Best True Wireless Earbuds For Running & Working Out 2021
SoundGearLab-Team | Last Updated On August 31st, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.
True wireless earbuds are the most compact of all wireless headphones types. Because of this, they are much convenient for working out. There are many true wireless earbud options available; however, not all are made for working out or better yet running. Better yet, workout earbuds should not fall out when in use. In this guide, We feature our choosen best true wireless earbuds for running and working out.
True wireless technology is rapidly developing, and when it comes to using them for working out, they are getting more popular. Truly wireless earbuds are compact and pack all the tech into tiny earbuds which makes them the best for workouts.To get the best true wireless earbuds that don’t fall out, our team took several steps to make sure we feature only the best in this list.
First, we looked out for the build quality of the earbuds. We made sure the earbuds in our list were well built to handle accidents such as falling accidentally when working out. Next, the comfort of the earbuds was taken into account. Not only the comfort but also the fit and how each earbud performed when performing our running tests. We checked how each earbud held up and how they were guaranteed not to fall out during exercise.
Also, we checked the for how each pair easily connected to our playback devices and the battery life when the earbud was fully charged. We also opted for true wireless earbuds that came with a charging case to those that did not include one. Lastly, we reviewed each model for its sound quality and chose the earbuds that sounded better than the competition. So, after trial and testing, this list features our 10 best true wireless earbuds for running.
Battery Life: 15 hours Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0 Smart Assistants: Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri
What We Like: Good for working out and everyday use, rich bass and vocals, Accelerometer for run tracking What We Don’t: HearThrough cannot be disabled when tracking runs
The Jabra Elite Active 65t is currently one of the best earbuds around. For a True Wireless earbud, the Jabra Elite Active 65t are perfect for the gym, at home or working in the office. With good battery life, good sound and a ton of other features, the Jabra Elite Active 65t outdo most of its competitors and for now, holds the top sport as the best true wireless earbud for running.
The Elite Active 65t are small, and their build quality is great. The buds come in a circular design and have a protruding arm that helps a user fit them snugly in the ears. The earbuds were first available in black and blue, but you can now get the earbud in up to 5 different colors which include, Black, Blue, Red, Beige and Full black.
The earbuds come tucked in an oval grey charging case. The case is both used to keep the earbuds secure and also charge them. The earbuds are advertised to play for up to 5 hours before they are slotted back into the charging case. In our test, we managed to get the earbud running for around four-and-a-half hours. For an additional listening session, the charging case included holds up to 10 hours of power, which gives a user a total of 15 hours before looking for a charger. If you forget to charge the earbuds (like we did), you will appreciate the fast charging of the earbuds. For a fifteen minutes charge, you can use the earbuds for over 1 hour.
For controls, the earbud comes with three physical buttons; a rocket switch button on the left earbud that allows volume adjustment and skipping through tracks and one button on the right earbud that enables a user to play/pause music. Take calls and enable the “HeadThrough” feature. HearThrogh is a feature by Jabra that allows a bit of sound from the environment to enter the earbud. This helps a user be aware of the sounds around.
With an ergonomic design, the Jabra Elite Active 65t fit very comfortably in the ears. For sports or running, the earbuds provide a snug fit and we never had problems about them falling out. To get a proper fit, insert the earbuds into your ears and using the protruding arm turn the earbuds in a screwing motion counter-clockwise twist to lock them into place. Apart from offering a snug fit when working out, the earbud also comes with a built-in accelerometer which makes it a capable fitness tracker. To use the tracker, you will have to install and open the Jabra Sound+ app.
The sound quality of the Elite Active 65t is quite good for a true wireless earbud. The bass is tight and punchy, and clearly, the earbud is better than most of its competitor. The mids and treble are also not neglected, making elements like acoustic guitars and vocals come out naturally. However, the Bose Soundsport free which comes second on our list outdid the Elite Active 65t on audio quality. However, this is not a big issue since the Elite Active 65t beats the Bose in many areas.
Battery Life: 15 hours Bluetooth Version: Smart Assistants: Google Assistant, Siri
What We Like: Comfortable, great sounding earbud What We Don’t: Bulky and big design
Bose is an industry leader in active noise-cancelation, and the company recently took a plunge into the world of truly wireless earbuds by offering their first ever truly wireless earbuds, the SoundSports Free. Though products with a Bose logo on them cost more, if you have spent time with their offerings, you know value exists. They are easy to set up, function exactly as advertised and sound good.
The Bose SoundSport Free have a sturdy design, but their large design makes them bulky than most in-ear headphones on this list. A large disc shape on the earbuds stick out of the ears and is said to house the battery and other critical stuff required for the earbuds functionality. However, thanks to the ear tips or fins that come with earbuds, the earbud balance nicely despite their bigger and bulky shape. The earbud is available in three colors, Blue,Black, and Orange.
The SoundSport Free comes housed in a black charging case. It takes around two hours to fully charge the earbuds and the case for the first time. The SoundSport Free earbuds come with a 5-hour battery life according to bose while the charging case offers an additional 10 hours of battery life. You can check the case’s battery life by looking at the LEDs provided.
To control the earbuds, Bose includes a basic array of controls on the top side of each earbud. The right earbud houses a set of three buttons – volume up, volume down buttons and a play/pause button located in the middle. The left earbud simply has one button which controls Bluetooth pairing to a device. The controls are well placed, but we did find them sometimes stiff and difficult to press which even made us take the buds off to operate them properly or when picking calls.
When it comes to the comfort and fit of the earbud, one would think because the Bose SoundSport Free is bulky and has a big shaped design it would be uncomfortable. On the contrary, we found the earbud to be very comfortable. The earbuds come with an extra two pairs of earbud tips that you can use if the default ones don’t fit properly. The earbuds are suitable for running and stayed in place even while climbing and hiking. They are IPX4 rated which might not be the best, but they do an excellent job of keeping the earbuds safe from sweat while working out.
The Bose Soundsport Free has a superb sound quality. In fact, the sound quality of the headphone is the best in our list, better than even the Jabra Elite Active 65t that currently holds the top spot. The bass is deep and well extended. The midrange performance is also great but a little forward sounding. The treble is clear and present with a good balance lead instruments and vocals. At high volumes, the bass becomes slightly hyped which affects the other frequencies. Other than music, the Bose SoundSport Free also offers great call quality.
Battery Life: 14 hours Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0 Smart Assistants: Google Assistant, Siri
What We Like: Affordable price, snug fit when working out, good Bluetooth range What We Don’t: Controls confusing to master for some, buttons not very intuitive
True wireless earbuds were once more expensive than their brothers, the traditional wireless earbuds. However, as each brand dishes out its true wireless earbud, the competition has reduced and so are the prices. For most of us who work with tight budgets and still want a quality product, the JLab Audio JBuds Air might be the affordable true wireless earbuds worth looking at.
For the price tag, the JLab Audio JBuds Air comes with it is very hard to point out any flaws in their design. The earbuds and feature mostly rubber and plastic in their construction. We found them sturdy, and the earbuds can handle pretty much what you through at it. However, one thing we did not like was the size of the earbud. Though not as large as the Bose Soundsport Free, the JBuds Air are certainly on the bigger side.
However, do not be turned away by its size. The earbuds are light and had a great fit for our ears. At just 6 grams, what these earbuds lack in design, they make it up for in their functionality. Once you plug them into the ears, the earbuds fit very well and remained stable while working out. The comfort is good, but they earbuds tend to get uncomfortable after 1 hour of use. If you spend less time at the gym or when running then you will find them good. You can also try out the extra ear tips and fins that come with the earbud.
The performance of the JBuds Air for the price you pay for them is pretty good. For starters, when fully charged the earbuds gave us 4 hours of playback time. This compared very correctly with what JLab advertised. When the earbuds need a recharge, you can get 10—- hours of charge from the charging case. We found the battery life a tad less comparable to the likes of the Jabra Elite 65t and the Soundsport Free, which are two expensive earbuds.
Unlike most true wireless earbuds, the JBuds do not come with an app. All the controls are placed on the earbuds. Each earbud has only one button each, which is placed under the JLab’s logo. However, we found it very confusing to master and operate the earbuds. Clicking the left earbud turns down the volume and plays the previous song while clicking on the right earbud turns the volume up and skips to the next song. Overall, we found that operating the earbuds was not a very good experience. For example, we would have preferred an app to change things like EQ settings faster.
Talking of EQ options, the JLab JBuds comes with three preset equalizer options. These are JLabs’s signature sound, Balanced and Bass Boost. Most of our testing was done with the JLab Balanced EQ setting. However, switching to the other equalizer options does make a difference. The Bass Boost EQ sounds as the name suggests, putting more emphasis on the low end. The signature EQ tries to boost both the bass and treble altogether. The balanced mode works to keep everything neutral. However, we did notice that even in balanced EQ, the bass is still emphasized. The overall sound quality of the JBuds is great for gym goers, however, for analytical listeners, you might want to look for another earbud, much like the Bose SoundSport Free which we liked.
Battery Life: 15 hours Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0 Smart Assistants: None
What We Like: IP57 rating, touch, and physical controls, Ambient aware ear tips What We Don’t: Battery life not great, sound quality
Most true wireless earbuds come in round buds design like the Jabra Elite 65t or SoundSport Free, while others like the Airpods have stems that extend down from the ears. However, Plantronics took a different approach with the design of the BackBeat FIT 3100. These true wireless earbuds have silicone hooks that keep the earbuds secure. The hooks keep the earbuds stable when working out making Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 a good match for runners or other outdoor sporting activities.
The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 is made from plastic, rubber, and metal. The design looks and feels sturdy which is suitable for a sports or workout earbud. The earbuds which are available in black and metallic blue feature long rubber hooks which keep the headphone from falling off. Aside from that, soft rubber wings (red-orangey) that not only cover the earbud’s speakers but also provide a secure fit and channel sound into the inner part of the canal.
The earbuds come in a small zippered charging case. The case is larger than the ones that come with the Jabra Active 65t mainly due to the rubber hooks. The like others in this list perform double duty, storing and charging the earbuds. The charging case comes with 10 hours of additional power, while the earbuds pack 5 hours playback time. On our tests, the earbuds did not reach the claimed 5 hours by Plantronics. The best time we got when using the earbuds was just over 3.5 hours. Apart from that, we dislike the short charging cable that came with the earbuds.
Unlike other true wireless earbuds on our list, the BackBeat Fit 3100 does not offer a complete seal. Instead, the earbud’s ear tip rests just inside the ear canal. For a person who feels irritated when earbuds are jammed into your ear, this might be a good option. The partial seal is also designed to let in ambient noise which helps a user beware of his/her environment when working out outdoors. The earbuds are comfortable and secure. However, it would have been better if Plantronics provided a range of interchangeable ear tip sizes, which is not the case.
To control the earbuds, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 comes with holographic panels which are touch sensitive and respond to taps and press. The right earbud controls playback and power plus several different things like skipping tracks or answering calls. The left earbud adjusts the volume of the earbuds. The earbuds also come with a companion app which you can use customize the controls and other basic stuff.
The audio quality of the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 is decent, but we would prefer a bass-rich earbud over these. Because the earbuds do not create a complete seal, heavy bass songs do not have the kick compared to similarly priced models in this list. The other frequencies are also not the best and could use some work to come out better. I would be better if Plantronics provided ear tips that can create a complete seal so the user can change when needed. However, if you run on a busy street and want to be aware of traffic, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 excels in that.
Earbud Types Wired vs. Wireless earbuds vs. True wireless
Wired, wireless or true wireless – which is better?
Choosing between these three earbuds options is not easy. However, your choice should be determined by your lifestyle or preferences. In our case, we took our time to look for the best true wireless earbuds for running and working out in general. However, do the other earbud types come with their advantages?
Jabra Elite Active 65t
Wired Earbuds for Working out
When it comes to working out, there are many reasons why the cable can win you over in the battle of wired vs. wireless.
First, wired earbuds are always ready – there is no fuss over the need to charge the battery. Just plug them, and you are ready to go. Second, wired headphones are longer lasting. Compared to wireless earbuds which in every cycle of charge and discharge decrease their expectancy. Third, we all agree wired earbuds have better sound quality than wireless earbuds – that’s for now before wireless earbuds catch up.
However, it is not always sunshine on the side of the wired earbuds – especially if you require a pair for working out. First, they are convenient because you always carry extra weight with you, whether it is your phone or any playback device. Second, tangled wires are annoying to deal with. A also user always has to be careful not to pull the wires and break them.
JLab Audio JBuds Air
Wireless and True Wireless Earbuds for working out
Wireless and True wireless earbuds are two different kinds of earbuds. The main distinction between the two is that truly wireless earbuds completely lack a cable between the two earpieces. Wireless earbuds on the other hand still are connected with wires between the earbuds, but no longer need to access to a phone via the headphone jack.
Bose SoundSport Free
What Makes a Good Workout Earbud?
There are a couple of things we look out for when choosing the best workout earbuds. Here are several things to look out for when shopping for headphones mainly for workouts.
Secure Fit – Headphones or earbuds that do not say put during workouts are useless. Though this is primarily a problem associated with over-ear and on-ear headphones.
Comfortable – A comfortable fitting headphones is a must. A headphone that clamps hard on your head or earbuds that are uncomfortable should not be on your list. A good workout headphone should stay secure on your head, comfortable and stay out of your workouts.
Sweat and Water Resistance – Water is an enemy of electronics, and unless you don’t sweat when working out, getting a sweat/ water resistant headphone is a must. Standard headphones are not built to withstand the beating that workout headphones take. Therefore using them at the gym or when running might destroy them. Always check out for IP ratings of individual workout headphones to make sure it can handle what you through at it. See the IP rating chart.
Noise Isolation – Noise isolation or cancellation is a valuable feature in a gym headphone. Not only does it help to drown out distracting noise, but also so you can enjoy your music without cranking up the volume to dangerous levels.
Sound Quality – Workout headphones are primarily a piece of sporting equipment. Therefore a little flaw in the sound quality might be forgiven. However, The bass should not be heavy such that you cannot hear the vocals or the treble should not be piecing that it hurts your ears.
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100
True Wireless Battery Life and Charging Case
One of the biggest challenges true wireless earbuds face is poor battery life. Even today when compared to wireless earbuds, true wireless still lag behind. Part of the reason why true wireless earbuds have a poor battery life is that maintaining the connectivity between the true wireless earbuds themselves and the phone is intense and consumes a lot of power.
Another reason would be the small form factor of the true wireless earbuds. So far, currently in the market, the longest battery life comes with the CREATIVE OUTLIER AIR, which clocks at over 7 hours. However, the majority of the earbuds around typically last between three to five hours before they require a recharge.
To combat the short battery life in true wireless earbuds, manufacturers have added charging cases that come with the earbuds. Almost all true wireless earbuds come with a charging case which recharges both earbuds several times. The charging case apart from providing extra power also acts as a storage case to keep the earbuds safe.
Smart Assistants for Earbuds
There are three primary virtual assistants which are integrated with headphones. These are Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. While others exist, like Cortana or Bixby, they are not as popular. Virtual assistants can do everything from playing music, giving directions, answering questions, etc.
On earbuds and headphones that support smart assistants, you can use a dedicated button to activate a smart assistant. Some headphones also recognize commands or greetings such as “Hey Siri” to enable the smart assistants.
There are several advantages of having a smart assistant enabled headphone. A smart assistant can control media playback, set timers and reminders or even read out a brief of your day of a specific appointment. You can also use a smart assistant to make calls, text a particular person or check your voice mail.
Bose SoundSport Free
Touch and Physical Controls
Controls in truly wireless earbuds make up for either a good or bad experience. Occasional, when thinking about the concept of controls on earbuds, you are more likely to identify with play, pause, volume, track skip, and power. Though these controls seem simple, some manufacturers fail at giving a satisfactory user experience with their earbuds controls.
One of the major complains we have had with earbuds controls is awkward button placements, horrible buttons (not intuitive) or non-responsive – especially with touch controls. One earbud on our list we have issues with about its controls would be the Bose SoundSport Free. We found the controls were a little stiff and non-intuitive. However, we have not heard many complaints about them, and we will be checking out a new pair to confirm this issue.
As a guide, before investing in a pair of earbuds, it is worth taking your time and looking for a) The earbuds have a volume and track controls, b) their location on the earbud, and c) how they work. A good pair of ear buds should have controls that respond smoothly and accurately. With that said, if any of the earbuds on our list has any issues, we have noted it down.