Best Wireless Earbuds and Headphones for Running
If you like listening to music while you work out, do you have some of the best wireless headphones for running?
Working out and listening to music at the same time go hand in hand for many. This makes choosing the right pair of headphones to sport crucial.
For runners, athletes and generally active people, choosing a pair of headphones that have the optimal sound quality, stay in place, and are comfortable will make or break your workouts. No one wants to be interrupted by a pesky pair of earbuds.
We know that everyone has a preference, so all of our top picks range from true wireless to partial wireless headphones and earbuds. We’ve rated them based on how well they perform during a run or rigorous workout and what type of features they offer such as Alexa optimization.
See our top picks and our buying guide for the best wireless headphones for running.
Bose SoundSport Free
Try the Bose SoundSport Free for the sound quality of expensive over-the-ear headphones but in the size perfect for your workouts. Features include:
- Best sound quality
- Rechargeable case with two charges
- True wireless design
Editors' Choice: JayBird X4
If you’re an avid runner, these are the best wireless headphones you can buy.
These partial wireless headphones will be your reliable companion during your longest runs and your most intense workouts. They fit perfectly in your ear and can wear them in two ways.
You also don’t have to worry about your headphones getting damaged by sweat or even a sudden rainstorm. These earbuds are IPX7, the highest level of waterproofing for headphones.
The sound quality is also excellent compared to a lot of earbuds out on the market.
Overall, we think you can’t go wrong with this high-quality running headphones.
JayBird X4 Pros
- 8-hour battery life: You can enjoy up to eight hours of music.
- Comfortable fit in the ear: The earbuds have a soft tip, so they fit comfortably in your ear.
- Durable build: The materials will last for a long time because of the quality.
JayBird X4 Cons
- Pricey: These headphones on the higher end of the price section.
- Not true wireless: If you want a truly wireless headphone, the wire will bug you.
Best Value: Monster iSport Super Slim
The Monster iSport made our best value category because of their quality and the outstanding price.
These Monster headphones will withstand your toughest, sweatiest workouts with their secure fit that cushions your ear. The earbuds have a tangle-free cord to keep them in place.
Users say that the sound quality is excellent, especially for those who love to jam bass-filled tunes.
The battery life is decent compared to most models, and you’ll enjoy the noise cancellation feature if that’s your thing. Just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings before going out and running alone with these!
Monster iSport Super Slim Pros
- Noise cancellation: You can drown out the sounds around you if you want.
- Sound quality: Compared to most earbuds, the sound quality is excellent.
- Washable materials: You can run these under water to rinse them post workout.
Monster iSport Super Slim Cons
- Bassy sound: If you don’t like too much bass, the sound quality will annoy you.
Best Sound Quality: Bose SoundSport Free
It’s not the best sound quality if it isn’t a pair of headphones from the music giant Bose.
These Bose SoundSport headphones attempt to pack in everything you love about the big headphones and put into a compact earbud that is great for exercise. You can go for a run while listening to your favorite music, and the sound quality is truly unmatched when it comes to running headphones.
The one area it may not shine in, however, is the design. Some may find the bulky protruding earbud a bit unattractive. If you don’t care about appearance as much, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Lastly, these Bose SoundSports comes with a reliable charging case that can give you two more full charges, making the battery life extend to 15 hours.
Try these headphones out if you want to drown out the world around you while you run.
Bose SoundSport Free Pros
- Reliable battery life: You get up to two extra charges with the case, giving you 15-hours of battery life.
- Sound quality: Bose SoundSport Free offers the best sound quality for running headphones on the market.
- True wireless: These headphones are excellent for people who want entirely wireless headphones.
Bose SoundSport Free Cons
- Unusual style: These don’t have the most attractive style. They protrude awkwardly from your ears.
Best With Heart Rate Monitor: Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless
If you want a great pair of headphones with an accurate heart rate monitor a tracking app to go along with it, the Jabra Elite Sport is a wonderful option.
You’ll get the sound quality and durable build that is usually offered by Jabra, plus the convenient technology of an HRM.
While these are suitable for going on a run and keeping track of your heart rate, they only have about four hours of battery life. The battery life could last you plenty of miles if you’re a marathon runner, but you’ll need to recharge them in the case to get more life out of them.
Also, if you’re more into the true wireless types of earbuds, then you may not love the wire that connects them. If this is the case, opt for the Jabra Elite Sport headphones which are slightly more expensive but come with the same great features sans wire.
Jabra Sport Pulse Pros
- Controlled noise cancellation: These earbuds have a situational awareness mode that doesn’t completely drown out the sound.
- HRM: The accurate heart rate monitor integrated with the Jabra app helps you keep track of your health.
- Sound quality: Jabra Sport stacks up to the competition in the sound department.
Jabra Sport Pulse Cons
- Shorter battery life: You get about four hours of battery life, making it the shortest on our list.
Best Battery Life: Beats By Dre Powerbeats3
Apple purists and fans of the popular Beats by Dre brands will be delighted with the Powerbeats designed specifically for workouts and running.
These trendy earbuds do well in their design, their bassy sound quality, and their comfort.
You also won’t find running headphones with longer battery life than these. The Powerbeats3 have an astounding 10-12 hours of battery life before you have to pop them in their case to charge. What’s even better? You can put them in the case for five minutes to get an extra hour of playback time.
This battery life is unbeatable and comes in handy when going for long, extended runs or hitting the gym after work. Even if you plan to use your running headphones for primarily running, it’s great to know that these will last you pretty much the entire day if you use them at other times.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats3 Pros
- Astounding battery life: These earbuds can last the longest time, 10 hours, without needing to be plugged in.
- Bassy sound quality: You can feel the beat when you’re listening to these.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats3 Cons
- Expensive price: If you’re on a budget, these may not be appealing to you.
- Not waterproof or resistant: Be careful when running outdoors. These headphones do not have an IPX rating.
Headphones vs. Earbuds
While the words headphones and earbuds are interchangeable for most people, they technically refer to two things.
With the rise of technology, there are new versions of both headphones and earbuds coming out each day.
How do you know which ones are best suited for a workout or for going for a run?
We break down the differences between the two so that you can know which one is right for you.
Headphones are traditionally the devices that cover your head and the outer ear.
Think of these as the vintage headphones that emerged in the 70s that everyone wore. While other styles of headphones have debuted, these still hold a place in the music playback device world.
There are two kinds of headphones that you can buy. The supra-aural style and the circumaural style:
- The supra-aural are the ones that cover your ear.
- The circumaural are the ones that cover and seal the entire ear. Because of the shape of the ear, these types of headphones are typically great for noise-cancellation and deliver excellent sound quality.
When it comes to exercise, however, avid trainers tend to go for supra-aural styles because of the stability issues.
Headphones may be helpful for travel or listening while on your commute, but you want something stable if you have an active lifestyle. A big pair of headphones on your head while running, jumping, and doing other types of workouts isn’t exactly comfortable.
- Comfortable for travel or commuting
- Great bass and overall sound quality
- Noise cancellation
- Can get sweaty
- Too big and bulky for a workout
- Too heavy
Earbuds are what we refer to the ones that go into your ear canal.
They tend to be smaller, lightweight, and can be either wireless or wired. This style is most popular among runners and other athletes for their portability and weight. It’s easy to find a model that will stay put in your ear after a rigorous workout.
While earbuds are popular among most people, they do have some downsides to using them. Unless you opt for a high-quality, expensive pair, it can be hard to find earbuds that have superior sound quality, especially when it comes to the bass quality.
It can also be tricky finding a pair that fits into your ear perfectly because every ear is shaped slightly differently.
With earbuds, it helps to read online reviews like ours to see what people have to say about sound quality and comfort before you purchase them.
Either way, if you choose earbuds, you’re opting for a pair that will be easy to use while running or traveling. They are the more versatile choice.
- Lightweight and easy to transport around
- Plenty of affordable options
- Small and fits in your ear
- Finding a perfect fit can be difficult
- Sound quality can vary drastically
Running Headphones Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to the best running headphones, there are some non-negotiables. Other aspects are up to the individual.
Get to know what features are available to help you make the best buying decision.
As mentioned above, battery life is especially important for runners and active people.
You’ll probably be using your headphones twice as much as other people because of your daily life plus workout regimen.
Battery life varies from headphone to headphone. It can range from four hours to ten hours of play time.
On earphones descriptions, you’ll see two types of battery life listed:
- The max amount of playtime you can get in one sitting
- The additional hours you get from the charging case
Many models have up to 15 hours of playing time without having to plug them into a USB outlet.
For example, some models may have five hours of playtime plus two additional charges in the case, extending it to 15 hours of playtime total.
Ease of Use
Will your Bluetooth headphones pair easily to your device?
This is important because many people report Bluetooth pairing difficulties with some wireless headphones.
Read the reviews of different models of headphones to choose a style that is easy to use.
Here are some key questions to keep in mind.
Are they easy to charge?
With wireless headphones, what you get with comfort and ease of use you lose with charging.
As a runner, chances are you’ll have to charge your headphones even more than average users. Many earphones come with a case that’s compact and USB chargeable.
Are they easy to turn on/turn off?
You should be able to turn your device on and off quickly. You should also be able to answer calls if you want that feature.
Can I use one at a time?
Some wireless buds have the one at a time feature that allows you to have one earphone in and still listen like you are wearing both.
Fit and Comfort
The fit and comfort are the most essential factors in choosing the best wireless headphones for running.
Running headphones need to have a secure yet comfortable fit. They need to grip your ear but not hurt or irritate it. Fortunately, there are tons of designs available.
Right after earbuds debuted on the market, there was heavy criticism for those who struggled to keep them secured in their ear. There was also criticism of the harder buds being uncomfortable. Many people had to remove them after mere hours of use.
Now, it’s easy to find headphones and earbuds engineered to fit the mold of an ear with maximum comfort in mind.
When it comes to wireless headphones, there are usually two types of earbuds to choose:
- The buds that go directly in your ear. If you select these, make sure that the bud fits comfortably. If you have issues with pain, opt for a softer earbud.
- The ear inserts that hook around the outer part of your ear. This style is popular for runners because of the extra security and extra comfort it gives to your ear.
The sound quality of the earphones you buy varies. Not everyone needs Bose-level surround sound in their ears while running. Most people want to be able to have decent motivating music pumping in their ears to get them going without all the bells and whistles.
However, if you want to use your headphones for more than exercise or appreciate sound quality, you may want to pay more attention.
Sound quality can make a difference for some, especially if you’re looking to escape the world while you’re working out. A lot of current wireless models have engineered noise-cancellation into their earbuds so that you can drown out the sounds around you.
If you rely on these features to amplify your run or gym session, headphones like the Bose SoundSport Free are a practical option.
All of our top picks of running headphones have above average sound quality.
You should expect a warranty to come with your new pair of earbuds.
These products tend to be expensive, especially when some include smartphone features. Therefore, a protection guarantee will help your purchase last as long as you should.
Check with the manufacturer for what type of warranty it offers and for how long.
Water Resistance and Water Proofing
If you’re going to be running outside or doing any frequent exercise, you need a pair of wireless headphones that is either water resistant or waterproof.
If you’re running and get caught in your rain, you could ruin your earbuds forever if they aren’t some level of water resistant. Even if you tend to run indoors or go to the gym, your sweat can cause damage or discomfort.
Get to Know the IPX Rating System
You may see an “‘IPX” number when shopping for waterproof headphones.
This is the official waterproof rating system that depicts the level of water resistance a product has. The IP rating or ingress protection number will let you know how much water your product can hold.
If you don’t see an IPX rating, then it isn’t waterproof.
Here are levels of IPX ratings:
- IPX0: No protection
- IPX1: Safe for dripping water
- IPX2: Protection from vertically dripping water like light rain
- IPX3: Safe for a spray of water
- IPX4: Protection from splashed water
- IPX5: This level can handle water from a hose or nozzle
- IPX6: Protection from water from a stronger, higher pressured source
- IPX7: This level can emerge in water up to 3ft for 30 minutes.
For Bluetooth headphones specifically, there are IPX8 products on the market. Although the headphones can handle a lot of water, they can’t connect properly to Bluetooth underwater.
The next time you shop for the best wireless earbuds, use our buying guide and our top picks to help you make your decision.Read More