While most people prefer earbuds for sports, many find over-ear headphones more comfortable for light exercise. It can be hard 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 310 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 best headphones for running.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are the best over-ear workout headphones 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 also 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, they 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 we've tested are the JΒL Live 660NC Wireless. These well-built over-ear headphones have a stable fit and should easily stay in place during moderate exercise like a run. They have an 'Ambient Aware' mode that lets you hear your surroundings while listening to audio, which is nice if you run outdoors.
They have easy-to-use physical controls that let you cycle between ANC and 'Ambient Aware' mode on the fly, as well as turn up the volume, change the track, and answer calls. Their default sound profile delivers a little extra punch and boom to help keep you pumped up while you exercise, and their more than 24 hours of continuous battery life means you don't need to recharge after every run.
Unfortunately, you may find they clamp a little hard onto your head, especially if you wear them for hours at a time. Their ANC also struggles to block out bass range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines, although that may not matter as much if you want to hear your environment during a run. Overall, their stable fit and long continuous battery life make them a solid choice if you prefer over-ear headphones for running.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 are the best over-ear headphones for working out that we've tested in the budget category. These wireless headphones have a lightweight and decently stable design, so they shouldn't move around too much during a run in the park. Their easy-to-use controls let you change the track or turn up the volume without pulling out your phone during a workout.
They have a slightly bass-rich sound profile that delivers extra thump and punch to music. If you like an even more bass-heavy sound, they have a 'Βass Βoost' preset that you can turn on and off with a button on one earcup. They also offer about 17 hours of continuous battery life, so you don't need to recharge them after every workout.
Unfortunately, they don't have ANC and don't passively isolate you from very much noise, so they aren't ideal if you're looking for headphones that can reduce distractions at the gym. Otherwise, if you prefer over-ear headphones for working out, these are a budget-friendly option.
If you want headphones that help you stay focused on your workout by blocking out ambient noise, you may prefer the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. These wireless over-ears have a bulkier design than the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 and are usually priced a bit above $50, but they have an ANC feature that blocks out a good amount of ambient sound. They also have a longer, roughly 33-hour continuous battery life and a similarly comfortable and decently stable fit, so they shouldn't fall off your head during a run. Their excited sound profile delivers a lot of extra thump and kick in the bass range, which fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop may appreciate. Unfortunately, it may be overwhelming for some, and they don't come with any features like an EQ or presets that you could use to customize their sound.
Go for the Plantronics if you want less expensive over-ears or a sleeker design, but consider the Anker instead if you want headphones with good noise isolation.
Jan 04, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.
Dec 08, 2021: Βecause the Razer Opus Wireless aren't currently available, replaced them with the JBL Live 660NC Wireless as the 'Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running'. Also added the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless to Notable Mentions.
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.
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.