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What Are The Best Headphones For Working Out?

Top Workout Earphones For 2016


Top Workout Earphones For 2016


Over the years since I started getting into fitness and running, I have probably used and abused dozens of different types of sport headphones which has helped me to build up a fairly unique insight into what makes the best workout headphones. I have recently decided that my next pair of gym earphones need to be made out of carbon nano tubes in order withstand the punishment I dole out to them! Been through so many pairs since I first started working out – I think maybe it’s just me!


It was around the time that my best workout earphones bit the dust that I realized for exercise, I prefer earbuds, and in order to find the best work out earbuds, I was going to have to really think about what specifically makes a set durablbe enough to cope with the rigours of all that excessive sweating and jumping around. With previous purchases, they kept falling out. You’d think it has more to do with the bouncing involved in jogging, but I would argue that the sweat is the primary reason your earbuds are falling out.  So really…you need to be looking for the best sweat proof headphones on the market.


Back before my quest to find the best headphones for working out started,  I had gone from sport earbuds to over the ear and back again, only to discover that there is no right or wrong type. I have heard all the arguments before; runners headphones need to stay in place due to all the bouncing around, so you need specific jogging headphones and they tend to be over ear – but I say that’s not true. I’ve found some really good earbuds for working out that stay put, no matter what type of athletic exercise I’m performing.


jogging with headphones


Back in the day, I mostly wore my phones at work, but then my role at the company changed and it wasn’t possible to listen to my favorite tunes whilst performing this new job, so the only time my ear cans came out of the drawer was on my daily trips to the gym. We all want to give ourselves a small amount of distraction while working out and I find that doing my exercising in the gym with headphones while listening to music is one of the best ways to make the time go just that little bit faster. I especially like the fact that I can use the beat of the music to help pace myself on the machines.


Just tell us! which headphones are best!


Sadly it’s not that simple. As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s an alarmingly diverse range of work out headphones these days and personal preferences with regards to the type of phones you prefer play a big part.


Top Workout Earphones For 2016

Please skip ahead to our top 5 charts if you’d rather not listen to me drone on about what I’ve learned during our extensive headphone tests!

Over the years since I started getting into fitness and running, I have probably used and abused dozens of different types of sport headphones which has helped me to build up a fairly unique insight into what makes the best workout headphones. I have recently decided that my next pair of gym earphones need to be made out of carbon nano tubes in order withstand the punishment I dole out to them! Been through so many pairs since I first started working out – I think maybe it’s just me!

It was around the time that my best workout earphones bit the dust that I realized for exercise, I prefer earbuds, and in order to find the best work out earbuds, I was going to have to really think about what specifically makes a set durable enough to cope with the rigours of all that excessive sweating and jumping around. With previous purchases, they kept falling out. You’d think it has more to do with the bouncing involved in jogging, but I would argue that the sweat is the primary reason your earbuds are falling out.  So really…you need to be looking for the best sweat proof headphones on the market.

Back before my quest to find the best headphones for working out started,  I had gone from sport earbuds to over the ear and back again, only to discover that there is no right or wrong type. I have heard all the arguments before; runners headphones need to stay in place due to all the bouncing around, so you need specific jogging headphones and they tend to be over ear – but I say thats not true. I’ve found some really good earbuds for working out that stay put, no matter what type of athletic exercise I’m performing.

jogging with headphones

Back in the day, I mostly wore my phones at work, but then my role at the company changed and it wasn’t possible to listen to my favorite tunes whilst performing this new job, so the only time my ear cans came out of the drawer was on my daily trips to the gym. We all want to give ourselves a small amount of distraction while working out and I find that doing my exercising in the gym with headphones while listening to music is one of the best ways to make the time go just that little bit faster. I especially like the fact that I can use the beat of the music to help pace myself on the machines.

Just tell us! which headphones are best!

Sadly it’s not that simple. As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s an alarmingly diverse range of work out headphones these days and personal preferences with regards to the type of phones you prefer play a big part.

Do you prefer earbuds or over the ear?

Some people just can’t seem to get earbuds to fit or stay in, despite them coming with numerous silicone end pieces that are supposed to fit just about any ear. When you’re looking for the best earbuds for working out, you have to remember that the extra movement can keep pulling them out if they are not super snug in your ear.

Others, no matter how light the flex in over the ear headphones,  feel like the ear pieces press too tightly against their head. To be fair, some are worse than others. I once owned a pair of Grado’s made shortly after they moved their manufacturing to china that pressed so tightly, it felt like I had my head in a vice!

There are many other things to consider. For example, the gym is typically a noisy place. If you are someone that’s put off by excess background noise, you might want to choose a model that cancels out that background noise.

Best In Ear Wireless Headphones of 2016 Chart

Image Model Fit Type Rating
Jaybird X2 Red headphones Jaybird X2 Sport

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.9 / 5
Plantroinics backbeat fit headphones Plantronics Backbeat Fit

(check user reviews and price)
Behind the neck, in ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.8 / 5
Plantroinics backbeat fit headphones NuForce BE6i

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.6 / 5
Matone Bluetooth headphones Matone QY8

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.3 / 5
 TaoTronics Bluetooth Sports Earbuds TaoTronics Bluetooth Earbuds

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Bluetooth, wireless 4 / 5

After considering all the options available I personally opted for the Jaybird X2 sport earbuds which for my money, are simply the best wireless bluetooth headphones for working out on the market in 2016.They’re strong, durable, have amazing sound quality and most importantly, as they are bluetooth headphones, they’re easy to pair with my phone and they stay connected even during the most intense workout.

Top Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones of 2016 Chart

(keep scrolling to see my wired workout headphone picks)

Image Model Fit Type Rating
Jabra MOVE headphones Jabra MOVE

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.8 / 5
Monster iSport Freedom headphones Monster iSport Freedom

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.7 / 5
Skullcandy Grind Wireless headphones Skullcandy Grind Wireless

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Bluetooth, wireless 4.5 / 5
Kinivo BTH240 Kinivo BTH240

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Bluetooth, wireless 4 / 5
 66 Audio BTS+ 66 Audio BTS+

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Bluetooth, wireless 3.9 / 5

There are lots of other things to consider when looking at wireless running headphones that you might not consider with their wired counterparts. For example, take a look at the new wireless earbuds that come with the new iphone 7. They’re getting really bad reviews, as people are saying they would be too easy to lose. Can you imagine running with those!, they would bounce out of your ear almost immediately, and probably end up falling into a drain. At an expected replacement charge of $150 a pair, that would be a tough pill to swallow. Even though I prefer wired or wireless earbuds in the gym, I find the wire bouncing around on the back of my neck a bit distracting when jogging. So, I made it my own personal mission to track down the best over ear wireless headphones for running, which after having tried many pairs – I’ve concluded that as things stand – the Jabra MOVE win that accolade.

So whilst wireless earbuds for working out sounds like a superb idea, you have to be careful to choose ones specifically tailored to your exercise of choice. In our completely unbiased reviews, we’ve tested most of the big names out there in the bluetooth sport headphone niche right now and have compiled a great list of our favorite choices on the market right now.

We’re currently working on testing some more budget bluetooth headphones – hoping to compile a new chart of bluetooth wireless headphones under 100 dollars which should be ready in the next couple of months.

Best Wired Sports Earphones of 2016 Chart

Image Model Fit Type Rating
bose soundsport in ear headphones Bose Soundsport

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Wired. Separate android and apple versions 4.9 / 5
Shure SE215-K headphones Shure SE215-K

(check user reviews and price)
In ear Wired 4.8 / 5
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Skullcandy Hesh 2.0

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Wired 4.5 / 5
Jabra MOVE headphones Philips Actionfit SHQ5200

(check user reviews and price)
Over ear Wired 4.2 / 5
Jabra MOVE headphones Sennheiser Pmx 686

(check user reviews and price)
in ear, behind the neck wired. Separate android and apple versions 4 / 5

My top 3 workout earbuds

1. Bose SoundSport In-ear (wired)

What can we say about the Bose Soundsport that hasn’t already been said before? They’ve been around for a couple of years now and still come very highly recommended by most reviewers due to their superb audio performance. Clarity and Bass wise, these  are among some of the best in ear headphones we’ve tested. Added to that, they use Bose patented technology which allows these ear buds to sit comfortably outside the ear canal rather than getting jammed into the ear, which can be uncomfortable. Some have said that, as they do not go as far into the ear canal as other earbuds, this can allow a lot of background noise through, but personally I think these accusations are a little exaggerated. Like most people, I don’t like background noise filtering through and disturbing my workouts, but these are my headphone of choice at the gym and I’ve never had a problem with them. I would far rather take the comfort of my bose soundsport resting lightly against my ear canal (honestly, feels like you’re not even wearing headphones!) and have a tiny amount of background noise filter through, than suffer the discomfort of having an earbud jammed tightly into my ear. Not to mention, when you are working out, the bose still allow you to aware of whats going on around you. If, for example you’re out for a jog and a car honks its horn behind you, would you be able to hear it if you were using noise cancelling headphones?

Bose soundsport top choice headphones

Features:

    • Bose TriPort technology gives you crystal clear highs and booming lows for superior sound.
    • Comes with three different sized ear pieces giving you the perfect fit.
    • Silicone tips, so you can work out as much as you want with these with no worrying about sweat problems.
    • Built in mic for handling calls from either your iPhone or Android device.
    • Comes with carrying case.
    • Available in a number of different colors.
    • Perfect for running or at the gym.

 

 

To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for Iphone and Apple products version

Click here for Android version

Click here to read our review

 

2. Wireless Bluetooth headphones – Jaybird X2 Sport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

A new concept to the workout headphone market, we now have wireless ones that are actually good enough to be discussed here. For such a long time, the best wireless headphones you could find were worse than useless. Forever cutting in and out, if you moved your head even slightly you would have to re-pair them to your phone! That’s all before we even get onto the sound quality which was always tinny and quiet. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be much of an audiophile, the sound was terrible. That has all changed now and this pair of wireless headphones from Jaybird called the X2 Sport. They really stood out above the rest, even from highly anticipated Bose soundsport wireless phones, which were a bit of a disappointment. The Jaybird X2’s sound quality is comparable to high end wired earbuds and that is crazy when you think how poor bluetooth headphones were not so long ago. The battery charge lasts 4 hours (+ another 4 via it’s mini charging pack) which is perfectly adequate for even the longest of workouts.

Jaybird x2 top choice headphones

Features:

    • Simply the best quality sound you can find on a pair of bluetooth, wireless headphones
    • Signal plus guarantees the bluetooth connection never drops out allowing for skip free music
    • 8 hour battery life (with the aid of the mini power pack that comes with them)
    • Secure fit technology ensures the earbuds stay in your ear, even during the most intense workouts
    • Come with their own App that provides full control and sync of the headphones, whilst also giving detailed info like battery life
    • Sweatproof and waterproof design

 

 

To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for current price

Click here to read our review

 

Noise Cancelling – Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic

Do you work out in a loud gym? I find that many gyms pipe their own music way too loudly throughout the room. If it also has TV’s blaring and people talking too loudly, it can become extremely distracting. When I workout, I like to be able to zone out to my own music. I find it helps to pass the time quicker and if there is too much background noise, it can inhibit my ability to get into ‘the zone’. Sometimes simply turning the volume up on your music player isn’t enough. Or maybe you just don’t want your music to be that loud.

Welcome to the world of noise cancelling headphones. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of how this wonderful tech works, I’ll let audio technica do that. Suffice to say, it really works at cutting down the background noise, without the need to turn your music up to unhealthy levels.

The great thing about buying noise cancelling headphones for working out is that there are a number of situations that this type of earphone can help. From using on air planes to working with loud machinery like the lawnmower, there’s a multitude of tasks that can be more pleasurable if you were able to cut out the background noise.

 

Features:

    • Comes in versions for either Apple or Android.
    • Only hear your music thanks to the noise cancelling feature that blocks out everything else.
    • TriPort technology and Active EQ bring out the best in your music.
    • Comfortable and durable ear pieces.
    • Aware mode that allows you to check on your surroundings quickly and easily.

 

 

To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for Iphone and Apple products version

Click here for Android version

Click here to read our review

 

Runner ups

Over Ear – Philips ActionFit SHQ5200

For people that want headphones that are a bit more traditional or may not find earbuds to be comfortable, over ear headphones will probably suit you better. However, with over ear phones, if you don’t do your research, you can easily choose the wrong ones that don’t work well when you are doing any kind of working out.

Beyond the overall sound, which is extremely important in itself, there are two main things that I look for in a good set of over the ear headphones if I am needing them for the gym or other sports. I check the ear pieces and the headband. If just one of these is sub standard, I look elsewhere. Why? Bad earpieces = sweat! Those spongy ear pads can get pretty gross! Some just seem to soak up the sweat, which over time can build up an odor you just can’t shake. The excess sweat can also decay the fabric, making them fall apart. However, if you choose the right type, covered in a fairly thick plastic that is somewhat water resistant this is not an issue.  I look to make sure the stitching is fairly thick also, as this can become frayed and again can cause the earpiece to fall apart.

The headband should be considered because you want something that fits well and is designed to stay in place even during the most vigorous of workouts. At the same time, you do not want them to press against your head too tightly, as with prolonged use – this can cause headaches, especially when exercising as dehydration is also attempting to give you some mind numbing brain pain and we don’t want to give it a hand now do we?

Philips ActionFit SHQ5200

Features:

  • Moisture wicking ear pieces that work effectively to disperse the sweat
  • Ear pieces are not only comfortable but stay in place while working out.
  • Open acoustic platform allows you to listen to your music while still maintaining good attention to your surroundings.
  • Non slip headband keeps everything in place and not so tight as to squash your head
  • Sound awesome!

To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for current price

Click here to read our review

 

 

In Ear – Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas Sports

In my opinion, in ear or earbuds are probably the most comfortable of the bunch, however, it really depends on the size of your external auditory canal (your ear hole!). Some people can find earbuds to be uncomfortable, or just impossible to stay put. I’ve never had an issue with either of these problems, so they tend to be my personal preference. I also like the fact that they are very compact and you can easily roll them up and shove them in your pocket, therefore taking up less space than over the ear phones.

If you happen to wear glasses, earbuds are a great option as they won’t get in the way. As an occasional glasses wearer myself, I used to hate the  way over the ear headphones would clamp down on the arms of the glasses, digging them into my head.

Stylistically they can look more appealing too. Some over the ear headphones can look gargantuan on your head , which if you are blessed with a smallish head like myself, can make you look a little silly!

My runner up in this category are the sennheiser CX 685’s in the Addidas Sports range. These are designed with playing sport in mind and in my opinion they’ve hit the nail on the head. Making sure the ear pieces fit properly, is of high importance, so Sennheiser have included different sized ear plugs and a slide-to-fit feature that makes sure that these will fit anyone perfectly.

 

Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas Sports

Features:

  • Will not fall out while working out no matter how hard you are working!
  • Reinforced cables for extra durability.
  • Designed specifically with sports in mind.
  • Acoustically closed design making for excellent sound.
  • Come with a two year warranty.

 To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for current price

Click here to read our review

 

 

Behind The Neck – Sennheiser PMX 686i

Now, I have to be honest and say that the behind the neck type aren’t really my thing but I still wanted to cover them some people do actually prefer them. I can certainly understand the reason for their design and whole hardheartedly agree that they are superbly well designed for working out, especially jogging. I tend to mostly use the weights at the gym – and found that behind the neck headphones got in the way a bit when doing bench presses.

It is important to note though that these can be some of the most secure haedphones you can find which makes them especially well suited to all the bouncing up and down that comes with jogging!

 

Sennheiser PMX 686i

Features:

  • Available in both Android and iPhone models (for integrated mic operations).
  • Fits securely and comfortably making sure they stay in place during your hardest workouts.
  • SteriTouch (anti-bacterial) ear pieces.
  • Interesting shaped cable design reducing tangles.
  • 2 year warranty.

To see current prices and user reviews:

Click here for Iphone and Apple products version

Click here for Android version

Click here to read our review

 

 

recommendheadphone-infographic

What makes a great pair of workout headphones?

Comfortable – Never underestimate comfort. When you are working out, the last thing you want to worry about is your earphones being irritating and uncomfortable.

Won’t cause ear sweat – Yes, there actually is ear sweat (gross!) and who wants that! Even head sets need to breathe!

Can handle moisture – Back to the ear sweat!

Sound good – Well, this is a no brainer but I feel I need to mention it. Possibly the most important aspect really. You need quality sound. Good bass response and large frequency response range

Affordable – The key here is to get the most bang for your buck while still maintaining quality.

Easily adjustable – With all the bouncing around that comes with working out, you do not want to be fighting with headphones not staying where they’re supposed to

Noise cancelling – As mentioned above, Gyms can be incredibly loud and obnoxious for several reasons. Noise Cancelling will dampen this intrusive background noise to just a whimper.

Compatible with anything – Macs, iPhone, Ipod, Android devices and more. Whatever you take to the gym.

 

What were the main aspects I considered when choosing my headphone recommendations?

Price – Now I didn’t necessarily go with cheapest, but I did look to get the most bang for your buck.

Sound quality – Why buy something that just doesn’t sound good?

Build quality – This goes along with best bang for your buck. I wanted to make sure that I choose well made products.

Brand name – Now I generally don’t care too much about getting the top brands but I tend to at least make sure that it is a well established brand that has a reputation for building quality headphones and not some overpriced fashion accessory *cough*BEATS*cough*

User reviews – On Amazon and other review sites.

Versatility – Can they be used in other applications like yard work or just relaxing?

 

Where are these headphones located?

We are recommending buying them off Amazon. Not only do they provide the best prices available, but as their containment and shipping are second to none, thus reducing the wait time.

Just click the ‘more information’ links for any of the above products and it will take you to the amazon page where you can get the latest price, read detailed reviews and find out more information to help you make a decision.

 

What sports do my recommended headphones work best with?

To be quite honest, any of them! Well, let me be slightly more detailed – any individual sport. I can’t see anyone wanting to listen to music while playing a team sport like Basketball or Hockey! But for things like Running, Weight Lifting, Aerobics or any other individual sport or physical activity, they are all well suited.

More favorites from some of the top brands

Sennheiser

Sennheiser are best known for their extremely well made headphones. They are Germans after all – so what did you expect! Their products have won numerous awards over the years and one of the first brands I look at when it comes time to invest in a new pair of ear cans.

MX685 Adidas Sports In-Ear

 

Philips

In the sport headphone category, Philips have quite a nice variety of options to check out. In my experience, Amazon is probably one of the best place to buy Philips products. Typically their prices can’t be matched, and they are always well stocked, meaning your item ships out fast. This particular pair of fairly cheap headphones are fantastic value for money.

SHQ1200/28 ActionFit Sports In-Ear

 

Sony

The Japanese, like the germans, are always known for building quality products. Sony make a wide range of electronic gizmos, but the one thing that remains consistent is that they’re all well built. Their extensive range of headphones are no different.

XBA-S65 – Balanced Armature