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A Guide To The Best Gym Headphones 2018/19 - Muscle Rage

A Guide To The Best Gym Headphones 2018/19

Despite what you see in most gyms there are actually more brands than Beats by Dre. Whilst they are probably the best-looking headphones, are they the best gym headphones for all of your workouts, sports, crossfit sessions and even running? 

Whatever your sport you don’t want it to be ruined each week by poor audio quality, headphones constantly falling off or just breaking completely due to poor build quality and lack of sweat resistance. 

Below we have also included links to the best deals we could find (as of 9th November 2018) to make sure you get the best deal on what you feel is the best gym headphone. However, Black Friday 2018 is nearly here and may offer even bigger discounts. Unless you desperately need a new pair of cans then we would recommend holding off until then. 

How To Choose The Best Gym Headphones For You 

  • Comfort and fit are the things that should be at the top of your list when picking headphones for workouts. The last thing you want is your workouts to be painful (and not in a good way!). To have to constantly pause in the middle of exercises to readjust them, I can tell you from experience, will become extremely annoying after just a few workouts. 
  • Sound Quality. Gym headphones will never sound like true studio or reference headphones, but they are not supposed to. If anything, the reason beats are so popular in the gym is because increase the bass. However, for a product that you use every day you should make sure that the sound quality is good enough for you and hopefully puts a smile on your face each time you listen. Even if the workout doesn’t… 
  • Sweat Resistance. Personally, I feel the whole thing around Sweat Resistance is more of a marketing scheme rather than adding the extra value you are charged. This is because after owning Beats Studio 3 and Bose QC 2 purely for workouts and sweating A LOT in them, neither of them died from lack of water resistance. The beats actually died after they snapped in half when I was putting them on and the Bose QC 2 are still going strong for all of my workouts. 
  • Type of headphones. Many years ago, ear buds were the only type of headphones you would see inside the gym. But now thanks to Bluetooth headphones developing so rapidly in recent years you probably see more headphones in the gym that are over ear and on ear styles. They offer noise isolation, quick charging and tons of hours of battery life, which makes them just as easy as earbud headphones. 

The Best Headphones For Gym Goers 

Bose QC 35 II 

Tune out the world and focus on results 

Type: Over ear noise cancelling Bluetooth headphone. 

Battery Life: Up to 20 hours Wireless. Up to 40 hours wired. 

Sound Isolating: Phenomenal sound isolation. 


+ One of the best noise cancelling headphones on the market. The best way to zone out of life and focus on your workout. 

+ Very comfortable for prolonged use, making cardio sessions a little easier. In ear headphone (unless you’ve found the perfect fit for you) can become uncomfortable after long uses. So, having an over ear headphone, you might find you avoid any of the unnecessary discomfort. 

+ Sound quality is on point. If you someone who is picky about the audio quality of your headphone, these will definitely not disappoint. 


– No good if you are sprinting or doing really high intensity training as they will probably fall off. Also, at this price you might shed a tear if you see these beauties hit the floor. 

– In our testing, Bluetooth connection dropped out at least once a workout for a second or two which at the price point is disappointing. 

– If you are going for over ear headphones there are better competitors out there for the same or less money. 

Best Price:  £229.00 

Apple Air Pods 

True wireless becomes mainstream. 

Type: True wireless in ear headphone. 

Battery Life: 5 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: No. 


+ Seamless connectivity. You are not going to have any problems with your Bluetooth connection at any point in your workout. 

+ Charging case greatly increases listening time and also makes charging them on-the-go way more accessible. 

+ Siri integration, when it works, is fantastic. 

+ If you’re an apple lover, they fit with the rest of your equipment perfectly. 


– Poor battery life without the case, compared to the Bose QC 35 II. 

– Not everyone gets along with in-ear headphones during sport if they don’t fit properly. This may be likely with a pair of Apple Air Pods, especially if you like a snug, secure fit. 

– They are expensive compared to its in-ear competitors. Although using them every day makes the expense more worth it, you might constantly worry about losing them. They are small and can hide from you very easily. So, I must admit, for the price they cost, you might find yourself running around like a headless chicken when you can’t find then! 

Best Price: £159.00 

Sennheiser CX Sport Bluetooth 

Excellent audio performance. 

Type: Bluetooth in-ear wireless with anchoring hooks. 

Battery Life: 6 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ Great comfort. The anchoring hooks allow the ear buds to sit comfortably without being pushed too far into the ear. Compared to the Air Pods, these might sit nicer and more comfortably in the long run. With 4 different size earbuds, you can choose which ones fit you the best. 

+ Excellent audio performance. Sennheiser are known for their audio quality and they don’t disappoint here either. Although the sound will never be as good as an over ear headphone, they’ve done a good job to make sure your music will be top quality during your workout. 


– Poor battery life. Although they do have a quick charge option that reaps one-hour play time after only 10 minutes of charging. 6 hours after a full charge isn’t quite as good as the Bose headphones which last up to 20 hours. 

– Falls out of your ears too easy. Dependent on the kind of activities you are doing, you might find they don’t stay as secure as an over ear/on ear style. Saying that if you are cycling/walking or doing low intensity training, these might be the ones for you. 

Best Price:£88.51 

Beats PowerBeats 3 

Could be great but fails to deliver. 

Type: Bluetooth in-ear wireless with over-ear hooks. 

Battery Life: 10 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ They have done well with the sound quality and have upped the bass which is normal in your average fitness headphones. 

+ 10 Hours of listening time is a good battery life. Definitely beating the Apple Air Pods and Sennheiser CX Sport, you shouldn’t be left in silence during your workout. 

+The over ear hooks can be a blessing and a curse. If they fit correctly, they will stay held in your ears for the entire workout. 


– You’ll become overly aware about the curse of the ear hooks if they don’t fit correctly. They can be very uncomfortable for certain people. Personally, I felt the hooks were far too big on my ears, leaving the ear buds to not sit in the correct position. This left the sound feeling slightly tinny, which was definitely killing my training vibes. 

– The price of these are what brings the pair down. I would be happy to pay around £50-£60 for a pair of headphones that are flawed in the way these are, not the £139.95 they are asking for. 

Best Price: £139.95 

Beats Solo 3 

The newest and best from Beats by Dre. 

Type: Bluetooth on-ear wireless. 

Battery Life: 40 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: No. 


+ You know most of the time when buying any kind of Beats by Dre, sound quality will be pretty decent. They aren’t going to sound quite as perfect as the Bose QC 35 II, but for anyone who isn’t too picky with their listening they are just what you need. 

+ 40 hours of battery life…. Need we say any more than that. 

+ Seamless connectivity. As with all apple products, your connection will always be spot on. No need to worry about any drop outs whilst you’re hammering that hard set. 


– Premium Price. They are Beats by Dre, so as with any Apple product the price is sky rocketed by the brand. 

– For the price there are better sounding alternatives. If you really are someone who wants to get the best quality for the price, then you will be able to find a better sound quality for around the same price or less. 

– The build quality with the Beats Solo 3 are just about average. They aren’t the sturdiest headphones, but also aren’t going to break easily. 

Best Price:  £179.95

Optoma Nuforce BE SPORT3 

The best earphone for any cardio addict or crossfitter. 

Type: Bluetooth in-ear wireless with minimal wiring. 

Battery Life: 10 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ They aren’t going to compare to the headphones that are through the roof expensive, but that’s your choice as a consumer to pay more for the premium product. Personally, I feel for the price of these headphone, the sound quality is great. They also do have great noise isolation for an in-ear headphone, keeping you focused on your workout. 

+ The fit on these headphones is really down to you. They offer many different size earbuds, with a few different shapes so you can play around with them until you find the perfect size for you. The ear tips are also magnetic, so you can link them to yourself, to each other or to other things to make sure they are safe, and you know where they are at all times. 

+ Amazing value. Although these headphones don’t quite meet the sound quality of the Bose, and the comfortability of the Sennheiser’s, for the price you pay, these headphones are great all-round performers. 


– These headphones are just alright. There is nothing about them that makes them stand out from the rest, but there is also nothing about them that would stop me from buying them. So if you’re looking for a pair of headphones that are going to wow you, I’m afraid to say these are not the ones for you. 

– The look of these headphones isn’t as classy and sexy as some of the other headphones we have looked at, and a lot of people aren’t a massive fan of the luminous coloured earbuds. 

Best Price: £64.99

Beats Studio 3 

Heavy bass for heavy lifts. 

Type: Bluetooth over-ear wireless. 

Battery Life: 22 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ As with most Beats by Dre. For anyone who isn’t picky with their audio, these headphones deliver good sound quality. But if you are picky about audio, there are different headphones out there for you. 

+ Arguably the best-looking headphones in this line up. Apple have a certain way of making things look exceptionally pretty. They followed suit when designing Beats by Dre. 

+ ANC (Adaptive Noise Cancellation) makes hearing anything that annoys you a thing of the past. 

+ Super-fast connection due to the W1 chip. This means it is going to work beautifully with all your apple devices but might become a problem if you’re an android user. 


– These headphones are quite big and are probably not going to be the headphones for you if cardio is your go-to activity in the gym. 

– There is only one style with Beats by Dre. If you don’t like how they look, you won’t find a pair that you will like. 

– Again, with most apple products, they are expenny. Remember when you buy from Apple, you’re also paying for the big name brand. 

Best Price: £299.95  

Sony WH-1000XM3 

The BEST headphones right now. But you’ll have to skip the cardio. 

Type: Bluetooth over-ear wireless. 

Battery Life: Over 30 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ The best sounding headphones in this line up. Without going into Audiophile levels these are the best headphones on the market right now and are also high-resolution certified via the wired mode. If audio quality is what gets you going, you might be looking at your next pair of headphones. 

+ ANC (Adaptive Noise Cancellation) is next level and far surpasses both Bose and Beats. Think about the unbelievable level of focus you will achieve being able to drown out every noise you don’t want to hear. 

+ Quick Charge makes running out of battery a thing of the past. Although with over 30 hours of battery-life… I don’t think this should be a too much of an issue. 

+ The gesture control is a very sleek idea for headphones and makes pausing and skipping songs very easy. Looking into reviews I have found it has been quite hard for people to control, but with some practice works pretty well. You will also feel like a Jedi pausing your music without pressing any buttons! 


– There have been some reports of some build quality issues which may be much more apparent when used in the gym. These headphones boast great sound quality, but there is no point taking them to the gym if they are going to break after you have dropped them once or twice. 

– Price. The most expensive pair of cans on the list. But if you would prefer to have audio quality that puts the pump into your workouts, are the extra pennies worth it? 

Best Price: £229  

Monster ISport Freedom 2

Dependable low-mid tier powerhouse. 

Type: Bluetooth on-ear wireless. 

Battery Life: 24 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ Strong build quality meaning they will hold out even after taking a few knocks. They are also built to stay on your head well so for a workout headphone, they are great. 

+ Great battery life for the price point. 24 hours of listening time will definitely do you until you can charge them up again. 


– Touch controls are just okay at their best. Due to them being touch controls, you usually always end up pausing your music looking for the button. 

– For the price you’re paying, you don’t seem to get a lot. There isn’t even a carry case/protection case in this price, which I think is a bit lax. For prices much less you can get better sound quality and the carry case is just included as standard. 

Best Price: £152.43

Beyerdyanmic Byron BTA Wireless 

The BEST in ear sound but it comes at a price. 

Type: Bluetooth in-ear wireless. 

Battery Life: 7.5 hours of listening time. 

Sound Isolating: Yes. 


+ As with all Beyerdynamic the build quality is solid. They’re made of metal and are very robust. They aren’t bulky and doesn’t rely on ear hooks which is sometimes more comfortable for people. Even though they don’t have the hooks, they still sit in place nicely when running. 

+ The sound quality is superb and destroys the other in ear headphones on this list. If you’re a picky listener, then these will definitely be one of the top pair of cans on your list. 


– To get such great sound, Beyerdynamic have cheapened out with the battery life. Although 7.5 hours is good, compared to other headphones on the market, they’ve been completely crushed. 

– They provide multiple sizes of ear tips to find your perfect fit but have heard from many people that they aren’t the right sizes and are very delicate, meaning they break quite easily. A lot of people have bought ear tips from other places, which has gotten them over this issue. But for the price you pay, I would expect not to be going elsewhere for any parts. 

Best Price: £99

Which Headphone is Best for You? 

Firstly, if we go on sound quality alone, the best two sounding headphones hands down are the over-ear Sony WH-1000XM3 and the in-ear Beyerdynamic Byron BTA Wireless. If you are someone that normally stays away from cardio and are a bit of a music nut, the Sony’s should really be your only consideration. From this choice you will also hardly ever have to worry about charging them, hearing the rubbish gym music and feeling like a Jedi every time you use the gesture controls. But if cardio or crossfit is your thing then the Beyerdynamics offer the best in ear sound and with all Beyerdynamic pairs the build quality will be second to none. 

If you are someone who thrives on the look of the headphone set than Beats by Dre might be the option for you. However, we would HIGHLY RECOMMEND staying away from the Power Beats as we have not found a single person that got on with them in terms of comfort and staying in their ears. 

Sadly, from all of the research and testing we have concluded that there is no perfect headphone for the gym. There are some that come close but just fall short in a way that makes you really wonder where to put your money. Because of this below you will see that we have selected the best headphone for a variety of categories taking into account all of their pros, cons and of course battery life; 

The Best Headphone For Lifting And CardioOptoma Nuforce BE SPORT3
The Best Headphone For Lifting: Sony WH-100XM3  
The Best Headphone Bang-For-Buck: Monster ISport Freedom 2
The Best Headphone For Cardio: Beyerdynamic Byron BTA Wireless

It’s Down To You.

Headphone are a very personal thing. You have to be comfortable wearing them, they have to feel comfortable on your head, they have to sound the way you want them to sound and you have to look as good as you want them to. Bringing together all the different features and factors of each pair should hopefully help you pinpoint the right headphone for you. My biggest words of advice on this subject are; If you can try them before you buy them, then DO IT. As much as you read online about the fit, style and quality of the different sports headphones, the only way to truly know how you feel about them is by trying them yourself. 

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