The best headphones for working out in 2024, tested and reviewed

Throw on some of these high-performance audio accessories and load up your perfect soundtrack to take workouts to the next level.

Best overall

Beats fit pro amazon deal earbuds

Apple Beats Fit Pro

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Best battery life

Dark Grey Jabra Elite 8 Active best battery life earbuds for workouts

Jabra Elite 8 Active

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Best budget

A pair of Anker Sport headphones on a blue and white background

soundcore by Anker Sport X10

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Using headphones for working out can transform your frame of reference and put you in the mood to grind like nothing else. Of course, exercise can be strenuous and involve tons of movement, so it’s essential to find a pair that leaves you unencumbered by wires and fit securely enough that they won’t be flung to the ground every time you move your head. In this list, we’ll break down the best headphones for working out and optimizing your circuit(s) with your favorite music and podcasts.

How we chose the best headphones for working out

The best headphones for working out are wireless, and Bluetooth requires power. And, in all honesty, the best headphones for working out are earphones, which is why they make up the majority of our selections. We picked pairs that offer at least five hours of single-charge battery life, and all of the earbuds include charging cases. Considering the battery life of your audio device is extremely important for keeping the flow going—you wouldn’t want the music to stop mid-workout. All of the selections on our list fit securely around the head or in the ear to ensure that they move very little or not at all during workouts. Everyday headphones made for walking or when you’re stationary aren’t typically designed with extreme movement in mind.

Sound quality was also a big factor in considering headphones for this list, and many of the earbuds we picked either come with a full and balanced sound profile or offer the option to adjust their sound via an app. Staying aware of the activity around you is always important while wearing headphones, especially if you’re on the go. For our list, we picked headphones/earphones that either feature a transparency mode or are completely open-ear.

The best headphones for working out: Reviews & Recommendations

Prepping for a workout is all about getting your mind and body in the right place, and apart from stretching, putting on the right clothes, and making sure you have a favorite water bottle and your fitness tracker, pumping up the jams properly can pump you up for a regular training run. One of our choices is sure to put a spring in your step the next time you go for a jog or lift weights.

Best overall: Apple Beats Fit Pro

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Why it made the cut: The Apple Beats Fit Pro features a snug fit, balanced sound, and seamless iOS connectivity that make them easy to add to any workout routine.

Specs

  • Weight: 0.2 ounces/earbud; 2.3 ounces with case
  • IP rating: IPX4 (splash-resistant)
  • Battery life: 6 hours single-charge; 24 hours with case

Pros

  • High-performance active noise canceling in a compact earbud design
  • Secure design stays in ear when running or working out
  • Compatible with dynamic head tracking on iOS devices
  • Includes pocket-sized travel case and three eartip options

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • iOS device required for full functionality
  • Not protected against water immersion
  • No multipoint pairing

We’ve thoroughly reviewed the Apple Beats Fit Pro, and they take the best overall award on this list thanks to their sound quality, workout-friendly design, and fantastic iOS compatibility. They contain the same proprietary H1 chip found in Apple’s AirPods, which enables near-instantaneous pairing and steady, reliable connections to iOS devices along with battery life optimization. Like AirPods, the Beats Fit Pro earbuds are also fully compatible with iOS head-tracking and spatial audio features for simulated surround sound and immersive media listening. Their inclusion of active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes make them equally useful on the road and at the gym. We also love the range of colors these buds come in.

The Beats Fit Pro earbuds are designed to sit securely in your ears using small rubber wings that rest comfortably against your outer ear along with three sets of variously sized ear tips. A quick optional setup step uses the earbuds’ onboard microphones to test your fit for sound leaks. Once your optimal fit is achieved, the Beats Fit Pro can endure almost every exercise imaginable, including rowing, without budging. They’re some of the best running headphones around. The earbuds’ conveniently pocked-sized charging case brings their total battery life to around 24 hours. While it would be nice to see wireless charging in a product with this price tag, we appreciate that the case is chargeable via USB-C rather than Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector.

While the Beats Fit Pro earbuds are unmistakably great for iPhone users, it’s unfortunate that the instant pairing and steady connectivity of the earbuds’ H1 chip aren’t extended to Android users. For their price, it would also be nice to see features like multipoint pairing and more robust weatherproofing rather than the same IPX4 rating found in standard AirPods. Still, if you work out regularly and are an iPhone user, you’d be seriously hard-pressed to find a better in-ear option. If you’re sold on the Beats features but are looking for an option with earhooks, the Powerbeats Pro earbuds are also a solid choice.

Best on-ear: JBL Live 670NC

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Why it made the cut: The JBL Live 670NC boasts full, energetic sound with up to a 65-hour battery life, making them perfect for spur-of-the-moment workouts.

Specs

  • Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • IP rating: N/A
  • Battery life: Up to 65 hours (50 with ANC)

Pros

  • Long-lasting 65-hour battery life
  • Quick charge gives 4 hours operation in 5 minutes
  • Adaptive noise cancelling
  • JBL app offers EQ and other advanced features

Cons

  • Variable fit affects noise cancellation performance
  • Integrated voice assistant button is easy to press accidentally
  • No IP rating

If you prefer the fit and look of over-ear headphones for working out, the JBL Live 670NC’s are worth considering, thanks to their snug fit and battery life. They offer up to 65 hours of operation on a single charge (50 with ANC, but aided by auto play/pause), a full recharge in two hours, and a burst charge for four hours of operation in 5 minutes, so they’re almost always ready to go on a moment’s notice. The 670NC’s also feature noise-canceling and ambient-aware modes fed by four noise-sensing mics, making them equally suitable for use in noisy gyms and on busy streets. We had inconsistent results with their noise-canceling abilities due to the on-ear earcups sealing differently on different peoples’ heads, so if the best noise-canceling is an absolute must in your book, you’ll want to consider noise-canceling over-ears or earbuds instead. But the 670NC is easy to pull off if you need situational awareness (or you can keep them on with Smart Ambient activated).

Thanks to their 40mm drivers and Bluetooth 5.3, the sound of the JBL 670NC is energetic and immersive with a pronounced “Pure Bass” response that makes them great for listening to pop, dance, and other beat-heavy music while working out. The JBL Headphones app offers further sculpting of the 670NC’s’ sound with EQ (including Personi-Fi 2.0 custom sound profile) and ambient-aware level adjustments, as well as access to battery life indicators and more. The headphones also feature their own onboard suite of control buttons. Still, they require a bit of studying to master, and the voice assistant button that covers the entirety of the left earcup is easy to press accidentally.

Lastly, the 670NCs have no official IP rating, and while we didn’t experience any technical issues from getting them a little sweaty, you’ll still want to be mindful of using them in heavy rain or other settings where they might get doused. If you absolutely need to work out with water-resistant over-ear headphones, the Treblab Z2 headphones are a uniquely light, comfy option with IPX4 and a long battery life that makes them great for taking on a run.

Best bone-conduction: SHOKZ OpenRun

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Why it made the cut: The unique design of the SHOKZ OpenRun keeps your ears fully open, so you can stay aware of your surroundings.

Specs

  • Weight: 0.92 ounces
  • IP rating: IP67 (dustproof, waterproof for 30 minutes)
  • Battery life: 8 hours

Pros

  • Fully sweatproof and weatherproof for high-impact workouts
  • Open-ear bone conduction design for improved situational awareness
  • Long battery life with quick charge function

Cons

  • Lacks bass response
  • Proprietary magnetic charger isn’t interchangeable
  • Not silent—others can hear what you’re listening to

The SHOKZ OpenRun is one of the best bone-conduction headphones on the market, boasting a unique open-ear design that allows you to listen to music and podcasts while maintaining full situational awareness. Unlike traditional headphone designs, bone conduction headphones employ a clever hack of human anatomy to transfer sounds directly to the inner ear by gently vibrating your facial bones from the outside in, leaving the entire ear canal unobstructed. The drawbacks to this design include that they provide no passive or active noise cancellation, and the vibrations can be audible to others, so they’re not the best choice for quiet environments or taking public transit. Bone conduction headphones also produce markedly less bass frequencies than traditional designs, making them less ideal for immersive music listening.

On the functionality side of things, the SHOKZ OpenRun packs about eight hours of battery life on a single charge and boasts a substantial IP67 rating, making them completely impervious to dust ingress and fully waterproof for up to 30 minutes. They have a comfy and lightweight headband design with easy-to-use control buttons that makes them particularly suited for running and cycling on roads and trails. While there’s no way to adjust the headband’s fit, the OpenRun does come in two different sizes. Another minor design gripe is that the OpenRun uses a proprietary magnetic charger instead of USB-C, making it more of a hassle to replace if it breaks or goes missing.

Best for running or cycling: Bose Ultra Open Earbuds

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds

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Specs

  • Weight: 0.2 ounces/earbud
  • IP rating: IPX4
  • Battery life: 7.5 hours (4.5 hours with Immersive Audio enabled)

Pros

  • Situational awareness of the world around you
  • Guaranteed to fit
  • Surprisingly good bass

Cons

  • Absolutely no isolation or ANC

It may come as a surprise that Bose, so well-known for industry-leading noise cancellation that shuts the world out, is also responsible for earbuds on this list that are purpose-built to do the exact opposite. Its new Ultra Open Earbuds have a unique design; instead of inserting buds into your ear canal, you wrap it cuff-like around the helix (the edge) of your ear, then settle the speaker end into the concha right above the ear canal. This lets the earbud play into your ear while leaving it exposed to outside noise, which is practical when running or biking or when you need to hear an instructor’s directions/motivation. You’ll be able to hear obstacles like cars or other runners/cyclists coming behind you. And, unlike with bone-conduction headphones, there is ample bass response and a convincing Immersive Audio mode, so the sound appears far more outside your head.

Getting the hang of how to properly wear the Ultra Open Earbuds takes a couple of tries. The buds are very flexible as you clip them on. This curled design ensures they can fit behind virtually any sized ear comfortably. There’s no worrying about which eartips will create a proper seal or whether they’ll fall out of your ear, which allows you to grab and go and focus on whatever you’re listening to or doing with your body. Once settled, the control buttons sit atop the body held securely behind the ear, allowing you push patterns to pause/play, skip/repeat a track, answer calls, toggle the Immersion mode, and adjust volume. And the polished exterior doesn’t interfere with the style or fit of your jewelry, glasses, hats, etc. They grip snugly around our ears even during jogs without indicating they’d slip or fall off. That said, it never felt like the earbuds were pinching our ears or irritating them in any other way.

Musically, Bose’s Ultra Open Earbuds are a great addition to the company’s lineup. They support Bluetooth 5.3 (including AAC for iPhones) and, surprisingly, delivered a lot of bass, which we didn’t think would be possible from earbuds that created no seal around our ears. Perhaps even more surprisingly, there was very little sound bleed; the directional drivers do an excellent job of beaming sound into the canal so that you could feel comfortable wearing these without worrying about disturbing someone doing their set next to you. But really where they excel is when you’re actively exercising outdoors and want to enjoy that perfect playlist without sacrificing safety.

Best battery life: Jabra Elite 8 Active

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Why it made the cut: The Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds are highly resistant to dust and water and feature the best combination of ANC performance and battery life we’ve encountered in a pair of workout headphones.

Specs

  • Weight: 0.2 ounces/earbud; 1.8 ounces with case
  • IP rating: IP68 (dust-tight, waterproof against extended submersion)
  • Battery life: 8 hours single-charge w/ ANC; 32 hours with case

Pros

  • Very long battery life for frequent use without charging
  • Snug and secure fit with three eartip sizes
  • Balanced sound profile with customizable EQ via app
  • Multipoint pairing
  • Military Standard (MIL-STD-810h) durability

Cons

  • Case can be tough to open
  • Low-frequency noise cancellation could be improved
  • Hit-and-miss phone call quality in loud environments

If you often find yourself in situations where you forget to charge your headphones—maybe you’re an endurance athlete, parent, or every overworked person in the modern world—the Jabra Elite 8 Active, much like the Elite 7 before it, is a great-sounding and reliable option to add to your workout routine. The low-profile design of the Elite 8 Active is utilitarian and doesn’t belie the wealth of tech and battery life within the military-grade, liquid silicone rubber-covered shells—available in dark grey, caramel, or navy. Despite weighing only 0.2 ounces per bud, the Elite 8 Active can run up to 8 hours with ANC on (14 hours with ANC off) and up to 32/56 hours when used with their charging case, making them great for infrequent charging and ideal for stowing in a gym bag or glove compartment.

The Elite 8 Active’s Adaptive Hybrid ANC is also very good in the midrange and high-frequency ranges where human conversation and music from speakers live. However, they didn’t beat our top picks when dealing with car engines, rumble from inside an airplane, and other very loud low-frequency information. This can be mitigated somewhat by selecting the best-fitting “EarGels” (aka tips) from the three pairs included with the buds. Still, if you’re using them for a workout or to listen to podcasts while your kid burns through some energy, the ANC might not be your first concern, as you’ll probably want to stay aware of your surroundings and use the earbuds’ HearThrough mode anyway (which benefits from upgrades to its wind noise detection and suppression technology).

Music sounds great on the Elite 8 Active earbuds thanks to their stable Bluetooth 5.3 (SBC, AAC) connection and flat and balanced sound profile, which you can sculpt further using the EQ settings in the Jabra Sound+ app. The app can also toggle Dolby Audio (spatial sound) and offers battery life indicators, pairing options, and firmware updates, among other features. Call quality through the buds is quite good, with six built-in mics sometimes to discern your own voice from ambient chatter when taking public transit or in other loud environments. The sleek charging case is also a great size and shape for keeping in a pocket during your workouts, but if you’ve worked up a sweat, its shape and smooth finish can make it difficult to open. Still, the ShakeGrip coating and drop resistance ensure these earbuds stay secure throughout strenuous exercises and survive in the unlikely event of a slip.

Best budget: soundcore by Anker Sport X10

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Why it made the cut: The Anker Soundcore Sport X10 offers an incredibly secure fit and long battery life for runners on a budget.

Specs

  • Weight: 0.2 ounces/earbud; 1.9 ounces with case
  • IP rating: IPX7 (waterproof for 30 minutes, not dustproof)
  • Battery life: 8 hours single-charge; 32 hours with case

Pros

  • Very secure swiveling ear hook design
  • Controls customizable via a smartphone app
  • Transparency mode enhances situational awareness

Cons

  • No multipoint connection
  • ANC performance is lacking in loud environments
  • Multi-press controls are confusing and uncomfortable

If you’re less concerned about noise cancellation performance, the Anker Soundcore Sport X10s are a great budget option for working out thanks to their secure fit and long battery life. They have a unique swiveling ear hook design that folds into a compact shape for storage in their charging case and unfolds to loop securely around the front of your earlobe, keeping them snug during even the most vigorous exercise routines. The Sport X10s also features a six-microphone array that provides relatively good phone call quality and an effective transparency mode. Still, their ANC performance falls short of quieting most common midrange sounds like speech, engines, and other urban noise.

The Sport X10’s sound profile is a bit muddy and heavy in the low-mids, but this can be adjusted using the EQ settings within the Soundcore app, which includes several presets to choose from. The app also allows you to rebind custom functions to the earbuds’ onboard control buttons, which are clicky and provide some nice feedback but tend to shift the earbud around with minor discomfort. You also don’t get multipoint pairing with the Sport X10, but at their price point, that’s understandable.

What to consider before buying the best headphones for working out

You could take the best headphones to the gym, but you would probably have very sweaty ears and potentially ruin your precious investment. Heck, even some of the best Bluetooth earbuds might not be suited for more than a brisk stroll. So here is what to think about before clicking “add to cart” on the best headphones for working out and going all in on that next set:

Sweat level

Sweating is a normal part of any workout, but if you tend to sweat more than the average person while you exercise, you should consider a pair of headphones with an Ingress Protection rating of at least IPX7. Most of the headphones on our list are designed with that level of waterproofing, including the Jabra Elite 8 Active and SHOKZ OpenRun. If you sweat a lot, you’ll probably also want to steer clear of over-ear designs, which can heat up your ears and exacerbate the problem.

Workout intensity

If you do CrossFit or other forms of intense workouts, choose earbuds that use an ear hook or another type of external fastener to ensure that they don’t go flying. We like the Powerbeats Pro earbuds for heavy exertion, though the soundcore by Anker Sport X10 is an inexpensive alternative.

Charging capacity

If you use your headphones frequently, have limited access to charging capabilities, or just find yourself constantly running devices on low battery, picking a set of headphones with a high battery capacity can increase the likelihood that they’ll be ready come workout time. The 8-hour single charge and 30-hour charging case with the Jabra Elite 8 Active are the best we’ve tested in the battery life department, though our budget pick, the soundcore by Anker Sport X10, also performs well.

Situational awareness

If you spend lots of time exercising near traffic or in busy locations, it’s important to maintain a good level of situational awareness for your own safety. Many headphones include a transparency mode that allows you to hear your surroundings in addition to your music, including the Apple Beats Fit Pro and the Jabra Elite 8 Active. For maximum situational awareness, nothing beats the open-ear design of bone-conduction headphones, and we prefer the SHOKZ OpenRun.

FAQs

Q: How much do headphones for working out cost?

Headphones for working out cost between $70 and $200, depending on features.

Q: Is it OK to sweat with headphones?

It’s generally OK to sweat with headphones as long as they were designed with some measure of waterproofing. The easiest way to tell if your headphones are waterproof is by looking for an IP rating in their specs—anything above IPX4 should be just fine for everyday workouts. If you sweat a bit more than average, it might be safer to choose something around IPX7 or higher. All of the picks on our list, except for the JBL Live 670NC, are water-resistant to fully waterproof.

Q: Are bone-conduction headphones good for working out?

Bone conduction headphones are very good for working out thanks to their open-ear design that keeps you fully in touch with your surroundings. Runners and cyclists are particularly good candidates for using bone-conduction headphones due to their proximity to road traffic, though anyone can benefit from the increased situational awareness that these designs provide.

Q: Do noise-canceling headphones work in the gym?

Noise-canceling headphones work in the gym to an extent, but not every pair of ANC headphones is created equal. The best headphones for canceling out human conversation and ambient music that we’ve tested include the Apple Beats Fit Pro and the Jabra Elite 8 Active, both of which are aided by their secure earplug designs to deliver passive and active noise canceling at the same time.

Final thoughts on the best headphones for working out

The best headphones for working out will fit securely in your ears or on your head while delivering great sound and a good level of situational awareness. We love the Apple Beats Fit Pro for its overall sound quality and secure fit. If you need the longest and most reliable battery performance, the Jabra Elite 8 Active and JBL 670NC are the best earbuds and over-ears for working out, respectively. And if you want the best situational awareness possible while cycling and running, the SHOKZ OpenRun bone conduction headphones and the surprisingly immersive Bose Ultra Open Earbuds have our vote.

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