Wireless headphones have taken over in the fitness world. Their usability, convenience and additional features like noise cancellation give wireless headphones an upper hand over their wired cousins. Whether you need a headphone for running, lifting or other workouts, there is something for everyone. In this list, the soundgearlab’s staff has put together the best over-ear headphones for working out available right now.
- Comparison Table
- How We Choose
- Our Best Over-Ear Headphones for Working out
- Workout Headphones Buying Advise
|HEADPHONES||BATT.*||CANC.*||W/S Proof||SMART ASST.||Weight|
|TREBLAB Z2||35 hours||Yes||Yes/ IPX4||Alexa and Siri||252g|
|BLUEANT PUMP ZONE||30 hours||No||Yes/ IPX4||Siri and Google Now||252g|
|Jlab FLEX SPORT||20 hours||No||Yes/ IP44||Siri and Google Assistant||191g|
|Soul X-TRA||23 hours||No||No||None||198g|
|Skull Candy Crusher Wireless||40 hours||No||No||None||275g|
|Bose SoundLink II||15 hours||No||No||Siri and Google Assistant||467g|
|Sony WH-CH700N||35 hours||Yes||No||Google Assistant||240g|
|August EP750||14 hours||Yes||No||None||235g|
|Mpow H5||30 hours||Yes||No||None||196g|
|Mpow H7||18 hours||Yes||No||None||217g|
*Batt. = Battery Life
*Canc. = Noise-Cancellation
*W/SProof = Water/ Sweat Proof
With hundreds and hundreds of wireless headphones in the market, choosing the best for a particular activity can be a daunting task. Pitting the headphones against each other consumes time and resources (We don’t mean that as a complaint). To get this list, we had no narrow our focus on wireless over-ear headphones for working out. So, whether it is a wireless over-ear headphone for the gym, running, cardio, etc. we tried our best to include a model that could handle most of the workouts.
To get the top headphones in these categories, we looked at not only the sound quality of the different headphones, but also the comfort, battery life, ease of use and value for money. Since these are headphones for working out, we also looked for headphones with additional features such as noise cancelling, smart assistants (Alexa, Siri) and waterproof or sweat resistant over-ear headphones. Though over-ear headphones are mostly designed for the immersive listening experience, we did our research and came up with this list of the best headphones for working out. We believe our choices represent the best available, but if you disagree with any of our picks or think we have missed a better and worthy model, please point it out in the comments below.
1. TREBLAB Z2 – Our Best Over-Ear Headphone for Working Out
Water/ Sweat Resistant: Yes/ IPX4
Battery Life: Over 30 hours
What we like: Affordable headphones, Long battery life,
What we don’t like: Noise canceling could use some improvement
So, why is the Treblab Z2 headphone the best wireless over-ear headphone for working out you can out there? These are good at almost everything, and the best thing is the attractive price tag that comes with them. A well-written review of this headphone scarcely does it justice. This is why you should get yourself a pair of the TREBLAB Z2 – Premium Sports Wireless Headphones and hear it for yourself. However, if you are still not convinced of how good these headphones are, below is a short review of the TREBLAB Z2.
The build quality of the TREBLAB Z2 is great, and nothing looks cheap despite their low price. The headphone is made of plastic and comes in black color except for the aluminum sliders. A dominant logo sits on the sides of the earcups. The headphone is sturdy, and there were no creaking or popping sounds when you move your head. The headband is lightly padded and owing to its adjustable design, and it provides a secure and tight fit making it hard for the headphone to fall off when working out. The earpads are covered with synthetic leather and padded with foam. The foam used is good, and neither feels soft nor firm. However, the earcups openings are a bit small, and if you have large ears, they might get uncomfortable if you wear the headphone for extended periods. The earcup also has inputs for an aux cable which is supplied and a charging port. The left earcup comes with the active noise cancellation function which can be turned on or off using a button provided. A small opening of the headphone mic can also be seen on the left earcup.
On the comfort side of the headphone, the TREBLAB Z2 are good and can be worn for more extended periods when working out without getting uncomfortable or straining the ears. As indicated earlier, a person with big ears would find the headphone uncomfortable. The earpads though not very thick, they are very soft and do a great job at providing a cushioning feel.
The TREBLAB Z2 wireless headphone has three features that make it an excellent wireless over-ear headphone for working out. These features are active noise cancelation, sweat proof ability and long battery life. First, the noise canceling feature of the TREBLAB Z2 is not like that of Bose or Sony, but it sure does a good job at canceling unwanted noise. The good thing is you can also use the headphone with noise canceling turned without listening to any music. Second, the headphone comes with a water/ sweat resistant rating of IPX4. A rating of IPX4 protects the headphone from water and sweet but do not submerge the headphones under water. However, the TREBLAB Z2 will work in light rain without spoiling. Third, with a long battery life of over 30 hours, these headphones are sure to last a whole exercise session without failing midway. However, it worthy to note that with noise cancellation turned on, the battery life is reduced to about just over 18 hours.
So how does the TREBLAB Z2 sound?
Good design and a list of other features are vital for choosing a particular headphone. However, in the end, it boils down to sound. The TREBLAB Z2’s sound quality is good but not the best in this price range for the list of headphones we have tested. However, being a wireless headphone, the highs are clear, and the bass is punchy without sounding boomy. Using the headphone with noise canceling turned on does degrade the audio quality, especially the bass but this is to be expected with any active noise canceling headphone. The quality of the built-in mic is at best OK, but we would not term it as great especially in a situation where ambient or distracting noise in the environment.
2. BlueAnt Pump Zone – Comfortable and Sweatproof
Water/ Sweat Resistant: Yes/ IP54
Battery Life: 30 hours
What we like: Strong and punchy bass, water and sweat resistant, good build quality, good noise isolation
What we don’t like: Weak treble and vocals, thin lining pleather
BlueAnt has been in the industry for quite some time. Their range of sports audio electronics has set them high above the pack. The BlueAnt Pump Zone does not have a ton of advanced features. They don’t have noise cancellation or other fancy specs. However, if you are looking for a waterproof over-ear headphone that has been tested and proven over time, the BlueAnt Pump Zone Bluetooth over Ear HD Wireless Headphones is a worthy subject to check out.
The BlueAnt Pump Zone is built mostly from plastic. However, a combination of the plastic, faux leather and metals give the headphone a premium and sturdy look. The headphone comes in different colors, red, blue, black, green and rose gold. In this review out test headphone was the black model which was agreed upon unanimously. Both the headband ad earpads feature ample padding that rests over the head and ears without causing any strain. Though the headphone looks well made, one thing we had a gripe with was the thin faux leather lining that looks like it can easily chip apart after extended use. However, we are yet to see any chipping or cracks, so we could be wrong; only time will tell.
The headphone’s comfort and fit while listening to music or when working out is good. The earpads and headband are covered with pleather whose textured surface works to provide a comfortable feel, and the earpads also have a better grip even when wet. Because the BlueAnt Pump Zone is water or sweat resistant, it can take a fair amount of sweat when working out and you do not have to worry about destroying the headphone.
As earlier noted, the BlueAnt Pump Zone does not come with a bunch of features. Key among these features the headphone lacks is Active noise cancellation. However, being an over-ear headphone, the BlueAnt Pump Zone does offer enough noise isolation, though you can still hear loud noises like generators. However, these loud noises or ambient noise are drowned away when playing a song with enough volume.
The BlueAnt Pump Zone comes with a 30 hours battery life. While using the headphone at 80% volume (Which was loud enough for us), the headphone lasts slightly over 28 hours which makes the manufacturer’s claim close. Unlike most headphones, the buttons of the BlueAnt Pump Zone are located on the sides of the earcups making them easily accessible and to use. The headphone is easy to use, and with a Bluetooth version of 4.0, it covers a range of over 20meters but with a clear range.
The BlueAnt Pump Zone sounds every bit as good, and as the name suggests, the bass is prominent it comes out nice and solid. While the bass is more superior in this headphone, it does very little to interfere with the other parts of the spectrum. However, the vocals and treble did not please us and sound weak and could use an upgrade to better fine-tune the sound.
3. JLab Audio Flex Sport – Best Over-Ear Headphone for Outdoor Workouts
Water/ Sweat Resistant: Yes/ IPX4
Battery Life: 20 hours
What we like: Lightweight, perforated headband for breathability, 3 EQ sound settings, washable earpads
What we don’t like: Low battery life
When the JLab Audio Flex Sport headphone was launched into the market by JLab CEO Win Cramer, It was dubbed one of the best workout headphones in its category. For less than $100, the JLab Audio Flex Sport is said to offer decent audio performance in a sporty headphone that is great for hiking, climbing, running or lifting weights.
How did the JLab Audio Flex Sport holds up in our tests? Find out below.
In-ear headphones are mostly preferred for working out; however, with the entry of over-ear dedicated sports headphones like the JLab Audio Flex Sport, choosing between an over-ear or in-ear headphone gets even better. The JLab Audio Flex Sport is designed for sports. With a very lightweight design, the Flex Sport headphone features a customizable design which offers a user the freedom to tweak the design to their preferences. The headphone comes with two plastic tension bands that can be used to adjust the clamping force of the headphone.
A removable headband provides a comfortable resting surface for the headphone on a person’s head without causing hotspots. Soft and lightly padded earpads do just the right work by making the headphone comfortable. The earpads are cushioned with polyurethane foam and covered with a soft and water/ sweat absorbent polyester-cotton material. Though the earpads are not sweet proof, they can be removed and washed when they get dirty. JLab recommends washing them by hand as opposed to machine washing. To improve the comfort of the headphone, a removable soft headband is also provided. The headband is perforated for higher breathability and comfort.
For a workout headphone, the JLab Audio Flex Sport has outdone most of its competitors. The headphone comes with an IP44 rating, which gives it protection when water comes into contact with the headphone’s enclosure. The headphone’s fit is also great, and the different tension bars work fine. We opted to go with a tight fit while working out and the normal fit for walking. Though the JLab Audio Flex Sport lacks active noise cancellation, the Be Aware Audio by JLab makes the headphone very user-friendly to an outdoor runner or walker who wants to be aware of his/her surroundings while working out.
Among other things that make this headphone great is the 20 hours battery life which took around two hours to recharge to full battery. The buttons on the headphone are also easy to find and well positioned.
With three custom EQ sound settings getting your best sound is easy with just a click. Pressing down the logo button for about 2 seconds, you can switch between the three JLab custom EQ settings. The three options are Balanced, JLab’s signature sound and lastly Bass Boost. In our tests, we found the Bass Boost as the best EQ setting as it came closest to what we found ideal and also offered the best sense of depth. However, Bass Boost is useful if you are listening to songs that lack bass. If a song has a lot of bass, you can choose between the other two EQ settings.
Water/ Sweat Resistant: No
Battery Life: 24 hours
What we like: Removable and washable earpads, lightweight, good battery life
What we don’t like: Should be priced lower
Soul may not be the first headphone company that comes to your mind when you think about the best headphones. However, the company has a lot to offer. Sports or workout headphones are designed to handle the tear, wear and sweat during a workout. Unlike most headphones which are unsuitable for the gym, the Soul X-TRA Performance is an exercise-orientated headphone.
The Soul X-TRA Performance design features an all plastic look except for the headband adjustment metal sliders. The plastic used does not feel premium but works to keep down the weight of this headphone. Plastic in most sports headphones usually works to reduce the overall weight of the headphone. The headband bare plastic and features a perforated design which works to increase airflow when working out. The removable earpads stretch over the earcups rather than using magnets or hooks which makes them hard to reattach. The earpads have good cushioning and a synthetic material that is a little rough to keep the headphones from slipping covers the earpads.
Though the Soul X-TRA Performance features a sporty look, the comfort of the headphone comes with some issues which reduced the overall experience of the headphone. The clamp of the headphone is great added the rough earpads, and the headphone stays on and does not fall out when working out. However, this will not apply to all exercise. They stay on for most upright activities but fell a few times during exercises where we had to lie down. Despite lacking good headband cushioning, the Soul X-TRA is light, and we had no problems wearing the headphone for longer sessions.
For sports, the Soul X-TRA comes with several features that put it up on our list. First, a 24-hour battery is sure to last you a whole exercise session without any trouble. Second, the headphone comes in a very compact, foldable and portable design making it easy to take the headphone with you during workouts. Third, Removable and washable earpads make it easy to manage the hygiene of the headphone which is vital in a headphone which is exposed to sweat. Lastly, the headphone features a set of LED lights that keep a person visible. This is particularly important for people who enjoy a late evening or early morning jogging when the light is low.
For a workout headphone, the Soul X-TRA Performance is not the best when it comes to the headphone’s sound. Sport headphones are often bass-heavy; however, the Soul X-TRA’s are not. The lack of the bass makes it harder for the headphone to block out ambient noise, but for an outdoor runner, the lack of bass might just come as a blessing. On the hand, if prefer more bass, tweaking your EQ settings is the best trick to give the headphone more bass. The mids and high end are good. However, comparing the overall build and sound quality of the Soul X-TRA Performance to cheaper headphones, we find this headphone is overpriced compared to what it delivers.
5. Skullcandy Crusher Wireless – Good Workout Headphone for Bass Lovers
What we like: Great battery life, Good thumpy bass, Ease of use
What we don’t like: Earpads don’t swivel horizontally, Clamping pressure gets uncomfortable after extended
Skullcandy has been, for a long time, a producer of outdoor products. Their products range from headphones, earbuds, speakers, power banks, etc. In the headphone niche, Skullcandy is renowned for some of their offerings like the Skullcandy Crusher, Hesh 2, and the Hesh 3. The Skullcandy Crusher Wireless is one of the company’s latest offerings. The Skullcandy crusher retails at roughly $100 and ticks most of our boxes to make it as preferred headphone for working out.
The Crusher Wireless is a well-built headphone, especially given Skullcandy’s awful history with the build quality of their past headphones. Though the headphone is made of cheap plastic, it feels sturdy. The headphone is available in black, and if you would rather have something brighter, the Crusher wireless is also available in white with contrasting tan earpads.
The earcups and headband are both covered with soft and smooth pleather type material. The earcups are amply padded with memory foam, which increases the comfort of the headphone when working out. For controls, the right earcup features three buttons on the side panel — a center power button which handles Bluetooth, call management, and playback. The volume up and down buttons also feature on the right earcup. The left earcup comes with the output and inputs ports for the headphone. There is a micro-USB port for charging and a 3.5mm port that provides wired listening and a bass slider.
Although the headphone is not made out of premium materials, the comfort is excellent and unmatchable to most headphones in this list. The earcups are large and thick memory foam padding in the earcups makes wearing them a breeze for long workout/listening sessions. The headband also features a very soft silicone like material which sits comfortably on the head and balances out the weight. Though the headband is hollow or has a space between the silicone and the metal band, it is super plush and exerts no pressure on top of the head.
The lack of proper earcup movement either horizontally or vertically creates pressure points at the bottom of the ears after extended use. This, coupled with a tight clamping pressure on the head, may get a little uncomfortable after a while. For working out 2-3 hours, the headphones are comfortable and stay on the head without falling.
If you prefer a workout headphone with noise cancellation, then the Skullcandy headphone is not the headphone for you. However, though they don’t have noise-canceling, they get pretty loud to cancel out ambient noise from the environment. Also related to sound, the headphone also has a good amount of sound bleed. People sitting around or next to you can hear what you are listening to, which could be a non-issue, but if you care about your privacy, it is something to think about.
For a workout headphone, the earpad materials are pretty solid when it comes to dealing with sweat. The headphone is not sweatproof, but the earpads only absorb a little sweat even with intense workouts. After workouts, dry them up by wiping with a cloth and the headphones are good to go for another workout session.
The best thing we loved about the Skullcandy Crusher wireless was the battery life. While Skullcandy claimed the battery life of the Crusher wireless was 40 hours, in our tests, we surpassed the 40-hour mark, which was quite impressive. This was achieved using the Crusher Wireless with a volume of average to high and the haptic bass on the lower end. We conclude using more of the haptic features may reduce the battery life, but it would still be on the high end.
With Bluetooth 4.0, the Skullcandy Crusher wireless has a decent connection for working out without dropping or notable skipping. The overall sound quality is great with deep and powerful bass, even but slightly recessed mids and good treble response. The Crusher Wireless is bass-heavy and turning up the bass slider up could overpower the vocals and lead instruments in the mids and treble ranges. However, if you are a bass lover, this headphone is undoubtedly a great pick. You get to decide what ‘too much bass’ is and set it to your preferences.
- Over-Ear Headphones vs. On-Ear Headphones vs. Earbuds
- Wireless vs. Wired Headphones
- Wireless Headphones Battery Life
- Noise Cancellation and Noise Isolation Explained
- Comfortable Fit and Good Head Clamping
- Bluetooth: 5.0 Vs. 4.2 Vs. 4.1
- Wireless Headphone Smart Assistants Explained
When we test workout headphones, we rarely get to try over-ear ones very often. Over-ear headphones might be comfortable, but most of them are heavy and harder to carry because they come in bigger designs. Because of this most over-ear headphones are completely useless when it comes to working out.
However, according to Grand View Research findings, Though In-ear headphones have captured the headphone market for sports and fitness application, Over-ear headphones are expected to gain traction with the increasing demand for headphones across the sports & fitness and music & entertainment applications.
Read more about Over-Ear Headphones vs. On-Ear Headphones vs. Earbuds
Technology sometimes comes with hard to understand names. However, in this case, the terms are easy to understand: Wireless headphones have no wires while there is definitely a wire in wired headphones. The decision on whether to choose wireless headphones or stick with the old faithful wired headphones is a long-standing debate. You probably already know the strengths of each or read about, however, we can take a few minutes to walk you through the biggest pros and cons of each. However, this will be based on headphones bought explicitly for working out.
When we consider gym activities such as aerobics, jogging, lifting, and other physical activities, it is very difficult not to see the importance of wireless headphones. Wires associated with wired headphones are problematic. With Bluetooth headphones, you can connect to your phone and still be able to move over ten feet away and still enjoy your music. You do not have to worry about getting tangled in the wires or which pocket to keep your phone while working out.
Wireless headphones have gained a lot of ground ever since their introduction to the market. When the iPhone 7 launched into the market without the headphone jack, it is eminent that more brands will follow this route.
This only goes to show it may become harder and harder to find a phone that will support the 3.5mm wired connection. Because most people use their phones at the gym or while working out, getting a wired headphone might not be a smart move in the long run.
The biggest and best argument you will hear in the debate of wired vs. wireless headphones is the sound quality. It is accurate, and wired headphones have better sound quality than wireless headphones. However, Bluetooth as the standard of wireless headphones has improved ever since it emerged, and that being said, people go to the gym to workout and not necessarily to listen to music. But, music is there to improve productivity and enhance the whole experience.
Let’s face it; wireless headphones will require to be charged in order to use them. Though this is a disadvantage, it is not a big one since you can get a headphone that can handle up to 24 hours without a recharge.
Wired headphones have the advantage of drawing their power from a playback device. However, with improving technology, the quick charge function in wireless headphones like the Sony WH1000XM3 can give you an impressive yield with just a 5-minute charge. So, if you are the type of person who continually forgets to charge your headphone, you can take it easy when using quick charge.
Noise cancellation also referred to as active noise cancellation (ANC), is the process that relies on phase reversal to make sure you cannot hear ambient noise while listening to music. A circuitry in wireless headphones with the help of tiny microphones makes this possible. The microphones capture sound from the environment and feed it to the active circuitry which cancels the sound using an inverse of the sound. You can read about it more here Active Noise Cancellation guide.
Noise isolation is also known as passive noise cancellation. The process of noise isolation in headphones involves nothing but the design of the headphones. In-ear headphones offer the best noise isolation compared to other headphones. However, when it comes to full-size headphones, choosing a closed-back headphone over an open-back headphone will ensure you get maximum noise isolation. For better noise isolation, check the headphone earpads and make sure they provide a tight seal around your ears.
When working out, you are sure to break a sweat. For that reason, a water-or-sweat-resistant headphone is of importance. Sweat or water resistant headphones are identified with their IP ratings. If you want to know your headphone is protected from sweat or water, always look if it is IP-certified. The lowest IP rating is the IPX0, and the list goes up to IPX8. Most headphones on our list have an IP rating of IPX4 which protects a headphone against splashing water from any direction.
Below is a break down of the IP ratings.
|IP Ratings||Protection against||Effective against|
|IPX0||No protection||Offers absolutely no protection against water which could destroy the device.|
|IPX1||Dripping water||Offers protection for at least 10 minutes when water drips above the device.|
|IPX2||Dripping water when tilted at 15°||Offers protection for 10 minutes when device is exposed to dripping water at an angle of 15°.|
|IPX3||Spraying water 60°||Offer protection from spraying water for 5 minutes when device is rotated for 60°.|
|IPX4||Splashing of water||Offers protection from splashing water on the device’s enclosure in any direction for 10 minutes.|
|IPX5||Water jets||Offers protection from a 6.3mm nozzle spray of water in any direction for 15 minutes|
|IPX6||Powerful water jets||Offers protection for a 12.5mm nozzle spray of water in any direction for at least 3 minutes|
|IPX7||Immersion, up to 1 m depth||Offers protection for 30 minutes when device is fully submerged in water for up to 1-meter depth|
|IPX8||Immersion, 1 m or more depth||Offers protection against the conditions specified by the manufacturer and the device can also handle water entering without being destroyed.|
When buying a workout headphone, you will also want to check the design and how good it will fit you. The headphone should be more comfortable to wear, and a good headphone clamp should ensure there should not be constant readjustment to get the headphone to stay on your head. So before making a hasty decision ask your self, “Does it fit comfortably and stay on and not fall out?”
Any Bluetooth headphone comes with its specifications relating to its Bluetooth compatibility. These are the different types of Bluetooth versions. Bluetooth is the standard of wireless headphones and facilitates how audio plays from your device to your wireless headphones.
There are different types of Bluetooth versions, 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0 to name a few. Understanding which version is better is pretty forward, Bluetooth 5.0 is superior to 4.2 whereas 4.2 is superior to 4.1. The latest Bluetooth version in the market currently is the Bluetooth 5.0. However, not many headphones currently support this version, but as time goes more manufacturers are set to use the 5.0.
Apart from the Bluetooth version, other terms you should be looking out for when buying Bluetooth headphones are:
AAC/AAC+ Support – If you want to use your headphone with iPhones or iPads, the support for AAC or AAC+ is mandatory. This is because Apple has chosen AAC as its wireless codec of choice.
aptX and aptX HD – This codec uses a more efficient compression method to provide high fidelity audio. aptX and aptX HD aim for low latency or reducing audio delay when playing games or watching movies online. If you are getting a headphone specifically for watching videos look for a headphone with aptX LL (aptX Low Latency), which ensures there are no lip sync problems. Both device and headphone must support aptX or aptX HD.
LDAC – LDAC is a Sony technology that allows high compression efficiency and transmission which enables the user to enjoy high-quality wireless audio via Bluetooth. However, to enable this just like aptX and aptX HD, both the device and receiver must support LDAC
There are three main virtual smart assistants currently in the market. These are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.
So how do smart assistants work?
If you have a headphone that does not support smart assistants, you would have to get your phone and use its internal microphone to activate smart assistant on the phone and control the headphone. However, with headphones that support smart assistants, you will no longer need to get to your phone to activate the smart assistant. All you need to do is tap a button on the headphone themselves which link directly to the smart assistant and issue a command.
If this functionality is useful to you or will make things easier for you while at the gym, then we strongly recommend getting a headphone that supports the smart assistant functionality.