Best headphones and earbuds for working out 2024 — tested and rated

Best workout headphones quick menu

The best workout headphones are designed to withstand your sweaty training sessions and long runs, and won't fall out during fast-paced exercise. But it's hard to tell how they fare until they're actually in your ears, which is why we put them to the test in high-intensity workouts, leisurely walks, and outdoor exercise. 

One set impressed us so much, we rated them the best workout headphones for most people; the Jabra Elite 8 Active. The ShakeGrip in-ear design keeps them comfortably in place, the audio quality is excellent, and the IP68 rating means they'll survive sweaty workouts and runs in the rain. 

We're also big fans of the budget-friendly JLab Epic Air Sport ANC, which robustly block out background noises so you can focus on your training. But they're not your only option, as we've rounded up the best workout headphones that'll suit the gym, outdoor runs, and home training on iPhone and Android smartphones. 

The quick list

The best workout headphones you can buy today

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Best workout headphones overall

Jabra Elite 8 Active in navy held in a person's hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best workout earbuds for most people

Specifications

Water resistance: IP68
Battery life: 8 hours, 32 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
ShakeGrip design keeps the buds in place
+
Customizable sound profiles
+
Impressive ANC and transparency mode
+
Durable design

Reasons to avoid

-
Pressing the on-bud buttons can cause discomfort
-
Spatial Sound feature could be better

After using the Jabra Elite 8 Active for several months to listen to music and podcasts during high-intensity exercise, gentle walks, and muscle-building workouts, we can confidently say that they're the best workout earbuds for most people. 

Like their predecessor, the Jabra Elite 7 Active, the buds come with Jabra's ShakeGrip design, which uses a blend of materials and weighting to keep them in place. Even during high-impact moves like burpees, they never fell out of our ears. 

Plus, we liked that they have physical buttons on each earbud for pausing playback, switching noise cancellation modes, and adjusting the volume. This is much easier to use during exercise than touch-based controls found on other earbuds, like the Apple AirPods Pro. 

The IP68 water resistance rating means that they'll withstand even the sweatiest workouts or wettest outdoor runs, making them ideal for however you prefer to train. Though we did find that the case's interior can get a bit dirty over time. 

Best budget workout headphones

Jlab Epic Air ANC 2 held in hand in front of a fountain

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best budget-friendly workout earbuds

Specifications

Water resistance: IP66
Battery life: 11 hours, 70 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Ear hooks stop them falling out
+
Great audio quality for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not great for calls
-
Poor ANC performance
-
Dated USB-A charging

The JLab Epic Air Sport ANC (2nd Gen) are ideal if you're looking for a set of workout headphones on a budget. We were impressed with how good these sub-$100 earbuds sounded, and at the case's mammoth 70-hour battery life. 

And if you'd prefer not to rely on clever designs to keep them in place (like with the Jabra Elite 8 Active) the ear hooked design should suit you better. We found that they were comfortable for long periods, so should be good for most workouts. 

However, we were less impressed with the ANC, which was noticeably worse than on the first-generation Epic Air Sport ANC. That doesn't mean it was terrible — it did filter out background noises pretty well — but you don't expect worse performance after an upgrade. 

Still, the earbuds survived everything we threw at them and, because you rarely need to charge them, the fairly dated USB-A charging port was less of an annoyance than it really should have been, given most now use USB-C cables. 

Best value workout headphones

The Amazfit PowerBuds Pro displayed on a bed of wood chips

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)
The best value workout earbuds

Specifications

Water resistance: IP66
Battery life: 5 hours, 19 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Adaptive noise cancellation
+
Doubles as a fitness tracker
+
Lots of features for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Fitness data not as accurate as dedicated tracker
-
Fit could be better

Yes, the Amazfit PowerBuds Pro looks a lot like AirPods, but they work on Android smartphones and iPhone, and aren't locked to Apple's platform. But despite the heavily influenced visual design, they're actually nothing like Apple's popular buds. 

Incredibly, the PowerBuds Pro have sensors that mean they double as a fitness tracker, monitoring your heart rate, steps, and distance, so you don't even need a second device on your wrist to track all your essential fitness data. 

Plus, you can sync this data to apps like Runtastic and MapMyRun to get better training insights. We initially thought this would be more like a gimmick, but it worked surprisingly well. It won't replace your existing tracker, but it's an interesting idea. 

Elsewhere, you get good ANC performance, decent battery life (5 hours per bud), and an IP66 rating for water resistance. You could argue that Amazfit should have prioritized battery life over fitness tracking, but at least you can top them up to 19 hours with the case.

Best workout headphones for running

Shokz OpenRun Pro in a person's hand

(Image credit: Future)
The best bone conduction workout earbuds

Specifications

Water resistance: IP55
Battery life: 10 hours
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable over extended periods
+
10-hour battery life
+
Design helps you stay aware of your surroundings
+
Good sound for bone conduction headphones

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't adjust the fit
-
No charging case

Noise-canceling headphones are great for indoor exercise, but when you're running outside, you want to stay aware of hazards and other people, which is why many workout earbuds come with a transparency mode. 

But the Shokz OpenRun Pro take a different approach, using bone conduction technology to recreate sounds while sitting just above your jaw, rather than on or in your ears. This keeps your ears open to traffic and other runners, which is why they're among the best running headphones too. 

The earbuds connect with a band that wraps around the back of your head, with small pads to keep them in the ideal spot on your face, which we found was surprisingly effective, even during high-movement runs. 

There are small buttons on each pad to allow you to change the song or volume, and interact with your chosen voice assistant. Plus, you get a 10-hour battery life, but no charging case, so you do need to plug them in to top-up. 

As they rely on conduction to recreate sound away from your ears, the audio quality doesn't quite match up to other workout earbuds like the Jabra Elite 8 Active. But it's a good compromise if you regularly train outdoors.

Best workout headphones for the gym

The Beats Powerbeats Pro sitting next to an Apple Watch

(Image credit: Future)
The best workout earbuds for gym workouts

Specifications

Water resistance: IPX4
Battery life: 9 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive noise cancellation and transparency mode
+
Works well with other Apple devices
+
Supports Spatial Audio modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features don't work on Android phones
-
Eartip Fit Test doesn't always work

The Beats Powerbeats Pro retain the brand's impressive bass performance, but also come with Apple smarts thanks to the H1 chip that also powers the AirPods Pro. So, you get great noise cancellation and tight integration with your iPhone. 

They do still work with Android smartphones, but you miss out on the "Hey Siri" wake-word activation, which is a large part of the appeal. Well, that along with the ear-hook design, which we found kept them secure during all our workouts. 

Although, we did find that they were a bit fiddly to put in if you have longer hair, as the hooks get a bit tangled. But once they're in place, they're not going to fall out. And when you finish your training, the buds integrate with Apple's Find My platform, so you can locate them if you accidentally leave them at the gym. 

Beats' reputation for heavy bass precedes it, but we were happy to find a more well-rounded sound profile on the Powerbeats Pro. Despite the similarities with Apple's flagship earbuds, the battery life is a more respectable 9 hours per bud. 

Best workout headphones for iPhone

Man wearing the Apple AirPods Pro 2 outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best workout earbuds for iPhone owners

Specifications

Water resistance: IPX4
Battery life: 6 hours, 30 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Apple's H1 chip 
+
Integrates well with your iPhone
+
"Hey Siri" wake-word
+
Great audio and noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't work well with Android phones
-
Battery life still not great
-
Stemmed design can come loose

While the Beats Powerbeats Pro have much of the same tech, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 have become the go-to workout earbuds for many iPhone users. The stemmed design keeps the weight balanced so they don't fall out, but you will need to occasionally twist them back in place. 

And like with the Beats set, you get impressive noise cancellation, Apple's spatial audio tech for immersive listening, and an effective transparency mode for when you need to hear what's going on around you. 

What we liked the most was how versatile the earbuds are. Yes, they might not be as durable as the Jabra Elite 8 Active, or as long lasting as the JLab Epic Air Sport 2, but these earbuds are a great all-around option for workouts, calls, and everyday use, so won't need separate gym and work sets. 

The main reason we don't rate these higher in the list of best workout headphones is mostly due to the design — these aren't made for sports and they're not as secure fitting as you'd need for all high-intensity workouts. But for general use with your iPhone, including yoga, HIIT sessions, and casual runs, they're a great choice. 

Best workout headphones for Android

The Google Pixel Buds Pro charging case being held in hand

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)
The best workout earbuds for Android owners

Specifications

Water resistance: IPX4
Battery life: 7 hours, 20 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Tight integration with Google Assistant
+
Effective noise cancellation and transparency mode
+
Volume EQ feature means you don't miss out on detail at lower volumes

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre battery life
-
Need occasional adjustments during exercise
-
Not ideal for iPhone users

Not to be left out, Google also has its own set of branded earbuds designed with Android smartphones in mind — specifically, its range of Pixel phones. However, you can use them with any Android smartphone and get most of the benefit. 

If you've been envious of the AirPod Pro's tight integration with the iPhone, these are a great alternative. They play well with the Google Assistant, and we were amazed at how quickly the assistant could respond to our requests. 

This is great for when you're exercising and want to quickly respond to a message, set a timer, or change a playlist without unlocking your phone, but there are other impressive uses as well, like real-time translation into over 40 languages, making them an invaluable option for when you're traveling. 

The Pixel Buds Pro have good sound quality too, something we'd never really associated with Google-branded products before. And to protect your ears without compromising on quality, we liked how the Volume EQ feature could boost the bass and trebles at lower volumes. 

And like many other workout headphones, the earbuds stay in place without too much adjustment, but, like the AirPods, they're not the ideal choice if you regularly do high-impact exercise, unless, of course, you really want that tight integration with Google Assistant. 

Best workout earbuds under $50

A person holding the JLab Go Air Pop in the case

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)
The best workout earbuds under $50

Specifications

Water resistance: IPX4
Battery life: 8 hours, 32 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Sweat resistance
+
Budget price
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor call quality
-
Lacks noise cancellation
-
No companion app

If you're after a good set of workout earbuds that you can chuck in your bag without worrying about them too much, the JLab Go Air Pop are a great option. The buds cost just $25, but can last up to 8 hours, are IPX4-rated, and come in 5 colors. 

But unlike many other cheap workout headphones, these ones actually sound good, so you won't get distracted by muffled audio or low volume songs. We were impressed how comfortable they were to wear over long periods too. 

At this price, it's hard to demand perfection, but if you're hoping the Go Air Pop could pull double duty as workout earbuds and for joining virtual meetings, we found that the call quality wasn't good enough to use them reliably for calls. 

However, if you're after a spare set of buds you can grab in emergencies or as a gym set that won't break the bank if you need to replace them after a dumbbell accidentally lands on one, the Go Air Sport are definitely one of our top picks. 

How to choose the best workout headphones

There a lot of Bluetooth workout headphones out there, so it can be challenge to decide between them all. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that'll help narrow your options down to the right ones for your needs. 

Firstly, it's vital that they stay in place during your exercise sessions. Some have ear hooks to physically hold them down, but others rely on clever engineering, a range of ear tips, or a specific set of materials to stop them falling out. 

You also want them to survive some degree of moisture. If you plan to get sweaty, then you'll need a set rated to at least IPX4 for water resistance. But for outdoor workouts with a chance of rain, it's best to aim for an IPX7 rating. 

Importantly, they also need to last the length of your workout. If you're doing short, high-intensity sessions, then you may only need an hour of battery. But, with the right case, you may only need to recharge them every couple of weeks. 

If long runs are more your thing or you're training for a marathon, you'll need a long-lasting set, like the Shokz OpenRun Pro, which are specifically designed with long distance outdoor runners in mind and last up to 10 hours. 

And, finally, how loud do you like your workouts? If you don't mind some background noise at the gym, then a set of passive noise-canceling headphones should do the job, but most of the best workout earbuds have active noise cancellation (ANC) instead. 

Earbuds with ANC cancel out the sound before it even hits your ears, so they're ideal if you want to zone out to your favorite tracks and focus on your exercise. But you may also want to hear traffic when you're out and about, so choose a set with a transparency mode too, which cancels most, but not all, noise. 

How we test the best workout headphones

To make sure that we only recommend earbuds that can actually survive an intense workout, we wear them to do high-intensity sessions, walks, runs, and to lift weights. Plus, we also use them throughout the day to assess comfort. 

As fit can be a crucial factor, we see if the earbuds can stay in place during high-movement exercises like burpees and multi-muscle resistance training moves like dumbbell presses. 

You also want your favorite music to sound good, so we use a consistent playlist to check the audio quality on each set and to help us compare between earbuds. And, finally, we assess how long the battery really lasts between charges. 

Also tested

The workout headphones in the guide above aren't the only ones we've tested. We regularly try out workout earbuds so that we can recommend the top options that are worth spending your hard-earned cash on. 

However, there are several other good options if you're after a bit more choice. These are the earbuds we've tested that didn't quite make the cut. 

Jabra Elite 7 Active

Jabra Elite 7 Active
These used to be our favorite workout headphones, but were superseded by the Elite 8 Active. However, the ANC is great, the transparency mode works well, and these also have the brand's ShakeGrip design to keep them in place. Plus, as an older model, you get a lot of the same features for less money, as the Elite 7 Active are often on sale. 

Read our full Jabra Elite 7 Active review

Beats Beats Fit Pro

Beats Fit Pro
We ranked the Beats Powerbeats Pro thanks to the over-ear hooks to keep them in place, but the Fit Pro are an excellent option if you're after Beats' design, tight integration with Apple products, and the brand's infamously bass-y audio in a more traditional earbud package. 

Read our full Beats Fit Pro review

Beats Beats Fit Pro

Beats Studio Buds+
If you're after the classic Beats sound but without ear hooks or wings, the Studio Buds+ are an excellent choice. They're comfortable, come with ANC, and last up to six hours. However, they are a bit fiddly to get out of the case initially, which could be a problem with sweaty hands. 

Read our full Beats Studio Buds+ review

JBL SoundGear Sense

JBL SoundGear Sense
The JBL SoundGear Sense have an open-ear design, so sit on top of your ears rather than in them. We found this was fine for quiet environments or working out at home, but as soon as there was a lot of background noise from wind or traffic, it'd easily drown out the audio. They're comfortable and durable, but best-suited to indoor exercise. 

Read our full JBL SoundGear Sense review

FAQs

What do IP ratings mean?

If you've been hunting for new workout headphones, you may have noticed that each set has an IP rating for water resistance. This stands for Ingress Protection, and it's a measure of how well the buds can stand dirt and water. 

There's a standard format to the rating — IPXY — where X refers to the level of dust protection and Y relates to the device's water resistance. The dust protection runs from 0 to 6, while water ranges between 0 and 9. 

Unless you're working out in very dusty environments, the dust protection is less relevant and most brands don't even test them against that part of the standard. Instead, you'll want to pay attention to the water rating. 

Headphones with an IPX4 rating are protected against splashes of water, so will cope with sweaty workouts. However, if you want to run in the rain (or are worried about getting caught in a storm) then aim for a set with an IPX7 rating. 

This means they can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes without damage. That doesn't mean you should take them swimming (you'll want some waterproof headphones for that) but dropping them in a puddle isn't going to do them any harm. 

Should you use over-ear headphones or earbuds for exercise?

Our roundup only includes workout earbuds, but it's not uncommon to see some people train with over-ear headphones instead, especially at the gym. So, which should you wear for exercise?

Ultimately, it comes down to preference, but there are a few factors to consider. Over-ears use an adjustable headband to keep them in place, so they're not likely to move about, especially if you're lifting weights. 

Even just a few years ago, in-ear buds weren't really designed with exercise in mind, so they'd often fall out or need a lot of fiddling to keep them in place. But the best workout headphones we've included here all have ways to overcome that challenge. 

Some, like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, have ear hooks to hold them securely. Then there's the Jabra Elite 8 Active which come with the brand's ShakeGrip design, which uses a blend of internal weighting and grippy materials. 

But many people also feel like a larger set of headphones will have longer battery life and sound better too. However, the performance gap has shrunk, so you can get impressive noise cancellation and battery life from workout earbuds now. 

The downside to over-ears is that they're generally not designed for sweaty exercise. Many have leather ear pads, and these quickly wear with repeated movements and contact with sweat. You can replace them, but it's not ideal. 

The earbuds are also lighter, so you're less likely to notice you have them in, while over-ear cans can start to press against your skull and contribute to tension headaches, unless they're specifically designed for comfort. Although that usually makes them less durable. 

Can you repair workout headphones?

Generally, no. This is partly due to the intricate designs required to make small earbuds packed with batteries, sensors, and headphone components. But it's also because most brands don't prioritize repairability. 

Many sets, like those in our best workout headphones roundup, are durable, so shouldn't get easily damaged. And since most offer some degree of water resistance, a bit of sweat or light rain shouldn't cause you any problems. 

So any significant damage is going to come from accidents, like dropping a weight onto an errant bud. However, you may notice a drop in battery life in the longer-term, which you usually can't do anything about. 

The only way around this would be to pick up a set of the Fairphone Fairbuds, which may be the world's most repairable earbuds since you can replace seven parts, including the battery and outer shell.

They're currently only available in the EU and UK, and we're still waiting on details of any US release. But we hope Fairphone will bring these more sustainable earbuds stateside soon. 

Are wired headphones good for the gym?

All of the sets in our best workout headphones roundup are wireless and connect to your smartphone or other devices via Bluetooth. But you can still find wired sets, including the Apple EarPods, which looks a bit like AirPods but with a cable and Lightning connector to plug into your iPhone. 

Wired sets also tend to be cheaper, so you may be considering a set that you wouldn't need to worry as much about damaging or replacing. However, it's important to consider how you like to train before picking up a wired set. 

To keep them connected, you'll need to have your phone somewhere on your body, either in a pocket, waistband or running phone holder. Consequently, there are two different devices moving at different times as you exercise; your earphones and your smartphone. 

The movements are translated between them with the cable, so if you stretch your leg out, the cable tenses and may tug on your earphones, which could lead to them falling out. 

Plus, if you're working out with weights or other equipment, there's also the risk that the wire will get tangled up, leading to the headphones falling out or the cable getting ripped. 

Similarly, if you prefer to keep aware of your surroundings, you can use most wireless workout headphones in mono mode, with just a single earbud in while the other stays in the case. You don't have the same option for wired workout headphones. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.

Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.

He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.

With contributions from
  • Ctsamct1
    There are not headphone. They are earphones and ear buds. A headphone goes over your head.
    Reply
  • shinyhappyhead
    The one con for the Jabra Elite Active 75t made me lolz:

    Can be extremely loud at max volume
    Psst. Turn down the volume. :p

    Being someone with some hearing loss I kinda like a LOT of volume and bass.

    Are you all going to review the Liberty 3 Pros and JBL Reflect Flow Pros? I had the L3P's for a couple of weeks and thought they were great - except for the intermittent audio dropouts. It pained me to return them because the sound is loud and boomy, the app is phenomenal, and the fit is fairly good if you found the right wing and eartip.

    I'm still searching for the Goldilocks of earbuds. Perfect fit, loud and bassy, intuitive controls, good ANC/Transparency, and a great app with a custom EQ.
    Reply
  • GuntherBkk
    I am sorry, but as mentioned before by Ctsamct1 these are not headphones and the article name is misleading. People who actually prefer to get information about headphones get to read this pointless (for them) article. Best you change the name so it shows it is about earbuds
    Reply
  • W8stedTime
    Made an account just to say the legitimacy of this list is really called into question when you don't even know the name of the products you're making a list about. 2022 and earbuds still being called headphones and the top of a Google search, lmao.
    Good guide, Tom.
    Reply
  • YuriaVK
    whoever made this is booboo the fool because these are wireless earbuds smh
    Reply