The Best Workout Headphones of 2024

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024

Music and workouts go hand-in-hand. Taking the occasional break to listen to your body is great advice, but the bulk of runs and gym sessions use music to motivate or distract. And then there’s that ever-growing queue of podcasts to binge.

To find the best workout headphones and earbuds, we spent hours listening to music and podcasts during stationary workouts, road bike rides, and long runs. Sweat and the occasional icy drizzle were kept at bay by varying degrees of weatherproofing.

The industry has made great strides in this area, and any serious exercise earbud should offer waterproof ratings of IPX7 going forward, as they also keep out dirt and grime.

While there isn’t a single best earbud for every user, we’ve broken this list into categories to help you find the best headphones for your particular workout style. From wireless earbuds to budget-friendly headphones, there’s something for everyone.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys that’ll keep the jams coming while you break a sweat. At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive workout headphones buyers guide, as well as our comparison chart for weighing headphones against one another, and our frequently asked questions section, for quick-hit answers to all your workout-audio questions.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Workout Headphones guide on March 15, 2024, to add a number of new and worthy sets. The Jabra Elite 8 Active nailed the landing as our Best Overall pair, followed closely by the Beats Fit Pros. The JBL Endurance TWS makes a strong case as a value-winner, and the Anker Sport X10s are the best headphones for running we’ve ever worn.

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


Best Overall Workout Headphones

  • Type
    In-ear style
  • Battery
    8 hours with ANC; up to 32 hours with case
  • Weight
    10 g buds; 46 g with case
  • Bluetooth version
    5.3
  • Charging
    Up to 3 hours
  • Rating
    IP68 + MIL-STD-810h
  • Microphones
    Six

Product Badge
The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Excellent Bluetooth connectivity

  • Great sound with deep tone

  • Good battery life, extended with case

  • Best-in-class button controls

  • Super secure fit


  • The case is a little slippery

  • Pricey

Best Budget Workout Headphones

  • Type
    Corded in-ear style
  • Battery
    N/A
  • Weight
    11 g
  • Bluetooth version
    N/A
  • Charging
    N/A
  • Rating
    IPX5
  • Microphones
    One

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • IPX5 sweatproof

  • Inexpensive

  • Tangle-resistant

Best Value Workout Headphones

  • Type
    In-ear style
  • Battery
    10 hours; up to 30 hours with case
  • Weight
    12.4 g buds; 44.9 g with case
  • Bluetooth version
    5.2
  • Charging
    2 hours
  • Rating
    IP67
  • Microphones
    Two

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Quality sound

  • Reliable Bluetooth

  • Excellent price


  • Clunky touch control

  • Fit can be finicky

Best Workout Headphones for Running

  • Type
    In-ear style
  • Battery
    8 hours; up to 32 hours with case
  • Weight
    7 grams ea.
  • Bluetooth version
    5.2
  • Charging
    1 hour
  • Rating
    IPX7
  • Microphones
    Six

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Super secure design

  • Deep bass

  • Good battery Life

  • Innovative app support

  • Easy to use touch controls


  • Sound quality is not as good as others

  • Less refined than other headphones

Best Over-Ear Workout Headphones

  • Type
    Over the ear
  • Battery
    24 hours
  • Weight
    240 g
  • Bluetooth version
    5.0 multipoint
  • Charging
    2 hours
  • Rating
    IPX5
  • Microphones
    One

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Excellent sound

  • Very secure over-ear fit

  • Good spatial audio

  • 24 hour battery life


  • Clunky touch controls

  • Minor issues with connectivity

Best Workout Headphones for Situational Awareness

  • Battery
    8 hours running, 10 days of standby, 2 hours to full charge
  • Weight
    26 g.
  • Water resistance rating
    IP67
  • Microphone
    Yes (dual noise-canceling)
  • Connectivity type
    Bluetooth 5.1

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Lightweight at 26 g. avoids ear fatigue

  • 8-hours of run time leads the field

  • Rated IP67, which is good enough to dunk these headphones


  • One the more expensive side of the spectrum

  • Proprietary charger is one more thing to lose

Best of the Rest

  • Type
    In-ear style
  • Battery
    6 hours with ANC; up to 24 hours with case
  • Weight
    5.6 g per bud; 55.1 g with case
  • Bluetooth version
    5.0
  • Charging
    1 hour
  • Rating
    IPX4
  • Microphones
    Six

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Quality fit & finish

  • Excellent sound & call quality

  • Good ANC


  • Poor support for non-Apple devices

  • Troublesome connectivity

  • Lackluster battery

  • Pricey

  • Type
    In-ear style
  • Battery
    8 hours; up 24 hours with case
  • Weight
    13.4 g
  • Bluetooth version
    5.0
  • Charging
    2 hours
  • Rating
    IP68
  • Microphones
    Two

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Big battery

  • Full sound

  • Compact charging case


  • Fewer fit options

  • Uncertain support in the future

  • Type
    Over-ear type
  • Battery
    40 hours with ANC; 60 hours without
  • Weight
    259 g
  • Bluetooth version
    5.0
  • Charging
    2 hours
  • Rating
    N/A
  • Microphones
    One

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Long-lasting battery life and quick USB-C charging

  • Comfortable ear cups

  • Obtainable price


  • Active noise cancellation isn’t the most refined

  • Microphone type
    AI Call Noise Cancellation technology
  • Speaker type
    Air conduction transducer
  • Wireless range
    Up to 33 ft. (10 m)
  • Continuous play time
    Up to 7 hours of listening on a single full charge
  • Standby time
    Up to 10 days
  • Charge time
    Charge the earbuds with the charging case: 60 min.
  • Weight
    8.3 g per earbud; Charging case: 57 g
  • IP rating
    IP54 water-resistant; charging case is not waterproof

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Comfortable

  • Good sound

  • Secure fit

  • Great microphone


  • Minor base distortion at higher volumes

  • Case needed to change devices

  • Type
    In-ear type
  • Battery
    4.5 hours; up to 24 hours with case
  • Weight
    10.6 g
  • Bluetooth version
    5.3
  • Charging
    1 hour
  • Rating
    IPX4
  • Microphones
    Two

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Adjustable fit

  • Great sound

  • Noise cancellation

  • Headset features


  • Pricey

  • Questionable long-term battery life

  • Type
    Open-ear type
  • Battery
    Up to 8 hours
  • Weight
    28 grams (earbuds), 68 grams (carrying case)
  • Bluetooth
    Version 5.1
  • Charging
    USB-A

The Best Workout Headphones of 2024


  • Good sound quality for an open-ear model

  • Ideal for running


  • Not the best bass

  • Somewhat expensive

Workout Headphones Comparison Chart

(Photo/Miya Tsudome)

How We Tested Workout Headphones

There’s nothing worse than stepping up to the squat rack or lacing up your track shoes to find your headphones have conked out once again. We’re serious about our fitness here at GearJunkie, and even more serious about getting in the zone with our favorite tunes. But as many will tell you, not all headphones are up to the task of working out. Thankfully, we’ve done the reps in headphones from across the spectrum to find the perfect pair to break a sweat in.

Our first priority for testing was to evaluate setup and connectivity. Headphones scored points for pairing easily and being intuitive to set up and navigate and received bonus points for coming charged and ready to go in the box. Next, we looked at fit and security — all of the headphones tested offer some way to customize fit according to our preferences, but not all of them hit the mark. The best headphones offered multiple silicone tips to get fit dialed in and didn’t require frequent readjustment or need to be regularly snugged back up. 

Once we were connected and had a secure fit, we could head to the gym and test the actual performance while working out. Here we performed a variety of exercises from lifting to rowing and running, crossfit style WODs, and a handful of other outdoor exercise modes like mountain biking and skiing. We looked at sound quality, battery life, button navigation, noise cancellation, sound passthrough, phone calls, and Bluetooth range.

Our lead tester Paul Mandell is a strength and conditioning coach based in Bishop, Calif., and spends most of his week on the gym floor either coaching or doing his own training, so he’s had plenty of opportunity to put this round of headphones through the paces. We began testing workout headphones in 2021 with an initial slate of 9 products, and continue today searching out the best of the best.

We’re confident that any headphones on our list will work admirably in any workout you put it through, and our selection isn’t set in stone, either. As new headphones hit the market, we’ll cycle them into our routines and test them in the same manner.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Earbuds & Headphones for Your Workout

Adding a soundtrack to your workout is a great way to get you through to the other side; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

There are many workout headphones on the market, and it can be challenging to select the perfect pair for your needs. In this handy how-to-choose guide, we’ll explain all of the key factors that you should consider as you prepare to make a purchase.

In our testing, we prioritized the interrelated factors of fit and comfort, which ultimately affect sound quality. An improper fit will likely create a muffled, underwater sound.

Features like phone calls aren’t major factors for workouts — we hope — though we understand that you’ll want to use your headphones for more than just exercise. In addition to fit and comfort, many other important features can contribute to overall functionality and safety.

Fit

Many workout headphones fit securely inside of the ear, but some like the Anker Soundcore X10 Sport use an ear hook for extra security; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

The first goal of fit is to keep the earbuds or headphones in/on the ear. Ideally, your earbuds or headphones will fit comfortably and securely. Ears come in many different shapes, so finding the best fit for you may require some trial and error.

In-ear headphones typically have a stem that wedges into the ear canal while a “fin” or “wing” tucks into the concha part of the outer ear to prevent lateral movement. Most modern earbuds come with silicone tips that form a seal inside your ear canal and prevent the unit from falling out. Many pairs of earbuds come with multiple sizes of tips that can be quickly swapped.

For other types of headphones (including open-ear buds, bone-conduction headphones, and over-the-head headphones), the fit is equally important. Getting a great fit is crucial to both comfort and sound quality — especially during a workout.

Comfort

Comfort and fit are directly related. In short, a properly fitted pair of earbuds or headphones will also be the most comfortable.

Especially while working out, many people find that silicone-tipped earbuds are more comfortable than hard plastic models. While personal preferences will vary from person to person, we’ve found that silicone-tipped earbuds tend to maintain their comfort better than hard plastic during exercise.

Headphone Types

Wireless earbuds are going to be the majority share of workout headphones, but there are a few other options to consider; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

There are multiple types of headphones and earbuds on the market. From bone conduction to open-ear to over-the-head, it’s helpful to understand the various categories before you make a purchase.

Wired vs. Wireless

Wired headphones have been around for generations. For many, these work fine, but an athlete’s sweat can quickly gunk up the wires — if they don’t snag one on gym equipment or a branch first.

Once you experience the freedom of wireless earbuds, subtracting an annoyance may prove worth the expense. The truly wireless versions tend to be favorites for workouts. Some runners prefer banded wireless earbuds for the peace of mind of knowing that if an earbud falls out mid-run, it’s still within reach.

In general, truly wireless earbuds have a (slightly) shorter battery life, though this gap is quickly closing.

In-Ear Earbuds

With a few different designs out there, test fit a few before making your choice. Not every headphone plays nice with all ears; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

In-ear earbuds are the most common style. Earbuds in this category have a stem that holds a small speaker and fits inside your ear canal.

The advantages of this popular style include comfort (for some), sound quality, and noise cancellation. In 2024, most gyms and running trails are filled with people using in-ear earbuds.

Open-Ear Earbuds

Open-ear earbuds do not cover your ear canal. Instead, this style of earbuds fits onto another part of your ear and sends sound waves through the air and toward your ear canal.

While open-ear styles typically cannot match the sound quality or noise cancellation of in-ear models, many runners and cyclists prefer them, as they allow you to stay alert to your surroundings.

Bone-Conduction Headphones

Perfect for running outdoors, bone conduction headphones offer up ambient sound along with your soundtrack; (photo/Matthew Tangeman)

Bone-conduction headphones rest directly on the user’s cheekbones. Unlike traditional earbuds and headphones, bone-conduction headphones send vibrations to the cochlea through the wearer’s bones.

Bone-conduction technology can be a great choice for those who are hard of hearing. Additionally, bone-conduction headphones allow the wearer to remain aware of their surroundings, which can be a major safety benefit while running or cycling.

Unfortunately, bone-conduction headphones have a few drawbacks. First, many of the existing models can be uncomfortable during prolonged use.

Additionally, bone-conduction headphones simply cannot match the sound quality of high-end in-ear earbuds or noise-canceling headphones. Still, for certain users and applications, bone-conduction headphones are an awesome tool.

Over-Ear Headphones

Over-ear headphones can also be a great ‘get-out-of-conversation-free’ ticket in the gym; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

While in-ear earbuds may be the dominant headphones these days, many users still prefer over-ear headphones. If you find the right pair, over-ear headphones are able to provide unmatched sound quality, noise cancellation, and bass response.

In 2024, top-notch over-ear headphones are equipped with reliable batteries, Bluetooth connectivity, and microphones for gaming and taking calls. While working out, many users enjoy over-ear headphones for their easy on-and-off design.

If sound quality is a must for your workout, consider over-ear headphones. However, this timeless style comes with some clear drawbacks too. Over-ear headphones tend to be significantly heavier than earbuds.

Plus, over-ear headphones tend to be less resistant to rain and sweat. During a run on a warm day, over-ear headphones can quickly become uncomfortable.

Sound Quality

Sound quality varies, and while we don’t require perfect audio while working out, it’s nice to enjoy your tunes; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Like all speakers, headphones, and earbuds distort different parts of the audio spectrum. No two pairs of headphones will sound the same. While several objective factors separate high-quality and low-quality sound, personal preference is perhaps the most important consideration.

Sound drivers at their most basic, are the physical components inside the earbuds that move air, resulting in pressure waves that then translate to sound within your ear canal. There are a handful of different drivers out there but, dynamic drivers are the most common and cost-effective. 

These work by using a static magnetic field paired against an active coil. The coil creates an electrical current that disrupts the static current from the magnet when a signal is applied. That coil is attached to a membrane that vibrates and amplifies those vibrations, resulting in sound waves. Viola! Electricity becomes sound. Audiophiles will nerd out endlessly about the other types of drivers available, but for the purpose and scope of our review, we’ll be sticking to dynamic drivers.

Wireless headphones have to contend with audio quality loss over Bluetooth connections, but most modern codecs are good enough; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Bluetooth sound quality is another widely debated topic on the interwebs — but does it matter? The answer is yes, kind of, but probably less than you might think. To transmit music data through Bluetooth, that data needs to be compressed using a codec — an algorithm that processes audio data to make it smaller, thereby making it easier to transmit. 

Codecs discard data to compress it, which some folks would argue causes a loss in sound quality, but what probably matters more is if both devices (sending and receiving) have the same codecs. If the codecs are mismatched, the audio will need to be decompressed and recompressed which may result in a loss in sound quality. As long as both devices are capable of processing data at a high rate, you likely won’t run into issues. 

We didn’t experience any latency issues with any of the headphones on our list, and with all of them sporting Bluetooth 5.0 or better, we doubt that we’ll run into any issues with sound quality due to Bluetooth.

EQ is short for equalization. By adjusting the loudness up or down of the frequencies within a given sound, users can choose a soundscape that suits their preferences. You’ve likely done this before on your car’s radio, toggling through the different preset EQs like “Rock” or “Classical”. 

EQ customization allows you the most out of your headphones; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Many headphone companies offer EQ customization through their downloadable apps, which will allow users to customize the audio profile of their favorite songs and podcasts. You can also do this on Apple Music and Spotify in the settings menu. While changing these settings may help fine-tune your listening experience, it won’t compensate for poor-quality speaker components. If you want the best sound, you’ll want to choose a headphone with a quality driver and fast Bluetooth.

Active Noise Canceling & Passthrough

When working out, many users prefer to be able to hear their surroundings. Though noise-canceling headphones can offer exceptional sound quality, they may not be the best for your workout needs. Passthrough technologies allow for ambient sound to be filtered into the headphones, cueing you into what’s going on around you.

Ultimately, many users find that they do not need workout headphones with elite sound quality. For most users, a few sonic flaws are reasonable. The most important goal is to enjoy your music while exercising.

Button Navigation

Buttons typically come in two flavors — touch, and tactile buttons; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Button navigation has become an important factor in how we evaluate headphones. A handful of the featured headphones on our list lost points due to clunky touch navigation. In general, it seems that the new tap-to-navigate tech is still undergoing refinement, and while it works for the most part, it’s not fully fleshed out yet. 

The best headphones on our list, the Jabra Elite 8 Active, scored well in part due to a no-nonsense physical button on the earbuds. This prevented unwanted skips, pauses, and disconnections from accidentally brushing against the bud with your arm or a hood. 

During testing we looked for easy and intuitive navigation — powering on, starting, pausing, skipping, and adjusting the volume should all be straightforward. Call alerts need to be obvious and answering or declining should be a simple tap, touch, or click. 

Some manufacturers offer users the option of customizing their button layout which can be an especially useful feature for folks who might not be able to reach one side of their head. The headphones that scored highest here offered simple and reliable navigation every time.

Battery Life & Charging

Your carrying case often will double as a portable power bank for your headphones; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Like all wireless devices, workout headphones need to be charged from time to time. When you’re in the middle of your workout, you certainly don’t want your headphones to suddenly die. For this reason, it’s worth seeking headphones with reasonable battery life and a quality battery.

The battery life of headphones depends on various factors including surrounding air temperature and audio volume. To get the maximum life out of your fully charged headphones, keep the volume in the low to mid-range.

In 2024, a good pair of wireless headphones may last up to 6 or 8 hours on a single charge. Most pairs come with a nifty charging case that allows you to juice up the headphones on the go.

Call Quality

Most high-quality workout headphones are able to accept and manage quick phone calls. A built-in microphone, user-friendly controls, and decent sound quality are essential for taking calls via your headphones.

However, if you plan to use your headphones for long work calls, your workout pair might not be the best option.

Waterproofing & Durability

Sweat and rain can threaten workout headphones, but most all — like the Beats Fit Pro — will be IPX4 sweat-rated; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

If you’re going to be wearing your headphones while working out, durability and a reasonable degree of water resistance are crucial. If your exercise regimen includes outdoor activities such as running, cycling, or rowing, we recommend headphones with a solid waterproof rating. Even if you don’t plan on being out in the rain, it’s wise to be prepared.

Though all of the headphones on this list are durable enough to use while exercising, some will withstand wear and tear better than others. Though cheap headphones are easy on the wallet, there is certainly a relationship between price and build quality.

In order to handle the inevitable perspiration that occurs during exercise, workout headphones need to be reasonably water-resistant. Many headphones come with a water-resistance IP rating that serves as a helpful guide.

Basically, headphones exist on a spectrum from IPX1 to IPX9. IPX1 headphones should be able to handle sweat and occasional small drops of light rain. IPX9 headphones can withstand a direct stream of hot water from a pressure nozzle. The IPX rating system can feel a little confusing, and we recommend you don’t think too hard about it.

Simply put, headphones with any IPX rating should be able to handle the demands of any dry-land form of exercise. If you plan to use your headphones in wet environments — like a scullboat or a paddleboard — we recommend a higher IPX rating.

Situational Awareness

Bone conduction headphones leave your ear canal open to ambient sound; (photo/Matthew Tangeman)

In certain scenarios, it’s important to maintain situational awareness while working out. Whether you’re skiing, running, or cycling, the ability to hear the world around you can be essential for maintaining safety.

In general, any headphones that do not fully block or cover your ear canal will preserve your situational awareness. Bone-conduction headphones, which send sound waves through the bones and do not block your ear canal, are a popular choice for runners and cyclists who need to contend with busy city streets. Other open-ear headphones also help you maintain situational awareness without bone conduction.

Unfortunately, headphones that prioritize situational awareness do not tend to offer the highest sound quality. The ability to hear your surroundings is simply not compatible with an immersive audio experience and noise-canceling technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Though we recommend all of the workout headphones on this list, the Jabra Elite Active 8 are our pick for the best overall workout headphones of 2024.

Ultimately, the best workout headphones for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences. To help you narrow down your search, check out our handy how-to-choose guide above.

The Jabra Elite Active 8 were our top-pick for this year of testing; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Not all workout headphones are waterproof, and some are more water-resistant than others.

Most workout headphones come with a water-resistance rating from IPX1 to IPX9. IPX1 headphones can generally withstand moisture from sweat but not much more. If you’re going to be exposing your headphones to wet and rainy conditions, look for a pair with a strong rating of around IPX4 or higher.

Runners need headphones that fit well and don’t fall out. Because people have different ear shapes, the process of identifying a good pair may require some trial and error.

If you plan to run on the streets or in a public setting, we recommend a pair of headphones that allow you to maintain situational awareness. Bone conduction and open-ear headphones are two excellent choices.

High-quality noise-canceling headphones truly do cancel out sound waves before they can reach your ears. Not all noise-canceling headphones are created equal, and the top-notch models don’t come cheap.

The Best Bone Conduction Headphones of 2024

Rock out to your playlist while staying aware of your surroundings. These are the best bone conduction headphones of 2024.

The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50 of 2024

You don’t have to shell out hundreds of bucks to put quality earbuds in your arsenal. Read on to find out how five of the best wireless earbuds under $50 stacked up to rigorous testing.

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *