Buyers Guide for Workout Headphones

Whatever your workout preference is, running, climbing, weight training or gym cardio. The additional boost your favorite music can bring to your workout is unquestionable. Due to the high levels of dynamic movement during exercising not all headphones are a good option for working out. In this guide – our aim is to help you understand the features required to get you on your way to an enjoyable workout.     

What’s the difference between headphones, earphones and earbuds?

In-ear headphones or sometimes referred to as earphones or canalphones, fit deep into the canal of the ear providing great sound and with the correct tips, a secure fit and sound isolation can be achieved. Whereas earbuds fit on the outer ear and come as standard with most music players or phones, the sound usually tends to be of limited quality and noise isolation or secure fit is more difficult to achieve. Headphones – widely considered to be an umbrella-like name tag over all audio headsets, with subcategories such as earphones, earbuds, over-ear headphones and many more. Manufactures use naming conventions interchangeably to achieve a unique marketing strategy. So, if your anyway unsure and want to keep it simple – then just calling them headphones is your safest bet.

Wired or wireless headphones – which is better for working out?

Wireless headphones connect to your audio source – such as your phone, through Bluetooth technology therefore there is no need to have a cable connected directly from the headphones to the device. However – there is a cable connected from one ear piece to the other which brings us to – true wireless – this is when there is no wire connected from either ear piece or to your phone.

Wired headphones connect directly via a cable from your phone to your headset, resulting in a reliable connection with no dropouts. This is very good for sound quality but when it comes to exercising that additional cable and the requirement to have your phone on you can be a real inconvenience.

This is why wireless and true wireless headphones have become so popular for working out and with ever evolving developments in Bluetooth technology, the distance you can be from your phone is getting higher and dropout levels are getting lower – this is totally dependent on the quality of the earphones.   

Sweat proof – always check the level of water resistance available, this can vary quite a bit and if the headphones don’t have a water-resistant rating then there not ideal for working out, due to the fact that they will require cleaning and be capable of withstanding sweat absorption. No matter how good the water-resistant rating is, ensure use good judgment when putting them near water, as components can loosen true time due to the levels movement while working out.

Tips on secure fitting headphones for workouts.

When you’re searching for that perfect set of in-ear headphones for a challenging workout some considerations to keep in mind are the tips and fin clips that come included.

A good set on headphones will offer silicon and memory foam tips, keep in mind that sizes can vary for each ear so get creative until you get the best fit. In-ear headphones for working out usually come with fin clips (sometimes named differently as per manufacturer specifications). Fin clips simple sit into the bowl of the ear offering a very secure fit for any workout.

Built in over ear clips also come on earphones such as the Powerbeats Pro. Some people don’t like these as they can make the earphones look a bit bulky, but they are extremely effective and if a secure fit is a high priority, headphones with built-in clips is a very good option.

What to look for when buying noise cancelling headphones?

There’s a lot of interest in noise cancellation technology integrated into headphones these days. When it comes to buying a set of headphones for your workouts, consider if this is something that you actually need. If your main focus will be running – then you may not use it often for safety reasons while running. However, if you like to exclude outside noise in the gym or plan using them for multipurpose needs, like flights or in a busy office – then it can be a great option.    

Passive noise cancelation

Whatever headphones you choose there will by some form of built-in noise isolation – whether it’s from finding the correct fit with a silicon or memory foam tip for earphones or secure padding on over-ear headphones. This level of noise isolation is known as passive noise cancelation.

What’s the difference between ANC and CVC?

Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)

Active noise cancellation is somewhat different – the headphone has built-in microphones to pick up on external sounds and then produces its own version of the sound. As the sound waves combine the noise cancels out. This is just a high-level overview of active noise cancelling works. The level of ANC totally depends on the quality of the headphones but some remarkable results are achievable with high-end headphones. When checking descriptions do ensue to specifically look for ‘Active’ noise canceling as it can be a bit misleading with some products as there are different variations of noise cancelation.

Clear Voice Capture (CVC)

I thought I’d give CVC a brief overview as some people find it a bit confusing – some headphones advertise that they come with noise cancelling but don’t specify to what standard until you take a deeper look. If you see CVC standard used – this means that the noise cancelation is on the microphone and not in the ear piece. This certainly can be a bit confusing to a buyer. it is very useful – it reduces the ambient noise so that the listener won’t hear background noise on a call – remember this has nothing to do with listening to your music.

Battery life

Keep in mind when buying your new headset that some of the features such as noise isolation or Bluetooth can have a high appetite for battery power. So, take note of the battery life vs. the cases battery life. Although most public places have somewhere to power up – if you’re out running you’re going to be out of luck if the battery goes flat. Finding a set of headphones with a 


You may be finding at this point it’s not such a daunting task after all once you gain an understanding of what to look for when picking your perfect headphones. If you’re on a low budget there are many great options but limited functionality. If you can stretch it a bit you will get much better quality with a better selection of features, and the quality of noise cancelation and digital assistant compatibility will be a whole different level. Whatever you choose – enjoy your workout.

Workout Wearables
Compare items
  • Total (0)