The 10 Best Workout Headphones of 2020

Music is the best motivator

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Our Top Picks
"If vigorous workouts are your speed, Bose's earbuds promise clear, powerful sound and a secure, comfortable fit."
"No need to shell out the big bucks with this option, which gets the job done with its increased bass output and waterproof casing."
"Though not specifically designed for exercise, AirPods Pro are a favorite among athletes for their subtle fit and connectivity."
"If in-ear earbuds aren't your thing, these wireless over-ear headphones provide a cozy fit with a memory foam headband."
"Featuring a situational awareness feature, these earbuds keep you aware of your surroundings while playing your favorite tunes."
"You'll be set with nine hours of listening time, sweat and water resistance, and an anti-slip earhook design."
"Brave the elements with this wireless set designed to handle extreme weather conditions so you can take your workout outdoors."
"If minimal distractions are a priority, Sony's headphones reduce environmental sounds whether you're in or out of the gym."
"Not just water-resistant but fully waterproof, this pick allows you to swim, or float, to your favorite tunes."
"Waterproof, crush-proof, and only five minutes of charging can give you two hours of listening time and customized sound."

Nothing takes your workout to the next level quite like your favorite pump-up playlist, but you typically need a solid pair of headphones to enjoy those jams. If you’re exercising on a regular basis, it’s important to have a set of headphones specifically for this part of your day.

Your workout headphones face off with surprising amounts of sweat, oil, dirt, and dust as you run, cycle, lift weights, and interval train. So, go ahead and pick a particularly resilient pair for your active moments, and save your standard buds for work and leisure listening.

Here are the best workout headphones based on fit, sound quality, water resistance, and more.

Best Overall: Bose SoundSport Wireless Earbuds

In the world of sound, it’s hard to beat Bose. These wireless Bluetooth earbuds provide clear and powerful sound for up to five hours on a single charge and an additional 10 hours when resting in the accompanying charging case. The StayHear+ ear tips keep the buds comfortably in your ears throughout even the most vigorous of workouts, and their Ipx4 water resistance rating suggests that they hold up well to sweat, rain, and more.

If an earbud happens to fall out while you’re running or cycling, Bose’s “Find My Buds” app can help track it. Lastly, they have an integrated microphone that allows you to use them during calls when they’re synced with your smartphone.

Best Budget: Anker Soundbuds Curve Wireless Headphones

Not wanting to spend more than $100 on a pair of headphones? No problem. For an affordable price, these in-ear headphones with ear hooks provide 12 hours of battery life, a water resistance rating of Ipx4 (meaning they’re effectively sweatproof), and decent sound quality.

They aren't truly wireless because there is a single cord that connects the buds along the back of your neck, but some users prefer this style because it makes it easier to avoid losing one of them should it fall off mid-workout.

The ear wings on top of the earbuds make them both secure and comfortable. And the remote control on the connector cord features three buttons that control volume, play, and the activation of Siri or Google Assistant, depending on which one you use.

Best Splurge: Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods aren’t advertised as fitness-specific headphones, but many athletes swear by them for their versatility, connectivity, and overall quality. The small, 100-percent wireless in-ear headphones don’t get in the way when you’re in the middle of a sweat session, and they fit comfortably, securely, and discreetly in your ears.

The Bluetooth connectivity is top-of-the-line, pairing seamlessly with your smartphone every time you use them. And the double-tap feature allows you to quickly shuffle through songs in your chosen playlist without even touching your phone. They also have a water resistance rating of Ipx4, so they are sufficiently sweatproof for most exercisers.

Best Over-Ear: Plantronics BackBeat FIT On-Ear Sport Headphones

If you find in-ear headphones uncomfortable no matter which pair you try, consider this over-ear set from Plantronics. Despite the additional coverage, these headphones are both easy to clean and effectively water-resistant. They are also truly wireless and sync easily with your smartphone via Bluetooth.

The user-friendly controls enable you to change songs, adjust volume, take calls, and use your phone’s smart assistant software without reaching into your pocket. The sound quality is great, especially in the bass department, and you can enjoy up to 18 hours of playback on a single charge. This style of headphones is ideal for low- to medium-impact workouts.

Best In-Ear: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds

On the flip side, if you prefer in-ear headphones when working up a sweat, you can’t go wrong with this completely wireless pair from Jabra. An upgrade to the previous model, these earbuds are more compact and comfortable in design, boast a better battery life, and block sweat more effectively.

They are secure enough to wear during any kind of workout, and their sound quality will keep you motivated through your more tired days. We also love the situational awareness mode feature, which allows enough noise in for you to keep safe tabs on nearby traffic but not so much that you can’t enjoy every beat of your favorite pump-up song.

Best Ear Hook Style: Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones

These top-of-the-line Powerbeats are a fitness favorite for good reason. The adjustable yet secure fit of the ear hooks provides the ultimate comfort and stability while the battery allows for up to nine hours of listening time without the charging case. These entirely-wireless, high-performance headphones hold up against the sweatiest workouts, and they offer excellent sound quality with just the right amount of noise isolation to keep you focused and motivated.

The extended range of their Bluetooth connectivity prevents dropouts and disconnects from the playlist on your smartphone, and the Fast Fuel feature gives the headphones 1.5 hours of life after just five minutes of charging when the battery is low. 

Best Bone Conduction: AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Headphones

Bone conduction headphones are an excellent choice for fitness buffs who want to enjoy quality sound and a strong sense of spatial awareness simultaneously. This pair from AfterShokz ranks high for safety as well as comfort because they are supremely lightweight—less than 1 ounce. You can enjoy high-quality, Bluetooth-syncing sound (with surprisingly high volume for a pair of open headphones) for eight hours in between charges.

Better yet, you don’t need to stress about taking your workout into the elements because these headphones are designed to withstand the most extreme weather conditions

Best Noise-Cancelling: Sony Wireless Noise Canceling In-Ear Headphones

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that will help you really get into your workout zone and minimize all other distractions, try these Sony earbuds. With a water resistance rating of IP55, they are only splashproof and not suitable for sports in wet weather, but they are an excellent fit for indoor strength building and high-intensity interval training sessions.

The wireless Bluetooth design gives you the freedom to move about your fitness space without being tethered to a device, and they pack a nice punch of bass for extra motivation. With the noise-canceling feature enabled, the battery will last up to nine hours between charges.

Best Waterproof: Swimbuds Flip Headphones

From triathlon training to enjoying a more leisurely set of laps, swimming is an excellent workout for the entire body. However, it can be difficult to enjoy your favorite playlist while submerged in a body of water. Enter: the Swimbuds Flip Headphones, a truly waterproof workout solution.

The compact earbuds fit securely in your ears, and they connect to a water-safe MP3 player that you can hook to your goggles strap and control easily with three large buttons. Take a break from your smartphone and lose yourself in your favorite music and exhilarating workout. The MP3 player holds 8 gigabytes worth of data and will last 10 hours on a single charge.

Best for Runners: Jaybird Pro Bluetooth Waterproof Sport Headphones

Jaybird is a favorite brand among avid runners, and the Tarah Pro headphones certainly live up to the hype. With a water resistance rating of Ipx7, they are effectively waterproof and can handle any weather you encounter while logging your miles. They also have a crush-proof design, so if you drop one, you don’t have to worry about them breaking easily.

The sound quality is excellent and can be customized to your specific taste with the Jaybird App on your smartphone. The silicone ear gel pieces give you a secure and sport-specific fit, and just five minutes of charging time can give you two full hours of use.

Final Verdict

While different details matter more to different exercisers, we think the Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds check all of the important boxes: fit, sound quality, and resistance to sweat. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend top dollar on a workout accessory that is just going to get used and abused day after day. Soundcore’s Anker Soundbuds Curve Wireless Headphones get the job done well at a beyond-reasonable price point, so when they wear out, you won’t bat an eye at the task (and cost) of replacing them.

What to Look for in Workout Headphones

Fit

First and foremost, workout headphones need to fit both securely and comfortably in, on, or around your ears. This criterion materializes a bit differently for each individual, but often workout headphones are lightweight and feature fitness-oriented earpiece designs that prevent them from falling off as you sweat and move.

Sound Quality

Your carefully curated music playlist won’t successfully motivate you throughout your workout if the quality of your headphones makes it difficult to hear your favorite songs. Your ideal pair delivers clear sound and blocks out a significant amount of ambient noise simultaneously. 

Water Resistance

Workout headphones are really put to the test when it comes to exposure to sweat (and wet weather elements if you prefer to take your sessions outside). If you want your investment in a solid pair of headphones to last as long as possible, be sure to check their water resistance rating.  

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a former personal trainer, seasoned health writer, and avid exerciser, Alena Hall understands how important it is to pick the right workout accessories for you. She is always exploring the latest and greatest wellness tools, machines, and gadgets. But more importantly, Alena carefully considers the quality and various features that make these fitness products worthwhile investments. 

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