The music isn’t simply there to keep you entertained while you toil away in the gym. After all, studies have connected music to improved exercise performance, faster reaction times, and higher levels of enthusiasm, so keeping the tunes playing is crucial to your progress. You can have the best song mix in the world, but if you don’t have a reliable way to transmit those beats to your ears, you’ll be back to square one.
You can’t rely on stealing the aux cord at the gym to alter the playlist from metal hits to your own—and you certainly can’t break the cardinal rule of public space by blasting your music for all to hear. Most people are working out wherever they can find open space, especially now that the virus has spread, and the chances of carrying a speaker with them are small.
You’ll need a good pair of workout headphones for all of this. While sweat and exertion can be taxing on many types of devices, there are plenty of terrific audio solutions to help you get through your toughest workouts, from the best wireless earbuds to over-ear headphones designed for running.
The abundance of abs workout headphones can be overwhelming when buying on your own, but keep in mind that everyone has distinct wants and needs. Even those on a budget can locate inexpensive wireless earbuds and over-ear headphones that will fit their training regimen and budget.
1. Bose Sport Earbuds
Bose is known for its incredible sound, and their true wireless earphones are no exception.
The devices rely on a specific EQ and Bose digital signal processing technology to keep your music playing at its best, no matter how much background noise there is. The buds are also IPX4 waterproof, so you can sweat all you want. The precise nodule makes these true wireless earbuds the best in the game since they will stay in place no matter how hard you hit them. They’re available in three distinct color combinations and are currently on sale.
The Sport Earbuds are easily mistaken for Bose’s flagship model, the QuietComfort Earbuds. The matte-finished design and laser-etched Bose logo on the front make them nearly identical, but the sportier version may be distinguished by its smaller size, small vents on the front, and two of the aforementioned color possibilities (Baltic Blue and Glacier White), which the QC Earbuds lack. Overall, these buds offer a more subdued appearance than their noise-canceling sibling.
The Sport Earbuds are well-made and will endure the daily wear and tear you’ll subject them to. The frame is made of high-end composite plastic that is difficult to penetrate, and it is sweat and weather resistant to IPX4 standards. As appealing as this sounds, most customers would prefer their wireless athletic earphones to be waterproof, especially at the sub-luxury pricing point of Sport Earbuds. Several high-end products (such as the Jaybird Vista and Jabra Elite Active 75t), as well as low-cost versions (such as the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC), have done so. Why not Bose, for example?
Bose devoted some consideration to constructing the Sport Earbuds for practical use, as evidenced by a few little nuances. I mentioned the front vents, but there are also vents for the microphones at the bottom of the casing, which were added to improve call quality and virtual assistant support (more on that later). You’ll also notice a thick sensor on the inside of the bud that recognizes when the earbuds are removed automatically.
Comfort and Fit
The sensor extends the sound port and allows the buds to rest comfortably on the concha. StayHear Max silicone eartips from Bose help to improve fit by creating a tight seal on the canal, while the flexible wings conform beautifully into the outer ear folds. Before you start your daily 5K runs, make sure they are properly adjusted (a quick twist should do the work). For smaller and larger ears, there are two more sets of tips.
The Sport Earbuds aren’t the comfiest buds to wear, unfortunately. The robust case grinds up against your ears the longer you wear them, and individuals with a low pain threshold may experience discomfort after around 45 minutes; I don’t recommend them for casual listening. During workouts, this didn’t bother me too much, but while I was in recovery mode, I noticed that my ears were pulsing a little, forcing me to remove them.
Pros and Cons
2. Apple AirPods Pro
If you’ve already purchased Apple AirPods, you probably can’t imagine living without them. That was the level of excitement when they initially came out. The new generation of Apple’s AirPods is a huge improvement over the originals, especially when it comes to working out. Not only will the charging case provide more than 24 hours of battery life (something the originals don’t), but you’ll also have a more customized fit thanks to interchangeable ear tip options. The smart H1 chip in these wireless buds ensures flawless interaction with iPhones. Furthermore, the sound quality and noise-canceling claim are significantly improved. They’re also water-resistant, so go ahead and get sweaty.
The first thing we noticed in our early testing was how light the AirPods Pro are – so light, in fact, that once inserted into the ears, it’s difficult to know they’re there. While this lightness is a benefit in terms of comfort, it might also be a disadvantage in other ways — we can easily envisage a situation where you lose one and don’t know it for a long time (except that your music would have stopped playing).
The stems are substantially shorter than on the standard AirPods, and while you could tap the body of the earlier AirPods to skip music or activate Siri, the AirPods Pro’s fit makes this a less comfortable experience. Instead, each AirPods Pro has a ‘capacitive force sensor’ in the stem, a little ridge where squeezing activates noise-canceling / Transparency mode, as well as skip and pause tunes.
It took a few minutes to get used to because the shorter stems made it difficult to find the ridge, but after that, it was second nature – however, because the buds are small, it seems like you’re yanking them out of your ear every time you activate it.
ANC – Active Noise Cancellation
The active noise cancellation is without a doubt the most essential feature of the new edition, and these are among of the best noise cancelling true wireless earbuds on the market. While they won’t fully eliminate the deep rumbling of planes and trains, they will make midrange sounds half as loud as they would be if you didn’t have any ANC. Is it true that they’re mind-blowingly incredible? No, and something like the Sony WF-1000XM4 still performs a superior job in this regard, but for most people, the AirPods Pro will suffice.
The AirPods Pro includes two small microphones on the inside and outside, which work in the same way as all active noise canceling headphones. Apple states that the inward-facing microphones measure sound 200 times per second to guarantee that the correct sound is produced to counteract it, which is nearly hard to validate on our end. Even still, the ultimate result isn’t half awful.
Pros and Cons
3. Beats by Dr.Dre PowerBeats Pro
The most recognizable name in audio isn’t a gym spectator. The PowerBeats Pro, the company’s first fully wireless alternative and the only headphone outside of the AirPods to utilize Apple’s H1 chip for seamless smartphone connection, are the best from Beats. With a sweat-resistant construction, a long-lasting battery, and a rating of “Superman pushup proof” from MH fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, you might just have the ultimate gym buddy. These headphones come in a variety of colors and are ideal for working out.
There’s a lot to appreciate about the new Powerbeats Pro in terms of appearance; it has a sporty vibe to it while yet being functional enough to use outside of the gym or even inside.
The Powerbeats Pro features a centre playback control button, as well as a volume rocker, on each of the two earbuds. As a result, you may manage your music with whichever hand is free, which is a convenient function. (Of course, if you have Hey Siri turned on, you can just utter the wake word as a voice command to have the same effect.)
It also helps that the Pro is quite comfortable, both in terms of how it fits in and around the ear and how it feels while listening to music.
If you’ve ever used previous true wireless headphones, you may recall experiencing some in-ear pressure when listening to music. It’s something we’ve experienced with other workout earphones like the Jaybird X4, but with the Powerbeats Pro, that uncomfortable pressure simply doesn’t present. This is due to a micro-laser barometer venting hole in the front chamber, which, according to Apple, decreases ear pressure and increases bass response… Not that the bass levels on Beats headphones require any assistance.
The Powerbeats Pro’s design has one flaw: they protrude a little from the ears and don’t have the same low-profile look as the Apple AirPods. This is also an issue if you wish to wear headphones to bed because laying down with them in your ear pushes them too deep into the ear canal.
The other concern, which has been brought up by numerous reviewers, is that the Powerbeats’ casing is massive. It’s the kind of stuff that sticks out in your exercise shorts and is a pain to lug around in your pockets. The only place the headphone case seems to belong is in your gym bag or locker, which is a bummer if you want to wear the Pro to work.
The Powerbeats, according to Apple, can last up to nine hours between charges and can hold around two charges in the case. When those statistics are added together, Apple claims that the Powerbeats Pro has a 24-hour battery and should last a few days between charges – a claim that proved to be quite true during testing, with two and a half charges from the case and around eight hours of use per charge.
However, if you’re looking for wireless charging, you won’t find it here. If you want to stay in the Apple family, only the most recent versions of the AirPods have that functionality, so you’ll have to charge the case with a lightning connection for the time being.
In this category, staying in your ear and easily connecting to your gadgets is a given. What matters most is how well they sound while you’re moving, which is an area where many popular earbuds fall short.
The good news is that the Powerbeats sound great throughout a workout as well as when you’re not at the gym. Yes, the sound has a small flimsiness to it if you listen closely, but it’s not anything you’ll notice during your workout.
We listened to a variety of genres over the course of a few weeks and discovered that, while the Beats brand still caters to EDM, R&B, and rap, it can now play most crunchy rock and alternative with some authority.
What’s more shocking is that the Powerbeats Pro have dialled back the bass considerably this time. They aren’t exactly at a flat EQ, but they have a soft v-shape to them that accentuates the highs and lows while slightly lowering the mids. It’s a smooth slope that makes music sound lively but isn’t so skewed that movies and shows become unwatchable. In fact, even films like Thor Ragnarok seemed fantastic to them.
However, the difficulty is that music – and audio in general – is highly subjective. Our EQ curve preferences aren’t going to be yours, and Apple doesn’t provide you any options to change the sound. That can be aggravating if you don’t think you’re hearing enough mids when viewing a movie or, worse if you think your music lacks sparkle in the high register. There is currently no way to add any of that back in.
When you take the Powerbeats Pro on public transportation, you’ll be painfully aware of all of these drawbacks because, despite its other capabilities, the Powerbeats Pro still lacks noise-cancellation. Worse, they don’t block sound out very well either (what we term passive noise-isolation), so expect to hear everything happening on around you unless you blast your music at unbearable settings.
The fact that the Powerbeats are only IPX4 splash-resistant may be a more practical issue for some. This implies they can withstand a little perspiration, a splash from a water bottle, or someone leaping into the pool, but they aren’t waterproof.
That means you should be cautious if you bring these to the beach, and keep them as far away from a pool party as possible; if they are immersed for more than a few seconds, they will most likely cease to function.
Because you can use hands-free Siri to set timers in between sets and place calls to friends and clients, we found that the Powerbeats Pro function best in a near-quiet environment, such as your office, home, or gym.
You can wear them around the house for hours without difficulty because they’re so comfy in the ear and last roughly eight hours between charges, making them a good everyday headphone and the one we’d choose if we needed to make a call or listen to Spotify on our phone.
We’d slip the earphones back into their case in between sessions to keep the music going, and they’d be ready to go and fully charged in an hour and a half.
Pros and Cons
4. Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
The Jabra Elite 85T true wireless headphones are the brand’s latest and finest, and they’ve quickly become one of our new favorite workout headphones. You’ll find everything you need in a headphone in these little earbuds. They have 12MM speakers, 6 microphones for phone calls, battery life of over 5 hours, wind and weather resistance, a multi-connect system, and more. If there’s one set of headphones that has it all, it’s these, with customizable noise-canceling settings to find your optimum sound.
Design and Build
The ergonomic design, superior noise cancellation, and grade-A microphone array set the Jabra Elite 85t earbuds apart from the competition. The Elite 85t incorporates oblong ear tips that fit more comfortably with the ear canal than prior generations’ circular ear tips. An earwax protection is included in the silicone sleeves to keep debris from clogging the speaker grill.
Each earbud is decorated with the Jabra logo, and you may control playback commands by clicking either panel. The Jabra Sound+ app allows you to customise these parameters so that each user has a unique experience. The six-microphone array is housed in a cluster of small holes at the tip of the earbud housings. We’ll go over this in further detail later, but some of those mics are for calls, while others are for noise cancellation.
A charging case comes with every set of true wireless earbuds, but this one is more adaptable than others. It comes with a wireless charging mat by default, but if you don’t want to use it, you may charge it with the provided USB-C cord. The case seems familiar because it’s made of plastic, like practically all other cases, and it closes with a magnet. It’s simple to open with one hand, yet the magnets are powerful enough to keep the case closed if you drop it.
If you wish to stay aware of your surroundings, you can activate HearThru, Jabra’s version of passthrough technology, by clicking the left earpiece. This is by far the best application of the technology I’ve seen: it relays ambient noises without adding a lot of static or white noise. You can get away with HearThru on instead of mono mode if you want to run outside with these.
While the revised design disappointed us (if it ain’t busted, don’t improve it), the good news is that the audio quality remains excellent. In reality, it has improved in recent years.
This is because the 85t buds have larger 12mm speakers, which are double the size of the 75t buds. This translates to a slightly broader and more balanced soundstage, as well as deeper bass, which helps to give your music more depth.
Speaking of deep sounds, Jabra is known for its booming bass reproduction, so we’re thrilled that with the Elite 85t buds, they’ve only attempted to improve it. For one thing, it compensates for the less than ideal fit.
The audio is often heavy but warm. This contributes to the sound’s naturalness, resulting in a vivid and vivid profile with magnificently booming bass underneath — it’s not overbearing, but the noise-cancelling ANC amplifies it. Overall, the audio quality is excellent. It’s not the best out there, but it gets the job done.
The volume can also be turned up to a high level, which was previously an issue with genuine wireless buds because many brands limited it to save battery life. On the Jabra Elite 85t buds, this isn’t an issue. In fact, some people may find them overly loud when they’re turned all the way up.
So, if you enjoy music that makes your eardrums bleed (which we strongly discourage), you’re in luck because audio does not distort at high volumes. The 85t buds do an excellent job of reducing fuzziness in the bass, ensuring that music sounds crisp even at maximum volume.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Elite 85t buds’ connection was mainly solid during our time with them, and any calls we made during that period were without issue.
5. JLab Audio JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
“These are without a doubt the best headphones I have. Without a doubt. I’ve been using them on a regular basis for the past year. I use them for listening to music while abs workout, jogging, and jumping jacks. They stay in place, are comfy, and are really durable!
The JLab JBuds Air Sport is the company’s athletic version of its Executive earbuds. The ear hooks are malleable but firm, ensuring a secure fit. For these earbuds, JLab went with an aggressively bass-heavy sound characteristic, which is to be expected from workout headphones. AAC support will benefit iPhone users, while the sub-$70 price will benefit everyone.
The JLab Audio JBuds Air Sport’s design is the first thing you’ll notice, and they’re not bad-looking headphones. They resemble JLab Audio headphones, however they’re a tad curvier and thinner than the company’s other true wireless buds.
The earbuds have the JLab Audio branding on them, but that’s it; the headphones don’t have any buttons. Instead, the logo doubles as a touch-sensitive area, and you’ll manage your audio using those touch controls.
Of course, the charging case — which is small and portable — is included in the box. The case, like other JLab Audio charging cases, has a USB cable built directly into the bottom, so you won’t have to remember to bring a cord with you. The case does not feature a USB port, therefore you can’t use it to charge additional devices like other charging cases. A total of four sets of ear tips are also included in the box.
In overall, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Sport headphones are attractive and lightweight. The charging case should be small enough to put in your pocket or backpack, which is convenient.
The Bluetooth 5 headphones connect to your listening device and provide a listening distance of roughly 10 metres (33 ft). Although there were moments when the headphones skipped a little, we found that they generally maintained a decent connection.
The headphones’ battery life is excellent, lasting six hours on a single charge. The headphones’ battery case adds an additional 34 hours of listening time, increasing the total listening time to a whopping 40 hours. That’s quite an accomplishment.