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Are you looking for a pair of bluetooth earbuds to play sports, run or use in the gym? In this buying guide we see which are the best earphones with specific Bluetooth technology for playing sports and which ones to choose according to your needs.
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The earbuds for sports make the workout more engaging, more enjoyable, and even more intensive. They help us beat our personal bests and push us towards more distant goals, but we know how uncomfortable it is to deal with headphones that fall, that move, and that distract concentration.
This is why we prefer to rely on bluetooth earbuds for running and playing sports , rather than on wired headphones.
In choosing the selected models, we paid attention to design. Sports earphones must remain firmly in the ear without having to adjust them regularly.
It is then up to each of us to determine which type of sports bluetooth earphones to buy. The true wireless models are those that do not have the wire to connect the two units, unlike the normal bluetooth headsets that are connected by cable between them (which some will find useful for hanging them around the neck).
We will also be looking for a sweat-proof, and perhaps even waterproof, model of bluetooth headset, so as not to have thoughts when we want to run in the rain. Some models also include specific charging cases to avoid battery problems.
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The Bluetooth connection must be stable, and the audio quality of a certain level, to give us that extra boost we need when trying to reach a training target.
We prefer the emphasis on low frequencies, because often when using bluetooth headphones to run outdoors, the sound is thinned due to external noises such as wind and traffic. Having more boost on the bass helps to balance this problem, and to make us feel the music with the right equalization.
The presence of noise cancelling active is not strictly necessary. If we do sports outdoors or in the gym, most of the time we are not interested in obtaining sound insulation, because it could be a source of danger (hearing the machines passing by, or the noise of the gym equipment around us).
Active noise cancellation is however an added value if we also use wireless headphones to take the bus or go on the train, where we can activate it if necessary.
Best Earbuds for Sports in 2020
Let’s now see the ranking of the best bluetooth earbuds for sports this year, from high-end models to the cheapest, to help you choose more easily which headphones and earphones to buy for sports, running or to use in the gym.
The best wireless sports headphones this year are the Powerbeats Pro. The design is the most interesting feature for those looking for a pair of true wireless earphones that will never come off the ear. They fit perfectly behind the pavilion and it will not be possible to lose or shake them off.
Another feature that sports lovers will appreciate very much is the extremely long battery life . The Beats Powerbeats Pro provide 9 hours of listening, you can then insert them in the dedicated case to charge them further, and the case offers an additional 24 hours of rapid charging.
Comfort is incredible, we could wear these wireless earphones for hours and we won’t feel the need to take them out of the ear. They are sweat resistant (IPX4 category), do not overheat and do not slip from their position. For athletes, sportsmen, runners and gym lovers, they are the ideal technological product.
The use is recommended both for sporty iPhone owners, with whom the headphones interface perfectly and offer different control functions, and for owners of Android and Windows 10 phones. With the latter, the functions will not be as complete as those offered by the Apple interface, but these are negligible details.
Typical of the Beats brand, the Powerbeats Pro also have a sonic character which stands out above all in RnB, EDM and Rap music, but this time with less bass than the other Beats headphones models in the catalog. The sound is not flat however, the equalization remains emphasized on bass and treble with frequency response up to 10Hz.
Among the best bluetooth headphones for sports, we find the Jaybird Vista sports earphones. At a lower price than the PowerBeats Pro, we will still have build quality and ease of use, excellent for running and for the gym.
One of the reasons why we like Jaybird products is the presence of a rubber insert (fin) which fits into the pavilion. There are also different sizes of earplugs, to satisfy different types of ears and fit them better inside the ear canal. The result is that despite being free of wires and totally true wireless, the two earphones are unlikely to slide out during physical exercises .
As for build quality, they have one superior water resistance with IPX7 certification, therefore completely waterproof, a useful feature both for those who sweat a lot, and for being washed with water and kept clean over time.
The battery lasts about 6 hours of listening, the headphone case then acts as a charger and offers an additional 10-hour recharge. When the headphones are empty, in 5 minutes of fast charging inside the case you will have 1 hour of use.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is stable, with good range, without any kind of interruption both for listening to music and for answering incoming calls. Jaybird Vista are excellent running bluetooth headsets, highly recommended for those looking for a high-end model that lasts over time.
The best running bluetooth headsets from Apple are the AirPods Pro, and they are probably the only pair of true wireless headsets that you will have to buy for all your needs.
They are the AirPods for doing sports, because unlike the regular Apple AirPods, the AirPods Pro do not have the defect of falling out of the ear every time we do physical activity. This is because they are designed to fit firmly into the ear canal with a rubber insert (available in three different sizes, you can find them all in the case) to improve stability and also to offer noise reduction options.
The AirPods Pro are in fact capable of hermetically closing the ear canal, and if you want to isolate yourself from the external environment you can do it using the controls on the headset, just a long press on the button to switch between the different noise cancellation modes.
For those who run and use them for outdoor sports, listening to music or podcasts, and still want to hear the noises coming from the road, such as racing cars and for safety in general, the Apple AirPods Pro are terrific, because they offer a mode transparency that makes external noises heard without any delay.
The build quality is excellent, typical of the brand, with very easy and intuitive setup through the iPhone. The internal technology is impressive, think that the true wireless AirPods Pro headphones are able to evaluate and adjust the sound inside the ear with a frequency equal to 200 times per second.
This makes them top of the range in the category and puts them on the Olympus of in-ear noise canceling headphones, the sound produced is in fact very natural and noise cancellation is incredibly effective.
After carrying out several tests, we find that the best sports earphones for value for money are the Jabra Elite 65t. The “sport” version of these bluetooth headphones is the one that offers better anti-sweat protection.
The build quality is very good , both the headphones and their wireless charging case are made of durable plastic. They do not give the feeling of being cheap, and the design of the headset is very pleasant for simplicity and lightness. Excellent to wear for long periods (even throughout the day), to receive calls, listen to music and podcasts, and of course to play sports.
The implementation of touch buttons directly on the earphones is interesting, where the left one allows us to adjust the volume and change tracks, while the right one to stop-play the music and answer the phone (or activate the voice assistant with a press long).
The smartphone app offers several features, and one of these is the ability to reduce external noise by acoustic insulation, or to let a certain amount of noise enter our choice. The battery life is 5 hours , which you can then extend to 15 hours by placing the earphones in the dedicated case.
Among the best bluetooth headphones for the gym, there are the Bose SoundSport Free. They are perfect for those who love well-defined music, for audiophiles looking for the best pair of in-ear headphones for detailed listening, for physical exercises and for talking on the phone.
They have a somewhat protuberant design, but it will also depend on the type of ear and preferences. We find that these Bose wireless earbuds remain on the ear firmly enough during the exercises, but if we perform very rapid movements then they will lose stability. We therefore recommend them for weight training rather than running.
The volume controls directly on the earphone are convenient to avoid having to take the phone out of your pocket, the headphones last about 6 hours of listening, plus another 10 hours if we recharge them inside the dedicated case.
The earphone must be inserted inside the ear canal through the rubber (available in different sizes), and then there is an external fin to offer a greater anchorage point inside the auricle.
To resist splashing water and sweat, the headphones have an IPX4 level certification, not completely waterproof but well-built enough to withstand possible accidents.
Among the best mid-range running headphones, we find that the PowerBeats 3 offer good value for money. These bluetooth earbuds for sports are suitable for those looking for a model of wired earphones. The connection to the smartphone is wireless, but between the two units we will have the connection cable, the microphone and the controls for playback.
The sound is full and engaging. Beats is notoriously inclined to produce equalization headphones focused on the emphasis of low frequencies, and the PowerBeats 3 have a tendency to increase the bass of the audio tracks, for a more full-bodied sensation.
Thanks to the W1 wireless chip manufactured by Apple, the Beats PowerBeats 3 are able to connect with iPhone in a very simple way, just place them near the smartphone and a pop-up window will appear on the phone screen to connect. Pairing them with Android devices is the classic procedure that you will have with all other bluetooth devices.
The beauty of the W1 bluetooth chip is also in the greater battery of the earphones (compared to the previous model), for a duration of 12 hours of listening (4 hours more than the Powerbeats2 Wireless).
The wear ability is very comfortable , with the cable between the two headphones that is positioned behind the neck and can be tightened to stop it firmly, the right and left earphones must be worn around the hook ear, to always keep them in position.
Although not strictly a headset, we thought it appropriate to insert a model of wireless bone conduction headphones, technology that has found many positive opinions in the sports sector , for its innovative design to constitute a very interesting alternative to use for running and fitness.
While all the other brands of headphones and earphones try to build models that isolate the user as much as possible from the external environment, AfterShokz is instead committed to finding the best solution to keep the user in contact with the context while listening to music.
These headphones are therefore not to be inserted in the ear, but must be worn with the headband positioned around the back of the head, passed over the auricle, with the two speakers positioned exactly in front of the ear to listen to music. They are therefore in effect two mini-speakers placed at close range of the ear.
Consequently, the sound we hear is not the usual one of headphones or earphones, less rich in bass and less engaging, but the positive aspect is that we will have better contact with the external environment. And they are also proof of sport regulations for some racing races where it is not possible to wear real earphones.
Bone conduction means that, while listening to music, you will also have a sensation of vibration of the jaw bone, noticeable especially when we raise the volume level.
It is an extremely interesting alternative, not only for sports use, but also for those who do not want total acoustic insulation from the external environment while walking around the city.
The design of the Bose SoundSport Wireless is suitable for athletes who do not like to put the headphones on fully, thus blocking the ear canal. These in ear earphones have the advantage of having a traditional shape that does not completely block external noise, and is firmly positioned inside the ear thanks to the fin that fits into the pavilion.
A good part of users prefer this type of bluetooth headset, to have better awareness of what is happening around us, useful when we are running outdoors or for sports in general.
The two earphones are connected together by a lanyard that includes the microphone and control unit. The headphones are sweat and water resistant with IPX4 protection level. The Bluetooth connection is very stable, with no interruption even in situations where there is an abundance of wireless signals, such as in crowded offices, trains and public transport.
The sound quality is certainly the best feature, they are able to enhance the audio tracks to the point of pushing us to an intensive level of physical training, thanks to the presence of a good bass level and excellent dynamics in general.
Among the best headphones for running, the Jaybird Tarah have a very high quality / price ratio, they sound very good and are waterproof with IPX7 protection level.
They are essentially the economic version of the Jaybird X4, where the main difference between the two is the shorter battery life. It matters little because the Jaybird Tarah are able to play music for a total of 6 hours, and with 10 minutes of fast charging you will have 1 hour of listening. For any type of athlete, 6 hours of battery is more than enough.
The sound quality is really excellent, a bit of low frequencies are missing but the beautiful smartphone application Jaybird allows you to manipulate the equalization at will.
The wire that connects the two earphones is made of resistant rubber, you will hardly find it tangled, and when worn you can tighten it around your neck with a special clip with an intelligent design.
The only thing we miss slightly is the possibility of joining the two earphones through magnets, when we hang them around the neck during daily activities such as work and public transport. For this reason we recommend them particularly to sports men, since those who use them mainly for running and going to the gym will not need this feature.
The Jaybird Tarah are headphones for sports with excellent build quality, made to last and to withstand the most stressful situations, highly recommended in the economic price range.
Among the best earphones to run, in the economic range, there are the Anker Soundcore Spirit, characterized by good sound quality and are also sweat resistant.
If you have a limited budget and want to try a pair of wireless headphones for sports, you can safely rely on the Anker brand, which is making a good name within the sector of cheap bluetooth headsets, with very positive reviews on their catalog on offer .
This model stands out for its ergonomic design , with a fin that keeps the headset firmly inside the pavilion. Music playback is of quality, and the bluetooth connection has an battery of about 8 hours in total.
The Soundcore Spirit have an IPX7 protection level, to resist rain , splashes of water and are anti-sweat. The cable that connects the two headphones can be blocked behind the neck by a special clip, to avoid annoying during physical exercises.