Between work, hobbies, and whatever semblance of a social life we can piece together these days, it's tough to stay committed to a regular workout. But a great pair of workout headphones can change that, transforming your exercise routine into an opportunity to catch up on podcasts or dig into some new music.
If you’re looking for the perfect pair, you can’t go wrong with our favorite workout earbuds, the Jabra Elite 7 Active(available at Jabra). The Elite 7 Active have it all: a rugged and water-resistant form factor, tons of features (including both transparency mode and active noise canceling) and easy-press controls so you can keep that heart rate humming. But there are plenty of other great earbuds primed for your workout routine, and we’ve put dozens to the test so you can find the perfect pair.
Here are the best workout headphones we tested, ranked in order:
Battery life: 7-8 hours (with ANC), 35 hours with the case
The Jabra Elite 7 Active, which step in to replace the Elite Active 75t, are great wireless earphones for just about anyone. But, as you'd guess, they're particularly amazing for folks who spend a lot of time running or working out. Thanks to their nimble IP57-rated design, great features, and a comfy-yet-stable fit, they're equally ready for your toughest workouts or workdays.
The Elite 7 Active will net you nearly every bell and whistle you might need. A finder function makes sure you won't lose track of them. Transparency mode lets you hear the world around you, so you can stay aware in nearly any situation, including your favorite jogging route. They also provide solid noise canceling, and a firmware update added multipoint pairing, which helps make these buds perfect for moving from outdoor activities to your work calls.
The Elite 7 Active offer solid audio performance, though their brighter sound signature may need some EQ to smooth things out. Still, their sound will satisfy most casual listeners and power users alike, especially once you take Jabra's audio personalization sound test.
Jabra's signature push-button playback controls are intuitive and customizable (thanks to the loaded Jabra Sound+ app) to make for one of the best user experiences in the workout game. The fit, while more intrusive than previous pairs, is also more grippy and comfortable (for our ears) over time, which makes them all the better for your toughest workouts. It also means you don't need ear hooks to keep them in. That's all bolstered by around 7-8 hours of battery life per charge with ANC, and up to 35 hours with the case, a sizeable step up from their predecessors.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active are a great pick for any workout, offering superb overall performance, durability, and a well-rounded user experience. In addition, if you need improved calling the Elite 7 Pro are nearly identical to their cousins, but trade additional calling software for a less grippy exterior.
Either way, you'll be getting a great pair of durable workout buds, armed for virtually any scenario you can throw at them.
JLab's Epic Air Sport ANC may look like they're sport first and everything else a distant second, but looks can be deceiving. Not only are they great for your daily workout grind, but they're also well suited for anyone worried about getting a good fit, especially those who struggle with traditional earbuds. They’re IP66 rated, meaning they’ve got good dust and water resistance—but don’t submerge them.
One big reason they work great for high-impact workouts is the over-ear loop design. The loops are made using a soft silicone we never found annoying, fitting comfortably even while wearing glasses. Some people aren’t a fan of this style, but it allows for a more secure fit than other options—we never once felt that they’d fall out and get lost. That makes them a great option if models like the Jabra Elite 7 Active won't work for your ears. The loops aren’t removable (see the non-Sport sibling), but the Epic Air Sport do come with multiple silicone ear tip options, plus a very comfortable foam tip.
Overall the sound is a bit bass-heavy, but JLab's app allows for extensive EQ options to help you fine-tune your preferred sound. Battery life was slightly less than claimed. We measured around 13 hours per charge to JLab’s claim of 15, but still, that’s a ton for true wireless headphones. If you enable features like noise canceling, you’ll get less battery life.
Speaking of noise canceling, like most affordable true wireless options, it’s pretty mild. It doesn’t hurt to have it, of course, but if you’re looking specifically for noise cancelation, you’ll want to look at the top picks on our best wireless earbuds guide, or our best noise-canceling headphones guide. Like the majority of modern wireless earbuds, the Epic Air Sport ANC also offer an adjustable transparency mode, which JLab calls Be Aware, letting you hear your environment in high-traffic areas.
The case, which is a bit larger than the others in this category, holds a big battery that holds about 3.5 additional charges. It has an attached USB cable, which is either a strength or a weakness depending on your personal preferences. More importantly, it has wireless charging which is a great touch.
Battery life: 6 hours (with ANC), 27 hours with the case
The Beats Fit Pro can't be dunked in the sink like many workout options, but their excellent fit, boatload of features, and respectable IPX4 water resistance makes them a very good choice for anyone that wants a set of versatile workout 'buds. This is especially the case for iPhone owners, as the Beats Fit Pro can do nearly everything the AirPods Pro can, but in a much sportier design.
Starting at $200, the Beats Fit Pro have a longer battery life than the AirPods Pro (six hours with noise canceling, seven without), a more secure fit thanks to their rubbery fins, and comparable, if not better sound quality. They’re noise canceling is quite good, they offer natural sounding transparency mode to hear the world around you, and they're a workable choice for Android users, too, thanks to the dedicated Beats app.
Most notably, the Fit Pro do everything the AirPods can in terms of iOS features. There’s iCloud/Music Sharing, Hands-Free Siri, Spatial Audio with Dynamic Head Tracking, and Find My tracking so you won’t lose them. Right down to Apple’s H1 chip, the Fit Pro are essentially the AirPods Pro in a workout-friendly package.
That’s not to say the Fit Pro are perfect. During testing, they were a shade less clear than the AirPods Pro when it came to voice calling in a windy environment. You also can’t wirelessly charge their case, and they can occasionally be finicky on Android phones.
But that's mostly nitpicking. As long as you're not looking for dunkable buds that take a massive beating, the Beats Fit Pro are great workout buds that are just as versatile for your home office as the gym. If you're an iPhone user looking for workout buds that also unlock all your favorite AirPods features, these are your go-to pick.
Battery life: ~7 hours per charge, 28 hours with the case
Jabra’s Elite 4 Active offer the majority of features you want in a pair of true wireless earbuds, at a surprisingly low price.
Their stacked feature set offers something for everyone, whether you need a snug pair of earbuds for running, a water-resistant pair you can rinse off in the sink (and even dunk for short periods), or some decent noise canceling to keep out distractions while at the gym or office.
You’ll get plenty of functionality in Jabra’s Sound+ app like a 5-band EQ and an earbuds finder, alongside usability features like comprehensive onboard controls (including volume control), and playback time of six to seven hours per charge, as well as the ability to use either 'bud on its own.
These earbuds don’t have it all. You obviously won’t get the seamless connection to Apple’s ecosystem found in iOS favorites like Apple's AirPods or Beats Fit Pro, and you’ll have to forgo the multipoint pairing of Jabra’s top pairs. You’ll also have to give up a few standard features, like wireless charging or auto-pause when you take an earbud out of your ear. But Jabra attempts to make up for those omissions for Android users with extras like Google Fast Pair and one-tap access to Spotify.
The Elite 4 Active offer active noise canceling, calling, and sound quality that beats out most earbuds at their price point (and some well above). While they won't outperform the best earbuds on the market, they'll allow you to skip the shocking sticker prices that come with owning the best. That’s what makes the Elite 4 Active such a tempting option: they give you a heap of flagship features and great performance at a price that’s easy to justify.
Whatever you’re into, Jabra’s versatile Elite 4 Active buds are ready for the challenge at a price that's hard to beat.
Battery life: Up to 10 hours, 50 hours with the case
Under Armour is synonymous with working out. Recently the brand lent its fitness expertise to wireless headphones in a partnership with the audio experts at JBL. The True Wireless Flash X are actually the second-generation model in the Under Armour's earphone lineup, and they're a hearty audio companion for your workouts. The True Wireless Flash X are excellent for the gym or the track. They're a bit on the pricey side for headphones that might not be your go-to choice for non-workout situations, but if you've got the budget for a more purpose-built pair of headphones that can moonlight for other use cases, they’re an excellent option
Where the Flash X really stand out is their design and physical components. They have multiple useful sound modes for hearing what's going on around you. The earbuds and their aluminium charging case are extremely robust and impact-resistant. Their stabilizing wings have been carefully crafted to be extremely durable, composed of a firm but gently yielding rubber that makes for a very tight fit/seal. This is important for both keeping out exterior noise (they do a great job blocking out sound naturally) and staying put under duress. You can jump around, drop to the ground, or perform pretty much any other strenuous activity and the True Wireless Flash will stay put.
You should know, however, that the Flash X forgo some desirable features, such as active noise cancellation. But given their durability and dependability in extreme situations, this is a fault that's easy to forgive--especially since their lack of ANC makes for better situational awareness.
Battery life: 9 hours with ANC (13 without), up to 26 hours with the case
Sony's WF-SP800N are formidable workout earbuds, offering an embarrassment of features for their price point, along with impressive sound, strong and stable connectivity, and a sporty, water-resistant design.
Featuring everything from noise cancellation and transparency mode to location-based audio adjustment, the SP800N are impressively well-appointed for their cost—especially since you can often find them on sale. They're also highly tunable thanks to Sony's Headphones Connect app, including a five-band EQ with a separate bass control so you can easily pull back (or ramp up) their booming "Extra Bass" feature. Their ear tips and fins also make sure the SP800N will stay in your ears where they belong, in a wide variety of situations.
As for negatives, the SP800N’s noise cancelation is on the weak side, and the 'buds are fairly bulky in your ears. Additionally, their case also stores only one extra charge, though their nine hours of playback time per charge makes this fault easier to live with. During testing, we found a tear in one of the silicone ear fins after just a few days. But based on over 1,000 user reviews, we’re inclined to write this off as a fluke.
Their incredible playback time alongside a wealth of other features makes them a very good value. As they've aged, the buds have also become increasingly difficult to find new. But, if you're looking for solid Sony workout buds, these are a great fit.
Battery life: 9 hours per charge, 24 hours with the case
Priced similarly to Apple's AirPods Pro, the Beats Powerbeats Pro are impressive true wireless earphones in their own right. Though they've lost some luster in recent years they offer impressive per charge playback time, great sound, and a durable, sporty design that stays put under duress.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro are available in ivory, black, navy, or moss colors, and their adjustable ear hooks help to keep them in your ears during just about any workout. They offer great water resistance and vastly improved sound quality over previous Beats earbuds, making them a good choice for general use. However, their ear-hook design can become uncomfortable over time. Their charging case, while pocketable, is larger than the one that comes with many competing products. But the impressive nine hours of battery life per charge these earphones provide allow you to leave the case behind, in most circumstances.
The Powerbeats Pro are less minimalist than the Fit Pro, and are still priced relatively high—especially for headphones that don’t include active noise cancellation or even any form of transparency mode. This makes them less-than-ideal for jogging in busy areas, but you can use just one of them at a time in such cases to keep aware of your surroundings.
If you’re looking for a pair of fitness first earphones, and don’t hold transparency mode as a must-have feature, the Powerbeats Pro are a fine choice—especially if you can grab them on sale.
The 4th-gen Beats Powerbeats are basically the same headphones as the Powerbeats Pro—they simply aren't "true wireless," featuring a small cable that runs between the two buds and behind your neck.
However, what you're sacrificing by way of true wireless freedom, you're making up for in cost. The Powerbeats are a great stand-in for the Powerbeats Pro, priced well below their sibling. Not only that, but you'll also get longer battery playback per charge--which is for the best, as they don't come with a charging case to top them off on the go.
Outside of the wire situation, Beats fans will be happy to know that the connected Powerbeats sound just as good as the "Pro" model, and offer similar levels of flexibility, style, and color options. Like other Beats headphones, their sound profile is bass-forward. but the bass is thankfully a little more restrained here, providing for excellent audio clarity to help power you through your workout. As you’d expect with a pair of fitness headphones, the Powerbeats are sweat-and water-resistant (IPX4) so you won’t have to worry about going for the gusto—but you can't dunk them in the sink, post-workout. Splashing them clean will have to do.
They also offer shockingly good connection quality that outdoes their true wireless siblings, as well as any other true wireless earbuds we've tried. Seriously, they've got such good range you may actually forget where in the gym you set your phone down. We do wish Beats included transparency mode to help keep you safe on the road, but if you’re mostly looking for gym buds or don’t mind pulling out one earbud in high-traffic areas while you're on a run, the Powerbeats are a great buy.
Battery life: 5.5 hours per charge, 17.5 hours with the case
Sony's Linkbuds are among the most unique earbuds on the market. In fact, the only pair we've come across that's similar to them are Bose's Sport Open Earbuds. Both pairs offer distinct takes on the genre that aims to keep your ears open, and as such, your wits about you, during almost any activity. Sony's 'buds do so with their trademark "donut hole" design, which shapes the drivers into tiny circlets with a hole in the middle. This hole allows a substantial amount of the noise from the outside world into your ears.As you can imagine, this makes these buds pretty excellent for running, hiking, and biking in areas where you don't want to lose your aural awareness (i.e. surface streets, highways, and biking trails). What's more, the Linkbuds still manage to offer relatively clear and full sound, though their bass response obviously suffers due to their lack of a tight seal in your ear canal.
Apart from their holed, infinity design, the Linkbuds stand out for their lightweight (only four grams per bud) and relatively stable fit, though their hard plastic design can wear on the ears, after a while. While these earbuds don't use ear tips, they do come with little ear wings in multiple sizes help create a snug fit, and their IPX4 rating gives them decent sweat and water resistance.
The Linkbuds offer a respectable number of features, controllable through Sony's headphone app, including a five-band EQ, extras like Sony's Speak to Chat feature that pauses sound when you speak, and Adaptive Audio which ramps up the sound automatically when the environment you're in becomes louder.
We found their tap controls—which allow you to tap on the buds themselves as well as specific regions of your face to control playback—to be hit or miss. Battery life is also pedestrian but workable at 5.5 hours per charge, with an even less impressive 17.5 hours total with the case. Overall, we wish they were a bit slicker in operation and offered better next-gen features for their price. And of course, you'll have to give up any form of noise canceling. That means they won't be your best option for noisy gyms, among many other scenarios.
That said, if you're the type who does a lot of jogging on busy streets and you find microphone-controlled transparency mode features to be insufficient, the Linkbuds could be the earbuds you've been waiting for. They're pricey for earbuds with limited use cases, but there's also nothing out there quite like them.
For this list, we focus on several key pain points that consumers typically run into when buying wireless workout headphones: battery life, ease of use, accessible controls, wireless range, sound quality, sound isolation, water and dust resistance, and comfort, among other features.
Most features are tested in real-life situations, including sweat proofing, short-and long-term comfort, battery life, microphone quality, and connectivity over distances and through obstacles like doors and walls. We also take them on long workouts both in and out of the gym to make sure they stay put under duress and allow for easy control while your body is moving.
For sound quality tests, we use a mix of real-world and lab testing, including data collection and A/B testing on factors like max volume, passive and active noise attenuation (including active noise cancellation), and how well each earbud blocked outside and background noise. We use all the earbuds extensively, playing a wide variety of test tracks ranging from classical to hip-hop, rock, jazz, and more.
Perhaps the biggest missing link in all headphone reviews is durability. It's simply impossible for us to test a single pair and come to a meaningful conclusion about how well they'll hold up over time and with regular use (and abuse). To account for this, we noted any major issues that popped up in user reviews (where available), and adjust our scoring over time as needed. We also use these earbuds over a prolonged period and update their firmware when available to test out the latest features and update relevant articles and reviews with our findings.
The truth is that wireless earbuds across the board have struggled with durability, so this is a major cause of concern for us. Since some of these models are quite new, we reserve the right to re-evaluate our conclusions as we become aware of any major issues or pain points as time goes on.
What To Consider Before Buying Workout Headphones
There are some very important aspects specifically for workout headphones, which we targeted for this list. Those include durability, a stable fit, and water/sweat resistance. We also look at other important aspects, such as easy-access controls so you won't have to slow down to change songs or adjust ambient audio. Headphones with push-button controls, such as Jabra models or the latest Beats, are particularly easy to use mid-workout.
Noise canceling and transparency mode
Most new wireless earbuds offer at least one type of ambient sound mode, often including noise canceling to block out external noise, and transparency mode to keep you aware of your environment.
Transparency mode, or some form of aural awareness features like open-ear design, is particularly important if your workout takes you outdoors, especially in high-traffic areas. Noise canceling is also extremely important for those who workout in noisy gyms, though obviously it's more of a luxury than a safety measure. Our favorite picks offer both options.
Dust and water resistance
All of the earbuds on this list have an IP certification of at least IPX4 or higher. An IP number is a two-digit code that indicates each pair’s ability to withstand dust and water respectively. IPX4 means the earbuds are protected against splashes and moderate sweat, but not dust resistance.
For both categories, the higher the number, the better the protection. Any good pair of running headphones should offer at least IPX4 certification, while top pairs may offer IP57 (or higher), signifying protection against moderate dust ingress and even a dunk in shallow freshwater. You can learn more about IP ratings in our water resistance guide.
A stable fit is a top consideration for any pair of workout buds. Our favorite picks offer either a specialized grip and tight fit or ear hooks/fins to keep them in place under duress. Comfort is also important, of course, and our top picks are well-rounded for multiple scenarios. But if you’re someone who has had trouble with buds falling out, we recommend considering buds with an ear hook or ear fin design.
Every pair of wireless earbuds connects over Bluetooth connection for at least 33 feet of distance from your device, depending on barriers. Some have increased antenna capacity, which may improve the connection quality and reduce cutouts. In general, the newer the Bluetooth version (Bluetooth 5.0 or better) the more stable the connection.
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2012. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.