Great Workout Headphones

These wireless models stand up to sweat, stay in place, and deliver on sound quality

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two people jogging side by side, one is wearing wireless earbuds Photo: Bose

No matter how you crunch your calories, a great-sounding pair of workout headphones can be just the thing to keep you moving. The best options for most people are wireless headphones because cables can be an annoyance, whether you’re out for a run or lifting weights at the gym

You have more choices of wireless models than ever. These models are ubiquitous in part because it’s getting hard to find a phone with a headphone jack. But smartphones aside, wired headphones just can’t keep up with the flexibility that comes with Bluetooth, especially when you’re working up a sweat.

The workout headphones listed below all get high marks in Consumer Reports’ tests on criteria including sound quality, features, comfort, and fit. Additionally, every pair here is advertised as water-resistant (CR doesn’t test that feature), so you can get your sweat on without worrying. One model is even marketed for swimming.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, you can also browse through more than 170 models in our headphone ratings.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are some of the best-scoring portable Bluetooth headphones Consumer Reports has ever tested. That’s all the more impressive, given their true wireless design and a price that often dips under $100.

The Galaxy Buds produce exemplary audio quality packed into a pair of unobtrusive earpieces, complete with touch controls for playback, volume, and skipping tracks. According to Samsung, they have a 6-hour battery life and come with a powered carrying case that will recharge the earphones for up to 7 additional hours on the go. The case itself can be charged with a wireless charging mat, and it’s small compared with the cases that come with many true wireless models.

Based on our most recent member survey, Samsung headphones earn solid scores for reliability and owner satisfaction, making this deal even sweeter.

Music is great while you’re working out, but cutting yourself off from your environment isn’t always convenient—or safe. Enter the Bose Sport Open Earbuds. This true wireless model has a non-isolating design that lets in outside sound on purpose, so you should have an easier time hearing that guy slamming down his weights behind you or traffic approaching when you’re on a run.

They have hooks to keep the earbuds in place while you move around, and they sit on rather than in your ears, so you may find them more comfortable. Even better, these headphones have above-average sound quality. According to Bose, they have an 8-hour battery life and a quick-charge feature, for 3 extra hours after 30 minutes of plug-in time. However, unlike most true wireless headphones, the carrying case doesn’t double as a portable charger.

In our latest member survey, Bose’s regular stereo headphones earned top marks for owner satisfaction and a solid reliability rating.

Serious athletes, or just about any runner, will probably tell you that carrying a phone around so you can hear your tunes is a real pain. With the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT90BTBK SonicSport, you don’t have to. These headphones have a built in music player with 4 gigabytes of internal storage, so you can load them up with songs or podcasts when you want to leave your other devices at home.

This model has great sound quality, a 6-hour battery life, and a quick-charging feature. They also have handy magnets in the earpieces to hold them in place around your neck when you aren’t listening and a novel function that pauses your audio when the magnets come into contact with each other.

Adding to the appeal, Audio-Technica gets outstanding ratings for reliability and owner satisfaction.

If you love your gym but hate the music it plays, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds may be just what you’re looking for. These true wireless headphones get top marks for noise cancellation, which you can turn up or down to suit your environment. They also deliver above-average sound quality.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have a number of other appealing features, such as built-in tech that the company says makes it easier to hear your own voice during phone calls, and an auto-pause feature that stops playback when you take the headphones out and restarts it when you put them back in.

Bose advertises a 6-hour battery life backed up by the headphones’ charging/carrying case, which should recharge your headphones twice on the go before the case needs to be plugged in again. In our latest member survey, Bose earns outstanding ratings for reliability and owner satisfaction.

Want a true wireless model that won’t make a huge dent in your wallet? The 1More PistonBuds deliver great sound quality for the price, beating out competitors that cost far more. They have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life and come with a carrying case that will recharge the earphones almost five times before the case needs to be plugged in again.

The PistonBuds are advertised as water-resistant, and they feature touch controls and support for digital assistants. Based on our CR member survey, they boast a fantastic owner-satisfaction rating, though their reliability score is just average.

All the headphones on this list are advertised as water-resistant. The JBL Endurance Dive takes things further. According to JBL, they’re suitable for swimming, for those who get their workouts in a pool.

Of course, you probably won’t want to take your phone in the water to supply the tunes, but the Dive has a built-in MP3 player, so you won’t have to. They also have technology that automatically powers the headphones on and off as you put them on or remove them, and a short collar that sits close to the neck and may help keep them secure. The sound quality is above average, though not quite as good as that of the other models on this list. But for a model under $100, these headphones are still a decent choice for critical listeners.

One caveat: Thanks to JBL’s mediocre reliability rating, this model doesn’t earn a high enough score to receive an official CR recommendation. But if you need headphones for the pool, it’s worth considering.


Headshot image of Electronics editor Thomas Germain

Thomas Germain

I want to live in a world where consumers take advantage of technology, not the other way around. Access to reliable information is the way to make that happen, and that's why I spend my time chasing it down. When I'm off the clock, you can find me working my way through an ever-growing list of podcasts. Got a tip? Drop me an email ( thomas.germain@consumer.org) or follow me on Twitter ( @ThomasGermain) for my contact info on Signal.