The Best Headphones for Working Out Will Help You Crush Your Fitness Goals

Bike-friendly, burpee-friendly, and bench press-friendly options. 
12 Best Headphones for Working Out in 2023 Tested and Reviewed

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There are the best wireless headphones and then there are the best headphones for working out. There's surely some overlap, but those that fall into the latter category have one huge bonus going for them: They're not going to pop out of your ear mid-stride, -squat, or -sit-up, so they'll be there for you every time you hit a new personal record (or as the pros call it, a “PR").

In the past, looking for wireless headphones for working out meant opting for a low-quality pair of “wireless” headphones (those ones that are still technically wired, yet called wireless for some reason) or spending a boatload of money to get truly wireless headphones. Thankfully, the technology has improved drastically, and you can find a great pair of workout-friendly headphones at price points that you won't, ahem, need to really sweat. These headphones can hold their charge for longer than 30 minutes, stay connected to your phone even when you're mid-sprint, and fit and stay in your ears no matter how high-intensity the workout. Heck, these days, even wireless headphones not specifically designed for working out make adequate workout buds.

What to look for in workout headphones

The best headphones for working out also have to qualify to be the best headphones in general. But to differentiate between the two categories, here's what we considered.

Sweat and water resistance rating: Between running outside in the rain to actually sweating while working out, your headphones are going to be exposed to some sort of moisture. At the bare minimum, you're going to want a pair of headphones that are sweat- and water-resistant. Even better, those headphones will be water- and sweatproof. To measure for this, look at an earphone's IP rating. An IP rating will be followed by two digits, where the first digit shows the level of dust protection and the second digit references the water resistance. The higher the number, the better the resistance. An X will denote that the headphones were not tested for either water- or dust-resistance. (Over-ear headphones—whether they're from Beats, Sony, or beyond—are less likely to come with IP ratings, but they're more than apt at tackling your workouts if that's really all you want to wear. Just make sure to give ‘em a wipe down if they’re really wet, from sweat or otherwise).

Audio quality: Just because you're focusing on the movements at hand, doesn't mean going to recommend you headphones with shoddy sound quality. The more you spend, the more likely you're going to find better audio, so we kept the value in mind at all price points. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, so know that we won't recommend you a $500 pair of headphones, especially for working out, just because of a nominal difference in sound quality between a pair that costs $100. Plus, we know you work out harder when you like what you're listening to, so get prepared to jam out to our recommended picks.

Active noise cancellation: God forbid you get stuck next to the loudest grunter at the gym. Or the person who drops their weights. Or the person who's literally spent the last 30 minutes on a loud phone call while running on the treadmill. Active noise cancellation is a major boon for tuning out all unnecessary noise, ideally with decent adaptive audio settings to alert you to incoming traffic at the same time. We looked for headphones that helped to drown out all the noise so you can stay in the zone when you need it most, and also efficiently keep you safe on your run via transparency mode to reduce the risk of accidents.

How we tested

To find the best headphones for working out, we've spent years (yes, literal years) running, biking, lifting, and...walking briskly, with a few dozen different pairs of Bluetooth headphones to find the ones that were best for a variety of movements. We didn't want to recommend any headphones that only delivered subpar sound quality, and fit and security were arguably the most important criteria for differentiating between the best headphones and the best ones for working out. Because sweat is almost always a result of working out, we also compared the various IP ratings of the various headphones we liked the most to make sure they wouldn't go on the fritz just because you were doing your thing. In short, we did the heavy lifting for you, so that we may now introduce you to the best headphones for working out—ones that function so well you won’t really have to think about them at all.

The Best Headphones for Working Out, at a Glance

Want to hop right to the best earbuds and headphones for all sorts of activities? Get right to it with these, our top picks:

The Best Headphones for All Kinds of Workouts: Jabra Elite 8 Active


Elite 8 Active

We were smitten with Jabra's Elite 7 Active, so much so that those were our favorite workout headphones for the longest time. A couple years later, and the next-gen model—the Elite 8 Actives—have taken the top spot. While you can find the predecessor on sale for about $100 now, its retail price was just $20 less than the $200 Elite 8 Actives, and we think it's worth the extra Andrew Jackson. The Elite 8 Actives feature something called ShakeGrip technology—self-explanatory as it sounds: Pop these earbuds in your ear, give your head a shake, and be in awe of how stable these stay put. The only problem with this sturdy fit is that the earbuds essentially plug up your whole ear, and since the earbuds are made of silicone rubber, they feel like they're completely blocking up you ear in the same way an ear plug would. This might feel uncomfortable if you're used to a looser-fitting earbud, but they'll at least be more secure when you're toggling between HIIT exercises or getting your heart rate up jumping rope.

The Elite 8s also use Bluetooth Multipoint technology so you can be connected to two devices simultaneously—like if you need to go from computer to phone (given it's not a workout situation)—for seamless connectivity. Users are able to switch between adjustable active noise cancellation, as well as a transparency mode so you can remain aware of your surroundings, like say if you're running in a crowded urban area, without giving up on your tunes.

The main difference between these earbuds and the Elite 7 Actives is that the newer model have a higher dust- and waterproof rating, as well as increased battery life. The differences between the two headphones are small, we admit, but we're pretty sure the Elite 7s are about to make their way out soon as inventory depletes, and you really can't go wrong with the Elite 8s.

The Best True Wireless Earbuds for Using Beyond the Gym: Beats Fit Pro


Fit Pro True Wireless Earbuds

We were eager to give the Beats Fit Pro earbuds a 2022 Fitness Award, although its price keeps it from topping this here list. One of the biggest things going for these noise-canceling earbuds is its streamlined design. The ear cups feel soft and cushy, while the shape is blessedly ergonomic compared to more bulbous fitness models from Jaybird and Jabra. That’s a huge plus if you’re looking for a multi-tasking, sweat-resistant, stylish AirPods alternative that you can wear while you’re commuting, working out, and maybe even dozing off to white noise. It’s also notably more comfortable to wear for long periods of time than the wraparound style of its predecessor, the beloved Powerbeats Pro.

Compared to the Powerbeats, you still get easy Bluetooth pairing and device switching thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, though the Fit Pros charge up with a USB-C cord instead of the standard iPhone lightning cable. The active noise cancelling mode is a plus (though maybe not quite as enveloping as that of the Airpods Pro), and there’s a transparency mode for balancing out background noise, spatial audio for a surround sound feel, and enhanced audio performance that digs into Beats’ signature bass-heavy notes without getting too murky in the mids and highs.

The Fit Pro's battery life maxes out at six hours of continuous use, and its touch controls for volume feel jankier than the dedicated buttons on the Powerbeats for crescendoing your way through a particularly punishing set of reps. The earbuds can also easily lose suction when you're in a downward dog or wobbly quadruped position that calls for resisting sweat, gravity, and motion (though they do stay put during high-intensity pavement pounding). Still, if you want one pair of buds for everything from working out to listening to podcasts to jamming to your favorite playlist on the train, consider the Fit Pros. Their crisper, more balanced sound make them well worth the upgrade.

The Best Budget Earphones for Working Out: JLab Go Air Sport


Go Air Sport

If you have $30, you can get a pretty damn good pair of workout headphones. JLab's Go Air Sports sport a really good fit, and what they lack for in features—like active noise cancellation (just turn up your volume to tune everything—they make up for in features like water- and dust-resistance, as well as pretty impressive battery life. Their ear hook design attaches itself to your ear so you can twist and shout with abandon, while the slim charging case makes it easy to tote around, especially in your skin-tight compression shorts. For 30 bucks, you really cannot find a better pair of headphones to pop in, and definitely not a pair that'll handle your most intense workout.

The Best Headphones for Running: Jaybird Vista 2


Vista 2 True Wireless Sport Earbuds

Jaybird took everything we loved about its original Vista model, and scaled it up with the Vista 2. It earned a nod in the 2021 Fitness Awards for its souped-up sound profile, an impressive IP68 durability against sweat and dust (these can handle full submersion in water), new protections against drops, plus a better battery life at eight hours—instead of six. It's also kept up with its competitors in the sports headphone space by offering active noise cancelling and a SurroundSense feature that allows you to control environmental noise. One of the best continuous features Jaybird has in its corner is its companion app, which lets you get super precious about your EQ settings with a range of presets (or the option to add your own).

Maybe you want to dial up the bass on your headphones so it sounds like you're surrounded by subwoofers in the middle of a set—the world is your oyster. The Vista 2 still comes in a tank of a carrying case, which is a real clunker for carrying around, but not a huge setback for what's an otherwise great set of workout earbuds. And despite that annoying case (which is actually quite thin), the Vista 2 themselves offer a very secure fit for when you're running—or any other kind of active movement.

The Best Headphones for the Gym: Bose QuietComfort Ultra


QuietComfort Ultra

Bose already makes an impressive range of noise-canceling headphones, and we are thoroughly impressed with its latest release, the QuietComfort Ultras. We’d say these might even be the overall best wireless earbuds, but they’re still fairly new and we’re still testing them out. But in general, we’d highly recommend these for the person who wants to make their over-crowded gym feel like a home gym. Being Bose, you can ensure these have great sound but they also boast one of the most impressive noise-cancelling abilities we can find. It’s almost like putting all of your rude gym co-inhabits on mute.

The Ultras have three levels of noise cancellation, which includes your basic noise-cancelling, a transparency mode, and finally, an immersion mode, where you feel like you might have just been teleported into whatever you’re listening to. Yeah, the listening experience is that good. Plus, spatial audio is a great way to make you feel less like you’re somewhere you don’t want to be—i.e. the gym—in lieu of somewhere far more exciting, i.e. Bad Bunny’s upcoming tour. And in terms of its workout abilities, these are super snug, with stability hands—replacing the usual dorky-looking ear hooks—that contour to your ear for a fit that’ll make the most aggressive headbanger blush.

The Best Over-Ear Headphones for Working Out: Beats Studio Pro


Studio Pro

Most people will prefer earbuds for working out because they're light and less likely to shift around during an aggressive sweat sesh, but you can find the occasional gym buff audiophile rocking a pair of over-ear headphones while doing their damndest to deadlift. We found the new Beats Studio Pros to be an excellent pair of headphones because of their stability and overall excellent sound quality. We were hesitant to even try running in these, or honestly any over-the-head headphones, but these managed to stay in place even during full-body exercises like a burpee or mountain climber. And if you have long hair, these could even double as a headband (OK, maybe not).

These are essentially the successors to the Beats Studio3, which we liked for their ANC capabilities, and these perform even better, so you can ignore the guy on the weight bench next on you over-exerting himself on a chest press. Another reason we like the Studio Pros is because of their tactile buttons. While a pair like the Bose 700 headphones utilize touch, the actual buttons on the Studio Pros make it easier to change the volume or switch songs if you're trying to do it mid-move. Also, the bass-heavy of the Beats are apt at boosting your favorite rap or rock socks, which are typically the bops you blast while working out.

The Best Workout Headphones for Biking or Running: Shokz Openfit


Openfit Headphones

If you’re a city biker, you know that using any pair of headphones while you’re riding can be dangerous. You need a ton of spatial awareness to safely navigate all the trucks, cars, pedestrians, and other bikers zooming around the streets. The simplest way to address the problem of quiet commutes while biking is with a portable Bluetooth speaker. But if you don’t want your entire neighborhood to know you’re still listening to the Carly Rae Jepsen album from 2019, you have other options. One of the latest and greatest models is from Shokz, its Openfit headphones. The fit here is very similar to Beats' popular Powerbeats Pro earbuds, which hook around your ear for greater stability during a sprint or bear crawl, and also come in a tank of a charging case. Our tester, an avid fitness enthusiast and runner, called these out in this year's Fitness Awards for their above-average workout-quality audio and sweatproof exterior. Critically, there's also the stellar directional audio which pumps sound into your ears without sacrificing spatial awareness on a busy road or trail. Get these if you're sick of other earbuds losing suction or slipping out during a spin around the block or a rapid movement workout.

5 Other Wireless Headphones We Like for Working Out


AirPods Pro (2nd Generation, USB-C)

AirPods, Pro or otherwise, aren't generally our favorite workout headphones. Something about the fit, like that little tail, just don't feel very secure. On the bright side, Apple’s AirPod Pros 2 added an extra set of ear tips so that more people could get a more tailored fit, and the in-ear fit can be tested directly on your phone to make sure you opted for the right size for your ear canal. Even the second-generation Apple AirPods Pros with their new extra-small silicone tips feel like they might jump out of your ear while you're mid-stride. Their IPX4 makes them sweat- and water-resistant, so they can hold up against a less-rigorous workout, but if you're already an Apple user, go ahead and stick with brand loyalty. Six hours of battery life feel inadequate, and while we don't think you'll be working out for six hours straight, it does require more charging sessions (wireless charging is an option, at least!). On the other hand, as regular wireless headphones, these are great with much better active noise cancellation than the OG AirPods Pros and an adaptive transparency mode that feels somewhat like witchcraft.



Shokz is also a proponent of bone-conduction headphones, which have speaker pads that rest on your temples instead of in or around your ears. You pick up some of the sound through your outer ear, but the majority of the sound travels through the bones of your jaw in the form of vibrations to your inner ear. The result is a pretty hollow sound, leagues away from the high-fidelity experience of something like the Jabra Elite 7 Actives, but it’s plenty good enough for listening to talk-y podcasts. And, more importantly, you can listen to those podcasts while also hearing literally everything else around you. Other advantages? The OpenRun headphones are light, have a decent eight-hour battery life, are fully waterproof, and come with a two-year warranty. If you’re looking for headphones for your bike workouts and commutes, this is another safe option.


Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

If you have an iPhone, you get Airpods; if you have a Samsung, you go for the Galaxy Buds. In this case, you go for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pros when you need something to work out in. These are smaller, fit better than the previous model, and boast better sound quality than a lot of other headphones on this list. But the problem is that some of these earbuds' best and most essential features—like noise controls and earbud insights—are reserved for those with a Galaxy device as the companion app is only available on Android devices (sorry, iOS users). Though if you're already tapped into the Samsung tech-sphere, these are a worthwhile pair of workout headphones.


Live Free 2

JBL has gained a reputation for its high-quality sound, a factor that rings true with the brand's Live Free 2. Its IPX5 rating isn't as good as our top pick's, but if waterproof abilities aren't at the top of your list that shouldn't be an issue. And while the Live Free 2s retail for $150, they're typically found for way less, hovering in the $75 to $100 range, putting it in line with our top-pick Jabras. If you're not using active noise cancellation, these earbuds boast an impressive 10 hours of battery life, and the fit is standard—nothing to write home about.


Tone Free TF8

LG doesn't have a lot of clout in the headphone game, but its LG Tone Free TF8, a 2022 release, include some worthwhile features that make these earbuds worthy of this list. They boast something called “SwivelGrip" technology, which is just a glorified way of saying the wing tips will stay securely in your ear—something it does surprisingly well. Their matte finish is nice, but the case they come in is small but bulky enough that it juts out strangely in your pocket. Another impressive feature lives in their case: a bacteria-killing light called UVnano+ that'll help kill any funk on your earbuds. The UVnano+ only works on the gel tips, and it's only active when you're charging (wireless or otherwise) the headphones, but it's a nice touch that'll please any germaphobe who is prone to dropping their buds on the dirty subway floor.