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15 best and worst wireless workout headphones of spring 2017

Publish Date:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 11:59 am PDT


News Organization:

Men’s Fitness

Source URL:

HEADPHONES AND EARBUDS are fine if you're just plugging away at work or commuting there. But when you're working out as hard as you can—sprinting as hard as you can, gritting through burpees and wall balls, or running Combine drills on the gridiron—cords complicate things. Sure, it's great to have motivating music in your ears, but it's no fun when your favorite pump-up songs are getting cut off every 10 seconds because you keep accidentally yanking the 'phones off your head.

And while Bluetooth earbuds and headphones certainly solve the headphone-yank problem, the reality is that we're still on the cusp of damn good wireless music tech. Most completely wireless ear buds are a little rough around the edges, and the semi-wireless devices that've been sprouting from every major and upcoming brand aren't all that consistent or capable of keeping up with you.

To give you an idea of what the current options on the market are really like, we tested 15 wireless, sweat-resistant headphones. Models ranged from strictly wireless buds, in-ear headphones with some kind of tether (neck bands, coils, and behind-the-head wires), and a few other creative designs, including headphones that rest on your temples and play tunes via bone conduction.

Then we put each device through a vigorous high-intensity workout, giving each a comprehensive 24-hour test run. We noted our first impressions, the fitting process, sound quality, and how they performed during sprints, plyometric moves, and bodyweight moves. We even threw in a couple yoga poses to see how they fared upside-down.

Here are our top wireless headphone picks for spring 2017.

Plantronics BackBeat FIT

Rating:7 out of 10

The quick and dirty:The BackBeat FIT headset from Plantronics offers eight hours of sweat time on a single charge, slightly open eartips for better ambient noise awareness, and voice alerts to let you know how much listening time you have before the device powers off. A 15-minute charge will power the wireless headset for an hour.

Level of comfort:The ear buds were a little obtuse and hard to get in at first, but the over-ear hook and small loop on the back of the ear bud offer points of stability. The back-of-head band is a really nice feature, as long as you don't have a Charlie Brown noggin—and even then, the band is flexible and waterproof, so you don't need to worry about sweating into it.

Sound quality:No complaints here. Average sound—clear and bass-heavy.

How it withstands movement:An earbud came out once during burpees, but after that, the BackBeat FIT stood strong against jump squats, switch lunges, and inch worms.

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