Posted on March 6, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 8 best Bluetooth headphones for sport among more than thirty models available at the moment. Without hesitation, I recommend the Jabra Elite Active 65t: water resistant, comfortable and offering a good quality of listening, these are probably the most interesting sports headphones among those currently on the market. You will also find at the end of this article a shopping guide that will allow you to select earphones adapted to your budget and your sport.
The best cheap sport Bluetooth headphones
You do not have the means (or the desire) to invest € 150 in high-end headphones? Here are three economic models to find your happiness!
Anker SoundBuds Slim: the best cheap
We begin our review of the best sports Bluetooth headphones with Slim SoundBuds brand Anker, a Chinese company specializing in the manufacture of computer and mobile devices. Aesthetic and offered at a really affordable price (less than 30 € at the moment), this product arouses at least curiosity. Is it too good to be true?
Here we go for the overview: inside, there is a user guide, the headphones in question, four pairs of bits in size XS / S / M / L, three pairs of hooks ( S / M / L), two clips, a USB charging cord and a small bag to store and transport everything.
Funny little touch: these headphones are magnetic. They must be taken off to light (indicated by a small blue LED) and glue them to turn them off. We do not necessarily have the reflex to systematically re-glue them during the first uses, but it quickly becomes an automatism.
These are not true wireless headphones, as there is a cable to connect the two which is placed on the neck (it is quite common in models intended for sports use). There are some who do not like the feeling of pressure on the neck, but this very fine thread is discreet and scarcely felt.
As for the sound, well, we are pleasantly surprised. It's really not bad at all: the bass is rather punchy, and the effective insulation (pay attention all the same to remain attentive to your environment during your outdoor footings!). We are not on Bose or Sennheiser, but for 30 €, we do not expect it either. Some small cuts are however to regret.
Important point: these headphones are classified IPX4 and are therefore resistant to rain and perspiration. The announced autonomy is 7 hours, in reality, it is more about 5:30, knowing that it will depend on your listening volume. This one is managed with the remote control, which allows at the same time to take the calls.
In conclusion, a small product quite suitable for the price at which it is proposed. I recommend without hesitation!
JBL Reflect Mini 2: interesting design, but can do better
We follow with the Reflect Mini 2 from JBL, American manufacturer that has been offering for many years speakers and headphones synonymous with innovation and quality.
In comparison with the Ankers selected above, we are on a much higher price (a little hundred euros at the time of writing). Will the difference in terms of comfort, design and audio quality be felt enough?
With this product, it is also not true wireless: the headphones are also connected to a cable and connect to your phone with Bluetooth. A little touch that we appreciate: the cord is reflective for more security during night jogging. The headphones come with several sets of tips and hooks to ensure maximum comfort.
A transport case is also included, but it does not charge headphones unlike many other models currently on the market. A cable is provided for this purpose, with an announced autonomy of 10 hours.
With the Reflect Mini 2, JBL follows the Reflect Mini with some improvements in aesthetics and ergonomics. Indeed, these headphones much better fit the shape of the ear than their predecessors, thus ensuring good performance and effective passive isolation.
Where we do not really notice progress is in audio. This one is far from being bad, but one is also not on the quality of listening which one would expect from JBL, with a sound a little flat and unclear. We are also not completely satisfied with the use of these headphones for the passage of calls: it is not always easy to hear his interlocutors.
We agree: it's a lot of flat for a pair of headphones at 100 €. Although this is a very interesting product in terms of comfort and ergonomics, at this price, we expect more efforts in terms of listening quality.
Jaybird Tarah: comfort of use and resistance to water
Totally water resistant
Stability of the connection
For this third business model, we are once again looking at an American-made product with Tarah from Jaybird, a company known for its range of Bluetooth headphones and headphones.
This is the entry-level model for Jaybird, which also offers the X4, which we will discover below.
The Tarahs come with their own charging cable. Big flat at first, but that has lightened the remote control and thus make it all more ergonomic and less cumbersome when running.
I tend to scatter my chargers everywhere, I still see the phone with customer service after a week to order a replacement …
Let's follow on a very positive aspect: the Tarah are IPX7 certified, so totally water resistant. You can sweat at will during your workout and even keep your headphones in the shower after if you want. The small comfort keys: the Speed Cinch cord system that allows you to adjust the length of the cord and various choices of tip and fin sizes to find the ones that best suit your body type.
Regarding the stability of the connection, not much to report: it is perfectly correct both to listen to music and to make phone calls. Pairing with your phone is done without particular difficulties. The audio quality is also acceptable – bass well present and good clarity – without being extraordinary.
In conclusion ? The Tarah are very suitable for sports use, and we particularly appreciate their water resistance and comfort of use. But once again, for that price, a better quality of listening would not have been too much.
The best mid-range sport Bluetooth headphones
Want to gain listening quality, ergonomics and autonomy? Discover the best mid-range models!
Bose SoundSport Wireless: the best midrange
Bose, a brand that is no longer present in the field of speakers and headphones. With the Soundsport Wireless, the American company is aimed at sportsmen and women seeking ergonomics, comfort of use and solidity, all without compromising on sound reproduction.
The headphones come with three pairs of StayHear + tips (more details below), charging cable and carrying case. Here, once again we are not on real wireless (I then address the Bose Soundsport Free, which they are), to the extent that the two headphones are connected by a cord, on which find the remote control.
StayHear + Silicone Eartips feature stabilizers and are specially designed to provide maximum comfort and hold in the ear canals. However, they do not occupy them completely, which will please people who do not support the feeling of having their ears clogged.
The ear cups are sweat and weather resistant, so you can keep them in the room as you do outside sports in the rain.
The autonomy promised by the manufacturer is about 6 hours, which is realistic at a moderate volume, and it must be said that it is not extraordinary. Charging takes place via the carrying case and takes about two hours. The 15-minute fast charge option saves approximately one hour of listening time.
Pairing with your phone is simple and fluid, and there is no concern about the stability of the connection. You have the option to go through the Bose Connect app or NFC and connect two devices simultaneously.
As for the sound quality, it's Bose, with the paw we recognize almost instantly, a clean, clear and intelligible. If you generally appreciate the sound signature of the brand's products, you will not be disappointed.
In conclusion, reliable headphones with a very good level of comfort and support that offer what is more the characteristic sound of the brand that we know and appreciate.
Jaybird X4: quality at the rendezvous
Total resistance to water
We go back to Jaybird, this time to discover the successful X4, offered at a price certainly slightly higher than the Tarah discussed above, but for a level of performance that is also.
The X4 come replace the X3, already a rather powerful product. But where the X3s were limited to mere sweat resistance, the X4s are IPX7-certified, just like the Tarahs.
As a reminder, you will not be able to dive with, but these headphones will still resist immersion at 1m deep up to 30 minutes and therefore jogging sessions under the worst weather (if this is really your wish … ). Apart from that, this is perhaps the only big evolution compared to the X3, if not a greater choice of colors.
The X4 comes with both silicone and foam tips in two different sizes, as well as three pairs of fins to ensure both the fit and comfort of the headphones. We appreciate at the same time their lightness: to say that it is headphones rather comfortable to wear.
Compatible Bluetooth 4.1, pairing headphones with his smartphone is very fast and the connection is rather stable with a range of about 10 meters. A Jaybird application, available for both Android and iOS, lets you set your own equalizer and share your Spotify playlists. The battery life is about eight hours, with a recharge that is done once again via a cable own brand.
Regarding the quality of listening, we are generally impressed, with powerful bass that will motivate you throughout your workout and, as we told you above, the ability to customize the sound via the application.
To summarize all this, with the X4, we keep the "more" Tarah while providing a better quality of listening, which gives a result not bad at all! Given the relatively small price difference, I can only advise you to opt for this model if you hesitate between the two.
V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless: design and listening quality
Design and sound quality, who says better? The Forza Metallo Wireless is a follow-up to the Forza Metallo, that is to say substantially the same product but with a cable that connects them to the reader. The model we approach is as the name suggests "wireless" and therefore more suitable for sports use.
The Forza Metallo Wireless are delivered, like many of their competitors, with different sizes of tips and fins to better find the right ones for your ears. They propose, dixit the manufacturer, a coating resistant to the variations of temperature, the humidity and projections of water but are not officially certified IPX.
We appreciate a rather discreet aesthetics, the protuberance of some models that quickly gives the appearance of alien. Know in passing that it is possible to customize your headphones by buying accessories via the V-Moda website.
The headphones are recharged via micro-USB for an announced autonomy of 10 hours (actually, rather 8 but once again it will of course vary depending on your use). A fast charge of 30 minutes saves about two hours of battery life.
The ergonomic remote control allows you to manage phone calls, active noise reduction and music listening with the play, volume control, and song buttons. The sound is perfectly suited to certain musical styles (hip-hop for example) with very powerful bass, but still detailed, and less to more demanding genres in treble and midrange. The sound quality is still very good for this type of product.
To summarize, we are on a solid manufacturing product with its aluminum shells but remains at the same time light and comfortable to wear. The sound is a great plus that will delight the athletes who are still demanding in terms of quality of listening.
We still regret the lack of IPX certification that could provide a guarantee of quality and more.
The best high-end sport Bluetooth headphones
It's not because you're at the gym that you're ready to skip the audio experience … or the rest.
Jabra Elite Active 65t: the best of high-end
Very present in the auditory canal
I had the opportunity to address a few weeks ago the Jabra Elite 65t, which I found very good both from a point of view of sound reproduction and ergonomics. The brand offers here a very similar model, but with a few more that makes it more suitable for sports use.
The big plus of the Active version of the Jabra Elite 65t is its IP56 certification, which guarantees its resistance to sweat and dust. These are "true wireless" headphones, so completely without cables, even between the two earpieces.
The headphones come with their charging box, a USB charging cable and three silicone tips. The design of the whole is neat: a difference in the finish, matte with a rubber coating and not glossy, is supposed to improve the behavior of the earpieces, even if in fact the difference is hard to feel.
The maintenance of Jabra Elite was already very good (even these tend to completely close the ear canal, which can be unpleasant for some people).
The Active offers some sports functions that distinguish them from the classic version, quite anecdotal but still appreciable, including a motion detector that can count the number of steps.
As with the Elite 65t, you can download the Sound + application to have a 5-band EQ to customize the sound, access a voice assistant or manage the volume of HearThrough mode (which allows you to hear the sounds surrounding).
For just € 20 more, the Active version of the Jabra Elite 65t offers sports features, sweat resistance and a more worked design. The audio quality is very good as the stability of the connection and management orders: that's why I do not hesitate to recommend these headphones in its price range.
Bose SoundSport Free: Bose quality and sound
Bose will have waited a bit before launching its true wireless headset, which complements its range of headphones for sport use (see Soundsport Wireless above). But for fans of the sound signature of the American brand, do not panic: the result is worth it.
We discover a model not the most discreet, to say the least: very visible (especially if you opt for purple …), earphones are designed for maximum in-ear performance without overlooking the comfort. It is rather successful: they do not come to block the auditory canal (which is not the case with the Jabra) and are therefore rather easy to wear. As a result, we lose a little in passive isolation.
Impeccably maintained is added the resistance to perspiration and splashing (IPX4 certification), making them perfect headphones for jogging or any other outdoor sport that does not require total immersion (avoid rafting) …).
The headphones come with a charging and storage case, a charging cable and three sizes of StayHear + silicone tips. The autonomy of about five hours for the atria itself is not remarkable, but it is possible to perform two refills with the case for a total autonomy of ten hours.
The controls of the SoundSport Free are very complete. These are performed via a multifunction button (play, pause, next track, phone calls, voice assistant) which is located on the right atrium with the volume control. For more functions, you can download the application Bose Connect, which allows to geolocate earphones in case of loss (often a fear with true wireless) and change the language of voice command.
Bose products have a certain sound signature that followers recognize without problem, and this one is no exception. We reassure those who fear a loss of sound quality – this is unfortunately often the case with truly wireless headphones – the clarity and warmth of Bose sound are there.
In conclusion, high-end true wireless headphones that are ideal for sports activities because of their resistance to splashing and their maintenance without fail.
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
There are now more and more headphones designed specifically for athletes, whose main characteristics are to be resistant to sweat (or water), in-ear and wireless type.
Until relatively recently, wireless headphones were known for their design limitations, frequent glitches, and poor battery life.
Today, technological advances have allowed brands to offer products aimed at athletes just as good as conventional headphones.
As you may have noticed in our comparison above, there is a wide range of prices for sports headphones! Discover above how to find headphones that suit both your budget and your requirements.
Wireless or true wireless
"Wireless" and "true wireless" (or "truly wireless"), it's not exactly the same thing.
True wireless earbuds do not have a cable or connector at all to connect them and work entirely with Bluetooth or NFC.
"Wireless" does not require a jack (anyway, more and more phones are not equipped), but headphones are connected over the head, or around the neck.
Resistance to dust or moisture
Let's be clear, I'm not talking about a pair of earbuds adapted to the pool: it's a different product.
Who says jogging or abs session says sweat, in front of which a pair of classic earbuds will not last long. And that's not to mention the dust and sand that you can confront in certain contexts (trail …).
The IP protection rating is what will allow you to know if it will be possible to scuba dive with your new headphones (spoiler: if this is your goal, you will be limited in terms of choice!).
"IP" stands for "Ingress Protection", ie protection against the intrusion of liquids and other substances. The PI is composed of two numbers: one that indicates the level of protection against solid particles such as sand and dust (from 0 to 6) and a second that communicates resistance to water (0 to 9).
A pair of ear cups with an IP56 rating is therefore resistant to dust and splashing. The absence of PI does not indicate that the product is unsuitable for exposure to dust or water: it simply means that it has not been subjected to the necessary tests.
It's a real Achilles heel for wireless headphones and true wireless. Depending on the listening volume, it will be at best about 8 hours. The autonomy of wireless headphones is usually three to five hours.
While some models still charge via USB, most manufacturers offer a charging box that allows you to store and transport your intras while reloading, which is of course recharged in turn. These cases generally allow to recharge twice its earpieces These cases can perform generally up to two refills, thus doubling in some ways the total autonomy.
The loss of the atria
We remember the derision of Internet users when Apple announced the launch of its famous Airbuds: many were imagining misplacing a piece even before having tested for the first time its new earpieces.
Many consumers still ask the question. However, it is quite difficult to lose a single earpiece: they are mostly larger than the wired headphones and better fit the ear and the ear canal. You will have little chance of running them off or during a workout.
You will also have the reflex to store them in the refill box provided when you do not use it. In terms of probability, you will be more likely to lose the holster with both headsets inside than lose a single earpiece. However, if the worst happens, some manufacturers offer earpieces to the unit for this case.
It may not be at the gym or jogging that you will enjoy the audio quality of your headphones, but you still have to pay attention to the quality of the connection, which can be a weak point on this type of product, especially on true wireless products.
These have a "master" headset, which picks up the Bluetooth signal and sends it to the "slave" headset. Depending on the product, this transmission is done either by Bluetooth or NFMI ("Near Field Magnetic Induction" or in good French "Near Field Magnetic Induction").
In terms of the quality of the connection, there is currently a gap between Bluetooth (which may tighten with the Bluetooth 5.0) and the NFMI, which offers a more stable connection with less latency. NFMI is more often found in high-end models.
In conclusion, which Bluetooth headphones to choose?
Everything will depend on your requirements and your sport.
If you simply want to enjoy your playlists or a podcast during an indoor sports session, entry-level headphones will be enough, like the Anker SoundBuds Slim or the Jaybird Tarah.
If you are doing outdoor activities, choose a model with the appropriate IPX index, as is the case of Jaybird X4 or Jabra Elite Active 65t (which are my favorite, remember!).
Audiophiles would be better off turning to products that are known for their listening quality, such as Bose or Sennheiser, to name just two. In this respect, the Bose SoundSport Wireless and Bose SoundSport Free will be particularly to your liking, recognized quality requires!
Good listening !
Plantronics Backbeat FIT 2100: these headphones, very nice, are unfortunately too recent to integrate our selection. But we keep an eye on them, rest assured!
AfterShokz Trekz Air: if their look is interesting, they are too expensive for the audio quality they bring … not to mention that they are not waterproof.
RHA TrueConnect: what we are looking for in Bluetooth headphones for the sport is to be able to pair it without problems on your phone. The RHA TrueConnect suffers a little on this side: shame, because the sound is top!
Sony WF-SP700N: Sony, which defends itself quite well in general, has something to review on its model, including the sound reduction and its sport app (which are not quite developed, let's say it frankly).
Jaybird Run: the Run model was all of a big … well, if they hold in the ear! A little annoying …