Best Workout Headphones 2021: Can’t lift without a little music but have a hard time finding headphones that are as stable as your form? You’re in luck. We’ve done a little digging and found four, highly-rated sweat-proof headphones that will help you stay pumped while you finish your reps.
Each pair delivers on sound quality, battery life and comfort, and are designed to repel sweat and moisture while you work out. You’re already working up a sweat at the gym or outdoors — you shouldn’t worry about sweating your music too. Here are four pairs of wireless headphones that deliver on durability and stability without slipping on sound.
What Are the Best Workout Headphones?
There are many factors to think about when choosing the best workout headphones for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Headphone style: Headphones generally come in one of three styles: earbuds, which fit inside your ears, on-ear headphones, which rest on top of your ears, and over-ear headphones, which have large earcups that fit over your ears.
Because earbuds are the smallest option, they’re generally the most popular option for working out — we have an entire guide dedicated to the ones you should consider — but there are some on-ear and over-ear headphones you should also consider for your next workout or run.
Waterproof rating: There’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to sweat when you exercise. Regardless of how much you perspire, the headphones you wear should be able to handle some moisture without getting damaged.
The padded the ear cushions on the headphones we recommend provide enough of a buffer between your head and the electronics inside that this shouldn’t be an issue.
We recommend wiping down the headphones with a disinfecting wipe after every use because the ear pads and headband can absorb sweat.
Weight: Working out requires a lot of movement, which makes you hyper aware of what you’ve got on your body. Headphones that may not have felt heavy during your commute may become a huge distraction when they’re constantly bouncing up and down on your head.
Bluetooth: Wires are another potential distraction during exercise — they can get tangled up in fitness equipment, pull the headphones out of ears, and be a general nuisance — so all of the options in this guide work wirelessly over Bluetooth.
1. Sony WHXB700
Sony’s WHXB700 headphones deliver great sound, have long battery life, and are extremely lightweight, which make them the ideal pair of workout headphones.
We’ve tested multiple headphones from Sony’s “Extra Bass” line, and always come away impressed. The boost to low-end frequencies balances out treble-heavy tracks, and makes music with a lot of bass sound even better. You can adjust their EQ (equalization) using Sony’s Connect app (Android and iPhone), to customize your sound.
At 6.8 ounces, the WHXB700s are the lightest headphones in our guide, which is a huge strength. They won’t feel heavy on your head while exercising, which can get distracting. Despite their small relatively size, these headphones get up to 30 hours of battery life per charge.
Finally, Sony partnered with Amazon to build Alexa (its smart assistant) directly into the headphones. Once you connect the headphones to your Amazon account, you can request songs, skip tracks, or adjust their volume using your voice. Reaching for your phone every few minutes can distract you from your exercise, so using the WHXB700s totally hands-free is a great feature if you’re working out.
Sony’s WHXB700 are a great pair of on-ear headphones for general music listening, but they also have all the features you’d want in a pair of workout headphones.
2. Mpow 059+
Mpow’s 059+ headphones cost well under $50, and don’t have many cut corners.
The over-ear headphones support one of the newest versions of Bluetooth, which give them excellent range. They have a fold-able design for easy storage, and get up to 100 hours of battery life per charge. Mpow says the 059+’s earpads are made out of memory-protein that provides ample comfort.
At 13.6 ounces they’re definitely heavier than the on-ear headphones we recommend, but that’s the tradeoff you make when going with an over-ear pair. The larger earcups will create a more immersive listening experience by blocking more outside sounds, which makes up for their lack of active noise cancellation.
They may not have any extras, but Mpow’s 059+ headphones cover all the bases very well. If you’d like to work out with a pair of over-ear headphones, you can’t go wrong with this pair.
3. Beats Solo3
BEST FOR APPLE DEVICES
If you’re using an iPhone while working out, Beats’ Pros are the headphones to get.
They feature Apple’s custom H1 chip, which allows them to instantly pair with any iPhone, iPad, or Mac without rooting around in the Bluetooth settings. You can still pair them with an Android or Windows device, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the H1’s strengths.
Apple’s custom chip reduces the amount of latency (lag) between your iPhone and the headphones, and creates a stronger, more energy efficient connection. It also allows you to trigger Siri hands-free by saying “Hey Siri”. This is an excellent feature if you want to focus on your exercise instead of changing the song you’re listening to.
Beats says the Solo Pros can get up to 40 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation turned off, or 22 hours when it’s turned on. Noise cancellation is a great feature to use when you’re exercising at home, but we recommend keeping it off during outdoor runs. It’s important to be very aware of your surroundings.
The only thing to consider about the Beats Solo Pro is their weight. They’re 9.4 ounces, which isn’t heavy, but definitely more noticeable than the Sony headphones we’ve recommended. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind.
If you want an AirPods-like experience while working out, but prefer on-ear headphones to earbuds, we the Beats Solo Pros are your best choice.
4. Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones
BEST AUDIOPHILE PICK
If you’re set on maintaining your allegiance to the audiophile life while you work out, the Bose’s 700 is your best bet. The over-ear headphones build on the foundation of its legendary QC35, which were the default recommendation for noise-cancelling headphones for several years.
The reason we recommend the 700s for working out instead of other over-ear headphones is that they have a transparency mode just like the AirPod Pro. These headphones have eight microphones, which can feed sounds from the outside world into your ears along with your music. This mode makes the Bose 700s safer to use when exercising outdoors.
Beyond that you’re left with a tradeoff: these are the best-sounding headphones on this list by a long-shot (they have 43mm drivers), but they’re also 8.8 ounces, which makes them the heaviest. If you’re doing more static exercises, like leg lifts or bench presses, you won’t notice the weight as much, but it’ll be very apparent if you wear the 700s on a run.
Bose doesn’t give the 700s an IPX rating, but this is less of a problem for on or over-ear headphones because they’re not going inside your ear.
If you’re really committed to enjoying your music library to the fullest when you exercise, this is your best bet, but make sure they’re worth the weight.