Whether you love it, or you hate it, running is much more enjoyable with some music in your ears. It keeps you distracted from the sore muscles and gives you a rhythm to run to. The hardest part about running to music is finding the right pair of headphones to listen with. There are so many brands and types of headphones, all bragging about how they’re better than their competitors. So, which brand is telling the truth?
What are the best Bluetooth headphones for running? If you are looking for headphones that are wireless, have great sound quality, long-lasting battery life, are waterproof, comfortable, and can be bought at an affordable price, then JLab Epic Air Sport headphones are for you.
There are so many other brands that really hit the nail on the head when they made their wireless headphones though. There is no one pair of Bluetooth headphones that are perfect. There is always at least one negative with each pair. So, let’s break it down and find the right pair of headphones for you.
The 9 Best Running Headphones
Trying to find the best pair of Bluetooth running headphones can be frustrating. All brands claim they are the best, so in order to find trustworthy information you have to dig through forums and customer reviews for every type of headphone you are considering. Well, hopefully, we can avoid that with this article. Read on to see the top three Bluetooth running headphones in three different categories; truly wireless, truly wireless with ear hooks, and wire connected earbuds.
Truly Wireless Earbuds
Truly wireless earbuds are small earbuds that you just push into your ear and go. They don’t require any fiddling with hooks or a wire that you wear around your neck. They are more compact and lightweight than the other categories, though that also means their battery life is shorter. On a positive note, they oftentimes come with an on the go charging case. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean they will be more expensive than your other options.
A quick note before reading on: If you’ve read any of my previous articles so far, you’ll know that I absolutely love my AirPods Pro and use them for pretty much everything, however, I don’t include them in the “best for running” list below. Although I do sometimes use them carefully for very short jogs, they are not recommended for wear during physical activity, as they are not built to be sweat or waterproof.
Below are my favorite recommendations of running headphones you can feel comfortable sweating in without fear of sensitive liquid damage:
These earbuds are slightly more expensive than other options listed here, but they meet the qualities that would require a bigger payout. Jaybird Vista earbuds have a battery life that can last up to 6 hours and with a quick 5-minute charge you can add an additional hour of battery life. These headphones are perfect for running in because they are sweatproof and waterproof, making sure no damage will come to them from your workout.
Additionally, these headphones are built with a unique Bluetooth chip built by the brand themselves. Their Bluetooth chip ensures maximum connectivity in even the most challenging of environments. Not only that, but they are small and compact, fitting easily in your pocket or in a tightly sealed case in your gym bag.
Jabra Elite Active 65T
The battery life for these earbuds doesn’t quite reach the level of other brands. Jabra Elite Active 65T wireless earbuds have a battery life that lasts for up to 5 hours, but an additional 10 hours can be included if you have the rechargeable case with you. They fit well and are comfortable enough, and the sound quality is good enough to work for any genre of music. Additionally, there is an accelerometer installed in the headphones to count your reps if you are using them in the gym.
Anker’s Soundcore Liberty NEO
Soundcore Liberty NEO headphones by Anker are both cheap and noise isolating. They have fantastic Bluetooth connectivity and fit extremely comfortably in your ears. These headphones have a very short battery life, maxing out at 3 and a half hours without the charging case and 12 hours with it.
They are a great value for their price if you aren’t looking to spend a small fortune on headphones. However, if you do have the money to spend on better headphones, these don’t quite compete with top headphones such as Powerbeats and Epic Air Sports.
Truly Wireless Earbuds with Hooks
Truly wireless earbuds with ear hooks often fit more comfortably and secure in your ears, which can improve sound quality and make your run go more smoothly without having to stop and fiddle with them. Sometimes, you might be able to find a pair with an added antennae or battery installed inside of the ear hook to provide better connectivity and longer battery life. These headphones can be found cheaper than your other options but can also cost as much as $300.
Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3200
Plantronics BackBeat product line is altogether impressive. But their BackBeat Fit 3200 are the icing on the cake. These headphones are sweat, water, and dust resistant and they sit snuggly in your ears, making them the perfect headphones to use if you’re running through some rocky terrain.
Their battery life can last up to 8 hours, giving you plenty of listening time even after you’re don’t with your run. Not only that but with the charging case you can add up to 16 additional hours of battery life. The sound quality of these headphones is great, and they allow outside noise to filter in for those of you that would like situational awareness.
JLab Epic Air Sport
The battery life in the JLab Epic Air Sport earbuds can last up to a whopping 10 hours without needing a charge. Even more, if you use the portable charging case you can get up to 70 hours of battery life. They wirelessly connect to your Bluetooth easily and can be worn comfortably without any adjusting or inner ear pain.
If the factory sound quality just isn’t good for you, the company includes a free EQ adjusting app that will allow you to customize the sound you will get from your headphones. These headphones have buttons on the earbuds that will allow you to adjust the volume, skip the song, or even turn on their “be aware” mode to allow outside noise in.
These headphones will not only last because they are durable, but because they are both water and dust resistant which means you can sweat all you want while using them without any worries of ruining them. These headphones are more affordable than many of the other options, but they are not, by any means, cheap.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro
The Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless are considered the best of their brand. They produce great sound quality that can beat many of their competitors and they fit comfortably in your ears without constantly falling out or dislodging. This makes them great for any type of workout you plan on using them for. Not only that, but their battery life can last up to 9 hours without needing a charger. Unfortunately, the charging case is quite large and bulky, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
Earbuds That Are Wire-Connected
Earbuds that are wire-connected are still considered wireless because they don’t plug into your phone. The wire connects one earbud to the other and the earbuds connect via Bluetooth to your phone. Much like earbuds with hooks, the wires on these headphones can have batteries and antennas installed inside of them. Additionally, there are also earbuds with a microphone allowing you to talk on the phone as well. These headphones cost substantially less than the other options.
Anker’s Soundcore Spirit Sports
If you are looking for a cheaper option, then the Soundcore Spirit Sports earbuds are for you. The battery life for these headphones is about 8 hours without needing any charging. They are actually waterproof, so they would hold up if they were dropped in a puddle or a body of water. Not only are they waterproof, but they fit extremely comfortable and stay in place quite well. The only downside to these headphones is the sound quality not being as good as others.
Optoma NuForce BE Sport4
Believe it or not, Optoma doesn’t just make insane HD projectors! If you don’t mind a small wire connecting your earbuds, the NuForce BE Sport 4s are great in every other way. Not only are they extremely affordable in comparison to the previously mentioned headphones, but they are comfortable, durable, and have impeccable sound quality. Additionally, it has up to a whopping 10-hour battery life. Choosing these will give you the quality you would find inexpensive headphones for the price of cheap headphones.
Monster iSport Victory Wireless
These headphones are perfect if you are looking for a reliable connection and a snug tight fit. The Monster iSport Victory earbuds are slightly less comfortable than the previously mentioned ones because they fit so snuggly in your ears. That being said, they are the earbuds you want for an extremely vigorous workout because there is no way you are losing these.
Aside from the tight fit, these headphones are pretty standard. The battery life lasts anywhere between 6 to 7 hours and the sound quality is decent as long as it’s permanently set in ‘Sport’ mode. These headphones are definitely meant for bass-filled music usually playing in gyms today or as motivational music.
How to Decide Which Headphones Are Best for You
All earbuds have their pros and cons. The trick is to find a pair that works perfectly for you. Where a con for one person might steer them toward another pair of headphones, the same con might not matter to you as much. So, to decide whether or not these headphones work for you, we need to break down their characteristics.
The battery life in wireless headphones can range from just a couple hours to nearly an entire day. It all really depends on the type of battery the manufacturers used and how often and for how long you continuously use them. Another thing you want to be on the lookout for is an included charging case. One of these will make your life substantially easier because not only are they portable, but they charge your earbuds quickly.
Will they comfortably stay in place? Are they durable? These are the questions that you will likely be asking. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to go for an easy jog just to continuously have to fiddle and adjust your headphones. What’s more is if your headphones manage to wiggle themselves out of your ears and onto the gravel, dirt, or pavement, will they survive the fall?
The quality of your headphones is extremely important to consider when buying a pair. Good quality headphones will ensure long-lasting use and comfort in even the most difficult of environments.
Sweat-Resistant and Waterproof
Running will not only make you sweat but sometimes you will get caught in the rain. This is an inevitability that you will need to be prepared for unless you live in a place that just doesn’t rain that often. So, finding a pair of sweat-resistant and waterproof earbuds is important for anyone that wants to buy for them to last. If you buy waterproof headphones, they could potentially last you years without any problems. If not, you run the risk of finding a ‘shocking’ discovery.
At the end of the day, the sound quality is what we buy for. The entire point of buying headphones is so you can have good music playing in your head. If you buy a pair that just doesn’t have great sound quality than what’s the point of using them?
You will be able to feel good sound quality out of a good pair of headphones. Those sounds usually stay around the bottom-end and mid-range tones and give your music more depth and bass.
Another thing to consider with the sound quality is the ambient sound that you might hear outside the headphones. Some people prefer to be able to hear the outside world when they are running while others prefer to block out all outside noise. This is important when considering a pair of headphones because if you get the wrong type, it’ll likely ruin the music experience.
The Bluetooth connectivity is what is going to keep you connected to your music. Without it, there is no music, and with defective connectivity, there is broken up music that does nothing but skips. And that is if you can even get your headphones to connect to your Bluetooth in the first place. So, I’d say finding a pair of headphones with decent connectivity is pretty important.
Over the Ear Headphones
Though you will probably find the best sound quality in over the ear headphones, like my current personal favorite Sony WH-1000XM3, they aren’t quite ideal for running. They do have amazing sound quality, long-lasting batteries, and Bluetooth connectivity, but they are often not sweat proof or water-resistant and they can oftentimes make you feel like you’re overheating.
These types of headphones are great if you are lifting weights at the gym or walking on an elliptical, but they don’t do well when you are running. They don’t fit very snuggly on your head, so you can imagine how much they bounce around while you run. That’s not saying you can’t buy them and use them for working out, but you will be better off getting earbuds for running.
Some More Noteworthy Mentions
Though they didn’t quite make the cut for a full review of their good and bad qualities, these headphones are food enough to deserve a mention as well. Whether they are extremely affordable or just downright great sound quality, you will be able to compare these as well in your search for the perfect headphones.
- 5-hour battery life without a case (20 hours with the case)
- Comfortable fit for long wear
- Exceptional sound quality
- Sound doesn’t do well in windy environments
- Pairing them to your Bluetooth might take a few tries
- The case is sometimes a little irritating to try to use
Bose SoundSport Free
- 5 hours of battery life (10 additional hours with the charging case)
- They are noise isolating and have great sound quality
- Super comfortable and unmovable
- Great Bluetooth connectivity
- They are a bit too bulky to wear with anything else such as a hat or sunglasses
- The wind interferes with the listening experience terribly. You can’t even use them on a windy day.
- 7 hours of battery life
- Affordable price for a good quality pair of headphones
- Does allow outside sound to filter through so you can be aware of your surroundings
- Super comfortable
- The control buttons are on the wire at the back of your neck
Bose SoundSport Wireless
- 6 hours of battery life
- Noise isolating
- Great sound quality
- Comfortable and secure fit
- Sweatproof and water-resistant
- A bit more expensive than your other options
- 8 hours of battery life
- Bone conducting headphones, which will prevent hearing loss from listening to music too loudly
- Comfortable fit and secure around the head
- Sweatproof and waterproof
- On the expensive side
- The sound of your headphones can be easily overcome by outside noise
Why Buy Wireless Headphones
Buying a pair of wireless headphones that can connect directly to your Bluetooth is a perfect and easy way to bring music along with you on your workout. Wired headphones can sometimes get in the way of the natural swing of your arms. Not only that but in order to skip the current song playing, you will have to take your phone out to do it, risking the chance of you dropping and breaking it.
Their Secure Fit
Wireless headphones are made to fit snuggly and securely to your head so that you don’t have to worry about losing them while you work out and they are comfortable enough to barely notice you are wearing them. They make running more enjoyable for those that need some motivation to keep on going and give those that have no problem staying motivated, even more.
There are earbuds made for exercise and some that are made for leisure listening. It’s important to know which ones you are buying, because if you plan to use them while you’re running, you will want them to be sweatproof, so you don’t have to run to the store to replace them only after a few uses.
Bluetooth Connectivity and No Wires
The Bluetooth connectivity can make these headphones run a little pricier than other wired headphones, but it is well worth it if you want to use them for exercise. The last issue you want to run into is having to replace your phone because you snagged the cord while you were running, and your phone fell to the pavement. That would be a much more expensive buy than a one-time purchase of some good quality wireless earbuds.
Tracking Software Installed in the Headphones
Many brands are installing tracking software into their products. No, I don’t mean location tracking. The software they are installing is to track your heartbeat. If you are someone with a health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, these headphones could be exactly what you are looking for. Not only will they entertain you during your workout, but they will help you monitor your heartbeat for any of those conditions you may have.
Lightweight and Comfortable
Wireless earbuds are known for being lightweight and oftentimes easily forgettable. Depending on the design of the earbuds, they stay out of the way and in your ears for easy listening and not impacting your lifestyle. You can still wear your sunglasses or hats with many wireless designs, and many of the charging cases are small enough to fit right in your pocket or stay closed in your gym bag.
Stores You’ll Find Them At
Most of these headphones can be found in multiple different stores at many different prices. Your best bet is to shop around to find the best deal available. Some of the stores you might find your chosen headphones are BestBuy, Amazon, the brand website of your choosing, and even Target.
The price range changes quite drastically from one store to the next, and sometimes you can even find a deal on some open box headphones that were returned. That’s why you will want to look at all possible retailers once you have chosen the headphones that you think will work best for you. You could save anywhere from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars if you’re lucky.
It’s also important to note that some stores have an online price that is different than their in-store prices. So, when you are searching for the right price for you, you may need to visit a few stores as well as searching for the best prices online. Some stores may even offer open-box deals or clearance they don’t have posted on their website. You never know what deals you might stumble upon.
- JLab Epic Air Sport headphones are listed as about $150, not including tax and shipping here on Amazon. The seller on amazon is JLAB and they’re listed at the same price on their website. You may be able to find them cheaper used or from a smaller retailer.
- Jaybird Vista headphones are listed as almost $180 without shipping and tax on Amazon. They are listed for the same price on the manufacturer’s website as well as at BestBuy. You can find them used for as little as $80 though.
- Jabra Elite Active 65T headphones are on sale for about $140 on the manufacturer’s website. You can find them even cheaper on Amazon for $118 without tax and shipping. These headphones usually run at around $170 a pair.
- Anker Soundcore Liberty NEO headphones are listed for about $50 on the manufacturer’s website, as well as Amazon. They are even more expensive at BestBuy, costing almost $60 on clearance.
- Plantronics backbeat fit 3150 headphones are currently listed as almost $150 on their website but are on sale at BestBuy for around $120.
- JLab Epic Air Sport headphones are listed at almost $150 on both the manufacturer’s website and Amazon. I was unable to find any other deals online for these headphones.
- Dre Powerbeats Pro headphones are probably some of the most expensive headphones you can buy. On their website, they have these headphones listed at almost $250. They are currently listed for slightly less on Amazon, and you can find them for less than that if you buy them used or from a smaller retailer.
- Anker Soundcore Spirit Sports headphones are listed for almost $33 on both the manufacturer’s website and Amazon. They are listed for slightly more at Walmart for almost $47. You may find them for even less at a small retail store.
- Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 headphones can’t be bought off of the manufacturer’s website. They do however have a list of stores where these headphones are available. Some of the stores include Walmart, BestBuy, Amazon, and Home Depot. They are listed for about $79 on Amazon and Home Depot and almost $100 at Walmart. The Best Buy website says they don’t currently have any in new condition.
- Monster iSport Victory wireless headphones are listed for almost $22 on Amazon without tax and shipping, and the manufacturer’s website directs you to the Amazon page to buy them. The BestBuy website says that they are no longer available.
These prices are subject to change at any time. The market is forever changing and so are the prices for these products.