Listening to music during exercise can change the whole vibe of your workout. It can psych you up for a hard session, help you keep pace during a run or chill you out for a post-workout stretch.
If you already exercise with headphones then you know how much more effective your efforts can be with music, and how much working out can suck if you forget them! If you’re hitting the gym, the generic pop is rarely to everyone’s taste, and how bad is running when all you have to listen to is yourself struggling to catch your breath?
Need more info? Jump ahead to: What To Look for in Workout Headphones
Let’s be honest, life is just better with a soundtrack. It’s important to get that soundtrack as clear and comfortable as possible so you can get the most out of everything you do. That’s why we’ve created this detailed guide to the best headphones for working out.
Top 10 Wired Headphones for Working Out
We’ll cover what to look for in a good pair, what’s better out of earbuds or over-ear headphones, whether wired or Bluetooth headphones come out on top, plus tips to improve the fit, cleanliness and life span of your gear.
Don’t mind the wires, or worry too much about losing your headphones?
Then wired ones are for you. Check out the highest rated ones below.
10.) AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-CKP500 SONICSPORT
These are in-ear headphones that come with two different ear tips – one for sound isolation and the other that allows a little bit of noise in. This is a great option for cyclers or runners who need to be aware of their surroundings but still want good sound quality.
Colour & inclusions: These are available in black, red, white and blue. They come with a cord clip, a decent extension cord and four sizes of ear tips.
Fit: The Sonicsport headphones have an ergonomic C-shaped eartip to settle comfortably into your outer ear so they’re secure.
Comfort: These are comfortable and secure, sitting a little further in your ear than standard ear buds, with a solid seal.
Durability: These headphones come with IPX5 Waterproof Certification so they can be washed after use.
Controls: Sadly there’s no inline remote or microphone for taking calls.
Sound quality: The Audio Technica headphones come with two different ear tips for sound quality options. If you want to shut out external noise and get into the zone you can use the sound isolating ear tips. If you need to be aware of your surroundings, say in a busy area or on the road, the ridged ear tips let in some ambient noise. Plus, there’s reduced cable noise as the cord is asymmetrical and designed to go behind your neck and not rub against clothing.
Bottom line: The ridged ear tips to allow more ambient noise is a serious plus for runners and bikers. Being able to wash your headphones is a rarity on the market so these are a great option for those who get mighty sweaty or dirty in their workouts.
9.) MONSTER ISPORT INTENSITY
Monster has recently broken into the headphone market and has been making a name for itself. These in-ear headphones come with hard, moulded rubber ear tips as opposed to soft silicone and stay in for nearly every exercise you can think of.
Colour & inclusions: These headphones come in neon pink or lime green and have three different sized ear tips and a storage pouch. They have a remote and tangle resistant cord.
Fit: Instead of the regular silicone ear tips, these Monster headphones have wings to securely fit into your ears without having to really jam them in.
Comfort: People who don’t like silicone tips will appreciate these headphones that sit in the ear, but not the ear canal, with a moulded rubber ear tip.
Durability: You don’t get much cleaner than antimicrobial and fully washable tips. Plus these headphones are UV-Protected and sweat-proof so they can certainly stand up to a sweat fest in the sun.
Controls: The Monster headphones come with a ControlTalk remote so you can control your music and answer calls.
Sound quality: Sound quality is high with clean sounds and loud bass. However this is let down because of the way the Monster headphones let in some external noise. This is great for bikers and runners who need to be aware of their surroundings, but it’s not ideal for your average gym-goer who likes to block out as much noise as possible.
Bottom line: The Monster headphones have great features like the remote and winged rubber ear tips, plus they’re very durable and suited to potentially rough outdoor workouts. The only downside is how much ambient noise they let in, which can be a pro or con depending on your preferred workout.
8.) MAXELL AMP-B AMPLIFIED HEAVY BASS HEADPHONE
These are some seriously cheap over-ear headphones with sound quality that far exceeds the price tag.
Colour & inclusions: If you’re into tribal designs then you’ll appreciate the Maxell’s bright blue tribal pattern on a black background. They also fold up so they’re great for travel.
Fit: These are over-ear cushioned style headphones that are one size fits all.
Comfort: Some over-ear headphones can become uncomfortable after a few hours of use but these Heavy Bass headphones have had great reviews for continued comfort.
Durability: These lightweight headphones are constructed from plastic, which can crack or break over time. Cleaning is not as easy as with earbuds and as there are more moving parts, there’s more risk of things breaking.
Controls: These headphones are at the budget end of Maxell’s headphone offerings, so are light on features. Hence, there’s no remote for changing volumes and taking calls.
Sound quality: This is where the Maxell headphones really stand out from the crowd. People who appreciate good bass to get them moving will love how much booming bass these headphones provide. The sound quality in general is surprisingly clean and rich for this price category.
Bottom line: The design may not be to everyone’s taste, nor the lack of features, but there’s no denying that these headphones provide amazing sound quality and epic bass for a very affordable price.
7.) BOSE IE2
This is the second generation of the Bose headphones, designed for increased comfort and stability in the ear, along with Bose’s renown sound quality.
Colour & inclusions: The Bose IE2 headphones come in black or white. You have the option to attach silicone ear tips, and there are three different sizes of ear tips. A carrying case and clothing clip is included.
Fit: They’re described as an in-ear headphone but don’t need to be pushed all the way into your ear, instead sitting slightly on top of the ear and directing the sound into your ear canal with the new StayHear silicone tips. This means you don’t get a complete seal but allows your ears to have some space. The wings sit in the bowl of your ear to improve fit and stay in even with jumping or shaking.
Comfort: Comfort sets the Bose IE2 headphones apart. Headphones Addict calls them “the most comfortable sports earbuds on the market” and reports that they can be worn for hours without any ear irritation. The key is in the loosely fitting ear tips that don’t plug up the ear canal but let air flow freely.
Durability: Bose has a good reputation for making their headphones out of durable materials and these are no different.
Controls: These headphones do not come with a remote control on the cord.
Sound quality: Bose is well known for providing excellent sound quality and the bass is particularly noteworthy in the IE2 model. However this may be at the expense of some music details.
Bottom line: Bose provides a solid all-rounder that is a vast improvement on comfort and fit from the previous model, making it one of the most comfortable headphones for exercise that money can buy.
6.) SYMPHONIZED NRG PREMIUM GENUINE WOOD
The Symphonized NRG headphones are a welcome departure from the usual plastic and metal in-ear headphones with their beautiful handcrafted wood features.
Colour & inclusions: These headphones come with a tangle-free nylon cable, storage bag, and three different sized silicone ear tips. They’re available in eight different colours, all with the stylish wooden casing.
Fit: The Symphonized NRG headphones come with the tried and tested silicone ear tips that make a seal in the ear canal to reduce noise.
Comfort: Soft silicone ear buds make this a standard, comfortable choice.
Durability: The handcrafted wood is a durable material, although there are no mentions of being sweat resistant or waterproof.
Controls: These headphones come with a built-in microphone for answering calls on the fly, as well as music controls and voice control.
Sound quality: Audiophiles should be contented with the Symphonized NRG’s natural wood housing that allows for better bass and overall acoustic sound. The earbuds are noise isolating so you’ll get the full effect of the high sound quality pumping through these headphones.
Bottom line: These headphones stand out in terms of sound quality and style. They have good features in the form of a cord remote and nylon cord that prevents your headphones tangling themselves into oblivion.
5.) KOSS KSC75 PORTABLE
The Koss KSC75 headphones are a clip style that fit over each ear. They’re designed for active people and are a great alternative to over-ear headphones if you’re not into earbuds.
Colour & inclusions: These Koss headphones are only available in silver and black and don’t come with any extras.
Fit: The sport clip design fits over each ear and can pivot to get the right fit.
Comfort: Foam ear cushions provide a soft fit on your ears and don’t clamp on too tight like some over-ear styles, or seal up your ears like earbuds. The pivoting earplates mean you can fit the clips to get the feel just right for you.
Durability: These headphones may not claim to be waterproof or sweat resistant but they are covered by the Koss Stereophones Limited Lifetime Warranty to provide peace of mind.
Controls: There are no cord controls on the Koss KSC75 headphones.
Sound quality: Bass lovers can get their fix thanks to the neodymium iron boron magnets that bring about wide frequency response. They also promise very little distortion and better sound reproduction. Overall, these provide clear sounds, good volume and a wide range of frequencies. This is only brought down by the external noise that gets in from the clip-style.
Bottom line: Great sound quality in the form of clip-on headphones that will hold up to most active lifestyles.
4.) SENNHEISER CX 685 ADIDAS
When you combine two powerhouses like Sennheiser and Adidas you’re bound to get something amazing – which is exactly what the CX 685 headphone is. Made from super durable materials and providing stunning sound, there’s few drawbacks to this all-round performer.
Colour & inclusions: These headphones are only available in one colour combination of blue, silver and black. They come with three different sized ear tips and a carry pouch, clothing clip and cleaning tool.
Fit: The CX headphones offer a superior fit with a customizable Slide-to-Fit holding mechanism. These are an in-ear headphone with an EarFin holding system for added hold in your ear.
Comfort: The combination of the customizable holding mechanism and wing means this is a super sturdy and comfortable headphone.
Durability: Few headphones are ready to take a beating like the Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas headphones. They’re sweat-proof and water resistant with para-aramid reinforced cables that won’t fall apart. Then there are the rest of the parts – shock-absorbent and flexible materials that can stand up to nearly anything. Sound good? It’s all backed up by a 2-year warranty.
Controls: The only downside of these headphones is that there’s no inline remote or microphone.
Sound quality: Sennheiser is known for great sound quality and these headphones deliver with heavy bass, crisp highs and clearly defined sounds. They have a wide frequency response range from 18 – 20 000 Hz . Plus, since these are in-ear headphones most ambient noise is cut out so you get the cleanest sound possible.
Bottom line: It’s hard to go past these uber durable headphones with great sound quality and a comfortable, customizable fit.
3.) SHURE SE215
It may be surprising to find a non-sport specific headphone this far up the list, but the Shure SE215 really impress with their custom fit, durability and above all their sound quality – especially considering their price point.
Colour & inclusions: The Shure SE215 comes in black and clear with three different ear tip sizes. It also comes with a carry case, sleeve fit kit and cleaning tool.
Fit: Shure provide a very specific fit that some people love. They’re lightweight, low profile and have a little nozzle that gets right into your ear for a close seal and enhanced noise isolation. The Shure headphones also have over-ear, formable cables to keep them out of the way and reduce cable noise.
Comfort: Most people find Shure headphones extremely comfortable, but they are more suited to medium to large ears. Shure have their own ear tip style called olives that may feel a little different to regular headphones but after some getting used to they provide excellent comfort.
Durability: The Shure SE215 headphones aren’t specifically designed for sport so they don’t claim to be particularly sweat or water resistant, but the sturdy plastic will do the job nonetheless. One of the best features are the Durable Kevlar cables which are thick, reinforced and super strong.
Controls: Sadly there are no remotes or microphones on the wire with this one.
Sound quality: The Shure SE215 headphones are one of the best wired headphones for music lovers, especially at this price point. They provide true soundscape, making you feel like you’re at a live event with music coming from all sides. The bass is strong but not overemphasized, the mid-tones are detailed and rich, while the treble is clear. Add this to the great sound isolation the design provides and you’ve got some of the best sounding headphones on the market.
Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with the Shure SE215 when it comes to their custom fit, durable materials and fantastic sound quality.
2.) MEE audio SPORT-FI M6
There’s a good reason the MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 are so well loved – they’re ridiculously good quality for their cheap price and are considered the “best wired workout IEM (in-ear monitor) headphones on a budget” by Headphones Addict.
Colour & inclusions: These crowd pleasers come in red, black or clear and have six ear tip sizes. They also come along with an airplane adapter, cable organizer and carry pouch.
Fit: Unlike most headphones that offer three different ear tip sizes, the MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 offers up six so you’re more likely to find your dream fit. The memory wire also helps to create a custom fit once you’ve got it in the right place.
Comfort: They don’t offer a perfect seal for full noise isolation but don’t irritate either so you’re likely to be wearing them for a while.
Durability: For such an affordable price you may assume these headphones would lack sturdy materials, but you’d be wrong. Instead, they’re made from durable plastics with IPX5 sweat and water resistance, while the cables are thick rubber memory wire.
Controls: The standard version of the MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 headphones don’t come with inline controls but the slightly more expensive model does if you see it as a priority.
Sound quality: Sound quality is surprisingly good, and if you consider the price it’s exceptional. The bass is definitely strong, but sometimes at the expense of higher notes.
Bottom line: Super affordable with quality materials and some serious bass, the MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 headphones are probably the best workout earbuds under $50 you’ll find.
1.) BOSE SOUNDSPORT IN-EAR HEADPHONES
Bose’s high grade sound, fit and overall quality reign supreme and the SoundSport version can go with you on all your adventures.
Colour & inclusions: Available in five colour combinations with three different size ear tips, the Bose SoundSport headphones come with a carry case, extension cable and clothing clip.
Fit: Designed specifically for sport, these headphones have Proprietary StayHear tips to conform right to your ear and keep them in place. While these are in-ear headphones, they don’t seal right into your ear canal so they’re preferable for people who aren’t a fan of jamming things in their ears.
Comfort: Bose is well known for its superior design and comfort, and SoundSport headphones are no different. They sit loosely but securely in your ear for comfort even when running.
Durability: These are both sweat and weather-resistant so it’ll stand up to rain, hail and shine!
Controls: Finally, here are headphones with an inline remote and microphone for calls and music control!
Sound quality: You won’t get much better than nice crisp high notes and beefed up lows. With their open design, these Bose headphones do let ambient sound in so they’re not perfect, but are definitely up with the best.
Bottom line: With great comfort and a very secure fit, these may be the best running headphones around. Add in awesome sound quality and weather-resistant materials and this is a top contender for wired headphones.
Top 10 Wireless Headphones for Working Out
Hate wires, and feel at your best without anything tangling around you?
Wireless ones are your best choice.
See the highest rated ones below.
10.) SOUNDPEATS QY7 V4.1 BLUETOOTH MINI
When it comes to the best low cost wireless headphones, SoundPEATS stand out with their quality materials, built in controls and comfort. There’s a lot of features and functionality included for little cash.
Colour & inclusions: You can find the QY7 headphones in about nine different colours and they come along with a USB charging cable, three different sizes of ear cushions, a carry case and cable clip.
Fit: These wireless headphones are designed for movement with their in-ear style and added hooks for stability.
Comfort: Comfort is at an all time high with the squishy ear tips.
Durability: The QY7 headphones are made from light and strong plastic with durable tangle-free cables. They’re also sweat-proof which is a big bonus for sports.
Controls: SoundPEATS have put the microphone and controls for music in the top of one of the earbuds so it’s neat and compact.
Battery life: Battery life is five hours, which is average, but the addition of fast charging means you won’t be waiting long.
Sound quality: There are some nice heavy bass notes and acoustic highs coming out from these headphones with a good overall balance, but they’re certainly not for your audiophile.
Bottom line: These SoundPEATS QY7 V4.1 are a good option out of the low cost bluetooth headphones on offer. The sweat-proof materials make them ideal for a cheap pair of gym headphones.
9.) MPOW CHEETAH BLUETOOTH 4.1
Another good entry in the best low price wireless headphones is the Mpow Cheetah, which are designed specifically for sport with a focus on good fit and durability.
Colour & inclusions: These come in glossy black, blue or green. In the box you’ll find three sizes of ear tips and a USB charger.
Fit: The outside area of the Mpow Cheetah headphones are a bit bigger than most earbud style headphones but the in-ear bud is mostly the same.
Comfort: These headphones are super lightweight and one of the best earbuds around for staying in, even if you shake your head.
Durability: While these headphones are made out of plastic and have a cheap feel to them they are surprisingly durable and water-resistant with a nano-coating that can even keep rain out.
Controls: You’ll find the music and call controls on the right earpiece.
Battery life: At eight hours of battery life the Mpow Cheetah is much better than average and has about a two hour recharge time.
Sound Quality: The sound is amazing for the price with a good balance and solid bass that doesn’t overpower the other tones. They may not be as good as a $200 pair of wireless headphones but are beyond fantastic for an affordable sports headphone.
Bottom line: Durable, comfortable and made for sports – you won’t get much better in this price range.
8.) AUKEY WIRELESS SPORT HEADPHONES
Once again in the more affordable range, the Aukley V4.1 model is one of the best sports headphones under $50. Their strengths are noise isolation and sound quality, plus a solid and durable feel that is rare among cheaper headphones.
Colour & inclusions: The Aukey’s come in black, blue or green and come with the charging cable and the standard three different ear bud sizes.
Fit: The in-ear buds create great noise isolation and the cord fits neatly up and over ears without rubbing on them.
Comfort: Thanks to the super lightweight earbuds, these come highly rated for comfort.
Durability: As you’d expect from sports-specific headphones, the Aukey Wireless Sports Headphones are sweat-proof. What you may not expect from sports headphones in this price category is the more expensive look and feel you get with them.
Controls: These sports headphones come with built-in controls and a microphone that has noise cancellation for clear calls.
Battery life: These headphones have a great battery life of eight hours, with two hours to full charge.
Sound Quality: Some users reported that the sound quality for calls is not ideal, yet the music sound quality is perfect and worthy of full marks. This isn’t surprising with the powerful audio drivers for balanced music from low to high tones.
Bottom line: The Aukey headphones are a well performing all-rounder in the category of very affordable sports headphones. Their overall comfort, durability and sound quality earn them a place on this list.
7.) AYL V4.1 NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
When it comes to wireless sports headphones, AYL are another one of the best headphones for the money. They come with some great details and control features you wouldn’t expect from this price range.
Colour & inclusions: These headphones come along with a storage bag, micro USB charger, three sizes of ear tips and ear hooks.
Fit: The plastic wings provide some extra staying power along with the in-ear style earbud.
Comfort: Comfort won’t be a problem with the soft and pliable ear tips that don’t create pressure points, plus the hooks that gently improve grasp.
Durability: Like the name says, these are seriously sweat-proof and have a flat, anti-tangle cable.
Controls: The AYL 4.1 headphones have easy to find controls on the right ear bud. It can pair with two bluetooth devices at any one time, giving great flexibility when it comes to answering calls while listening to music or being connected to a video. Another rare feature in this price range is that the bluetooth signal is strong enough go through bags and clothing without cutting out – something which is usually found in more expensive wireless headphones.
Battery life: You’ve got seven hours of battery life with these headphones.
Sound Quality: The sound performance is truly impressive with the CVC 6.0 Digital noise reduction technology that filters ambient noise for clearer, more precise music and calls. There’s no distortion so your beats sound at their best.
Bottom line: Top notch sound quality technology and bluetooth quality make the Ayl v4.1 Wireless Noise Cancelling Sweatproof Headphones an absolute steal.
6.) ANEAR STEREO WIRELESS EARBUDS FOR SPORT
Sneaking just ahead of the AYL headphones, the Anear wireless sport headphones win out due to their style and simply unbeatable price.
Colour & inclusions: These headphones come in one colour, a glossy black with green accents and a green cable. In the package you’ll get the charging cable and the option of black or sheer ear buds in three different sizes.
Fit: These are low profile and ergonomic in-ear buds that stay in with the help of winged ear tips.
Comfort: You can’t complain with soft, cleverly angled ear buds.
Durability: Designed for sports, the Anear headphones feel solid and durable while still being very light. They’re also sweat-proof and come with a thick, flat cable.
Controls: You have great control over music and calls, with the added ability to call back the last number dialled. The Anear headphones also let you connect to two bluetooth devices and can be used within a distance of 10 metres from the device.
Battery life: They may come with a mediocre battery life of five hours, but this is made up for with a shorter charge time of one and a half hours.
Sound Quality: For such an affordable price, Anear have really packed some modern audio technology into these headphones. You’ve got CVC 6.0 intelligent noise cancelling and aptX audio coding for clear sound from bass to treble.
Bottom line: Arguably the best quality headphones for the money, we doubt you’ll find a better sports-specific headphone with such good technology and style at such a low price.
5.) MATONE QY8
The Matone Qy8 is the newer, younger brother of the well loved Soundpeats Qy7 Bluetooth headphones. They’re a step up in both sound quality and battery life, but are still extremely affordable.
Colour & inclusions: The Matone Qy8 come only in black with a touch of silver and accessories include a clip, the USB charger and four different sized ear buds and ear hooks for some added fit variation.
Fit: Thanks to four different sized ear tips and ear hooks instead of the standard three, you’re bound to find the right size for you.
Comfort: You’re more likely to find your perfect level of comfort with the Matone’s option of different ear tips and winged ear hooks.
Durability: The new Matone headphones are made out of light, durable plastic similar to the Qy7 and should hold up to the rigours of the gym. The wires are also solid and tangle-free.
Controls: You’ll find the inbuilt, multifunctional controls on the right ear bud. These are an improvement from Matone’s last generation of headphones because they’re easier to find and use.
Battery life: Matone have made a slight improvement on the Qy7 so that the Qy8 lasts about two hours longer, with between seven and eight hours of play time. The recharge time is about two hours from absolute zero to full.
Sound Quality: The Matone Qy8 headphones have leapt ahead of its older sibling with a clearer and more detailed sound. The Qy8 uses better sound compression technology so you get less distortion, plus the noise-cancelling effects result in cleaner music. It’s definitely one of the best sounding headphones in this price range, even competing with those that are much more expensive.
Bottom line: A vast improvement on what was already a top quality headphone, the Matone Qy8 excels in sound quality and fit – and still at a stellar price.
4.) MPOW WOLVERINE
If you thought the Mpow Cheetah sounded good, you’ll love its fierce animal cousin, the Wolverine. They’ve been declared Headphones Addict’s Best Value for Money Bluetooth Earbuds and are one of the best-selling earbud headphones around.
Colour & inclusions: Although it’s only available in black and a very cool silver, they look so good we doubt you’ll miss other colours. A charger and three sizes of ear tips and ear wings come in the box.
Fit: The Mpow Wolverine earbuds are winged for extra staying power and are designed for exercise so they fit quite snugly.
Comfort: These are so light you’ll forget you’re even wearing them.
Durability: The Mpow Wolverine is made out of nice durable materials in the form of a sweat-proof casing, quality plastics and aluminium for that great silver touch. You’ve also got tangle-free cables and an 18-month warranty just to top it off.
Controls: Unlike a lot of Bluetooth earbuds, the Wolverine’s have controls on the wire – not the earbud itself. This means it’s easier to reach, doesn’t interrupt your music by shifting the earbud and allows for a smaller earbud overall.
Battery life: Improved from the Cheetah, the Wolverine gives around eight hours of music or talk and takes less than two hours to charge.
Sound Quality: The Wolverine headphones use the latest 4.1 Bluetooth for a more stable signal, less energy use and faster transmission. Combine this with CVC 6.0 Noise cancelling technology, and generally clean and well balanced sound, and you’ve got a seriously good sounding headphone that rivals more expensive models.
Bottom line: As awesome as Wolverine himself, the Mpow Wolverines are the best budget-friendly earbud style headphones you can buy. What more do you need to know?
3.) PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT FIT
Unfortunately budget headphones can’t compete with the quality and epic sound of some more expensive models. If you’re going to spend the money, make sure you get some seriously good headphones like the very cool looking and sports-specific Plantronics BackBeat FIT. Their battery life and durability blows more affordable models away.
Colour & inclusions: The BackBeat FIT headphones are available in red, blue or green. They come with a micro USB charger and a handy neoprene sports armband that doubles as a storage case.
Fit: Plantronics BackBeat FIT are designed for all kinds of sports so they really stick to your head without rubbing. The earbuds don’t sit right in your ear canal and have an ear hook for added stability.
Comfort: These headphones are well known for their light, flexible fit. It’s easy to forget you’re wearing them and thankfully they don’t rub around your ears or neck.
Durability: BackBeat have gone above and beyond with these headphones when it comes to durability. They’re made out of flexible, hardy plastic and are both sweat-proof and water-proof thanks to a P2i nano-coating.
Controls: There are small control buttons on the earbuds for all your music and call needs.
Battery life: The Plantronics BackBeat FIT really stand out with their long standby battery life. They provide eight hours of music, six hours of calls, fourteen days worth of standby time and a massive six months in Deep-Sleep power-saving hibernation when they’re out of range of a device. So even if you go away on a trip, or lose them somewhere and find them later, chances are they’ll be ready to go!
Sound Quality: Sound quality is certainly clear and precise and a head above the budget models, although not the BackBeat FIT’s most impressive feature.
Bottom line: A comfortable, stylish design paired with serious water-proof materials and great battery life makes the Plantronics BackBeat FIT a top contender. And who doesn’t like a free sports armband?
2.) BEATS POWERBEATS 2 WIRELESS
Love or hate the Beats brand, the Powerbeats 2 Wireless are one of the best Bluetooth sports headphones on the market. They’re comfortable, stylish and will keep even picky audiophiles happy with their sound quality and classic Beats bass.
Colour & inclusions: There’s a range of ten different colours to choose from, such as red, black, peach, green, blue and a few different combos. In the box you’ll find a charger, case and three sizes of ear tips.
Fit: Widely regarded as one of the best fitting headphones around, these are in-ear earbuds that you can choose to have as noise isolating or letting in some ambient noise for safety, depending on the ear tip size you choose. This design hooks over your ear for stability and these are relatively pliable so you can customize the shape. In short, these earbuds are hanging on, no matter what you do.
Comfort: Some people may not enjoy the over-ear style of these headphones as they cause friction, but a few uses should mean you get used to them.
Durability: The Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless are made from hardy plastics and all parts are sweat resistant. The cord is a nice flat, tangle free style.
Controls: You’ve got your standard song and call controls, but the Beats buttons are particularly easy to find and use. Other brands suffer from buttons that are too small to find and press, but that’s not the case with the high quality Beats. Be aware that these controls work better with iPhones as they are designed specifically for them. Windows and Android users will lack the ability to skip songs.
Battery life: You’ve got around six hours of playback time, which is slightly better than average. However, if you’re on the go and haven’t charged your headphones, Beats recommends you utilise the “quick-charge” ability where a charge of just 15 minutes will allow about an hour of play time.
Sound Quality: Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless headphones come out on top of other bands in all ranges – from clear highs to heavy bass. They also have Beats’ signature strong bass coming through, and with the right sized ear tip you can achieve great noise isolation. They have some of the best sound quality in a Bluetooth headphone that’s available now.
Bottom line: If you like your bass heavy and your fit perfect, these are the best wireless headphones for working out. Combined with a quality build, great colour options and high class sound, the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless headphones rightfully sit at the top end of the market.
1.) JAYBIRD X2
Say hello to the best Bluetooth headphones for working out this year. They are the best rated wireless headphones and a true standout in the world of sports-specific headphones. If you were a fan of the previous X model, the X2 take things a step further with improved fit, comfort and durability.
Colour & inclusions: The JayBird X2 has six colour options with funky names like Midnight, Alpha, Fire and Ice. In the pack you’ll find a nice solid case, a charger, three options for silicone ear tips, ear fins, and foam ear tips too.
Fit: Stability is at an all time high in the X2 with plastic mesh ear fins that really stay in and the choice of either foam or silicone ear tips. The premium Comply foam tips will give a good fit to even the trickiest ear shape, and are a great addition for a higher end headphone that more brands should adopt.
Comfort: If you can’t get a comfortable fit with the JayBird X2 headphones, then chances are you won’t like any headphones! These are super lightweight and the option of two different ear tips boosts your chances of finding the perfect feel for you.
Durability: The JayBird X2 have a Lifetime Sweat-proof Warranty and the brand is well known for excellent customer service so even if they do break, you can get them easily replaced or repaired.
Controls: The JayBird X2 earbuds are so small and light that the remote has been placed on the wire and it features all the usual controls you’d expect.
Battery life: Unlike the Beats headphones, these are not iOS specific and work with all sorts of phones, tablets and other devices. You’ve got an awesome eight hours of playback time with these, which is significant for such small and light headphones.
Sound Quality: This is where the JayBird X2 headphones really win out over all other Bluetooth earbud headphones. Especially considering that these are a sports style headphone, the sound is excellent quality. The bass is rich but not overemphasized like many of the budget brands. The highs are precise without being overwhelming. The mid tones are clear and detailed. They are one of the best balanced ear bud headphones on the market, and more natural sounding than their Beats Powerbeats 2 rivals.
Bottom line: The JayBird X2 are the new standard in wireless sports headphones. With fantastic fit, comfort, battery and stellar sound quality, they tick all the boxes and can easily be named the best wireless headphones for the gym.
What Makes a Good Pair of Headphones?
There are few things worse than having to constantly readjust your headphones when you’re working out. If you feel like they’re about to fall out, it can really take your mind off what you’re doing and reduce the effectiveness of your workout.
The Perfect Fit
That’s why one of the most important aspects of your headphones must be that they fit snuggly and stay there. In addition, you want your headphones to be super comfortable. There’s no point in having a pair that stays in really well but feels like you’ve got a spiky metal ball in your ear, or headphones that are squeezing your brain.
Most earbuds come with a few different sized rubber ear tips so you can get a good fit, so look out for those. Lighter headphones tend to be more comfortable for workouts, and earbuds that come with ear hooks can improve fit too.
Sound quality matters in headphones. Even if you’re using them during exercise, you know when your favorite song sounds warped and tinny. You can tell if you have good quality headphones because the sound is clean, crisp and well balanced. Instead of all the instruments and noises blending together, you can hear each individually. Some exercise-specific earphones have enhanced bass if that’s what gets you motivated, and quality bass sounds deep and heavy as opposed to blurry.
No doubt about it, you’ll be getting sweaty during your workout and it’s bound to get onto your headphones too. Imagine if your headphones just soaked up all that sweat and got smelly. Gross, right? That’s why sweat resistant materials are a must for workout headphones. If you’re more of a runner, moisture resistant headphones will also be essential in case you get caught in the odd downpour.
Lasting the Distance
If you’re shelling out some money for headphones, you want them to be made of durable materials and last for a while. Headphones are often thrown into your gym bag, get tangled up, squished up and sweaty. They may also take a few hits during your workout, and the most common place where they suffer is the wiring. Keep that in mind when you’re hunting for headphones and look for wide, durable wires and no fiddly bits that may break off.
Noise isolation means that the music coming from your headphones isn’t blasting out to the other people around you or letting in ambient sounds. We all know how annoying that can be if you’re on the outside. Plus, do you really want your fellow gym goers to know that you rock out to Taylor Swift when you lift weights?
If you really need to focus on the task at hand, getting noise-cancelling headphones can help. These block out common sound waves from the world, such as traffic, talking and wind. It gives you increased privacy and gets you in the zone – just don’t use noise cancelling headphones if you’re an outdoors exerciser!
Battery Strength for Wireless Headphones
If you’re opting for wireless headphones that use Bluetooth, these run off batteries. Obviously running out of battery can cut your motivating music short and really affect your workout, so the longer the battery life, the better. Look for wireless headphones that can get you through at least a few workouts, say 4-5 hours minimum. If you’re into long distance running or are an outdoors sort of person who likes long hikes or bike riding with music, then you may need something more like 8 hours. People who travel a lot, who use their headphones on planes, or who might not have reliable access to power points for charging need seriously good battery life. Look out for headphones that have a quick charge time too!
Earbuds vs. Over-Ear Headphones
In general, over-ear headphones don’t fit as snuggly as earbuds and can get very hot and sweaty with the way they clamp over your ears and hair. Since they’re bigger and heavier than earbuds they’re more noticeable and bounce around more. They can also slide right off during certain inverted movements – think about sit ups hanging from a bar, or downward dog positions in yoga.
For a workout, earbuds win out over headphones nearly every time. They’re light, compact, have less chance of moving around and falling off (assuming you got a good fit) and are usually cheaper so you don’t mind getting them sweaty and throwing them in your gym bag.
Are there any plusses to over-ear headphones? Well, yes. They often have better noise isolation and cancellation over earbuds, so if sound quality is a deal breaker for you, opt for the headphones. Some people also love the look of over-ear headphones too and will deal with the downsides in the name of style.
Of course, over-ear headphones can be fine if your main forms of exercise are slower and more controlled, like walking. But for any form of exercise with fast movements, bouncing or inversions – earbuds reign supreme.
Bluetooth/Wireless vs. Wired
Wired headphones certainly are a tried and trusted method. They’re quick and simple – plug them in to your device and you’re good to go almost immediately. No syncing or struggling to find your device via Bluetooth. Wired headphones also tend to be cheaper.
The only downsides are that the cords are often the first thing to break on headphones, and they sure can get tangled. Worse, wired headphones can get caught on things, leading to them being unceremoniously yanked out of your ears.
In contrast, wireless headphones that work via Bluetooth provide ultimate freedom – no wires flopping around your face or having to be threaded through your jacket. There’s something very cool about putting in your earbuds and hearing music with no wires attached. Plus, the wireless connection distance can be as big as the gym room (depending on the headphones) so you don’t even have to carry your phone around to every piece of equipment.
So why doesn’t everyone use wireless headphones? Well, for starters, they’re more expensive than their wired counterparts. Plus they can be more hassle with syncing up your device. But the main drawback is that wireless headphones need to be kept charged to work. They don’t just draw from your phone or music player’s battery, they need to be charged separately and this can be really annoying if they have a short battery life or a large charge time.
In the end, which is best for you depends on what aspects you find the most important to you and the sorts of exercise you do. Mountain bikers or people who regularly run and hate having wires flicking around may like wireless headphones, while people who go on long hikes or enjoy spontaneous fitness may prefer the simplicity and reliability of their wired headphones. It’s your workout, and only you will know the specifics that suit your style.
Importance of Music During Working Outs
Wearing headphones to the gym can be an important part of your workout for a few reasons. Most gym’s have pretty bad music, not everyone is into the mainstream “whatever’s on the radio” as their workout music. If you’re like us, you prefer to get in the zone with jams of your choosing and not chosen for you.
Another important reason of wearing headphones is to keep you from getting distracted by all the miscellaneous noise that is contained with the gym walls. You know very well of the many gym characters that roam the venue, and if you’re going to get the maximum out of your workouts, you’ll need to stay focused.
Staying focused means staying on track to achieving your goals and the gains you’re there for. Yes, we all want to socialize, and sometimes a public gym is definitely better than a home gym.
But, most people are there for the equipment and the gains; wearing some of the best gym headphones will shield you from “the talkers.”
Benefits of Headphones in the Gym
There are many, many, benefits of wearing headphones to the gym and listening to music while working out. You know that music makes you feel good, but there is science behind that good fell of music. When you are working out, and your blood is running, the effects are intensified and can be felt more vividly.
Before we take a look at the benefits of wearing headphones to the gym and listening to music, it’s important to note, however, that not ALL types of music is beneficial to you.
If the music is too jarringly loud, it can distract us, and the whole point of us listening to the music while working out was to maintain concentration.
But for the most part, music is our friend, especially the brilliantly composed classical music.Let’s look at some of the surprising effects of music on us and how music directly affects us and promotes good health.
- Music helps with pain relief
- Music boosts immunity
- Can serve as its own kind of medicine for the heart
- Music is a fatigue fighter
- Improves mood and decreases depression
- Can serve as a remedy for migraines and chronic headaches
- Music can make you smarter and improves memory performance
- Gym music improves concentration and attention
- Music can improve body movement and coordination
As we can clearly conclude from some of the benefits of listening to gym music listed above, music is good for the healing of our soul, and wearing headphones for the gym might not be such a bad idea after all.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Good Headphones Work?
A great question, better left to the engineers among us. But let’s try to answer this from a non technical perspective as to the, because we do not want to bore you with the process by which magnetism converts electrical energy into sound and thereby producing the beautiful volume adjustable sound in your ears.
The biggest difference that we will focus on, traditionally speaking, is the lack of wires in gym earphones. For good reason too, we don’t need them getting in the way of our workouts.
But wireless gym headphones do not communicate the signals the traditional way, that is, by carrying the signal through the wire.
Most modern wireless gym headphones utilize Bluetooth technology, but all wireless headphones utilize radio or infrared signals to communicate the information. See?! We knew you’d get bored! But if you’re interested in learning more, read more about how wireless headphones work and also how to connect them.
Will Wearing Them Affect My Hearing?
Wearing wireless headphones to the gym or any gym headphones for that matter, will only adversely affect your hearing if you continuously blast overly loud music into your ears.
Essentially, the answer to this question lies in your hands. You have the control to listen responsibly or irresponsibly, and for most people, the choice is an easy one.
It’s also important to note here that studies have been done by Dr. John Diamond that have shown the “stopped anapestic beat” of rock music to have cause strength/weakness in the muscles of subjects exposed to this type of music.
Music from such artists as Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Alice Cooper among others. Dr. Diamond was able to show a connection between irregular beats in rock music and shrill frequencies can cause harm to the body.
5 Tips to Improve Your Earbud Fit
It’s common to have problems getting the right fit with earbuds, but not anymore with these tips!
- Get the right sized ear tip. Most earbuds come with a few different sized rubber ends, called ear tips. Try out a few different ones and see what works for you. And remember that each of your ears could be a different size!
- Get the right ear tip material. When you’re working out, you sweat, and this can make those rubber ear tips slippery. To stop them from sliding out of your ears, you can get non-slip ear tips. These usually come separately to the headphones but can be the solution to constantly slipping ear tips. If you don’t want to buy something separately, then look out for headphones with foam ear tips, as these tend to stay in more than rubber or silicone ear tips.
- Put them in right. Nearly everyone pushes the ear bud in and thinks that’s the end of the story. But they’re wrong! Michael Calore from Wired says that there’s a certain technique to getting the right seal for in-ear headphones – and that getting it wrong means your sound quality is suffering. To get it right, push the tip into your ear a little bit. Then use your opposite hand to pull down your earlobe and push the tip in a little further. As you release your ear lobe, it should create a proper seal. The result is louder music with better bass and less interference from outside noise.
- Angle them for your ears. People typically insert ear buds so they face directly into your head. But your ear canals angle forwards and upwards, so it makes sense to angle your ear tips in the same direction!
- Reduce cable noise. The Headphone List explained that cable noise happens when your wired headphone cords rub up against something, such as clothing. This can be reduced by wearing the cables over the back of your ears instead of letting them hang straight down, or by raising the cinch cable (if your headphones have them). Wearing the cable under clothing or over your back instead of the front can also help a lot.
How Do I Keep My Headphones Clean?
Haven’t we all thrown our sweaty headphones into our (even sweatier) gym bag before, only to find them in a jumbled mess later? No matter what amount of cash you’re spending on headphones, it’s great to get your money’s worth out of them. To keep your headphones lasting as long as possible, look after them well with these tips and tricks:
- Keep them in a case or bag when not in use.
- Consider hanging them on a stand to help air them out and minimize their contact with dirty surfaces.
- Wipe down all surfaces with a microfiber cloth.
- Keep your headphones away from direct sunlight, high temperatures and humidity.
- Avoid using them in the rain.
- Don’t wrap them around your phone or MP3 player as it can damage the cable.
- Don’t leave them plugged in as it strains the plug and cable.
- Opt to loosely coil the cable.
- Clean the earbuds and ear tips regularly so that ear junk doesn’t build up.
- Clean your ears! Less wax in your ears means less on your headphones.
Now that you know the best style of headphones for you, and how to properly fit them and keep them clean – it’s time to find out the best wired and wireless headphones on the market today!
There we have it, now you are well equipped to not only choose the best gym headphones out on the market this year, but you know so much more about the benefits of music while working out as well.
We encourage you not to be thrown off by the numbers on this list, truth is, any and all products on this list should get the job done for you, it’s a matter of preference at this point.
Make sure to check back on this article, as we will be adding or subtracting items on this list and making monthly updates as the ever swift tech industry moves ahead.
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- Updated on March 28, 2019 by Ada Lane