There are plenty of excellent headphones and earbuds available, accommodating almost every music style. But while you may prefer a certain style or function when quietly listening to your favorite songs at home, those may not be the best headphones for working out. When hitting the bench presses or push-ups, you’ll need something robust with excellent sound quality that won’t break the bank. Here’s the good news: you have an excellent choice of working-out headwear for under $100.
Good to know: want to control your routine from your wrist? Learn how to start, pause and stop a workout on Apple Watch.
1. Best for Under $20: Otium Wireless Earbuds
Otium’s wireless earbuds may not be the most well-known brand, but nothing beats an affordable pair of earbuds that you don’t mind getting a bit of moisture on. Available in four colors, these wireless headphones for working out are compatible with Apple and Android phones.
They have a built-in microphone for taking calls and have excellent sound quality at high and low volumes. The cord is long enough not to restrict any movement, but not too long for it to be a hindrance. They can display the phone’s battery level when paired with an iPhone.
The Otium Bluetooth Headphones are great for sweat and the outdoors, thanks to their IPX7 waterproof rating. Also, the built-in buttons mean you can control everything without pulling out your phone.
- Bluetooth 5.3 stereo sound
- Provides voice notifications for incoming phone calls
- 15-hour battery life
- Takes two hours to recharge
- Must be turned off on iPhone to hear audible message notifications
- Lacks noise-canceling properties
2. Best for Playtime: JLab Go Air Sport
As you consider which options make the best earbuds for working out, battery life can play a significant role. Featuring some of the longest playtimes you’ll get from wireless earbuds, the JLab Go Air Sport will power your workout music for eight hours, while the charging case provides an additional 24 hours. It has a built-in dual mode to use both earbuds or just one. You can easily cycle through the three sound-equalizing settings for the best quality through the touch sensors.
Although some budget workout earbuds can feel uncomfortable over time, that isn’t the case with a pair of the JLab Go Air Sport. These earbuds feature flexible ergonomic ear-hooks that conform to the shape of your ear. They stay securely attached to you even during rigorous workouts, and they don’t hurt, even after a multi-mile run.
They come in six colors to match your workout outfit, and the recharging case is small enough to fit easily in your pocket. They have touch controls for changing the track, music, or volume, and each earbud can be used individually.
- 32-hour battery life
- Rated as IP55 for sweat resistance
- Ergonomic ear hooks that fit small ears
- Built-in microphone with each earbud
- Not completely waterproof
- No active noise cancelation
- Not compatible with the JLab Sound app
Tip: understanding how Bluetooth technology works can help enhance your experience with any of these wireless headphones.
3. Best Over-Ear Headphones: JBL Tune 510BT
If you prefer the best over-ear headphones for working out instead of earbuds, the JBL Tune 510BT is an excellent choice. The headphones have soft ear cups and volume buttons on the left for maximum comfort. They come in four colors and are compatible with Apple and Android devices.
These headphones are great value for the money, as the sound quality is better than you’d expect. They use JBL’s Pure Bass sound, which delivers clear, rich audio with a robust bass. The audio quality remains great when listening to music, podcasts, or streaming television shows and movies.
Although these headphones utilize Bluetooth connectivity, there is a 3.5-millimeter jack, in case you want to use them as a wired set.
- 40-hour battery life
- JBL Pure Bass provides immersive sound
- Integrates active noise cancelation
- Bluetooth and wired connection options
- Headband not well padded
- Synthetic leather on ear cups cracks and peels with age
- Some may find the ear cups too small
4. Best for Noisy Gyms: Soundcore by Anker Sport X10
If you need to keep your footwork in step with the rhythm, the Soundcore by Anker Sport X10 are the best earbuds for working out. Available in three vibrant colors, the ear hooks rotate 210 degrees so that you find the perfect angle.
The earbuds use a dynamic acoustic system to provide twice as much bass as other models without compromising the treble or mid-range notes. There is a single button on the earbud, and when paired with the app, you can customize its function.
Of course, the most notable feature of these workout headphones is their waterproof rating and design. The Anker Sport X10 workout earbuds are IPX7 rated, making them fully waterproof. Anker’s exclusive SweatGuard technology also defends against the corrosive properties of sweat.
- Fully waterproof
- Anker’s SweatGuard technology prevents corrosion
- 8-hour battery life, with recharging case
- 22 equalizer presets and custom music profiles
- Awkward, unconventional ear hooks
- Not designed for swimming
- Some users report trouble with pairing
Good to know: you can improve the sound on your Android phone if you aren’t happy with the quality.
5. Best for Running Outdoors: Tribit MoveBuds H1 Wireless Earbuds
The Tribit MoveBuds H1 Wireless Earbuds will stay in place no matter what kind of workout you are doing. But the best feature is the highest-level IPX8 waterproof rating for rain, ensuring that you don’t have to stop when the clouds come out.
The Tribit MoveBuds feature 24 sound equalizer modes and 15 hours of playback. The rechargeable case gives you an additional 50 hours. The recharge case is a bonus but relatively bulkier than most. That makes it a bit awkward to carry in a pocket.
To ensure that you can still hear what is happening around you, the earbuds also feature Transparency Mode that activates at the touch of a button.
- Compatible with Apple and Android
- Bluetooth 5.2 technology
- CVC 8.0 noise-canceling technology
- Touch buttons can be awkward to operate
- Sound quality can degrade at higher volumes
6. Best for Over-Ear Sound: Skullcandy Hesh 2
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 is the perfect workout companion for thumping beats and clear mid-range audio. Compatible with Apple and Android devices, it uses 50-millimeter audio drivers with Bluetooth technology so that you can exercise without having your phone in your pocket.
Despite its size, the Skullcandy Hesh 2 headset has an impressive 20 hours of battery life. Furthermore, it is equipped with quick-charge technology, meaning you can get two hours of use out of a quick 10-minute charge.
But for all the excellent features, some users can find the headband uncomfortable, especially during strenuous workout sessions. There is minimal padding inside, leaving bare plastic on your head. The cups do fold inward, though, so they store away nicely.
- Includes a 3.5-millimeter cable
- Lightweight and durable
- Touch controls to change tracks, volume, and playback
- Not compatible with the Skullcandy app
- No noise-canceling features
Also helpful: if you’d prefer something that erases background noise in the gym, check out our recommendations for budget noise-cancelling headphones.
7. Best for Calls: Jabra Elite 4 Active
No matter where you prefer to work out, there will always be some background noise. It can be terribly distracting, and when taking a call, others may not hear you clearly. But that’s where the Jabra Elite 4 Active comes in: it has four microphones for crystal-clear calling and active noise cancellation to keep you focused.
While working out, things tend to become uncomfortable, but Jabra hopes that these earbuds won’t be the cause. They feature in-ear pressure relief to prevent excess moisture buildup, which can be painful.
The speakers are 6-millimeter audio drivers and feature a mono mode, where you can listen to music by using only one of them. You can also customize the equalizer and bass boost to receive a powerful sound.
- Rated as IP57 for water and sweat resistance
- Ear tips fit snuggly in your ear canal
- Battery lasts up to 7 hours, and the case provides an additional 28
- Some users may find the wing-free design less stable
- It doesn’t support multi-device connectivity
- Earbuds aren’t fully waterproof
Which Workout Headphones Will You Choose?
Whether you enjoy your music through wired earbuds or wireless devices, there is a pair of headphones that will suit your budget. You can decide whether you prefer lightweight earbuds or bulkier over-ear headphones. You can also decide if you prefer budget earbuds with noise-canceling technology.
Looking for higher-end headphones? Check out our review of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3.
Image credit: Unsplash
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