If you've spent any time— or anywhere else, for that matter — you know how important the right soundtrack can be. A fast-paced, upbeat pop song can help push you to run just a little bit further and faster; the right rap song might help you reach a new personal record with the weights. Picking the right song is a matter of personal taste, but picking the right workout headphones is a bit more scientific.
There are plenty of great. We're here to help you pick the right exercise headphones or earbuds at the right price.
What are the most important things to consider when purchasing a pair of sport earbuds or headphones for the gym? Finding a pair that offer water and sweat resistance is a good start. Water resistance is measured on a scale of IPX0 to IPX9, where 9 offers the most protection. Generally, a rating of IPX4 is good for the gym -- that level denotes protection against splashing water, or sweat resistance. Headphones rated IPX7 protect against immersion -- waterproof and sweatproof enough for any workout, aside from swimming. (You'll want IPX8 or better for that.)
Another important thing to consider is fit. People who do a lot of running, cardio or CrossFit should prioritize a snug, comfortable fit that can withstand movement. Fit is important for strength-training exercises too -- you definitely don't want your earbuds or headphones falling out in the middle of a strenuous set.
Exercise headphones on sale for Black Friday now
Here are the top headphone deals at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Samsung and more. We'll keep the list updated through the Black Friday sale season, so you can always find the best deal on exercise headphones right now.
Apple AirPods with wireless charging case: $160 at Best Buy
Sure, there are Bluetooth earbuds that are less expensive than the water resistant Apple AirPods. And there are earbuds that have better sound quality. But when it comes to pairing with your Apple iPhone, Apple Watch or other Apple devices, the AirPods are hard to beat. The connection is near effortless.
There's some impressive tech behind Apple AirPods -- they have built-in accelerometers that determine when you've got them in your ears, so there's no need to manually power them on and off. These things just know when you're using them, and even what Apple device you're using them with. Siri is built in, too. And should you ever lose an earbud or the carrying case, they're easy to track down through Apple's "Find My" service.
This model is IPX4 water resistant. You get really powerful active noise cancellation, too, which blocks out the outside world when you're listening to your tunes. And since it's made by Apple, you know you're getting a quality (and trendy) product.
According to Apple, these AirPods last for up to 4.5 hours on a single charge. They come with a Qi-compatible wireless charging case, however, that extends this to more than 24 hours of listening time.
These wireless earbuds are currently on sale at Best Buy for $160.
Looking for an even deeper discount on Apple AirPods? They're not a top pick for workout headphones, and the charging care requires a wire, but the IPX4 rated second generation Apple AirPods are on sale for $89 right now at Walmart -- the best price we've seen this season.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo: $48 at Amazon
These 4.4-star-rated wireless earbuds from Anker are definitely budget-focused. Don't expect the luxe features or top-tier sound quality you'd get from a pair of $200 earbuds. But Amazon reviewers say these sub-$50 earbuds are amazing for the price, with good sound quality.
They've got real gym chops too: The lightweight Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo earbuds are rated IPX7 waterproof (protected against temporary immersion), so they can be rinsed off after workouts. They promise a secure fit as well, boasting a twist-and-lock design that stays in place.
"The sound is good," Amazon reviewer Greg says, "better than average but it's not a Hi-Fi audiophile's acoustic dream. For the pounding I'm giving these buds while cycling, running, working out, working in the yard and just about every other sweat-soaked activity, they definitely step up to the plate and perform."
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo earbuds last for roughly five hours on a single charge, with an extra 15 hours of charge available via the included wired charging case.
These headphones, currently available in four colors, are priced at $48.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: $149 at Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, offer eight hours of charge (as compared to five for the Galaxy Buds), an IPX7 waterproof rating and support Dolby Atmos if you want to take them out of the gym and into your home theater. Available in three colors, they're $50 off at Samsung right now.
These headphones are not on sale for Black Friday (yet)
There are a few other pairs of exercise earbuds that we really like, but not every headphone is on sale right now. Here are some of our top workout headphone picks to keep your eye on -- the moment these go on sale for Black Friday at a major retailer, we'll let you know about it.
Fan-favorite noise-canceling earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t
Another pair of earbuds specifically designed for workouts, the Jabra Elite Active 75t wireless earbuds are IP57 dustproof and waterproof, resilient enough to survive a quick drop in a puddle. But just as importantly, they feature a grip coating to keep them in place during workouts.
The Jabra Elite Active 75t "beat(s) the hell out of my regular Airpods," says Amazon reviewer Nelson92. "I DON'T HAVE TO PUSH THEM BACK IN WHILE RUNNING! Secure fit, cancels out strong Colorado winds. Battery has already lasted more than a few runs."
Sound quality is great: Multiple Amazon reviewers praise the powerful bass they deliver. These earbuds offer active noise cancellation powered by four microphones. You can turn this noise cancellation off with the push of a button, however, allowing you to talk with someone without needing to remove them from your ears.
Jabra says the Elite Active 75t earbuds will last 5.5 hours on a full charge, or up to 24 hours when stored in the included wired charging case (USB-C). A 15-minute quick charge buys up an hour of listening time.
Quality earbuds for $200: Jaybird Vista 2
An excellent choice for people with bigger budgets, the Jaybird Vista 2 is a serious pair of sports headphones. They carry an IP68 rating, which means they're sweatproof, waterproof and dustproof. Jaybird also claims they're freeze-, shock- and impact-resistant as well.
Jaybird Vista 2 Bluetooth earbuds feature active noise cancellation, a terrific perk that cuts out background noise. But -- importantly for people who run or bike outdoors -- the Vista 2's Soundsense feature lets you temporarily turn off active noise cancellation with a tap, letting important sound cues from the real world come through for safety.
These wireless earbuds feature "great quality in both sound and build," Amazon reviewer Christopher Mann raves. They add the Jaybird Vista 2 has a comfortable fit and is "plenty loud."
The Jaybird Vista 2 lasts for eight hours on a full charge, with 16 more hours of charge in the included wireless charging case (also chargeable via USB-C). And if you forget to charge these earbuds before hitting the gym, you can get an hour of play time out of a single five-minute quick charge.
Bose earbuds under $200: Bose Sport Earbuds
Bose quality typically doesn't come cheap, but the Bose Sport Earbuds are one of the brand's more affordable options. This set of wireless earbuds are sweat-resistant (IPX4) and come with three sizes of eartips. And, if you're looking for a new pair of running headphones, these might be a good pick. Why? They're designed to stay in place even through strenuous workouts, and according to Amazon reviewers, they deliver.
"I can say that these Bose Sport Earbuds stay in my ear when I am doing backflips," says reviewer Arthur, praising their secure fit.
"They sit in just the right place to give awesome sound without putting ridiculous pressure on your ear canal, while simultaneously becoming almost impossible to actually feel once in," adds reviewer zerospace.
These don't have all the premium features of other Bose headphones -- most notably, the Bose Sport Earbuds lack active noise cancellation and a wireless charging case. They do feature touch controls, though, and they're smart enough to pause play when the right earbud is removed from your head. The wired charging case (USB-C) has enough juice to extend these earbuds' five-hour play time to a full 15 hours.
Available in black, white and blue colors, you can pick up a pair of Bose Sport Earbuds headphones on Amazon for $179.
Over-the-ear sports headphones: JBL Under Armour Sport wireless
A serious workout calls for serious workout headphones. And this JBL pair, designed with Under Armour sweat-wicking materials, is definitely a serious set of workout headphones. The fast-drying ear cushions are breathable, soft and hand-washable -- no worrying about that post-gym stink here. (The headphones themselves are IPX4-rated.)
One Amazon reviewer praised the sound and comfort of the JBL Under Armour Sport. "I wear them for my 2-hour workouts daily. They don't slip off your head when bending over for exercises or running on the treadmill."
Another great feature: These headphones don't need to come off when it's time to chat between sets. Press the "X" logo to lower the music volume and amplify external sounds.
These headphones also have top-tier battery life -- they offer up to 16 hours of play time on a single charge, with a one-hour quick charge providing an hour of listening.
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