Luxurious over-the-ear cans are plush and comfortable, and they sound great. But for working out, traveling, and wandering around town, you might want to consider a pair of durable, wireless in-ear buds. I've been trail running, hiking, working on my yard, rock climbing, lifting weights, and watching mildly embarrassing barre and yoga videos on my laptop, all while testing the best wireless workout headphones around. If you like listening to music while scrambling up stony slopes or mowing your lawn, I've rounded up 10 of WIRED's favorite pairs. Hopefully, one of them will be yours, too.
Our head Gear editor Michael Calore is a fan of the British brand Rock Jaw Audio, which offers excellent sound quality for a moderate price. Like the company's other headphones, you can swap out different tuning filters, with a silver filter for rock and hip-hop, a balanced gold filter, and a black filter for higher audible frequencies. They're also IPX5-rated, sweatproof, and water-resistant, and have a playing time of more than 11 hours.
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
The E25BT didn’t score quite as high for audio quality as other models on this list, and it lacks some features you’ll find on certain other models, such as water resistance and extended battery life. But if you want a pair of wireless headphones that provide decent sound at a fraction of the cost of its competitors, the E25BT is an appealing option.
Both of Jaybird's current running headphones, the Tarah and the X4, are excellent, durable, long-lived workout buds with fantastic sound quality. But if you don't need the X4's special, squishy Comply foam ear tips, and you're OK with losing the storage pouch, the Tarah has everything you need at a sweet price point. The eargels with wings fit securely out of the box and stayed put while trail running, rock climbing, and weight lifting; They weigh less than half an ounce. You can also tinker with the EQ in the Jaybird mobile app, either by choosing one of Jaybird's presets or customizing it yourself.
Today they are typically used only in in-ear headphones and hearing aids, where their high efficiency and diminutive size is a major advantage. They generally are limited at the extremes of the hearing spectrum (e.g. below 20 Hz and above 16 kHz) and require a better seal than other types of drivers to deliver their full potential. Higher-end models may employ multiple armature drivers, dividing the frequency ranges between them using a passive crossover network. A few combine an armature driver with a small moving-coil driver for increased bass output.
The 65t also match many of the best features we’ve seen from other fully wireless models. Jabra’s Sound+ app lets you adjust settings like equalization, as well as use either your phone’s built-in smart assistant (Siri on iOS, Google Assistant on Android) or Amazon Alexa to respond to queries. Sensors built into the headphones can be set to play and pause music when you remove the buds, and the Elite 65t can even pipe in different levels of ambient sound, which isgreat for hearing cars on the road when you’re out on your job, or announcements on the train or at the airport while you travel.
In early powered radios, the headphone was part of the vacuum tube's plate circuit and carried dangerous voltages. It was normally connected directly to the positive high voltage battery terminal, and the other battery terminal was securely grounded. The use of bare electrical connections meant that users could be shocked if they touched the bare headphone connections while adjusting an uncomfortable headset.
Sony hasn't been much of a player in the true wireless (AirPod-style) headphone arena, but its new WF-1000XM3 model may change that. While this pair of headphones isn't cheap, as far as sound quality, they're the best wireless earbuds at this price, matching and perhaps even exceeding the quality and performance of pricier competitors from Sennheiser, Beats, Master & Dynamic and Bang & Olufsen. It also has a feature that those wireless earbuds don't have: active noise cancellation technology to reduce ambient noise.
Gaming headsets are headphones that have a microphone attached and allow users to speak to other people and hear them with the same device. In fact, gaming headsets have other practical applications as well. You can use them in business or personal situations when you want to speak to people on a computer using a video phone program or social media chat room. Although these work for music applications, they're more suited for conversational clarity.