Update, November 23, 2020: This list was updated to include a poll at the end of the article.
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 X4 are the best all-around workout earbuds for most people: they’re affordable, durable, and comfortable. These earbuds are IPX7 water-resistant, so if you accidentally drop them in a pool, they’re no worse for the wear. The control module is large enough so that it’s easy to operate playback controls mid-workout. The angled nozzles and wing tips yield a secure fit during most vigorous activity. Regardless of what your sport of choice is, the Jaybird X4 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 Sport Earbuds
The Bose Sport Earbuds are the company’s long awaited follow up to the Bose SoundSport Free. The new Sport Earbuds are IPX4-rated and operate via Bluetooth 5.1 with new hardware to improve connection stability within the 9-meter range. Each earbud acts as a touch panel, so you can control playback, answer calls, and access your preferred smart assistant, but it’s still pretty limited compared to the competition.
Bose provides three sizes of its StayHear Max ear tips to ensure a secure fit, and these work wonders. Battery life is fine: you get five hours of listening from a single charge, and the case supports fast charging — just 15 minutes in the case supplies two hours of playtime. You can access firmware updates and additional features in the Bose Music app, which doesn’t yet support an EQ module or other basic functions like “find my buds.”
Bose Sport Earbuds microphone demo:
If you value comfort and sound quality above all else, the Bose Sport Earbuds are the way to go. Plus, the earphones are easy to find on a promotional discount if you peruse for a bit.
4. Anker SoundCore Spirit Dot 2
The Anker SoundCore Spirit Dot 2 are a very good pair of durable, cheap true wireless earbuds. For less than $50, Anker SoundCore has you covered: these buds are IPX7-rated, so you can drop them into the pool without worry. The earphones are very lightweight, and comfortable for extended periods of wear.
Anker SoundCore Spirit Dot 2 mic demo:
These may not be the very best earbuds that money can buy, but rest assured, they’re very good for the reasonable cost. Bass notes are amplified a bit, and treble notes are noticeably louder than they’re intended to sound. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as many listeners prefer a kind of altered sound profile over a neutral-leaning one.
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.