Headphones for Working Out
Sound Quality: Look for headphones that deliver clear, robust, and balanced sound. The size of the drivers (measured in millimeters) directly impacts sound quality, so seek out the largest drivers possible. “Music can be an incredible motivational tool,” White says. “When you can hear your favorite songs clearly, it can drive you to push through the toughest parts of your workout.”
Sweat and Water Resistance: Opt for headphones designed to withstand sweat and water to ensure durability during intense workouts. Keep in mind that this is mostly found in wireless earbuds, not traditional headphones.
Comfort and Secure Fit: Consider earbuds that are ergonomic and that offer a secure and comfortable fit. “Go for headphones or earbuds with a snug fit to ensure they stay in place during your workout. This helps prevent distractions and the need for constant readjustment,” Lacey says.
Not everyone feels comfortable working out with earbuds within their ears, but traditional headphones don’t offer the secure fit many athletes need when they’re working out.
“Bone conduction headphones don’t cover your ears at all and allow you total freedom to hear everything going on around you. They typically sit near your ears and don’t move around easily. People who don’t like things in or on their ears love this type of headphone, but they do come at the cost of sound quality,” says Tim Steward, founder of GymCrafter.com.
Wireless Connectivity: All wireless headphones and earbuds use Bluetooth, so they’ll pair with a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, computer, and some smart TVs.
Battery Life: This varies greatly between headphones and earbuds. Wireless headphones have longer battery life because of their larger size, but earbuds are better for working out and come with a charging case that will recharge them without a power source.
Noise Cancellation: ANC allows headphones or earbuds to block out external distractions, so you can immerse yourself in your workouts. Make sure the noise cancellation is adjustable or can easily be turned off when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
“Staying safe while lost in the beat is paramount,” Jones says. “I always advocate for a sound level that allows for auditory connection to your environment. Your safety should harmonize with your fitness. And, particularly for outdoor workouts, consider earbuds that don’t completely seal off the ear canal. Headphones that use bone conduction technology are ideal for listening to music and staying fully aware of your surroundings.”
Durability: Choose headphones that are built with high-quality materials and have a sturdy construction to withstand the rigors of workouts over time.
Compatibility: All wireless headphones or earbuds pair via Bluetooth with any smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, computers, and some smart TVs. However, some have features that only work with specific operating systems or certain mobile devices.
Price: Set a budget and compare different options within your price range, considering the features and specifications that matter to you the most.