SoundGuys

Best workout earbuds

Though large, the Bose SoundSport Free are still easy to lose and are best kept in the charging case when not in use.

Working out 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 that these push you through even the most strenuous workouts.

The best workout earbuds are the Jaybird X3

Jaybird has gone through a few versions of its product, and the X3 are the best yet. When the original X was released, I became a daily listener. It’s been great to see the X line mature. The X3 sport a slimmer profile than the X2 or X and comfortably stay snug during workouts, which is in large part due to the assortment of provided ear tips.

Jaybird X3

Full Review

Worth noting, the freshly redesigned control module requires a proprietary charging dock. This alteration is annoying and finicky when compared to the typical micro-USB charging port, but it looks futuristic and works.

Unfortunately, Jaybird refrained from improving battery life from the X2 model. It remains at eight hours of playback, which is still solid but doesn’t warrant effusive praise. However, since these are primarily for workouts, battery life isn’t quite as important as it is with daily-use cans.

What the Jaybird X3 lack in stamina they make 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 X3 connect to. Although they don’t have an official IP rating, the X3 are sweat-resistant. After being drenched in sweat while using these, I concur; they hold up.

Who should buy these?

Gym rats. Sure, you may already have Bluetooth earbuds, but if they’re not sweat-resistant, I’d caution against using them during vigorous training sessions. The listed earbuds have all been tested firsthand by various members of the SoundGuys team, and we can attest to each product’s durability.

Though the ts03+mic are sweat-resistant, the floppy wires are a nuisance to workout with.

Sweat and water-resistance enables worry-free training.

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 for you. 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 Jabra Elite 65t are the best workout earbuds for true wireless fans

If you’re an exercise enthusiast who has tried out a few pairs of true wireless headphones, then you may be familiar with how poor fit and battery life make them a hard to choose over traditional Bluetooth ‘buds. That said, the Jabra Elite 65t are the true wireless earbuds to take for a spin. With IP55 certification, the Elite 65t are both dust and water-resistant. This means that no matter how hard you sweat or if you drop them in the sand during a run on the beach, they’ll hold up without a problem.

Jabra Elite 65t

In addition to the IP55 rating, Jabra has decked these out with wind noise protection; one-touch access to Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant; and the Elite 65t manage to provide a whopping 5.85 hours of playback on a single charge. This is by far and away the best battery life that we’ve tested to date. What’s more, the included charging case gives you an additional two battery cycles.

The fit of the Elite 65t is good, too. During our testing, we found that these isolate 14.23dB(SPL) on average, meaning that you won’t be as inclined to pump up the volume and drown out other gym goers. In the long run, this benefits your auditory health and decreases your risk for noise-induced hearing loss.

Each earbuds houses a dual-mic setup that ensures transparent voice transmission for calls and recognition for virtual assistants. If you don’t like the default sound signature of these earbuds, no problem; just download the Jabra Sound+ app and play around with the EQ settings until you get something you like. Another great feature of the app is the ability to control how much ambient noise is allowed through the earbuds. Not only are the Jabra Elite 65t some of the best workout earbuds, they’re the best true wireless earbuds

For the bass head, the Under Armour Sport Flex by JBL are a great choice

Under Armour and JBL have teamed up to produce the Sport Flex Wireless, a pair of neckband-style earphones. Though the earbuds haven’t received an official IPX rating, they feature a water-repellent coating, which does the trick for all workouts, save for aquatics. The earbuds themselves are magnetized, making them less prone to paddle-balling against your chest while moving around. Low-end reproduction is phenomenal for anyone working out. Extreme bass overemphasis means that the JBL Under Armour Sport Flex will keep pace with the intensity of your workout.

Under Armour Sport Wireless Flex by JBL

Full Review

Need to call upon Siri or Google Assistant? You’re in luck, because the Sport Flex respond immediately after holding down the multifunction button for a couple of seconds. Neither assistants have trouble picking up on commands with the Sport Flex microphone. Also, if you don’t mind the bouncing Betty of a neckband while running, Under Armour includes a one-year premium membership to Map My Run, making these one of the best workout earbuds and best earbuds for running. This allows users to keep tabs on their workouts, from distance, duration, elevation, and so on, making them one of the best workout earbuds on the market.

What you should know about the best workout earbuds

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 proper fit. This was an issue for me when I used the original Jaybird X, so I chose to forgo the wing tips and continue to love the earbuds. If your earbuds are falling out too often or hurting your ears, try altering the sizing or ear tip style.

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.

  Water-resistant Waterproof Can withstand...
IPX0 Not water-resistant
IPX1 Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
IPX2 Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
IPX3 Sprays
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
IPX4 Splashes, omnidirectional
IPX5 Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
IPX6 Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
IPX7 Complete submergence
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min.
IPX8 Complete submergence
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min.

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT are ideal for the aquaphilic

IP57-rated, these can be submerged to depths of one meter for up to 30 minutes. For general moisture, the oleophobic nano-coating wicks away sweat from the silicone housing. Naturally, the dust-resistance and water-proofing make the BackBeat FIT a sturdy earphone, and the flexible design means that they can fit just about anywhere. I did have trouble with the initial fit after unboxing these, but once I was able to angle the ear tips appropriately, it was easy from then on out.

Plantronics BackBeat FIT

They may not provide the best seal, but that’s due to Plantronics’ intentional design of the BackBeat FIT. Allowing ambient noise through helps to ensure safety during a run or as a daily commuter. And, in all fairness, what the FIT lack in booming bass, they makes up for in volume. These can get tremendously loud at a recorded 105 dB—just one of the reasons that they’re some of the best workout earbuds. Moreover, Plantronics supplies an armband that can hold your phone; well, some phones. Unfortunately, it was too short to zip over my LG G6, but it does fit an iPhone 4s.

They may not provide the best seal but that’s due to Plantronics’ intentional design of the BackBeat FIT. Allowing ambient noise in helps to ensure the safety of the user.

It’s worth noting that a unique selling point of the FIT is the 12 PEAR Personal Coach app along with a six-month membership to PEAR+. With so few options on the market for swimmers, these are a truly exceptional pair of headphones that provide suitable audio performance for athletes’ needs.

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. Whether running, cycling, or weight lifting, these will remain planted in your ears, regardless of how sweaty you get. The unusually large housing supplies five hours of battery—I was able to squeeze out five and a half at 50 percent volume—and the matte black case provides an extra 10 hours.

Bose SoundSport Free

Full Review

Just like their predecessor, the SoundSport Free sound great; though, the low end is under emphasized for sport-oriented earbuds. Need to skip to Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass to get you through the rest of your workout? I do too. That’s why Bose makes sure that athletes retain full control of the music with traditional playback buttons and a multi-function button, allowing users to access their virtual assistant. What’s more, if an earbud is lost, the Bose Connect app will attempt to locate it. All of these feature in addition to the great overall sound make the SoundSport Free a pair of the best workout earbuds on the market.

Notable mentions

Now, we know that we may have missed your absolute favorite pair of earbuds but maybe you’ll find them in this section instead. The following products are still outstanding, but have few shortcomings that kept them from receiving an individualized title within this list of the best workout earbuds.

BeatsX

See our comparison of the BeatsX, Beats by Dre Power Beats, and the Apple AirPods. See our comparison

Bose SoundSport Wireless

The three buttons are easy to differentiate on the Bose SoundSport Wireless control module due to the middle, multi-function button being depressed, relative to the volume toggles.

These are the traditional Bluetooth version of the Bose SoundSport Free. Aside from the varying wireless technology, they’re virtually the same. See our review

Fitbit Flyer

They’re similar to the Bose SoundSport Wireless but lack the Bose’s IPX4-rating. See our review

Anker SoundBuds

They’re similar to the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium but the connectivity is less stable. However they are more affordable. See our review

V-Moda Forza Metallo

Though the Forza Metallo are rather expensive, like all V-Moda products, they’re built to endure.

These are a neckband style pair of wireless headphones that are outfitted with a sweat-resistant coating and are able to maintain a stable connection for long workouts. See our review

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Checkout these related best lists:

How we chose

Although we’ve reviewed a vast array of products here at SoundGuys to decide the best workout earbuds available to you, we haven’t gotten around to all of them. To counteract that, we do quite a bit of research like reading others’ reviews, visiting discussion forums, and launching vicious internal debates. If a product made one of our best lists, you know it’s survived the ire of an old-school audiophile, and two active twenty-something audio lovers. After the preliminary steps, we picked out which models were in and which were out (cue Heidi Klum).

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT, one of the best workout earbuds, is IP57-rated; this means that this can hold up under water.

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.

Since there are so many options out there, it’s possible that we missed something. Fortunately, these best lists are constantly updated as we come across new information, so don’t be surprised to see them change a few times a year. We buy the vast majority of our products for review—that way, we go through the same experiences that you do when you buy.

Why you should trust us

Not only is this site our nine-to-five, but Adam, Chris, and Lily each have multiple years of reviewing consumer audio products. We’ve kept tabs on the ever-changing world of audio, giving us the ability to parse apart the gimmicks from the gems in creating this list of the best workout earbuds.

As frequent visitors of SoundGuys already know, Chris wears his hatred for all things Bluetooth like a lovesick teenager wears his heart on his sleeve. The Bluetooth products listed? They’re damned special. Adam, a SoundGuy for nearly three years, has heard everything from pristine highs to vacant lows. Then there’s Lily with countless hours clocked in at a radio station working in a professional studio environment and reviewing audio products on her own time prior to joining SoundGuys.

We’re honest with you hear at SoundGuys; we can honestly say that the awarded Bose SoundSport Free true wireless earbuds are comically large. Fortunately, the proprietary StayHear+ ear tips perform well and keep the ‘buds in place.

We want you to be happy with your purchasenone of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work, regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though the site going under might be a good hint.

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