It’s tough trying to find the best workout headphone - Beats or otherwise. Most people use the term ‘headphone’ interchangeably or as an umbrella term describing any personal speaker system that delivers music directly into the ear.
Beats workout headphones can mean earphones, earbuds, on-ear headphones or over-ear headphones. Ordinarily, we’d use the specific terms to reduce confusion. For the purposes of this one, however, we’re using headphones to mean any of those listed above.
Beats PowerBeats 3
These earphones have a secure fit: they wrap over the ear and around the neck. They’re lightweight, too, making them particularly useful for runners.
Thanks to Apple’s W1 chip, pairing is ridiculously easy for iOS devices. You simply turn the PowerBeats 3 on and a pop-up message appears on your phone. Thanks to its W1 chip, the earphones have an impressive range providing a strong and reliable connection to your phone or transmitting device.
Battery low when you’re about to hit the gym? The PowerBeats 3 benefits from a fast-fuel function where a 5-minute charge gives an hour of playback.
These have a 12-hour battery life, too.
These are water-proof, weather-proof and sweat-proof.
You can easily answer or make calls, talk to SIRI as well as control your music.
Control the volume with an inline volume remote.
These earphones aren’t exactly good looking. They’re big, a little bulky and very noticeable when they’re in-ear. Brash and bold has always been Beats’ M.O, however, so that might not be an issue for you and after all, appearance isn’t everything.
Typically of Beats, they’re bass heavy.
If you’re using an Android device, then you’re not going to enjoy the full potential of these earphones BUT that’s not to say they’re not still a good option even for those devices not powered by iOS.
Beats Studio3 Wireless
It might surprise you to see a Beats over-ear headphones on a list about working out.
But you can’t work out in big headphones! We hear you cry.
Normally, you’d be right.
Sweat damage is a killer for over-ear and on-ear headphones but fortunately, you can add sweat-proof covers to your Beats workout headphones to make them gym-ready.
Pure Adaptive Noise Control (Pure ANC) is Beats’ shot at noise-cancelling technology. It’s not a patch on Bose or Sony, but it will cut out more than enough ambient sound to give you peace in a noisy gym.
Like the PowerBeats, these headphones benefit from Apple’s W1 chip including a more reliable pairing with noticeably fewer drop-outs.
You’ll get 22-hours of battery with wireless and around 40 without. Fast-Fuel is the big bonus here though: 3 hours of playback from a 10-minute charge. Ideal for those of us perpetually low on juice.
If you’re not an Android user, however, then the battery slides to a very average 11 hours wireless or 20 hours without.
It’s a pretty robust design - plastic, sure, but solid and strong enough to last for regular gym trips.
The oval cut-out cushions offer comfort and a firm fit and one that shouldn’t leave your ears aching.
Touch controls are on the right earcup
If you’re not super-fussed about hi-fidelity (and you’re probably not in the gym), then these should sound good enough for most people’s tastes. There seems to have been an effort to drop - what one reviewer called - ‘bass bloat’. Beats has always been associated with heavy bass and it’s good to see them improving the output.
Charging is via a micro-USB cable.
There’s a good range of colour options for these headphones. You can opt for the traditional bold tones of defiant black/red but there are more muted options, too, including matte black, grey, and white.
We’re going for on-ear headphones with pick number-3.
Up to 40-hours battery life and with the additional fast-fuel function a 5-minute charge will give you 3-hours of playback.
A mic in the earcup lets you take calls. Press down the left one and you can talk to Siri. You can control your music from here, too.
There’s no active noise-cancelling technology in these which could be a deal-breaker for some. Although, there’s enough padding to make sure that some of the ambient sounds are blocked.
Some people have said it’s a bit of a tight fit. There’s a ‘clamping’ effect on all headphones, and it can become uncomfortable after a while especially if you’re using on-ear. These appear to be no exception.
Beats X also benefits from the W1 chip offering seamless pairing with Apple devices as well as extended battery life. 5-minutes of charge will give you 2-hours of playback: enough for those last minute gym sessions.
It charges via Lightening not micro-USB.
These have a simple and clean design and mark a shift from the company’s usual brash and bold designs.
Remote Talk lets you take calls and play music whilst your working out.
We’re always having trouble untangling our earphones, so it’s great to see that the Beats X has magnetic earbuds which help them to coil up and stay tangle-free.
These earphones are on a neckband which sits on your collarbone. Good if you're a runner or if there’s a bounce to your workout.
These wired on-ear headphones can be paired with sweat-resistant covers and easily made gym-ready.
They have a durable design with the stainless steel lightweight enough that it shouldn’t weigh you down on your workout.
The Beats EP are cheaper than the Studio3 and Solo3 headphones but still offer a number of decent features.
The fact that these are wired headphones could be a deal-breaker for some. In particular, the cable is pretty long and liable to get in the way of your workout especially if you can’t stash your phone in a pocket that corresponds to the jack in your device.
Stainless steel arms allow for a firm grip. Keeping them on your head during a run or workout shouldn’t be a problem and there’s unlikely to be the ‘pinch’ that can sometimes happen with a tighter clamp. The cushions are pretty thick, too, providing a comfortable fit.
You can’t collapse these down and that’s a big downside to a headphone that could be used in the gym.
There’s no doubt that Apple’s acquisition of Beats back in 2014 and the introduction of the W1 chip into its headphones has made Beats an attractive option for headphone buyers. Certainly, there’s plenty to offer gym-users both for both Beats workout headphones and earphones.
Just remember that if you’re planning to workout in Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Solo 3 or Beats EP headphones, add a pair of sweat proof headphone covers to protect them from moisture damage.