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The 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

While most people prefer earbuds for sports, many find over-ear headphones more comfortable for light and moderate 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.

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 should take extra care if you decide to use them while working out or running. Keep an eye on their performance, and give them lots of time to air out between training sessions.

We've tested over 330 over-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for running and working out. If you want more fitness audio options, check out our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for running and working out or the best headphones for running.

  1. Best Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

    The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are the best over-ear headphones for working out we've tested. These sleek and premium headphones have a stable, comfortable, and decently breathable fit that's suitable for tough sessions at the gym. Although they're a bit bulky, they have an intuitive touch-sensitive control scheme that's easy to navigate mid-workout, as well as an active noise cancelling (ANC) system that blocks a great amount of the background noise in a crowded gym. There's even a transparency mode that lets you hear ambient noise and pay more attention to your surroundings during a run down a busy road. 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.

    Out of the box, they have a bright and well-balanced sound profile suitable for most audio content. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app has a few EQ presets to help you adjust them to your liking. However, if you don't need to fine-tune your sound and own an iPhone, you may want to check out the Beats Studio3 Wireless instead. These over-ears have a W1 chip, which lets you seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. They also come in more colors and are more comfortable than the Sennheiser. However, their ANC doesn't perform as well, and they lack sound customization features.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

    At the upper mid-range price point, you can expect to find headphones with somewhat similar features as their premium-end counterparts, but with some compromise in performance and overall feel. While the JBL Live 660NC Wireless are the best over-ear workout headphones in this range, their noise cancelling system doesn't block out as much background noise as the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless, and they aren't as comfortable. However, these headphones still feel sturdy and stable thanks to a good build quality and high clamping force. They also feature an 'Ambient Aware' mode that lets in background noise for better awareness during a workout outside.

    These over-ears have almost 26 hours of continuous battery life, so you don't have to charge them frequently. The extra thump and punch from their bass-heavy sound can help keep you pumped up during a long run, and if you prefer a different sound, you can fine-tune them to your liking using their companion software's parametric EQ and presets. They also have physical controls, which feel tactile and are easy to use while you're moving.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

    For headphones that won't break the bank and will stay on during your workout, the Razer Opus Wireless 2021 are the best we've tested in the mid-range price point. With a lower cost comes fewer features, and unlike the higher-end JBL Live 660NC Wireless, they only have EQ presets and don't support multi-device pairing. However, these features aren't necessary for the gym, and if you don't mind their simpler design, these over-ears have a comfortable and stable fit suitable for workouts. Although they're mostly made of plastic, they also have a great build quality and feel sturdy.

    These headphones have a warm sound profile that delivers some extra boomy bass. The manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours continuously, but we measured over 52 hours, which exceeds expectations. Their ANC system can also help block some background noise, like music from a gym's sound system. If you're exercising outdoors, they have trouble tackling bass-range noise like the rumble of passing vehicles, but the included 'Ambient Mode' lets you better hear your surroundings without needing to take off your headphones.

    There are two variants: the 2020 and 2021 models. The 2021 model stealthily replaced the previous model, but there were downgrades, like a less neutral sound profile and worse noise isolation performance by their ANC. To know which model you have, you can check your unit's serial number via the manufacturer's 'FAQ' page.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

    If you need something quick, simple, and cheap for the gym, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are the best over-ear workout headphones for budget-minded users. Although they're not as well-built or stable as the Razer Opus Wireless 2021, they're still worth considering if you're looking for more affordable over-ears. They have over 32 hours of continuous playback time, so they can easily last through multiple long workouts without an issue. Thanks to their excited sound profile, the extra thump, kick, and boom they give to audio can also help keep you pumped up at the gym. While they don't have a companion app or many control customization options, their bass effect feature can add extra rumble and warmth to your audio.

    These over-ears have an ANC system that does a good job of blocking background noise. Their comfortable and lightweight design is well-suited for the gym, but their plastic build feels cheap, and the hinges feel easily breakable. They can also move around your head if you're moving vigorously, ruining a workout if you have to keep adjusting their fit and positioning.

    See our review

  5. Most Comfortable Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out

    What sets the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless apart from other picks on their list is their amazingly comfortable and lightweight fit. There's plush padding around the ear cups and on the headband, reducing the chances of fatigue if you're wearing them for a long workout. While they aren't as stable as other picks on this list, like the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless, and can fall off your head during a run, they'll stay in place while lifting weights or riding a stationary bike, making them well-suited for most gym activities. They also have physical controls that are easy to use.

    Like most other Bose headphones, they have an excellent ANC system that can help cut down noise at the gym, as well as an 'Aware Mode' that plays background noise alongside regular audio content for better environmental awareness during a workout outside. With the ANC on, they last over 21 hours continuously, and they have an auto-off timer if you forget to turn them off. Their neutral sound profile is well-suited for different audio content, but you can tweak them to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They leak audio at high volumes, which may bother others around you.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Jabra Elite 85h Wireless: The Jabra Elite 85h Wireless are well-built noise cancelling headphones with easy-to-use physical buttons. However, they aren't as comfortable as the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. See our review
  • Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless: The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are premium over-ear headphones with a rich feature set, great build quality, and long battery life. However, they have a less stable fit than the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless: The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are Bluetooth-enabled over-ears that improve on the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless in most areas, with longer battery life, more effective noise isolation feature, and better build quality. However, they're also bulkier and not as stable on the head. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 12, 2023: Made a quality of life update for better clarity and readability.

  2. Oct 27, 2022: We've replaced the TREBAB Z7 Pro Wireless with the Razer Opus Wireless 2021 as the TREBLAB aren't currently available. We've also removed the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless from Notable Mentions as they're currently not available.

  3. Sep 13, 2022: We've renamed this list's categories to better reflect what's available at different price points. However, there hasn't been a change in the actual picks, only in name and order. We've also cleared the Notable Mentions of any picks that are out of date.

  4. Jun 01, 2022: We've added the TREBLAB Z7 Pro Wireless as 'Most Durable Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out' as they're IP certified, which is very uncommon for over-ears.

  5. May 06, 2022: Added the Razer Opus Wireless 2021 to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wireless over-ear headphones for 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 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.

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