One of the keys to finding great headphones is knowing how you’re going to use them. If you plan on wearing headphones when you work out, for example, you’ll want to find headphones that are made specifically for that purpose. Below are a few of the best examples of workout-friendly headphones, ranging from single-purpose earphones to great earbuds that are as great on the treadmill as they are in front of a gaming PC.
Best Workout Headphones At a Glance
Best Workout Headphones Overall
Jaybird’s Tarah Pro wireless earphones sit firmly atop the list of best workout headphones. Great design, comfortable fit, exceptional battery life and a very decent price point make these the best you can get.
Next Best Workout Headphones
If you’re looking for a good set of wired workout headphones, these are the set for you. In-ear buds provide wonderful sound quality, and while it’s not the pinnacle of the possible Seinheiser experience, it’ll make your workouts all the more enjoyable.
The Best Workout Headphones
|Jaybird Tarah Pro||
|Sennheiser CX 5.00G||
|Jabra Elite Active 65t||
|Beats Powerbeats Pro||
|Bose Soundsport Wireless||
|Jaybird Tarah Pro|
|Sennheiser CX 5.00G|
|Jabra Elite Active 65t|
|Beats Powerbeats Pro|
|Bose Soundsport Wireless|
Most people who want workout headphones tend to want a handful of important features. Comfort is one of them, and sound quality is another. Battery life and durability tend to round out the list, alongside features like comfort and connectivity. The good news is that the Jaybird Tarah Pro headphones have all of these features.
With an eleven-hour battery life and excellent sound quality right out of the box, it’s really hard to beat these earbuds. They’re very comfortable and the closed-back design helps to ensure that you won’t lose them when you’re working out. The only real downside to these earbuds is the proprietary charging system, which will stop you from using a trusty micro-USB cable when the unit runs out of power. This is more of an annoyance than a real drawback, though, and most will still find that the pros outweigh the cons here.
- Exceptional battery life
- Very comfortable during high-intensity exercise
The Not So Good
- Proprietary charging system can be annoying
The Sennheiser CX 5.00G Headset is a really good example of what you can get when you pick a set of earbuds that are designed with sound quality in mind. Sennheiser is one of the big names in audio technology, creating the types of earbuds and headsets about which audiophiles go wild. The CX 5.00G is one of the sportiest sets of earbuds that Sennheiser makes, combining superb quality with the durability that athletes prefer.
While most of the best earbuds for working out are designed with high-intensity workouts in mind, these earbuds come from a totally different background. These are the kind of earbuds that are good for just about any activity, ranging from listening to podcasts during a commute to keeping track of enemies during an online gaming session. This requires a greater level of sound quality than most workout headphones provide, but it doesn’t require sacrificing any of the durability necessary for a great workout accessory.
The only downside to these headphones is that you’re not quite going to get the top Sennheiser experience. These are sporty, activity-friendly headphones so they just don’t pack the same kind of power as most of the company’s other headphones. If you want something that’s great for more than just listening to music, though, these might be the headphones for you.
- Good sound quality
- Versatile enough to use for most activities
- Strong and durable
The Not So Good
- You don’t quite get that top-quality Sennheiser sound
- Not wireless
Ease of use is incredibly important when working out. Yes, you definitely want great sound quality and excellent durability, but you really don’t want to have to keep pulling out your phone every time you need to make a change to your settings. The Jabra Elite Active 65t is a perfect fit for those who want to be able to concentrate on what they’re doing instead of checking their phones every five minutes.
Why are these headphones greater? To start, they’re wireless – you’ll never have to worry about getting your headphones tangled up in your equipment while working out. They’re also great because all of the controls for the headphones are on the unit itself, solving the phone problem and allowing you to control your music without ever touching your phone. The headphones are also exceptionally durable, so you won’t have to worry too much if you drop them. If you’re looking for something that excels based on pure utility, you’re not going to find better headphones than these.
- No messy wires to worry about
- Music control on the earbuds
The Not So Good
- Not the highest quality sound
If you’re into high-end earbuds, you already know about Airpods. If you want these convenient wireless earbuds in a form that’s a little more suitable for working out, your best choice will be the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They’re small, easy to wear, and have great sound quality just like Airpods, but they’re also durable enough that you can feel comfortable wearing them during almost any workout.
The first thing most consumers notice with these earbuds is the fit. They aren’t connected with wires, so they have to fit well so they don’t fall out and get lost. A little adjustment and you’ll be sure not to lose them, which is great if you tend to go on long runs. You may have to adjust them a bit, but once you have them in correctly you’ll never have to worry about the earbuds falling out.
The only downside to these earbuds is the price tag. Despite the fact that they perform well, you’re really just paying for the name brand here. Even with that said, though, these are still excellent wireless earbuds for working out.
- Comfortable for long periods of use
- Great sound quality
The Not So Good
- The price tag is a hefty one
If you’re a fan of high-end sound systems, you already know Bose. It is one of the premier makers of consumer sound equipment, ranging from excellent speakers to category-defining headsets. While Bose has largely stuck to headphones that audio fans adore, it does have a workout-friendly model in the Bose Soundsport Wireless headset.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the headset has great sound quality. It also shouldn’t be that surprising that all of the internal audio tech is top-notch. What might surprise you, though, is just how comfortable and durable these headphones really are. Bose has definitely put its engineering skills to the test by creating a set of great wireless earbuds that are perfectly adapted both for listening to music and for working out.
- Top-notch sound quality
- Relatively comfortable due to the good fit they have
The Not So Good
- Music controls aren’t great
- The around-neck wire is low quality
Who Should Get a Workout Headphones?
This question really boils down to whether you should listen to music while working out. And, there are two elements to this: Safety and effectiveness.
Is it safe to listen to music while working out?
For the most part, yes. Listening to music during exercise may reduce your perceptual awareness of the things going on around you, but unless you’re exercising somewhere that poses an inherent safety risk, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Places that pose an inherent safety risk are places like roads and worksites.
If you like to run along footpaths near main roads, cycle on the roads themselves, or workout near worksites, then you may want to choose your workout headphones particularly carefully. In these instances, noise cancelling headphones are not ideal, as they may prevent you from hearing dangers around you (e.g., cars, trucks, machinery etc.)
Is listening to music while working out effective?
This is a more complex and interesting question, with some fascinating answers.
Broadly speaking, listening to music while working out is effective. Research has shown that it can lead to higher-than-expected levels of endurance, power, and strength.
For example, when performing low-to-moderate intensity exercise, such as jogging and cycling, listening to music can reduce your perceptions of the exercise’s difficulty and discomfort, thus allowing you to work out for longer.
In a way, music is very much like a performance-enhancing drug that’s perfectly healthy and legal to use.
Choosing the Right Workout Headphones
Finding the right workout headphones for you will come down to your personal preferences and intended applications. The most important factors to consider are how sweat resistant they are, their controllability, wireless or wired, secureness of the fit, and their battery life.
Not all headphones can handle being continuously covered in sweat. For starters, the salts from your sweat can, over time, corrode certain components of the headphones, rendering them ugly and useless. Second, if water gets into the internal electronic components, it can be game-over for them completely. Therefore, you want to choose headphones that are specifically designed for working out.
Depending on the type of workouts you do, you may want more or less controllability. Some headphones allow you to control your music (turn the volume up or down, skip tracks, etc.) directly on the earphone or neck strap / cord. Others can only be controlled via the device they’re playing from (e.g., your smartphone). If you’re doing cardio like jogging or cycling, you don’t want to have to be pulling out your phone every time you want to skip to the next song. In this instance, look for headphones that are highly controllable. Alternatively, strength training often involves short bursts of activity, followed by rest periods. If this is your preferred form of exercise, controllability may be less important.
Wireless or Wired
Wireless headphones are becoming ubiquitous, owing to the fact that connectivity and battery life technology has vastly improved in recent years. Wireless headphones are certainly ideal for most kinds of exercise, because they avoid the possibility of getting tangled or yanked out of your ears during vigorous movement.
Secureness of Fit
There’s nothing worse than having your headphones constantly falling out or off of your ears. Therefore, you need to choose a product that has a good track record of having a secure fit, and that can be adjusted if they don’t fit your ears perfectly straight out of the box.
Finally, battery life should be a key consideration for those who workout for extended periods (think, a couple hours or more) and are looking at wireless headphones. This is generally only relevant for endurance athletes, and those completing sport-specific training. Nevertheless, a good pair of wireless workout headphones should have a battery life of at least 2 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workout Headphones
Can you exercise with headphones?
Yes, of course you can. As we’ve explained above, listening to music can result in positive performance and emotional effects while working out. Just make sure that you choose a pair that is specifically designed for use while exercising.
Are headphones or earbuds better for working out?
Earbuds tend to be a better option for working out than over-ear headphones. This is because they’re less bulky, less likely to fall out / off your ears, and are more sweat-resistant than headphones.
Well, there you have it: The 5 Best Workout Headphones in 2019
The five headsets above are all great for working out. They combine great sound quality with excellent durability. Each of the headsets is a perfect fit for a certain type of consumer, ranging from those who care more about sound quality to those who just want something that will keep working as long as they are working out. The one thing that holds true for all of them, though, is that they’re worth a look whenever you decide to upgrade to better headphones.