Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - When looking for the best headphones for the gym, running or other workouts, priorities are slightly different to when you're trying to hunt down headphones for casual listening.

We have plenty of buying advice in the section below our current top picks, but generally speaking, headphones for exercise need to be comfortable, secure fitting and offer some kind of resistance to sweat and rain.

Aside from this, it's all about how they sound. Since you're likely to be moving around a lot in these headphones, it doesn't hurt to have plenty of bass pumping, but each of the picks we recommend below has a unique sound profile that will suit different types of users.

So, without further ado, let's check out the best headphones for running, the gym and general exercise.

We've used all the models on this list extensively, including on our lunchtime runs, cycles, HIIT or Tabata classes and general strength training, in order to work out which are the most comfortable, durable and reliable.


Best Headphones for Exercise in 2022

  1. Beats Powerbeats Pro
  2. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport
  3. Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport
  4. Beats Powerbeats
  5. Jabra Elite 85t

Our Top Pick: Best Workout Headphones

Pocket-lint Best workout headphones 2020 The best running and exercise earphones to buy image 2

Beats Powerbeats Pro

squirrel_widget_148688

For

  • Peerless secure fit
  • Great sound
  • Easy Apple integration

Against

  • Expensive
  • A little bulky

Beats has reinvented the earphone and got rid of the wire, resulting in an amazing pair of workout earphones.

They ensure that they fit as comfortably as is possible while they're light too, so when they're in your ears, not only do they fit very securely, but you can barely tell that they're there. 

Battery life is, quite frankly, insane for a pair of wire-frees, with the Powerbeats Pro capable of lasting up to 9 hours of constant music listening outside the case. All things considered, right now, these certainly seem like the best workout headphones you can get. 

Workout headphones we also recommend

Though the Beats Powerbeats Pro are currently our top recommendation, that doesn't mean they'll be the right fit for everyone. That's why we also recommend checking out these additional picks.

Pocket-lint Best workout headphones 2020 The best running and exercise earphones to buy photo 17

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport

squirrel_widget_273428

For

  • Great design
  • Premium sound

Against

  • Expensive
  • No active noise cancellation

If you want sports earphones that don't look like sports earphones, this is where it's at. Beoplay E8 Sport is - in every sense - a premium pair of truly wireless earphones, but with design and features that suits runners and gym fiends. 

You get water/sweat resistance, but also a secure fit from the rubber outer of the earbuds. With B and O, you know you're getting great quality sound in a package made from high-end materials.

In every way, this is just as much focused on sound and premium feel like any other B and O product, but they also happen to be great for working out too. You even get the convenience of wireless charging in the case. 

Pocket-lint Best workout headphones 2020 The best running and exercise earphones to buy image 1

Beats Powerbeats

squirrel_widget_193325

For

  • Good value
  • Great secure fit
  • Excellent battery life

Against

  • Wired

Imagine if you took the comfort, sound and convenience of the Powerbeats Pro and put it in a pair of earphones that's cheaper, but connected by a slim cable. That's essentially what the latest generation of non-Pro Powerbeats earphones is. 

The sound is delivered by the same custom drivers developed by Apple to offer great control over a wide range of frequencies, meaning bass is great, and don't get boomy or muddy, while trebles/highs are still clear. They also have the Apple H1 Chip, and that means you get easy pairing with iPhones, plus automatic pairing/connecting with any other Apple device with the same iCloud account. 

Apart from the lower price, the other reason you might prefer these to the Powerbeats Pro: battery. They can get through 15 hours of music playback before needing to be plugged into a Lightning cable for refilling, and when they do charge, they charge quickly

Master & Dynamic Best workout headphones 2020 The best running and exercise earphones to buy photo 20

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport

squirrel_widget_6191274

For

  • Supreme sound
  • Good ANC
  • Excellent design

Against

  • Very pricey

Master and Dynamic took the sound and drivers from its awesome pair of truly wireless earphones, then put them in smaller, lighter pair of in-ears with IPX5 water resistance. The tip offers a good seal in the ear, and the fit and finish keep the pair securely in place during exercise.

If you're into long exercise sessions, the MW08 Sport has you covered. They can go up to 12 hours in a single session before needing to be placed back in their charging case. Couple that with a sound profile that's dynamic, rich and detailed, and you have one of the best sounding and - in our opinion - most attractive pair of workout earphones out there. 

Pocket-lint Best workout headphones 2020 The best running and exercise earphones to buy photo 13

Jabra Elite Active 75t

squirrel_widget_176733

For

  • Excellent sound
  • Superb waterproofing

Against

  • Mediocre battery life

We loved the standard Jabra Elite 75t, and still do - the Active version is almost exactly the same set of earbuds, just with the waterproofing dialled up to make sure that they're perfect for sporty uses. 

One thing we loved about this pair is the ability to tailor the sound to suit the individual. They give a lot of control over tone through the Jabra app for iPhone/Android. 

The earbuds are also really comfortable and secure, a must for working out, and while 5.5 hours of music playback isn't the best battery performance on this list, it's definitely adequate for most workout sessions or activities. The ability to switch 'HearThrough' on means you can hear traffic around you when you're running at night time. 

Other products we considered

The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.

These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:

How to choose your workout headphones

Picking the right headphones to work out in can be a challenge - here are some tips to help you pick the right option.

What style of headphones is right for you?

We've all seen people in gyms wearing huge over-ear headphones while they work out, and more power to them. There's an argument that over-ear cans isolate you more in noisy environments, but, for our money, the sweat issue becomes a real problem when you're working with ear cushions.

So, you'll have seen that our list heavily leans on in-ear choices instead, but it must be said that if you have a particular feeling about what sort of headphones you want to use, you should go with them. Whatever is most comfortable will work best for you. However, we firmly believe that for the security of fit and waterproofing, earbuds are the way to go for most people.

What does your typical workout look like?

Another big variable in which earbuds to pick comes down to what you'll be doing. Are you a solo runner who's out in the countryside? You might not need active noise cancelling to block out any noise, then, while a transparency mode could be useful for safety on quieter roads.

Equally, if you're looking to drown out a gym's obnoxious playlist, then ANC could instead become a huge selling point. It's all about making sure that your choice of headphones won't get in the way of your chosen exercise.

What price suits you?

While you might use the above questions to guide you, it's still important to have an idea of what your limit is, in terms of spending.

Knowing a budget will narrow your choices down immediately, most likely, and help you pick an option that doesn't just work perfectly, but also doesn't break the bank.

More about this story

Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.

Workout headphones are much like normal headphones, with the obvious difference being that they're specifically designed to stand up to the rigours of a hard workout, over and over. That means we use them in our exercise routines alongside regular testing of their audio quality and ease of use.

This helps us to determine which ones are genuinely comfortable, which slip out of our ears during vigorous movement, and which can't actually cope with immersion in water or drips of sweat, regardless of their manufacturers' claims.

As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the reviews, opinions and experiences of the Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas outlined above - in order to do our best in this regard.

What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each wireless speaker is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.

Writing by Cam Bunton.