Over-Ear vs In-Ear Headphones for the Gym

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Updated October 31, 2022

When looking for the best headphones to use while working out, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. The first is, “Are the best over-ear headphones what I want, or should I go with a different style?” If you’re at this point in your buying journey, the next step is to compare over-ear vs in-ear headphones for the gym. Keep reading to find out which style is better suited for your needs.


  • The first category for comparison is active noise cancellation, or the ability to cancel out ambient sound and improve sound quality. Over-ear designs fare better here.
  • Next, we looked at the headphone styles in terms of battery life for Bluetooth models. When it comes to delivering continuous battery life, wireless earbuds win.
  • Finally, we looked at the presence of a companion app. These apps are irreplaceable for gym-goers. The two styles draw here because apps are available for both.

Over-Ear vs In-Ear Headphones for Working Out

There are all sorts of types of headphones out there. For example, if you’re an avid runner, you might want to look into the differences between running with headphones vs. earbuds. Another great comparison to make is open-back vs. closed-back headphones. So, which are the top-rated headphones for working out? Let’s take a look at a few points of comparison.

Insider Tip

Workout headphones with ergonomic designs are a solid choice for gym-goers.

Active Noise Cancelation

First, we have active noise cancelation. This is only present in noise-canceling headphones, which help you hone in on your workout by blocking ambient noise. They are the perfect headphones for hitting the gym, especially when the background noise becomes too much. Noise-canceling features can also improve overall sound quality, making them highly desirable. In this instance, you’ll find that over-ear headphones come out on top because of how they’re constructed.

Hours of Battery Life

If you’re looking into wireless options, the problem of continuous battery life will pop up. While over-ear varieties pack more power, they also use more power. Because of this, we find that wireless earbuds are often the better option. You can even find models with an eight-hour battery life, which is more than enough for your wireless earbuds to get you through a workout. You may also want to compare Bluetooth vs. wired over-ear headphones.

Presence of Companion App


Make sure your workout headphones have a water resistance rating in case of extra sweaty workouts.

This next section comes down to whether or not your headphones come with an app that helps track progress. It’s a draw between them since the presence of a companion app changes from model to model. Some people don’t like these apps as they come with some troubleshooting. However, troubleshooting shouldn’t scare you. There are tons of troubleshooting questions you might ask with headphones, like “Why is only one side of my headphones working?”

STAT: Back in 2014, the retail value of music shipments dipped just below seven billion U.S. dollars for the first time since before 1999, but by 2018 the figure had risen again to 9.85 billion U.S. dollars. (source)

Over-Ear Vs. In-Ear Headphones for Gym FAQs

Are wireless headphones worth investing in?

As far as types of headphones go, wireless headphones are wildly popular for various reasons. Most people will agree that their price is absolutely justified by the comfort and convenience they offer.

How long should my wireless earbuds last on a single charge?

That depends on the model that you have. Some wireless earbuds will last up to eight hours on a single charge, while others will only give you a handful. Do your research before investing in a pair.

What are the general price ranges for a pair of headphones?

You can get a pair of headphones for a pretty affordable price. However, affordable price means something different to everybody. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $200+ for headphones.

What should I look for in running headphones?

Look for great sound quality, easy touch controls, transparency mode, and a water-resistance rating.
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