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- Best overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
- Best high end: Apple AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
- Best for runners: Bose Sport EarBuds
- Best for outdoor workouts: Jaybird Vista Earbuds
- Best ear hook headphones: Beats Powerbeats Pro
- Best for swimming: H2O Audio Surge S+
- Best battery life: Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless II
- Best bone-conduction headphones: AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Headphones
- Best noise canceling: Sony Wireless Noise Canceling In-Ear Headphones
There are many great duos in life: peanut butter and jelly; campfires and s’mores; exercise and music.
Whether you’re a marathon runner or a casual gym-goer, working out with music can motivate you to lift more, run faster, or achieve a personal best.
However, with all the technological advancements in recent years, it’s challenging to stay on top of the best headphone options available.
We’ve searched the market to bring you a list of the best workout headphones in 2021.
When researching products, we considered the following criteria:
- Fit. Some people prefer earbuds, while others enjoy headphones that go over the ears. We included options for a variety of fits.
- Special Features. Do they come with amazing clarity? Are they waterproof? Can you shuffle your music without needing your phone? While these may not be deal breakers, we know that features are important when making your final decision.
- Price. We know that a range of budgets exists, so we included workout headphones at a variety of price points.
- Customer reviews. Some things you can only learn about a pair of headphones by trying them yourself. The next best thing? The advice of people who already own them. We looked for headphones with mostly positive reviews.
Here are the 10 best workout headphones in 2021.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are the best overall workout headphones, as they’re sweat- and splash-resistant while also offering a studio quality sound.
They come equipped with active noise cancellation and always-on voice assistance, which can do everything from ordering your coffee to changing a song.
Plus, these earbuds come in three colors for those who are interested in style as well as function.
Best high end
While not advertised as exercise headphones, the Apple AirPods Pro have many of the features that athletes look for.
Specifically, the Bluetooth technology is top notch, and the double-tap feature allows you to shuffle your music without touching your smartphone.
What’s more, the AirPods have three tip sizes and a water-resistance rating that’s high enough to withstand sweat and wet weather conditions.
While they come with noise canceling capabilities, these headphones can also be used in transparency mode to keep you aware of your surroundings, which is especially important if you’re exercising outdoors.
The main complaint from customers is the battery life, as the AirPods Pro only last for up to 4.5 hours before needing to be recharged.
The Jabra Elite 85t earbuds are compact, yet they provide high quality sound. They also feature six microphones with wind protection in case you need to take a call while you’re out.
Like many of the headphones on this list, they’re designed to withstand wind, rain, and snow.
These headphones also have adjustable noise canceling levels, and one charge offers 5.5 hours of music when noise cancellation is on.
Best for runners
The Bose Sport EarBuds are perfect for runners, as they’re compact, lightweight, and come with three tip sizes, so you can be assured that they’ll stay put while you run.
These earbuds are also waterproof for running in the rain and feature microphone technology that helps block out environmental noise when you’re on a call.
Some potential downsides include their 5-hour battery life and lack of active noise canceling, although this may not be a deal breaker from a safety perspective.
Best for outdoor workouts
If you regularly exercise outside, you’ll want to consider the Jaybird Vista Earbuds.
These durable headphones are constructed to survive sweat, rain, and snow. They can even withstand being submerged in 3.3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes.
The Jaybird Vista Earbuds also get good customer reviews for their 6-hour battery life, lightweight design, and snug fit, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out.
Plus, if you’re constantly losing your earbuds, you can keep track of them using the Jaybird App.
Best ear hook headphones
The Beats Powerbeats Pro headphones are a great option if you like the quality and features of the Apple AirPods Pro but prefer an ear hook design. Plus, they include Apple’s H1 chip for seamless streaming to your smartphone.
These Beats headphones come in a variety of colors and offer up to 9 hours of music on one charge. They’re also sweat- and water-resistant for high intensity workouts.
In addition to the higher price tag, some customers complain that the charging case is too bulky to fit in your pocket.
Best for swimming
If you want to listen to music while swimming laps, you’ll want to check out the Surge S+ headphones from H2O Audio.
H2O Audio specializes in swimming headphones, with the Surge S+ being one of the company’s more affordable options.
In addition to the low price tag, swimmers appreciate the multiple styles and tip lengths, making it easy to find your perfect fit. These headphones also have a short cord, so you don’t have to worry about them getting in the way of your stroke.
The Surge S+ can be submerged in up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) of water and come with a 1-year warranty.
While they’re great in the pool, you may need a separate pair for everyday use, as the Surge S+ lacks additional features, such as a microphone for making phone calls.
Best battery life
These around-ear headphones from Bose provide an immersive sound experience that’s crisp and clear at any volume.
The headphones feature top notch Bluetooth technology, which allows you to stay connected to two devices simultaneously.
Plus, with 15 hours of battery life, you don’t have to worry about your music stopping halfway through your workout.
Best bone-conduction headphones
Bone-conduction headphones deliver audio through your cheekbones, leaving your ear canal open to hear sounds from your surroundings.
As a result, headphones like these from AfterShokz are ideal for exercising outside.
In fact, if you like to run, the AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Headphones can be used for racing events that don’t allow in- or over-ear headphones.
These headphones are also incredibly lightweight, weighing less than 1 ounce (28.3 grams), and they offer up to 6 hours of battery life.
However, some customers note that the sound quality isn’t quite as good as other workout headphones on the market.
Best noise canceling
These headphones from Sony are great for indoor strength and interval training.
Thanks to their wireless Bluetooth technology, you’re free to move around the gym as you wish without worrying about getting tangled up with cords.
When noise canceling is enabled, these headphones can last up to 9 hours on one charge.
Just keep in mind that these wireless headphones aren’t as waterproof as others on this list, so you’ll want to leave them at home if you plan on exercising in the rain or snow.
Trying to find the perfect headphones for your workout? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you shop:
- Consider your workout needs. Do you need waterproof headphones for possible rainy days? Or do you plan on using them at the gym while lifting weights?
- Decide how you want to wear them. Do you prefer earbuds or over-ear headphones? Figuring out the style that you want will greatly narrow down your search.
- Shop around. Take some time to compare the prices at various locations, as many retailers offer discounts throughout the year.
- Read customer reviews. Especially if you plan on purchasing your headphones online, customer reviews can provide valuable insight into the value of the product.
- Double-check the return policy options. This is important information to know just in case you buy a pair that isn’t the best fit for your needs.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for workout headphones, including the fit, style, battery life, price, and special features.
However, as they’re generally not cheap, there’s no need to rush your decision.
You can use this list as a starting guide to find a pair of headphones that works best for your exercise needs.