The 7 Best Workout Headphones for 2022 to Power You Through Any Workout

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Performing well athletically is all about staying in the zone, mentally and physically. A tried-and-true way to heighten your focus? Listening to music. And you'll want the audio to be delivered via some of the best workout headphones you can find. After all, a playlist or podcast will quickly become distracting rather than motivating if your headphones are falling off, failing to break through the background noise, or expiring prematurely from a finicky battery.

The good news: It's not self-indulgent to splurge on better workout headphones. In fact, you're making an investment that can positively influence your ability to train and perform. The Active Reviews Team was able to round up seven of the best workout headphones that have the mettle to keep pace with you during even the most intense types of exercise. Here are our picks, plus what most stood out to us in each pair of the best workout headphones:

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The Best Workout Headphones - Our Top Picks

Why Trust Us?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

Best Overall Workout Headphones - Beats Fit Pro

Beats Fit Pro

SPECS

  • Total weight: 6.4 oz.
  • Style: In-ear, with wingtip and silicone tips
  • Active noise cancellation: Included
  • Battery life: Up to 6 hours with ANC on
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple H1 chip
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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The first thing that stands out about the Beats Fit Pro are their sporty wingtip design. Rather than use a straight-stem design like AirPods, the winged curvature gives the earbuds a fantastic sense of snug security in the ear. The importance of that feature alone easily made them a top pick for testers among workout headphones.

Beats Fit Pro are essentially the sportier sister of the Apple AirPods. Actually, Beats are perhaps more like Apple's sportier sister-in-law—Beats still uses their own branding, but they're technically an Apple product, which purchased the company for $3.2 billion in 2014. One happy result of its Apple acquisition is that Beats sports a lot of the same tech as AirPods, including the Apple H1 chip. That allows Apple users to sync familiar tools like "Hey, Siri," iCloud, and the Find My app with their Beats Fit Pro. And while Apple users may feel the most comfortable with the Beats Fit Pro, unlike AirPods, Beats earbuds are also compatible with Android. After downloading the Beats app for Android9, Android users can pair their Beats to devices with one-touch, customize controls, monitor battery life, update firmware, and test the fit of the earbuds to optimize sound and feel.

Looking at the audio quality, the Beats Fit Pro eliminates background noise fairly seamlessly and on par with the AirPods Pro, which generally retail at a higher price. We also like that the charging cord is USB-C, a more universal standard in 2022 tech than Apple's proprietary lightning cable. And while we weren't as fond of the Beats Fit Pro's slightly larger case, it's still compact enough to easily stash away when working out.

PROS

  • Excellent value
  • Includes active noise cancellation
  • Uses USB-C cable connectivity, a cord that is readily available
  • Beats App allows cross-compatibility with Android users

CONS

  • IPX4 water resistance may not be durable enough for some training
  • Slightly larger than some of the more compact earbuds
  • The wingtip design in the ear may be uncomfortable for some

BUY: Beats Fit Pro

Best Wireless Workout Headphones - Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro

SPECS

  • Total weight: 2.58 oz.
  • Style: In-ear, with ear hooks
  • Active noise cancellation: Not available
  • Battery life: Up to 9 hours
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple H1 chip
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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The Powerbeats Pro headphones are perhaps even more activity-oriented than other earbuds with true wireless connectivity. Similar to the Beats Fit Pro, Powerbeats use an in-ear style. And fit-wise, the Powerbeats use a winged clip (comparably snug, albeit larger than the Beats Fit Pro) design that comfortably secures them to the outer ear. But a big distinction is that audio-wise, Powerbeats do not offer active noise cancellation. However, the tradeoff means that the headphones have stellar battery life—up to 9 hours without the case, and 24 hours with the case. The battery longevity alone makes them an excellent pair of headphones to have on hand for times when electrical outlets are few and far between, like a camping trip or all-day triathlon. And in general, not having to charge as much means that the headphones' charge capacity doesn't inevitably weather as quickly.

Like the Beats Pro, the Powerbeats operate with an Apple H1 Chip. That means Apple users can easily sync the earbuds with their other Apple products, such as the Apple Watch or iPhone. Android users can get similar perks, like one-touch pairing, by installing Android's Beats App. A vibrant range of colors gives you plenty of options to express yourself (or at least coordinate with your favorite pair of trainers).

PROS

  • Charges with the ubiquitous USB-C cable
  • The Beats App for Android gives non-Apple users access to more features
  • Outer and inner ear fit keep the headphones snug

CONS

  • No active noise cancellation available
  • People with tactile sensitivity might not like the ear hook design

BUY: Powerbeats Pro

Best Over-Ear Workout Headphones - Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless NoiseGard Headphones

Sennheiser PXC 550-II

SPECS

  • Total weight: 0.50 lbs.
  • Style: Wireless, over ear
  • Active noise cancellation: Available
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours with ANC on
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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There's a camp of hardcore audiophiles that shuns earbuds and swears by headphones that cover the ear only. And thanks to the ease of their wirelessness, the Sennhesier PXC 550-II Wireless NoiseGard Headphones are a great over-the-ear pair to opt for when working out. The Sennheiser brand is known for being a top choice of DJs, sportscasters, streamers, and other entertainers who rely on good, stable audio. In addition to its excellent audio quality, you get a user-friendly set of headphones that turn off and on automatically when the cups swivel, robust touch pad controls with tapping and swiping options, and excellent battery life for headphones with battery-draining active noise cancellation.

On the topic of ANC though, you can't enter transparency mode—or let in outside sound—while the Sennheiser is playing music. That might seem like a non-issue, however there can be times when you'd rather not abruptly stop music in order to hear outside noise for safety reasons, such as when running along a busy street.

Also, if you're set on classic over-the-ear headphones, you've probably already weighed a big workout-related concern: The cups can slide out of place when slippery with sweat. But if your workouts aren't super intense, or you can tolerate a certain amount of slippage, Sennheiser offers a solid option that'll serve all your myriad audiophile needs.

PROS

  • The headphones' rich, immersive audio makes them great for other uses, like gaming
  • Excellent battery life even with ANC on
  • The cups' swivel conveniently clicks the headphones on and off

CONS

  • The auto turn-off feature can sometimes be used unintentionally
  • The headphones use a micro-USB cable, instead of the more universal USB-C

BUY: Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless NoiseGard Headphones

Best Budget Workout Headphones - JLab Go Air Pop

JLab Go Air Pop

SPECS

  • Total weight: 1.2 oz.
  • Style: In-ear with silicone tips
  • Active noise cancellation: Not available
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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You'd be comparing apples to oranges if you put JLab's Go Air Pop head-to-head with its far more expensive competitors. However, within the ultra-budget (i.e., give or take $20 for wireless earbuds) space, the Go Air Pop offers some of the most bang for your buck.

The earbuds have a solid battery life of eight hours—32 total with the charging case. And because the Go Air Pop ear buds offer more splash protection than more expensive counterparts, it's a great pair to have on hand when you wouldn't want to expose more expensive headphones to the elements.

And while sound snobs will still scoff at the Go Air Pop's audio quality, this humble pair of earbuds even offers multiple sound modes, including a base boost mode to pump up your beats-heavy workout playlist. The Go Air Pop is offered in several colors, and you can buy them from Amazon and still receive JLab's two-year warranty on the earbuds.

PROS

  • Amazing value for low price point
  • Excellent, durable option for when you want to protect more delicate, expensive headphones
  • Multiple sound modes gives you a degree of music customization

CONS

  • Touch controls are fickle
  • Audio and mic quality are far inferior to pricier competition

BUY: JLab Go Air Pop

Best Noise-Canceling Workout Headphones - Jaybird Vista 2

Jaybird Vista 2

SPECS

  • Total weight: 1.75 oz.
  • Style: In-ear with silicone tips
  • Active noise cancellation: Available
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours with ANC
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Water resistance: IP68

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Vista 2 is the 2021 sequel to the Vista earbuds, furnished by Jaybird. The brand has specifically marketed itself as "audio for athletes," and it's not hard to see why, given the earbuds' sweatproof, durable, don't-budge design. Unlike the original Vista though, Vista 2 features active noise cancellation, and Active's testers found Vista 2's noise cancellation to be one of the better for the price. And with excellent active noise cancellation, you can really tune out the background noise and stay focused.

Admittedly, pricier brands like Apple's AirPod Pro do have slightly more sophisticated active noise cancellation. However, thanks to Vista 2's superbly snug design, you also get solid passive noise cancellation (i.e., in the way that a well-fitted earplug cancels noise). The earbuds all in all have an excellent balance of secure fit, durability, and user-friendly controls that make them ideal for wearing during a workout. They'll hold up for longer endeavors, too, with 8 hours of battery life, and 24 hours with the case, which arrives in the box with a loop attached so you can clip your earbuds to your keychain—no purchase of an accessory for your case needed.

PROS

  • Amplification of ambient sound makes for great situational awareness when needed
  • Design is specifically geared toward bodies in motion
  • Case design makes taking earbuds on the go easy

CONS

  • Mixed performance with battery life when ANC is on
  • Not the best option for those on a budget

BUY: Jaybird Vista 2

Best Lightweight Workout Headphones - Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

SPECS

  • Total weight: 1.99 oz.
  • Style: In-ear with silicone tips
  • Active noise cancellation: Available
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours with ANC
  • Connectivity: Apple H1 Chip, Bluetooth
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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Apple's AirPods are arguably the most recognized workout headphones on the market. Their initial popularity stemmed from the sleek design. The later-introduced AirPods Pro aren't quite as elegantly simplistic in their construction, however they're the clear winners when it comes to sound experience. And best of all, the AirPods Pro incorporated a silicon nozzle into its design that keeps them more stable in the ear—ideal for working out.

And like the original AirPods, the buds and case still have a super lightweight, nimble design that can fit in just about any pocket, no matter how skinny the jeans. The only drawback of the lithe figure these earbuds cut? You might not even hear the earbud hit the floor when you drop it, making AirPod Pros famously easy to lose track of. Fortunately, that's where Apple's Find My app can step in. The Find My app's helpful locating chirp can even be activated with a quick tap on your wrist if you wear the Apple Watch (also a favorite fitness accessory among our review team).

PROS

  • Excellent noise cancellation capabilities
  • Works in harmony with your other Apple products
  • Wireless charging available
  • Excellent sound quality

CONS

  • Unlike Beats headphones, there's no app for Android users to access more features
  • High price point
  • The AirPods Pro charge via lightning cable, a less universal standard than USB-C

BUY: Apple AirPods Pro

Best Sound Workout Headphones - Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds

SPECS

  • Total weight: 1.45 oz.
  • Style: In-ear with foam tips
  • Active noise cancellation: Available
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours with ANC
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Water resistance: IPX4

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The letters and numbers in the name of Sony's wireless headphones, WF-1000XM4, are a mouthful to articulate. But that's nothing compared to the rich complexity of the sound they deliver. The WF-10000XM4s are substantially smaller than Sony's predecessor WF-10000XM3s, making them much-improved for track shorts' pockets. Most important for those who crave superior sound, you can use the Sony Headphones Connect app to customize how you experience the audio. For instance, you can specify in the app that you want to prioritize higher quality sound over a more stable Bluetooth connection. The app also allows you to modulate how much ambient sound you allow to slip through the active noise cancellation—great for when you need to quickly check in with what's happening around you.

And battery life isn't sacrificed in service of the Sony earbuds' sophisticated playback and noise cancellation. The WF-1000XM4 has some of the best continuous charge at 8 hours per earbud, even without the case. You can also reassign the earbuds' touch controls to your preferences in the app. One thing to note: Android users get the benefit of slightly superior sound quality with the WF-1000XM4. That's because of Android's compatibility with the earbuds' ultra-fast "LDAC" audio coding tech. Sony describes the connection as feeling "as close as possible" to an old-fashioned, hard-wired connection.

PROS

  • USB-C connectivity is more ideal for charging and cable management
  • Foam ear tips create an excellent seal against ear canal
  • Uber immersive sound gets you pumped

CONS

  • Not a great option for shoppers on a budget
  • You may have to fiddle with the equalizer before you get the most out of the sound

BUY: Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds

What to Look for When Buying Workout Headphones

Water resistance

"IP" usually refers to "internet protocol" in the tech world, but when discussing workout headphones, IP stands for "Ingress Protection." Ingress Protection is a two-digit score that indicates how securely an entryway is blocked (from water or dust, for example).

The first number in an IP score is more or less an indicator of an item's occupational hazard, or how safe the object is around you. Pay attention to the second number, which specifically indicates the level of water protection. For that reason, most earbuds simply use a placeholder "X" for the first IP rating number.

What does that mean in practice? If you see headphones rated IPX1 or IPX2, you can count on protection from sparse rain droplets at best. With IPX4 and IPX5, you wouldn't want to leave your earbuds in the pockets of your laundry, but you can likely count on protection against splashes or even sprays of water. IPX7 and IPX8 indicate full water submersion is possible, and the manufacturer will specify at what depths.

Design and fit

As Apple's success proves, design obviously counts for a lot with consumers. But when looking at workout headphones, sleek design can potentially come at the expense of fit, so be sure to weigh what matters most to you in workout headphones. As a general rule of thumb, you'll want workout headphones that can stay in your ear when running or jumping up and down. Models with ear hooks tend to ensure the most secure, comfortable fit. Whether or not they'll stay put as you whip off your sweaty overshirt hot day on a is another question, but it would be a nice perk.

Noise cancellation

Gym equipment, especially cardio equipment, can be quite loud. Especially if the machines are powered by effective but more budget-friendly resistance types. Think: a stationary bike driven by fan or belt, rather than an Echelon or Peloton with whisper-quiet magnetic resistance. That's where workout headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) become all the more vital. And unless you live in seclusion, blasting music so it's loud enough to hear over your noisy machine may not be ideal. Likewise, in a gym setting, even if the machine you use is fairly hush-hush, the weightlifters 10 meters away might not be. ANC can also be vital if your workout headphones double as a headset for taking work phone calls in loud areas.

Battery life

Battery is another perk that might come at the expense of others if you can't pony up for the priciest earbuds. Top-of-the-line earbuds can run on a continuous 8-hour charge, even with battery-draining active noise cancellation switched on. Even the lower-end models can carry quite the charge on the go, provided they get a quick charge up in the case. Another factor you may want to consider is whether the earbuds' case can be charged wirelessly.

FAQs About Headphones


Which headphone is best for the gym?

Active Noise Cancellation, often abbreviated to ANC, is vital for being able to enjoy your audio in the gym. There's a lot of ambient noise to cut through if you want to enjoy your music or podcast without straining. On the other hand, if you have a home-gym setup that is fairly quiet and simply use headphones to keep the peace for others, headphones without ANC shouldn't be a deal breaker. You'll also want to note the IP waterproof rating, especially if you need a model with above-average sweat resistance based on your output.

Can you work out with over-ear headphones?

Yes, in fact they generally stay quite stable—to a point. If you heavily sweat around your ears, or your workout involves upside down crunches and other crazy inversions, you may want to consider an inner-ear bud that's less subject to gravity. But, if you're prone to ear infections or tend to quickly build up earwax, it's advisable to opt for over-ear headphones.

Is it better to work out with earphones or headphones?

There's subjectively no "better" option between earphones or headphones when working out. Ultimately, the best option is the headphone type, be it over-ear or in-ear, that feels better to you and helps you be more consistent with your workouts. Although over-ear workout headphones aren't as often seen in gyms and on athletes today, they're surprisingly stable, durable, and most importantly, wireless thanks to Bluetooth tech.

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