Update, September 2, 2020: This list was updated to include information regarding what you should know before buying workout earbuds.
Exercise is exhausting but finding the right workout earbuds shouldn’t be. Today we’re looking at the best workout earbuds to keep you sweating through your circuit routine. Regardless of what kind of athlete you are, there’s something here for you.
Best workout earbuds:
1. Jaybird X4
The Jaybird Tarah are the best all-around workout earbuds for most people: they’re affordable, durable, and comfortable. Jaybird provides listeners with most of the benefits afforded by the X4 earbuds for significantly less. These earbuds are IPX7 water-resistant. If you accidentally drop them in a pool, they’re no worse for the wear. The control module is slightly larger than the company’s flagship earbuds, which makes the buttons easier to operate while mid-workout. The angled nozzles and hybrid wing tips yield a secure fit during most vigorous activity. Regardless of what your sport of choice is, the Jaybird Tarah earbuds are an excellent gym companion.
2. Beats Powerbeats Pro
Beats hit the nail on the head with the Powerbeats Pro, a more premium version of its Powerbeats earphones. The ear hook design allows for a snug, yet comfortable fit. Plus, you can sweat to your heart’s desire since these meet IPX4 certification criteria. Like the AirPods, these use Apple’s H1 chip for hands-free access to Siri. They also use Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and are especially power-efficient when paired with an iOS device.
Battery life is great, too. You’re allotted almost 11 hours of constant playback before the earbuds need to be recharged via the USB-C case. If you don’t have much time to spare, you can quick charge them: five minutes in the case provides 1.5 hours of battery life. Said case holds an extra 1.5 charges, so you should rarely find yourself in a pickle. If you’re an iPhone user, these are hands down the best workout earbuds available.
3. Bose SoundSport Free
These were one of the first noteworthy true wireless sport earbuds. The SoundSport Free made headlines for their bulky size, but behind the bulk is a pair of top-tier earbuds. The StayHear+ wing tips ensure a secure fit despite the housings’ size. These are IPX4 certified are made from a high-quality plastic, similar to the standard wireless SoundSport model. If you download Bose’s free app, you’re afforded extra features like “Find my earbuds” and installing firmware updates. It’s a nice touch, but not necessary unless you’re particularly forgetful.
Sound reproduction emphasizes low and high notes more than midrange frequencies. This can be both good and bad: it leads to a fun, motivating sound but if you’re listening to these outside of the gym, you may notice that it’s hard to hear vocals relative to thumping basslines.
4. JLab JBuds Air Icon
True wireless earbuds are extremely popular among athletes due to their lack of cables. You’re able to move about freely without worrying about getting snagged on someone. The downside to this new technology is that it’s usually more expensive than standard wireless alternatives. JLab successfully marries function and affordability in the JLab JBuds Air Icon. These retail for $59 and feature an IP55 rating, denoting dust and water-resistance. Admittedly, sound quality isn’t the best, but it doesn’t need to be for workout earbuds. Connection strength is reliable with these Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds, which is arguably more important than sound quality with Bluetooth earbuds anyway. Athletes on a budget need to get these, and if you can afford more flexible spending, the Jabra Elite Active 75t are an excellent pick.
5. Jabra Elite 45e
Speaking of Jabra, the Elite 45e is a fabulous unit. Proprietary ear tips allow you to remain aware of your surroundings, which is particularly important for outdoor athletes. Connection strength is great in part due to the Bluetooth 5.0 firmware. What’s more, just like some of the other earbuds mentioned here, the Jabra Elite 45e support quick charging. Plugging them in via microUSB cable for 15 minutes grants one hour of listening.
These wireless earbuds are IP67 dust and water-resistant. In fact, you can submerge these to depths of one meter for up to 30 minutes. They aren’t for swimming though. If you want to listen to music while in the pool, you’ll need designated earbuds with onboard storage. If you tend to exercise outside, these are a safe choice.
These are our picks for the best workout earbuds you can sweat in. This category is constantly being updated with new options, so we’ll be sure to keep you informed as more options become available.
What you should know about the best workout earbuds
A pair of earbuds is only good if they stay in your ears, this is especially true when it comes to workout earbuds. It’s important to take the time and find a proper fit; this makes all the difference in comfort and sound quality. When you have a poor fit, bass reproduction is severely degraded because of outside noise.
Sound quality aside, anyone who plans to sweat profusely while wearing earbuds should seriously consider a dedicated pair that can resist dust, water, or both. No one wants their headset to short-circuit mid-workout because it lacks an official IP rating.
Another feature to look out for that may not be so obvious is fast charging. Traditional wireless earbuds usually afford at least 10 hours of playback on a single charge, and true wireless earbuds range from 4-10 hours depending on the model. Even still, it’s no fun to arrive at the gym only to realize your earphones’ batteries are drained. Headsets with 5 or 10-minute fast charging specifications are great for these instances, and can really save a workout.