best truly wireless workout earbuds
Looking for a pair of sturdy and sweatproof wireless headphones to help you rock your inner jock? We have you covered.
Luxurious over-the-ear cans are plush, comfortable, and they sound great. But for working out, traveling, and wandering around town, you might want to consider a pair of durable, wireless in-ear buds. I’ve been trail running, hiking, working on my yard, lifting weights, and watching mildly embarrassing barre and yoga videos on my laptop, all while testing the best wireless workout headphones around. If you like listening to music while scrambling up stony slopes or mowing your lawn, I’ve rounded up 10 of WIRED’s favorite pairs. Hopefully, one of them will be yours too.
don’t forget to check the best gaming headsets for every system.
Beats Powerbeats (2020)
I’ve been running in the Beats Powerbeats for two weeks now, and they’re currently my favorite wireless workout earbuds. They have the same stellar sound quality as our old favorites, the wire-free Powerbeats Pro, but they’re wired for better battery life and more security. I can’t accidentally knock one out of my ear, drop it on railroad tracks, and lose it forever.
They have a sturdy, rubbery exterior, with an IPX4 waterproof rating. It’s worth noting that I do have an iPhone 11, so some of the inconveniences our audio reviewer Parker Hall notes—such as how some functionality is lost with an Android phone and you have to charge it with a Lightning cable—don’t apply to me
For workouts, I prefer an over-ear clip because it feels more secure, but Jaybird’s rock-solid Jaybird Vista is also one of my top picks. At 6 grams per bud, they’re ridiculously light, tiny, and comfortable.
They’re also one of the most rugged earbuds available. Jaybird’s EarthProof encapsulated construction seals the components inside a tiny plastic bubble, so unlike many buds on this list, they can even withstand full immersion. The battery life is excellent, they have a sterling Bluetooth 5.0 connection, and the controls are simple enough for even an exhausted trail runner to remember. Oh, and they sound great.
Best for Work and Working Out
The Sony WF-SP800N is a good option for anyone looking for workout buds that can double as (home) office headphones. These are Sony’s mid-range phones, so they don’t have the QN1e chipset that makes the WF-1000XM3’s noise-canceling so impenetrable. The sound isn’t quite as rich and detailed, and they’re bigger than I prefer for workout-exclusive buds.
But they do have noise-canceling, which reduces my daughter’s Pinkfong songs to a dull mumble. They have an automatic ambient sound adjustment to let in outside noise when you’re moving around. Phone calls sound fine, they fit snugly and comfortably, and they’re water- and dust-resistant. Nine hours of battery life outside the case is also enough for a whole day of hiking.
The Audiophile Pick
Master & Dynamic MW07 Go
I love these wireless workout earbuds. Master & Dynamic’s MW07 Go are only slightly more expensive than some of our other picks and fit securely enough for me to rock climb, do pull-ups, and sprint around my neighborhood without fear. They’re IPX6-rated, so they can withstand a quick rinse if you’ve gotten really sweaty. The buds have a very good battery life of around 10 hours, and because M&D makes them, they’re also among the most attractive ones I’ve tested.
Another Audiophile Pick
– Status BT Structure
I was pleasantly surprised by what headphone company Status is able to offer for the money. The BT Structure is its sports headphones—IPX5 rated to protect against sweat, with a comfortable over-ear clip. They also have a dual-driver system, which is unusual for sporty headphones in this price range.
Most sports headphones tend to emphasize the bass, but the BT Structure sound very balanced and expansive—the highs of “This Is What You Came For” sparkle against the heavy bass beats. The 10-plus hours of battery life are pretty spectacular too.
The Simplest Headphones
– Plantronics Backbeat Fit 2100
Before the Powerbeats, my favorite wireless workout earbuds were the original Plantronics Backbeat Fit. The 2018 update is even better. You can now connect the headphones to the PLT BackBeat app and choose each function for the sleek, stylish metallic earpieces.
A full seven hours of battery life means you won’t be tapping out midway through a long run. Plantronics’ Always Aware feature lets you hear ambient noise so you don’t get run over, and a bigger audio driver means bigger sound. They’re also extremely durable and waterproof. I also tested the Backbeat FIT 3100, but I prefer the ease (and price) of the connected headphones.
Another Option for Apple Users
– Apple AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro isn’t my favorite headphones for working out. Although they fit much more securely than the AirPods, I still wouldn’t take any headphones that don’t have an ear fin or over-ear clip on an outdoor run.
However, if you’re an iPhone owner who wants only one set of headphones, the Pro Pods are rated IPX4, which means they’re sweat-resistant (don’t wear them in the shower, though). The sound quality and noise-canceling are also excellent, and you can long-squeeze the stem to let in ambient sound if you need to cross the street or say hi to a fellow gym-goer.
A Discreet Pair
– Jabra Elite 75T
Our audio expert, Parker Hall, very much likes the Elite 75T, which are even more compact and comfortable than their predecessors, the Elite 65T. Although again, I would not pick a pair without secure ear fins or wingtips if you enjoy outdoor activities, these are IP55-rated, which means you can wear them at the beach without worrying about sand or sea spray. They also have clearer sound, better mics, and a longer-lived battery than the 65T, for a total of 7.5 hours outside the case.
Buds + Bluetooth Speaker
– Phiaton Bolt BT 700
Phiaton’s Bolt BT 700 are great workout buds. Their wing tips fit more securely in my ear than most other wire-free buds I’ve tried. They have clear sound, a strong Bluetooth 5 connection, and a decent battery life of about 5 hours. I also like controlling them with the on-bud buttons.
But the real draw is the case, which doubles as a Bluetooth speaker. If you’re in the middle of a podcast when you finish your run, just pop the buds into the case and press the Bluetooth button on the side. It’s not very loud, but it’s a nifty feature.
A Few Pointers
Should I Get Wired or Wireless Headphones?
Many people still prefer wired headphones. When you’re going on a long run. the last thing you want to do is stand on your front porch. shivering in your shorts, trying to figure out why the right earbud isn’t connected. But for obvious reasons, wireless headphones are much more convenient when doing other strenuous physical activities.
If you like being outside, I very much recommend investing in a pair that has an over-ear clip or ear fins to hold them securely in place. We removed them from the rankings last year, but JLab’s Sport Flex is also an affordable pair that can go over a hood or hat. The earbuds we’ve recommended here have stayed put, but everyone’s ears are different. Don’t be afraid to try mismatching sizes of ear tips or fins for a better fit.