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Which wireless headphones are best for working out?

Music has a powerful effect on the mind and is excellent for increasing focus and keeping yourself energized while working out. Since exercising usually involves lots of movement, heat and sweat, picking the right set of Bluetooth headphones for the gym has different requirements than picking wireless headphones for use at home or while traveling. Some of the top things to look for are stability, waterproofing, weight and ventilation.

Bluetooth workout headphones considerations

Active noise cancellation

Comply Isolation earbuds foam tips

Active noise canceling is most effective at reducing sustained low-frequency sounds. The conversations and weight machine noises that distract you at the gym will mostly cut through ANC. Instead, consider adding a pair of Comply Isolation foam tips to your earbuds to block out considerable noise as well as increase the earbuds’ stability.

Over-ear headphones vs. earbuds

You almost certainly don’t want to use your plush, over-ear cans while lifting, running or doing anything else in the gym. For starters, your ears and head will get hot quickly and the headphones will probably end up drenched in sweat, which many over-ear models aren’t equipped to handle. Beyond that, the amount of movement involved in most exercise makes heavy headphones uncomfortable in a short time and the clamping force of most headphones isn’t enough to reliably stay put.

IP rating

IP stands for ingress protection and is followed by two numbers. The first number represents how secure the device is against dust, which doesn’t really matter in the gym. The second number indicates a device’s water resistance. An IPX4 rating means your headphones are safe in splashes of water, which essentially means they’re sweat-resistant. Water resistance increases to water jets at level 5, strong water jets at 7 and complete submersion at levels 7 and 8.

Using Bluetooth in a pool

Water stops Bluetooth transmission. To use headphones in the pool, you’ll have to look for a pair with a built-in MP3 player or a pair of waterproof earbuds and a separate music player.

Best over-ear workout headphones

They’re somewhat rare, but there are a few good sets of on-ear headphones that are significantly lighter and better ventilated than over-ear models and feature washable fabric that’s perfect for use at the gym.

Adidas RPT-01

Adidas RPT-01

These utilize Bluetooth 5.0 for a robust connection, and the knit fabric covers on their ear pads are comfortable and long-lasting. Unlike the touch controls on some, their control knob is easy to use during strenuous activity. 

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JBL Under Armour Sport Train

JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Train

The battery lasts long enough for extended workout sessions and they’re among the lightest on-ear models available. Even more interesting is the Bionic Hearing feature that lowers the music volume and activates external microphones in case you want to talk to a fellow exerciser.

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Urbanears Hellas

Urbanears Hellas

These are especially light and have moderate clamping force with highly plush ear pads, which combine to make them remarkably comfortable, even after hours in the gym. They also don’t cost very much. 

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Best wireless earbuds with ear hooks

If you’ve ever had trouble keeping your earbuds in your ears during strenuous activities, you’re not alone. These models all have relatively flexible ear hooks that ensure they won’t come out until you take them out.

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

These are all-around high performers that sport a robust wireless connection and IP68 protection from the elements. Their battery life is as long as 36 hours when you take the charging case into account. 

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Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro

If you’re willing to make the investment, these are some of the best and most popular options for working out. If you want to save money but get the same great performance, consider the base-level Beats Powerbeats, which are connected by a wire. 

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Treblab X3 Pro

Treblab X3 Pro

These are remarkably good for their low price, due in part to their support of the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec. They charge via USB Type-C and their batteries last for an incredible 45 hours. 

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Best wireless in-ear headphones

The beauty of many of these ultra-compact earbuds is that they’re lightweight and have the weight distribution needed to stay in one place, even when you’re running, jumping or lifting. For even better stability, consider adding a pair of Comply Comfort foam ear tips.

Tozo NC7

Tozo NC7

They get rave reviews not only from owners, but also from expert tech reviewers and their hands-on benchmarks. With hybrid active noise canceling and optional transparency mode, the NC7s have an impressive feature set for their reasonable cost. 

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Beats Fit Pro

Beats Fit Pro

If you like to listen to music on an iPhone or iPad, these are some of the best earbuds you can buy due to their Apple H1 processing chip, which transmits using the high-resolution AAC codec.

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Anker Soundcore Life Dot

Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2

As the name implies, these are about as small as they come. Even better, they come with various sizes of ear tips with expanded wings that all but guarantee they’ll stay in place during long workouts. 

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What are bone conduction headphones?

Instead of sending sound into your ears like most others, bone conduction headphones pump vibrations through the bones on the sides of your face. They don’t sound the same as normal headphones and aren’t ideal for bass-heavy music, but they’re especially great for listening to podcasts. Also, they don’t block out any external noise whatsoever, in case you need to remain aware of your surroundings.

AfterShokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex

Don’t be fooled by imitations — these are the best bone conduction headphones on the market. If you’re willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of waterproofing and battery life, you can save money by opting instead for the AfterShokz OpenMove

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Veiersia Open Ear

Veiersia Open Ear

There aren’t many fully waterproof MP3 player headphones, but these are among them. You’ll have to load your music prior to playing it, of course, but most users find that these are relatively secure and offer good sound quality underwater. 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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