Music is motivating. It can mean the difference between pushing that last set, making it through that last interval, or pushing yourself just a little bit harder. A good set of headphones in the gym cannot only enhance your workout but also block out all the other annoying sounds that you don’t want to hear.
What Makes for a Good Pair of Gym Headphones?
There are definitely a few key features you want to look for when it comes to headphones for the gym.
- Wireless and Battery: This is a big one. Exercising, of course, requires a lot of movement, and you know what gets in the way of movement? Wires. Wireless is the way to go for exercise headphones, and we solely feature wireless options on this list. But when you’re looking at wireless headphones, the battery life is also something you need to be concerned with. Preferably, the battery will actually last for multiple exercise sessions without needing a recharge.
- Durability: You shouldn’t need to worry about being careful with your headphones while exercising. Not only do they need to survive a drop or bump, but sweat resistance is also a necessity. Of course, throwing in some proper water resistance doesn’t hurt either.
- Secure and Comfortable: These both have to do with how the headphones are shaped and the materials they’re made out of. This will be different between in-ear and over-ear headphones, but not only should the headphones stay securely in place while being used but they also need to be comfortable. The body is put through enough strain while exercising, the ears don’t need to feel part of that as well.
- Transparency Mode: Most headphones boast noise canceling as a premiere feature, but some times you need to hear your surroundings even in a crowded gym. Transparency mode allows your music and the outside world to blend at the push of a button so that you have a better idea of what’s going on around you.
While the AirPods Pro are made to be a general pair of headphones, they’re still fantastic for the gym. With a secure and comfortable fit, water-resistant build, and quality sound these earbuds already check a lot of boxes. But then throw in the active noise cancellation and the ability to toggle transparency mode with a single tap so you can hear your surroundings, and these really become something worth looking at. It’s also important to note that the AirPods Pro work on Android devices along with iOS, and you’ll still have access to active noise cancellation and transparency mode.
The AirPods Pro lasts for 4.5 hours on a full charge, but the included charging case can supply them with up to 24 hours total.
Apple AirPods Pro
A great all-around pair of wireless earbuds.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
Another premium pair of wireless earbuds, but these are specifically designed with exercise in mind. These earbuds are rated with an Ingress Protection rating of IP57 meaning they can survive being submerged in up to a meter of water. You can also tune your audio however you like with the Jabra Sound+ app (Android/iOS).
On top of that, these headphones also feature a transparency mode (called “HearThrough Mode”) for better hearing your surroundings, high-quality sound, and a comfortable fit. These also just got an update that brings ANC to the table, so you get the best of both worlds. They’re also available in six colors: Mint, Navy, Copper Black, Sienna, Gold Beige, and Titanium Black.
Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, Navy – Wireless Earbuds for Running and Sport, Charging Case Included, 24 Hour Battery, Active Noise Cancelling Sport Earbuds
Excellent earbuds with some great fitness features.
Beats Powerbeats and Powerbeats Pro
The Powerbeats Pro deliver on excellent sound quality in a sweat-resistant and securely fit package. But on top of the basics, they also throw in media controls via the buttons on each earbud and up to 9 hours of battery life on a full charge, with the included charging case boosting that up to 24. They’re also available in eight different colors: Black, Cloud Pink, Glacier Blue, Ivory, Moss, Navy, Lava Red, and Spring Yellow.
However, this is also the most expensive pair of earbuds on this list, but if you’re looking to save a bit then the standard Powerbeats are still a great set. They still have excellent sound quality, feature 15 hours of battery life, and are sweat resistant. The main downside you’re sacrificing is that they’re not fully wireless so there’s a cable connecting the two earbuds that can get in the way of things. But overall, they’re a great alternative in a more affordable package.
Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth Headphones, 9 Hours of Listening Time, Sweat Resistant, Built-in Microphone - Black
A solid pair of headphones with great sound quality.
The final pair of wireless earbuds on this list, the Vistas impress with great sound quality, a light and comfortable design, and 16 hours of battery life on a full charge with the included charging case boosting that to 32 hours. These earbuds are also fully waterproof with an Ingress Protection Rating of IPX7 meaning they’ll survive being submerged in up to a meter of water (so spills, sweat, and rain won’t be an issue).
You can customize the sound of the Vistas with the Jaybird app (iOS/Android) and also use the app to keep track of your earbud’s location as well. The Vistas are available in three colors: Black, Nimbus Gray, and Planetary Green.
Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Sport Waterproof Earbud Premium Headphones - Black
Some good headphones with even better battery life.
Plantronics Backbeat Fit 6100
This is our only over-ear pick on this list, but while earbuds are definitely preferable for exercising the BackBeat Fit 6100 manages an appealing feature-set for fitness enthusiasts. The comfortable and breathable materials ensure you can wear them for long stretches, and they’re resistant to sweat and small amounts of water. These headphones also sound great, and they even include a transparency mode for better hearing your surroundings.
Overall, when it comes to over-ear headphones, these are the best of the lot. They even feature 24 hours of battery life so a dead battery should never be an issue. The BackBeat Fit 6100 are available in three colors: Black, Camo, and Grey.
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Sport, Sweatproof and Water-Resistant, Black
A pair of over-ear headphones that manages to be good for the gym.