Workout headphones are one of the most popular ways of increasing motivation and performance during exercise. Research has shown that using headphones to listen to music while working out has a variety of benefits, from increasing strength to reducing fatigue.
Studies have even shown that people listening to up-tempo music have increased stamina while cycling and running (1).
It can keep runners on pace, helping prevent wasted motion and conserve energy. Weightlifters also get a boost from music, with research indicating that it can reduce fatigue by up to 15% (2).
Research has also indicated that listening to music while working out can boost happiness and lower stress (3).
It can increase levels of serotonin in the brain, leading to improved mood. This also makes you much more likely to start and finish workouts. Furthermore, using headphones while working out can reduce pain perception, making it easier to focus on exercising instead of sore muscles.
There are few safety risks associated with headphone use while working out. Corded headphones tend to be a bit more dangerous, as they can get caught on equipment. Exposure to loud music over time can also damage hearing and lead to disturbances in balance.
Best Workout Headphones
1Kew Labs Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case
Kew Labs Wireless Earbuds is our number 1 pick of 2020 for the best workout headphones. They’re both sweat proof and water proof, thanks to the IPX4 technology, and can be used for intense workouts, including running. They use Bluetooth technology and even have the option for extra bass. The battery lasts for 6 hours, so even marathon runners can enjoy them.
Kew Labs Wireless Earbuds headphones have several hidden buttons that allow users to do a variety of different actions. There are 2 volume buttons, one to raise it by 10% and one to lower it by 10%. There are buttons for the next and previous track, so you can move forward and backward. A fifth button can be toggled; one press will play and pause a song and receive an incoming call. A second press will reject a call and open up a smart assistant.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a better, user friendly pair of workout headphones on the market.
2Senso Wireless Bluetooth Sports Headphones
Senso Wireless Bluetooth Sports Headphones are waterproof, noise-canceling headphones that were engineered from the ground up for runners. The sound quality is great, with dynamic bass and great balance, offering crisp tones. It also includes a goertek microphone for calls, letting you talk while you workout. The Bluetooth works for up to 30 feet, so you won’t lose your music if you leave your phone in your gym bag while you workout.
The battery life in the new version has been upgraded, using a lithium polymer battery that will fully charge in under 2 hours and provide music for up to 8 hours.
3VM Palace Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones with Microphone
VM Palace Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones are perfect for workouts. They are IPX 7 rated for waterproof design and engineered to stay secure during running and gym workouts. They’re compatible with nearly any Bluetooth device that you can enable. They pair very quickly and include a microphone so you can talk while you work out without having to hold a phone. The earbuds are lightweight and include a neckband design that won’t get tangled like cords do while you train.
The battery also allows music playback for up to 8 hours. They charge quickly and even have a status indicator to let you know when they need to be re-charged. They also have good range – offering perfect sound from 10 meters away. What makes them unique is that you can connect to 2 devices at the same time, allowing you to share music with a workout partner.
4Bose Sound Sport Free Truly Wireless Headphones
Bose Sound Sport Free Truly Wireless Headphones are sweat and weather resistant, providing an IPX 4 rating. They give you 5 hours of playtime and only need 2 hours to charge. Bose provides you with 3 different size tips, ensuring that the fit will be comfortable and snug for every ear size.
One of the great features of these earbuds is the option to find them if they ever get lost, with their built-in tracking system. They also sync seamlessly through wireless Bluetooth technology, making paring effortless. Bose Sound Sport Free Truly Wireless Headphones come with an integrated dual-microphone array so you can use them for phone calls.
5Logitech Sweat and Waterproof Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones
Logitech Sweat and Waterproof Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones stand out by providing an amazing 14 hours of play from a single charge. They are rated with IPX 7 waterproofing, so you can run in any weather condition without worrying about damaging your headphones.
Logitech Sweat and Waterproof Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones come with a silicone ear gel for the bud, so you can stay comfortable. The versatile design even rotates so you can wear it over your ears. The battery comes with a rapid charge system where 5 minutes provides up to 2 hours of playtime. These earbuds also offer crystal clear sound quality and come with a Jaybird app that allows you to customize the EQ settings and save your personal preference right into the earbud so your levels remain where you like them.
6JBL Endurance Sprint Waterproof Wireless In-Ear Sport Headphones with Touch Controls
JBL Endurance Sprint Waterproof Wireless In-Ear Sport Headphones are waterproof and wireless, making them ideal for running. The soft twistable and flexible technologies allow the earbud to be ergonomically designed and lightweight, offering plenty of comfort no matter how your ear is sized, and remaining stable even for the most rigorous workouts.
JBL Endurance Sprint Waterproof Wireless In-Ear Sport Headphones are also IPX 7 rated, so you can use them in any weather condition. They also come with touch controls, so you can manage both your calls and music with a single touch.
7Vislla Wireless Earbuds
The Vislla Wireless Earbuds are built with Bluetooth 5.0 technology, offering seamless streaming from any wireless device. They’re engineered to offer high-quality sound, plenty of bass, and 8 hours of playtime from a single charge. They are also sweatproof, so they can handle even the toughest workout.
The Vislla Wireless Earbuds are specifically designed and shaped to be worn when you are jogging, running, hiking, or playing other sports and working out in the gym.
8Levin Small Bluetooth Behind the Head Sports Wireless Headset
Levin Small Bluetooth Behind the Head Sports Wireless Headset is perfect for workouts and offer more security than small earbuds. They’re built for crystal clarity in sound, and they fold easily so they fit into your purse or gym bag. They include a built-in microphone for taking calls, and the full-sized headphones stay secure while you workout thanks to the behind the head security design.
They’re also noise-canceling and have long battery life.
9Pacsun Waterproof Over-Ear Headphones
The Pacsun Waterproof Over-Ear Headphones have an amazing 9-hour battery life. They’re full-sized so if you hate earbuds, they will be much more comfortable.
They are also waterproof and sweat proof, so you can use them when you workout without worrying about ruining them.
10Anbes Wireless Earbuds
The Anbes Wireless Earbuds are very popular wireless earbuds for sports and workouts. These are IPX 7 rated, so they are waterproof and sweatproof. They offer security with a stabilizer that goes around your ears and neck while remaining wireless.
These headphones use Bluetooth technology to offer great sound while you workout. The range is 33 feet, too, so you get plenty of leeway while workout out in the gym. The Anbes Wireless Earbuds provide up to 8 hours of playback before needing a recharge.
How We Rank
The first thing we looked at, when formulating our rankings of the best workout headphones, was the type of connection. A lot of the risks of using headphones to workout occur because of the wires. These wires can get tangled in equipment, trapping you and becoming dangerous. As such, any workout headphone with a wire was instantly eliminated. Companies like Bose and Kew Labs used a minimal design earbud, and got bonus points for eliminating any possible wire interference.
Next, we made sure that all of these headphones were sweatproof and waterproof. There is no point in calling something a workout headphone if a little bit of moisture will damage the parts and cause malfunction. The headphones on our list can be used for rigorous workouts. Beats By Dre didn’t make the list because there have been reports of their workout headphones malfunctioning from sweat. Products like Logitech Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones and JBL Endurance Sprint Waterproof Wireless In-Ear Sport Headphones are even safe to wear in the rain without fear of the water damaging them.
Next we looked at bluetooth range. While it was not a dealbreaker, products that provided significant range, like Anbes, while keeping the sound quality high, were favored.
Finally, we looked at the battery life. All products on our list have batteries will all last a minimum of 5 hours, which is significantly more than workout time. Most of them, like the Senso Wireless Bluetooth Sports Headphones will last long enough to get runners through an entire marathon without dying.
We also gave bonus points to products like Logitech Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones, who provided rapid charging options (5 minutes resulted in 2 hours of playback time).
After all this, we determined the top 10 best workout headphones on the market.
1Workout headphones may act as natural pain relievers. Listening to music while working out has been shown to boost strength and performance. Although researchers don’t know the exact role that music plays in workouts, there is some evidence that it can act as a natural painkiller.
The noise produced by headphones may serve as a distraction, keeping the focus away from pain and fatigue. One study found that listening to music after surgery reduced the need for painkillers (4).
2Workout headphones can make running easier. Using headphones to listen to music while working out has been shown to make repetitive motions easier. Your body begins to synchronize its motion to the tempo of the music, possibly increasing speed.
Studies have also shown that cyclists tend to peddle faster while listening to upbeat music (5).
Participants also used less oxygen while working out, making their muscles more efficient.
3Workout headphones can increase power output. Music has long been used by weightlifters as a way of increasing performance. Research has confirmed that some types of music may be able to boost power output while lifting weights.
One study found that participants who listened to up-tempo music while lifting weights had strength increases of up to 15%. They also had less muscle fatigue, allowing them to lift heavy weights for longer (6).
4Workout headphones may improve mood. In addition to the positive effects that music may have on workout performance, it may also be able to boost mood as you exercise (7).
Studies have shown that participants who listened to music had a better mood throughout their workouts than those who did not.
Certain types of music can increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of happiness, and increased levels can improve overall mood.
Using headphones to listen to music before exercise may also be able to improve performance by boosting mood, making you feel more engaged.
5Workout headphones can improve stamina. Studies have shown that listening to music while working out can increase stamina, making it easier to sustain performance over long periods.
One study found that listening to high tempo music while running led participants to select a higher speed on the treadmill, increasing the total number of calories burned. The participants reported no increased fatigue after the workout, despite running faster.
Another study showed that music during a workout reduced feelings of fatigue. This led participants to extend the length of their run.
In addition, studies have shown that this same effect is seen in powerlifters. Up-tempo music led to a 15% decrease in the amount of fatigue felt by participants as they lifted weights.
6Workout headphones may help add a few extra reps to the end of a difficult set. Powerlifters have long used music as a way of boosting performance. Studies have confirmed the role that music can play in power output while lifting weights. In addition to possibly increasing the maximum weight you can lift, music may also help you add a few extra reps to each set.
7Workout headphones can speed up your heart rate. Listening to music before your workout begins is an easy way to increase your heart rate as well as speed up breathing. This leads to more oxygen reaching your muscles, which can help prepare them for the workout ahead (8).
Start listening to music a half an hour before your workout so that you’re ready by the time you get to the gym.
8Workout headphones can make workouts more fun. One of the major issues people face while working out is boredom. It can be difficult to concentrate as you exercise, making you less likely to complete the workout. Using headphones is one of the best ways to avoid boredom and stay engaged throughout long workouts.
9Workout headphones may boost productivity. Many people struggle to find the time to read or listen to music throughout the day. Headphones allow you to squeeze in entertainment during your workout, making the most of your time.
If you work out for an hour a day while listening to an audiobook, you’ll be able to finish a book per week, adding up to over 50 books over the course of the year.
10Workout headphones can increase focus. Research has shown that certain songs can help people focus and get in the zone during a workout (9).
When you workout to a specific song and hear it again later, it can have an increased motivational effect, making it easier to stay focused.
11Workout headphones make it easier to time your workouts. Pace is important while working out, and exercising at a consistent tempo can make it easier to run or strength train. By providing a beat in the background music can help you time your exercises, getting into a rhythm (10).
It can also benefit runners, making it easier for them to keep a constant pace without having to check their watch. Music is a natural metronome, meaning the brain can use it to track the passing of time. A steady pace helps runners conserve energy, leading to faster times on long runs.
12Workout headphones make workouts seem shorter. Music tends to make time fly by, especially when listening to songs that you enjoy. By using headphones as you exercise, you can make workouts feel significantly shorter. This will help you increase the length of your workouts and improve the odds that you make it through them.
13Workout headphones can reduce stress. Although music is an excellent way of increasing energy levels and boosting performance, it’s also an effective calming agent, helping relax you after a workout.
One study found that listening to music led to significant reductions in stress and anxiety (11).
This makes calming music an effective way of ending a workout, especially while stretching or doing yoga. Music can also reduce your heart rate, making it easier to relax after your workout ends. Just make sure that the tempo is fairly slow-paced, at around 60 beats per minute.
14Workout headphones help develop a gym habit. Workouts can become quite repetitive, and many people will begin to get bored as they exercise. Using headphones can keep you more engaged as you exercise, increasing the likelihood that you go back to the gym.
15Workout headphones help to reduce distractions. If you work out at a busy gym, it’s easy to get distracted by other people around you. Although socializing at the gym does have its benefits, it’s important to stay focused during intense exercise.
Headphones can help you stay engaged and avoid distractions around you. Whether you’re listening to music or podcasts, you can focus on your workout, not the gym around you.
1Wired headphones can get caught on parts of your body or on equipment, increasing the risk of injury. Take caution while running to avoid wires getting hooked on the treadmill. If using headphones will lifting weights, make sure that the wires aren’t impeding your range of motion. Wires also often get caught on weightlifting equipment, so use headphones without cords to avoid any risk of accidents.
2Sustained exposure to loud music from headphones can cause serious damage to hearing. Many people increase the volume of music while working out as a boost or to drown out background noise. Be careful with increased volume, as you may not realize how loud the music is while exercising. In addition to hurting hearing, the increased volume can lead to disturbances in balance, which can affect performance during workouts.
3Workout headphones can disorient you for your surroundings, caution injury. Many injuries are caused by people trying to change the music in the middle of a workout. To avoid any risk of injury, try to select music before any exercise, especially if you are running on a treadmill. Use caution when moving around crowded gyms, as headphones will impede your ability to hear background noise.
4Workout headphones may increase the risk of ear infection. Make sure to clean headphones frequently, as bacteria and dirt can begin to build up. This can increase the odds of developing an ear infection.
There is some research indicating that tempo matters when choosing the type of music. For running, studies have shown that a tempo of around 130 beats per minute is ideal. For cycling, 140 beats per minute may be more effective.
Cords from headphones often get stuck on weight, and in rare cases cause injuries. Make sure that all cords are properly tucked away and that you have a full range of movement while lifting.
If you are using headphones with a cord, make sure that the cord is long enough that you have the full range of movement. Injuries often occur due to people straining their neck from short cords.
Also, ensure that any devices connected to your headphones won’t fall out of your pocket while exercising.
Some studies have indicated that listening to music before your workout begins is an effective way of increasing mood and stamina, helping you push through exercise. It can also help increase your heart rate, which can be beneficial before exercise.
After workouts, wipe your headphones down with a clean towel to keep bacteria from building up. This can also help prevent sweat from damaging any of the electronic components.
Is it safe to use workout headphones while working out? Yes, although you should take precautions when using headphones during workouts. Accidents are much more common with corded headphones, as they can get caught on equipment. Also, make sure that any devices connected to your headphones won’t fall out as you move.
What type of music playing in workout headphones is best for running? The type of music that will be most effective while working out will vary widely depending on personal taste. However, some research has shown that the music should have a tempo of around 130 beats per minute. This matches the natural motions you make running, possibly making it easier to move fluidly.
Can workout headphones make your ears hurt? Headphones that go over your ears can also damage your hearing if you use them too long or play music too loudly. They’re just not as much of a risk as earbuds are: Having the source of the sound in your ear canal can increase a sound’s volume by 6 to 9 decibels — enough to cause some serious problems.
Will listening to audiobooks or podcasts with workout headphones be as effective as music for workouts? There is little research on the difference between music and other types of audio for performance during workouts. Since music has a faster tempo than audiobooks or podcasts, it may be more effective for boosting energy and mood, as well as power output.
However, other benefits of using headphones come from the distraction that the noise provides. This can reduce pain and fatigue, as you are less focused on sore muscles with noise to keep you distracted. For this purpose, audiobooks and podcasts may be just as effective as music.
Are their benefits to listening to music with workout headphones before a workout begins? Yes. Research has shown that listening to music before exercise can improve your mood, making you more likely to complete a workout. It can also increase your heart rate, which leads to more oxygen reaching your muscles.
Does music playing from workout headphones really boost strength while lifting weights? Yes. There is research showing that listening to music while lifting can increase power output by as much as 15%. It also makes you feel less fatigued as you lift, so you feel like you’re using up less energy. This will allow you to increase the number of reps per set.
What are the best type of workout headphones? The best type of workout headphones will vary depending on individual taste. However, most people prefer headphones that are cordless, increasing the range of movement. In-ear headphones are less likely to make you sweat than on or over-ear options.
If you are running or jumping, you may also want to choose headphones that loop around your outer ear, ensuring that they don’t fall off during your workout.
How long does it take for workout headphones to damage your ears? Even moderately loud sound can cause hearing damage if you listen for too long. For example, listening to a 90-decibel sound for three hours can be as damaging as hearing a 155 decibel-sound (like a jet taking off) for just thirty seconds. Remember the 60/60 rule; listen at 60% of the volume just 60 minutes a day.
Do workout headphones increase the risk of ear infections? Possibly, although there is little risk as long as you keep your headphones clean. Over and on-ear headphones are less likely to cause ear infections, as they don’t sit directly in the ear canal. Be sure to wipe off headphones after every workout to prevent dirt and bacteria from building up.
Do microwaves interfere with Bluetooth from workout headphones? Yes, it is possible they interfere with each other. The problem is that both microwave ovens and Wi-Fi operate on the same frequency, 2.4 GHz. This interference at 2.4 GHz can be caused by common 802.11b and 802.11g wireless devices, like routers, along with Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, cordless telephones, video senders, and microwave ovens.
Will sweat damage workout headphones? Most headphones are designed to withstand some moisture. However, excessive sweating could possibly damage the electronics of certain headphones. It could also ruin the ear pad on over or on-ear headphones.
Are wireless workout headphones good for running? Yes, wireless workout headphones are a great option for runners so that cords don’t get tangled while running.
Is it bad to sleep with workout headphones? Although they are minor, it is possible for necrosis to occur if you sleep with workout headphones. Necrosis is the death of body tissue. This can happen if the buds don’t fit well and cause pressure on the skin in the ear canal.
Can noise-cancelling workout headphones better for hearing loss? Since noise-cancelling headphones neutralize surrounding noise, you can enjoy your music without turning up the volume so high that it poses a risk to hearing. This makes them a better option to avoid hearing loss.
Is it dangerous to run with workout headphones? With compromised balance, exercise such as running (on the road or a treadmill) or cycling can become dangerous, especially if you exercise in areas congested with traffic, as you can fall and injure yourself. You may also damage your hearing if you regularly listen to music through earphones for a prolonged time.
Can using Bluetooth with workout headphones cause cancer? Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation while communicating with cell towers. In 2018, after years of research, US scientists released the peer-reviewed results of a pair of federally-funded studies finding that this type of radiation could cause cancer in rats. However, headphones emit much lower radiation so it is unlikely it would be a problem.
Is microwaving the same radiation as Bluetooth from workout headphones? No, it is different radiation. Microwaves are a safe, effective, and highly convenient cooking method. There is no evidence that they cause harm — and some evidence that they are even better than other cooking methods at preserving nutrients and preventing the formation of harmful compounds.
Can workout headphones cause tinnitus? If you use headphones for anything from communicating at work to listening to music while you work out, be careful that the sound is not too loud, as this may cause tinnitus. In-ear headphones are more likely to contribute to tinnitus and hearing loss than other types of headphones.
Are headphones safer than earphones? Earbuds, in particular, are dangerous to hearing simply because of their design. They are essentially tiny speakers that sit in the ear, funneling music straight into the ear canal. Although headphones are a safer choice than earbuds when it comes to hearing — they are not without their drawbacks.
Workout headphones are one of the most commonly used tools to boost motivation during exercise. They may also be useful for increasing performance in a number of different areas, from stamina to strength.
Research has shown that using headphones can increase stamina during cardio, as well as make movement more fluid. It can also help runners maintain a steady pace, conserving energy, and improving performance on long-distance runs.
Listening to music while lifting weights has been shown to increase power output. Furthermore, it can improve endurance, allowing you to add extra reps to each set.
Other studies have indicated that using headphones while working out can reduce fatigue and pain. The noise helps distract you from soreness and pain, making it easier to finish workouts. Music also keeps people engaged, making them more likely to finish workouts.
There are few safety risks to using workout headphones, provided that you don’t increase the volume too much. Loud gyms often lead people to increase the volume of their music, which can be dangerous when done long term.