The 7 Best Music Players for Working Out to Buy in 2018

Listen to your tunes as you break a sweat

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

As anyone who works out knows, music simply makes the experience of exercising better. Research shows that listening to your favorite tunes while you pound the pavement or lift weights makes vigorous movement less painful. No matter what form of exercise you do, it’s important to have a ​well-curated playlist ready the next time you work out—and the first step is finding the right music player.

Whether you want to use your phone to blast tunes at the gym or you’re looking for a more compact, easy-to-carry MP3 player, we’ve rounded up the best you can buy right now. Though MP3 players are becoming harder to find these days, they’re often lightweight, durable and easy to carry when you run, making them a better choice for many athletes than a smartphone. Here are our top picks, so you can go ahead and get your heart pumping to a good beat.

Best Headphones: Sony Walkman Wearable MP3 Player

The Sony Walkman Wearable MP3 Player is essentially a pair of earbuds with an MP3 player built in. They’re incredibly easy to wear and can store up to 4 GB of music. They weigh just over an ounce, so you’ll barely notice them when you’re running or swimming laps (yes, we said swimming). Unlike your expensive phone, this MP3 player is waterproof up to two meters, so you can swim to your favorite cardio playlist. The Sony connects with a USB and has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours.

Gone are the days of worrying about tangled headphone cords or dropping your cell phone during a run. Owners say the Sony Walkman MP3 Player provides a rich, versatile sound, and makes running so much better.

Best Budget: SanDisk Clip Sport 8GB MP3 Player

If you’re on the hunt for a basic, entry-level MP3 player that’s easy on the wallet, the SanDisk Clip Sport MP3 Player is a great choice. This super lightweight, one-ounce MP3 player can either be clipped onto your pants or shirt or easily tucked into a pocket while you run. It can hold up to 8 GB of music (with the ability to add even more via a memory card) and features a visual easy-to-navigate screen. It also comes in eight colors​ and even has an FM tuner so you can listen to the radio if you haven't updated your playlist recently. The rechargeable battery offers up to 25 hours of playback time.​​

Owners love the SanDisk because it offers optimal playback time on a single charge, and it's comfortable even on long runs. Reviewer​s say it can stand up to some abuse, even when it's dropped, though some mention that its performance can freeze up when it’s filled to capacity.

Best Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular)

There are many reasons to love the Apple watch, but audiophiles will find it to be one of the best smartwatches on the market. This Apple Watch Series 3 has both GPS and cellular, so you can access your favorite Pandora station or Spotify playlist anywhere you are. Pair this smartwatch with a set of great ​Bluetooth headphones and you’ll have no excuses to get off the couch. It has a dual-core processor that makes it one of the fastest smartwatches out there, and it's swim-proof in a pool or an ocean up to 30 feet. We love the Apple Watch because it offers the utmost connectivity during long runs, without the hassle of carrying your phone. You can even customize the watch band to your liking.

Gym enthusiasts and techies alike love the Apple Watch. Most owners say the battery lasts up to 18 hours, though some note that heavy usage will cause it to die sooner. If you want a great, versatile music player that’s also so much more, this is it.

Best for Home Workouts: Sonos One

So you’ve decided to get fit from the comfort of your living room? Spice up those at-home workouts with the Sonos One. This Alexa-enabled speaker offers robust sound and allows you to play music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, and more, all without lifting a finger. Streaming a workout on YouTube? Change the song without missing beat. The Sonos One comes in white or black and connects via WiFi or through an ethernet cable. Sonos One even gets smarter over time, getting to know you and your taste.

Set up the Sonos One in your favorite workout room, and those grueling cardio hours will go by even faster. Owners love the sound quality Sonos One provides, and though Alexa doesn’t have as many features as it does on Amazon-made devices, it can do everything you need to power your music.

Best for Water: Underwater Audio Waterproof iPod Shuffle

While a few music players on our list are waterproof, the Underwater Audio iPod Shuffle is a favorite among avid swimmers. This nifty MP3 player has everything a real iPod Shuffle has, with the added feature of being waterproof up to three meters. It comes with a pair of swimbuds and can hold up to 2 GB of music. The built-in clip adheres safely and strongly to a swim cap or goggles, and reviewers say it stays in place even during a long set of laps. The battery can last up to 15 hours, and hands-free voice activation allows you to change the song without stopping your workout.

Amazon reviewers say the Underwater Audio Shuffle has made them a better long-distance and interval swimmer. It comes loaded with workouts by Olympic swimmer Rebecca Soni, which owners love, but many use it for their own interval playlists.

Best Phone: Apple iPhone X

If you’d rather stick to running with your cell phone, there’s nothing wrong with that. The Apple iPhone X is our pick for the best phone for streaming music, no matter your workout. This iPhone X holds 64 or 256 GB, both large enough to hold all your music playlists. It’s also splash and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your water bottle or keeping it next to a pool (just don’t submerge it). The 12 megapixel wide-angle and telephoto camera is perfect for all of those long-run selfies. The new Face ID feature is great for easy access when you’re in the middle of working out, and this Amazon-fulfilled iPhone is unlocked, so you can use it with any provider.

The iPhone X is a favorite among audiophiles. The Bluetooth earbuds are great for movement, and owners say they stay in place and remain comfortable for long periods of time.

Best Accessory: VUP Running Armband

If you decide to run with your phone, a running armband is a must. The VUP Running Armband works with most 4” to 5.5” smartphones, including the iPhone X, and keeps your phone secure no matter how hard you work out. It’s made of Lycra and Neoprene, making it breathable and comfortable even when you break a sweat. One of the best features is the 180-degree rotation that allows you to view your phone without removing it or taking it off. It has a slot to hold your key and fits arms comfortably up to 14”.

Running with a cell phone can be stressful, but the VUP armband is secure enough to keep your expensive tech in place all workout long. Reviewers say it’s comfortable and well-made, the two key components of a great armband. They also love that you can wear it on either your forearm or upper arm.

Was this page helpful?