The Best Wireless Headphones for Working Out – September 2017
Workout headphones are as much about style as they are about durability and sound and a good pair is one that gives you all three within your budget. Sound quality is definitely an important factor, though it’s a difficult one to generalize with as different people prefer different sounds. In general however, people prefer a bass heavy sound for working out and that’s what we’re going to look for. Working out at the gym with regular earbuds doesn’t really cut it and you want something that will stay in place, not get in the way, preferably be waterproof and give you lots of great sound. Additionally, if you’re the type that leaves them in the gym bag, you definitely want to get an extra durable pair or a good carrying case.
The list we’ve compiled for you keeps the above mentioned factors in mind though it’s good to remember there’s really nothing as good as trying on a few pairs before you buy one. Apart from durability, all other factors are a matter of opinion so don’t be afraid to try ones that we didn’t think were the best. On another note, the headphones on the list are all cutting edge in modern audio technology which means gone are the days when sweat messed up your earbuds or you had to deal with tangled chords during your workout. This list features wireless headphones specially designed for workouts and general sporting activities from not just top manufacturers, but also a few dark horses that we just couldn’t do without mentioning.
Now though there are more specific headphones like 100 percent waterproof ones for swimmers, this list has been compiled with heavy sweating in mind, not submersion. We’ve also decided to go with moderate noise cancellation as most runners would like to be aware if they’re going to be run over by a car. Another point to note is that though wireless headphones have been getting a lot of bad press since Apple and HTC decided to do away with the headphone jack in their latest phones, they are without a doubt the future.
Our number one pick just had to be an on-ear headphone as no in-ear model can really compete in terms of style and just being an all round head-turner. Fans have been waiting for a wireless sports model from the UFC sponsors ever since the Monster Octagon model came out and the iSport Freedom delivers on every level. Though close partners with Beats until their breakup in 2011 and ensuing lawsuit, Monster has seen a new lease of life with the whole MMA craze. Added to the fact that the Connor McGregor Vs Floyd Mayweather fight is being hyped as the biggest PPV event ever, Monster is now easily one of the most desirable headphone brands in sports entertainment. The design and color just screams cool, with a pretty cool price tag to match no doubt. The headphones fold up beautifully and are a dream to pack up and carry, while the durability is evident the minute you hold them in your hand. An added advantage is the presence of the built-in high intelligibility mic with advanced echo suppression in case you need to take any calls in between sets. There are two different sound profiles with a turbo mode for extra bass and the capability to pair two devices at once to share music, there are those also annoying voice prompts in case your battery is running low.
Key features are that it’s washable, antimicrobial, sweat-resistant and has a touch sensitive control panel on the right ear. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0, aptX, AAC Codec and 40mm drivers. The black and fluorescent yellow/green combination make it easy to spot you if you’re running at night though it limits what you can wear to the gym. Don’t pair them up with a bright color track suit unless that’s something you normally carry off. Another great feature is the 3.5mm jack that works as a fail safe if your batteries run out, forgetful people like me really appreciate this option. The batteries offer about 24 hours of playback and a lot of reviews claim 30 hours which is plenty unless you’re taking part in an Ironman triathlon that lasts a few days. There are also three listening modes, wireless, wired and USB Direct Digital Audio. The headphones charge via micro-USB and aren’t uncomfortable unless worn for extended periods (several hours) since they tend to pin the top of your ears down a bit (depending on your ears). There’s no issue with them staying in place however and they actually are a lot lighter than they look.
The sound quality pretty much holds up across tracks though these headphones really shine in the bass heavy moments. While the highs, mids and lows are quite perfectly balanced, the volume does crank up quite a bit and surprisingly without much deterioration in the quality. The touch interface is on the right ear and feels super cool to operate, swipe-up and swipe-down adjusts the volume while a single tap stops and plays and a double tap skips tracks. With the aptX and AAC codecs, you get the very best in wireless technology and the sound can easily be compared to a high quality wired headset. The iSport Freedom 2 checks all the boxes in terms of style, durability, battery and bass, which is what you want from your workout headphones and the way they fold up along with the way they stay in place is just the icing on the cake. The touch panel on the right ear cup almost makes you feel like Robocop changing tracks, this also means that every time you take them off you pause your track because your touching the right ear cup which saves your batteries.
In conclusion, this was our number one pick because you’re getting a pair of wireless headphones that sound great, are extra durable and get everyone’s attention. In terms of brand value, you just don’t get more extreme adrenaline than Monster and though Beats are cool, hardcore sports junkies are going to choose Monster every time. At $200 they’re not really that unreasonable and with the build quality the way it is, it’s probable going to last longer than a lot of $50 headphones put together.
Beats by Dr. Dre has seen an unprecedented rise to fame in the headphone industry and is considered by many the top brand especially since Apple took over. If you want a bass line that completely steals the show, the Beats line-up have been known to have enormous sub-bass. The Powerbeats 3 however, is supposed to be one of their best creations yet and is the next generation of Beats Bluetooth sports headphones. Beats headphones aren’t known to be understated and these are no different, the design is probably the best looking among headphones and the square earpieces with the beats logo surrounded by the little hooks just looks awesome. The best part is that you can actually wear them all day, everyday, regardless of weather or activity. The cool factor is definitely here and the color combinations just scream for attention while a Dr. Dre endorsement is about as gangster a pair of earbuds can get.
When it comes to wireless technology, the W1 chip is a serious upgrade and another reason why this pair is our runner up. This is where Dr Dre meets Steve Jobs and Apple’s adding the W1 chip to the Powerbeats 3 is a really smart move to say the least. Apart from a significantly longer battery life and wireless range, both which are key factors to a pair of workout headphones, it also enables painless pairing with iOS 10.0 devices. Additionally, it also syncs configuration across all the devices in your iCloud account. The W1 chip is based on Class 1 Bluetooth standards which is supposed to be about ten times the range of a Class 2 device.
Now with the exception of Apple Airpods, the Powerbeats 3 is part of only 3 headphones that have the W1 technology and though optimized for Apple devices, these headphones work great with any devices that support Bluetooth connectivity. These headphones are also a great choice for Apple Watch users as they automatically switch between the Watch and iPhone.
All in all, a lot of people feel the beats sound is “over the top” and the design often “overstated”. Well that’s exactly what we’re looking for in this lineup and the Powerbeats 3 checks the boxes just perfectly. The 12 hour battery life with 1 hour listening time on a 5 minute charge is more than enough for any workout and the sweat and water resistant design make it just perfect for this list. Now though the sweat resistance is top notch, these are in-ear headphones, so don’t expect them to be indestructible like a Monster Octagon, they do however come with a weather proof case which if you remember to use, should keep them safe. There are 3 size ear tips provided in the box and once you find the right size it does a good job of cancelling out a lot of noise while keeping you aware of your surroundings at the same time.
If you’re looking for a pair of wireless workout headphones that push the boundaries of what a pair of headphones can do, The Jabra Sports Pulse is for you. In this case “Sports Pulse” isn’t just a fancy name and it can actually monitor your heart rate through your ears! It does this with the help of an optomechanical sensor that shines light inside the skin of your ear to detect not just your pulse, but also your oxygen consumption. What’s more, it comes bundled with a companion app for people who really want to get technical with their workout. The “Sport” button is built on to the outside of the left ear bud and a quick press gives you updates on distance, time and heart rate among other things. The companion also lets you harness your phones GPS signal to help you stay on course during a run.
The sound on these headphones is much better than the Jabra Sport Wireless version and much “Bassier” while not overwhelming like the Beats models. The sound app lets you enhance to Dolby High Definition sound and offers great noise cancellation as well. The battery life is only 5 hours though that really isn’t a problem since 5 hours in the gym or on the track is a lot more than what the average person’s routine consists of. We sort of broke our rule with what we were looking for with the Jabra Pulse, but what it lacks in style, this pair of headphones makes up for in pure geek value. The fact that these headphones are pushing the envelope and enhancing your workout on a whole new level says loads about what we can expect in the future. Serious athletes will just love all the extra features, especially the ability to keep track of progress and development through their headphones. Apart from keeping track of history and personal achievements, the Jabra Pulse also lets you take a number of fitness tests to help measure your current fitness levels!
With the Soul X-Tra Wireless we are back on track looking for style, sound and durability. Soul electronics is known for their powerful sound and they’ve packed loads of that into these workout headphones with advanced HD drivers and circuits designed for extra bass. The ear cups snap of pretty easily for easy washing and drying and it also comes with a really nice hard case that you can throw in a gym bag. The build quality is decent though it’s mostly plastic and extremely light weight for a pair of on-ears.
It comes with an audio and micro USB charging cable so it’s not only wireless and you’re not at the mercy of your batteries. The cool factor here comes from LED lighting around the ear cups which can be programmed to stay on or flash and is pretty useful if your jogging at night or just want to draw some extra attention to your headphones. There are two color options, all black and black with blue accents. The fit is excellent and they really stay on no matter what you’re doing. 24 hours of playtime without LEDs and 15 hours with is plenty and the cool factor is strong in this one.
These headphones by 50 cent bring you the best of both worlds in terms of studio and workout headphones. The Audio street were initially launched as DJ headphones that give you booming, distortion free low ends and came with a DJ friendly flip away design. The Sports version comes with washable covers and loads of style. Though the frame is all black, you can choose the colour of the logo and the pads and you can pick almost any color on the rainbow (literally), and while it stays in place and resists sweat, it looks and sounds amazing too. One thing to remember though, is it’s a lot heavier than the Soul X-Tra and you definitely feel it after a while. However, if you’re going to wear celebrity endorsed headphones, especially ones by 50 cent, you’re obviously not the type to complain about a little extra weight on your neck.
IPX4 rated against sweat and water, on-ear track control and an on board mic, 10 hours of battery life on a full charge and a detachable cable with a mic in case you run out. All this added to the fact that the entire frame is coated with durable rubber and is even resistant to fingerprints make it one of our top pics. In conclusion, even though this is probably the oldest model on our list, this pair checked all boxes in terms of style, durability and powerful deep bass responses.
The Jaybird range of headphones from Logitech have always been geared towards sports and the X3 is the latest in their line of wireless headphones. There are a few ways to wear these like around your neck or over the top of your ears for a variety of fits and as far as staying in place and resisting sweat, the X3 does it with flying colors. The X3 comes with Bluetooth 4.1, 8 hours of battery life and a considerably better build quality than the previous X2. It also comes with an app to help you customize the sound though standard settings have loads of bass already.
The earbuds also claim to be “helmet compatible” which means you can strap a cycle helmet over them without the straps getting in the way. The charging clip is proprietary and is probably a good thing since it keeps you from charging with an unknown sources that can damage your battery. An inline remote control a few inches below the ear piece lets you change tracks and it comes with plenty of eartips, both silicone and foam to make sure you get the right fit. Logitech also claim to have enhanced the 6mm drivers in the earbuds especially for workouts.
The first Bluetooth sports headphone by sound giant Bose looks cool, sounds great and more importantly is a Bose. Though they sport the more traditional neckband cable with inline remote control, the silicone hooks fit snuggly behind your ears making sure the ear buds stay in place for the duration of your workout. The Soundsport is IPX4 sweat resistant and comes with 6 hours of battery life. NFC is a cool addition which means you can just touch the ear piece to an android device to make it connect.
The reason to buy Bose however, is that powerful punchy base that’s going to help you get through those last few muscle squeezing reps, the ones that really count. As far as sound quality goes, these headphones bring out the best in those hip-hop, heavy metal and bass heavy numbers. Good solid dynamics and a great sound signature crafted by Bose make the music sound lively and make these one of the most interesting sounding headphones out there. Since the wired version is called Soundsport Pulse and tracks heart beats, it’s quite possible with the success of the wireless version, future models may have more features along the lines of the Jabra. A Jabra with Bose quality sound might just be the best pair yet.
You can’t really have a headphone best list without JBL though that’s not the reason they made it to our list. Not unlike Bose, you buy these headphones for the huge bass response, sculpted highs and zero distortion at max volume. Though they’re pretty basic in design with 2 ear buds linked by a chord that goes around the back of your neck and has an inline mic and remote control, they’re extremely light weight and water resistant so you can really sweat with them on. The chord has a reflective strip for night workouts and the price just make it all the more attractive.
You aren’t going to win any style points but at this price. a pair of JBL water resistant earbuds with mega bass is a really really good deal. The wireless connectivity is stellar and the battery lasts for about 8 hours. If your priorities are deep bass response with no distortion, good Bluetooth connectivity and a sturdy and water proof design, these headphones are definitely the best value.
Yurbuds are another brand that only make headphones designed for sports and sporting use which means as far as fit and sweat resistance go, they’re on par with the best. The ear pieces come with large 15.4mm drivers and make sure that they don’t block out sound completely. The “twistlock” technology has been developed specifically with runners in mind and gives you a snug fit every single time. They’re completely water resistant so you can actually run in the rain without any worries. These headphones are for serious runners and are said to stay in place across cross-country marathons. The bass isn’t exceptional like the JBL, but it’s definitely there along with exceptional sound quality, easy one touch control and an in-built microphone.
For the money that they cost, these are very attractive to long distance runners and can compare with headphones that cost twice as much. As earlier mentioned, the sound isn’t exactly bass heavy but not at all disappointing for a pair of wireless sports headphones at this price.
These are basically lightweight, sweatproof, wireless headphones with a washable and removable hadband and earpads. The attractive, rugged and sweatproof design along with the price, make it a pretty decent gym option. The touch features on the right ear cup and secure fit put it a category with much more expensive headphones even though it costs about half as much. The Hellas comes in a variety of colours, has a 14 hour battery life and a sound quality that you would expect form a more expensive pair of headphones.
The removable headband and earpads are washer and dryer friendly and you can carry an extra pair if you sweat through them at the gym. A washing bag is included with a USB cable in the box and you can stick your earpads and headband into the bag before you put them in the washer to make sure they all stay together during your wash.