8 Best Over Ear Headphones For Working Out & The Gym

Best over ear headphones for working out

Over ear headphones have plenty of advantages; they’re especially great if you’re an active type. If you’re looking to take some great tunes to the gym with you, these are the best headphones for working out. While wireless earbuds may be great for some situations, they aren't best all the time. 

Since starting Headphone Critics, we've had the chance to test hundreds of pairs of headphones. We look at things like overall quality, value, comfort, usability and more. When it comes to working out, you need a comfortable pair of headphones that help get you in the zone. 

According to our tests, the best over ear headphones for working out are the Jabra Elite 85H. these super comfortable over ear headphones offer premium sound quality and customizable features.

Keep reading to find out more about those headphones, and other's that may also be a great choice.

8 Best Over Ear Headphones For Working Out

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Jabra Elite 85H

These impressive closed back headphones provide excellent noise isolation, comfort, and automatically adapt to your surroundings.

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Sennheiser PXC 550

You’ll be impressed by all the custom options offered by the Sennheiser PXC 550 headphones. They’re also super comfortable for your workouts.

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You can feel good working up a sweat with this pair of JLab Studio Pro ANC. It has moisture wicking technology too.

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treblab Z2

You get incredible battery life in these Trelax Z2 headphones. They won’t slip during your workout and stay on comfortably.

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Cowin

These Cowin headphones are perfect for bass enthusiasts. They offer really effective noise canceling too.

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Bose Soundlink Wireless Headphones

These Bose headphones perform great for audio but also during calls. It’s easy to use them with different devices.

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Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500

The Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 headphones are sweat resistant, a must-have for workouts. You’ll love how lightweight they feel.

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Beats Studio3

The Beats Studio3 is undoubtedly a premium headphones for music lovers. You’ll love the convenience of a quick charge too.

1. Best Over Ear Headphones For Working Out: Jabra Elite 85H

Jabra Elite 85H

Pros

  • Internal nano coated components make the headphones water and dust resistant
  • 8 microphones for great voice quality
  • 36 hours of battery with ANC enabled
  • Cooling ear pads help prevent excessive ear sweat during a workout

Cons

  • The exterior of the headphones are made of cloth, which tends to collect dust.

Summary:

The Jabra Elite 85H is a well-built premium pair of headphones with incredible battery life, even when using active noise cancellation. The headphones themselves weigh 10.4 ounces, and are made from a combination of materials, including a fabric outer layer. While this is a nice tactile change from what we're used to, we did notice it tended to collect more dust than other materials. 


The Jabra Elite 85h features cooling ear pads which prevent excessive ear sweat during long workout sessions. They also offer massive battery life with about 36 hours of playback time. 


As far as sound quality goes, these are the upper level of the spectrum, and will be great for most people, but don't have as high of quality sound as some slightly pricier alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM3. 


The controls of these noise cancelling headphones are located on the outside of the earcup. You get 3 buttons, one for play/pause, and two others for skipping tracks and controlling volume. Fairly easy to use and standard among headphones in this price range. 


One of the great things about these headphones is the SmartSound active noise cancellation that analyzes the sounds around you in real time to adapt your noise cancelling as you move from room to room, or commute.


Overall, the Jabra Elite 85H is the best over ear headphones for gym sessions if you want comfort, quality and reliability.


Related: Jabra Elite 85H Review

Sennheiser PXC 550

Pros

  • Lightweight and very comfortable
  • Impressive noise cancellation
  • CapTune App allows you to customize the sound

Cons

  • While the sound is impressive for bluetooth, it lacks the sparkle you expect from headphones this price.

Summary:

Sennheiser has positioned themselves as a brand fit for audiophiles and audio experts. The PXC 550 is their take on a pair of semi-premium over ear Bluetooth headphones. These offer excellent sound quality for Bluetooth headsets, and more large and lightweight enough to make them super comfortable for long workouts. 


The headphones themselves on weigh 8 oz, or 227 grams. The ear cup design has a wide opening, which helps give your ears enough space to breath. They also have touch controls, and automatically turn on when they sense you've put the headphones on your head. All of these features, combined with the great Bluetooth sound quality make these headphones a great pick for over ear headphones to use during a workout. 


The buttons are all well placed, but you can use voice controls for just about anything you need the headphones to do too. That’s a big bonus when you don’t want to pause your workout to change your tunes.

Related Content: Best Durable Earbuds

JLab Audio Flex Sport Headphones

Pros

  • Sweat/moisture wicking material is ideal for workouts
  • Three ways to get a perfect fit
  • Audio with options for different workout locations

Cons

  • Theres a minor delay after you press the buttons, which led us to double press on occasion

Summary:

It can almost feel like a crime to take a nice pair of headphones to the gym. What if you really sweat it out, and short out your audio gear? What makes these headphones ideal for taking to a workout is that you still have all the quality you expect from great headphones, with protection you can feel good about. They’re designed to wick away sweat, which keeps you comfortable, and keeps your headphones in great shape.

The moisture wicking material, paired with a snug (but not too tight) fit, makes them a pair you can take to the gym with confidence. It’s also nice to know you can slip the ear cups off to get them washed and fresh for your next session too.

Trelax Z2

Pros

  • Very long battery life (35 hours)
  • Extremely clear audio
  • Noise canceling is very effective

Cons

  • Cups may get slippery after long workouts

Summary:

The Trelax Z2 wireless over ear headphones really do just about anything you could think to need from headphones you’ll take to the gym. One main highlight is that active noise canceling feature. Most workout headphones do offer some isolation from outside noise, but this pair outright banishes it which makes it much easier to enjoy your music and get in the zone.

These noise cancelling headphones also deliver some of the longest battery life for wireless headphones that you’re likely to find, with up to 35 hours of listening. You can tell the quality put into the speakers the moment you start listening, and the clarity of the audio is enough to impress anyone. The cherry on top is how sleek and modern the design is.

Cowin E7

Pros

  • Very comfortable and well padded
  • Achieves high quality bass and vocals
  • ANC gets rid of gym equipment sounds

Cons

  • Low quality microphone

Summary:

These headphones are great to take on the go, whether you’re hitting the gym or catching a plane. They’re wireless, so there’s no need to fumble around with messy cords. When you really need to get your workout into high gear, you’ll love the deep, crunchy bass this set can deliver. For as great as the bass is, the mids and vocals are surprisingly crisp and clear too. The combination makes it ideal for all kinds of music and fitness lovers.


The ANC function helps a ton, especially when you want to block out the droning of gym equipment. The volume can really crank up too, which is a refreshing change from many headphones that seem to be too quiet.


Both the ear cups and ear pads come with adequate size and depth to ensure satisfactory fit and comfort as it cuddles the inside of your ears without generating pressure or pain. The wireless workout headphones secure clamping force.  Additionally, Cowin E7 wireless over ear headphones are flexible enough, and hence, adapt to a wide range of head sizes without discomfort.


Additionally, Cowin E7 headphones are flexible enough, and hence, adapt to a wide range of head sizes without discomfort. On top of that, the wireless headphones are equipped with pivoting ear-cups, which perfectly position the headphones. We also loved the 90-degree rotating system that lets ear-cups lay flat as you carry them around the neck or inside a carrying pouch. 
Bose Soundlink Wireless Headphones

Pros

  • Superior sound quality
  • Seamlessly switching between devices, resumes music
  • Lightweight and impact resistant

Cons

  • Bluetooth isn’t compatible with older devices

Summary:

Bose is the company you’d expect to produce some great Bluetooth headphones, and we’re glad to say this pair is ideal for the gym. They’re very intuitive, and you need headphones that are easy to use when you’re working out. The controls are built right into the ear cup; they’re easy to reach, without being distracting.


While the sound quality is a huge winning feature, there’s another noteworthy built in feature too; seamless switching. If you can’t escape calls, even at the gym, you’ll love being able to pick up a call and have your music start back up as soon as the call ends. As a bonus, these Bluetooth headphones even come with a carrying case to keep them in great condition.


As far as Bluetooth connectivity technology goes, the Bose Ear HD Wireless headphones are some if not the most equipped Bluetooth headphones on the market. They perfectly connect to multiple devices simultaneously. Switching in between devices is a mere matter of pausing media on one and playing the other. With these headphones, you enjoy zero alternating jitters. While testing the On-Ear Wireless headphones, we loved that the devices did not disconnect while attempting to switch devices.

 

While stressing on outstanding execution, the Bose sound link Wireless headphones offer a superb microphone experience. Dual microphones adequately reduce ambient noise while amplifying the speaker's voice. Bose sound link Wireless headphones automatically adjust volume according to your environment.

Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500

Pros

  • Comfortable for long workouts
  • Sweat resistant
  •  Best wireless connection

Cons

  • Mediocre bass response

Summary:

Bringing the Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 of the box, the headband was the first thing we noticed about the wireless headphones. The headband comes with a unique geometric shape that gives you the freedom to adjust the gadget's hug on each ear.


We also loved the foam used in the headband and ear pads. Both the headband and ear pads are armed with memory foam. This makes the Backbeat Fit 500 a comfy option even after prolonged usage.

 

Additionally, the ear headphones have a clamping force that enhances the comfort factor. The force strongly holds on to your head even when working out; however, it's not aggressive enough to root discomfort.


The outer side of Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 over ear headphones is armed with matter rubber, a material that's moisture resistant. These, however, make the exterior part of the headphones dust magnetic. Don't freak out! You can effortlessly clean the headphones with a wet towel, credit to the IPX2 sweat-resistant and P2i nano-coating technology features.


The Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 are ideal for people that need solid sound and something that can stand up to even the toughest the sweat a gym session can work up. They actually have a special coating that keeps the headphones in great shape, and they’re sweat resistant. Another thing that makes them ideal for their gym is how comfortable they are, even if you workout for a couple hours at a time. The sound is well equalized, and you can get a good level of volume too with these wireless headphones.
Beats Studio3

Pros

  • Convenient quick charge feature
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Rich, clear sound quality

Cons

  • Pricier than some others

Summary:

If there’s a set of ultimate headphones for the toughest workouts, the Beats Studio3 headphones might just be them. First, they’re sweat and water resistant - it’s nice to have both bases covered. Next, while they are over ear workout gadgets, they also have hooks to keep them from jumping around when you’re running. 

They are the best wireless ones on this list.


The renowned Beats sound quality is a huge draw and is something that’s just plain hard to beat. In terms of convenience, they have it. The full charge doesn’t take long, but if you’re really pressed for time, you can plug them in for five minutes to get at least another hour of music.


The Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones are Apple gadgets; however, they don't have the signature Apple appearance. In a nutshell, they don't come with the fruity logo—the street-cred remains and alongside it, the beats branding and aesthetics.


The wireless headphones construction is primarily plastic, with a prominent b logo on each ear. The general aesthetic is streamlined and sits flat against your head. This is an improvement when compared to the clunky first-generation Beats made by Monster.

Why Use Over-Ear Style Headphones When Working Out

Over ear workout headphones are known to give out great audio quality. In many cases, you’ll find the sound they produce is better, and much of that has to do with their design. Because they fit over the ear, you have built in noise isolation, allowing you to hear your music better (and music is shown to improve physical performance).

Another advantage is also in the fit; you don’t have to worry about them slipping out of your ears, and sweat proof ear cups can make them gym friendly.

Qualities to Look For

Weight and Fit

When you’re working out, you don’t want headphones falling off, especially if you're looking for running headphones. It’s important to look for lightweight headphones. Less weight means less to drag them down so make sure they have a snug fit. If you usually have trouble fitting headphones, look for a pair with different bands to adjust how they fit.

True wireless running headphones are popular, but over ear headphones fit better, and help minimize ambient noise as well.

Comfort

Weight will be a factor in how comfortable the headphones are, but there are other things to look at too. Make sure the ear cups don’t get hot after wearing them for a short time. It’s best to wear them around for a while to see how they’ll hold up.

You also need to make sure you have a secure fit, especially with running headphones. Wireless in ear headphones may fall out, but over ear headphones should have a more secure fit overall, without sacrificing comfort.

Sound Quality

Depending on what you like, you might choose a set that favors bass over vocals, or vise versa. Keep the kinds of music you like in mind when you’re choosing your headphones. ANC allows you to get clearer sound, even with gym equipment running. Headphones for running and working out should cancel out noise and help you stay focused.

Durability

It goes almost without saying, but workout headphones need to be durable. Try and find a pair with sweat and water resistant qualities for the best durability.

Conclusion

If you need the best over ear workout headphones rather than wireless earbuds, we’ve got you covered. Don’t worry about wasting time looking through pairs that all promise the same thing; we’ve done that part for you! Now all that’s left to do is decide which are your favorite, and start working up a sweat.

More information on the best headphones for working out.

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