Best workout earbuds 2022 to boost your motivation

We've tested the best workout earbuds to help you find a set with great sound and a secure fit for your training

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

Discovering the best workout earbuds is no easy task, especially when there are so many different pairs to pick from. However, we’ve spent fitness session after fitness session testing a range of the best earbuds for working out to hunt out the top pairs that team excellent quality sound with a secure fit.

No matter your budget, all of the best workout earbuds in our guide are designed with exercise in mind. Meaning? Every single inclusion we’ve listed are sweat proof or water-resistant. At the same time, a handful of options come with noise cancellation, so you can put your earbuds in and really get the zone.  

All of the best workout earbuds in our guide are worthy choices, but the Jabra Elite 7 Active came out on top for several reasons. Along with being kitted with many features, the earbuds stayed firmly in place rep after rep, and the music sounded great. However, even budget-friendly pairs don’t necessarily mean you miss out on impressive sound quality or a long list of features.

We’ve compiled the best workout earbuds for every type of movement, from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) options to the most suitable choices for heading outside for a run. And in terms of price, premium brands such as Bose and Apple will set you back around $250/£220, but you can still find more affordable alternatives from Skullcandy and Honor for around $100/£85.

The best workout earbuds you can buy right now

Jabra Elite 7 Active workout earbuds out of the charging case

(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. 


JLab Go Air Sport earbuds on a table in front of the charging case

(Image credit: Future)
Best budget workout earbuds

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IP55)
Battery life: 8 hours, 32 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Budget-friendly prices
+
Ear hook design gives secure fit
+
Long battery life with case

Reasons to avoid

-
No noise cancellation
-
Only three audio modes

If you're worried about investing in a premium set of headphones that you might accidentally damage at the gym or lose, the JLab Go Air Sport are an ideal alternative. These budget-friendly earbuds cost less than $50 but have long battery life, good sound quality, and ear hooks to keep them in place.

Initially skeptical of the low-cost workout earbuds, we quickly found that the Go Air Sport beat our expectations. The ear hooks meant that the earbuds never fell out, whether we were in the middle of a high-intensity resistance training session, weight lifting workout, or out on a walk.

The sound quality was a welcome surprise, too, faring better than you'd expect at this price and offering robust performance across a range of tracks. They're not audiophile-quality, but you won't be distracted by poor sound. There's no noise cancellation, but the JLab Go Air Sport focus on the essentials and do a great job of it.

What the users say

Owners of the JLab Go Air Sport rate them highly, with an average rating of four out of five from over 2,000 review son Amazon. Most were impressed with the secure fit, battery life, and general sound quality. 

Even the lack of noise cancellation didn't put a damper on things, with some seeing this as a positive:  "I do get external sounds intruding, but running on country roads this is a real good safety for me so I can hop out of the way of cars before they get to me."


NuraTrue workout earbuds

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

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX4)
Battery life: 6 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise cancellation: Yes
Transparency mode: Yes, Social mode

Reasons to buy

+
Immersive personalized sound
+
Circular design keeps the buds in place
+
Impressive noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
Bud battery life on the low side
-
Touch buttons assigned to specific ears

You're often faced with a choice between impressive audio and secure fit, but the NuraTrue combine both without compromising on either. The earbuds have a distinctive circular outer which sits comfortably on the ridges of your ear to keep them in place during your workouts.

It was the personalized sound that really stood out for us, though. We ran through the tests on the app, then the buds automatically adjusted the audio to suit our hearing, so every song sparkled with details we’d never noticed before. 

But our favorite feature was the bass-boosting Immersive Mode, which is designed to make you feel as though you’re at a live show. The NuraTrue did a fantastic job of this, replicating the lower-end rumble but without the chest vibrations you often get at live events. 

We were slightly disappointed by the battery life, with each bud only lasting six hours between charges. But they quickly enter standup when out of your ear, so it was never really a problem. The circular design might not be to everyone's taste, but the NuraTrue are easily some of the best workout earbuds available right now.

What the users say

The NuraTrue currently score four out of five on Amazon, with over half of reviewers rating them a perfect five stars. Almost universally, people praised the fit and comfort with one wearer commenting that "these NuraTrue's are now potentially my new gym and outdoor earphones"

There were some who weren't impressed with the sound quality. But most were blown away by the personalized sound and Immerside mode. 


Sony WF-1000XM4 workout earbuds

(Image credit: Molly Cleary)
Best workout earbuds for running

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 thought 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 case

(Image credit: Future/James Frew)
Best value 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 desk

(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. 


Beats Powerbeats Pro workout earbuds with the charging case on wood

(Image credit: Ian Stokes)
Best workout earbuds for outdoor exercise

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IPX4)
Battery life: 9 hours, 24 hours with case
Noise cancellation: No
Transparency mode: No

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish design
+
Ear hooks keep them in place during exercise
+
Five-minute quick charge for 90 minutes of playback

Reasons to avoid

-
No noise cancellation
-
Large charging case

Head to any gym, and you'll see plenty of people sporting Beats headphones. They're a popular choice, and the Beats PowerBeats Pro are some of the most feature-packed in the range. The wireless earbuds have slight ear hooks to keep them in place, sitting just over the top of your ear like a pair of glasses.

We did find it a bit of a struggle to get them to fit snugly, but once they're in, they're not going to fall out during exercise. The company has dialed back the overwhelming bass they were once infamous for, opting for a more balanced profile with enough lower end to keep bass lovers happy.

However, without noise cancellation, we had to turn the volume louder than we'd like to make out details in noisy environments, such as a gym or while on a run. The PowerBeats Pro have a mid-range battery life, lasting around nine hours. Happily, a five-minute top-up should see you through almost 90 minutes in a pinch.

What the users say

The Beats PowerBeats Pro are exceptionally popular earbuds, with an average score of 4.6 out of five from almost 75,000 reviews on Amazon. Overall, people rate the headphones highly for sound quality, battery life, and fit. 

Some people found that the mid-tones were a bit drowned out in the mix, but this wasn't a common criticism. Though most reviewers did feel that the case was a little on the large side. 


Apple AirPods Pro

(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
-
An expensive option

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. 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 Buds2 Review: image shows Samsung Galaxy Buds2

(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 case

(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 case

(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. 


Sennheiser Sport True Wireless outside

(Image credit: Future)
Best workout earbuds for solo running

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes (IP54)
Battery life: 9 hours, 27 hours with case
Noise Cancellation: No
Transparency mode: Yes, by manually changing the tips

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable even over longer periods
+
Ear tips help keep them in place
+
Companion app to customize the audio

Reasons to avoid

-
No noise cancellation,
-
Changing the tips can be a hassle
-
Not great bass performance

Unusually, the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless don't come with noise cancellation or a transparency mode to keep your attention on your surroundings. Instead, the company has created a novel, but fiddly, alternative; Focus and Aware ear tips. The idea is that when you want to block sounds, you put on the Focus tips. Want to hear what's going on? Switch to the Aware tips. 

It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't quite work out in practice. During out time with these well-fitting earbuds, we got tired of constantly swapping the tips. Where other sets offer a single tap on the earbud, you need to reach into your pocket, find a flat surface, and manually change the tips. 

This oddity aside, the sound quality is exactly as you'd expect from Sennheiser — well-rounded and customizable using the companion smartphone app. We can't say that they're the best sounding earbuds around — the NuraTrue take that crown — but you won't be disappointed by the bass or treble performance. 

What the users say

The Sennheiser Sport True Wireless currently hold an average 4.2 out of five on Amazon from just over 150 ratings. Most reviewers were pleased that the earbuds actually stayed in place during daily activities and workouts. And while they don't come with noise cancellation, some wearers actually found that they preferred this pared-back approach. 

But the Sennheiser brand comes with expectations for high-quality sound, and not everyone was impressed. One reviewer even wrote: "[I] just wasn't impressed with the sound. Flat is a good way to describe it." However, most were pleased with the in-app customizations and battery life. 


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.

FAQs

Is noise canceling good for the gym?

Whether noise canceling is good for the gym depends on the way you like to train. If you're keen to put the buds in place and get on with your training, noise cancellation can be a great way to maintain your focus. That's especially true if you use music as a motivator or need to drown out the sounds of the gym stereo.

But there are potential downsides, too. It can be harder to hear and therefore focus on your breath while exercising if you use noise cancellation, which can impact the efficiency of your workout. Plus, it means you're also less likely to hear people starting a conversation or asking you a question.

And in a busy gym, it's normal for people to ask if they can use specific equipment or how long you have left on a machine. With noise cancellation, you either need to enable the transparency mode (if your headphones have that) or regularly interrupt what you're doing to pause your music or take an earbud out.

Do earbuds fall out while exercising?

Many people prefer using wired headphones during exercise because, if they do fall out, you're not going to lose them or accidentally drop them on the floor. But most modern smartphones no longer support wired earphones, so wireless earbuds are often your only choice.

While some barely stay in place, we've tested the best workout earbuds and only recommend headphones that fit securely across various exercise styles. If you opt for a set with over-ear hooks, like the Skullcandy Push Active or JLab Go Air Sport, they're firmly attached to your ear.

But at the higher price end, you can find buds that sit neatly inside your ear without falling out, thanks to design tricks to keep them in place. The NuraTrue, for example, distribute the weight around your ear and lean against the ridges, while the Jabra Elite 7 Active have custom-designed materials to stop them moving about.