JBL Reflect Aero TWS
Waterproof and sweatproof with a secure fit, the JBL Reflect Aero TWS earbuds offer good sound, excellent noise cancellation, and a helpful hear-through mode, but the touch-based controls have some bothersome limits.
The JBL Reflect Aero TWS true wireless earbuds are the best workout headphones for the gym because they stay securely in place, they have simple controls, and they’re waterproof and sweatproof. The IP68 water-resistance rating means this pair can handle buckets of sweat, and JBL includes three sets of stabilizing wings to help keep the earbuds in place—so you can choose the fit that grips your ear most comfortably. (Folks who have very small or sensitive ears may find the wings’ pressure fatiguing over time, however.) This pair’s eight hours of battery life is solid for true wireless earbuds, and the pocket-sized case offers up an additional 16 hours of juice.
This pair also sounds good. The earbuds produce a mild emphasis in the bass and consonants range that many people prefer, and you can fine-tune the sound via JBL’s mobile app. The sealed design and active noise cancellation can reduce the noisy gym distractions around you, but should you need to hear your surroundings, a hear-through mode is a tap away. Or, if you prefer, you can choose to use only one earbud at a time. Six microphones help to manage wind noise and ensure clear phone calls, and you can connect these earbuds to two devices simultaneously.
If you’re an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant user, you’ll love these earbuds’ compatibility with voice-activated assistants. Although the touch-based controls on this pair are easy to learn and use, we wish that they could adjust volume, playback, noise cancellation, and the hear-through feature inclusively, but unfortunately you’ll have to choose one of those functions to omit. If anything goes wrong, JBL covers the Reflect Aero TWS set with a one-year warranty.
Beats Fit Pro
Flexible wings help keep this Apple-friendly pair securely in your ears, but the IPX4 water resistance may not be high enough to tolerate the most punishing activities. This pair sounds great, with slightly boosted bass.
If you’re an Apple fan, the Beats Fit Pro set is a worthy (but pricier) alternative to the JBL Reflect Aero TWS pair. The Fit Pro set offers easy pairing and connection swapping to iCloud-connected Apple devices, as well as touch-free “Hey Siri” functionality. Like our top pick, these earbuds have stabilizing wings to help keep them in place, and the sealed design and active noise cancellation can block out gym noise, while the hear-through mode allows for occasional situational awareness or conversations between workout sets. The IPX4 water-resistance rating should be enough for the Fit Pro set to tolerate most activities, but the Reflect Aero TWS’s IP68 rating makes that pair better for folks who go mountain biking or sweat profusely, or who are just tougher on their gear.
The Fit Pro pair sounds great, with slightly boosted bass. The six hours of listening time (with ANC on) is average, and the quick-charge feature gives you an hour of playback after the earbuds spend five minutes in the charging case—but the case itself isn’t as small as the JBL pair’s case. These earbuds offer physical buttons that control track skip, phone calls, and volume on Apple devices, plus some button customization and one-touch pairing on Android devices (if you download the Beats app). Either of the Fit Pro’s earbuds can work independently, but multitaskers may miss the dual-device connectivity of the JBL pair. The microphones provide wind and background-noise reduction, so you can take a quick call even while jogging.
As with our top pick, anyone who is sensitive to pressure in the ear might dislike the feeling of this set’s stabilizing wings. Apple’s warranty covers Beats headphones and the accessories that come in the box against manufacturing issues for one year from the date of purchase.
JLab Go Air Sport
This affordable pair hooks over your ears to stay in place, has an IP55 water-resistance rating, and sounds surprisingly decent for the price. But it lacks features like noise cancellation and a hear-through mode.
If you want a pair of wireless earbuds that cover the essentials without costing a bundle, consider the JLab Go Air Sport set. Rather than using wings to secure the earbuds in the ear, this true wireless pair has flexible hooks that slip securely over the top of each ear—a style that is frequently more comfortable for folks with very small or sensitive ear canals. The Go Air Sport pair is dust and water resistant, with an IP55 rating, so these earbuds will easily endure sweaty workouts. They have an eight-hour battery life, and the charging case holds an additional 24 hours of power (though it’s larger than we’d like).
This pair has a sealed design but lacks active noise cancellation and a hear-through mode. However, either earbud can work independently, so you can choose to leave one ear open if you need situational awareness. Although the touch-based controls handle play/pause, track skip, volume, and digital-assistant activation, their response can be a bit inconsistent at times, especially if you have long hair, which can get in the way of the sensors. The sound quality is surprisingly decent for the price, but audio fans should note that every one of the three preset EQ settings has some kind of flaw. We like that the charging cable is permanently attached, so you never need to carry a cord, but the cable ends in a USB Type-A plug, a style that is falling out of fashion. Downsides aside, the JLab Go Air Sport offers a lot for a pair of earbuds costing less than most gyms charge for a monthly membership. Plus, it’s covered by JLab’s two-year warranty.
Tribit MoveBuds H1
The H1 earbuds have a 15-hour battery life, a high, IPX8 water-resistance rating, and good sound quality—but they lack a few helpful features that you get with our more expensive picks.
If you want to worry less about your earbuds’ battery life, the Tribit MoveBuds H1 set is a solid pair of true wireless earbuds available for under $100. The 15-hour battery life is superlative for true wireless earbuds; you can wear them all day without charging. This is a good thing because the charging case—which provides an additional 35 hours of power—is nearly as big as a bar of soap. This waterproof pair has a high, IPX8 rating, and the earbuds stay securely in place using hooks that slip over your ears. We appreciate that the package includes six different sizes of ear tips, which make it easier to get the right fit. The MoveBuds H1 pair has a sealed design to help block out gym noise, but it lacks the active noise cancellation and voice-activation capabilities of our pricier picks. It does have a hear-through mode, or you can use one earbud at a time for situational awareness. The sound quality out of the box is good, and we were able to nail our preferred tuning using the app-based equalizer adjustments. The MoveBuds H1 set also has full onboard touch-based controls, plus four microphones that ensure your voice is clear to callers. Tribit’s one-year warranty covers accidental manufacturing defects.
Koss FitClips KSC32i
The Koss FitClips KSC32i earbuds sound much better than their low price suggests, but the microphone’s quality is lacking.
Want a pair of cheap wired earbuds to stash in your gym bag? Go for the super-affordable Koss FitClips KSC32i set. The hook-over-the-ear design of these workout headphones is flexible and comfortable, the sound is way better than the low price implies, and this pair has a sealed design and a universal single-button remote and mic—but no official IP rating, active noise cancellation, or hear-through mode. Because these earbuds are wired, you don’t have to worry about charging them, although you may need a headphone-jack adapter depending on which smartphone you use. However, the microphone on this FitClips pair isn’t fantastic for phone conversations.