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 the 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 extra care must be taken 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 260 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 best over-ear headphones for working out that we've tested are the Beats Studio3 Wireless. These Bluetooth over-ears are very comfortable thanks to their lightweight and well-padded design that feels premium and well-built. They fit tight enough to feel secure enough for most workouts, without being so tight that they cause discomfort quickly.
They have a good ANC (active noise cancelling) feature, which is helpful if you like to have some peace while you're at the gym. Their sound profile is versatile enough for most genres, but they have a good amount of extra bass to help keep you pumped up and motivated. They also leak very little audio, so you won't bother people nearby, even when you're blasting your favorite workout playlists.
Unfortunately, like with most over-ears, they don't breathe very well, and will likely cause you to sweat more than usual. While this may not be an issue for a quick run on the treadmill, it may be a concern during more intense workout routines. Also, despite feeling quite stable, they're a bit on the bulkier side and may slide around a bit while laying down or going upside down. That said, their comfortable and premium design, combined with good stability, makes them a decent gym companion.
If you need something with a good stable fit and simple physical controls for working out at the gym, but don't want to spend a fortune, then get the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. They don't feel quite as well-built or comfortable as the Beats Studio3 Wireless, but they're a lot more affordable and still have a decent design for exercising at the gym. They also have a more versatile, neutral sound profile that's better suited to a wider range of music, though some people might find it a bit bass-light for working out. Their ear cups are also a bit small and shallow, which might not fit everyone equally well, especially if you have larger ears.
Get the Beats if you're concerned about fit and don't mind spending a bit more money; however, if you'd like something more affordable, you'll want to consider the Plantronics, which are some of the best over-the-ear headphones for the gym.
The best over-ear headphones for running that we've tested are the Razer Opus Wireless. These wireless over-ears are very comfortable and clamp your head tight enough to stay on your ears while you're out on a run. Their touch-sensitive control scheme is pretty easy to use, so you should be able to adjust while you're out and about without losing your rhythm.
They have a very well-balanced default sound profile that should suit most kinds of audio content, though their companion app does grant you access to a graphic EQ and audio presets to fine-tune your own listening experience. If you like to tune out the outside world while you're running, their ANC system should have no trouble filtering out the rumble of passing vehicles or the chatter of other pedestrians. On the opposite side of things, their pass-through mode lets in more ambient noise if you feel like you need to keep tabs on your environment.
Unfortunately, their integrated microphone does a mediocre job of separating speech from background noise, so they might not be the best option for making calls as you run outdoors. They're also a little bulky, which can make it a bit of a hassle to carry them around when not in use. Still, thanks to their rich feature set and well-balanced sound profile, these headphones are also among the best over-ear headphones we've tested.
The best over-ear headphones for working out that we've tested in the budget range are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 Wireless. These Bluetooth-enabled over-ears are a decent option for sports and fitness, with a lightweight construction, fairly stable fit, and a control scheme that puts all essential functions within easy reach, so you don't lose your rhythm while making an adjustment. Their wireless design also eliminates the risk of an audio cable snagging on something and pulling the headphones from your ears.
They offer impressive overall value too, with support for multi-device pairing, allowing you to stream music from your phone during a run and then listen to content on your computer once you get back home without having to re-pair the two devices. They also have a well-balanced sound profile that should suit whatever kind of content you like to listen to while working out. While they don't have a companion app, they do have a built-in 'Bass Boost' EQ preset if you're the type that needs a little more thump and rumble to stay motivated.
On the downside, these headphones feel a little cheap and flimsy. They also block out very little noise, which could be annoying if you want to filter out ambient noise at the gym to stay focused. Otherwise, their rich feature set and affordable price make them a good option for workouts
If you want to block out the clanging of weights at the gym, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. These wireless over-ears are heavier and bulkier than the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 Wireless, but they're equipped with an active noise cancelling feature that allows them to filter out a lot more background noise, allowing you to stay focused on your workout. At over 32 hours of continuous playback time, they supply nearly twice the battery life of the Plantronics, and they feel more comfortable as well. They have a very bass-heavy sound profile, which is good if you like to listen to genres like EDM and hip-hop to stay motivated. Unfortunately, they don't offer any sort of multi-device pairing feature.
Get the Plantronics if you want lighter, more portable headphones, but consider the Anker if you want a pair of headphones that can block out more ambient noise.
12/22/2020: Replaced Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless with Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. Added Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless to 'Notable Mentions'.
10/27/2020: Slight changes to the text for accuracy and consistency; no change in product recommendations.
08/28/2020: Replaced Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless with Razer Opus Wireless for 'Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running', added JBL CLUB ONE to 'Notable Mentions'.
05/01/2020: Structure changes to better distinguish between the best over-ears for working out and for running.
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.