Best workout earbuds 2022 for boosting your motivation

We tested the best workout earbuds to bring you a round-up of great quality and comfortable headphones that won’t budge during your training

Jabra Elite 7 Active wireless earbuds beside a skateboard
(Image credit: Future/James Frew)

Finding the best workout earbuds isn’t always easy when there are so many different factors to consider. Thankfully, we’ve spent hours testing a whole range of workout headphones so that you can find a pair that fits securely, provides great sound quality, and suit a range of different budgets. 

Many of the earbuds in our round-up are built specifically with exercise in mind and therefore are sweat or water-resistant. If you like to get in the zone and concentrate on your workout whether that’s a walk or a run, choose from the options below that have noise cancellation. 

The best earbuds for working vary in terms of features but we’ve put each pair through a series of tests to make sure they’re worth your money. Our top pick, the Jabra Elite 7 Active, stayed firmly in place, sounded great, and offered a good range of options for the price, 

But even budget-friendly sets don’t necessarily mean you miss out on top-quality audio and features either. We’ve rounded up all of the best workout earbuds below to suit a range of budgets. While premium brands such as Apple and Bose will cost you around $250/£200, you can still find excellent cheaper alternatives from Skullcandy and Honor for around $100/£75. 

Find our full round-up below or check out the best cross training shoes to support your workouts.

The best workout earbuds you can buy right now

Jabra Elite 7 Active workout earbuds out of the charging caseFit&Well Best Buy Award

(Image credit: Future/James Frew)
Best workout earbuds overall

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IP57)
Battery life: 8 hours, 30 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, HearThrough

Reasons to buy

+
Active Noise Cancellation and HearThrough mode
+
Long battery life
+
ShakeGrip design means they stay in your ears
+
IP57 water and dust resistance rating

Reasons to avoid

-
Internal case material can get a bit grubby
-
Case can be a bit awkward to open

If you're looking for an all-around, great value set of workout earbuds that'll stay in your ears, then the Jabra Elite 7 Active are the top choice. They're durable, long-lasting, and come with impressive noise cancellation abilities.

During testing, we felt that the transparency feature (HearThrough), which boosts external sounds so that you can stay aware of your surroundings while out on a run, was helpful, but it was the durable design that really stood out.

The earbuds are IP57-rated for water, sweat, and dust resistance, making them a great companion for a sweaty gym session or rain-soaked run. The charging case keeps them topped up for up to 30 hours, even with the noise cancellation turned on, which is particularly impressive since noise cancellation often uses more power and drains the battery faster. 

We found that the ShakeGrip design really did keep the Jabra Elite 7 Active in place, even when we wore them during vigorous HIIT workouts, weight sessions, and runs. There's a lot to like here; we just wished it was easier to keep them clean, as the material can get pretty grubby.

What the users say

The Jabra Elite 7 Active score highly on Amazon, reaching an average rating of 4.3 out of five. Almost universally, users find them comfortable and easy to wear, with one reviewer noting that they "stay in my ears for all types of workouts." The long-lasting battery also gets a lot of praise, though wearers are split on the noise cancellation; some love it, and others find it disappointing compared to Jabra's previous headphones. 


Sony WF-1000XM4 earbudsFit&Well Awards: Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Sony)
Best workout earbuds for audio quality

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX4)
Battery life: 8 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, Ambient Sound

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive noise cancellation
+
High-quality audio, Premium design 

Reasons to avoid

-
Controls aren't intuitive
-
Expensive 

Sony is well-known for its commitment to high-quality audio, and we though that the WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds live up to these standards. If you want a long-lasting pair of headphones for your training that sound great, we'd put these at the top of your list.  

Despite all the audio-focused features, they aren't overly complicated. Instead, they offer a hassle-free listening experience even during intense exercise. During testing, the earbuds stayed firmly in place while working out, and we could find a good fit from the range of tips. The companion app's fit test helped here, too.

Even with noise cancellation running, we saw that each earbud lasts for up to eight hours, topped up to 24 hours with the charging case. And we enjoyed the Ambient Sound mode, which helped us stay aware of other noises around us, like traffics, cyclists, and other runners. Plus, the Speak-to-Chat mode automatically pauses your music so you can chat without distraction. 

What the users say

These much-loved headphones score an average rating of 4.3 out of five on Amazon, with even critical reviews praising the sound quality and noise cancellation. The Sony WF-1000XM4 win a lot of praise for the sound quality, with one reviewer offering that "the sound quality is absolutely superb." Considering the price, not everyone is happy with the limited amount of customization you can do in the app, and the fit can be inconsistent. But most are more than pleased with the audio experience. 


Honor Earbuds 2 Lite in the charging caseFit&Well approved buy

(Image credit: Future/James Frew)
Best budget workout earbuds

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX4)
Battery life: 10 hours, 32 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, Awareness Mode

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality active noise cancellation
+
Long battery life
+
Support for single-ear listening

Reasons to avoid

-
Inconsistent touch controls
-
Companion app only available on some phones

If you like the look but not the price of the Apple AirPods Pro, then it's worth considering the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite, a more budget-friendly set of workout earbuds. These buds are all-white and come with long stems in keeping with Apple's design.

There's also an impressive list of features considering the more entry-level price. Notably, they come with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and an Awareness mode that temporarily lets you hear what's happening around you, which we found actually helped us hear nearby cars, sirens, and pedestrians that were otherwise hidden by the ANC. 

You also don't miss out on workout earbud essentials, like an IPX4 rating for sweat resistance, 10-hour battery life with ANC enabled, and a charging case that keeps the earbuds safe and extends the battery up to 30 hours.

We weren't too keen on the cheap-feeling glossy finish, but this is a minor complaint against an otherwise feature-packed and high-quality set of affordable workout earbuds.

What the users say

The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite have an average rating of 4.6 out of five on Amazon, with most users scoring them highly on value for money. One reviewer summed this up neatly, saying, "these are magnificent earbuds, cannot recommend them highly enough, [and] at half the price of AirPods." While some people knocked the touch-based controls, this was far outweighed by the impressive noise cancellation and Awareness mode. 


Skullcandy Push Active on a deskFit&Well approved buy

(Image credit: Future/James Frew)
Best workout earbuds for battery life

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IP55)
Battery life: 10 hours, 44 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: Yes, Stay-Aware

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive 44-hour total battery life
+
Ear hook-style design to keep the buds in place
+
Stay-Aware mode for hearing traffic or other runners

Reasons to avoid

-
No noise cancellation
-
Case is pretty large
-
Skull-iQ voice controls don't match up to Siri or Alexa

Before wireless Bluetooth workout earbuds came around, wired varieties came with over-ear hooks to keep the headphones in place. The Skullcandy Push Active keep this tradition alive with a lightweight design for comfort.

We found that the size of the earbuds took some getting used to, but they easily stayed in place through every workout. It's unusual to find exercise-focused headphones without noise cancellation, but the extraordinary 44-hour battery life made up for it.

Skullcandy realized you don't want to spend time fiddling with your phone while training, which is why these buds support Skull-iQ voice commands for hands-free controls. During testing, we found that it's impressively accurate, convenient, and helps you focus on your workout.

Although there's no noise cancellation, the Skullcandy Push Active are equipped with a Stay-Aware transparency mode to hear what's going on around you, even with the earbuds firmly in place.

What the users say

The 44-hour battery life helps the Skullcandy Push Active get an average rating of 4.2 out of five on Amazon, despite the lack of noise cancellation. Reviewers enjoy that the headphones sound great, last for a long time, and stay in place. Those that tried the voice commands found them useful if a bit limited. Despite this, some people found the volume too low, especially in windy or loud environments. 


Jaybird Vista earbudsFit&Well Awards: Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Lee Bell)
Best workout earbuds for outdoor exercise

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)
Battery life: 6 hours, 16 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight & comfortable design
+
Compact charging case
+
IPX7 water resistance

Reasons to avoid

-
Earbud battery life on the short side
-
Don't feel as premium as similar models

If you like to brave the elements and train outside, you'll want to pick up a pair of Jaybird Vista earbuds. These have an IPX7 rating, making them some of the most waterproof workout headphones around.

You also get a choice of designs and colors; black, blue, grey, and camouflage. They come housed in a compact, pocket-sized charging case, which provides up to 16 hours of use, with a keyring loop so you can keep it safe while you’re exercising.

We found them lightweight and comfortable to wear, even over extended periods. They might not feel like the most premium headphones—and there's no noise cancellation—but they're well-equipped to handle intense outdoor workouts.

What the users say

The Jaybird Vista earbuds have an average of 4.3 out of five on Amazon. The durable design has won many fans—one reviewer wrote, "I SWEAT, and they've been fine and have jogged in heavy rain without a problem." A few people had difficulties connecting with their iPhone or inconsistent battery life, but most wearers highly rate the sound quality, comfort, and overall fit during exercise.  


Apple AirPods Pro reviewFit&Well approved buy

(Image credit: Matt Evans)
Best workout earbuds for iPhone users

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)
Battery life: 4.5 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great noise cancellation
+
Works well with Apple services
+
Comfortable for long periods 
+
Stay put during workouts  

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life could be better
-
Android users are feature-restricted
-
Pricey

The Apple AirPods Pro are excellent in almost every way if you're an iPhone user. These are some of the most expensive buds around, but they're no slouch in the features department. 

Apple has designed these workout earbuds with its other products in mind, so there's seamless integration with your Apple Watch, and you can start an Apple Fitness+ virtual workout with a quick voice command to Siri, Apple's virtual assistant. 

After we found the right size ear tip using the in-app test, the AirPods Pro stayed snug and secure in our ears, never once loosening during any of our testing. The earbuds are also exceptionally comfortable, even when we went for a run, did a HIIT workout, or lifted weights.

The one downside? You lose plenty of the buds' best features, like Audio Sharing and noise cancellation, when you use them with an Android device. Still, these are easily some of the top workout earbuds for iPhone users.

What the users say

The Apple AirPods Pro are some of the top-rated workout earbuds, scoring a 4.8 out of five on Amazon from an incredible 47,150 reviews (and counting). Other than the high price, there are very few criticisms of Apple's premium earbuds. Unsurprisingly, iPhone users love the seamless integration with other services like Apple Music and Fitness+, but there's almost universal praise for the noise cancellation and lightweight design. 


Samsung Galaxy Buds 2Fit&Well approved buy

(Image credit: Chloe Page)
Best workout earbuds for Samsung smartphone owners

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX2)
Battery life : 5 hours, 20 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, adjustable ambient sound

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent integration with Samsung smartphones
+
Convenient and fast wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best noise cancellation
-
Can't use them in the rain or sweaty workouts 

If you use a Samsung smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 are an ideal choice for exercising. Although they'll work well with any Android device, we found that a few Samsung-specific features really make them stand out.

There's easy integration with Bixby, Samsung's digital assistant, and you can quickly switch the connection between your Samsung Galaxy phone, tablet, or smartwatch. During testing, we thought this helped the tech get out of your way, so you could focus on your training. 

The audio quality is good, though you're better off with the Bose Sport Earbuds or Jabra Elite 7 Active if you're after high-quality sound reproduction. The buds weigh just 0.176 oz/5g each, so we didn't find them hanging heavy in our ears.

They come with Active Noise Cancellation, which you can adjust in the companion smartphone app, and offer a 20-hour battery life with the charging case. The Galaxy Buds2 are a decent mid-range set of workout earbuds, but primarily for Galaxy phone users.

What the users say

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 have an average 4.4 rating out of five on Amazon. Most wearers find that the buds work well with their Samsung-branded smartphone and make a good update to the company's previous wireless earbuds. People are particularly impressed with the noise cancellation and high-quality audio during calls. However, the snug fit isn't universal, with at least one reviewer noting that they "tried all sizes of grips and [the earbuds] just wouldn't stay put."  


Bose Sport Earbuds in their charging caseFit&Well approved buy

(Image credit: Lee Bell)
Best workout earbuds for comfort

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX4)
Battery life: 5 hours, 15 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing sound quality
+
Great build and design  
+
Comfortable  

Reasons to avoid

-
No noise cancellation 
-
A little chunky

The Bose Sport Earbuds make an excellent case for the most convenient earbuds for working out. There aren't many audio options to fiddle with; they just sound great thanks to Bose's Active EQ, which automatically adjusts the bass and treble to suit the track.

Yes, they're a little bulkier than slimline headphones like the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite or Apple AirPods Pro, but we thought that they make up for it in other ways, like the earbuds' IPX4 rating for sweat resistance.

We also appreciated the return of ear hooks to keep the buds fixed in place while exercising. It might be a low-tech solution, but it's extremely effective. It's just a shame they don't come with noise cancellation for blocking out external sounds.

What the users say

The Bose Sport Earbuds are well-rated on Amazon, achieving an average 4.3 out of five from users. The low-tech ear hooks win a lot of praise, with one wearer writing that they are "very secure and great for sports." Not everyone was impressed with the lack of noise cancellation, especially at a premium price. But most people found them to be a comfortable, great-sounding set of workout earbuds.  


Edifier Neobuds Pro with the charging caseFit&Well Approved

(Image credit: Future/James Frew)
Best workout earbuds for music fans

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IP54)
Battery life: 6 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise Cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, Ambient Sound

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
+
Supports high-resolution audio formats
+
Lightweight buds stay in place during workouts

Reasons to avoid

-
Companion app is relatively limited
-
Bulky design
-
Short earbud battery life

If audio quality is essential to you when training, you should pick up a set of the Edifier Neobuds Pro. These are the first true wireless earbuds to get Hi-Res Audio certification, which means you can stream high-quality tracks with Tidal HiFi or Apple Music. 

There's no getting around it; these are bulky headphones, but, during testing, we found that they were lightweight in your ear and stayed in place during exercise. This is thanks to the inclusion of seven differently sized tips to help you find the best fit. 

Although they also come with noise cancellation to block out external noises and an Ambient Mode to temporarily boost sounds around you, the main highlight here is the support for high-res audio without breaking the bank.

What the users say

The Edifier Neobuds Pro score an average of 4.3 out of five from over 140 reviewers on Amazon. Most owners feel that the earbuds are great value for money, offering high-quality audio at a mid-range price. People are also pleased with the snug fit, like one reviewer who wrote that "the fit is absolutely fantastic!" Not everyone is a fan of the noise cancellation on these buds, with one user noting that "in the gym the external music is quite audible," even with the feature turned on. 


How to choose the best workout earbuds for you

When choosing the best workout earbuds for your exercise routine, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. We've selected our list of exercise earphones based on several factors, but your choice will depend on how and when you work out. 

Water and sweat resistance

When you exercise, you're likely to get sweaty. This makes your face damp, so your workout earbuds must be water-resistant to some degree. Similarly, if you like to train outdoors, you want to ensure the earbuds will survive in the rain. This is why it's worth learning how to tell if your headphones are sweat-proof to prevent water damage. 

One of the most straightforward measures of water resistance is the Ingress Protection or IP rating. This is usually written as IPX, followed by a number between 0 and 9. If the headphones offer an IPX4 rating, they'll cope with sweat and light water splashes. Meanwhile, IPX7-rated devices can be used underwater in a depth of up to one meter for a maximum of 30 minutes.

In-ear fit

During exercise, you want your mind to focus on the task at hand, not having to reach up to your ear every few seconds to adjust your wireless earbuds. Consequently, the fit is one of the most important considerations when choosing workout earbuds. 

Many in-ear headphones come with adjustable silicone tips so you can find a size that's right for your ears. Similarly, the best workout earbuds are often explicitly weighted to hang in your ear comfortably, even during intense or vigorous workouts. 

Several of the top exercise headphones—like the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4— have a companion app with a fit test feature. This helps you find the right size tips for your ears to create an effective seal to help block out noise and keep them in place during physical activity.

Battery life

No one wants their headphones to run out of power midway through a workout, so choosing a set that will last for your whole session is crucial. Most wireless earbuds offer a few hours of battery life, so they should be suitable for various exercises. 

If you're a long-distance runner, it's worth investing in workout earbuds that provide more than five hours per bud, as the quoted battery life is often lower in practice. True wireless earbuds often come with a charging case if you need a quick top-up. 

Some sets also offer a fast charge, so you can plug in for five or 10 minutes to get an extra hour or two of use before recharging. If convenience is a priority, look for a set that supports wireless charging, like the Apple AirPods Pro.

Sound quality

It's all good finding a set of headphones that fit correctly, last a long time, and offer some level of water resistance, but they also need to sound good. Audio performance can be pretty subjective, but the most motivating music is usually bass-heavy. 

As a result, you want to avoid cheaper, tinny-sounding earbuds. Likewise, if getting the audio just right is essential to you, look for a pair of workout earbuds with a companion app that allows you to adjust the equalizer. 

Noise cancellation

Many true wireless earbuds come with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). This feature uses microphones on the outer part of the earphone to monitor background noise and create opposing audio to cancel it out before it reaches your ears. 

Noise cancellation allows you to stay in the zone and focus on your exercise. Some sets also offer a way to temporarily override this with an awareness mode, letting you keep tabs on your environment, a valuable feature for outdoor workouts. 

There's a slight trade-off between noise cancellation and battery life as this takes power. It's not a lot, so you wouldn't notice for most workouts, but if you enjoy long-distance running, the Jabra Elite 7 Active have on-ear buttons to toggle the feature on and off.

How we test the best workout earbuds

Before we recommend any set of headphones, we put them through their paces to check if they are up to the task. To help explain our process, we've summarized how we go about testing the workout earbuds that make it into our guide. 

Durability, build quality, and fit

Your workout earbuds need to handle everything you throw at them, including temperature changes, drops, and water. We consider the types of materials, how durable they are, and how easily they slot into your ear.

Plus, you want them to be convenient when you're exercising, so we also look at whether there are on-bud controls and if these are touch-based or physical buttons and assess the accuracy of the controls.

But there's no use having durable headphones if they don't stay in place—this is why we dedicate a lot of testing to the fit of each earbud. We put them through HIIT workouts, weights sessions, and runs to check if they stay in your ears.

They mustn't slip, but not at the expense of comfort. We wear each set for hours, including long stretches, to check if they cause any pain or discomfort and explore if you can adjust the fit.

Audio quality, noise cancellation, and battery life

Once we've established that they fit well and don't break, we can dig into the audio quality. Most of the headphones are tested with specific reference tracks to make easy comparisons between different earbuds models.

Not everyone enjoys the out-of-the-box experience, so we also look at whether you can customize the audio, if there's a built-in equalizer, and listen to bass-heavy tracks (great for workouts) and songs with a broad dynamic range.

Noise cancellation is one of the most important features if you want to get in the zone, so we take the earbuds to a high-noise environment like a coffee shop, gym, or busy street to see how the buds fare.

You might want different levels in certain situations, so we also test out all noise cancellation settings, including any transparency modes, to see if we can pick out important sounds like other runners or passing traffic.

No one wants to be tethered to a charger all day, so we also test the battery on each set. This includes assessing how long each earbud lasts with noise cancellation, how long it takes to top up, and which cables you need.