The 6 Best Gym Headphones For Every Budget
Anyone serious about working out, knows that music is the key to having a great session. The right music at the right moment can truly unleash a hidden strength you never knew was inside of you. But the downside of listening to music are the headphone wires. A gym is full of moving parts and they tend to get stuck behind them, especially during deadlifts. Resulting in a ruined set and bad mood.
As a complete gym rat, I too have experienced this and know exactly what you need. I have literally gone through at least 30 so called best gym headphones by now and honestly once you find that perfect pair, it is just amazing. I’m not talking about just headphones that don’t get stuck but also the sound quality. There have been so many best gym headphones I have been deceived into buying that just sound so bad.
So in order to help, I have compiled a list of the best gym headphones available in my opinion. I have also categorized them based on price, quality and size. I know some of you like big over ear headphones so I have checked these as well.
What makes a good gym headphone?
These 3 are my favorite headphones but you can definitely also find something else. I have also written reviews about those best gym headphones below. In order to give you an idea of what actually makes a good headphone for working out, I have put together a list of key specs.
- Comfortable and stable fit
- Resistant to sweat
- Noise isolation
- Sound quality
- Battery life (for wireless headphones)
1. It is really important for the best gym headphones to fit you perfectly, almost glued to your head/ears. There is nothing worse than having to readjust them after every set or having to feel them move around during reps. The feeling of the headphones falling off can completely destroy all focus. If the headphones don’t stay glued to you, they are useless. This is also one of the reasons why most sport headphones have a hook design. I would say that the lighter the headphones the better they are for gym. The heavier earbuds, for example, usually try to fall out.
2. Sweat is the root to all evil when it comes to headphones. It destroys them faster than even the wires can break. If you are taking gym seriously then you will be sweating a lot and if you are planning on spending a lot of money on your headphones, then make sure they are sweat free. Otherwise just go with the cheapest option.
3. Extra noise isolation is a great feature to have. Gym is a place you want to keep focused and not hear what everyone is talking about around you. Earbuds are great when it comes to that. If you are more of an over-ear headphone person then this is kind of unavoidable. Then again, you can always turn up the sound :-). If you want to use them for running outside as well, in the city, then it might not be a good idea to get really isolating headphones. Its a good idea to hear any car coming. In that case it might be best to check out our article on the best running headphones!
4. If sweat wont destroy the best gym headphones, then physical wearing on the cable will. For that there are 3 options: wireless, thick cable, replaceable cable. Wireless headphones are the simplest, no wires no cable to break. Thick cables are great as they can take a lot more wear. Bad thing about them is that they aren’t exactly comfortable as they aren’t exactly flexible. Replaceable cable is something that most high end over-ear headphones have. If the cable should break, then you can just switch it with a new one, without having to buy a whole new headphone.
5. Sound quality is really really important. I don’t personally know anyone who listens to smooth mellow music at the gym. It is always either hard rock or electronic dance music. Both of which are quite demanding. Most cheaper headphones will have over-optimized bass levels. This is perfect for electronic dance music. The best gym headphones listed below, which I have reviewed, are fit for all genres.
6. Wireless headphones are amazing but the downside to them is battery. That is why battery life is really important. You should probably be looking at headphones that will last at least 4-5 hours. I know that you probably wont be spending no where near that long at the gym, but it is good to have more than necessary. For one, you might forget to charge them before workout. Or you also have to pay in mind that the battery life gets worse after every charging cycle. So the higher the battery life, the longer the wireless headphones will serve you.
1. Panasonic Ergo In-Ear Earbud RP-HJE120
A gym isn’t always the best place for expensive headphones. As I mentioned before, sweat is the main thing that destroys them. So if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on headphones, but at the same time still want decent sound quality, then the Panasonic RP-HJE120 earbuds are the best choice.
These headphones are cheap, I’m talking $6 cheap. So if they break, it’s not much of a loss. Just buy 4 more. At first I honestly thought, ok super cheap, these must be bad. But then I saw the rating on Amazon and they were rated so high that I had to try them.
Do they look kind of cheap? Yes, but gym isn’t exactly the place you go to show off your wealth. These Panasonics design are kind of a mix between in-ears and earbuds. They do come with 3 pairs of different size silicone eartips. This pretty great for $6 as having the correct size in your ear increases sound isolation and quality. They actually give a pretty good seal and won’t come out the ear. Even while doing deadlifts. The wire/cord is pretty thin. So keep that in mind while doing pulling exercises. The best idea would probably be to hide them under a shirt.
As said, the sound quality is great, if not impressive, when you get a good tight seal. I was really amazed when I reviewed them as well! I would even say that they sound is as good or better than $30 headphones. The balance between bass and clarity is really good. And surprisingly enough the bass hasn’t been over emphasized. So it sounds good even if you are into more acoustical music.
The price, design and sound quality make the Panasonic RP-HJE120 the best bang for budget headphones for gym. I mean come on $6, there is no other company that has managed to do that. If you are thinking that maybe a $20-30 option might still be better, then forget it. The sweat will eventually destroy them just as fast as these $6 ones so these are definitely the best option.
2. Audio Technica ATH-CKP500
Besides having fantastic headphones, Audio Technica also has the best earbuds for gym. The ATH-CKP500 bring their signature audio quality to sports earphones at an affordable price. These are great if you are looking for wired earphones for the gym.
The ATH-CKP500 earbuds have a simple sporty design. The most impressive part about them is the fit. You get few sets of different size wings, standard eartips and ridged eartips. The ridged eartips are for working out outside as they allow you to hear sounds from the surroundings. Plus you get 2ft extension cable if the base cable is too short. Oh and yes, they are sweatproof and can even handle spraying with water.
Audio Technica has managed to bring clean high quality audio to sports earbuds. They have a well balanced sound and decent amount of bass. Nothing about them is overturned so you can listen to any type of genre with them. The ATH-CKP500 should even satisfy audiophiles. Which means that you can use them for both everyday and sports.
3. Otium Wireless Sport Earbuds
Wireless earbuds don’t necessarily have to be expensive. There are tons of different cheap bluetooth headphones on Amazon. The real problem is finding one that is actually good for the price you pay. Otium is one of those. Their wireless sport bluetooth earbuds have more than 5026 customer reviews at a 3.9 rating out of 5. And that’s why they are the best cheap earbuds for gym.
The Otium earbuds have a pretty sleek and modern design. And even though they are rather big because of the ear hook, they actually aren’t that bulky. Which is still fine as the ear hook makes sure that the earbuds stay on when you are working out. Plus they make them look sporty. The earbuds also come with three sets of earpieces. So these should definitely fit everyone. Another huge plus for the Otium earbuds is the flat cable. It’s much more durable than round wires and won’t tangle up.
Despite being cheap, the Otium earbuds have a surprisingly good sound. It definitely has enough bass for listening to both EDM and Pop music. As long as you don’t turn the sound to full volume, that’s when you start to hear the flaws. But other than that, they are really good for the price. The earbuds even have a CVC 6.0 noise cancelling standard. It definitely works well at the gym and you don’t have to worry about the music played there. The battery life is around 8 hours, which again is really good for the price. Overall if you are looking for cheap wireless earbuds for the gym, then Otium is probably the best choice.
More information: Otium Wireless Sport Earbuds review
4. Sony MDR-XB50BS
Sony is a company that doesn’t need any introduction. They have everything from TV’s to cameras. That also includes headphones of course. What makes Sony so good is the build quality. It doesn’t matter what you buy from them, it’s impossible to be disappointed. The same can be said about their Bluebooth headphones and earbuds. Out of all the competitors, they have the best price to quality ratio. Which makes them the best bang for buck wireless earbuds.
The MDR-XB50BS have a simple and sleek design. They are around the same size as other bluetooth earbuds. But definitely bigger compared to something like the Jaybird X3’s. The earbuds also come with different size eartips and fins. Which are great and I managed to get a nice tight fit without a problem. That is also the key to having a good sound. Besides that, they sit really well in my ear. They didn’t come out once while working out at the gym, and that’s a huge plus for me.
Sony doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sound. The MDR-XB50BS are marketed as Extra Bass bluetooth earbuds and that’s exactly the case. They have a lot of bass and are perfect for both EDM and Hip-Hop music. They also isolate noise quite well. At least I wasn’t able to hear any gym music while listening to my own at a moderate level. The earbuds also have an 8.5 hour battery life, which is more than enough for the gym. Plus they are water resistant, so sweat won’t be a problem.
More information: Sony MDR-XB50BS review
5. Jaybird X2 (Best Gym Headphones)
Jaybird is a company that makes some of the most popular wireless Bluetooth headphones dedicated for sports. When they released their very first wireless BlueBuds X, it was an immediate hit.
But with the progress of technology, the BlueBuds X have gotten outdated and so Jaybird released a new version called the X2, with a hefty price tag of $149. Now I’ll be honest, based on just the price point, I would had still rather chosen the Jaybird BlueBuds X as the best headphones for gym. But sadly with the release of X2, they have discontinued the BlueBuds X so there is barely any stock left.
Despite my opinion that BlueBuds X is still enough at the moment, the Jaybird X2 is still an improved version. So what have they changed? The Jaybird X2 has a new matte finish, improved ear fin design, increased sweat proof rating, new carrying case and increased battery life (up to 8 hours). So the increased battery life alone is actually quite of a good reason to get these headphones.
What makes it the best headphone for gym? Well for one it is one of the best balanced headphones for sports. Let’s take the sound quality first. The Jaybird X2 is one of the best sounding in-ear headphones available. It offers great bass and clarity. What I like is that the bass hasn’t been over emphasized, unlike some cheaper headphones that try to hide their sound quality behind the bass.
Also good sound-isolation is a big key to getting the best sound. And the Jaybird in-ears really sit tight in the ear. So because of that, you will barely hear any sounds while wearing them. Is this good or bad? Well at the gym I like to block out everything so for me that is great. If however you are looking for headphones suitable for running in the city, then I’m not so sure. I would prefer to hear the approaching traffic in that case.
Getting the headphones to sit well in your ears can take some time though. It really depends on the shape of your ears. Try all the possible ways until the headphones are sealed the tightest. For me I had to wear them so the cords came from around the top of my ear, instead of just hanging down.
Another feature that makes the Jaybird X2 the best gym headphone is that it is also sweat proof. And Jaybird actually gives it a lifetime sweat-proof warranty as well. I would say that sweat is actually the number 1 reason of headphones breaking while working out. So because of this, the Jaybirds should definitely last for a long time.
One of the main issues with bluetooth wireless headphones is the connectivity, especially while working out. With Jaybird X2 I haven’t had that issue once. Once it is connected to your smartphone, it will stay connected. The headset has an effective range up to 10m / 30ft. So technically you can keep your smartphone in a gym bag near you and still be able to listen to music. I personally do that and love it as I don’t have any pockets on me. Besides just listening to music, the headset can also be used to make calls. So overall a pretty versatile product.
All of those features + being wireless, makes the Jaybird X2 in my opinion the best headphone for gym. No need to worry about sweat or wires getting stuck behind weights. Only downside is the $149 price tag which kind of annoys me as well. But then again these won’t break in a couple of months so they are a great investment. If you need more information about the headphones then you can also check out our Jaybird X2 review.
6. Audio Technica ATH-M50x
Audio Technica first became popular when they released the ATH-M50 headphones. These were the so called anti-Beats. They were 2x cheaper, better sound and build quality. A headphone with almost the perfect balance between price ($119) and quality.
ATH-M50x is their upgraded version of the great M50. And no they haven’t made it worse. Even thought almost identical, they have added a detachable cord and improved padding on the ear cups. With the headphone you get 3 cables: 3m / 9.8ft and 1.2m /3.9ft long straight; 1.2-3m / 3.9-9.8ft coiled. I’m not sure if it matters but none of the cords have a microphone or remote. Either way a detachable cord is a huge plus. If the cord should break, you can just buy a new one instead of having to buy a new whole headphone again.
As I noted before, the ATH-M50x have an amazing build quality and really solid design. The cord is thick and sturdy. They look like professional studio headphones really. These headphones aren’t light at all, they weigh 283g /10oz. But surprisingly enough, they are really comfortable to wear and are almost glued to your head. So working out really isn’t a problem with them.
Besides just looking like professional studio headphones, they also sound like one. The ATH-M50x are even fit for professionals. The sounds are clear, bass is detailed and super optimized. It sounds amazing with all music genres.
Even though the best gym headphones aren’t in my opinion over ears, the ATH-50x is definitely the headphone to buy regardless. If you do prefer over ears though then get the ATH-50x for sure. These are the very best overall headphones outside of gym. [Our review]
Over ears or earbuds for gym
Going with either over ears or earbuds is totally up to you. If you are more into cardio then earbuds are probably the more reasonable choice. Earbuds have also got far better noise isolation, not to mention that they are usually a lot cheaper. The size is also a huge plus as they are a lot easier to carry around.
But I have also seen plenty of people rocking big over ear headphones in the gym so its nothing new or unusual. Over ears plus is that they have better sound quality but they are also more expensive because of that.
It really comes down to personal preference. I personally use earbuds.
Wired or wireless
Wireless bluetooth headphones are quite new. Are they the best headphones for gym? Of course! No wires means nothing getting stuck between equipment or pulling the headphones off from your head or out of ears. You can also keep your smartphone in a gym bag! Good wireless headphones will have no problem connecting to a smartphone in a bag next to you. There are problems though, they use battery so they need to be charged. Much more expensive than wired. Cheaper wireless headphones often lose connectivity.
Wired headphones are however cheaper and more reliable. If they break then just throw them away and buy a new one. You can get around 8 cheap but good wired headphones for the cost of 1 wireless. Also with wires, you don’t have to worry about running out of battery or losing connectivity.
So wired or wireless. If you want to get wireless headphones for gym then don’t cheap out. They are great, but only the expensive options. Such as the Jaybirds.