Working out without wires is preferred by most athletes, and with the increasing popularity of true wireless earbuds, there exists a slew of great choices to accompany you on your next workout. We’ve broken down our list of best true wireless workout earbuds into a few categories to satisfy nearly any type of athlete.
Buying the right true wireless workout earbuds for your needs
No matter what flavor of exercise you prefer, all workout earbuds should be treated with some kind of water-repellent coating or merit an official IP certification. If you’re using headphones without water-resistant features, you run the risk of short-circuiting them, which leaves you with a very small paperweight.
Another thing to take into account is fit. This is hard to get right since you can’t just walk into a store and try on the earbuds: that would be unsanitary. Fortunately, most earbuds include a variety of wing and ear tips that you can experiment with to find the proper fit. Not only does this keep the earbuds in place during all sorts of movement, but it can also improve sound quality and isolation.
If you’re an indoor cardio enthusiast and like to stream videos while exercising, look out for wireless options with high-quality Bluetooth codec support, which includes AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC, to name the most popular.
Best true wireless workout earbuds:
- The Jabra Elite Active 75t is a great pick for anyone in need of versatile, comfortable earbuds that can withstand a drop in the pond.
- The Jaybird Vista 2 feature active noise-cancelling earbuds and USB-C case, both of which merit a dust and water-resistant rating.
- The Bose Sport Earbuds sound great and are comfortable for hours of listening.
- The Beats Powerbeats Pro are the best workout earbuds for anyone who carries an iPhone.
- The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are affordable workout earbuds with some premium features.
Jabra Elite Active 75t: The best for most athletes
If you’re looking for an all-around stellar pair of true wireless workout earbuds, look no further than the Jabra Elite Active 75t. These IP57 earbuds are both dust and water-resistant. They’re more than durable, though, and Jabra supplied them with a substantial firmware update which enabled active noise-cancelling.
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These use Bluetooth 5.0 firmware which increases power efficiency and connection strength. Battery life is great for true wireless ‘buds: you get just over seven hours of playback before needing to pop them back into the compact case. The case supports quick charging, a must-have for workout headphones, and 15 minutes of charging supplies one hour of playback.
Additionally, auto-connect is quick and reliable; plus, removing the earbuds from your ears automatically pauses media playback. The lack of high-quality Bluetooth codec support can be forgiven, seeing as these perform consistently well and can often be found on promotion. They’re also one of few true wireless headsets that supports Bluetooth multipoint. If you need to connect to two devices simultaneously, get the Jabra Elite Active 75t.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the Jabra Elite Active 75t.
Jaybird Vista 2: The best style
Jaybird has some of the most attractively designed workout earbuds on the market right now and the Jaybird Vista 2 improves upon the popular Vista workout earbuds. Just as before, these earbuds use proprietary wingtips instead of a bolder ear hook design. The structured silicone tips work incredibly well and contribute to the earbuds’ small footprint. This makes it easy to wear them in the office, gym, or train without feeling like your earbuds scream, “I’m about to go for a jog.”
The newest feature that Jaybird brings to the table with its latest flagship: active noise-cancelling (ANC), making them a great pick for commuters and athletes alike. Outdoor athletes who need to remain aware of their surroundings can either enable ambient sound mode, which amplifies background noise through the earbuds, or opt for mono listening with either ‘bud.
Jaybird improved the durability of both its case and earbuds, the former of which sports an IP54 rating which complements the earphones IP68 rating and MIL-STD-810G certifications.
Bose Sport Earbuds: The best sound quality
The Bose Sport Earbuds are by far and away the most comfortable workout earbuds around, thanks to Bose’s StayHear Max ear tips. The attached wing tips keep the earbuds in place without putting excess pressure against the ear. These are IPX4-rated, so they can withstand just about any workout you put them through.
The sound quality is excellent, and the vocals are accurately reproduced. If you’re a basshead, you may find the frequency response underwhelming, but there’s a modest bass boost, which is sure to please most consumers. The four-mic system effectively cancels out background noise like the hum of a microwave or A/C unit.
Battery life isn’t going to blow you away at just over five hours on a single charge, but the case can fast charge the earbuds. All you have to do is place them in the case for 15 minutes, which nets two hours of playtime. The case charges via USB-C but doesn’t support Qi Wireless charging. If you like the Bose Sport Earbuds but want ANC, check out the equally durable Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the Bose Sport Earbuds.
Beats Powerbeats Pro: Best for iPhone owners
These are a prime example of how true wireless earbuds should fit both in and around the ear. The dedicated nozzles are angled, making for a more comfortable fit, while the ear hooks maintain a secure hold around the ear during exercise. Just like the AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro house Apple’s H1 chip for hands-free access to Siri and operate via Bluetooth 5.0. These are some snappy earbuds. The Powerbeats Pro aren’t the most durable earbuds listed, but the IPX4 rating means they can withstand nearly any workout.
Battery life is fantastic. You get nearly 11 hours of playback from these, and just five minutes in the case allows for 1.5 hours of listening. Plus, the case holds an additional 1.5 charges. If you can afford them, the Powerbeats Pro are the best workout earbuds for iPhone users. For listeners who like the idea of the Beats Powerbeats Pro but can’t afford them, the standard Beats Powerbeats are a more affordable option. These don’t use true wireless tech but offer nearly the same functionality as the Pro version with even better battery life.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Beats Powerbeats Pro.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: The best budget pick
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are a very good pair of cheap true wireless earbuds that boast premium features like an IPX7 build. These operate via Bluetooth 5.0 and maintain a strong, consistent connection as long as you remain within the 10-meter wireless range. You can easily achieve a comfortable fit thanks to the wingtips, which look slightly like those found on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.
The sound quality is good for the price, but it can’t compare to something like the Bose Sport Earbuds. Even still, most of us will be perfectly happy with the audibly boosted treble notes and modestly amplified bass notes. The microphone is perfectly fine for personal calls, but it doesn’t do a great job of cancelling background noise.
Although these aren’t the cream of the crop, they are very good for the price, and it’s hard to complain about $50 earbuds that can withstand a dunk into the pool. If you want something with a sleeker design for a similar price, consider the 1More PistonBuds instead.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the Bose Sport Earbuds.
True wireless workout earbuds: Honorable mentions
- 1More True Wireless ANC: Anyone who wants a high-value pair of earbuds that can do a bit of everything should consider these buds. They’re much cheaper than the AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3, are among some of the best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds around.
- Apple AirPods Pro: Apple iPhone owners should get these for the best user experience. Unlike the original AirPods, the Pro model is IPX4-rated. Microphone quality is some of the best around, and the company releases useful software updates to extend its products’ longevity.
- Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: If you’re looking for a solid pair of AirPods alternatives that feature an IPX5 certification, stellar microphone quality, and solid battery life, these buds are a great option for less than $100.
- Jabra Elite 85t: These earbuds aren’t quite as durable as the Jabra Elite Active 75t, and feature just an IPX4 rating, but they’re excellent for most workouts. Plus, they boast top-notch ANC, making them a great pair of versatile earbuds that you can use in the gym or on your next flight.
- JBL Endurance Peak 2: These workout earbuds wrap around the back of your ear, and feature an IPX7 rating. You get a host of comprehensive touch controls as well as full support for mono playback. If you don’t want to exceed a $100 budget, consider the Endurance Peak 2.
- Panasonic RZ-S300W: Its IPX4 rating means this headset can withstand the sweatiest of workouts, so long as it isn’t completely submerged in water. The earbuds are compact and sit comfortably even without wingtips. For essentially the same package but with top-notch noise-canceling, get the Panasonic RZ-S500W.
- Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3200: Much like the BackBeat FIT 3100, this headset is made explicitly for exercise. It’s more expensive, but that affords you better battery life and ear tips that completely seal to the ear. The BackBeat app is feature-packed and functional, which can’t be said for all headphone applications.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: These headphones remain some of our favorite in the bunch, specifically for Samsung users. You get a streamlined user experience much like the AirPods do with iPhones or the Google Pixel Buds on Android phones. Microphone quality is very good, and Samsung is fastidious about releasing software updates.
What makes true wireless earbuds better than traditional wireless headsets?
True wireless earbuds are extremely convenient due to the complete lack of wires. Sure, you could just get a pair of standard wireless earbuds like the Jaybird X4 or Tarah, but some athletes (myself included) still feel encumbered by the cable joining the buds. Not only that, but the carrying cases included with all totally wireless earbuds double as charging cases. This means you’re always supplied with an extra charge or two when out and about.
But aren’t true wireless earbuds expensive?
True wireless earbuds aren’t necessarily more expensive than their wireless counterparts. The technology has advanced rapidly over just a few short years, so we’re able to enjoy cheap, functional options like the JLab Go Air, which costs just $29. In fact, there are so many great options; we’re able to compile a full list of true wireless earbuds under $100.
Of course, the greater your budget, the more features you’re afforded. These perks range from advanced audio engineering, and thus better sound quality, software features with regular, substantial updates, hardware accessories, and more. It’s important to understand your specific needs before diving into the world of true wireless products.
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