Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon veteran, music can be the perfect companion for your workouts and a good beat can help you push yourself to the limits. The best headphones for running and working out should have great stability and not fall off or out of your ears. Sports headphones should also be comfortable, easy-to-use, and compact enough to carry around when you take them to the gym or go for a jog.
So far, we've reviewed 377 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out you can buy in 2019. Check also our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out, the best wireless earbuds for running, and the best headphone brands.
The best wireless headphones for running that we’ve reviewed so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re well-made with a comfortable, stable fit. They have a braided cable and magnetic earbuds that snap together for easier cable management. They also have an IPX7 rating, so they should be waterproof, but we don’t have a test to confirm this yet.
These headphones are similar to the Jaybird Tarah, but with a significant improvement to their battery. The battery life is over 13 hours, which is more than double that of the original Tarah. Overall, they sound pretty similar, but these headphones have better treble, which is great if you like to listen to more vocal-centric pop or rock music while working out. They lend well to a variety of genres. Their compatibility with the Jaybird MySound app makes them even more versatile since you can EQ their sound any way you want.
Unfortunately, these headphones can’t connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously like the Tarah can. They also have a proprietary charging cradle, which is a bit restrictive. Thankfully, they have better latency performance, so they shouldn’t be too bad if you like to watch videos on the treadmill. Overall, these are the best headphones for working out we've tested, but some may find them a bit expensive. If you don’t mind the difference in battery, then it’s worth checking out the Tarah as well.
If you find our top pick too expensive, then consider the JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless. They’re not customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless, but are also a great option for running. They go for around the same price as the Jaybird Tarah and, although they don’t feel as well-built, they use a regular micro-USB cable to charge, which is more convenient. They have a stable, comfortable fit and sound decent too. Their audio reproduction is pretty good, which makes them well-suited for a range of music genres, like hip-hop, rock, or even audiobooks or podcasts.
Unfortunately, they don’t have a companion app and are only rated IPX5, so you won’t be able to EQ them as easily as the more waterproof Jaybird. That said, they have much better noise isolation and are usually quite a bit cheaper, so they’re worth considering, especially if you don’t want to blow your budget on sports headphones.
If you don't like the fit of in-ears and prefer over-ear headphones for the gym, then we recommend the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. They’re definitely not as breathable or as stable-fitting as the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but their over-ear fit is tight enough to keep them secure while running. They have great battery life and a decent bass-heavy sound. The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless and the cheaper Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have more features and are more customizable options thanks to their app support, but they're not as comfortable.
The excellent quick charge feature of the Beats is also a lifesaver if you're about to hit the gym and forgot to charge them overnight. All-in-all, these are worth considering if you prefer wearing over-ears while being active. If you prefer on-ears, then consider the JBL E45BT, but they’re not as comfortable.
The best truly wireless earbuds for working out that we’ve tested so far are the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They’re well-designed, comfortable in-ear headphones with a very stable fit that’s great for sports. They have a comfortable ear-hook design that helps keep the earbuds securely in place and feel well-built overall.
They have great audio reproduction with excellent bass that will help keep you pumped throughout your workout. They sound pretty well-balanced too, so whether you like running to dubstep or indie rock, they shouldn’t disappoint. Their 11-hour battery life is very good, especially for truly wireless headphones, and they charge in under an hour, which is excellent if you need to give them a quick charge before you hit the gym.
Although the Powerbeats feel well-built overall, they’re only rated IPX4 for light water resistance. We don’t test waterproofing internally yet, but the JBL Endurance Peak are rated IP56 which suggests that they have better water resistance. The Peak are cheaper, but are also less comfortable and easy-to-use, which can matter quite a bit when you’re working out. All-in-all, the Powerbeats Pro are great sports headphones that are easy to recommend.
If you prefer more customizable truly wireless earbuds, then get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They don’t fit as comfortably as the Beats Powerbeats Pro, but their mobile companion app provides lots of neat customization features. They’re a great option to use inside a crowded gym since they block a lot of noise. They have a 5-hour battery life that should last your whole workout, and their provided charging case gives you two additional charges, so they should stay charged all day if you place them in their case when not in use. They have some fun sports-oriented features in the app.
Unfortunately, they have a rather bulky earbud design that can be a bit uncomfortable for some. The JBL UA True Wireless Flash are a similarly-designed alternative that most people will find more comfortable. They’re not customizable like the Jabra, though, and their battery performance isn’t as good. Overall, the Elite Active 65t are among the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested and are a great choice for sports.
If the Jabra Elite Active 65t are out of your price range, take a look at the SoundPeats TrueFree. They’re not as well-built as the Jabra, but they still have very good build quality, especially considering their cost. They’re actually more comfortable and have an even more stable fit.
Unfortunately, they sound rather mediocre, especially in the treble range. While their bass-heavy sound may be great for fans of house and EDM, they’re not well-suited for more vocal-centric music, especially since you can’t EQ their sound. Their battery also doesn’t last as long. That said, they’re a fraction of the price of the Jabra and are definitely worth considering if you like their sound profile and don’t want to drop big bucks on sports headphones.
If you’re trying to keep your fitness gear expenses to a minimum, the best Bluetooth headphones for running and working out in the budget category are the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. They’re very comfortable for in-ear headphones, with a flexible ear-hook design and quick-cinching adjustable cable clip that help ensure a great stable fit. They’re a very good choice for athletes who don’t want to spend a fortune on sports headphones but are still looking for great value.
These headphones have great deep, thumping bass to keep you pumped during your toughest workouts but sound balanced enough to be suitable for casual use too. They have a 12-hour battery life, which should last you multiple sessions at the gym, and they charge in under 2 hours.
On the downside, these headphones aren’t customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro or the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They also don’t have any power-saving features, so you’ll want to make sure to turn them off when they’re not in use or else their battery will continue to drain. The Anker SoundBuds Curve are very similar and are generally a little cheaper, but the Spirit X are supposed to be more sweat-proof (although we don’t yet have a test for waterproofness to confirm this). They’re both very good sports headphones, but the Spirit X give a slight edge for fitness enthusiasts.
If you like sports headphones with ear-hooks for added stability but want a more neutral sound, then get the JBL Endurance Sprint. They’re not as comfortable as the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless, but they have a more balanced sound profile. They have outstanding audio reproduction, especially for budget in-ears, and are very well-suited to virtually all genres of music, as well as podcasts and audiobooks.
Although some may prefer their touch-sensitive control scheme over the in-line remote of the Anker, it can be a bit too sensitive at times and tends to register unwanted commands at times. That said, the JBL Endurance Sprint are still very good sports headphones, especially due to their rubberized design and matte finish that make them feel fairly premium for their price.
If you mostly run outdoors and need to be aware of traffic, then get the AfterShokz Trekz Air. They’re not typical wireless sports headphones; they sit on your temples and use bone conduction to send vibrations, so you feel bass instead of hearing it. This feature is also the reason why they sound better than what we measured. They do not sound quite as good as regular wireless earbuds, but should be good enough to get you pumped when running and for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
They are great for running outdoors, since your ears are wide open and nothing blocks ambient noise. Runners or cyclists can be aware of everything surrounding them while having a background track at the same time. They are very comfortable, since they don’t enter your ear canal, and they have a lightweight design.
Unfortunately, they aren’t the most portable headphones because of their odd shape that doesn't fold. The headband is flexible and might fit in the looser pockets of gym shorts, but you won’t be able to cram them in your jean pockets. On the upside, they are stable enough for running and have a rubberized build that’s rated IP55.
If you’re looking for discreet sports headphones that are open enough for you remain aware of your surroundings but have a more traditional earbud fit, then consider the Jabra Elite Active 45e. Their semi-open earbud design lets in lots of ambient noise so you can hear what’s going on around you while still listening to your favorite tracks. They feel well-made, with a great IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. While they have a very complete control scheme, they can be a bit difficult to use on-the-go and don’t fit everyone equally well. That said, if they do fit you well, they’re a good alternative to bone-conduction headphones for outdoor running.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for running and working out to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for sports/fitness headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and where you use the headphones will matter more in your selection.