Sports headphones

The Best Gym Headphones

Turn on, plug in and work out with our recommended Bluetooth wireless earphones

Nick Harris-Fry
30 Nov 2021

Wireless cans have become so commonplace that some phone manufacturers are even willing to risk the wrath of the masses by not including a headphone jack on their handsets. While ridding yourself of ear-to-pocket wires is undoubtedly convenient when exercising, there are some downsides to opting for Bluetooth buds, mostly related to the battery and fit of the headphones. This means that picking the perfect pair for your needs is vital, so here are some of Coach’s favourite workout-ready wireless headphones to consider. We’ve spent so long reviewing so many sports headphones that we’ve given Editor’s Choice badges to the models that stand out in some regard.

If you’re wedded to the treadmill, or want to use the headphones in the gym and for outdoor runs, you may be better served by our selection of the best wireless running headphones, which puts even more emphasis on fit and features that allow you to be aware of your surroundings.

Best All-Rounder: Beats Powerbeats 4

RRP £129.95 | Powerbeats 4 review

At £130 the Powerbeats headphones (unofficially known as the Powerbeats 4) aren’t exactly cheap, but they offer a brilliant combination of excellent sound, a monster battery life of 15 hours and the most secure fit you’ll find thanks to the ear hook design. They’re also £90 cheaper than the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro despite offering the same sound quality and a far longer battery life. The crucial difference is the wire between the headphones on the cheaper model, but it never bothered us during our workouts and runs.

You can find great headphones for under £100, but nothing that’s as good as the Powerbeats, which in our experience are ideal for your workouts and the match of more expensive truly wireless options out there. 

Buy from Amazon | £129.95 (currently reduced to £99.97)

Best Truly Wireless Headphones: Jaybird Vista 2

RRP £189.99 | Jaybird Vista 2 review

The Vista 2 buds tick all the boxes you need from sports headphones, and then go above and beyond that by adding some useful extras as well. When it comes to the essentials, the fit is secure and comfortable enough to let you wear the Vista 2 buds all day long as well as in the gym, and the battery life of eight hours is impressive given the small design. The sound quality is also terrific and you can easily fine-tune it to your preferences with the adjustable EQ settings in the app.

The bonuses include active noise cancellation and an awareness mode (though both hit battery life), terrific waterproofing with an IP68 rating and the best case in the business – the Vista’s case is super-compact and IP54 rated itself. You can also locate the headphones and the case through the Jaybird app if you’ve absent-mindedly set them down somewhere in the gym and can’t remember where, which is something you’ll never think about until it becomes your absolute favourite feature one day.

Buy from Jaybird | £189.99 (currently reduced to £149.99)

Best Value: JLab Epic Air Sport ANC

RRP £99.99 | JLab Epic Air Sport ANC review

These get the fundamentals right, with a 15-hour battery life (plus another 55 hours in the case), an ear hook for a secure fit and solid sound quality. And you get all that for £99.99 at most – the price is often reduced. Extra features are hit and miss: the active noise cancellation (ANC) is a disappointment, blocking only a small amount of sound, but the adjustable Be Aware mode is excellent, letting just enough ambient noise in so you can hear what’s going on around you without ruining your music. The poor ANC is a minor quibble given the other positives you’re getting from these headphones, most notably that excellent battery life.

Buy from John Lewis | £99.99 (currently reduced to £59.00)

Best For Active Noise Cancellation: Jabra Elite 7 Active

RRP £169.99 | Jabra Elite 7 Active review

The Elite 7 Active earbuds have a strong claim for being the best all-round gym headphones you can buy. The Vista 2 buds perhaps just edge them out thanks to the extra security of fit offered by the wings, especially when doing HIIT sessions, but the Jabra buds still fit impressively well though and didn’t come unstuck at all during our workouts. There’s an ANC mode that blocks out a good amount of noise and you can adjust how much it filters out in the partner app, as well as an adjustable awareness mode. The sound quality on the buds is also great, and the ability to customise EQ to suit your preferences in the app works very well. A plus point of the Elite 7 Active over the Jaybird Vista 2 is the battery life, which comes in at eight hours when using the ANC mode.

Buy from Jabra | £169.99

Best For Sound Quality: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport

RRP £300 | B&O Beoplay E8 Sport review

These extraordinary headphones come with an extraordinary £300 price tag, but if you are prepared to spend the money on them the B&O Beoplay E8 Sport are the best sports headphones we’ve come across for sound quality. The fit is also incredibly secure, with fins helping to ensure the buds don’t budge even during intense workouts with plenty of jumping around. The battery life is top-notch too at seven hours on one charge plus another 23 in the carry case. The headphones are IP57 rated, so will have no trouble shrugging off your sweatiest efforts in the gym. It’s all good then, especially if you’re someone who rates sound quality as your key concern, but that price is still hard to swallow.

Buy from B&O | £300

Best Under £50: Groov-E SportBuds

RRP £39.99 | Groov-E SportBuds review

There are a few decent pairs of truly wireless buds under £50 we’ve tested – the Mpow T6s for example – but we prefer the secure fit you get with ear hooks in the gym, so we recommend the Groov-E SportBuds. The battery life is four hours and the case has a USB port so you can charge other devices from it. The sound is decent, exceeding our expectations in this price bracket, and there’s a mono mode if you like to exercise with one ear open. A terrific bargain.

Buy from Groov-E | £39.99

Best For Fit: Beats Powerbeats Pro

RRP £219.95 | Beats Powerbeat Pro review

The star feature of the Powerbeats Pro is all-day battery life without wires – the buds last for nine hours before they need to go back in their case for a recharge – but we value their brilliant fit just as highly. The ear hook design means the headphones don’t budge an inch during workouts, whether you’re running, doing burpees or head-banging to your gym playlist. The sound quality also impresses, but the price for all these features is eye-wateringly high, even in the expensive world of truly wireless headphones.

Buy from Beats | £219.95

Best On-Ear Headphones: Adidas RPT-01

RRP £119.99

The knitted ear cushions and inner headband on these headphones are removable and washable, so you can wear them in the gym confident that you can clean the sweat off afterwards. The tight fit of the headset can become slightly uncomfortable if worn for long stretches at your desk, but it’s ideal to keep the RPT-01 cans in place during a workout. That said, while they’ll stay put for strength training you may well find in-ear buds are more secure for plyometric exercises and treadmill workouts. The 40 hours of battery and excellent sound you get as a result of the bigger on-ear design is a major positive compared with in-ear options.

Buy from Adidas | £119.99

Best For The Gym And The Office: Apple AirPods Pro

RRP £249 | Apple AirPods Pro review

The AirPods Pro are solid sports headphones, with a reasonably secure in-ear fit and an IPX4 rating that means they can handle sweat and rain – though they’re not completely waterproof like some other options. They’re also excellent headphones for general use, with a comfortable fit and great sound quality. The impressively effective ANC melts away external sounds – whether it’s the general bustle of the gym or office, or the buzz of trains and planes – and a transparency mode lets in more noise when you need to hear your surroundings. The buds don’t have the best battery life at 4½ hours with the ANC on, but there are another 19 hours of juice in the pocket-sized case.

Buy from Apple | £249

Best For Awareness: Aftershokz Aeropex

RRP £149.95 | Aftershokz Aeropex review

Aftershokz is the undisputed champion of bone-conduction headphones, which leave the ears completely open and instead deliver your music through your cheekbones, and the Aeropex headphones are the company’s best. They’re lighter than their predecessors, the Aftershokz Air, and have a higher waterproof rating and longer battery life (eight hours vs six) too. Aftershokz has also improved performance with the Aeropex so there’s less sound leakage. The benefits of having your ears clear are most apparent when exercising outdoors, but the added awareness is useful in a busy gym too and you could even wear the Aeropex headphones for group classes and still be able to hear the instructor.

Buy from Aftershokz | £149.95

Best For Swimmers: Aftershokz Xtrainerz

RRP £139.95 | Aftershokz Xtrainerz review

These bone-conducting MP3 headphones don’t have Bluetooth, but they do have 4GB of storage for your music and podcasts, and they’re IP68-rated, meaning they are waterproof enough to withstand two hours of submersion in water up to two metres deep. The bone-conduction technology also works wonders in the pool thanks to the special swim EQ setting which is required to reduce the bass because of how well sound travels under the surface. It takes a moment or two to get the headphones positioned with goggles and a swimming cap, but once they’re in place, there are no better buds for swimmers looking to reduce the boredom of logging laps in the pool.

Buy from Aftershokz | £139.95

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