10 Best Headphones & Earbuds For Running Reviewed
Music moves us. Its just one of those facts of humanity. No matter where you are from and no matter where you will go music is all around us. So incorporating music into your run does more than make sense, it feels natural. Pushing yourself and moving your arms in legs in sync with the rhythm just feels right.
To get our head in the game with our customized playlists we need a way to listen to our music on the run. Headphones nowadays are truly amazing, built for crystal clear sound and comfort. Not all of them are perfect for running. You want all the best attributes but you need your headphones to be designed to meet your needs. Well thankfully were willing to do the homework for you on figuring out what works.
Before, the biggest obstacle in your way was the wire connecting your headphones to your device. Now wire issues are definitely a thing of the past as wireless and blue tooth headphones have become more affordable and accessible. Using your phone or mp3 player during your run is easier than ever.
Below we have what we have judged to be the very best of headphones available to runners, along with each pairs strengths and weaknesses. Further down is our detailed explanation of our criteria and the thought process that when into the choices for the list. Then we have our FAQ where we tackle the questions a lot of people have about choosing the perfect pair of headphones.
- TaoTronics Bluetooth Earphones
- CVC Noise Cancellation technology
- Phaiser BHS-530
- Sweatproof construction
- AYL Bluetooth V4.1
- Pair with two devices at a time
10 Best Headphones & Earbuds
1. TaoTronics Earphones w/ Mic
- Flexible smart cable
- Bluetooth 4.1
- CVC Noise Cancellation 6.0 technology
- Quality speaker
- Short 5-hour battery
- Big for small ears.
2. Phaiser BHS-530
- Customizable memory wire neck strap stays in place
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Liquipel Nano Coating for water resistance
- HD Sound
- Limited Bluetooth range
3. AYL V4.1
- Bluetooth 4.1
- CVC 6.0 Noise Reduction Technology
- Apple and Android Compatible
- Adjustable fit
- Short battery life
- Control buttons can be confusing
4. Bose® MIE2i
- Bose quality sound
- Stable “StayHear” tips for snug fit
- No Bluetooth
- Designed for Apple products
5. Rovking Sweatproof Sport
- Noise isolation
- Good-quality sound
- Durable cord
- Comfortable, over-the-ear arcs
- Snug fit
- No Bluetooth
6. Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas Sports
- Water and sweat resistant
- Slide-to-fit neck strap
- Fine-tuned transducer with perfect sound
- Cord needed to connect to smartphone
7. Sony MDR-AS600BT
- Eight-hour battery
- Custom-fit silicon earbuds and arc support
- Single-button controller
8. Plantronics BackBeat Fit
Their flexible and comfortable design ensures they remain stable and in place while your run. Their P2i nano-coating makes them sweatproof and waterproof--allowing them to be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. So, you won't have to sacrifice your music if it starts to rain mid-run.
Lastly, their Quick Charge technology allows you to gain an hour of listening time with just 15 minutes of charging!
High cost, but well worth the price considering they are wireless
- 8 hour battery life
- sleek design
- secure Waterproof and sweatproof
- Quick charge technology
9. SoundPEATS. Best for Exercise:
These have by far the longest Bluetooth range due to the SoundPeats built-in tech. These have built-in noise isolating tech so nothing interferes with your listening enjoyment. If your running with a friend, take an earbud for each of you.
Nice high tech earbuds, good performance, reliability, comfortable and stable FIT.
Little higher in cost but very much worth investing in these durable high performing earbuds.
longest Bluetooth range
noise isolating tech
Little higher than other models, you invest in quality and performance
10. Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones - Apple devices
These are very popular on the market due to good performance, they stay in place and are offered in three sizes, you get stability and comfort, safely resistant to sweat, sound performance exceeds above-average. You get clear deep sound, combined with nice highs and lows, the StayHear Tips ensure the earbuds do stay firmly in place.
A nice remote control system lets you easily swap between music and calls, provided with a good quality case for protection.
Offered in a nice range of five colors, a secure clothing clip for carrying safely.
The price is balanced and affordable and a good investment for Apple users.
Stay in place
Secure clothing clip
Quality case for protection
Remote control calls/music
Only for Apple users
When looking for a good set of earbuds for running, it is helpful to find some with features that you’ll find most useful to you.
Obviously, it is important to get a set that sounds good. It is also equally important to be sure they stay put throughout the entire run – even when you build up a sweat. Many of the top earbuds have hooks, cables, or other small features that help keep them in place. Many of the best earbuds come with Bluetooth, so you do not have to worry about the long cord bouncing as you run.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of Headphones & Earbuds
Running can be quiet noisy. From the sound of the outside world to the thumping of your own heart, you have a lot going on in terms of stimulation. We know how important it is that your music comes through loud and clear. We made sure not to include any headphones that weren’t able to produce the noteworthy sound quality. It is literally the bottom benchmark for any audio devices performance and any piece of equipment that couldn’t meet it wasn’t worthy of making our list.
Additionally, we know that the main reason people listen to music during their routines is motivation and morale . Not being able to properly hear the music undermines this key component of headphones for athletic use. Which is why we have such a strong belief in how essential sound quality is in choosing headphones for running.
Price Compared To Value
When selecting any form of audio equipment, earbuds and headphones included, it’s important to remain price conscious. This is because there is no shortage of companies that are more than willing to charge you an exorbitant amount of money for their sound tech.
Premium options and hi-fidelity powerhouses come with a large price tag, but are they really worth it? We made sure to match up all the qualities against what their cost is to provide the best buys at all price range. No matter your budget, you will be sure to get the biggest bang for your buck.
According to most runners, sound isolation is the biggest and most significant factor they overlook and they regret it deeply on their runs. How much or how little sound isolation your earbuds or headphones have can make all the difference in the world. Blocking outside noise can be great when you are flying long distances on an airplane, but dangerous when you are running in a big city (listening for car horns). We made sure to include the amount of sound isolation to give our readers the options when making their selection.
How They Connect
How the headphones connect to your smartphone or other device is broken down into two basic ways: corded or cordless.
What we mostly have to look at with corded headphones is tangling and durability. Is the cord designed in a way that results in tangling issues often? The durability of the cord comes down to how likely it is the cord will become severed within its casing, requiring a replacement. Anyone who has bought low-quality headphones before can tell you what a common problem this is and it should be obvious why we would want to avoid anything like that on this list.
Nowadays wireless headphones are both practical and accessible. The things you have to wary of with wireless headphones is charge and connection. How difficult is it to connect these headphones to your device? Do users run into a lot of technical problems or issues connecting to Bluetooth? And of course one of the most important questions; Will the charge of these headphones last as long as my run? If any of these questions receive a negative response then the headphones don’t make the list.
This is another segment where manufacturers can promise you the world, but it’s such a personal preference, that their advice should be taken with a grain of salt. We made sure to listen to runners from all walks of life to ensure a pick that matches our preferences and how you plan on wearing them. From marathon runners to casual joggers, we took note of what they has to say in regards to long term comfort levels.
How Well Do They Stay In Your Ear
Anyone who has used those clumsy, one size fits all earbuds that come bundled with our smartphones has experienced how they manage to pop out of your ear; every single time you make a slight move.
Our buying guide seeks to eliminate this everyday annoyance by providing options that say put and even have customizable inserts that ensure they fit every ear type and size. Also included in our selections is “how” they stay put; whether it be through a supportive attachment or on their own. Because nobody wants to pause mid-run to put their earbud back in.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Earbuds Or Headphones
Just walk into any electronics store and you will find that it’s very easy to get distracted by fancy features and creative packaging when choosing a pair of headphones or earbuds for your runs. Don’t lose focus runners, we have put together a brief list of considerations that should help you make a much better, informed decision.
After all, the last thing you want to do is select a pair of earbuds and find that you’re not happy with the sound quality, or a pair of headphones and find that they irritate your ears. Let’s take a look and some of these important considerations together and we’ll have you running to your favorite playlist in no time!
Know Which Type Of Form Factor You Are Comfortable With
Perhaps the most significant decision that you will have to make is form factor. While this may be overlooked, let’s go over the pros and cons of the proverbial “earbud vs. in-ear headphone” debate. Earbuds and in-ear headphones are the familiar tiny earpieces that have become more and more popular thanks to them being bundled with most smartphones and mp3 players.
Both earbuds and in-ear headphones are super portable and typically offer you much more freedom because of their lightweight. Now, don’t expect to get the same sound quality that you would get from headphones that completely cover your ear. While the high-quality earbuds do sound great when compared to their cheaply constructed counterparts, audiophiles don’t consider them to be in the same league with headphones.
When considering in-ear headphones over earbuds, most runners don’t realize that there are actually two separate form factors as far as construction goes. Earbuds sit in the outer bowl of your ear, while “in-ear” headphones actually go into your ear canal. So you are going to want to consider how comfortable you are with putting something into your ear. There are also two different type of headphones, there is what is called “ear pad” headphones that typically do not cover the entire ear, and there are “over the ear headphones” which, you guessed it, cover the entire ear.
Ear Pad headphones are typically the most comfortable because they sit on the outside of your ears so your lobes won’t get pinned back. As far as sound isolation goes, these sit right in the middle (sound slightly leaks both ways). This is actually a benefit to runners because you’ll actually be able to hear some outside noise for the sake of safety. However, take into consideration that because of the sound leakage, these will not be ideal for a plane trip as they will let sound in; or to listen to in the library as they will let the sound out.
Over-the-ear headphones, on the other hand, offer very best, crisp sound with the excellent bass response and the most isolation from outside noise then you can get. However, the tradeoff here is obviously that they are very large and bulky and can make a runner’s ears very hot because of their increased padding. This is why most runners typically will never choose to go with a full-size pair of headphones.
How Will Wires Impact Your Running Regimen
Let’s talk about wires (or lack there of), Bluetooth technology is excellent in it’s ability to provide runners with a cable free run. Both outdoor runners and indoor treadmill runners agree that having a pair of Bluetooth earbuds gave them a lot more freedom on their runs. The first thing to consider here is battery life. Our list provides you with what you can expect from a full battery charge, however keep in mind that this means that you will have to be plugging these in and charging them either before or after every run or two. If you are the type of person that is not great at remembering to charge your smart phone, perhaps a pair of Bluetooth earbuds is not the way to go. Additionally, if you are an audiophile keep in mind that Bluetooth sound quality is rarely as good as that of their wired counterparts.
Another factor that you are going to want to take into consideration is durability. Some runners report that they sweat more than others depending on the type of running that they are doing. If you are a runner that sweats a lot, you’re going to want to look for a pair of earbuds or in-ear headphones that come with either some sweat resistant material or a lifetime warranty against what damage. There seems to be an expensive trend of throwing away earbuds a couple of times a year, save yourself a ton of money and make a sound investment (pun intended) on your selection depending on what you’re going to put them through.
All The Aspects Of Comfort
Finally, much like every other piece of equipment that you choose to take with you on your runs, comfort is essential. While this is a personal preference and can vary wildly between runners, you should consider if a solid neck strap or a behind the neck wiring system is better for you. Additionally, if you don’t find the feeling, Earbuds that come equipped with some sort of an arc support will help you keep the earbuds in your ears without them falling out during your runs. If you don’t mind placing these tiny devices in your ear canal, then you will enjoy more sound isolation and clearer tones.
To further help you make an informed choice, we have included some frequently asked questions that most runners had while making the choice for themselves. Regardless of which you choose, most testers agreed that when listening to their favorite music, they seem to have a better overall experience on their runs.
Q: I run in a big city and like to be a safe as possible while I’m out on my runs. What is the best recommendation?
A:If you are running in a high risk/ high traffic area then we would perhaps not recommend wearing headphones at all. Going beyond that then we would recommend not having your volume very high, testing it to make sure you can hear voices or cars over the volume setting you have selected. You probably want to avoid sound canceling headphones as they might negate any warnings about an accident coming your way.
Q: I see long battery life on some Bluetooth headphones; does this mean I can worry less about charging them?
A: Even with an extended battery life, many wireless devices need to maintain contact even when not in use. Battery life is always draining when the music isn’t on, just much slower. If you plan on running with your wireless headphones often, we recommend charging them when you have the opportunity. Better to be prepared then without.
Q: The earbuds I’ve tried aren’t that comfortable, should I give up finding earbuds that work for me?
A: Many earbud manufacturers will make a mass-marketable version that is usually not too comfortable in general. Think of it the same as buying any sort of gear. The more general your approach the less suited the gear is to meet your individual needs. There are custom moldable options out there for earbuds that will be much more comfortable and fit much better than the generally available sizes.
Q: Is there an alternative to the insertable earbud that isn’t a headphone?
A:The type of earbud you are looking for is called an anchor. Anchors are great because they don’t cover the ear or your head like a pair of headphones but they are generally less intrusive then the buds you press into your ear. They are also, in general, a lot less likely to fall out due to the nature of their design.
This are some the factors which when considered can help one select his or her best earphones. When a runner uses these considerations, the runner is likely to choose the best earphones for him or her self.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research