s most affordable set of truly wireless earphones to date and the company manages to pack in premium features like an IP55 rating and aptX support.
- Jaybird X4: This headset is hard to find these days, but it has an IPX7 rating, secure fit, and tactile control module.
- 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.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners who want a good pair of ANC earbuds with plenty of software and hardware features will enjoy this headset. The ANC is better than the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, but the Pro model has a more durable IPX7 rating.
- Skullcandy Push Active: Athletes who want something that fits securely around the back of their ears should look into the reasonably priced Push Active. Skull-iQ lets you directly access your phone’s smart assistant, and the buds have an IP55 rating. If you want all the same features without the ear hooks, get the Skullcandy Grind Fuel.
- Sony WF-C500: This set of earbuds has a standard IPX4 water-resistant build and comes in black or white. With a 10-hour standalone battery life and extra charge from the USB-C case, you’re well equipped to use this for a couple of weeks without the need to recharge it. You can even use the earbuds with Sony 360 Reality Audio for an immersive listening experience.
- Under Armour True Wireless FLASH X by JBL: This rugged set of workout earbuds offers a secure fit and water-resistant build with a bass-heavy sound profile.
- V-MODA Forza Metallo Wireless: This neckband-style pair of wireless headphones is outfitted with a sweat-resistant coating, aptX codec, and maintains a stable connection for long workouts.
Hold up! Something’s different:
Some of our picks’ frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and ANC performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white).
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
What you should know about the best workout earbuds
Workout earbuds can be intimidating, after all, you need them to be durable and comfortable but it’s hard to know what else matters. Well if you’ve never bought a pair of workout earbuds before, then you may want to study up on our in-ear buying guide. Those who may not have time to read it can use the table of contents on our site to navigate through the sections below regarding fit, durability, and Bluetooth codecs.
How do you know if your earbuds fit well?
To achieve a proper fit, you need to find the best fitting ear tips for you. Thankfully, most companies provide you with multiple sizes of ear and wingtips for extra security. If your earbuds are falling out too often or hurting your ears, alter 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.
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.
Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
Do Bluetooth codecs matter when picking out workout earbuds?
When you’re looking for workout earbuds, chances are you’re prioritizing durability and fit over sound quality so high-quality Bluetooth codec support matters less than if you were to search for a premium set of noise cancelling headphones. If you do think that Bluetooth codecs matter to you, well then all you really need to know on a base level is that AAC is the only high-quality Bluetooth codec for iPhones, and it doesn’t perform as consistently on Android devices. If you have an Android phone, we recommend you look out for aptX or LDAC support as these codecs will improve sound quality and reduce latncy.
How we chose the best workout earbuds
We’ve reviewed our share of products at SoundGuys before deciding on the best workout earbuds. Doing so 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 test the best workout earbuds
We subjected the best workout earbuds nominees to our objective testing which includes isolation, battery life, and frequency response. After we test all products and score them, we write a review. You can read all about it here, but the truncated version is as follows.
- 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.
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Frequently asked questions about the best workout earbuds
This depends on a few factors: the Jabra Elite Active 75t is explicitly a pair of workout earbuds with an IP57 rating. The Elite Active 75t is quite a bit cheaper than the Jabra Elite 85t, with the former retailing for $149 USD and the latter for $229 USD. Seeing how the Elite 85t IPX4 rating is less durable than the Elite Active 75t, the price disparity may appear curious. Well, the Elite 85t has much better active noise cancelling (ANC) than the Elite Active 75t. The Elite 75t series ANC is nice to have but barely affects low-frequency sounds. If you want a durable enough pair of everyday earphones, the Jabra Elite 85t is a better long-term buy. For even better noise cancelling, check out the Sony WF-1000XM4.
To make sure your buds stay in your ears, you’ll want to make sure any earbuds you buy have several options for ear tips, such as what the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 come with. Also, to avoid pain, we’d recommend avoiding non-removable wing tips that work by pressing out against your ear pinnae, and instead opting for buds with removable wing tips or over-ear hooks like the Beats Powerbeats Pro.
How comfortable your earbuds feel depends 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.