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This photo illustrates four great workout headphones.

Great Workout Headphones

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

When you’re out for a jog or lifting weights at the gym, the last thing you need is a pair of headphones that’s going to tie you down. That’s why the word “wireless” has found a home in the gym rat's lexicon lately, right next to “reps” and “steps.”

More and more consumers are gravitating toward wireless headphones, motivated in part by smartphone manufacturers ditching the headphone jacks on their flagship models. But headphone jacks aside, Bluetooth affords a level of flexibility that a wired model simply can't match, especially when you’re on the treadmill or lifting weights.

That’s where the following models come in. They’re all wireless and well-rated by our testers, who review close to 50 pairs of headphones a year. They evaluate them on a range of criteria that include sound quality, features, comfort, and fit. And every pair below is advertised as water-resistant (though CR doesn't test that feature), so you can get your sweat on carefree. One model is even marketed for swimming.

While it’s true that wireless models tend to be more expensive than their wired counterparts, this list spotlights reasonably priced models made by Sony, JBL, 1MORE, Jabra, and JLab. And all make for fantastic gym companions.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, you can also browse through more than 150 models in our headphone ratings.

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1
Performance at a Bargain Price
1MORE iBFree Sport
1MORE iBFree Sport

    1MORE iBFree Sport

    1MORE may not have the name recognition of other brands on this list, but the great audio quality and the $60 price make the iBFree Sport worthy of your attention.

    The model has in-line controls for phone calls, volume, and music playback, and features a water-resistant design, according to 1MORE. And with its advertised 8-hour battery life, the iBFree Sport should keep you moving whether you're out for a run or trying to break your personal sit-up record.  



    2
    True Wireless
    Jabra Elite Active 65t
    Jabra Elite Active 65t

      Jabra Elite Active 65t

      The $190 Jabra Elite Active 65t is a true wireless model, meaning it doesn't even have a cord connecting the right and left earpieces. The high-quality sound renders it one of the top-scoring portable wireless headphones in our ratings. The advertised 5-hour battery life is in the midrange for true wireless models, but any deficiency there is offset by a quick-charge feature and the convenient carrying case, which contains a battery that can fully charge your headphones from empty up to four times on its own.

       

      Other features that make the 65t a great companion for the gym include a step counter, support for various digital voice assistants on compatible devices, and ambient sound monitoring mode—a fancy way of saying you have the option to let in more noise from the outside world, which can help protect you from traffic and other hazards when you're out on a run.

       

      We found that users with smaller ears might have trouble with comfort and fit, so you may want to try them on before you buy them.




      3
      Noise-Canceling
      Sony WF-SP600N
      Sony WF-SP600N

      Sony WF-SP600N

      If you love your gym but hate the music played, this noise-canceling model from Sony may be the solution. The WF-SP600N gets great scores for noise-canceling performance and sound quality, and it includes extra features that make for a seamless workout. It has integrated controls for volume, calls, and playback; a quick-charging feature to back up the claimed 6-hour battery life; and variable noise-canceling controls to let in more or less ambient sound. It retails for $150 but can be found online for much less.

       

      If you prefer true wireless, the Sony WF-SP700N performed just as well in our audio and noise-canceling tests but costs about $180.




      4
      True Wireless for Less
      JLab Audio Epic Air
      JLab Audio Epic Air

        JLab Audio Epic Air

        Another standout in the true wireless category, the JLab Audio Epic Air doesn't have as many sports-focused features as the Elite Active 65t described above. You won't find a step counter and ambient sound monitoring, for example. There's no quick-charging functionality, either. Still, a few details set the Epic Air apart. The advertised battery life is the best of any true wireless model in our ratings (7 hours), and the $130 price is impressive considering the earphones' impressive audio quality. The carrying case's rechargeable battery will power them for four extra charges, too.

         

        But be sure to try these earphones on before you buy them, especially if your ears are on the small side, because you might have a hard time getting a comfortable fit, even with the extra earpieces.




        5
        For the Pool
        JBL Endurance DIVE
        JBL Endurance DIVE

          JBL Endurance DIVE

          As the name suggests, the JBL Endurance DIVE is designed for use not just on land but also in the water. According to JBL, it's suitable for swimming and is rated to survive a dunk in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes.

           

          Additional features include a built-in MP3 player, 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 in the water. The sound quality is dependable, though not quite as good as that of the other models on this list. For $90, the Endurance DIVE headphones are still a decent choice for critical listeners.




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          Thomas Germain

          I want to live in a world where consumers take advantage of technology, not the other way around. 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 usually find me working my way through an ever-growing list of podcasts. Follow me on Twitter (@ThomasGermain).