17 Wireless Headphones That Will Survive Any Workout In 2022

Our guide does the heavy lifting for you


Owen Gough, Harry Bullmore and Yanar Alkayat |

1If you’re a Men’s Health regular, we’re sure you’ve seen Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s sweat-filled Iron Paradise Instagram videos and felt a mild tinge of jealousy that he can work out in such luxury. And while we can’t offer you a fully-stocked, private and personal gym that goes wherever you go, there is one aspect of his workout environment that you can emulate at home. No, we’re not talking about his ripped vests that expose his formidable physique, but instead his wireless, sweat-proof headphones.

The Rock has his own branded version of the in-ear cans (complete with the Texan Bull image that’s splashed across his bulging biceps), but there are plenty of solid devices from other brands that you can pick up right now to help you get through any routine.

READ MORE: Use This 20-Minute Workout to Ramp Up Your Metabolism

So if your earbuds keep slipping out your ears on your evening run, or if you’re having to blast your workout playlist from your phone *shudders* a pair of wireless headphones are the perfect solution.

But before you rush out to buy just any old wireless headphones, there are a few things you need to know.

What to Look for In The Best Wireless Headphones

Type

There are three types of headphones you’ll find, with the first being on-ear, which means the cushion rests on top of the ear, with a headband to keep them in place. But you’ll also find over-ear headphones, where the cups surround your ear for a bit more comfort (in our opinion), though they are typically a bit heavier.

Finally, there are in-ear buds, like the Rock’s, which are the best for working out and will feature most frequently on our list.

Battery life

Wireless headphones aren’t just good for the gym and you might be listening to them for several hours a day: in the gym, on your way to the office and wherever your day needs musical or podcast accompaniment.

Headphones on this list will all be wireless and require recharging at some point, though the battery lives range from five hours all the way up to 30 hours.

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Noise cancellation

Many modern headphones will have active noise cancellation or ANC. This feature blocks out external sounds to help you focus on the music and get in the zone for your workout.

Accessories

Many of the wireless headphones below will come with accessories to make life easier. Some will come with a travel or charging case to keep them safe when on the move, while others might come with additional ear tips of different sizes.

Controls

All wireless headphones will have some form of controllability on the devices themselves so you don’t have to reach for your phone to change tracks or answer a call. Some will be quite smart and let you control things with a tap of a finger on the bud, while others will have in-line controls on a connecting wire or a button.

MH Lab Approved

We wanted to make sure these wireless headphones were truly worthy of your workouts, whether you prefer fast-paced 5ks or shifting tin in the gym. So, our MH Lab Team sourced some of the best pairs on the market and put them to the test.

This involved trialling them during resistance training and running to make sure they didn’t slip out of our ears. They were judged on their design, ease of use and battery life, while an independent acoustic expert was also drafted in to ensure their sound quality was up to scratch.

If you see MH Lab Approved next to any of these products, that means they passed our rigorous assessments (and then some), having impressed in every department.

We’ve also included several pairs of headphones hand-selected by our editors, having helped them hit PBs with their booming bass and crisp treble.

Check out our favourite wireless headphones below and grab yourself a bargain.

The 21 Best Wireless Headphones to Buy Right Now

Apple AirPods Pro with MagSafe Charging Case: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 4.5 hours (24 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: Water and sweat resistant, not to be used during watersports (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Three different-sized silicone ear tips, charging case, USB charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Apple AirPods Pro with MagSafe Charging Case

R 4 699

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The Airpods’ innovative Ear Tip Fit Test is like a trip to the tailor for your ears, telling you (via your iPhone) which silicone tips you should use for the perfect fit. This allows them to create a seal between your ear canal and the ear buds, ensuring great sound and minimal leakage.

The noise cancellation is impeccable if you’re looking to block out distractions ahead of a 1RM attempt, and there’s also a “transparency mode” to let outside noises in — handy if you’re running through busier areas. The Airpods Pro don’t come cheap, but with natty touch controls and the ability to summon Siri, you get plenty for your money.

READ MORE: 4 New Wearables We Tested That Will Help Smash Your Goals

Jabra Elite Active 75t: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 7.5 hours (28 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Waterproof and sweatproof (IP57-rated means they can withstand fresh water up to one metre for 30 minutes, but they are not designed for swimming)

Accessories included: Three sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, charging case

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Jabra Elite Active 75t

R 1 999 (Save R1 000)

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These sweatproof headphones are made with heavy sessions in mind. We were impressed by the sound quality straight out the box, but if it’s not to your liking you can tinker with the bass and treble via the free Jabra Sound+ app — pretty neat, huh?

They come with a selection of silicone tips, meaning we could find a pair that provided a secure, comfortable fit, and can draw an hour’s worth of juice from just 15 minutes of charge. The 75ts also have a nifty “Find My Jabra” feature, with the app able to lead you to their last known location.

Bose Sport Earbuds: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 5 hours (15 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Water and sweat resistant, fine for running in the rain but not intended to be submerged in water (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Three sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, charging case

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Bose Sport Earbuds

R 4 989

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The touch controls on these headphones allow you to change the volume, play or pause your music, use the voice assistant feature and even answer calls, meaning you can leave your phone on lock and minimise mid-workout distractions.

They were extremely comfortable and the subtle ear hooks kept them secure in our ears throughout workouts. They might not be the best-looking pair we tried as they protrude from the ears a bit, but our PB playlists have rarely sounded better, with our expert picking out the booming bass for particular praise.

JBL Reflect Flow: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 10 hours (30 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Waterproof and sweatproof (IPX7-rated)

Accessories included: Three sizes of silicone ear tips, 3 sizes of silicone ear hooks, charging case, USB lead

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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JBL Reflect Flow

R 2 690

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Sweatproof with 10 hours of battery life (sans portable charging case) and convenient touch controls, the JBL Reflect Flows have plenty to crow about. You can also use their “ambient aware” feature to quickly reduce the volume and amplify surrounding sounds — ideal for a quick catch-up with your workout buddy.

Yet, despite all the tech on offer, they’re remarkably simple to use, earning plenty of points with our expert. Freebit enhancers (small, soft hooks on the side of the earbuds) help them fit snugly too, so they won’t budge during burpees.

Beats Powerbeats: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, near wireless

Battery life: 15 hours

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Water and sweat resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Four sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, soft carry case

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Beats Powerbeats

R 3 199

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Beats may be synonymous with over-ear cans — there was a point when no self-respecting sporting pro would turn up to a game without them — but the brand knows its way around in-ear headphones too.

They deliver the same clear, sharp sound we’ve come to expect from Beats and, thanks to their ear hooks, they stayed in place when we took them out for a jog around the block. The cord running between the two added an extra layer of security, and buttons on the headphones mean you can control them without having to fish your phone from your pocket.

Adidas Sport RPD-01: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, near wireless

Battery life: 12 hours

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Sweatproof and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Four sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On cable

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Adidas Sport RPD-01

R 1 999

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The neckband connecting these earbuds has several buttons built in, so you can pause, play, skip tracks and take calls with ease. The earbuds are magnetic too, so you can connect them and have them hang around your neck when not in use. We found the cords connecting the earbuds to the neck band were a bit too long though, and they had a tendency to drape and get in the way during some workouts.

Still, the sound quality was a stand-out feature of the RPD-01s, impressing our expert, and you can set specific Spotify playlists to start at the touch of a button, which saved a fair bit of mid-workout faffing with our phone.

READ MORE: The High-Performance Eco-Friendly Workout Gear That We Love To Use

Google Pixel Buds A-Series: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 5 hours (24 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Sweatproof and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Three sizes of silicone ear tips, charging case, USB charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Google Pixel Buds A-Series

R 2 395

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Our tester could hit a hardcore workout comfortable in the knowledge that these snug earbuds weren’t going anywhere. They also liked their understated, discreet design, and the absence of any sound leakage (so you can listen to your guilty pleasures playlist in a crowded gym without fear of anyone overhearing).

The lack of on-ear volume control was a bit disappointing, but Android users can enjoy access to the voice-activated Google Assistant.

HUAWEI Freebuds 4: MH Lab Approved

Type: Open-fit, true wireless

Battery life: 4 hours (22 hours with charging case)

Noise cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: Sweatproof and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Charging case, USB charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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HUAWEI Freebuds 4

R 1 499

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An Open-Fit option for those averse to silicone-tipped earbuds, the Huawei Freebuds 4 are a great option for anyone who loves chasing that pump (both muscular and musical). This is because our sound technician couldn’t speak highly enough of their bass capabilities, making them an ideal partner for lovers of electronic music.

They’re comfortable too, and barely budged during gym sessions, with responsive touch controls on the stems and water resistance earning them further points with our tester. You can’t skip or rewind tracks without whipping out your phone, but that’s a minor blip on an otherwise exemplary CV.

Adidas FWD-01: MH Lab Approved

Type: In-ear, near wireless

Battery life: 16 hours

Noise cancelling: No

Waterproof: Sweatproof and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Four sizes of ear tips, carry pouch, USB charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On cable

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Adidas FWD-01

R 1 999 (Save R1 000)

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Excellent bass emphasis, as well as strong vocal and lead instrumentation, earned these headphones a favourable review from our sound technician. However, our expert fitness tester found the slightly bulky earbuds fell out quite easily, so recommended them for more static exercise like a spot of bodybuilding.

The high quality cord between the two buds will catch them around your neck if they do slip out, and the high sound quality extended to when we needed to take a phone call. There was, however, a fair amount of sound leakage.

Beats Studio Buds

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 8 hours (The case holds two additional charges for a combined total of 24 hours with ANC off, or 15 hours with ANC on)

Noise cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: Sweat and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Charging case, ear tips with three size options and a USB-C to USB-C charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Beats Studio Buds

R 2 299

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Beats smallest earbuds to date, the Studio Buds give you everything you need in a set of wireless headphones. They deliver a high-quality and powerful sound, stay put when you need them to and remain comfortable no matter how long you wear them for. They’re both sweat and water resistant too, meaning they can stand up to the harshest of workouts.

Coming in red, black and white colourways, Beats latest offering also last about five hours with noise-cancelling on or up to eight with it switched off. A five-minute charge in the case is also enough to give you about an hour of playback.

Put simply, they sound great, they look great and they last for ages, so while this won’t be the last time you see the Beats brand on this list, you certainly can’t go wrong training with a pair of Studio Buds in your ears.

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Apple AirPods Max

Type: Over-ear

Battery life: 25 hours

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: No

Accessories included: USB-C charging cable

Location of in-line controls: On cups

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Apple AirPods Max

R 11 299

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If you’ve got the cash to burn then the AirPods Max might just be the best choice for you, particularly if you’ve already got an iPhone. It connects to your handset instantly with Apple’s quick one-tap connect, and it comes with a great adaptive equaliser and 3D audio software for getting that true surround-sound experience when watching stuff on Disney+.

You get brilliant active noise cancellation and the audio quality is about as good as it gets.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 3rd Generation

Type: In-ear

Battery life: 35 hours

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: Water resistant (IP57-rated, not designed for watersports)

Accessories included: Two sizes of silicone ear tips, hard wireless charging ccase

Location of in-line controls: On earbud

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 3rd Generation

R 5 999 (save R1 000)

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These luxury headphones might be pricey, but for good reason. Not only do they come with active noise cancellation and voice control, they also have silky tones and solid audio for those that really care about their music.

You get two ear tip options to help them keep inside your ears during those intense workout sessions, and they have a mammoth 35-hour battery life.

Apple AirPods 3rd Gen

Type: In-ear

Battery life: 9 hours (up to 24 hours with charging case)

Noise-cancelling: No

Waterproof: Water and sweat resistant

Accessories included: Four sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, soft carry case

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud, Siri

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Apple AirPods 3rd Gen

R 3 699

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If the other Apple AirPods headphones elsewhere on this list are a bit too pricey for you, you should consider the latest iteration of the AirPods, the 3rd-gen model. They are more affordable but come with similar features to the Pro editions. You lose out on noise cancellation but you still get fast connection, quick charging, and an adaptive equaliser to adjust your tunes on the fly.

They are over R1 000 cheaper than the Pro models from 2019 but have the longest battery life among the truly wireless in-ear headphones, lasting up to 30 hours from a single session at the wall.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Type: On-ear

Battery life: 30 hours

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: No

Accessories included: Hard shell case, charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable

Location of in-line controls: On ear cup

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Sony WH-1000XM4

R 6 599

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While the Sony WH series is not strictly designed for working out, they are among the very best headphones on the market right now, and can still do a really good job of keeping you motivated if your training regime doesn’t include high-tempo CrossFit training.

If you’re heading out for more walks to get a screen break, the WH headphones offer some of the best audio quality around, and have the best active noise cancelling we have used across any headphones.

They are very expensive, especially compared to some of the other options on this list, but you do get 30 hours of battery life and top-end audio quality in a comfortable pair of headphones.

Nuraloop

Type: In-ear

Battery life: 16 hours

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: Sweat and water resistant (IPX4-rated)

Accessories included: Four sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, soft carry case

Location of in-line controls: On earbud

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Nuraloop

R 4 999

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If you’re concerned about protecting your hearing when wearing headphones, you should check out these Nuraloop buds, which has a free app that will help you measure your hearing capabilities and build a profile unique to you, adjusting the volume automatically.

They have a pretty solid battery life of 16 hours, but they are also the only headphones on this list that come with a cable that you can hook up directly to a laptop or phone. We know this article is just talking about wireless headphones, but it can be really useful if you run out of battery when travelling around and still want to play some tunes.

READ MORE: 7 Podcasts You NEED To Listen To If You’re Having Trouble Reaching Your Fitness Goals

Beats Flex

Type: In-ear

Battery life: 12 hours

Noise-cancelling: No

Waterproof: Yes

Accessories included: Four sizes of silicone ear tips, charging cable, instructions

Location of in-line controls: On cable

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Beats Flex

R 995

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If you’re looking for value for money, you should look no further than the Beats Flex.

They are super affordable at around R1 000, and are great for taking out on runs thanks to the neck cable and secure tips.

The audio quality is really good, comparable to some of the other headphones on this list that cost more than four times as much. There’s no ANC, but they offer impressive range and a deep bass.

The battery life is more than enough for a week’s worth of exercising at 16 hours, and they are fully waterproof –they might have accidentally had a spin or two in our washing machine and come out working perfectly fine.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

Type: In-ear, true wireless

Battery life: 6 hours (21 hours with charging case)

Noise-cancelling: Yes

Waterproof: No

Accessories included: Charging cable, charging case

Location of in-line controls: On ear bud

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

R 2 999

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If Apple AirPods are designed with iPhone users in mind, the Galaxy Buds are specifically meant for Android users, as they can connect to all Android devices and apps seamlessly, including Spotify.

They have a solid battery life if you keep the charging case around to top it up, and they do look pretty snazzy. They are quite bulky, and might slip our your ears every now and again if you’re doing heavy workout routines.

*This article was originally published on Men’s Health UK

READ MORE ON: gear and tech headphones workout gear

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