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Best workout earbuds: Jaybird, Bose, Beats, and more

Here are the best workout earbuds money can buy!
August 2, 2021
A picture of the Beats Powerbeats Pro in a man's' hand.

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.

Start here: Headphone buying guide: A beginner’s guide to all things headphones

This list of the best workout earbuds comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. To learn more about alternative options, check out their in-depth take here.

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.

Best workout earbuds:

  • The Jaybird X4 is a great set of traditional wireless earphones with an IPX7 rating and comprehensive software to boot.
  • The Beats Powerbeats Pro are the best workout earphones for iPhone owners because you get all of the benefits of the H1 chip.
  • The Bose Sport Earbuds work with any operating system and reproduce very good sound quality.
  • The Anker Soundcore Life A1 are great workout earbuds with an IPX7 rating and stable fit.
  • The Jabra Elite Active 45e have an IP54 rating, making them a great option for beach runners or rock climbers.

Jaybird X4: The best workout earbuds for most athletes

Jaybird X4 earbuds on a white table with part of a ukulele in teh background.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

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.

Jaybird X4 (Renewed)

Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the Jaybird X4.

Beats Powerbeats Pro: The best for iPhone owners

Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds on a book.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

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.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Check out our full review to learn more about the Beats Powerbeats Pro.

Bose Sport Earbuds: The best sound quality

The Bose Sport Earbuds true wireless workout earbuds in the charging case, adjacent to a pair of yellow rock-climbing shoes.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

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.”

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. Otherwise, you can leapfrog this headset and go for the premium Bose QuietComfort Earbuds instead.

Bose Sport Earbuds

Check out our full review to learn more about the Bose Sport Earbuds.

Anker Soundcore Life A1: The best budget pick

A bemused man wears the Anker Soundcore Life A1 earbud outside.

The Anker Soundcore Life A1 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.

These may not be the very best earbuds that money can buy, but rest assured, they’re very good for the reasonable cost. Bassheads will love the amplified bass response, though others may want to cycle through the EQ presets for a more tamed low-end. The earbuds effectivley block out background noise, which is great when you want to block out fellow gym-goers’ grunts. If you want to take the Life A1 outside, you can use either earbud for mono listening. For just $50, this is a great set of workout earphones.

Anker Soundcore Life A1 True Wireless Earbuds

Check out our sister site SoundGuys’ full review to learn more about the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2.

Jabra Elite Active 45e: The best durability

The Jabra Elite Active 45e earbuds hanging on a road bike tire.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Speaking of Jabra, the Elite Active 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 supports 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.

Jabra Elite Active 45e
$69.99 at Amazon
Save $30.00

Check out our full review to learn more about the Jabra Elite Active 45e.

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.

Best workout earbuds: Honorable mentions

An aerial photo of the UA True Wireless FLASH X by JBL on a Google Pixel 3 smartphone, next to the open charging case and a Leatherman Wave+ on a white surface.
Lily Katz / Android Authority
  • Beats Powerbeats: These earphones are connected by wire and house the Apple H1 chip, making them a great choice for iPhone owners. You get all the Apple-related luxuries like direct voice access to Siri, audio sharing, and more.
  • Jabra Elite Active 75t: This is one of our favorite true wireless workout earbuds, because they feature an IP57 rating, Bluetooth multipoint support, and an ergonomic build.
  • Jaybird Tarah Pro: Jaybird made sure the Tarah Pro could handle anything thrown at them, as illustrated by the IPX7 rating and MIL-STD-810G certification. The proprietary ear and wing tips keep the ‘buds in place, while the cable cinch mechanism prevents the wire from irritating your neck.
  • JLab JBuds Air Sport: These hooked earbuds are a great deal for athletes who don’t want to spend too much on earphones, but want premium features like touch controls and an IP66 rating.
  • UA True Wireless FLASH X by JBL: These portable durable earbuds with a water-resistant charging case include a 12-month premium membership to MapMyRun.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

SoundGuys is our sister site focused on all things audio; everyone on staff understands that audio is an objective science while respecting the importance of the subjective experience. No one from SoundGuys benefits from recommending one product over another, and serves its readers by laying the facts bare. Every audio product has its pros and cons, and SoundGuys and Android Authority understand that it’s up to you to decide where your priorities lie.

What do you value most in workout earbuds?

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