The design is completely sealed off, with no openings that could let in dust, water, or sweat. You’re not supposed to swim in them, but if you could almost certainly run with them through a refreshing spring rain without any issue. The only downside of the sealed-off design is that the Tarah Pro charges with a short proprietary snap-on charging cable. Of course, thanks to the lengthy battery life, unless you’re hitting multiple marathons a week (really bad for you!), you shouldn’t need to charge them more than once a week.
The Tarah Pro’s feature a relatively neutral sound-profile, like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts. Head-to-head, the Active 75ts sound a little bit better. Occasionally, the Tarah Pros struggle with any frequencies that are a little too low or a little too high, like the synthy dynamics on “Love Lockdown.”
Minus the charging cable caveat, the Tarah Pros are just about as easy to live with and use as any true wireless headphones. That’s partially because of the design of the cord itself, which is relatively thick (so it won’t fray) and wrapped in a fabric that feels nice against your skin. The ear buds are also magnetic, so if you need to take them off, they clip securely together to create a necklace. In the ear canal, Jaybird has designed its eartips (which it calls…“eargels”) with little wings, so they’re more likely to stay in place.
The Best Budget Headphones for Working Out
There is very little in this category under $50 that’s sweat-proof, sounds decent, and actually connects easily with your phone. But after testing some real stinkers, we found one actually kinda good pair at $50: the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2. Soundcore kind of owns the universe of super cheap, beater headphones. The sound quality won’t win any awards, but for $50, these Soundcore earbuds sound fuller, clearer, and more balanced than you’d expect. Water-resistant headphones aren’t super common at this price, but these are IPX5 rated, which means they’re protected extremely well against water and dust. The flexible silicone “airwings” easily conform to the shape of your ear and, impressively, they offer a whopping 100 hours of battery life in total from the charging case (eight hours per charge). We’ve never tried to workout for 100-hours straight, but rest assured these are not headphones that are going to die on your way to the gym.
The Best Workout Headphones for Biking
If you’re a city biker, you know that using any pair of headphones while you’re riding can be dangerous. You need a ton of spatial awareness to safely navigate all the trucks, cars, pedestrians, and other bikers zooming around the streets. The simplest way to address the problem of quiet commutes while biking is with a portable Bluetooth speaker. But if you don’t want your entire neighborhood to know you’re still listening to the Carly Rae Jepsen album from 2019, you have other options.
The best option we’ve tried is AfterShokz Aeropex. AfterShokz is a proponent of bone-conduction headphones, which have speaker pads that rest on your temples instead of in or around your ears. You pick up some of the sound through your outer ear, but the majority of the sound travels through the bones of your jaw in the form of vibrations to your inner ear. The result is a pretty hollow sound, leagues away from the high-fidelity experience of something like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts, but it’s plenty good enough for listening to talk-y podcasts. And, more importantly, you can listen to those podcasts while also hearing literally everything else around you. Other advantages? The Aeropex headphones are light, have a decent eight-hour battery life, are fully waterproof, and come with a two-year warranty. If you’re looking for headphones for your bike workouts and commutes, this is your safest and best option.
7 Other Wireless Headphones We Like for Working Out
The Beats PowerBeats Pro are true wireless headphones, just like the brand’s latest Fit Pros, but the biggest difference you’ll notice is the design. The PowerBeats employ ear hooks, which loop around the top of your ear and provide an immovable secure fit. Compared to a more loose-fitting earbud, the security offered by these ear hooks might understandably be preferred by people who enjoy workouts using a full range of motion, no matter what jumps and lunges and jostling that involves. The Powerbeats make good use of Beats’ mastery for a specific kind of bass-heavy sound, though we’d say these are more bass-forward than bass-heavy, and less balanced than the Fit Pros. It’s not the kind of sound profile you’ll get much out of when listening to This American Life, but it’s perfect for a Playboi Carti track. The PowerBeats Pro headphones also pack up in a clunky charging case the size of a clenched fist, but on the plus side, that little brick fuels a long battery life of 24 hours (and nine full hours between charges). The headphones don’t have as much water resistance as the Jabra Elites above, but they’ll certainly hold up through the sweatiest of workouts.
Jaybird was late to the true wireless game—by the time it announced the Jaybird Vista in 2019, Jabra was set to release the third version of its own true wireless headphone—but the headphones are decent enough to be worth the wait. The Jaybird Vista has a great sound profile, not as good as the Elite Active 75ts, but much better than the AirPods you’re likely comparing them to. They connect to your phone easily and have a battery life of six hours. The real advantage is in their more rectangular design that supports the use of a bunch of different kinds of ear tips. All the provided options mean that there’s a zero percent chance these workout earbuds won’t fit and stay in your ears. And if any five hour ultra-marathons are in your future, that’s all you need to hear.
Beats’ new cheap workout headphones, one of our favorite things released in 2020, offer a slightly better sound quality and pairing experience than the Soundcore Spirit X headphones, for a bit more money. They offer sound quality that’s about as good as the Apple AirPods most people are perfectly happy with—a little hollow but not distorted—and feature the new Apple W1 chip that allows for the same seamless pairing and connectivity experience as AirPods. The in-ear Flex also features a solid 12-hour battery life, a comfortable fit, and little magnetics on the wireless earphones so that they’ll rest around your neck when not in use. They aren’t rated for sweat-resistance or water-resistance though, which makes these more ideal for casual workouts than for the kind of runs that leave you soaked.
We’re only just starting to reach a point where the true wireless earbuds available under $100 aren’t frustratingly bad. The Skullcandy Sesh Evo isn’t nearly as good as other in-ear headphones, like the Jabra Elite Active 75ts or Jaybird Vistas (or even the Ankers), but it offers a decent fit; good sweat-, water-, and dust-resistance; along with 24 total hours of battery life with the charging case (each single charge gets you five hours). The connection quality and pairing process isn’t as good as that from other budget headsets like the Anker and Beats Flex, and the sound quality is similarly inoffensive. But for $40 and under, these are the perfect headphones for tossing at the bottom of your gym bag at the end of a workout and completely forgetting about until you start your next circuit.
The Bose SoundSport headphones look visually similar to the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but come with the fuller sound profile you’ve come to expect from Bose. Unfortunately, they only have six hours of battery life and chunky ear tips. The latter of these is the real kicker—not only do these headphones stick out of your ears, which looks weird, but they’re also pretty heavy. Even though you can work out in them, it won’t be nearly as comfortable as using the Tarah Pro. But if you want the higher-fidelity experience of a slightly wired headphone, with plenty of weather resistance, the SoundSports will do the trick.
Like the Bose SoundSport, Sennheiser’s earbuds sound great—clear and full, without the thuddy bass that accompanies other pairs in the same price range. The two control pads on the neckband are a little clunkier than we’d like, but the option to pick both from ear tips and ear fins means you can get a pretty solid fit in your ears with just a little tinkering. For slightly less than the Bose, you get a great-sounding pair of headphones that holds up to most moderate types of exercise. We prefer the sound quality of the Bose pair, but appreciate that the Sennheiser comes with multiple tips and has a more comfortable design.
AirPods wouldn’t be our first choice for good workout headphones for most people, especially its First Generation model which isn’t sweat-resistant. Even though the newer Airpods Pro offer a little bit of sweat-resistance, interchangeable ear tips for fit, and pretty much the same functionality and sound features as the Fit Pros, they’re not quite as comfortable or secure in the ear, and $50 more expensive full-price. They’re also less geared for workouts than our top choice, the Jabra Elite Active 75Ts, which offer a better battery life and higher levels of sweat-resistance. But if you’re partial to your Airpods, they’re still great noise-cancelling headphones, with stellar audio and call quality for using beyond the gym, and offer wireless charging through MagSafe (which the FitPros don’t have).