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 your ears.
Sports headphones should also be comfortable, easy-to-use and compact enough to carry on your person when you take them to the gym or hit the road on a bike.
So far, we've reviewed 166 headsets and below are our recommendations for the best sport headphones you can buy in the early months of 2018.
Best Sports Headphones: Jaybird Freedom
Sport headphones in this price range are usually very compact and easy to carry around on your person, wherever you go. They also have a stable, comfortable fit and a decent sound. Premium workout headphones also come with additional features, like different stability tips, a case, wireless audio, or active noise canceling.
Of the 166 headsets we've tested so far, the best wireless running headphones are the Jaybird Freedom. They are thinner and lighter than the Jaybird X3 or the X2, are easy to carry on your person, and they will fit in any pocket or bag. They're also more comfortable than the rest of the X series and benefit from the Jaybird My sound app, so you can customize the sound with an equalizer to better suit your taste and preferences. Unfortunately, they have a slightly bulky and cumbersome charging clip that limits the use of the headphones while charging.
Feature-Packed Alternative: Jaybird X3
If you're going to be using your sports headphones throughout the day, then get the Jaybird X3 instead. You can use them for longer continuous listening sessions, unlike the Freedoms which have to be recharged every 4 hours with the bulky charging clip.
These wireless workout headphones also have a better suite of features for both Android and iOS users than the BeatsX, and the MySound app lets you customize the sound to match your preference and taste. They're a bit pricier than the Freedoms or the Beats X, but it's a great option if you're looking for compact, sturdy and stable headphones to use casually and take to the gym.
Best Budget Sports Headphones: SoundPeats Q9A
In this price range, workout headphones are compact and portable. They're also comfortable and maintain a stable fit during exercise. However, their build and sound quality won't be as good as some of the higher end models.
The best budget headphones we recommend for running and working out are the SoundPeats Q9A. These Bluetooth sport headphones are a bit better than the Anker SoundBuds Sport and the Mee Audio X6 Sport for running, thanks to their incredibly stable ear-hook design.
They will rarely fall off your ears even during intense workouts. They're not as well built as the pricier options on this list and do not last as long on a single charge, but they should have enough battery life for most training regiments.
Versatile Alternative: Samsung Level U Pro
If you want a more mixed usage headphone for both sports and casual everyday use, then the Samsung Level U Pro are a great and affordable option. They're not as stable as the SoundPeats Q9A since they don't have an ear-hook design and they're also not as portable, but their neckband and in-ear fit are good enough for running and working out.
On the upside, in most of the other tested categories, the Level U Pro are better than the Q9A. They have a more balanced sound, loads of features and a decent battery life and wireless range. They even have an app for Android users that gives a lot of customization options, which is uncommon, especially in this price range.
Better battery alternative: MEE audio X7
If you prefer ear-hook designs for sports, then consider the Mee Audio X7. They're a bit pricier than the Soundpeats Q9A but remain within the budget range for most wireless sports headphones. They also have a slightly better sound and a longer lasting battery life that should be good enough for working out and casual use.
Their sound quality tends to be a bit sharp which won't be for everyone. They also have fairly large earbuds, which are decently comfortable but stick out of your ears a bit which is not ideal. On the upside, they're fairly easy to use and more portable than the Samsung Level U, which you can't fold and put in your pocket.
- Beats BeatsX. Versatile wireless running headphones with a good sound and flexible around the neck design. A bit limited for Android users. See our review
- Jaybird X2. The older iteration of the Jaybird X3. These wireless workout headphones are cheaper and perform better overall but do not benefit from the MySound customization options. See our review
- Anker SoundBuds Sport. Good in-ear running headphones with a stable wireless design. Poor sound quality may be a deal breaker. See our review
- Bose SoundSport Wireless. Stable wireless design and a comfortable earbud fit. Hard to use control scheme and prone to sweat damage. See our review
- Beats Solo 3. An on-ear fit for those who do not like in-ears. Great sound and build quality but a bit tight and they get a bit warm when running. See our review
- Bose SoundSport In-Ear. Stable headphones for runners. Good sound and an open fit to monitor your environment. See our review
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear. Great sound in a simple and straightforward in-ear design. Lacks a few features and stability tips for sports and workouts. See our review
- Bose QuietControl 30. A versatile sports headset with excellent noise canceling, a balanced sound and a stable and comfortable earbud fit. A bit too pricey for sports use. See our review
- Mpow Jaws. An, even more, budget alternative to the Samsung Level U Pro, slightly worse sound and a bit less stable which is not ideal for sports. See our review
- MEE audio M9B. An affordable and portable wireless in-ear. Good headphones for working out but the bulky controls and average sound will not be for everyone. See our review
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 (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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.