After testing more than 20 models of headphones, we think that the best headphones for cycling are Powerbeats Pro. The latest model by Beats delivers everything you would ever need for listening to your favorite music while cycling.
You can ride a bike without headphones, but why would you? Even pro cyclists listen to music while they are not racing. The wireless age has made it possible for us to listen to our favorite music while in the middle of a marathon ride, so choosing to go without headphones seems silly.
Instead, what’s important is to find the right headphones for your ride. With the correct information, you can find the best pair of headphones for cycling.
I need to start with the crucial information that it’s illegal to ride a bike with headphones in the following states – California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
Powerbeats Pro – Our Pick!
- High-performance wireless in-ear earphones
- Excellent battery life
- Fast Fuel is excellent for quick charges
- Sweat and water resistance is great for longer rides
- Connection issues can be problematic
- The case is big, bulky, and heavy
Apple’s Powerbeats Pro is Apple’s latest iteration on the Beats line, this time in a compact, in-ear wireless form. Shipped with a case that’s bigger and bulkier than almost anything else Apple has made in years, these headphones are nonetheless a compact (.78 ounces) candidate for being called the best Bluetooth headphones for cycling.
Apple claims that these headphones are built for elite athletes and the technical specifications certainly back that up.
These are long-lasting, well-engineered headphones that provide excellent sound quality without sacrificing utility. These earbuds have several very user-friendly features. You can get an hour and a half worth of playtime off of a five-minute charge.
The earbuds automatically detect when they are not in use to conserve battery life. You can even control whether one or both earbuds are working at a time. The only downside is the connectivity. Despite working well with most iPhones, there are some real issues with the connection holding.
You won’t always experience this, but the earbuds can and will drop out at the worst possible times. The good news is that when they work, they work well. There’s a level of sound quality here that’s surprising even from Beats. Whether you’re listening to music or making a call, the sound is crystal clear.
Despite some issues with connectivity, these are comfortable and useful earbuds. They are great for long rides, but you can charge them up quickly if you’re looking to listen to music while going down the road. There’s something here for everyone. You should definitely consider the Porwerbeats Pro for your next headphones for cycling.
Jabra Elite Active 65t – Also Great!
- Good companion app
- Snug fit for earbuds
- Solid connectivity
- Warranty against dust and sweat
- Battery life is mediocre
- Uncomfortable design
- Doesn’t turn off automatically after repeated use
Jabra is a company that makes some very good wireless headphones. They are part of GN Audio which is part of GN Group. You can read more about the history of this company on its Wikipedia page.
These small but surprisingly heavy (2.4 ounces) earbuds are a testament to how much power you can put in a small package. A solid choice for anyone who is looking to get good sound quality with a low profile, the Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Sports Earbuds are great for anyone who owns a bike.
Though the earbuds are small, they fit surprisingly well in most ears. They can be uncomfortable if you aren’t used to earbuds, but the snug fit ensures that they won’t fall out.
It’s the kind of fit you want from one of the best wireless headphones for cycling, especially if you are the type of rider who tends to lose things on the road.
What’s surprising, though, is how good the sound quality is. Though it doesn’t quite compete with the very top of the market, it’s more than one would expect from wireless earbuds of any type. These earbuds provide a fantastic sound experience in a tiny package.
The companion app for the earbuds is also great. Though companion apps are becoming more popular across the board, few works as well as this one. It’s an app that you’ll use to make sure you get the precise experience you want.
There are a few downsides to the earbuds, of course. The battery life isn’t great, clocking in at only five hours, but the earbuds only take two hours to charge. The fit takes some getting used to as well, but that’s often worth the trade-off for stability.
If you’re looking for small earbuds that can still bring big sound, these might be the perfect pair of earbuds for your needs. Hopefully, this review will help you understand the pros and cons of this mode of earbuds.
- Awesome integration with iPhones
- High-quality product
- Look amazing
- A little bit expensive
- Could fall out from ear
- Sound is average
The second generation of Apple’s AirPods is here, and it’s a nice upgrade from the last model.
Priced at $199 they stay a little bit on the expensive side of the spectrum here, but you get the standard Apple high-quality product as ever.
They come with a wireless charging case buds which are smarter than ever. Especially if you are into the Apple ecosystem, then you have to consider the AirPods ( also the Powerbeats Pro ). They are super lightweight and easy to use.
The sound quality is good enough, but nothing special. I would say an average comparing it to the other headphones on this list. I will hear a lot of the ambient noise with those but this is a good thing while cycling on the busy road.
I love the AirPods because they are super easy to use; integration with iPhones is outstanding.
Unfortunately, though it has a few quite essential drawbacks. The first one which could be a deal-breaker is that they can fall out from your ears during a ride.
The thing is that they are not meant to be sports headphones. Luckily, I know some cyclists who claim the Apple’s AirPods are perfect for cycling, and the reason is that on some ears they stay really sturdy, and on others, they fall easily.
My piece of advice here is to test the AirPods in an Apple Store and find out if they are fine for you.
- Excellent noise isolation
- Sweat-shedding internal nano-coating is prepared to repel anything liquid that threatens your ears.
- A magnetic fastener keeps these wireless headphones from flying away when they’re not being worn.
- Comes with a 45-day money9back guarantee
- Sound quality is pretty average
- Cord a little bit heavy
- Owners report bad connections between headphones and phones; random drops, for example.
- Battery life promises could turn out to be more marketing hype than actual performance.
These well-reviewed sports headphones come in both black and red (happily, no price increase for the jazzy ones). Both styles run about $30, feature 3 EQ sound modes, aptX, and to seal the deal, expect 8-hours of battery life.
Secure fit and sweat-resistant nano-coating add to the carefree experience you expect when you’re cruising along on your cycle. No worries that they’ll either fall out of your ears or slip down to your neck when you can least afford to lose your music or call.
Preferred by cyclists seeking the maximum number of features without having to sell their Rolex watches, this Bluetooth 4.1-enabled gear (with compatible devices) delivers CD-quality sound that’s so robust, even bass levels are impressive as you decide which of the 3 EQ sound signatures impresses you most.
Light and lithe, you receive three sizes of ear tips plus in-ear hooks so if you can’t find a pairing that feels custom-made, you may need to get a new set of ears! Who doesn’t fret about battery life?
According to earbud owners and the manufacturer, this set should get you 240 hours of standby time or 8 solid hours of music, though if you’re competing in an event and desperately need a diversion, perhaps you can count down the individual songs stowed on the system until they reach 120.
Once the juice is expended, it will take about 1.5 hours to re-charge. That’s a lot to love for $30.
- If headphones go missing, use the Bose Connect app, download Tile and find them.
- Crafted of soft silicone material, the bud’s umbrella shape seals the ear canal entrance to block noise.
- Buds come in 3 sizes included in the package
- Few audio-focused brand names offer as much reassurance of quality as Bose.
- Delivers unparalleled sound quality.
- Despite the hefty price, this Bose product sells out fast. If you want it and see it, grab it.
- May not work for you if you perpetually sweat buckets.
- There are reports of shortened battery life by people returning the product.
If just the utterance of the brand Bose raises your pulse higher than the thought of an exhilarating ride, the $199 you plunk down for a pair of these SoundSport wireless headphones won’t phase you a bit.
Not content to serve only as a music and communications delivery conduit, cyclists get a heart rate monitor that could come in handy if you want to keep track of your ticker while you pedal.
Since wireless Bluetooth and NFC pair to interface the devices you count on, this product could become your favorite gear. That heart monitor sensor could be a lifesaver because it not only keeps tabs on the cardiac activity but StayHear+Pulse tips offer extra advantages.
There’s a sensor window positioned on the left earbud of the Bose SoundSport that, when in contact with skin, delivers accurate readings, so if a wearer fails to get a signal, simply adjusting for more skin contact and checking the Bluetooth connection will restore service.
Best of all, the Bose Connect app is the heart and soul of this system, giving you real-time readings and adding to the headphone’s functionality.
How many apps can you use wearing these lightweight headphones? Just about everything on the market, including MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Endomondo, and Runtastic.
You can expect the wireless range to extend up to 30 feet and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers a full 5 hours of wireless service before it’s ready to be refreshed.
- It comes with a lifetime, no-questions-asked, sweatproof warranty.
- 13 hours of testing at the factory “perfected the Bluetooth connection.”
- Signal has been shown to extend up to 40 feet.
- Comes with BHS-530 Bluetooth headphones, carry case, 3 sizes of tips, charging cable and user manual.
- Lithium Polymer batteries are included.
- May not meet your personal sound quality standard.
- You might have to turn the volume up to the highest setting to hear your music or chat.
- One-size-fits-all may not include your head size, so try before you buy.
- Returns generated by broken Memory Wire have been reported.
If you want an assortment of features that compete with those found on pricier wireless headphones, but your budget maxes out at around $30, this Phaiser FlexCore Gen-5 makes perfect sense.
It comes with a lifetime sweatproof guarantee, so if your glands work overtime when you ride, that feature alone could be compelling.
There’s a mic to keep you connected to the world and despite a relatively small price tag, the Gen-5 receives high reviews from consumers who turn to this gear for the price and stick with it for performance excellence.
Available in three colors (Blackout, Limegreen, and Oceanview), you can listen to music all day, communicate with friends and undertake longer rides thanks to 11 hours of battery life when it’s fully charged, doubling the staying power of the aforementioned Bose earphones.
Multi-size ear tips loop over-ears to stay in place, even if you find yourself racing at top speed.
Thanks to this product’s Bluetooth connection, interface with all of your favorite devices: iPhone, TV, laptop, Kindle, and tablet.
It takes about 2 hours to recharge these headphones, so they deliver on the brand’s promise of 4.1 HD Audio as soon as you’re ready to ride off into the sunset.
Phaiser calls the Gen-5 the lightweight/heavy- duty solution to on-the-road nirvana and because the Behind-the-Head style, delivered by flexible Memory-Wire, adapts to the shape of the head, your listening experience is improved, no matter how fast you’re going.
- It offers powerful design and superior audio performance.
- Sweat- and splash-resist properties are no marketing exaggeration.
- It can be worn around or in front of the neck.
- 3-Button remote operation makes switching between music and calls a breeze.
- German product
- Consumer reviews are virtually non-existent
- Pricing spreads are dramatic; comparison shop before you buy
- If you don’t need a high-pressure pump, skip this product.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated, mid-priced, high performing sports headphone system, this Sennheiser CX could start and end your search.
Available for around $129 (maybe discounted to $99), if you’re enamored of all things made in Germany because you find unprecedented workmanship coming from that nation, give this product a second look.
Expect balanced sound with dynamic bass notes and since these headphones are sweat and splash resistant, the inner workings of each unit will be protected.
Charge these headphones for around 1.5 hours and glean 6 hours of battery life. In a pinch, if you can spend just 10 minutes recharging and you’ll buy another hour of function. Bluetooth 4.2 with multi-point connectivity can interface with 8 devices or simultaneously with 2.
If you’re a frequency freak, these numbers could trigger your buying decision: 17–21,000 Hertz, Impedance-28 Ohm (Passive); 480 Ohm (Active).
While most of the headphone products in this review come with 3 sizes of ear adapters, the Sennheiser CX Sport offers a 4th: XS. For cyclists whose tiny ears never seem to be compatible with standard buds, this clever touch pays homage to the attention to detail often found in products made in Germany.
Also included are 3 sizes of ear fins designed to optimize comfort and provide a high degree of passive external noise reduction.
- Super simple and convenient design
- Ambient sound mode is handy
- Bigger than Airpods with a good fit
- Sound quality is likely to exceed your expectations.
- In the small print: “Do not allow continuous contact with water or sweat.” Say what?
- Noise-cancelling could be better
- When taking phone calls, only the left earbud will broadcast the call.
Leave it to Sony to manufacture $178 headphones with so many features and benefits, spending that much money on it could be a non-issue. But here’s something that you may not notice if you don’t read the small print: Sony isn’t actually the factory churning out these wireless gems; they’re made by Sennheiser Consumer Audio.
Nevertheless, this product belongs on this list of best headphones for cycling. These noise-canceling earbuds are marketed as cordless sporting gear that rebuffs sweat, offers a built-in microphone, and when wearers turn up the tunes, they can’t help but notice elevated bass tones when measured against comparable products.
Sound quality is excellent, and the headphones deliver a crisp sound with minimal distractions. You can even operate the buds in “ambient sound mode” if you want to mix music with environmental sounds when you’re cruising on your bike.
Sporting a battery that lasts up to 9 hours on a single charge, this Sony/Sennheiser hybrid comes with a sturdy charging case that’s compact and lightweight. Activity is enhanced with this gear’s “made for movement” silicon coating so interior components stay safe from rain, snow, and sweat.
Connectivity technology includes all of your favorites: Bluetooth; NFC; Frequency Response (Bluetooth): 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (44.1 kHz Sampling). You must download Sony’s Headphones Connect app for full functionality.
- X-large-size ear tip available
- The shirt clip is very convenient
- Submarine-inspired structure and hydro-seal barrier protect components from sweat corrosion.
- Nice 8 hours of battery playtime
- Complicated 4-step recharging protocol
- Battery life may be shorter than the 8 hours advertised by the brand.
These Anker Soundcore earbuds prove once and for all that an athlete doesn’t have to feed his dog-cheap kibble to afford the great gear. At around $33, these wireless earbuds offer “truly sweat-proof” IPX7 technology and in fact, the coating can even fight corrosion, so you might say that Anker has doubled down on the sweat threat.
The earwigs and tip offer a comfortable, secure fit and premium composite drivers are responsible for the crystal-clear quality of the sound. Product developers have doubled down on ergonomic design by adding a small but handy feature: a cable clip will keep the wire off your neck, so if you have been annoyed by that distraction while wearing another brand, you can kiss that annoyance goodbye.
Will you use these sports earbuds for gym time, too? Get a week of workouts from a single battery charge, but you might be more interested in knowing that you can enjoy around 8 hours of playtime before you, your legs and the battery run out of juice.
Despite the small price tag, you get plenty of bang for your buck: That shirt clip, 2 cable clips, a micro USB cable, and 3 earwigs, sized small, medium and large. Find 4 ear tips in the package that accommodate small, medium, large and X-large ears and there’s a travel pouch to stow everything when you’re not out riding.
Anker calls their customer service not just friendly but so efficient, they offer an 18-month, worry-free warranty. Sound like a product that could elevate your riding experience?
- Great for those with hearing loss
- Good for sensitive ears
- Fairly light
- Good for those who want to be aware of their surroundings
- Not sweat-proof
- Tend to rub while riding
- Some sound-quality issues
At 1.27 ounces, the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones are a great example of lightweight bone conduction headphones. Rather than having to deal with something over or in your ears, you can put on these light headphones and get on the road quickly.
There is a lot to like here for bone-conducting headphone fans. Though you won’t get the same kind of excellent sound quality that you might get from other models, you’ll still get a reasonably pleasant listening experience.
Sound is actually one of the best parts of these headphones. These headphones give users a unique ability to listen to the world around them. This allows for better spotting of traffic and keeping track of what’s going on when you’re on the trail.
In fact, a great deal of what makes these headphones work makes them ideal for biking. They fit well when you’re wearing a helmet, they allow you to stay aware of what’s going on, but still, stay on well even after a lot of riding.
The only real downside is that these headphones aren’t sweat-proof. This can be a problem on long rides, especially as the sound will go out intermittently if they get too wet. This isn’t something that happens with average sweating, though, so they’re still good for a normal ride.
If you prefer bone-conducting headphones, this might be the set for you. The six-hour lifespan will give you plenty to listen to while you’re out on your bike, so give them a try.
Which Style Headphones Is Right for You?
Before you buy your headphones, you’ll need to know what’s out there. Headphones come in many varieties, so you’ll always have choices. Knowing what makes each stand out, though, will allow you to find the best option your way.
When most people think of headphones, they mean over-ear headphones.
These are the headphones that have been around forever and were the first to make a move over to wireless compatibility. Worn over your ears, they’re bulky but traditional.
The excellent news about over-ear headphones is that they provide great sound quality and tend to have better battery life if they are wireless.
The bad news, however, is that they can rarely be worn under a commuter helmet and have a tendency to add too much weight to long rides.
They can, however, be the best wireless headphones for cycling at the gym.
At the other end of the spectrum are earbuds. Worn in your ears, these are the direct descendants of the popular in-ear headphones that made their debut in the late 2000s.
They’re small, but they are light enough to be worn anywhere.
Earbuds are great because they can be worn with a helmet and tend to be unobtrusive. This makes earbuds some of the best headphones for road cycling, but they’re not without their drawbacks.
Earbuds tend to have relatively poor battery life and suffer from some sound issues including wind noise caused by the air passing over the earbud.
There are also bone-conducting headphones. These headphones rest near your ears, but they conduct sound through your bones. They’re high-tech and useful, but still relatively uncommon.
These headphones can provide good battery life and are relatively light, but the sound quality isn’t always as great.
You can’t get much sound isolation from these headphones either, but they are good for those who want to stay aware of what’s going on around them.
And that’s the most significant benefit of using bone-conduction headphones – you will be like a Navy SEAL listening to your favorite sounds while hearing everything around you.
This is extremely important for cyclists who need to listen to the road sounds. In my humble opinion, the bone-conducting headphones are one of the best choices for cyclists in general.
Each of these designs has its own variants. Some over-ear headphones have a slimline design for fitting under helmets and some earbuds that are designed to have extra-long battery lives.
As such, it’s often the individual specifications on the headphones that matter.
So, what to consider when looking for a good headphone for cycling? Generally speaking, they need to be able to do a few basic things.
These headphones need to be able to last for an entire ride, to feel comfortable, and to work well enough that we don’t have to stop and mess with them when we’re out.
Fit and Weight
For most, this means starting with things like fit and weight. The best headphones for road cycling aren’t always the lightest, but they will never make it more challenging to ride than necessary.
Battery life is also always meaningful. The longer you ride, the longer you want your battery life to be. Short means more charging, which can often mean less riding.
At the same time, we want to look for headphones that can stand up to bike riding. That means staying connected no matter what, not rubbing our skin as we ride, and never shorting out just because we get sweaty.
There are also specific reasons why one set might be better than others — riding a bike at the gym? If so, you might not mind more weight so long as you can get better battery life.
Are you planning on riding long distances? Better noise canceling might make a particular headset the best headphones for cycling when there’s wind noise.
Though you should be careful with the noise-canceling headphones because they are not recommended for cycling on the road.
I personally prefer headphones which provide nice noise canceling but not in-full so I can still hear a little bit of the noise outside. It’s very useful to hear some horns, people yelling at you, etc..
There are dozens of little features that matter. Some might want noise-canceling, while others might want a good companion app.
Some might even care about looks, while others want something that has a comfortable carrying case.
In the end, the best headphones are those that work best for your ride.
Lower weight, more battery life, better sound quality, and excellent features all work together to make the kind of headphones that you’ll use every time you ride.