Whatever your activities of choice, these buds and Exercise headphones will soundtrack your path to fitness. That’s because they resist sweat, have Bluetooth wireless convenience and a fit that can stand up to the movement inherent in running, gym workouts and other physical jerks. We’ve listed all the lowest prices on the best running headphones below so you can be sure you’re getting a good deal on your model of choice.
Best Exercise Headphones of 2020
Although people tend to search for ‘best exercise headphones’ (or ‘headphones for exercise’), what follows is also a list of the best headphones for workouts and the very best earbuds for gym, sports, cross-fit, cycling… you name it.
Naturally, a lot of you are working out at home more, but a pair of the best workout headphones is still a better option for most folk than using a speaker, and where outdoor exercise continues to be possible, they’re more essential than ever.
1. Beats By Dr Dre PowerBeats
The true wireless Powerbeats Pro a big step up for the Apple-owned headphone brand. They have their limitations (see: lack of noise-cancellation, limited noise isolation and IPX4 rating), but they are Apple’s most premium workout buds. Powerbeats is that they’re only IPX4 splash-resistant. This means they can take a bit of sweat, maybe an accidental splash from a water bottle or someone jumping in the pool, but they’re not water-proof. That means you need to be careful if you bring these with you to the beach and you should keep them as far away as you can from a pool party – if they stay submerged for more than a few seconds, they probably won’t ever work the same.
2. Beats urBeats Earphones: Best Wired Headphones For Jogging
The Beats urBeats are simple and straightforward in-ear headphones. They don’t leak much, they’re easy to carry around and stable enough to use while jogging. Unfortunately, they don’t have the most durable design and their sound quality is overly bass-heavy, which may be a deal-breaker for some. The Beats by Dr Dre urBeats are basic in-ear headphones that do well in most use cases but do not have the best sound for critical listening.
3. Beats By Dr Dre PowerBeats Pro
You can’t beat these Beats. They share a name and, superficially, an appearance with previous Powerbeats buds but these true wireless powerhouses absolutely crush their predecessors when it comes to quality of sound and security of fit.
The only downside I can think of to Powerbeats Pro is that the battery case is considerably larger than most rivals. However, with 9 hours of life per charge and the ability to give them a charge that lasts a few hours, by plugging them in for just a few minutes, the case is a less essential item than it is with other correct wireless buds.
For sheer sound quality and the way they are all but impossible to accidentally dislodge from your ears, Powerbeats Pro is the gold standard of wireless buds for gym and running. Buy some, would be my advice. Or if you can’t quite afford them, get the new Beats by Dr Dre Powerbeats at #1 – they don’t quite have the all-conquering freezy vibe of the Pro but the audio as good and stay in place just as well. Sure they have a wire, but what’s one little wire between friends? do not have the best sound for critical listening.
4. SoundCore Spirit Sports By Anker
The Beats are pretty high-end and tailored for those who value good audio quality and fine engineering. The Anker Soundcore Spirit Sports are a bit scrappier in the musical department, but easily as good when it comes to running and workout essentials such as sweat-proofing, secure but comfy fit and solid battery life, and they can be had for less than 30 quid. What can you get for 30 quid nowadays? Practically nothing!
The killer features here, besides the value for money, are the excellent fit (at least in my ears, although a variety of ear tips mean they should work for most people) and the fact that they’re not just sweat-proof but actually submergible in seawater. There’s no little cover over the USB charging socket, as on most such headphones, because the socket itself is water-resistant.
Now personally, I would not advise going swimming in the sea in these because they will eventually corrode, but this level of protection does inspire confidence they will survive multiple sweaty workouts. I’ve had supposedly gym-friendly headphones literally explode because sweat got into the charging port, so know of what I speak, here. Sound quality-wise these are nowhere near as good as the Beats, Optoma Nuforce or Jabra buds.
5. Jabra Elite Active 65T
If you’re after a great true wireless headphones for running, but can’t stretch to Powerbeats Pro, Jabra’s Elite Active 65t is your new workout bud. It’s also great for gym workouts, cross-training, cycling, spinning, rope thrashing and anything else where you get sweaty. Since I started using them, I would now not willingly go back to even the most minimally wired Bluetooth earphones (the excellent Optoma buds below, for instance).
For workout purposes the 65t sound great. At launch they sounded a bit ‘off’ but Jabra has honed the sound with a seemingly never-ending sequence of software updates since then. They’re sufficiently bassy, great with pounding, workout-friendly music, and have a reasonable amount of musicality too. I’ve used them many times as headphones outside of a gym/run environment. There is actually an accelerometer in these, for counting reps and working in conjunction with Jabra’s own fitness app.
6. Optoma NuForce Be Sport4
BE Sport4 is great; easily good enough to use as day-to-day headphones, thanks to fantastic clarity, support for both AAC and Apt-X (giving improved audio quality on Apple and Android devices respectively), well-deployed bass and 10-hour battery life (up from 8 on the previous model). They also offer a very secure yet comfortable fit.
Downsides? If you prefer to be able to hear the world around you whilst exercising – I don’t – these might not be to your liking, because their noise isolation is very good. See further down this buying guide for some earphones that let more sound filter in. The choice of tips includes different size buds (so you don’t have to use the slightly horrific-looking ‘double-penetrator’ pictured above) and in-ear hooks, which strike just the right balance of really good anchoring, without sacrificing comfort.
The price is very reasonable given the quality of the Optoma NuForce BE Sport4. If you aren’t ready to embrace true wireless, they’re the best headsets for running and gym that you can get, and also a pair of headphones you can happily use when doing nothing strenuous at all.
7. RHA TrueConnect
The RHA TrueConnect look quite like Apple AirPods, and aren’t a million miles away in terms of comfort. However, they go into your ear rather than sitting just outside, and have sweat-proofing for all your run/cycle/gym needs. What you end up with is a pair of running headphones that sound at least as good as the Bose SoundSport Free (#5), are just as workout-friendly, but look less peculiar, and are not as susceptible to wind noise.
There’s a lack of overt bass, but I’ve found there’s enough to keep you motivated whilst listening to ‘Techno Workout Playlist 57’, and mid-range and treble sparkle more than on the Jabra’s. One way these £109 AirPods-a-likes are not like actual AirPods is that pairing is very occasionally a bit clonky – if you return them to the case and try again, it tends to work the second time. The case itself is a little bit fiddly too, but again not enough to make the TrueConnect lose my love.
8. SoundCore Liberty Neo by Anker
The Anker SoundCore Liberty Lite are decent headphones for everyday casual use, and their truly wireless design is great for sports. They block out ambient noise well and will be suitable for commuting. Unfortunately, they have very high latency, so you’ll notice a delay when playing video content. Also, they have a very short battery life, which is disappointing. On the upside, their audio reproduction is decent and should satisfy most users. They also have an excellent wireless range and their small, breathable, and portable design is great for physical activity. The Anker SoundCore Liberty Lite have decent audio reproduction and most people will be satisfied with them. They also have good noise isolation performance, which makes them suitable for commuting or at the office. Their truly wireless in-ear design is very stable and breathable for sports. Unfortunately, they have very high latency and you’ll notice a delay when watching TV or when gaming.
9. Bose SoundSport Free
The way the Bose SoundSport Free buds protrude from your ears gives a look that is somewhat less than icy cool. But if you work out a lot, you probably value performance over appearance, and are well used to looking a tad ‘off-beat’. And there is no doubt that at the gym, the SoundSport Free perform.
Sonically, these are a better true wireless option than the slightly artificial sounding Jabra Elite 65t. Like them, they give you five hours of battery life, with 10 more hours provided by recharging in their case. A quick-charge facility gives you 45 minutes use from 15 minutes charging.
10. Monster Isport Victory Wireless
The Monster iSport Victory Wireless headphones are an interesting counterpoint to the NuForce BE Sport3 and Sennheiser CX Sport headphones. Overall there’s not a great deal to tell between them, and your choice could boil down to whether you value sound quality or firm fit, and what this week’s best prices on each happen to be.
Thanks to a wide range of tips and wings, the iSport Victory can be made to sit pretty much unshakeably in your ears. As such, although they are slightly less comfortable than their NuForce and Sennheiser rivals, they are arguably better suited to really vigorous exercise. They also pair via Bluetooth more quickly and reliably than the NuForce, with a clear voice announcing the battery level (high, medium or low) as well.
On the other hand, this is less musically gifted than its rivals, with Monster going for a more standard ‘pumping’ sound. But then, to be fair, most people don’t listen to Vivaldi or Andrew Bird at the gym, and they do sound suitably ‘motivational’ when pumping out bass-laced power tunes. I just wouldn’t use them for general, non-exercise-related listening, which I do with the NuForce.
11. Bose SoundSport Wireless Review
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good wireless sports earbuds. They’re comfortable and should be stable and breathable enough to take with you to the gym. Their sound profile is well-balanced, and their semi-open design gives them a better soundstage than most in-ears. Unfortunately, their 6-hour battery life is only mediocre and they don’t block as much noise as other in-ear/earbuds which is not ideal for commuting. Their build quality also isn’t as durable as some of the some other Bose designs. On the upside, they’re very portable, and they include a decent carrying case as well.
The Bose SoundSport Wifi are decent mixed usage headphones. They’re geared for sports with their compact wireless style but don’t isolate sufficient for loud environments, which makes them a little less suitable for commuting. On the upside, they have a good wireless range, a comfortable earbud fit that you can wear for hours, and a well-balanced sound that’s good enough for most listeners.
12. AfterShokz Aeropex
The AfterShokz Aeropex are Bluetooth bone conduction headphones. Due to their unique design, which uses vibrations instead of speakers to produce sound, they don’t go on or inside the ear in any way, and the earbuds simply rest on your temples. Due to this, they don’t block any ambient noise, making them a good choice if you like to always have background music or podcasts playing while still being able to carry on conversations, or if you run outdoors and want to stay aware of your surroundings. Overall, they’re an unique pair of headphones that won’t be for everyone, but for specific uses, they may be exactly what you’re looking for.
The AfterShokz Aeropex aren’t recommended for mixed usage. Due to the unique style of these headphones, they may not be for everybody. Their recorded audio frequency results aren’t good, though in real-world scenarios they should sound better. Most people should find them comfortable, but don’t block background noise. These are good if you want to will have music or podcasts enjoying while still having the ability to communicate with those around you.
13. Jaybird Vista
The Jaybird Vista are very versatile truly wireless headphones that have a decent sound profile. These are great for sports thanks to their compact, portable, and breathable design. They also have stability fins to help you get a more secure fit. They are rated IPX7 for water resistance, and their audio reproduction can easily be EQ’ed inside their app. However, their microphone performance is quite poor and their control scheme is limited. Nevertheless, the Vista is great for active people who are looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds that can be used in various situations.
Their sound profile is quite versatile for a wide variety of genres, and they can simply be EQ’ed of their app. Their small design is very portable and easy to carry around. Nevertheless, their passive isolation overall performance isn’t the best, which might not be ideal for commuting due to the deep rumble of an engine. On the upside, they block a decent amount of work environment noises. They are also great for sports, as intended, because of their balance fins and breathable and transportable style.
14. Sony WF-SP800N
Sony’s WF-SP800N earphones offer solid ANC and several other features that ought to put them on the radar of any prospective Airpods Pro buyers. At $200, the wire-free in-ears are aimed at gym-goers and runners, with a better water-resistance rating than the AirPods and a super-secure fit.
Sony WF-SP800N’s IP55 rating is strong enough to protect against dust and water projected from any direction, so rain and sweat won’t be an issue. Sony includes four pairs of silicone eartips, two pairs of ear fins, and a USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable (there’s a USB-C port on the back panel of the charging case).
A single tap on the touch-sensitive surface of the left ear’s outer panel cycles through ANC modes. The right ear’s panel handles playback, track navigation, and call management, depending on how many times you tap. There’s no volume control on the earpieces out of the box, but you can use the app to swap out one of the default controls in order to add volume.
Tapping and holding on the right ear will default to summoning Siri on iOS devices, but the earphones can be programmed to work with Alexa or Google Assistant. Setting them up is easy, and then a simple left ear tap summons Alexa, for instance-but this replaces the cycling through of ANC functions. You can restore those to the proper ear, but then you lose playback settings, so there’s a bit of sacrifice to adding Alexa or Search engines Assistant handle. On the plus side, Alexa had no issues hearing our commands once we set it up.
15. Jabra Elite 75t
The Jabra Elite 75t are a decent pair of truly wireless in-ears and are a good upgrade to the popular Jabra Elite Active 65t. They have a similarly well-built design, although the Elite 75t’s earbuds are noticeably smaller, giving them a much more comfortable fit. Their case is also smaller, easier to open, and provides three additional charges, giving them a total of 27 hours of battery life, which is very good for truly wireless headphones. Their bass has more thump than previous models, but unfortunately, they don’t isolate sound nearly as well. Overall, they’re a well-rounded couple of truly cellular in-ears that should be good for most uses.
The Jabra Elite 75t are decent truly wireless in-ears for mixed usage. They’re one of the more comfortable truly wireless in-ears that we’ve tested so far, and with their 7-hour battery existence, you should be able to use them for almost an entire day. Their isolation performance is decent, and they should help block out noisy coworkers in the office. They also feel quite stable and can be a good choice to use while working out. Their sound profile, while versatile for most genres, should especially please fans of bass, but if you need a to tweak it, their companion app offers a 5-band EQ.
16. Beats PowerBeats Pro
Beat’s latest true wireless earbuds, the PowerBeats Pro, are something special – they’re supremely comfortable, sound decent and seem to never, ever fall out, which is why we think they’re the best running headphones of 2020. They’re ideal for running thanks to their close-fitting ear hooks and IPX4 sweatproof rating, as well as nifty additions like the pressure-reducing micro-laser barometric venting hole, their long battery life, and their superior sound quality. Where we found the Powerbeats Pro to perform their best is in near-quiet environments, like your office, your home or your gym – because you can use hands-free Siri, they’re great for setting timers in between sets and placing calls to friends and clients. But take them outside for a jog, and they’ll still do the trick, because of their energetic audio.
17. Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones
If the main aspect of finding the right running headphones for you may be the audio quality, these wireless earbuds from Sennheiser is actually a fantastic choice. With a lively, bass-heavy demonstration, and a comfortable fit, the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones really can bolster your operating performance through sound quality alone. They don’t come with a heart rate monitor, however, the inclusion of hearing fins and sporty neon colour scheme makes them perfect for casual workouts. With a battery life of six hours, they’re ideal for your average working session, as well as your daily commute – but marathon runners would want to look elsewhere.
18. AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones
The AfterShokz Trekz Air are unique headphones designed for outdoors sports like running, cycling and for people who want to hear everything around them. They are not your typical headphones that send music inside your ears, but they use bone conduction to send vibrations through the temples, so you feel the bass instead of hearing it, which is why they don’t measure as well as they actually sound. These are very niche headphones for outside athletes who want to be able to monitor their surroundings, but still have background music while being physically active. They’re mediocre for any other usage. The AfterShokz Trekz Air were designed as sports earphones, and their unique bone conduction technology and openness make them a bad choice for office work and commuting. Their audio profile is actually better than what it measures, but they are not meant to be critical listening headphones.
20. Adidas RPT-01 Wireless On-Ear Sport Headphones
If you’re looking for some rugged running headphones, the Adidas RPT-01 could be a good fit – sure, not everyone wants to wear on-ear earphones while working out, but the breathable design of these Adidas cans means you won’t overheat.
The knitted headband and ear cushions can even be removed and washed after particularly sweaty sessions. Plus, with a 40-hour battery life, they’ll last you for multiple marathons.
While the sound quality isn’t the finest we’ve ever heard, the RPT-01s are suitably loud and bassy, which is something you’ll want to push you through that final lap. They’re certainly the best running headsets we’ve tested with this form factor.
21. Jaybird X4 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
The Jaybird X4s also manages to keep the series’ surprisingly good sound. These earphones are certainly fitness first, but that doesn’t mean the other things people look for in a pair of earphones – you know, like music – have fallen by the wayside. Jaybird’s excellent app also provides easy EQ customization as well as the ability to make your own sound profile, with various ear tip sizes to boot. A great all-round choice for runner who don’t want to skimp on sound – or be wary of the weather. Alternatively if you’re after an even more premium experience, the Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds offer higher-quality audio and materials for a somewhat higher $159 price tag. Although we’re still big fans of the Jaybird X4 headphones, take a look at the Jaybird Vista true headphones further down the list – they’re our top pick if you are in the market for a pair of true wireless earbuds.
22. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
If you need your power song to push you through that extra mile, then the Bose SoundSport might give you that more force you’re looking for. With the unmistakable sound signature of the audio heavyweight, these lightweight earbuds feature a comfortable and secure fit thanks to the StayHear+ tips.
For runners with NFC-enabled smartphones and music players, the SoundSport buds can be paired in the blink of an eye. The Bose Connect app also allows songs sharing with more than one pair of earbuds, ideal if you’re out running with a buddy (and we love that they name which device is connected, something that’s great if you’re carrying around a phone, media player and tablet).
The SoundSport range comes in two flavours. For an extra $50 you can pick up the Pulse edition which features a built-in heart rate monitor. Depending on your training method, this could be a worthwhile investment as we’ve found their heart rate monitor to generally be fairly precise from the ears with these.
23. JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds Review
The Under Armour True Wireless Flash earbuds are a solid entry into the true wireless market, with strong audio, ergonomic design, and a hefty battery life (25 hours, including the case’s four extra charges) to really make your purchase last throughout the week.
There’s also two smart noise technologies that help these earbuds stand out. Tapping the left earbud once will activate Talk-Thru, which quietens audio for momentary conversation or when you need to be on alert, while Ambient Aware (tap the remaining earbud twice) recreates outside noise using external microphones.
UA has gone for stamina rather than convenience, though, and the charging case can feel like a bit of a brick to carry around – especially during exercise. You also won’t get any speed charging features here, meaning you shouldn’t wait until five minutes before a workout to plug the case into the wall. But for the sporty among you, the pros should certainly outweigh the cons.
24. Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds
There’s wireless, and then there’s true wifi, and the top-end Jabra Elite Sport are the latter. Beyond the cordless design, the headline feature is the Hear Through tech that allows you to control the way the buds let in or filter out ambient noise – with just a quick button press.
The on-the-go charging case provides 13.5 hours of battery life in total, but with just 4.5 hours available from a single charge, slower marathon runners will probably want to jog on – although, for 99% of your training, this won’t be an issue.
Although not marketed for swimming, they’re also IP67 certified water-resistant. The companion app furthermore utilizes the built-in heart rate monitor to enhance your workouts, along with the internal accelerometer to monitor your reps of squats, lunges and the like. These are expensive buds, but the amount they can do is incredible – for many, they’ll be your go-to choice for your new running headphones.
25. Beats PowerBeats 3
The PowerBeats 3 running headphones are yet another pair of Beats headphones that aim to keep your tunes pumping while you keep your legs pumping. They may come with the high price that is a signature of the Beats and Apple brands, but they offer a lot for runners, and especially for Apple users.
With a 12-hour battery life and a quick charge function that can add an hour of battery life in a few minutes, the PowerBeats 3 should rarely run out of juice in the middle of anything short of an insane ultra-marathon. They’re also ready for all the sweat from your brow, and can even handle a run in the rain.
While they may not top some of the other wireless headphones on this list for features, the PowerBeats 3 earphones will truly shine for major Apple lovers. They feature Apple’s W1 chip, which makes the Bluetooth pairing process with multiple iCloud-linked devices incredibly easy in addition to boosting wireless range.
The Beats Powerbeats 4 could be coming soon, too – and they could make perfect running headphones. After some digging around in iOS 13, a new icon for the upcoming buds was discovered, which shows they’ll sport the same workout-friendly design as the true wireless Powerbeats Pro.