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We salute you if you can exercise with nothing but random huffs and grunts as your backdrop, but for most people, a heavy workout requires a pair of headphones that’ll get you to the finish line.
After researching and testing a whole bunch of these sports headphones, we can say that a handful stand out from the rest.
Below are our nine current favorites — each has their flaws, but they should all feel good, survive your sweat, and make your playlists sound better to boot.
Maybe you’ve already dropped hundreds on a pair of high-end cans, but they just won’t work for the gym. If you don’t want to sink much more into something you’ll only use for a couple hours at a time, try the Koss Fitclips.
They go for as little as $ 25, and while you’re never going to get much fidelity from something that cheap, they’re clearer and louder than what’d you expect for the money. They’re also built well, with a lightweight, bendy, and sweat-resistant frame that stays in place and blocks out a nice amount of ambient noise.
The last thing you want to think about while exercising is what’s in your ears, and Anker’s Sportsbuds were designed with that in mind.
Their volume controls, power button, and battery all fit in the earbuds themselves instead of on a dongle that hangs off of the wire connecting them. This gives the Sportsbuds the advantage of being evenly weighted; instead of feeling plastic bumping against your shirt or skin, you can focus on the next lap or set.
Samsung Level U
You have to learn to love the neckband. If you can tolerate its collar-style design, the wireless Samsung Level U will reward you with an impressively strong, balanced sound, a good 10 or so hours of battery life, and freedom from any sort of cord tangling. Its ear gels are secure, but just know that its unsealed, or open, so you’ll hear ambient noises while you’re moving around. (Though that’s not much of a negative for exercise headphones anyway.)