The 10 Best Workout Headphones

Wireless headphones are great for keeping active. But with such a busy market, it's tough to tell which is the best for you and your movement. Do you want big hunkers, or barely visible earbuds? Do you want to prioritize sound or comfort? Are you shopping with lifting or running in mind? Herein, allow us to help you narrow things down.

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Plantronics BackBeat Fit

The BackBeat Fit has topped lists of best workout headphones for years now, and the makers have had the rare wisdom to leave good design alone. These are lightweight, easy-fitting earbuds that'll stay put during rigorous workouts, stand up to long-term abuse, and offer an unsealed design (e.g. environmental noise, like traffic and bike bells, can pass through to your ears) that still produces remarkably good audio—a rare feature that, when executed well, can be great for outdoor runners. Just slide the hook over your ear and pop the small wing inside your outer ear for a secure fit that won't budge. And while the rubberized cable that connects the buds isn't adjustable, we found it to be short enough that it doesn't snag or bounce when in motion, plus it has a reflective coating to help motorists spot you in low-light conditions. The sound is quite detailed and clear, and well-balanced with a fair amount of—but not too much—bass for an open eartip. These are workhorse headphones (they also come with a 1-year warranty) that get the job done, and keep outdoor athletes safer in the process. ($130;

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2 of 10

Jabra Elite Sport

Packed with the latest in headphone technology, the Elite Sports are the first truly wireless headphones to include a built-in heart rate monitor. Sync them with the Jabra Sport Life app for a host of fitness functions, including a bit of real-time workout guidance (which Jabra overzealously bills as "personalized coaching"), running VO2 Max estimate and race-time predictor, a recovery advisor, and, for those gym workouts, automatic rep counting. That means they're also pricey at $250, but such is the price of early adoption (and it includes a 3-year warranty against sweat damage). Other cool features are a "Hear Through" setting that allows environmental noise in for safety, the ability to use the earbuds solo or as a stereo pair, and innovative, super crisp calling. Battery life is only okay, however (4.5 hours), but the charging case packs two more full charges. ($250;

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Bose SoundSport Wireless

The SoundSport Wireless are solid in-ear headphones that consistently rank among the best for working out with. They do fairly well on virtually all criteria—a consistently comfortable fit that doesn't require fiddling, rugged construction, intuitive controls, and the high-quality sound you'd expect from Bose, despite an "open," outdoor-friendly earbud design—save for the 6-hour battery life, which is a tad low for a headphone in this high-end price range (an auto-off feature does help keep things juiced). All around, these are solid, great-sounding headphones that compete well against anything in their price range. ($150;

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VAVA Moov 28

Just because you can drop $100-plus on a pair of workout buds doesn't mean you should, especially if you're not an audiophile. Just want a no-frills option to pump music into your your skull? The Moov 28s are a great wireless option—lightweight, tight-fitting, waterproof (IPX5) against rain and sweat, with great (8-hour) battery life, in-line mic/remote for taking calls, and decent sound quality—at a super wallet-friendly price. You're not going to get the rich, thumping bass sound that a higher-end set will give you, but you'll get clear highs and great mid-range at normal listening volumes, and these earbuds won't fall apart when things get intense. ($34;

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Jaybird Run

You've probably noticed by now that most "wireless" headphones do, in fact, have a wire connecting the two speakers, which is where so many of them fall flat. With loads of excess cable being poorly "managed" in back of your head or unwieldy remotes whacking against your neck, it can be hard to focus on a high-intensity workout, much less enjoy music. But this new model ("designed by runners, for runners") from Jaybird—a company that's proven its workout chops with the X3 and Freedom models—offers sweatproofing, water resistance, and customizable sound in a truly wire-free package. Battery life is only 4 hours, but the pocket-friendly charging case carries another 8 hours of juice, and a 5-minute "fast charge" will restore an hour of listening time. ($180;

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6 of 10

JLab Epic2

While there's no single feature of the Epic2s that sets them apart from the rest of the very crowded sport headphone market, they just get everything right—easy to fit and secure, incredibly durable (you can shower with them on!), 12-hour battery life, solid Bluetooth connectivity, intuitive controls, clear highs and mids with a nice bass thump—in a way that few competitors at this price point can match. And, on the off chance that any of those things should malfunction, JLab covers you with a one-year replacement warranty. That's music to our ears. ($100;

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Beats Solo3 Wireless

While these premium Bluetooth ear cans obviously weren't built with working out in mind, they can still hold their own in the gym, especially on lower-intensity strength training days (read: no HIIT). That's because their wireless range is so impressive that you can easily leave your phone in your warm-up hoody, and cycle from the squat rack to the bench and to the treadmill without losing track of your beats. Speaking of which, the bass-heavy sound, while not perfect, now has more clarity and definition than previous generations. Forty-hour battery life allows for a week or more between charges. ($300;

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Wireless headphones may offer more snag-free freedom of movement for those kettlebell swings, squat thrusts, and sprint finishes. But they rarely match the audio quality of their old-school cousins, which is a deal-breaker for some audiophiles. For those who want to dabble in truly high-quality sound, the MA750s, made by Scotland's Reid Heath Acoustics, present incredibly well-built, great-sounding headphones at a fantastic price. The quality is immediately obvious—stainless steel buds enclose handmade dynamic drivers that deliver balanced, high-resolution audio; the copper cable is steel-reinforced; and the knurled stainless steel jack has a unique spring system to prevent breakage where the cable connects. A rock-solid 3-year warranty backs the whole package, but we doubt you'll need it. ($120;

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9 of 10

Decibullz Custom-Fit

It's hard to get in-ear headphones to stay put comfortably, especially when you're working out. Most include anywhere from three to six sets of silicone eartips—or "wings"—and require an inordinate amount of experimentation to properly fit. When nothing else will do the trick, turn to the Decibullz Custom-Fit, which come with custom molds—just heat them in hot water and shape to your ears—that provide a fit that's unique to your ears. Once in, you'll forget they're even there, and can get on with rocking your workout. ($120;

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10 of 10

66 Audio BTS Pro

An on-ear headphone that can hold its own in the CrossFit box or out on the track? You betcha. The BTS Pros are made for sport, with a relatively lightweight flexible silicone band that wraps around the back of the neck, connecting the two earpieces. Of course, they're much bulkier than in-ear units, which allows for fantastic (40-plus hours) battery life, great Bluetooth range (100 feet), easy-to-find push-button controls, and stepped-up sound (a companion app lets you adjust EQ, too). The trade-off is that they can make your ears sweat, and put a good deal of pressure on them, which can become uncomfortable over extended periods. ($130;

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