While most people prefer earbuds for sports, many find over-ear headphones more comfortable for light exercise. It can be difficult to find the best over-ear headphones for the gym, though. They usually don't fit securely enough to stay in place while training and make you sweat more than usual. However, there are still a few Bluetooth options that could be a decent option for working out or running.
Keep in mind that most over-ear headphones aren't designed to withstand heavy physical activity - regularly working out with them could result in issues not covered by the manufacturer's warranty. None of the over-ears in this article are designed for sport, so you have to take extra care if you decide to use them while working out or running. Keep an eye on their performance, and make sure to give them lots of time to air out between training sessions.
We've tested over 290 over-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out to buy. Also, check out our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for running and working out or the overall best headphones for running.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are the best over-ear workout headphones that we've tested. These sleek and premium headphones have a stable, comfortable, and decently breathable fit. Since they have a wireless design, you also don't have to worry about them getting snagged on your workout equipment by accident.
Out of the box, they have a bright and well-balanced sound profile suitable for most audio content. That said, if you prefer a different sound, their companion app has a few EQ presets to help you adjust them to your liking. These headphones also have an active noise cancelling (ANC) system, which can be handy if you work out in a noisy gym. As a result, they can block out a great overall amount of blocking out background noise. They even deliver over 21 hours of continuous battery life and have a standby mode to help conserve battery life when you're not using them.
Unfortunately, they have a somewhat bulky design. They're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, so you may need to adjust their fit, seal, and positioning to achieve a more consistent sound each time you use them. However, these Bluetooth headphones have a stable, breathable fit and long continuous battery life, making them the best wireless over-ear headphones for working out that we've tested.
If you prefer headphones with physical controls over a touch-sensitive surface, try the Beats Studio3 Wireless. While their sound profile isn't as neutral as the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless, and they lack sound customization features, the Beats have physical buttons that provide good feedback. They also have a more comfortable fit, feel well-built, and their battery supplies roughly 23 hours of continuous playback time. Thanks to their W1 chip, you can seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. Their dark sound profile also adds boom to your mixes, which can help keep you pumped up at the gym. However, some users may find that mixes sound a bit muddy.
Check out the Sennheiser if you're looking for over-ears with a better noise isolation performance and a more customizable sound profile. However, if you prioritize comfort or physical controls, consider the Beats instead.
The best over-ear headphones for running that we've tested are the Razer Opus Wireless. These Bluetooth headphones have a sturdy-feeling high-grade plastic construction that feels like it should endure minor bumps without much of an issue. They also feel very comfortable on your head and do a good job staying in place if you wear them while running or jogging. Depending on your usage habits, they also supply more than 32 hours of continuous runtime, so they shouldn't need recharging very often.
Out-of-the-box, they have a very well-balanced sound profile, so they should suit whatever kind of content you enjoy listening to during your workout, whether that be EDM music or an audiobook. However, you can adjust that to your liking via their in-app graphic EQ. While their ANC system does a remarkable job of filtering out background noise, which could be helpful if you want to run on a treadmill in a loud gym, they also have an adjustable ambient mode to help you keep tabs on your surroundings when jogging outdoors.
Unfortunately, their integrated microphone delivers mediocre overall performance, so they might not be the best option for taking calls while you're on the go. They're also a little on the bulky side, which can make carrying them around when not in use a bit of a hassle, though they do have a sturdy feeling carrying case, and you can fold them into a more compact shape. Overall, their solid build quality, comfortable fit, and wide range of sound customization features help make them some of the best headphones under $200 that we've tested.
The best budget over-ear headphones for working out that we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600. These wireless headphones have a lightweight construction and a decently stable fit, so you should be able to wear them without worrying about having them fall off while you're running. They're also breathable, especially by the standards of a pair of closed-back over-ears, though your ears are likely to sweat if you wear them during really strenuous workouts.
Their slightly bass-heavy default sound profile is a good fit for genres like EDM or hip-hop, though this overemphasized low-end response doesn't completely overwhelm more delicate genres. They also feature a built-in 'Bass Boost' EQ preset if you're the type to want even more thump and rumble in your music to stay motivated during workouts. Their 17-hour-plus battery life should also be more than enough for you to go a couple of days without needing to charge them. They can pair with two devices simultaneously, which is rare for headphones in this price range.
Unfortunately, they feel a bit cheap, mostly as a consequence of their all-plastic construction. They're also somewhat bulky, making them a bit of a hassle to carry around when not in use, and their included soft carrying pouch isn't likely to protect them from drops or bumps. Their audio delivery is very sensitive to their fit, seal, and positioning. Still, they're a solid choice if you're looking for wireless headphones that can cope with workouts and day-to-day life without breaking the bank.
If you're trying to stay focused on your workout by blocking out the chatter of other gym-goers as well as clanking of weights, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. These over-ear headphones are bulkier than the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 Wireless and don't feature any multi-device pairing capability, but their ANC feature blocks out a lot more ambient noise, and the headphones themselves feel a little bit sturdier. Their 33-hour-plus battery life is also much longer, so you probably won't need to worry about charging them too often. They also do a decent job of staying on your head and shouldn't fall off while you're running or jogging, but anything more intense than that could cause them to move around. Their bass-heavy sound profile is a good match for listeners who crave a little more thump and rumble in their music to stay motivated, but it could be perceived as overwhelming and muddy by others, and they lack any sound customization features.
Consider the Plantronics if you're looking for sleeker over-ear headphones that won't break the bank, but take a look at the Anker if you want to filter out a lot more ambient noise and prioritize durability.
Oct 12, 2021: Replaced the Beats Studio3 Wireless with the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless as the Sennheiser offer more versatility. Made the Beats an 'Alternative With Physical Controls'. Also moved the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Aug 16, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Jun 17, 2021: Verified picks to ensure that the best products are being recommended and that they're in stock.
Apr 20, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Feb 19, 2021: Added Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless to Notable Mentions. Verified that the rest of the main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best over-ear headphones for the gym 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 of over-ear headphones, ranked by their suitability for sports and fitness. 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.