15 Best Bluetooth Headphones for Running 2021 – Buyer’s Guide
Running is considered to be one of the most freeing exercises by many, and there’s very little you’ll need to get started on a great running routine. Just a lengthy stretch of road and a pair of good shoes should be more than enough to help you sprint your way to pro status. But did you know that science has uncovered a third potential necessity for running?
Music has been proven to be a highly effective motivator when it comes to pounding the pavement, which is why most runners you will see are equipped with a trustworthy set of Bluetooth headphones to accompany them mile after mile.
If you’re on the prowl for the best of the best, our experts provide you with a list of the 15 best Bluetooth headphones for running that are currently on the market.
Top 15 Best Running Headphones with Bluetooth Table
Factors to Consider When Buying Earphones for Running
Headphones used for physical activities like running differ greatly in terms of design compared to any other headphones you are likely to see. For starters, running headphones commonly operate via Bluetooth connection, which means you won’t need to physically connect it to your device; this eliminates the hassle of having an annoying cable bouncing everywhere while you run.
Aside from this, there are many other design and functionality factors that should come into play when you buy a set of headphones for running. If you make to take them all into consideration before shelling out any cash, you can be certain to buy the right pair for your needs and budget.
Wireless vs. True Wireless – What’s the Difference?
When choosing the best headphones for running, you will find that you have two major options. Wireless and true wireless designs both bring something unique to the table, but they also come with different flaws and downsides that could easily spell the difference between satisfaction and disappointment.
Wireless –More often than not, running headphones still have a cable. Commonly, this cable connects the two earpiece so that you have what looks like a long wire with an earpiece on either end. This design is what manufacturers call the “neck sitting” headphone design. There are also other wireless designs with a stiff headband that rests against the top or the back of the head to secure the earpieces against your ears.
These types of headsets can be ideal if you are likely to misplace your set. The cable or headband makes it a little easier to see, and they keep the earpieces together at all times. You don’t have to worry about losing one or the other.
The only downside is that some users may find it uncomfortable to have a large stiff band on their head as they run. Sometimes, these designs can also be quite heavy and bulky, so they may fall out of place while you are on the go. With neck sitting headphones, however, this issue is significantly reduced.
True Wireless –True wireless headphones, on the other hand, have no cables, cords, or wires at all. The design is made up entirely of just the earpieces alone, so you have two small devices that are completely separate from each other.
What users really enjoy with true wireless headphones is that they are superior when it comes to being compact and lightweight. They also eliminate the odds of having an earpiece pop out as a result of getting snagged by a swinging hand.
A flaw when it comes to these designs is the risk of losing one or both earpieces; because they are so small, the chances of misplacing them become significantly greater.
Battery Life Matters
Unlike typical headsets that connect to your device and use battery from the connection, wireless headphones need to rely on a built-in power source to function properly. So before you can use a wireless Bluetooth headset, charging is an important first step.
The average battery life for a Bluetooth wireless headset is at around 6 hours, but that ultimately depends on the battery model and how often the headset is used. Some models even promise a battery life of up to 40 hours.
Charging method is another thing you might want to investigate as you search. For instance, some Bluetooth headsets can be charged wirelessly, but there are others that require a cabled USB or AC connection. For some, a cabled charging process might not seem like much of a hassle. However, depending on your preference, you might prefer a completely wireless charging experience for greater convenience.
For added convenience, some wireless Bluetooth headphones come with a charging case that can be separately charged as well. These allow users to charge their wireless headphones on the go, and can fully charge devices an average of three times before the case itself needs to be recharged.
How Important is Sound Quality?
It is worth mentioning that a Bluetooth headset might not sound as good as a typical, wired headset. As a connection, Bluetooth was not specifically designed for high-quality audio streaming.
As a general rule, more recent versions of Bluetooth are more reliable when it comes to delivering better quality sound. Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0 are the most commonly used versions by wireless headsets, but they may come at a heftier price than those using earlier versions.
Another thing that affects sound quality is the design of the device itself. High-end audio electronic brands are capable of putting out more satisfying devices in terms of sound profile. Cheaper options generally offer factory sound profiles that are typical of headphones bundled for free with mobile phones.
For hardcore audiophiles, there are some options with adjustable sound profiles by way of a mobile app; this adds a dimension of customization ideal for individuals with a more specific taste for sound.
Make and Material
If you are using a headset for the purpose of running, you should expect to get your sweat on it somehow. It is also more likely for you to drop your headset while you are running, especially if the earpiece is prone to falling out.
For these reasons, it is ideal to choose a headset that has a protective coating that keeps the internal circuitry from becoming exposed to moisture and sweat. Headphones made with rubbery materials are also less prone to damage due to falling, making them a better choice if you also plan to use them for other sports and physical activities.
True wireless headphones aren’t commonly made with plastic or rubber and often feature a metal bo; this makes them more prone to damage due to falling, especially there isn’t a cable for them to be able to dangle from if they accidentally pop out of your ears.
Earpiece Designs to Choose From
The size, fit, and design of the earpiece will determine your comfort level and how well the headphones stay in place. Running headphones come in a variety of designs that offer buyers a wide selection that can help meet their needs and standards for comfort and fit.
In-Ear Canal –These headphones are designed with a small, soft nub – most often made of silicone – that can be inserted beyond the outer ear and into the opening of the ear canal. The fit is considered one of the most secure for running since the ear canal isn’t prone to sweating; this prevents the earpiece from popping out due to moisture.
This type of design rasies sanitation concerns since earwax may accumulate along the nooks and crannies of the earpiece, requiring users to either clean or change the nub altogether.
Earbuds –This is the most common style of headphones and usually comes bundled with smartphones and music players. The earpiece rests just outside of the ear canal, held in place by the folds of the outer ear. The design is also relatively secure but is also prone to exposure to sweat.
Clip Type –Clip type earphones were specifically designed for people on the move. This type of earpiece features a hook-like extension that curves around the back of the ear, resembling the design of a pair of shades or glasses.
These are often more secure than any other type of earpiece commonly seen in running headphones. However, they tend to apply pressure to the back of the ear and that can be uncomfortable for some users.
On-Ear Headphones –As the name suggests, this earpiece rests on top of the ear, pressing against the outer ear and covering the entire surface of the ear to prevent ambient noise from passing through. It features a larger design and a foam layer that guarantees optimal sound quality.
It is not often that you will find on-ear headphones for running since they can be bulky and uncomfortable. Most of the models that feature this style come with a still band design that rests on top or behind of the head to keep the large earpieces in place.
Over-The-Ear Headphones –Very, very few headphones for running, if any at all, feature this type of earpiece design. The over-the-ear headphone style is the biggest and bulkiest of all, featuring a large cup-like structure that creates a hollow dome over the ears. These are designed specifically for producing high-quality audio output, which is rarely a need for most runners.
Top 15 Best Bluetooth Headphones for Running Reviews
Bose is one of the most prominent American audio equipment companies. The brand was established way back in 1964 and has since taken the market by storm with its high-quality audio products and devices. The Bose SoundSport Wireless is the company’s first ever Bluetooth sports headphone, but it has proven to be one of the best Bluetooth headphones for running on the market today.
The headphones feature a unique earpiece design that doesn’t jam completely into your ear canal for a comfortable loose fit that doesn’t pop out easily. The headphones come packaged with ear tips that come in three different sizes (small, medium, and large) to help you achieve the best possible fit.
This device is able to provide up to six hours of use, but it doesn’t really wow in terms of battery life. It does, however, have a battery life to similar devices. Upon turning the device off, a voice comes on to tell the user how much battery is left, making it much easier to decide when it is time to charge the device. You can also sync the device to the Bose mobile app so you can update the firmware, manage your paired devices, and change auto power off settings.
When it comes to the quality of the audio, the Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones deliver satisfying results. The volume is reasonably loud enough to mute out ambient noises, and there’s very little distortion thanks to its superior Bluetooth performance.
However, some users have also noticed how the audio seems much better when the device is used outdoors. If you plan to use these earphones on the treadmill while you’re sweating it up in the gym, they might not give you the full bass sound you are looking for.
The device also comes with a remote that attaches to the wire closer to the right earpiece; this allows users to adjust volume and move tracks without taking out their device. It also accommodates calls and informs users if their phone has received a message.
Water and sweat resistant, affordable, and comfortable, this Bluetooth headset is definitely a top choice if you are looking for the best value for your money. This device offers the highest level of comfort and the most secure fit compared to many other options available making it perfect for running.
They might be a first for the brand, but these reasonably priced high-quality headphones offer satisfying sound, optimal comfort, and a secure fit for a problem free running experience. If you are out for the best wireless headphones for running, this should be the first option you consider.
Eartip design provides unparalleled comfort
Durable, water and sweat proof cable and earpieces guarantee years of damage-free use
iOS and Android mobile app gives users a fuller headset usage experience
Voice prompt eliminates the need to guess battery level
Reasonable price for an otherwise premium Bluetooth headset product
Bass audio quality can be subpar in indoor settings
While ear tips can be comfortable, they also allow some ambient noise to seep through
Jaybird is a tech brand that offers a wide range of active sports gear and wearable tech, but has mostly become a prominent company because of their wireless headphones. Currently, the brand is recognized as one of the 5 top selling premium headphones brands.
Their best contender for this list is the Jaybird X4 – an updated version of their previous wireless headphone success, the X3. The Jaybird X4 features a longer battery life compared to its predecessor, as well as other headphones in the market. Able to provide up to 8 hours of continuous use, the Jaybird X4 is definitely a good choice for those who don’t want to have to keep charging their device.
The X4’s earpiece design has seen some improvements, with a more ergonomic shape that doesn’t easily pop out of the ear. The cable also comes equipped with a small clip that users can secure to the back of the neck of their shirts for greater comfort and less movement during running and other active sports.
Each Jaybird X4 package comes with several different ear tips that come in different sizes; and for runners, their Sport Fit Plus allows you to set up the earbuds for an over-ear fit for the ultimate music listening experience as you pound the pavement.
Charging the X4 is a matter of connecting one end of a short charging cable to the remote on the headphone’s wire, and then connecting the free end of the charging cable to a USB port or a USB charging adapter.
Jaybird claims that the updated charger design helps prevent grime, sweat, and oil from entering the device when users prepare it for charging, however, there are some individuals who complain of the charging cable’s size. Being that it is so short, simple, and compact, it is also incredibly easy to lose. Unfortunately, losing the charging cable means forfeiting any chances of being able to charge the headset.
Regarding sound quality, there is very little to say about the X4 aside from that it doesn’t completely cancel out ambient noise. The original sound profile can be sufficient to meet the preference of a lot of users, but in case it doesn’t float your boat, you can connect it to the Jaybird app to tweak the sound profile yourself.
The Jaybird X4 is definitely a top contender as the best Bluetooth headphones for running, but some design flaws make it fall short of first place.
8-hour battery life is much longer compared to other headphones on the list
Sport Fit Plus design features over-ear fit that offers runners an excellent sound experience
Mobile app allows greater functionality and customization
Various ear tips help guarantee that everyone will find the perfect fit
Charging cable is small and easy to lose, which could jeopardize user experience
The earpiece and tips are not as comfortable as some users would have hoped
Beats Electronics, or more popularly known as Beats by Dre, is an audio tech brand that was acquired by Apple back in 2014. The company is best known for their premium headphone devices that are specifically designed for hardcore audiophiles who want the best quality sound out of their headphones.
The Beats by Dre brand has also provided some interesting options on the sports market, offering several different wireless headphone designs that take running and other active sports into account. The BeatsX is their best active headphone release to date and features many of the fancy bells and whistles you would expect out of an Apple-owned brand.
Much like the Apple AirPods, the BeatsX wireless headphones are equipped with the latest custom Apple Bluetooth technology – called the W1 – which allows a seamless, almost instant pairing between your headphones and mobile device.
What makes the BeatsX design a little more unique compared to other wireless headphones is the fact that it incorporates a rather rigid cable. Inside the rubber exterior runs two nickel-titanium alloy wires that give the entire headset a stiffer, however still malleable, feel; this keeps the entire cable weighed down against your neck, as opposed to bouncing all over the place while you jog or run.
Along the cable of the headphones are two symmetrical elongated bulges – one that houses the headphone’s electronics and another that houses the battery. Each one sits along the shoulders and also helps keep the entire cable secured in place while you’re on the go.
The mouthpiece of the device features a discreet port where you can connect your lighting cable for a fast charge; this has been one of the main winning features of the device, because aside from allowing a quicker charge, losing the cable isn’t a dead end (there are always Apple lightning cables available virtually everywhere!)
Why didn’t it make the top of the list? Well, while the Beats brand is known for their premium sound quality headphones, this one falls short of expectations. Slight treble push and some distortion can take away from the entire listening experience, which is a letdown for a large number of users.
The BeatsX headphones are basically the Apple Airpods in a different body, and while all the other features make it a great buy, sound quality falls short of expectations.
Lightning cable keeps the charging process short and sweet
Sleek design and unique cable anatomy make for a super durable and lightweight headset
Super fast Bluetooth connection makes pairing devices easy and hassle free
8-hour battery life guarantees a seamless running experience without the power off interruptions
Sound quality is subpar especially because it comes from the Beats brand
The headphones’ cable itself might be a little too long for some users
Rowkin is an American audio tech brand that boasts having the world’s smallest true wireless Bluetooth headphones. Their Ascent Charge+ headphones are low-profile and extremely user-friendly.
The device comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 for fast auto pairing and interruption-free music streaming from your mobile phone to your headphones. Users have the option to use just one earpiece at a time, which can be beneficial if you plan to use it for calls and notifications.
Upon powering up the device, each earpiece designates itself as either right or left, helping users get the correct ear placement. Getting the right left or right placement can be hit or miss, especially because there isn’t any indication on the body on whether the piece is for your left or right ear.
Despite being rather small, the Rowkin did power through with a big punch when it came to sound quality. The device can give out significant bass without distorting the audio, which is particularly impressive for a headset of its size.
It’s also really effective at canceling out noise because of the design that keeps the earpieces tightly secured into the ear canals; this is necessary because the headphones don’t attach to the user any other way, so it relies mostly on being airtight to guarantee that it won’t just pop out.
When it comes to charging the Ascent Charge+, Rowkin provides you with their Wave Qi Charger. It features a magnetic plug that houses the earbuds so you don’t lose them, and they remain fully charged for extended play time.
On a single charge, the Rowkin Ascent Charge+ can last up to 3.5 hours, which sadly is only half of the average batter life for typical wireless Bluetooth headsets. While 3.5 hours can definitely last an entire run with a few minutes to spare, there are some users who find the constant need to recharge something of a hassle.
The Rowkin Bit Charge is a durable, water and sweat resistant headset that’s as compact as they get. Unfortunately, a few design flaws, size considerations, and poor battery life can sap some of your satisfaction.
Ultra compact design makes the headphones sleek, discreet, and easy to carry around anywhere and everywhere
Charging case is a smart and neat addition, providing a more satisfying user experience
Super lightweight and sweat-resistant design make it the ideal running companion
Short battery life can be a hassle for some users
Losing the earphones is easy, which is a major risk for many buyers
The Tribe TRB Wireless Bluetooth Fitness Headphones are one of the cheapest options on the list, costing a small fraction of the others listed ahead of it. That is why it has become a front runner among these different options, but there’s more to its high ranking than just the price tag.
Specifically designed with fitness buffs and runners in mind, the Tribe TRB wireless headphones feature a secure earpiece design that fits snugly into the ear canal for optimal noise cancellation. It also features a small plastic extension that anchors the earpiece against the folds of the ear to prevent it from popping out as you move.
The headset comes bundled with several different ear tips as well as two sets of support loops so you can adjust the fit to suit your preference. On the body of the two earpieces, you can locate several sleek buttons that allow users to change tracks, take calls, and adjust the device volume.
The charging port for the headphones can be found on the body of one of the earpieces. A bundled charging cable comes along with the device, which you can then connect to a USB adaptor or port to fully charge the headphones. The port on the body of the device is a micro USB standard charging port, so even if the cable is lost, it is always easy to get a replacement.
Regarding sound quality, the Tribe TRB neither wows nor disappoints. It is really just a run-of-the-mill music quality that’s likely to satisfy users who just want to improve their performance with some background music. The sound profile is similar to any other headset you might get bundled with a smartphone or audio player. Runners who are pickier with their audio devices, however, might not be quite as satisfied with the TRB’s sound quality.
Finally, the TRB’s microphone is yet another uniquely designed feature. Situated along the border of one of the two earpieces, the microphone can pick up the user’s voice even from the relatively far distance. It gives the device a sleeker look without eliminating the functionality of a built-in microphone.
While it isn’t a stellar Bluetooth headset, the number of features and the quality of the Tribe TRB definitely makes it a good buy, especially considering its super affordable price point. It offers just the right functionality and gets the job done, but it might not meet the standards of more serious runners or hardcore audiophiles.
Highly affordable as one of the most budget-friendly options on the entire list
Lightweight, secure design keeps the headphones in place as you run
Sleek design eliminates a lot of the bulky parts seen in typical headset designs
A little on the flimsy side, so don’t expect it to last a lifetime
If you’re looking for something with a little more structure to it, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit might be right up your alley. These wireless sport headphones feature soft silicone in-ear canal earpieces connected by a stiff band that runs around the back of the head. The earpieces also come with a small loop-like structure that helps anchor the entire piece in the ear canal for a comfortable and secure fit.
The battery life on this model is a little unique compared to its peers. In terms of continuous play, the device can sustain 8 hours, putting it above average on the list. When in standby mode, the device can sustain up to 14 hours of battery life, but when put into a unique Deep Sleep mode, users can completely preserve battery life, keeping the device fully charged for up to 6 months.
The design of the BackBeat Fit definitely gives it a sports tech vibe. The headphones come in a variety of bright colors and feature a relatively sleek appearance, especially compared to other back-of-the-neck band headphones. Control buttons can be found on the outer surface of the headphone earpieces and allow the users to play, pause, move tracks, and adjust the volume of their music.
A single downside to the design is the fit around the back of the head. Because the headphones do not snugly fit against the back of the neck or the head, the entire device tends to bounce with each step. For some users, this might not be an issue, but others find that the adjustable headbands in other designs can provide a much more comfortable fit all together.
Performance wise, there is nothing to complain about when it comes to sound quality. Of course, you’re still not getting stellar, over-the-ear headphone performance, but for a Bluetooth wireless headset, it is not that bad. Expect some ambient noise to seep in through the earpieces though, as the design prevents them from creating an airtight seal in the ears.
Durable and reliable, the Plantronics BackBeat Fitness headphones are a top-notch choice. For many users, the headphones offer just the right functionality to satisfy, but sound quality and comfort might not be its strongest suit, making it a poor choice for picky listeners and users.
Durable and long lasting, the entire design prevents the risk of damaging internal cables and wiring which is all too common with soft cable headphones
User-friendly and simple controls make it super convenient to use even for first timers
Bundled armband adds greater convenience and value for money
The back-of-the-neck band might fit too loosely on some users, causing comfort issues
A little expensive considering its run-of-the-mill features
As one of the oldest audio electronics companies in the United States, JBL has become something of a household name. The brand has released countless products throughout the years, pleasing its dedicated consumer base with high-quality electronics that truly deliver.
With the advent of active tech, JBL has come out with some pretty astounding bets, including the JBL Reflect Mini – a sleek, compact Bluetooth wireless headset design that delivers one of the best bass sounds in the market.
The JBL Reflect Mini gets its name from the single reflective strip along the cable. The design was made to keep runners visible even at night, which is a nice safety touch you wouldn’t normally expect from a wireless headset.
The headphones come with four pairs of ear tip replacements – two pairs are your typical silicone in-ear canal tips, and the other two pairs are uniquely designed tips with a projecting fin that helps anchor the earpiece in place. The tips come in two different sizes per style, small and medium.
Along the left side of the cable, closest to the left earpiece is the inline remote control. It has three buttons which control playback, play, pause, and answering calls, and a plus and minus button for volume control. The inline remote also features a covered port that can be used to charge the device.
Aside from the ear tips and the charging cable that comes bundled with the headphones, there really are not other freebies or inclusions when you purchase the JBL Reflect Mini. Of course, that might not seem like a big issue, but for the price, some buyers might be expecting to get at least a carrying pouch with their purchase.
When it comes to sound quality, the Reflect Mini definitely makes up for it. It is the one option on the list that truly perfects the bass sound, giving full, crisp, low lows that are unparalleled by any other wireless headphones; this is something that many buyers expect from a JBL brand headset, and the company definitely did not disappoint.
The headphones are completely water and sweat proof, even allowing users to give it a quick rinse to get rid of any grime and oil. The device itself has some durability to it, which users can immediately assume just by holding the headphones; this helps guarantee that you are getting a quality product that will last you some time in the gym before they give up on you.
The JBL Reflect Mini offers a full bass and vibrant sound unrivaled by any other Bluetooth wireless headset. The full functionality is exactly what you would expect out of a top-notch brand like JBL. However, it falls short in terms of price and value for money, especially if you’re not too invested in running.
Superior bass sound is perfect for getting users pumped up for the run
Waterproof design allows users to rinse off sweat and grime to keep headphones in peak shape
Straightforward controls keep the user experience simple and problem-free
A little pricey, especially considering the lack of freebies or bundled items
TaoTronics is a relatively new brand in the market that specializes in electronics, but it has also dabbled in some pet supplies and outdoor gear. The German company just recently broke into the scene, but has been pumping out some pretty good finds since it was established in 2008.
Their best audio electronic product to date has to be the TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones. These budget friendly earphones are ideal for buyers who want a no-frills device that doesn’t complicate the running experience.
The TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones feature an in-ear canal earpiece that is secured against the ear with specially designed ear hooks. The device doesn’t have an inline remote and instead incorporates all control buttons along the bodies of the earpieces. The right earpiece houses all the controls, including volume up and down buttons, a playback button that also accepts calls, and a microphone along its bottom border.
When it comes to design, there is really nothing unique about the TaoTronics Bluetooth sports headset. The device features a run-of-the-mill black cable connecting earpiece to earpiece and charging the device also follows standard practice with a micro-USB to USB charging cable that comes bundled with the package.
Sound quality doesn’t really disappoint, but don’t expect the same high-quality boom that other devices might provide. The TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones really just produce the same quality sound that any factory headset would provide, sounding more like the headphones you find bundled with mobile phones. Despite this, the audio is clear, and it should be good enough for someone who just wants to run with some music playing.
Battery life on the TaoTronics is pretty good, able to sustain up to 7 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. Charging the headphones also proves to be easy and convenient, taking just a few hours to complete a full charge.
When it comes to price, the TaoTronics is definitely affordable. It doesn’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles that other headphones provide, it does pack enough features to become a reliable set of headphones for running. Especially considering the price, you probably won’t feel buyer’s remorse when you shell out cash for this option.
The TaoTronics doesn’t really bring anything new or unique to the table, but it is a reliable running headset that comes at a very reasonable price.
Falls within the affordable side of the spectrum as the second most budget friendly device on the list
Comes with all the essential features that make a good set of running headphones
Secure fit prevents the earpieces from popping out while you’re on the go
Nothing new or special – the device is designed for runners who aren’t really looking for superb sound quality or unique functionality
Zeus is one of the newest brands in the audio electronics market, having just come out into the scene in 2015. They’ve only released a handful of headphone designs thus far, but the Zeus Wireless Outdoor Earphones have definitely captured the attention of a wide base of consumers.
These headphones feature an in-ear canal earpiece design reinforced with a hook that secures the entire earpiece against the ear. The water, weather, and sweat proof design doesn’t incorporate an inline remote. Instead, the buttons for controls can be found on the body of one of the earpieces.
A power on and off button, volume up and down buttons, a charging port, and an LED light indicator can be found neatly and seamlessly built into one of the earpieces. These controls do give some bulk to the overall design, but it’s definitely not heavy enough to cause discomfort or aesthetic issues.
The package includes several different ear tips in different sizes, a carrying case, and a USB charging cable. It is also sold with a 12-month warranty for any manufacturer defects.
When it comes to sound quality, the Zeus Wireless Outdoor Earphones isn’t anything special. Again, for a budget pair of headphones, you get the sound quality similar to those produced by factory headsets that are bundled with smartphones and audio devices.
When it all comes right down to is, the Zeus Wireless Outdoor Earphones is yet another run-of-the-mill running headset that just gets the job done. They can’t really compete in terms of full functionality and top of the line audio performance; it does give users the basic features needed to earn a place as one of the best Bluetooth headphones on the market.
If you’re looking for a budget set that provides reliable, clear music and promises to stay functional even when drenched in your workout sweat, then the Zeus Wireless Outdoor Earphones might be just right for you.
Affordable wireless Bluetooth headphones with the basic features that runners look for
Secure earpiece makes sure the headphones don’t leave their place no matter how fast you set the pace
Seamless button design and ease of use make it a hassle-free option perfect for first-time users
Nothing spectacular or out-of-the-ordinary – the Zeus Wireless Outdoor Earphones are as basic as they can get
When wireless tech started taking over the market, Jabra was one of the first brands on the scene. The company started out manufacturing true wireless single piece headsets that targeted busy office workers and executives to help them better manage their calls and contacts.
However, with the sudden boom in active tech, Jabra saw an opening and gave it their best shot. So far, their most notable piece of exercise audio tech is the Jabra Elite Sport – a high end set of headphones that boast a full range of features at a relatively steep price.
Staying true to classic Jabra form, the Elite Sport headphones’ true wireless design eliminates the existence of bulky, clumsy, and annoying cables, giving users complete freedom and comfort. The headphones are basically two separate in-ear canal ear pieces with a relatively bulky exterior, housing both the battery and the audio electronics.
On the side of either earpiece are buttons for moving audio tracks, taking calls, and adjusting audio volume. There’s also a small LED light that indicates whether the device is one and the current battery level. In terms of charging, the headphones can be charged by a unique charging case that itself needs to be charged as well.
The case can provide up to three full charges, with each full charge lasting up to three hours. All in all, the case can keep your headphones alive for nine hours until it needs to get recharged as well.
What makes these headphones a good bet for runners is the fact that they come with a built-in heart rate monitor; this should help runners keep track of their performance and establish a pattern of their running capacity. The only downside to the heart rate monitor is the fact that before it becomes functional or accurate, users need to make sure the earphones are plugged into their canal to create an airtight seal. Because everyone’s ears are a different shape, some users may not be able to achieve this.
In the sound department, the Jabra is definitely one of the better performers. It is fitted with environmental sensors, allowing you to adjust the volume of the sound as well as the sound profile to better mute out ambient noises and provide you a fuller, more satisfying listening experience.
The Jabra Elite Sport headphones really do satisfy regarding audio quality, build, and design, but there are some flaws here and there. For such a steep price, many users would hope for a longer lasting battery life or at least a more reliable heart rate monitor.
Heart rate monitor is a definite plus for lots of runners who want a fuller, more efficient running experience
Charging case allows users to charge their device on the go for up to three full charges
Audio quality is definitely more satisfying than many other options on the market, offering crisper, fuller, richer lows and highs
A bit on the pricey end of the spectrum, costing as much as double as other top notch choices
Heart rate monitor may not be reliable for some users
Skullcandy is a brand best known for its audio electronics such as music players, headphones, and even audio backpacks. The unique, often flamboyant and colorful designs speak to a market that enjoys flashy, fancy wearable tech that can grab others’ attention.
The Skullcandy XT Free is an exercise-centric design that comes with a lot of the basic features you would expect from a set of headphones made for running. Water and sweat proof cable and earpieces, wireless technology, and secure ear tips with wings for a stable and reliable fit are just some of the standard features you’ll find.
The expected battery life for a single full charge pushes around six hours of continuous audio playback. Charging the headphones again follows a market standard – a micro-USB to USB cable comes bundled with the device for easy charging through a USB adaptor or a laptop port.
Of course, anyone buying Skullcandy products would expect to see some pretty flashy colors and designs, but the XT Free kind of steps away from that brand staple. These headphones feature a very colorful ear tip design, and the ear tip wing and other components found around the earpiece boast the same, colorful, abstract rainbow aesthetic you’d usually see with other Skullcandy headphones.
However, because most of this part of the earpiece would actually be inside or against your ear during use, outsiders aren’t likely to see them. Instead, the outside, exposed side of the headphones simply features the Skullcandy logo on a plain black surface.
An inline remote comes equipped with three buttons for controlling playback, answering calls, and adjusting volume settings. Much like the exterior of the earpieces, the inline remote comes in a plain black color, which many users would have preferred in the signature Skullcandy rainbow aesthetic for at least a little pop of personality.
Sound wise, the Skullcandy XT Free delivers. They are known for their full, deep bass, and don’t stray too far from their wired counterparts, providing users with a satisfying audio experience that many other wireless headphones fail to bring to the table.
The Skullcandy XT Free Wireless Headphones have everything you would need or want from a basic set of running headphones, and they do provide some high-quality sound. However, the overall aesthetic and the lack of unique features and functionality make it fall short of what the brand is truly known for.
Satisfying sound experience is at par with other Skullcandy headphones
Earpieces and earpiece wings keep the headphones steadily in place
Comfortable fit eliminates the need to keep readjusting the headphones during use
Nothing special, especially when it comes to functionality
Design seems a little bland coming from a brand like Skullcandy
SoundPEATS is yet another newbie to the audio electronics market. The brand, having only been established in 2010, has a lot to prove if it wants to make its way to the top of the list. However, despite its relative infancy, the company has managed to put out some pretty impressive wireless Bluetooth devices that have caught the attention of a dedicated consumer base.
The SoundPEATS Wireless Earbuds are an affordable set of running headphones that – much like any other budget wireless headphones – just gets the job done. Water and sweat proof and able to sustain up to six hours of continuous audio playback, there’s little else you would want out of a basic set of headphones that you can just slap on for some background running music.
On the right earpiece are a few buttons that help users control their music player without having to pull it out of their pockets. The buttons work to adjust volume, skip or move tracks, pause and play the audio, and answer calls. These are all part of a standard design used by lots of wireless headphones for greater user convenience.
The device comes packaged with a charging cable and a carrying case, as well as a few ear tip replacements to help you find the best fit. To make sure the earpieces stay in place, the device also features fins on either earpiece intended to anchor the tips into your ears for a more secure fit.
One of the downsides to this device is the Bluetooth connectivity. Of course, it’s a really low-budget set of headphones, so you should expect some Bluetooth issues. For instance, if your mobile device isn’t strapped to your arm, the headphones can lose connection; this can be particularly annoying if you prefer having your phone or audio player in your pocket during a run.
What’s more, the SoundPEATS headphones have had a lot of replacement requests due to manufacturer defects. Fortunately, the brand offers a 45-day replacement period that you can get for free, as long as the damage isn’t caused by the user.
The sound profile of the SoundPEATS is anything but extraordinary, but it’s definitely bearable. Especially if you’re not particular with bass, treble, and other common sound issues, then you probably won’t have a problem with this headphones’ sound quality.
When it comes to the SoundPEATS headphones, you ultimately get what you pay for. They do offer some pretty good functionality, but at the end of the day, they are really just your typical set of headphones minus the jack. They’ll make an excellent choice for first-time runners though who just want to get a feel for this type of tech.
Affordable headphones that provide okay sound quality for non-picky runners
Comfortable ear tips make for an adjustment-free running experience
Fast charging process at just 1-2 hours for a full charge
The German startup brand, Bragi, has come out strong with their latest release. Boasting the tagline “the world’s first smart true wireless headphones,” the Bragi the Dash headphones have a lot to live up to. So far, they have given a lot of other brands and products a run for their money.
These smart headphones come with all the expected features of any other wireless headphones. They are water and sweat proof, they can sustain a reasonable 5-hour continuous playback, and they’re designed with sport and fitness in mind. How so, you might ask? Well, these small headphones have something unique built into the tiny earpieces.
Bragi the Dash headphones come with a highly sensitive activity sensor that tracks heart rate, cadence, strokes, duration, and many other fitness statistics. These are all logged into the Bragi app that you can download and sync with your Dash headphones.
Unlike other headphones, they also come with built-in internal storage space. With up to 4GB of free space, you can fill the tiny headphones with music directly and use them on the go without the need to connect to any other mobile device. According to the brand, using the headphones minus the Bluetooth connectivity can give users up to another hour of continuous audio playback.
Another unique feature that the Dash brings to the table is the ability to turn off noise cancellation; this is particularly beneficial for night time or outdoor runners who need ambient noise in order to avoid potential hazards and dangers while running on the road. With a quick swipe of the left Dash, users can turn noise cancellation on or off depending on their preference.
Charging the Dash entails popping them into their own, uniquely designed charging case. The entire process can take less than two hours, making them one of the fastest charging options on the market. The charging case itself can also be charged, so you can recharge the headphones while you’re on the go.
Bragi the Dash headphones can sustain water exposure by up to 1m in depth, so runners who also enjoy the occasional swim can take the device with them in the pool as well. All of these activities and exercises can be recorded and seamlessly uploaded to your phone to help you better track your performance as you go along.
Bragi the Dash is a full-on smart fitness headset that can satisfy serious fitness and running buffs who want a complete listening experience paired with superior fitness tracking. Of course, all of these high-end features come at a price, and for lots of buyers, it just might not be a reasonable one.
Activity monitor and sensor adds another facet of functionality to the device which many others fail to provide
Superior versatility and design makes it a true investment for hardcore health buffs
Dedicated internal storage eliminates the need for Bluetooth connection, thus extending battery life significantly
The price tag on this might seem a little too much for most buyers
Sound quality isn’t the best, which is a letdown considering the cost
Another Jabra entry on the list of the best Bluetooth headphones is the Sport Pace. This wireless Bluetooth headset is the brand’s clap back to the rise in budget friendly earphones that have been taking over the market with basic functionality at affordable prices.
The Sport Pace, unlike the typical true wireless Jabra design, comes with a cable that connects both earpieces together. Much like any other headset for running, this device features a completely waterproof and sweat-proof design, a reasonable battery life at five hours max, and a companion exercise app for a richer running experience.
The design features a reflective strip that keeps runners visible during low light conditions such as when running outdoors at night. The earpiece makes use of the standard in-ear canal design that is reinforced with rigid loops that hook around the ears to prevent the headphones from popping out of place.
Along the right side of the cable is the inline remote control which allows users to manage calls, play and pause music, and increase or decrease audio volume. When pairing the device with your mobile phone, a LED light and a voice prompt come on to make the entire process simpler and easier; this system eliminates the need for clumsy guessing that’s all too common when pairing other wireless Bluetooth headsets.
A dedicated button on the left earpiece launches and controls the unique Jabra Sport Life app that you can download for free on iOS or Android. Here you can choose a workout exercise and track your performance for a deeper understanding of your limits. For dedicated runners and exercise buffs, this can be a great way to step up your game and get better results out of your next workout. To make it even more convenient, the app also comes with a voice guide that cues users to improve physical performance.
With sound quality, the Jabra Sport Pace doesn’t disappoint. It produces a sound profile similar to other high-end Jabra headphones. So with all this great functionality, why didn’t it make it higher on the list? Issues with Bluetooth connectivity just might make it a major hassle to use for a lot of consumers.
Affordable especially because it comes from a prominent audio electronics brand
The Jabra Sport Life app adds another dimension of functionality and convenience that makes the headphones more beneficial for runners
Easy pairing process eliminates guessing
Bluetooth connectivity is unreliable, to say the least, causing frustration for many users
When it comes to aesthetics, there are very few headphones that come close to the Jaybird Freedom. These headphones come in five different color options, with the white variant being the most popular of all. What’s nice about the entire package is that it comes with the most ear tips and fins so that users can get the perfect fit. Bundled with the device are two styles of ear tips in three different sizes each, and three pairs of fins in different sizes as well.
On their own, the device can give you up to four hours of continuous playback. A detachable bit that connects to the inline remote adds another four hours of battery life; this can be separately charged from the headphones themselves.
The device comes with a set of cord shoteners to adjust the length of the wire to get a better, more comfortable fit to suit your preference. Finally, in the freebies section, the headphones are bundled with a carrying case with the signature Jaybird logo.
The earphones boast a secure and airtight fit which can be easily achieved by virtually any user because of the vast variety of ear tips and fin sizes. Finding the right fit doesn’t only make the earphones comfortable, but also mutes out any ambient noise for optimal sound quality.
An inline remote situated closer to the right earpiece features volume and playback controls, as well as a multifunctional button that manages incoming calls. The remote, which is fitted with a micro USB port for charging, is made of metal, not plastic, which gives the entire device a more sophisticated look.
Regarding sound quality, the Jaybird sits just in the middle of the playing field. The profile isn’t anything surprising, but it definitely provides a satisfactory experience for the right type of user.
The Jaybird Freedom does have some good points, but all in all, the entire device feels a little clumsy and cluttered. Despite the sleek, sophisticated design, the overabundance of accessories can overwhelm some buyers. Plus, the detachable battery is easy to lose and seems counterintuitive for most.
Sophisticated and sleek look makes it easy to use the headphones in settings other than just sports
Comfortable, airtight fit for premium fit and sound quality
Reasonably priced considering the brand
Too many accessories might be overwhelming for some buyers
Detachable battery seems counterintuitive and impractical, especially that it is small enough to be easy to lose
Our Final Thoughts About Running Headphones
There really is no such thing as the perfect Bluetooth headphones for running. To some extent, a lot of these devices will have some flaws that could either make or break the user experience for you. Finding the best Bluetooth headphones for running depends on what you are looking for, what you want, and what flaws you are willing to tolerate.
On our list, options like the Bose SoundSport Wireless and the Jaybird X4 outshone all the other devices because of the equal balance between sound quality, convenience, and comfort that come together to create a problem-free running and listening experience.
We hope this comprehensive guide has helped narrow down your choices to make it easier for you to find the best running headphones for your needs. Make a sound choice and be sure to check out these premium options to break your running records and go the extra mile!