There are hundreds of workout and swimming headphones to choose from so it can be tricky to find the perfect pair. That’s where we come in! Our team has spent seven weeks researching over 80 new and bestselling headphones for swimming and for working out to find the best ones for you. Now, the results are in! The good news is that you can get top headphones without breaking the bank.
Before skipping down to the reviews, take a look at the six features you should know when buying your pool or gym headphones. We’ve included them for each headphones comparison below so that you can quickly pick between products. Ready to enjoy your workout more? Let’s go!
Can you use the headphones wirelessly? We’ll let you know. Wireless technology doesn’t work underwater, so there aren’t any underwater Bluetooth headphones for swimming. For working out and running, there are plenty of options, though.
Waterproof headphones can be used for swimming, while water resistant headphones can withstand rain and splashes. Most water resistant headphones are also sweat proof, but we’ll mention that specifically for each product review.
Battery life is important for wireless headphones. Manufacturers list battery life ratings, but these can be affected by how the headphones are being used and outside factors. We list the real battery life in hours or as “N/A” for wired headphones.
This shows whether you can control the audio volume directly through the headphones with an inline remote, which is useful for wireless headphones when your connected device might not always be within easy reach.
Some headphones come with microphones built into the product itself or the cord. It’s a great feature for taking calls, recording audio, and so on. We found it particularly useful for hands-free calls during a workout.
Noise isolating headphones create a seal in your ear that helps block out ambient noise. This design also results in better bass and overall sound quality. Plus, with less noise, you can keep the volume at lower levels.
If you want to get to the good stuff right away, we’ve organized the winners from our more detailed top ten reviews right here. They include a recommended top pick and a budget pick from each of the three categories - swimming headphones, wireless workout headphones, wired workout headphones. This way, you can quickly select the perfect product for your needs and budget. Further below we’ll dive into the detailed comparisons. Enjoy!
The Swimbuds Sport earbuds are designed for swimming and all other watersports, with multiple earbud types and sizes included to suit different people and different water activities. There are four earbud styles included. The “tree” earbuds create an excellent, watertight seal with an emphasis on passive noise isolation. The “ergonomic,” “tree,” and “round” styles add value by offering a comfortable fit and clear audio for general, everyday use - including outside the pool. These earbuds have a short cord for tucking a waterproof media player under a swim cap but also come with a one-meter waterproof extension for all other activities. The sound quality and watertight seal are very impressive, making them our top pick.
These swimming earbuds have an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning they are built to handle water depths of more than three feet (one meter). The Swimbud Sport earbuds are our recommendation for the best swimming headphones for people looking for high-end underwater audio, especially if you already have a waterproof media player or a waterproof phone case.
The best waterproof headphones for swimmers and water athletes on a budget are the Waterfi SwimActive headphones. Their IPX8 waterproof rating means that they can handle water depths over three feet deep. These waterproof earbuds come with four sizes of earbud-tips to ensure a watertight fit. The tips are similar to the “tree” style included with the Swimbuds Sport headphones, but overall the Waterfi SwimActive earbuds come with fewer earbud tip options than the premium Swimbuds Sport headphones. On the flip side, they offer a great price! An innovative memory wire bends around your ear to create a very secure fit, so you don’t need to stop to adjust the earbuds constantly. The short cord is perfect for swimming without creating drag, but the Swimbuds Sport also includes a longer extension for all other activities.
Overall, these headphones perform great in the water and are a nice pair of cheap waterproof earbuds. They have fewer extra features than the Swimbuds Sport headphones (it was our top pick, after all), but are designed to satisfy the needs of most swimmers.
The Bose Soundsport Pulse headphones have been optimized for all fitness activities. It’s not just the earbud design, which is made of hydrophobic materials to keep out sweat and moisture while creating a gentle seal that stays put. What helped bump these earbuds to our top pick for the best wireless earbuds for working out was the innovative heart rate monitors. They are built right into the earbuds! You can upload this pulse data to various fitness tracker apps or to the Bose Connect app if you want to keep track of your performance and calorie burning. You can also use the Bose Connect to adjust and save your settings, for a customized experience.
On top of that, an excellent inline mic and remote built into the earbud wire lets you take calls, adjust the volume, and skip tracks without fumbling for your phone or media player. Being able to access all these settings without stopping your workout make these some of the best Bluetooth earbuds for running, the gym, hiking, and more - plus the short cord between the two earbuds means the cable doesn’t shift when you move, reducing annoying sound interference
If you’re looking for good headphones for working out, these wireless headphones from Taotronics have some great features both for the gym and for people on the go. Each of the earbuds contains magnets so you can clip them together securely around your neck when you aren’t using them. Wireless earbuds can be hard to keep track of, so we thought the magnetic clipping was a fantastic feature. It makes this pair the best cheap headphones for working out.
The ear tip design creates a seal against outside noise, and the built-in microphone uses active CVC noise cancellation technology so your voice will sound clear when you take calls. There’s also a tiny remote that allows you to answer calls, adjust the volume, and pause your audio. Our budget pick doesn’t have a heart rate monitor like the Bose earbuds, but it has the same battery life. These cheap wireless earbuds come with different ear hooks and tip sizes so you still get a premium fit. They’re an excellent choice if you want a quality product that still manages to save you some money. Give them a try.
The Bose SoundSport wired headphones for gym use are sweat and weather-resistant, plus offer incredibly high-quality audio. The included StayHear tips create a seal in your ear that blocks outside noise. The set offers three sizes of tips that use a hooking design to stay put securely during exercise. An included clip helps reduce noise interference from the headphone wire coming into contact with your clothes. If you’re looking for the best workout earphones with an inline mic and remote, this is it. Interestingly, the Bose SoundSport earphones are available with specific optimizations for Apple and Android devices. This ensures that you can access more features directly from the remote control on the cable. For example, you can control music, take calls, and more. There is a third option as well, which does away with the inline mic and remote altogether if that’s your preference. The earbuds are available in five fun colors.
These headphones have a softer seal than other in-ear headphone tips but still offer excellent noise isolation and audio quality. If you find strong seals uncomfortable, you may prefer these StayHear tips to other earbud tips. What’s the verdict? The Bose SoundSport are the best wired headphones for working out and an active lifestyle.
If you have trouble finding good gym headphones that fit your ear, the Decibullz Contour Custom headphones let you customize how your earbuds fit. This thermoplastic molding, paired with great sound quality, made them our budget pick for the top headphones for working out. The customization allows you to create a perfect mold around the shape of your ear to hold the earbuds comfortably and securely. You can remold the earpieces whenever you want just by dropping them into a cup of hot water - just don’t leave them in a hot car! This technology improves isolation against ambient noise while feeling great to wear. Plus, an inline mic and remote allow you to take calls, adjust the volume, and skip songs without reaching for your phone or media player.
The Decibullz Contour Custom headphones are an excellent choice for people who have trouble finding earbuds that stay put and feel nice to wear. They are one of the only truly-bespoke models you can buy and they feel fantastic. If you’re sick of your earbuds falling out, these headphones may be worth a try. They certainly offer excellent features and value for the price. It's a smart blend of value and features.
Ready to hit the pool, ocean, or lake? These fantastic waterproof headphones are designed to give you high-quality audio underwater and above. Let's take a look!
The new Swimbuds Sport earphones have an IPX8 waterproof rating, allowing them to tolerate depths greater than three feet. But the main reason they made it as our top pick for the best swimming headphones is their emphasis on quality and versatility. What do we mean by that? Well, besides Hydrobeat sound technology which plays very clear audio underwater, four different types of earbud tips in multiple sizes come with this product, each with different applications.
The “ergo” tips are commonly seen in fitness earbuds. They are designed to be comfortable but secure, because they fit into the conch of your ear and create a soft seal, making them a hybrid between classic earbuds that sit outside of your ear canal, and in-the-ear earbuds. The “fin” style tips are similar in shape to the ergo tips, but create a strong, watertight seal that’s great for swimming laps and aquatic sports. The “round” tips are similar to the ergo tips but lack the outer piece that helps to hold the earbud tip in your ear. They are more general purpose, like for running errands, rather than for running a marathon. Lastly, the “tree” tips have the strongest watertight seal as well as the best noise isolation of the lot.
Basically, these tips allow the earphones to be used for just about any activity, in or out of the water! The waterproof earbuds come with a one-meter waterproof extension to the short cord joining the earphones, and amazing sound quality, too.
Our budget pick has features similar to the Swimbuds Sport headphones, plus a low price that’s perfect for swimmers and water athletes on a budget. You can use them in water up to ten feet deep, so they suit a range of water activities, even snorkeling! The Waterfi SwimActive headphones also have a short 12-inch cord that tucks out of the way with your phone or media player, avoiding the drag and snagging that can result with longer cables.
One way to make earphones sit more securely against your ear is to tuck the wire up and around your ear instead of letting it hang down. The Waterfi SwimActive earphones took this into consideration with “memory wire” technology: when you tuck the wires of these earphones behind your ears, the wire holds its shape so you can create a very secure fit and spend less time adjusting your earbuds. The included earbud tips have a bi-flange design, meaning there are two umbrella-shaped silicone sections on the “stalk” of the earbud tip. These two layers can create a stronger seal than single-flange “mushroom” earbud tips making them a great choice as earphones for swimming. The tip style of the Waterfi SwimActive earbuds is enough to create some passive noise isolation and a good seal against water infiltration, while also being very comfortable.
If you’re looking for a well-made, affordable pair of underwater earbuds, the Waterfi SwimActive set might be the right product for you. They offer great underwater audio for a fair price.
The Yikeshu IPX8 wireless waterproof earbuds take buying a waterproof phone case out of the equation by having one built right in with the earbuds. The included media player is very useful for swimming and available in 4GB or 8GB sizes. It supports MP3, WMA, VBR, and AAC media file formats. You can listen to FM radio, too! All of the controls are built into a necklace-style collar, so you can skip and pause tracks, adjust the volume, and switch between the media player and FM radio. The IPX8 waterproof rating means these wireless pool headphones can be used to depths of over three feet (over one meter), making them great for snorkeling.
A tree-style earbud tip design creates a seal against water and outside noise. The rubberized surface of the media player collar keeps it in place against your body as you swim so it won’t drag. The 3.7V lithium polymer rechargeable battery lasts 8-10 hours, depending on whether you’re listening to the radio or media files, and recharges in about 130 minutes.
We recommend these wireless swimming headphones for people looking for an all-in-one waterproof media player and listening device for a low price. If you want to take your audio into the water with you, but don’t already have a phone case, you can kill two fish with one stone. The sound quality is excellent for water headphones. For aquatic sports, swimming laps, beach visits, or jamming out in the shower, the Yikeshu IPX8 earbuds are an inexpensive way to listen to your favorite music, podcasts, and other audio in the water. Give them a try.
The Hydroharmony HH-02 headphones use a short cord design that makes them great waterproof headphones for swimming but also include an extension cord (measuring 39 inches, or one meter) for versatility out of the water. Built-in Hydrobeat Technology (also seen in our top pick, the Swimbuds Sport) is designed to transmit audio effectively in and under water, and the wraparound design makes these earbuds wear like regular headphones. If earbuds tend to slip out of your ears, these water headphones may provide a more secure yet comfortable fit with their one-piece design. They’re also waterproof to 80 feet - no need to worry about dropping them into the deep end of the pool! Other waterproof headphones have depth limits of ten feet or less, which is why we want to highlight the depth feature of the Hydroharmony HH-02s.
One thing to consider is that these headphones have a mushroom-shaped earbud tip that creates a soft seal which some people find not absolutely watertight. If you want a perfect seal, take a look at the Waterfi SwimActive or Swimbuds Sport as examples of tight-sealing underwater headphones. Both work well, but stronger seals can improve audio quality and reduce outside noise, which is why some people prefer them. However, if you do aqua aerobics or aquatic sports like kayaking and want headphones that can stand up to submersion, the Hydroharmony HH-02s are an inexpensive and water-friendly option. The one-piece wraparound design can make these earbuds more compatible with headgear like swim caps and helmets than traditional headphones that wrap over your head.
The Waterfi brand has already made it to our list once, but here they are again, this time with a different earphone design that’s still amazingly waterproof. The high waterproof rating allows these headphones to be taken up to ten feet underwater, and the short cord design makes it easy to clip out of the way, whether you want to swim laps or run them.
One difference between the Waterfi SwimActives and the Waterfi Waterproof headphones is the earbud tip design. If you want to take your waterproof headphones swimming without water getting into your ear, which affects sound quality, the Waterfi Waterproofs have a “triple-flange” design that creates a strong and deep seal. This design involves three umbrella-shaped silicone pieces stacked on a “stem,” with the piece deepest in your ear being the smallest, and the piece furthest out being the largest. The Waterfi Waterproofs come with four sizes of earbud tips, which should cover a range of ear shapes and sizes, so you’ll find one you love.
Anyone involved in high-impact sports like running can appreciate the short cord and triple-flange tips of these underwater earphones - they’re not just for swimmers! The short cord reduces annoying noise from the cord rubbing against your clothes or bouncing up and down as you move, and the waterproof rating means you can work up a sweat or exercise in the rain without worrying about your earbuds. It's a very good product that with a simple design and high-quality audio.
The Swimbuds Black can follow you in, out, and around the water thanks to a combination of features. First of all, these waterproof earbuds have a short cord that’s easy to tuck out of the way behind your swim goggles or under your cap. But a cord extension is also included, so you can carry your smartphone or media player in your pocket or on your arm and still use the Swimbuds Black to listen to your audio. This cord extension is waterproof, too, so if you fall off your SUP or tip your kayak, your current playlist will keep going as you come up for air!
Secondly, the Swimbuds Black come with four earbud tip options. One of the earbud tips is your basic “mushroom” tip that doesn’t create a seal in your ear. This is useful for “water-adjacent” sports like kayaking where you still need to pay attention to your surroundings, as well as for non-water activities like walking or jamming out at the gym. The other three tips included are three sizes of triple-flange earbud tips. These tips have three umbrella-shaped silicone layers stacked on a stem. This design creates a strong seal in your ear that keeps out water and helps prevent the earbuds from being jiggled loose. This seal also results in better audio quality because it blocks out more outside noise than softer seals. You can also attach “hooks” that go behind your ear for a more secure fit. The result? The perfect pair of headphones for swimming laps, aquatic sports, and other water and fitness activities. The Swimbuds brand consistently produces some of the best waterproof headphones we’ve seen.
Looking for the best waterproof headphones while sticking to your budget? The Pyle PWPE10B waterproof earbuds are a cheap option that still provides nice audio. Three sizes of triple-flange tips are included. What’s triple-flange? It is an earbud tip design that uses three umbrella shaped layers stacked on a stem to create a tight seal against water and ambient noise. This kind of tip is popular for earbuds for swimming as a result, but it can be hard to find a comfortable fit--hence why three tip sizes are included. These earbuds also come with a basic “mushroom” tip that creates a soft seal that comes in handy for aquatic sports and being outdoors - both activities that require a little bit of awareness of the outside world. No matter what tip you choose, the earbuds also have curved plastic pieces that hook around behind your ear to hold them in place.
One caveat: the Pyle PWPE10Bs have an IPX7 waterproofing rating. This means it can handle water up to three feet deep (that’s one meter for those of you not using ‘Merican measurements). Most of the other swimming earbuds on our list have an IPX8 rating, which means they can be taken into water over three feet deep. Basically, don’t take these Pyle earbuds deep-sea diving (or diving, period) and you’ll be okay.
Another difference between these earphones and other options on our list is that it has a full-length four-foot cable, not a short cord like what is commonly seen in headphones designed for swimming. This makes this product easier to use for aquatic sports like kayaking rather than for swimming laps, but swimming laps is still an option - just tug the cord away. The Pyle headphones are worth a try.
The Avantree Value Pack of earbuds tries to cover all of your bases: waterproof earbuds for swimming, on-ear earbuds for basic use, and in-ear earbuds for sports and fitness. You’ll be able to recognize the waterproof pair by the memory wire ear hooks and bright yellow cord. The other two pairs are not waterproof but have built-in microphones and controls for taking and rejecting calls. Can’t do that underwater. Five earbud tips are included for the in-ear earbuds and waterproof earbuds, but they’re all basic “mushroom” tips rather than earbud tips with stacked layers of silicone material to create a strong seal in your ear canal. The mushroom tips will create a soft seal, but may not keep out water.
The swimming headphones have an IPX8 waterproof rating. That’s a fancy way of saying you can take them in water three feet or deeper. However, the manufacturer sets a limit of 60 minutes of time in the water for these earbuds. If you’d swim for days if you could, these may not be the earbuds for you. They work better for water aerobics, sweaty sports, and aquatic sports like kayaking. They also make a good pool-cleaning accessory.
We could have done without the on-ear headphones, which are the least secure of the three types included, although they could come in handy for taking calls. The in-ear headphones were more useful for fitness activities, but the waterproof headphones proved to be the better choice for the most secure fit due to the memory wire ear hooks. If you want to cover all of your headphone bases at once, this value pack is a good option with middle-of-the-line sound quality, but we recommend looking at the other pairs of headphones on our list if you want dedicated headphones for swimming.
Trying to find a pair of budget underwater headphones for swimming can be tricky when it’s hard to find the right size of the best kind of earbud tip for swimmers: the elusive triple-flange. This type of earbud tip uses three umbrella-shaped layers of silicone stacked on a stem in a cone shape. They create a stronger seal in your ear because they have three different points to attach to your ear. They also reach deeper into your ear than other earbud tips--so the right size can make a world of difference in comfort.
Happily, the AGPtEK SE01 underwater headphones come with five sizes of this triple-flange earbud tip for you to experiment with. The odds are in your favor that you’ll find a great fit. You’ll also have adjustable ear hooks to help keep your earbuds in place. Their IPX8 waterproof rating means they can be taken in water three feet or deeper, but that means they’re also sweatproof and weatherproof. Their use isn’t just limited to swimmers. Worried about getting caught out in a downpour? No problem. Do you sweat so much that you might short out a pair of regular earbuds? No worries. Are you googling whether it’s possible to break your earbuds with sweat now? We don’t blame you!
These earbuds have a full-length cord rather than the short cable often seen in dedicated swimming headphones, and the manufacturer recommends taking them into the water for no longer than 60 minutes at a time. This limits their usefulness to lap swimmers and mermaids, and make them a better choice for casual swimmers, aquatic sports like SUP, and sweaty high-impact fitness.
These waterproof headphones from Travelon keep it simple. They have a fancy IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning they can be submerged in water deeper than three feet. Ir’s actually an impressive 65 feet, according to the manufacturer! Three silicone earbud tip sizes are included for a custom fit. They use a double-flange design, meaning there are two seal points created in your ear. This is not the strongest waterproof seal on the market, but works well for aquatic sports and tends to be more comfortable than other seals. The three included sizes help you find the best fit, whether you’re looking for comfort (which may mean a smaller tip) or blocking ambient noise (when a larger tip may be better). Small hooks help keep the earbuds secure against your ear.
Are these the best headphones for swimming laps? Nope! Hey, we’re just being honest. But they are a good, inexpensive option if you work or play near water, or have destroyed earbuds in the past by accidental submersion. Their two-foot cord isn’t designed for tucking out of the way in a swim cap or under goggles, but easily reaches your pocket, backpack, or armband. You no longer have to risk your earbuds during scenic excursions on boardwalks, while riding a jet ski, or while cleaning the pool.
The Travelon Waterproof earbuds are a stylish budget option that holds up well. If you just want peace of mind and solid audio quality, these fit the bill. For complete auditory isolation while swimming laps, we recommend headphones like the Swimbuds Sport, but for casual swimmers and aquatic athletes, these earbuds are a great low-price option.
If you want to enjoy awesome music, podcasts, and more at the gym or while running, you're in the right place! Below you can find the top 10 wireless headphones for your any type of exercise. Ready to say goodbye to tangled cables? Let's go!
Let’s start with the cream of the crop: Our top pick for the best headphones for working out, the Bose SoundSport Pulse. These wireless workout headphones are water-resistant (and you know that when they say “water,” they mean “your sweat”). They come with a built-in microphone and a remote to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and take calls. The earbud design perfectly blocks outside noise due to the seal created in your ear. They also have good stability due to the “comma shape” of the earbud that hooks nicely into the conch of your ear. As if that wasn’t enough, these earbuds also have a pulse sensor mechanism - whoa!
Yes, that’s right, a pulse sensor. These earbuds are smart enough that they can stream your heart rate data to various health apps as well as displaying it in real-time on the Bose Connect app. All of this combined with the Bose brand reputation for high-end headphones and perfect audio makes the SoundSport Pulse pretty impressive. These wireless headphones have all of the functionality of wired headphones. Plus they come with additional settings and adjustments, like easily switching between connected devices.
We recommend these earbuds to people who are looking for very good gym headphones and are dedicated to fitness - or at least dedicated to enjoying high-end audio. There is a lot of brand-new tech on offer here, including the pulse sensor. It’s one of the main features of these wireless earbuds and very useful. If you aren’t interested in knowing what your heart does, the Bose SoundSport (without Pulse) are another audiophile option that we recommend.
Our pick for the best cheap wireless workout headphones has similar main features to the Bose SoundSport earbuds: a five-hour battery life, water- and sweat-resistant design, and an inline mic with a remote for adjusting the volume, your songs, or taking calls. Another reason that these earbuds made it to the top of our list for good but cheap gym headphones is the magnetic clasp built into the earbuds. When you need to take a break from your tunes, the earbuds will snap together around your neck into a sleek, sporty necklace. You look cool, and you’re less likely to lose your wireless earbuds, too.
These earbuds use a comma-shaped ear hook design that tucks into the conch of your ear combined with an in-ear silicone tip to stay put. We all know how annoying it can be to deal with ear buds always falling out, so the TaoTronics earphones come with three sizes of ear hooks and three sizes of earbud tips that you can switch out to find the perfect fit.
Another feature we liked is that the mic has CVC noise canceling technology to help make your voice sound clear when you use the wireless earbuds for calls. There’s no point in leaving your phone in your pocket and talking into an inline mic if the person on the other end of the line can’t understand you! The CVC tech blocks some outside noise and improves call quality. These earbuds also use the aptX codec, which improves the streaming quality of Bluetooth connections. As a result, you get high-quality sound without syncing issues. These budget headphones work great and are definitely worth looking at. There's a lot to like here!
As soon as we saw the battery life ratings on these bad boys, we had to try them out. You’re not dehydrated from working out: these wireless earbuds have a battery life of up to 12 hours. Even on a bad day, we got at least 10 hours out of them, which is more than even our top pick offers. If you want a pair of top headphones for working out with an extra-long battery life, the JLab Audio Epic2 earphones take the cake.
Alright, but what else are you getting? These earbuds have an IPX5 water-resistance rating. This means they can basically withstand being sprayed by a Super Soaker water gun with no problems - so your sweat won’t bother them at all. They use a memory wire, behind-the-ear hook design combined with eight different earbud tip options, including triple-flange tips for some serious noise isolation as well as shallow-fit tips for smaller ears. The many secure fit options make these some of the best Bluetooth earbuds for running and the gym. A universal inline mic and a remote for adjusting the volume, changing songs, and taking calls let you forget that you even have a phone in the first place.
You also get some nice tech specs: these Bluetooth gym headphones combine Beacon Signal Technology C3, Bluetooth 4.0, and aptX technology. Basically, these headphones use a much better Bluetooth antenna than previous generations and are designed to stream music without skipping or losing out on quality. They work great! Large 8mm drivers make these some of the best bass earbuds for listening to your pump-up tracks, too. If you want top audio quality, heavy bass, and the versatility of an inline remote and mic, the JLab Audio Epic2 earbuds are a great investment. You’ll love them.
The Jaybird X2 Sport headphones have six fun color options--but that’s not why you’re here, is it? These are wireless workout headphones with a mic built-in as well as controls for taking calls and adjusting your music. One of the benefits of high-end headphones is the dedication to fit: the Jaybird X2 Sports have a ton of versatility there. You have the option of over-the-ear fits as well as earbud types that hook against your outer ear. These earbuds come with three ear hook sizes, three sizes of silicone earbud tips, and three sizes of foam earbud tips. The foam earbud tips result in some substantial noise isolation due to their tight seal. The earbuds also come with clips to secure the cord to your collar or hat and prevent audio interference from the earbud wire’s movements.
Tech-wise, the Jaybird X2 Sport earbuds offer Bluetooth 2.1 to provide the fast data transfer rates necessary for the audiophile headphones experience in a wireless earbud. This transfer method results in a thirty-foot range and high-quality audio. You can download the Jaybird MySound app to iOS or Android devices to change your EQ settings and connectivity options, as well as keep an eye on the battery level of your earbuds. Although Bluetooth 2.1+EDR is fine for audio, the next generations of Bluetooth permutations, 3.0 and 4.0, tend to conserve more energy while being able to transfer more data per second. aptX and Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0 seem to be the best combinations for getting deep bass and CD-level quality out of your wireless earbuds, the Jaybird X2 Sport are a fine choice for most people and are one of the top headphones for working out on a budget. We loved the mix of affordability and quality that's on offer here.
Looking for Bluetooth workout headphones that can handle the occasional dunking? The Plantronics Backbeat headphones bring an IP57 rating to the table. The “5” in this rating indicates these earbuds are dust tight. The “7” means that they can handle being submerged. These headphones aren’t made for swimming (and Bluetooth doesn’t transmit well underwater anyway), but the manufacturer says they can survive up to thirty minutes in water as deep as one meter (about three feet). So the Plantronics Backbeats are very good headphones for working out near water, such as kayaking, canoeing, or rowing. They’re also fun at the gym, for hot yoga, and more.
Unlike many of the headphones on our list, these headphones use an on-ear rather than an in-ear design. This can be beneficial for outdoor exercise since when you’re doing things like running along a road, it’s good to be able to hear the diesel truck gunning it behind you. When it comes to the headphones for gym use, you may prefer to block out the sounds of other people grunting and gasping for air. However, the on-ear design certainly is comfortable, and you can still have a good listening experience without blocking all possible ambient noise. It’s also easier to get a good fit with on-ear headphones than with the various earbud types and sizes of in-ear headphones.
What else? You can control the volume, take calls, and play and pause tracks with controls built into the earpieces. The Backbeats use Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, a Bluetooth profile designed to transmit wireless audio more efficiently. The battery level of the headphones displays automatically on Apple devices, and you can download the Plantronics Battery Meter app for Android devices to keep track of your juice. You also get a reversible smartphone armband.
Not to be, well… beaten, the Beats brand got in on the Bluetooth workout headphones craze, too. The Powerbeats3 are an improvement over the previous model, the Powerbeats2, with a longer battery life and redesigned mic and controls. A 12-hour battery is rare to find in wireless headphones, a powerful enough spec on its own to make the Powerbeats 3 a reliable choice as top headphones for athletes. This is mainly due to a proprietary Apple W1 chip, which also provides “Fast Fuel” charging: five minutes on the charger gives you an hour of battery, we love it! It’s hard to beat that level of convenience.
Large drivers combined with Stereo Bluetooth 1 produce solid sound quality, and that bass everyone is craving. These earphones have adjustable ear hooks and cable management clips, plus four included ear tip sizes to try to give you the best seal. The seal created in your ear is what provides noise isolation by blocking outside noise. Although the Powerbeats3 can pair with any Bluetooth device, that Apple W1 chip makes them pair especially quickly with Apple iOS devices. If you can’t get enough of high-end tech, you’ll probably enjoy adding the Powerbeats3 to your collection.
Beats makes great products and these wireless earbuds perform well and have a comfortable, secure fit, combined with great battery life. They are a great investment that blends new technology with long-term value. There are several things that stood out in our workout headphone review. This includes their excellent build quality, the modern design, and the excellent overall branding. Audio quality comes first, of course, and these headphones managed to impress there as well. If you like the Beats brand, this exercise headphone set is an excellent choice that will make your ears happy for years to come.
Similar to our TaoTronics budget pick for the best cheap wireless workout headphones, the Phaiser BHS-730 wireless earphones have magnets in the earbuds that allow you to clasp them around your neck like a high-tech workout necklace. The one downside of going wireless is that it can be harder to keep track of everything, so we have a soft spot for this feature. Plus, the included LifeState technology allows your smartphone (whether iOS or Android) to display the battery level of these earbuds, so you don’t have to guess how much juice you have left.
The Phaiser BHS-730s include seven different ear tips: three sizes of the winged ear tip style that hooks into the conch of your ear, three sizes of soft silicone tips, and a set of soft memory foam tips. Foam earbud tips can create the best seal for total noise isolation. Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP audio-focused transmission technology and 8mm speakers mean you’ll have high-quality wireless audio with a strong bass. These earphones also have a built-in remote for controlling the volume, pausing or skipping tracks, and taking calls. The inline mic uses noise cancellation technology to help your dulcet tones come through loud and clear, so even your grandparents can (kind of) understand you.
If your idea of the best wireless exercise headphones involves aviation-grade aluminum, you’ll hit the jackpot with the Phasier BHS-730s. They’re well designed and ultra lightweight. The earbuds are also coated with a hydrophobic layer to give them some water resistance.
So if you thought the Bose SoundSport Pulse earbuds that made it as our top pick were cool, but not something you could justify purchasing, these earbuds are also available without the heart rate monitor feature. In case you didn’t read the SoundSport Pulse review, here’s the lowdown on the very similar SoundSports:
First, you’ve got six hours of battery life, with two hours to go from zero to a full charge. You have an inline mic and remote for taking calls, controlling your music, and changing the volume. We like to think that the best earphones for gym use are the kind that let you skip fumbling for your phone or media player and make quick adjustments to what you’re listening to, fast! The Bose Soundsport do exactly that. They also keep sweat away from your smartphone. These earbuds have NFC and Bluetooth pairing options, which is great for pairing with devices that don’t have Bluetooth. You can also access the Bose app to play with EQ settings and quickly switch between paired devices. It’s a polished experience.
The Bose SoundSports have excellent fit options as well, featuring a wingtip earbud style. One of the three sizes of tips included should work well. For people who aren’t sure what their preferences are, or who want multiple earbud styles available at once, we recommend checking out our reviews on the JLabs or Jaybird workout headphones for high-end headphones with even more fit options. If you’re an audiophile, though, go with the Bose SoundSports. Either way, get ready for a much more entertaining workout experience.
These cheap wireless earbuds have respectable specs: an eight-hour battery life (with a two hour charging time from zero to full battery), Bluetooth 4.1+EDR, and built-in mic and remote controls. If you’re not sure if you’ll dig the wireless headphone experience, getting a cheap pair of wireless earbuds to start with lets you test the waters. These ones also sport a similar design to the Beats earbuds we reviewed with an over-the-ear hook and similar color options. It’s a good choice if you want the Beats aesthetic on a budget.
The Otium Sports earbuds are sweatproof and come with two extra pairs of earbud tips in different sizes. The battery level shows automatically when the earbuds are paired to an iOS device. The mic and remote controls are built into the earbuds rather than the wire, similar to the Plantronics Backbeat headphones. Some people might prefer this to having the mic and controls in the wire, while others might find it annoying - it comes down to personal preference.
The connection is quick and the sound quality is good, and the in-ear design creates a barrier against ambient noise. A voice prompt lets you know when you are connected or disconnected from a paired device. The ear hooks on these earbuds are not flexible like some of the other wireless headphones we reviewed, which is something to consider if you are selective about fit (for flexible ear hooks, look at the Powerbeats3 or Jaybird X2 Sport earbuds). As starter wireless earbuds, the Otium Sports earbuds are an excellent and cheap option.
Similar to the Phaiser BHS-730s and the TaoTronics that made it as our budget pick, the SoundPEATS Bluetooth headphones for working out have magnetic earbuds that clasp together around your neck so that they’re easy to keep track of. They have an IPX4 water resistance rating, meaning they can hold up to sweat and splashes of water without a problem. They also have a six-hour battery life with a charge time of one to two hours, which is about average among wireless workout earbuds. They use Bluetooth 4.1 with the aptX codec, which optimizes data transfer for audio files.
The SoundPEATS Bluetooth come with three earbud tip sizes and three wingtip-style ear hooks, plus some handy cord management clips. The soft earbud tips create a seal in your ear that helps block out ambient noise so you can focus on working out. If you like the Otium Sports earbuds we reviewed but want more fit options, you may want to look into the SoundPEATS.
On top of that, this product has an inline mic with a remote that allows you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and answer calls. The mic also has CVC intelligent noise reduction technology to reduce ambient noise and make your voice sound more clear to the person on the other end of the line, so these headphones aren’t limited to workouts.
For cheap gym headphones, the SoundPEATS Bluetooth earbuds come with a nice variety of fit options and good tech specs, too, making them a reliable, low-price option.
If you want to work out or run as long as you want, without relying on a battery, read on. Here are the top wired headphones for all types of exercise, from the gym to running. Get pumped and get excited!
The Bose SoundSport headphones are an obvious pick for the very best wired exercise headphones, and that’s partly because Bose consistently produces cutting-edge audio technology. These wired workout headphones are sweat and weather-resistant and have an inline mic and remote. The SoundSports are available in specific versions that are optimized for Apple iOS and Android devices. The remote lets you adjust the volume, change tracks, and take calls without reaching for your phone. There is also a third version without mic and remote.
TriPort technology is another feature of the SoundSports and is similar to the Bose QuietComfort tech. The TriPort design significantly improves the sound and depth of bass, which can be difficult to achieve in workout earbuds. The headphone tips consist of a silicone “wing” that tucks into the conch of your ear, combined with an in-ear tip that creates a great noise-isolating seal. Bose calls them StayHear tips, because they’re supposed to fit securely - cute pun, right? The wing design does result in a more secure fit than regular in-ear earbuds while remaining comfortable. The SoundSports also come in three different sizes to suit a range of ear types.
The 42-inch long cord gives you flexibility in where you keep your phone, while an included clothing clip helps reduce noise from the cord’s movement from getting in the way of your exercise tunes. If you’re already a fan of Bose headphones or are looking for a fantastic audiophile experience in earbud form, these are an excellent pair of earbuds for any workout. They offer industry-leading audio and high long-term value.
Our budget pick for the best wired and cheap workout headphones are the Decibullz Contour Custom. The cable-free version also made it to our budget pick for wireless workout headphones, and for a good reason: their custom fit design can make them the most comfortable headphones you’ve ever tried.
The secret lies in a thermoplastic earpiece that you can shape perfectly to your ear with just a little hot water. You can form the plastic into the ideal mold to keep the earbud secure against your outer ear. This process can be repeated unlimited times. The earbuds also come with three sizes of double-flange earbud tips for even more noise isolating goodness.
The Decibullz Contour Customs also come with an inline mic and remote, great for taking calls or adjusting the volume without fumbling for your phone. If you have trouble finding earbuds that fit, due to small ears, big ears, or an unusual ear shape, these moldable earbuds are an excellent choice. The thermoplastic pieces are re-moldable, too so you can experiment with different shapes until its perfect. It’s a genuinely tailor-made experience, you’ll love it.
Earbuds that fit well can make a world of difference in sound quality, and the Decibullz Contour Customs are competitive in that area, too. You can also switch out the included earbuds if you prefer single-flange or another type of earbud tip. The molds come in black and six other colors, so you can further customize your look. Give them a try.
The Reacher EP-D801 are a great option for people looking for workout headphones with a mic for taking calls on the go. Besides having an inline remote to control the volume, skip tracks, and make calls, the mic has CVC noise cancellation technology to keep ambient noise from interfering with your communication. These earbuds have an unusual audiophile feature as well: dual dynamic drivers in each earbud, making them some of the best earbuds for working out if sound quality is your primary goal. Dual drivers typically produce better audio, especially when it comes to bass. Most earbuds have a single driver, so the one driver has to do all the work. By using two drivers in each bud, the work is divided, so you get better highs and lows and improved quality overall. The earbud body is a little larger than you may be used to as a result of the dual drivers, but it doesn’t weigh them down.
In addition, three sizes of single-flange earbud tips are included. They are basic in-ear tips that can be switched out with other designs for greater noise isolation. The earbud tips sit at an angle to fit better in your ear and stay put. The flat ribbon cord is nearly four feet long and resists tangles. You also have access to a built-in mic with a remote for volume control, skipping tracks, and taking calls on the go.
The dual driver feature is what really impressed us, but we wish more earbud tips were included for greater noise isolation. We recommend grabbing some foam tips or triple-flange “tree” tips if you want the most noise isolation, combined with great sound quality.
The Sennheiser OCX 686i earn a spot among our picks for top workout headphones due to their durability and a washable, hygienic design. The oval-shaped cables resist tangling and microphonic cable noise, and get this - they’re also “para-aramid reinforced.” Para-aramids are a class of synthetic aramid fibers that include fibers like Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests. Needless to say, if you’re looking for outdoorsy, ultra-tough sports headphones that can keep up with you, these earbuds can definitely take a beating.
These earbuds use an over-ear hook style design, which has a love them or hate them reputation depending on people’s ear shape. If you’ve found that over-ear hooks tend to work for you, these are definitely worth a try. If not, there are other styles of Sennheiser Sports Earbuds you can try with similar features. Three sizes of single-flange earbud tips are included to help you find a good fit. The ear adapters have a SteriTouch additive in the material that makes them anti-bacterial, and the earbuds’ water resistance is designed specifically to make them washable as well. So if you hate the idea of sweat and who knows what else building up on your earbuds, the Sennheiser OCX 686i earbuds can help you tackle those evil germs.
Of course, these Sennheiser earbuds also produce solid audio and come with an inline mic and remote control for adjusting the volume, skipping tracks, and taking calls. One version of the OCX 686i is optimized for Apple, and another version is designed for Android. They’re a great earbud option for getting sweaty, that’s for sure!
The Taotronics Actives are the only earbuds on our list with active noise cancellation. This means the earbuds try to mirror outside ambient noise to “cancel” it before it can get to you and affect your listening experience. These are some of the best earphones for gym use, running, and traveling while blocking all outside distractions. The active noise canceling lasts 15 hours on one charge, and unlike some noise canceling headphones, they’ll still work if the battery runs out (some headphones quit entirely rather than just playing without noise cancellation). You should definitely take a look at the Taotronics exercise earbuds if you’re looking for the best cheap earbuds with active noise cancellation.
Besides that, the Taotronics Actives have an inline mic and remote for taking calls, changing tracks, and adjusting the volume. They come with an airplane audio adapter, another great feature for travelers. The in-ear earbuds have a wingtip hook design, and you get three interchangeable sizes of earbuds and three sizes of wingtip hooks to help you find the perfect fit. The earbuds use a lightweight aluminum alloy construction and a 4.6-foot cord for plenty of flexibility.
Taotronics headphones have popped up several times in our reviews, and for a good reason: they produce great headphones at low prices. If you can’t shell out for high end headphones but want some of those top features, options like Taotronics offer smart alternatives.
These cheap earbuds are designed for small to medium ears and have a memory wire over-ear hooking design that makes them good headphones for working out. They come with a clothes clip and have an inline mic and remote for controlling your music and calls. You’ll have four sizes of single-flange earbuds to try out. The cord is just over four feet long so you can run it to your pocket or backpack without running out of length. The sound quality is good for cheap headphones and improved by the in-ear design.
If you want a pair of basic gym headphones but have trouble finding in-ear earbuds that don’t feel uncomfortable, the Rovking G10s are a smart fix. The design can work for adults and kids alike, and the memory wire that hooks over your ear provides extra security for high-impact activities like running or jumping. The smaller than average fit can suit both men and women. You may also prefer them if average-sized earbuds just feel bulky. Although over-ear earphones are often a comfortable alternative for people with small ears, the sound quality suffers, resulting in tinny audio and a lot of “leakage” of ambient noise from outside. In-ear earbuds seal out ambient noise and have a more solid connection with your hearing bits, so the details of your music come through more clearly, with better bass and treble quality. Is it time to give in-ear earbuds another chance? Can you learn to love workout headphones again? We hope so!
One of the common issues that come up when trying to find the best workout earphones is sweat. You have at least two million sweat glands all over your body, and some of them are in and around your ears. The Skullcandy Method earbuds combine a sweat resistant design with some fancy tech in the earbuds to help the tips stay put and stay clean.
The two sets of single-flange tips that are included use a combination of Sticky Gels and Pure Clean technologies. The tip material is designed to stay “sticky” even when you’re sweating, with as much as 30% more sticking power than similar earbud tips without the Gel feature. If the wind or your own movement are constantly pulling your earbuds from your ears, getting some Sticky Gels up in, there will help with that. The Pure Clean tech helps prevent germs and dirt from building up in your earbuds, making them stay cleaner for longer.
These earbuds also have an inline mic and single-button remote for doing some basic call-taking and playing or skipping songs, but you can’t adjust the volume from the earbuds. An angled off-axis earbud design combined with Skullcandy’s Supreme Sound tech results in a comfortable fit with great audio and noise isolation. If you’re looking for the best earphones for the gym that will stay in without breaking from the traditional earbud design, the Skullcandy Method earbuds are a good option. Keep in mind that they aren’t as optimized for fiddling with the remote as some other earbuds on our list, so they are best for people who don’t mind reaching for their phone occasionally.
The Panasonic Sports Clip earphones have large 14.3mm drivers, meaning they have a greater ability to produce rich sound and deep bass. If you’re looking for the best workout headphones with good bass and a comfortable design, check these out. These headphones are water resistant, so they can stand up to sweat and weather, and are available with and without an inline mic option. An ear hook tucks over and behind your ear, and is adjustable for the best comfortable and secure fit. The single-button remote is a bit limiting as far as controlling your phone or media device from a distance but should work fine for most people who don’t mind reaching for their phone once in a while.
One feature we had an issue with is the lack of included earbud tip size options. You only get one pair of single-flange earbud tips with these earbuds. If you have average-sized ears or don’t have issues finding earbuds that fit, that might not be a problem for you. You can also buy cheap sets of universal earbud tips to try out, such as different sizes of foam earbud tips or triple-flange “tree” earbuds that create a tighter noise-isolating seal. The ear clips can be adjusted to the point where they connect to the earbuds, but they’re otherwise made of plastic, so you can’t adjust the actual shape of the clip.
Basically, if you like clip-style earphones and are looking for powerful drivers, these earphones may be a good choice for you. They offer lots of flexibility and good audio. If you want more fit options or a more multi-tasking remote, check out the other earbuds on our list. Happy listening!
So the big note for the Koss Fitclips KSC32L is that they are “designed for women by women.” If that works for you and is something you specifically want in an earbud, great! But these earbuds aren’t limited to one gender. They have a slim, lightweight design and chic color options -apparently something only half of the world is supposed to like! Marketing aside, these are a basic pair of noise-isolating headphones with an over-the-ear clip design. The clip portion is soft and flexible and helps keep the weight of the earbud wire from pulling down on your ear canal. They have a sweat-resistant coating and come with three sizes of single-flange earbud tips. An in-ear design has a noise isolating effect that is crucial in finding the best earphones for working out since it’s not super fun to listen to your gasps for breath. You can also switch out the included earbud tips for other styles like foam tips or triple-flange tips for even more noise isolation.
Our only issue with the design of the KSC32Ls is the thin cord. While the lack of bulk is convenient and helps prevent annoying noise from the cord bouncing around, the tradeoff is that too much rough-housing might damage the cord. All earbud wires have weak points where the wire meets the earbuds and the aux jack, but we recommend reinforcing these earbuds around those weak points for intense activities where the cord is in danger of being snagged or tugged around.
The Yurbuds Inspire 200 use a variant of the “wingtip” earbud style that hooks into the conch of your ear as well as sealing your ear canal. They call it Twist Lock, and it results in a secure fit that’s great for athletes and the bouncing around of everyday use. For most people with average ears, these earbuds can be comfortable while staying put. Three earbud tip sizes are included so you can experiment with the best fit. And, like a few other headphones on our list, these Yurbuds have magnets in the earbuds that allow them to clasp together around your neck, preventing annoying cord tangles or accidentally dropping your earbuds on the floor.
These earbuds produce good sound and were “developed by athletes for athletes,” which is nice to know. What matters is that they can give you a comfortable fit and a good seal against outside noise, plus excellent audio quality. There are also other versions of the Yurbuds that are available in smaller sizes specifically designed for smaller ears, so no need to despair if you’re worried about fit! The Inspire 200s lack a mic or volume control: good news for people who want to keep it simple and cheap, bad news for people who like to multitask and forget that their phone is in their pocket. Particularly for the price, the Yurbuds are a great earbud style to start with on your quest for the best gym headphones. If you like the design but want an inline mic, never fear - the “Talk” line has built-in mics.
Did we get too specific up there in the reviews? If you want to know the basics about the top 10 headphone brands that helped us figure out which headphones to choose for our research, read on! This list is designed to cover headphone brands you maybe haven’t seen before, but that offer great value and features. We researched a lot of headphone companies and popular headphone brands as we dug into the reviews, so we’d like to share some of that knowledge with you.
You might know Bose for their noise-cancelling headsets, but they produce a lot of other audio equipment as well, including speakers and car sound systems. The company was founded by MIT grad Amar Bose in 1964 when high-fidelity audio was still in its early stages. In 2000, they became the first company to produce active noise-cancelling headphones with QuietComfort technology. This technology has since been incorporated into the military to protect the hearing of pilots and tank drivers. It’s loved by millions of audiophiles, too.
Bose has some interesting research in other fields outside of the audio world. For instance, they were involved in debunking cold fusion in 1991, which was a hypothetical nuclear reaction that could occur around room temperature.
The founder of Bose focused more on “psychoacoustics,” or how we perceive audio, as being more important than cold hard specs and numbers. This idea has received mixed reactions from audio fans who believe that the numbers are more important, but Bose has stuck to this philosophy and continued to produce comfortable hi-fi headphones with reliable high standards. Because of their great reputation in the audio industry and consistently well-made products, they are a great source for noise-cancelling high-end headphones that are built to last.
This German company with a very German name is all about quality audio, both for consumers and professionals, and was established just after World War II. Like Bose’s noise canceling technology, they have their own “first ever” claim to fame: the first open ear headphones, released in 1968. Before that, all headphones had big cup-like shapes that totally enclosed the ear. They tend to have similar build quality and price points compared to Bose audio products, but have a somewhat broader range of items available to suit average or entry-level consumers all the way up to the dedicated audiophile.
Initially, Sennheiser was more well-known for their microphone designs. But it was that open headphone that rocketed them into the big leagues, where they have remained. Those open headphones that are so ubiquitous today sold by the millions after their 1968 release. And Sennheiser had a hand in the establishment of wireless headphones too, winning an Emmy award in 1995 for wireless headphones that communicated via radio waves.
Becoming one of the best headphone companies in the world took time and a lot of investment, but Sennheiser made it. Their approachability for entry-level consumers while also appealing to audiophiles and professionals gives them an edge in the market that’s helped make them so successful for so many years.
Panasonic takes its name from Latin roots, but it originated in Japan. It produces a range of electronic products, including TVs, home appliances, and cameras, as well as audio equipment and headphones. It started with an electronics and appliances focus when it was relaunched in 1955 following World War II, producing items like radios, tape recorders, and the first agitator washing machine. They began marketing the lithium ion rechargeable battery in 1994 and created the first mobile phone weighing under 100 grams (3.5 ounces) in 1996.
It’s hard to go through the day without seeing at least one Panasonic product, whether it’s a TV or something else. However, their dedication to audio systems is still going strong and keeping up with the times. Although they are more well-known for home speaker systems and sound bars, they still produce solid headphone products at a range of price points, keeping up with headphone audio giants like Sennheiser and Bose.
So although the Panasonic brand isn’t limited to audiophile headphones and speaker systems, their long-standing dedication and involvement in audio systems result in a lot of good headphones and earbuds to choose from, both for average consumers and people looking for hi-fi sound.
The Beats by Dre phenomenon brought quite a bit of controversy into the world of headphones. Formed by Dr. Dre, a producer, and rapper, and Jimmy Lovine, a film and record producer, they have become a strong contender in the market for designer headphones and speakers. The company then became a part of Apple.
Beats has done an amazing job of building an appealing identity and have made other headphone brands scramble to compete. They offer noise-cancelling options similar to Bose, but with a more sleek, chic style--and, similarly to Bose, they don’t use specs to define their headphones.
Beats does a great job of appealing to consumers with sleek, modern designs and a setup that shows off current pop, hip hop, and other bass-heavy music particularly well. Controversy arose based on the costs of the materials going into the headphones vs. the end price - but this isn’t a phenomenon limited to Beats. It’s not a crazy or unusual thing to identify with a brand--people choose the brand when presented with an alternative with similar specs all the time! We do lots of product comparisons; we should know. And we’re okay with that.
Plantronics started out in the business of headsets: established in 1961, their lightweight headset was the first of its kind in outer space, and even the headset that Neil Armstrong used for his famous moon walk. Though they initially focused on headsets and telecommunications products for businesses and busy executives, they’ve moved into the world of the everyday consumer with headsets for gaming and enjoying music. Because of their focus on business and office environments, they know how to make a comfortable and effective headset, for communicating as well as listening. In fact, they made the first headset designed for call centers in 1983 - now a staple of businesses ranging from customer service to fast food.
Although they are most well-known for their Bluetooth headsets, Plantronics’ headphone offerings combine the call clarity technology of their headphones with great audio performance. Whether you want to yell at online team members in a game or talk to your mom while you’re at the gym, the Plantronics wireless workout earbuds we reviewed can take care of that while also playing your tunes in between.
We recommend looking into Plantronics headphones if you want to talk, not just listen.
Skullcandy sprang up in Utah with Rick Alden, a multi-talented nonconformist with skills in skateboarding, snowboarding, and other action sports. It began with the goal of making headphones that would allow you to answer calls while listening to music (we’re used to it now, but old earbuds couldn’t do this), and grew exponentially from there. Skullcandy jumped into the relatively untapped market of tweens, teens, and young adults with hip hop, snowboarder, and skater-inspired headphone designs. People complained about Beats being as much about fashion as the sound, but Skullcandy started the movement by making headphones… well, fun. Edgy, even! And they still produce solid, quality sound while making a statement. The company skipped through the recession and had many number-one selling headphones, along with a pack of other achievements.
The mix of design elements and purposeful sportiness of Skullcandy headphones and earbuds make them a great choice for athletes as well as the average person. They produce good sound while being affordable and modern-looking, and brought color into the monochromatic world of headphones in the early 2000s. Their appeal isn’t limited to counterculture, action sports, and The Youths: they can appeal to just about anyone, something that we have to applaud.
Another member of the top headphone brands with roots in the 20th century, Koss was founded in 1958 and produced the first portable stereo phonograph player, and paired it with the first SP/3 stereophone. The SP/3 was an unexpected hit (thanks to rock ‘n roll’s growing influence), and Koss continued to innovate in the world of high-fidelity audio. They brought out the first self-energizing electrostatic headphone in 1968, and their professional headphones were used in the aviation industry, the military, and more. Vintage Koss ads from the 70s and 80s show a high-end headphone brand with a playful side (sort of like if early Bose ads ever cracked a smile).
They jumped on wireless headphone technology in the late 80s, producing an infrared cordless headphone with a more powerful transmitter than the conventional systems of the time. Later, they moved into the world of in-ear headphones, and the FitClips we reviewed earlier were the result of a partnership between Koss and Olympic Gold Medalist Dara Torres. Their other products are pretty fascinating as well, however, and show a long-standing dedication to high-fidelity audio. They now produce over-ear and on-ear headphones, wireless and wired, as well as in-ear headphones, clip earbuds, and headsets. They’ve come a long way from 1958, that’s for sure.
An Australian athlete-founded Jaybird to create headphones that satisfied the needs of athletes for durable, sweatproof, and comfortable audio gear. They are known for their Bluetooth headphones and headsets as well as their fitness trackers, and placed in the top five premium headphone brands each year, alongside brands like Beats and Sennheiser. They worked hard for this place with a combination of high-quality audio and designs that appealed to athletes: a comfortable, lightweight fit that could resist heavy sweating.
Jaybird is most well-known for its wireless Bluetooth headphones, and maybe that’s why Logitech acquired the company. The Jaybird claim to fame is aiming for headphones that wouldn’t fizzle out when drenched in sweat, that stayed put, and that produced great sound. That magical combination is why they managed to establish themselves as a “household name” of sorts among bigger companies like Sony.
As the only company in our reviews and list that was founded with a focus on athletes and fitness, Jaybird is undoubtedly one of the best headphone brands that athletes should look out for. Producing the most comfortable headphones for fitness is no easy task, but they do it, and they do it well.
JLab Audio began as an audio company seeking to provide quality audio products at budget prices for people who wanted premium tech without paying a premium cost. They began to focus on the ath-leisure niche - a fancy way of saying both the average person as well as individuals involved in an athletic lifestyle while remaining an affordable option. The JLab Epic2 Bluetooth earbuds we reviewed have also received recognition by Livestrong, Maxim, GQ, and others as being one of the best wireless earbud choices for running and other fitness activities.
Their offerings also include active noise-cancelling and waterproof features with colorful modern designs, made to compete with other fitness-focused headphone companies as well as the revitalized look of modern headphones. JLabs is a great source for earbuds and headphones that are comfortable and adjustable while maintaining vibrant sound. They’ve also branched out into speaker systems, namely wireless Bluetooth speakers. Young companies like this can inject innovation into markets filled with more established brands and jumpstart competition to bring out new designs and better prices. Although their roots aren’t as deep as some of the other brands of headphones we’ve reviewed, they show a lot of promise and a good selection of well-made headphones and earbuds.
Like Panasonic, Sony began in Japan. It’s more or less a household name today, but at its beginning in 1946, it had only twenty employees and 190,000 yen in capital. Converted into US dollars and adjusted for inflation, that’s equivalent to about $20,000 in today’s dollars. They produced the first prototype for a magnetic tape recorder in 1949, and they continued to focus on electronics equipment and communications technology for the following decades. From radios to TVs to the Walkman and CD player, Sony has shaped how we view and listen to media today.
Along with the Walkman and CD player, Sony made headphones and in-ear headphones starting in the 60’s, producing their first noise-cancelling headphones in 1995 and has continued to be involved in the audio industry. They brought the first digital noise-cancelling headphones into the world, for instance. If you’re looking for a well-established company with some audio roots, Sony fits the bill. They produce solid quality items with simple designs, appealing to minimalists and audiophiles who aren’t attracted to the aesthetic of brands like Beats or Skullcandy. They tend to have mid-range prices, somewhere between entry-level and designer products, making them a good middle-of-the-road option for people who worry about quality and don’t want to overspend.