The most effective wi-fi exercise headphones for 2023

As a few of you may know, I’m a runner. Now and again I assessment sports activities watches, and out of doors of labor I’m an authorized marathon coach. So when Engadget needed to spherical up the very best wi-fi exercise headphones, I raised my hand.

Along with match and battery life, I thought of elements comparable to fashion; ease of use; the charging case; the energy of the Bluetooth connection; assist for assistants comparable to Siri and Alexa; water resistance scores; and audio options comparable to noise cancelation and ambient sound modes. You’ll discover I don’t have a lot if something to say about sound high quality. Engadget’s resident professional Billy Steele has written a lot concerning the listening expertise in his standalone opinions, which I’ve linked all through, however for my functions the variations have been too delicate to make or break a buying choice.

Ultimately, I by no means fairly mastered a few of the over-complicated controls, however at no level did an earbud fall out whereas I used to be exercising. I additionally by no means got here near operating out of juice. So, participation trophies for everybody? Ha: The businesses want. I do certainly have some prime picks, whereas I discovered some others fell quick in key areas.

How we examined

Water resistance

Even when earbuds aren’t marketed particularly as exercise headphones, a sturdy, water resistant design will, by default, make them appropriate for train. To keep away from repeating myself all through this information, I’ll drop a fast primer right here on sturdiness, or ingression safety (IP), scores. The primary digit you’ll see after the “IP” refers to safety from mud and different potential intrusions. That spec is measured on a scale of 1 to six. The second refers to water resistance and even waterproofing, in the very best circumstances. Increased numbers imply extra safety, whereas the letter “X” means the system is just not rated for defense in that regard. The scores for water resistance are ranked on a scale of 1 to 9.

All however among the finest exercise headphones we examined for this information is rated IPX4. Meaning there’s no mud safety, and the buds can stand up to splashes from any path, and are sweat resistant, however most likely shouldn't be submerged. Essentially the most sturdy set of true wi-fi earbuds we examined, Jabra’s Elite Energetic 4, is rated IP57, which suggests a excessive stage of each mud and water safety. Whereas the IPX 4 fashions can deal with splashes, the Elite Energetic 4 could be immersed for as much as half-hour in as much as a meter (or about 3.2 ft) of water.

For an in depth breakdown of all of the potential permutations, I like to recommend trying out this guide revealed by a provider known as The Enclosure Firm.

Earbuds we examined

Sturdiness ranking

Beats Powerbeats Professional


Beats Match Professional


Jabra Elite Energetic 4


Sony WF-C500


Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Professional


Energetic noise cancelation

For the 2022 replace to this information, I made a decision so as to add a notice up prime about energetic noise cancelation (ANC), just because a lot of the accessible fashions now provide it. And because the consumer expertise is definitely fairly related throughout totally different manufacturers, I believed it could be simpler to share what noise canceling options they’ve in frequent, reasonably than repeat myself.

To begin with, no noise cancellation is ideal. When you’re searching for sport earbuds which you can proceed sporting even after you’re carried out figuring out, you may nonetheless hear some noise from the skin world, whether or not it’s your robotic vacuum or automobiles honking. The distinction in high quality with ANC enabled is simple; simply don’t take these firms’ advertising and marketing claims too actually. In addition to, I don’t suggest energetic noise cancellation whereas exercising outdoor; it’s not protected. And even if you’re figuring out indoors, I nonetheless assume a noise cancellation horse race might be irrelevant for the aim of this information.

The Greatest Wi-fi Exercise Headphones

The most effective all-purpose wi-fi exercise headphones: Jabra Elite 4 Energetic

  • Professionals: Moderately priced for the function set; modern, compact design; one of many lightest charging circumstances we examined (and a few of the longest battery life); extra sturdy than most; energetic noise cancelation, a transparency mode and customizable equalizer; works with Spotify Faucet on Android.

  • Cons: Onboard controls aren’t intuitive, however Jabra gives useful directions in its app; much less snug after extended use than different manufacturers.

Very like the Elite Energetic 75t we examined just a few years again, the newer Elite Active 4 earbuds make a robust first impression, with a compact, fashionable design and a light-weight charging case to match. Accessible in three colours, the earbuds aren’t simply small and lightweight, however they appear particularly modern on condition that they don’t have any wingtips. Although they felt snug once I first put them in, my ears did really feel a little bit sore by the top of a run.

In the meantime, the 37.5-gram case can be among the many lightest we examined, however nonetheless gives a few of the longest battery life, promising a complete of 28 hours. (Every particular person earbud by itself is rated for seven hours. Jabra says you possibly can return to an hour’s price of juice after a 10-minute cost.)

In my testing, the earbuds have been simple to insert and pair. Much less simple is studying tips on how to use the issues. As you may count on, you press the appropriate earbud as soon as to cease and resume playback. You may as well double-press the appropriate bud to skip a observe, and triple press it to play it once more. However a few of the different onboard controls are much less apparent. To extend the quantity, maintain down the appropriate earbud for a second; to decrease it, lengthy press the left earbud. In the meantime, single-pressing the left earbud lets you toggle between energetic noise cancelation, HearThrough mode, or neither. Lastly, double press the left bud to make use of a voice assistant.

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The excellent news is, you don’t must commit all these finger gestures to reminiscence: Jabra’s Sound+ App for iOS and Android incorporates a useful illustrated tutorial, which I like to recommend maintaining open in your telephone as you get settled in along with your new earbuds.

I mastered the controls rapidly sufficient, however the bodily buttons on the earbuds require a little bit extra stress and coordination to get an correct press in. I discovered myself ready till I had slowed to a stroll earlier than I began fidgeting with the tracks. Even then, I wanted to be very deliberate to verify I obtained it proper. And normally I did. That mentioned, given there’s no bodily quantity rocker, I did want there have been an aural cue confirming I had moved the quantity up or down a notch; the development from louder to softer (or vice versa) could be very delicate.

After a roughly 35-minute run the battery was nonetheless at 90 % – the same exhibiting to what I noticed on the Beats Match Professional, additionally featured on this information. Just like the Elite Energetic 75t I examined beforehand, the Elite 4 Energetic makes use of Jabra’s HearThrough expertise. With that enabled, I might hear automobiles alongside my operating route, although on an particularly windy day the gusts drowned out softer noises like footsteps behind me. That’s regardless of the earbuds having 4 built-in mics with what Jabra calls a “mesh overlaying” for added wind noise discount.

Though I examined the Elite 4 Energetic on an iPhone 12, the earbuds have some extra options on Android, together with assist for Spotify Faucet, which resumes the place you final left off listening to your Spotify account on any system. Android customers additionally get assist for Alexa and Google’s Quick Pair tech.

Whereas I like to recommend the Elite 4 Energetic for most individuals, it’s additionally price rapidly mentioning the Elite 7 Active, which provides Jabra’s ShakeGrip expertise for what the corporate claims is a safer match. You additionally get barely higher battery life – eight hours per bud, or 30 hours with the case – and even quicker charging (an hour of playback after a five-minute cost). Lastly, selecting the Elite 7 Energetic over the Elite 4 Energetic offers you the choice of both Google Assistant or Alexa, in addition to voice steerage. Nevertheless, you’d be giving up name controls, which you do get on the Elite 4 Energetic.

Learn our Full Evaluation of Jabra Elite 4 Energetic

Essentially the most snug wi-fi exercise headphones: Beats Powerbeats Professional

  • Professionals: Snug, steady match; pairs seamlessly with iOS units; intuitive controls with mirrored entry on the left and proper sides; tied with Sony for the longest earbud battery life.

  • Cons: Ear-hook design isn’t essentially the most discreet, and doesn’t match so nicely with sun shades; comparatively heavy charging case; no energetic noise cancelation, transparency mode or customizable EQ; talking to an assistant is barely much less handy if it’s not Siri.

For the needs of this information I examined two pairs of Beats headphones: the Beats Fit Pro earbuds, and the Powerbeats Pro, earbuds with an over-the-ear hook design. I’ll begin with the Powerbeats Professional, which I like higher for exercising.

Apart from being barely conspicuous, the Powerbeats Professional is available in 4 colours and matches comfortably, although it doesn’t play as properly with glasses and face masks as extra compact in-ear designs. In comparison with the opposite earbuds I examined, although, I felt particularly assured the Powerbeats Professional would keep put throughout exercises.

Like Apple’s latest AirPods, the Powerbeats Professional use Apple’s H1 chip, which permits for notably deep integration while you pair the earbuds with an Apple-made system. Along with a quick, seamless pairing course of, you possibly can activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri,” with out having to press a button. You may as well share audio with different AirPods or Beats headphones, and might get pleasure from computerized switching between Apple units.

For higher and worse, the mixing is so full, in truth, that there’s no companion app; as a substitute you verify the earbuds’ and circumstances’ battery by way of different strategies, comparable to a homescreen widget or by asking Siri.

The earbuds themselves are rated for 9 hours of use, which is among the many highest we’ve seen. The case is rated for a complete of 24 hours of use, which isn’t unhealthy, however on condition that it's not greatest at school you must marvel why the case is as heavy as it’s. (Heavy sufficient that my purse feels a little bit lighter with out it.) iOS customers received’t thoughts that the case prices by way of a Lightning cable and never USB-C, however others is likely to be barely put out.

When you’ve ever used AirPods or Apple’s old-school wired headphones, these must be fairly simple to grasp. Double-press the bodily button on the earbud to skip tracks and triple-press it to go backward. I rapidly got here to like the bodily key; it’s much less finicky than a contact floor. I used to be additionally grateful for the mirroring of controls between the left and proper earbuds — each left- and right-handed folks must be pleased.

Having examined different wi-fi earbuds that both lack onboard quantity controls, or make it tedious, I’ve come to notably recognize the Powerbeats Professional’s onboard quantity rockers – one for every earbud. I don’t know of every other exercise earbuds that make it simpler to regulate the quantity, not even the Beats Match Professional.

Whereas it’s good to have simpler quantity entry, the audio expertise is in any other case fundamental. There isn’t a energetic noise cancellation or transparency mode. Not a dealbreaker for exercises, however one thing to contemplate if you happen to're an audiophile or your objective is to get one pair of earbuds you possibly can put on for every thing.

Different options embody assist for voice assistants (sure, Google and Amazon too), however solely Siri could be summoned by a voice command. You may as well put on only one bud if you happen to like (the appropriate one) if all you must do is discuss on the telephone, or if you wish to maintain an ear open to what’s happening round you. 

Learn our Full Evaluation of Beats Powerbeats Professional

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Honorable point out: Beats Match Professional

  • Professionals: Snug, steady match; pairs simply with iOS units; compact, light-weight charging case; provides ANC and transparency modes, which the Powerbeats Professional lacks.

  • Cons: A smaller design than the Powerbeats Professional means shorter battery life and the lack of a bodily quantity rocker; no customizable EQ.

One among my most important complaints concerning the Powerbeats Professional is that they don’t match as nicely if you happen to’re sporting sun shades (or, in pandemic occasions a masks). That is the place the Beats Fit Pro have the benefit: Their discreet design that guarantees to remain out of the way in which and protected even throughout sweaty exercises.

Accessible in 4 colours, the buds are simple to insert and cozy to put on – simply twist the bud to fold the wingtip into your higher ear. And, as a result of the earbuds are smaller than the Powerbeats Professional, the case is markedly lighter and extra compact (55g versus 80g on the Professional). Between the light-weight case and the much less dorky design, the Beats Match Professional make a robust case for themselves as earbuds you possibly can put on not simply throughout exercises, however in all places.

As a result of the Beats Match Professional have been launched extra not too long ago than the Powerbeats Professional, they’ve energetic noise cancellation, a function older Powerbeats and AirPods merchandise are missing. On the similar time, Apple inbuilt a transparency mode – best for runners like me who would really feel safer if they might nonetheless hear ambient cues like footsteps and automobile horns. Lastly, it helps Apple’s Spatial Audio format for a extra immersive sound and can routinely kick in if you happen to’re taking part in a suitable observe.

For figuring out, the audio is okay. However if you happen to can solely afford one pair of earbuds, my colleague Billy Steele indicated in his assessment that the sound high quality is mediocre. He discovered calls could possibly be patchy and, as he notes, Beats is among the few manufacturers that doesn’t provide customers a customizable EQ.

Out of the field, the earbuds are set to energetic noise cancellation. There are two methods to regulate this: You’ll be able to maintain down the bodily button on both earbud to cycle by audio profiles. Or, you’ll find the earbuds in your Bluetooth settings menu and click on additional to see a extra detailed menu of choices. Not solely are you able to modify the mode there, however you may also change what these bodily buttons do. By default, they’re for toggling audio profiles, however you may also set them up in order that one earbud controls quantity up, and the opposite quantity down. Personally, I most well-liked having the choice of adjusting the quantity from my earbuds mid-workout; it’s simple to only decide an audio mode earlier than your run and keep it up.

Apart from the marginally restricted quantity controls, the Beats Match Professional works very like different Beats- and Apple-branded headphones. Press the bodily button as soon as to play or pause tracks; double press to skip ahead; and triple press to replay a observe. For anybody upgrading from an older pair of Beats or Apple earbuds, the transition must be simple. My solely phrase of warning is that I discovered the bodily button on the Beats Match Professional tougher to seek out by really feel, because it’s smaller and fewer indented than the button on the Powerbeats Professional.

Apple charges the Beats Match Professional for six hours of listening time per earbud, plus a further 18 hours from the USB-C charging case. You may as well put on only one bud if you happen to like, to squeeze out much more runtime. In my testing, the battery on the buds dropped all the way down to 89 % after a 35-minute run. Extrapolate that, and the maths comes near Apple’s six-hours-per-bud declare. When you’ve managed to fully exhaust each the earbud and case, Apple says its “Quick Gasoline” function will get you again to 1 hour of use after 5 minutes of charging, the identical declare Jabra makes for the comparably priced Elite Energetic 7. (Notice: Apple’s one-hour estimate assumes you received’t be utilizing ANC.)

Below the hood, the earbuds have the identical Apple-made H1 chip because the Powerbeats Professional and Apple’s newer AirPods, permitting for hands-free “Hey Siri,” audio sharing with different AirPods or Beats headphones, and computerized switching between units. The headphones additionally work with the Discover My app, even on Android units.

Learn our Full Evaluation of Beats Match Professional

The most effective price range exercise earbuds: Sony WF-C500

  • What you get: Moderately priced earbuds that prioritize a light-weight design and good audio high quality.

  • Professionals: Light-weight; fairly priced; assist for Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio format; the earbuds themselves declare comparatively lengthy battery life; customizable EQ; helps Google Quick Pair.

  • Cons: No ANC or transparency mode; barely trickier to pair on iOS than different earbuds we examined; the charging case has decrease capability than competing fashions; they’ve a bigger, extra bulbous design than others we examined (however aren’t any much less snug).

With the WF-C500 earbuds, Sony is actually emphasizing the small design: The earbuds themselves weigh 5.46 grams, whereas the charging case is 35g. That will be the lightest case we examined, and almost the lightest pair of earbuds, barring the a lot pricier Elite Energetic 7. It’s price noting {that a} lighter charging case means shorter case battery life (a comparatively low 20 hours). Even then, the earbuds themselves provide a few of the longest battery lifetime of the bunch: 10 hours per bud. When you do run low on cost, you will get again as much as an hour’s price of capability in 10 minutes, Sony says.

The earbuds, accessible in 4 colours, have been bigger than I used to be anticipating given their mild weight, however they’re simple to insert and match comfortably. They’re barely trickier for iPhone customers to pair on iOS than different buds I examined for this information, although Android customers will profit from assist for Google Quick Pair.

By default, a robotic voice will let you know the earbuds’ battery cost as you’re placing them in. I discovered this handy, although it meant that there was a delay in getting to listen to no matter I had been listening to. You’ll be able to at all times disable voice steerage in Sony’s Headphones app if that bothers you.

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The reality is, I not often had vary nervousness with these headphones anyway: In contrast to different earbuds, which took a roughly 10 % hit after my standard 35-minute run, these have been nonetheless at 100%. It’s unlikely I’ll ever put on out each the buds and charging case earlier than attending to a wall charger.

The controls have been additionally simple to grasp with out having to seek the advice of Sony’s companion app. On the appropriate earbud, press as soon as to play or pause audio playback, or to reply or finish a name. Double press to skip tracks, and triple press to go to the earlier tune. Lengthy-pressing the appropriate earbud launches or cancels a voice assistant. You may as well lengthy press to say no a name. On the left earbud, a few of the controls are mirrored: you possibly can press as soon as to obtain/finish a name, and long-press to reject it. The left bud can be the place the quantity controls stay: press as soon as to boost it, and maintain the button all the way down to decrease it.

As one of many choices on this information with a cheaper price tag, the WF-C500 are the one ones with out energetic noise cancellation. Which to me, isn’t a dealbreaker. The eartips already do a adequate job passively blocking noise, to the purpose the place I used to be startled when a gaggle of runners ran up from behind within the park and handed me. If something, I needed the earbuds had a transparency mode that will enable extra ambient noise by. Happily I might nonetheless hear louder noises like close by visitors.

The shortage of ANC apart, the audio high quality is kind of good – which is smart, given Sony’s heritage in audio and residential theater gear. Like different fashions listed right here (barring Beats, anyway), you possibly can modify the EQ within the companion app. And, as you may count on, the earbuds assist Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio format, which has similarities to Apple’s spatial tech, which in flip is constructed on the Dolby Atmos format.

Essentially the most customizable wi-fi exercise headphones: Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Professional

  • Professionals: The one buds we examined with wi-fi charging; lengthy battery life, particularly on the charging case; energetic noise cancelation, a transparency mode and customizable equalizer; numerous choices for organising the controls to your liking.

  • Cons: Bigger and a little bit tougher to insert than competing fashions; touch-sensitive controls could be finicky; worse sound high quality than the competitors; in-app battery indicator doesn’t provide you with a proportion.

The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds can be found in 4 colours, and carry an enormous emphasis on ergonomic match. That features air-filled wings, silicone ear suggestions (much like different manufacturers) and a promise of air-pressure reduction, per Anker. The earbuds don’t include the eartips or wingtips hooked up, which provides some friction to the setup course of however, on the plus facet, you get a selection of 4 ear tip sizes, in contrast with three from most different headphone makers. Contained in the Soundcore app you’ll discover a match check, however I truly ended up with a extra snug match by simply following my intestine. Nevertheless it’s actually price taking part in round with.

The Liberty 3 Professional is true up there with the Sony CF-500 when it comes to being a few of the bigger earbuds I examined for this information. That mentioned, they match comfortably and keep put. I’ll say, nonetheless, that these have been constantly tougher to insert than another manufacturers I examined, even after I’d had a little bit of apply.

After I initially revealed this information, in September 2020, I dominated out Anker’s $55 Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 wi-fi earbuds on account of their fussy contact controls and the truth that you couldn’t modify the quantity from the buds themselves. I’m pleased to report that the scenario has improved – principally. First, the unhealthy information: The controls are nonetheless finicky, and particularly troublesome to get proper whereas transferring. However, they do provide quantity management. (Thank goodness.) The controls are additionally programmable contained in the Soundcore app. So you possibly can not less than customise the lengthy press and single, double and triple faucets in a manner that feels intuitive. Along with music and quantity playback, you may also use the controls to toggle audio modes or to activate a voice assistant (Google or Alexa).

Simply as you possibly can modify the earbud controls, you’ve gotten choices so far as sound high quality, too. There are ANC and transparency modes, together with a “regular” setting in between. Additionally, like Sony and Jabra, Anker permits for personalisation of the EQ from throughout the app. Curiously, wind discount is a function you must actively choose into. Anker says it’s because the wind lowering mode dings ANC efficiency, and because it’s unlikely folks will typically discover themselves in robust winds, it might as nicely not be turned on by default. Later this yr, Anker will push out a software program replace that may add “enhanced vocal mode,” which guarantees to extend vocal pickup within the space round you, in line with an Anker spokesperson.

Moreover, Anker touts three mics per earbud, together with AI noise discount. I can’t show that there’s a connection right here, however I did discover they sounded a little bit tinnier in contrast with different headphones. Typically, some random buzz even crept in. It’s exhausting to know if that slight distortion is a results of the AI doing its work, however I ponder.

The Soundcore Liberty 3 Professional has the excellence of being the one earbuds we examined for this information with a case that may cost wirelessly. The buds themselves are rated for eight hours of battery life apiece, or 32 hours with the case, making this the longest-lasting charging case we examined for this story. Anker additionally says which you can return to 3 hours of capability after quarter-hour of charging. After a 35-minute run, the battery indicator within the app confirmed a principally full cost, although sadly Anker doesn’t provide you with a proportion.

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