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The 11 Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working Out


May 20, 2020 Tech By
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This definitive guide to wireless headphones for running and working out covers everything you need to know before buying your next pair of sweatproof Bluetooth headphones, with picks for different budgets and activities.

The Top 3

Looking for quick recommendations on the best wireless headphones for running and working out? Here are Gear Patrol‘s top three picks of 2020.

Best Overall: Jaybird Vista

Water Resistance: IPX7
Charging Port: USB-C
Battery Life: Up to 6 hours per earbud, 20 extra hours with charging case

The Jaybird Vistas are rugged wireless earbuds for serious athletes. They have an IPX7 rating, meaning they’re fully waterproof and sweatproof. Their lightweight design makes them feel like they’re not even in your ears, and the carrying case is slimmer than that of the competition. They are compatible with a companion app that allows you to change the EQ settings or borrow the EQ settings that have been used by some of Jaybird’s sponsored athletes.

Runner Up: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Water-Resistance: IPX4
Charging Port: Lightning
Battery Life: Up to 9 hours per earbud, 24 total hours with charging case

The Powerbeats Pro are similar to the AirPods Pro because they’re both made by Apple and have the same H1 chip that makes it easy to pair with an iPhone. Runners, in particular, will appreciate the large ear hooks that grip and hold the earbuds in place. The nine-hour battery life — with up to 20 extra hours from the carrying case — is unmatched, though said carrying case is huge, making these less than ideal for everyday wear. They’re also more expensive than the competition.

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Best Budget: Anker Soundcore Spirit X

Water Resistance: IPX7
Charging Port: Micro-USB
Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Anker’s Soundcore Spirit Xs are a great pair of no-frills neckbuds. They are extremely sweat- and water-resistant and have an ear hook design, similar to the Powerbeats3 Wireless, so they’ll fit most people’s ears. And for around $40, the sound quality is actually pretty good.

Why You Need Sports Headphones

Not all headphones work for running or exercising, even if they are wireless. If you have a pair that isn’t sweatproof, there’s a good chance they’ll die on you. And if they don’t fit your ears, well, they’re probably not going to stay in, either.

Sport headphones add a new dimension to your workout. They’re light, comfortable and designed to stay securely in your ears during high-intensity intervals. So if you often find yourself lifting weights, running on the roads or trails, or doing a total body workout, it’s time to swap out your basic buds for a pair that goes the extra mile.

The Rest of the Pack

Apple AirPods Pro

Water-Resistance: IPX4
Charging Port: Lightning, wireless charging case
Battery Life: Up to 5 hours per earbud, 24 total hours with charging case

These “pro-level” AirPods are the first wireless earbuds that Apple has ever made that are sweat-resistant, which is great news for runners, as well as noise-canceling, which is great everybody else. They have a silicone ear tip so they fit tighter than Apple’s regular AirPods. On the sort-of downside, they have the same battery life as regular AirPods (and even less life when noise-canceling is turned on).

Master & Dynamic MW07 Go

Water Resistance: IPX6
Charging Port: USB-C
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours per earbud; 12 extra hours with charging case

Master & Dynamic released the original MW07 in 2018 and we called them “the most beautiful wireless earbuds you can buy.” They’re made of acetate and stainless steel are just gorgeous. The 2019-released MW07 Go aren’t quite as “premium,” but they’re also a bit different. They’re made of an ultra-durable TR90 composite material, which makes them water- and sweat-resistant. They’re also 15-percent smaller and lighter than the original MW07, which will help them better stay in your ears while you’re working out.

Sony WF-SP800N

Water Resistance: IP55
Charging Port: USB-C
Battery Life: 9 hours listening time (9 extra hours with case)

The Sony WF-SP800N are unique on this list because they are wireless earbuds that are designed for working out, but they also have active noise-cancellation similar to the company’s flagship WF-1000XM3. The Sony WF-SP800N don’t quite have the sound quality or noise-cancelling abilities of the WF-1000XM3, however, because they lack the same QN1e processor. That said, they’re $30 cheaper.

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Jabra Elite Active 75t

Water Resistance: IP57
Charging Port: USB-C
Battery Life: 7.5 hours listening time (up to 28 hours with case)

These are “active” versions of the Jabra Elite 75t that were released earlier in 2020. What that means is that they’re identical in every way, except they’re more water-resistant, they have a stickier coating so they stay in your ear better, and they’re slightly more expensive. Aside from that, these are some of the best all-around wireless earbuds you buy in 2020.

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Google Pixel Buds

Water Resistance: IPX4
Charging Port: USB-C and wireless
Battery Life: 5 hours listening time (up to 24 hours with case)

Google’s second-generation Pixel Buds are exactly what Pixel owners have deserved for years: wireless earbuds that work well and easily pair with all Pixel and Android devices (no opening Bluetooth settings required). They have intuitive touch controls and premium features that only Google could deliver, like a conversation mode integrated with Google Translate. Additionally, they have an earwing design and IPX4 water-resistance rating, so they make a great workout partner.

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Beats Powerbeats

Water Resistance: IPX4
Charging Port: Lightning
Battery Life: Up to 15 hours

The Powerbeats are the next generation of the company’s Powerbeats3 Wireless that were released in 2016. The new Powerbeats have been integrated with Apple’s H1 chip for fast pairing with your iPhone, just like AirPods and AirPods Pro, but it also enables them to charge faster and get significantly better battery life. As far as design, fit and sound, the Powerbeats are essentially more affordable, neckbud versions of the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro.

Jaybird Tarah Pro

Water Resistance: IPX7
Charging Port: Pogo pin connector
Battery Life: Up to 14 hours

Released in 2018, these are Jaybird’s highest-end neckbuds and, frankly, some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy. They are completely sweatproof and waterproof, and because they have tremendous battery life — up to 14 hours on a single charge — they’re really designed for ultra runners and endurance athletes. A neat and under-appreciated feature: the two earbuds magnetically stick together so you can wear the Tarah Pro around your neck, as a necklace, when you’re not listening to them.

Bose SoundSport Free

Water Resistance: IPX4
Charging Port: Micro-USB
Battery Life: Up to six hours

One of the great things about Bose is that all of its in-ear headphones, whether wired or wireless, fit the same, so if you know they’ll fit in your ears before you even order them (so long as you’ve worn Bose’s earbuds with StayHear+ tips before). The SoundSport Free are solid wireless earbuds with Bose signature sound. The catch is that these earbuds are several years old and Bose is expected to release two new versions, the Bose Earbuds 500 and Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700, in 2020.

How IP Ratings Work: Here’s What You Need to Know

What’s the difference between IPX4 and IPX7? Does it really matter?Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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