Update, September 1, 2020: This list was updated to include the Bose SoundSport Free in the honorable mentions section.
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.
Best true wireless workout earbuds:
- Jabra Elite Active 75t
- Jaybird Vista
- Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100
- Beats Powerbeats Pro
- JLab JBuds Air Icon
Jabra Elite Active 75t
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 not just durable, though; no, they function smoothly too. 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.
Jabra Elite Active 75t microphone demo:
Additionally, autoconnect 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 it’s important for you to connect to two devices at a time, get the Jabra Elite Active 75t.
Jaybird has some of the most attractively designed workout earbuds on the market right now. The Vista earbuds use proprietary wing tips 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.”
Jaybird Vista microphone demo:
Emphasized bass response is emblematic of workout earbuds but the Jaybird Vista true wireless workout earbuds take a different approach: midrange frequencies receive the most emphasis, making vocals stand out. If this isn’t your preferred sound signature, fear not. You can easily create and apply custom EQ presets via the free Jaybird app. In fact, you can even test out other athletes’ EQ settings. This is a really neat way to make an ordinary function a social one. These IP66-rated earbuds are tough, functional, and cheap. JLab provides a vast assortment of ear tips, so you can create a proper seal for the best bass response and clarity. If you exercise outside, then Be Aware mode is something you’ll often use: it amplifies external noise while playing your music.
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100
If you want the safest, most durable true wireless workout earbuds, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 is it. These IP57-certified ‘buds feature ear tips deliberately designed to allow the ingress of external noise. This is even more effective than JLab’s Be Aware mode. Unfortunately, this also makes the earbuds less versatile as you may not always want to hear your surroundings, but it’s invaluable for outdoor athletes. Each earbud has a holographic panel. The left earbud’s panel is touch-sensitive and enables volume controls. The low-end is remarkably exaggerated but auditory masking makes it difficult to hear the full effect, which is probably for the better anyway.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
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.
Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone demo:
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.
JLab JBuds Air Icon
True wireless earbuds tend to be pricier than their standard wireless counterparts. That’s where the JLab JBuds Air Icon come in. These IP55 earbuds aren’t as bulky as the original JBuds Air and remain stable during all sorts of workouts. The case has an integrated USB charging cable, so all you need is a charging brick or laptop to keep you powered up. Standalone battery life has vastly improved, granting you 5 hours, 7 minutes of playtime before needing to pop them back into the case. Sound quality isn’t the best but connection strength is reliable, thanks to the new dual connection system.
JLab JBuds Air Icon microphone demo:
These are our picks for the best true wireless workout earbuds right now. We’ll be sure to update this list as more true wireless workout earbuds hit the market.
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 the longevity of its products.
- Bose SoundSport Free: The SoundSport Free earbuds fit well, despite their comically bulky size. Sound quality is some of the best you’ll find when it comes to workout earbuds.
- Google Pixel Buds (2020): Just like the AirPods Pro, these earphones boast an IPX4 rating and rely heavily on software to optimize the user experience. You’re afforded hands-free access to Google Assistant, and cutting-edge features like direct, live Google Translate.
- 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 and Samsung Galaxy Buds: These headphones remain some of our favorite in the bunch, specifically for Samsung users. It affords a streamlined user experience much like the AirPods do with iPhones, or the Google Pixel Buds on Android phones. Microphone quality is very good with the Plus model, and Samsung is fastidious about releasing software updates.
What you should know before buying
- A good fit can make a huge difference. If you’re using the right ear tips, you may hear excellent skull-shaking bass, but if they don’t properly fit your ears, it could result in disappointing bass and lackluster clarity.
- 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.
- All workout earbuds must be treated with a water-repellent coating if not given an official IP certification. If you’re using headphones without water-resistant features, you run the risk of short-circuiting them.
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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