10 Best Headphones for Cycling in 2023

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I’ve spent tens of hours researching more than 20 models of earphones, bone-conduction headphones, and earbuds to put together this list of the best cycling headphones. If you want great sound, excellent battery life, sweat, and water-resistant wireless earphones, get the Powerbeats Pro. But we also recommend bone-conduction headphones or maybe more affordable earbuds.

ImageHeadphonesOur RatingPrice
Best Overall
Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro

  • Type: in-ear 
  • IPX Rating: IPX4 |
  • Battery Life: 9 hours
View at AmazonDetails
Best Value
Jabra Elite Active 65t

Jabra Elite Active 65t

  • Type: in-ear 
  • IPX Rating: IPX6 
  • Battery Life: 5 hours
View at AmazonDetails
Best for iPhones
Apple AirPods 2

Apple AirPods 2

  • Type: in-ear 
  • IPX Rating: IPX4 
  • Battery Life: 5 hours
View at AmazonDetails
Best Sound Quality
Bose SoundSport Pulse

Bose SoundSport Pulse

  • Type: in-ear 
  • IPX Rating: IPX4 
  • Battery Life: 5 hours
View at AmazonDetails
Best Bone-Conduction
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

  • Type: bone-conduction 
  • IPX Rating: IP55 
  • Battery Life: 6 hours
View at AmazonDetails

Best Overall: Powerbeats Pro

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 9 hours | MSRP: $199

+ 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

Powerbeats Pro is Apple’s latest iteration of 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 these headphones are built for elite athletes, and the technical specifications certainly back that up.

These long-lasting, well-engineered headphones provide excellent sound quality without sacrificing utility.

The earbuds automatically detect when they are not used to conserve battery life. You can even control whether one or both earbuds are working simultaneously. The only downside is the connectivity.

Best Value for Money: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX6 | Battery Life: 5 hours | MSRP: $149

+ 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 excellent 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 testify to how much power you can put in a small package.

A solid choice for anyone looking to get good sound quality with a low profile, the Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Sports Earbuds are excellent 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 they won’t fall out.

It’s the fit you want from one of the best wireless headphones for cycling, especially if you tend 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.

The companion app for earbuds is also great. However, companion apps are becoming more popular across the board, and few work as well as this.

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 fully.

The fit takes some getting used to, but that’s often worth the trade-off for stability.

Best for Apple Users: Apple AirPods 2

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 5 hours | MSRP: $159

+ Awesome integration with iPhones
+ High-quality product
+ Amazing look and feel
A little bit expensive
Could fall out from ear
Sound quality is average

Priced at $129, they stay on the expensive side of the spectrum, but you get the standard Apple high-quality product.

They come with wireless charging case buds, which are more intelligent than ever. If you are into the Apple ecosystem, you must consider the AirPods ( also the Powerbeats Pro ).

They are super lightweight and easy to use for cycling.

The sound quality is good enough, but nothing special. I would say it is average compared to the other headphones on this list. They are perfect for listening to podcasts or casual music.

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 of your ears during a ride.

The thing is that they are not meant to be sports headphones.

Luckily, some cyclists claim Apple’s AirPods are perfect for cycling. I’m one of those as well. I use my second-generation AirPods practically everywhere.

Best Sound Quality: Bose SoundSport Pulse

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 5 hours | MSRP: $129

+ Great noise cancellation
+ Buds come in 3 sizes included in the package
+ Delivers unparalleled sound quality
Not consistent battery life

If just the utterance of the brand Bose raises your pulse higher than the thought of an exhilarating ride, the $119 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 pedaling.

This product could become your favorite gear since wireless Bluetooth and NFC pair to interface the devices you count on.

That heart monitor sensor could be a lifesaver because it keeps tabs on cardiac activity, but StayHear+Pulse tips offer extra advantages.

A sensor window on the left earbud of the Bose SoundSport delivers relatively accurate readings when in contact with skin. If a cyclist fails to get a signal, adjust for more skin contact and check 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 functionality.

You can expect the wireless range to extend up to 30 feet and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers 5 hours of wireless service before it’s ready to be refreshed.

Best for Low Budget: Phaiser FlexCore Gen-5

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 11 hours | MSRP: $49

+ It comes with a lifetime, no-questions-asked, sweatproof Warranty
+ Great Bluetooth connection
+ Amazing battery life
+ Affordable
Sound quality is average
A bit quiet at max volume

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 are racing at top speed.

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.

Sennheiser CX Sport

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 6 hours | MSRP: $129

+ Powerful design and superior audio performance
+ Sweat- and splash-resist
+ It can be worn around or in front of the neck
+ 3-Button remote operation is great
Too expensive for most cyclists

If you’re looking for a sophisticated, mid-priced, high-performing sports headphone system, this Sennheiser CX could start and end your search. Sennheiser is awarded the first spot in the poll “the best headphone brands in 2021“.

Available for around $100, if you’re enamored of everything made in Germany because you find exceptional craft 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, you’ll buy another hour of function.

Bluetooth 4.2 with multi-point connectivity can interface with eight 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 compatible with standard buds, this clever touch pays homage to the attention to detail often found in products made in Germany.

Best Ambient Mode: Sony WF-SP700N

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX4 | Battery Life: 9 hours | MSRP: $179

+ 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
No sweat resistant
When taking phone calls, only the left earbud will broadcast the call

Leave it to Sony to manufacture high-quality headphones with so many features and benefits; spending that much money on it could be a non-issue.

These noise-canceling earbuds are marketed as cordless sporting gear that rebuffs sweat and offers a built-in microphone.

When cyclists turn up the tunes, they can’t help but notice elevated bass tones when measured against comparable products.

The 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 while cruising on your bike.

Sporting a battery that lasts up to 9 hours on a single charge, this Sony/Sennheiser hybrid has 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.

Anker Soundcore Spirit Sports Earbuds

Type: in-ear | IPX Rating: IPX7 | Battery Life: 8 hours | MSRP: $33

+ X-large-size ear tip available
+ The shirt clip is very convenient
+ Submarine-inspired structure and hydro-seal barrier
+ Nice 8 hours of battery playtime
Complicated 4-step recharging protocol
Battery life is not consistent

These Anker Soundcore earbuds prove that an athlete doesn’t have to feed his dog-cheap kibble to afford the great gear.

Anker Soundcore Spirit offers “truly sweat-proof” IPX7 technology; the coating can even fight corrosion, so you might say that Anker has doubled down on the sweat threat.

The earwigs and tips offer a comfortable, secure fit, and premium composite drivers are responsible for the crystal-clear quality of the sound.

Product developers have doubled on an ergonomic design by adding a minor 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, two cable clips, a micro USB cable, and three earwigs, sized small, medium, and large.

Find four 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.

Best Bone-Conduction: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

Type: bone-conduction | IPX Rating: IP55 | Battery Life: 6 hours | MSRP: $99

+ Good for sensitive ears
+ Fairly light
+ Good for those who want to be aware of their surroundings
+ Great for those with hearing loss
Not sweat-proof
Average sound quality

At 1.27 ounces, these headphones are a great example of lightweight bone conduction models.

Rather than dealing 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 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.

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 happening but still stay on well even after a lot of riding.

The only downside is that these headphones aren’t sweat-proof, which can be a problem on long rides, especially as the sound will go out intermittently if they get too wet.

AfterShokz OpenMove Headphones

Type: bone-conduction | IPX Rating: IP55 | Battery Life: 6 hours | MSRP: $79.95

+ Total awareness of surroundings
+ Bluetooth 5.0 is super reliable
+ Multi-function button is easy to use
+ Best-in-class IP55 water resistance
+ Excellent fit and comfort
Audio quality is average

I was recently allowed to test out the AfterShokz OpenMove headphones. I have to say that I was really impressed with them! They are designed for people who want to stay active, and they work really well for that purpose. The sound quality is good enough, and they are very comfortable to wear.

One of the things that I like about the OpenMove headphones is that they are very lightweight ( at 1 ounce ). They don’t weigh down your head or feel bulky, which is excellent for cycling. In terms of battery life, you won’t be disappointed either. On average, expect around 6 hours of battery life for listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or simply making calls.

The biggest benefit of all is bone-conduction technology. The OpenMove headphones are also designed to be used outdoors without much interference from background noise or wind. They have a patented bone conduction technology that transmits your music through your cheekbones, so you can still hear everything around you while listening to your music.

This is an excellent feature for people who like to run or work out outdoors because it allows you to stay aware of your surroundings.

Which type of headphones are best for cycling

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.

Types of Headphones

When most people think of headphones, they mean over-ear headphones. These headphones have been around forever and were the first to move over to wireless compatibility.

Worn over your ears, they’re bulky but traditional.

The good thing about over-ear headphones is that they provide excellent sound quality and have better battery life if they are wireless. But there is a catch.

However, the bad news is that they can rarely be worn under a commuter helmet and tend to add too much weight to long rides.

They are also a bit dangerous because they block external noises.

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.

Photo by A R C H I G E R O S A

Earbuds are great because they can be worn with a helmet and tend to be unobtrusive. This makes earbuds some of the best wireless earbuds for road cycling, but they’re not without drawbacks.

Earbuds tend to have relatively poor battery life and suffer from 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 conduct sound through your bones.

They’re high-tech and valuable but still relatively uncommon.

These headphones can provide good battery life and are relatively light, but the sound quality isn’t always as excellent.

You can’t get much sound isolation from these headphones, but they are suitable for those who want to stay aware of what’s happening 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.

You can read more about bone conduction technology here: Bone Conduction Headsets: A Safer Alternative to Earbuds?

This is extremely important for cyclists who need to listen to the road sounds. Bone-conducting headphones are one of the best choices for cyclists in general.

What to consider when choosing headphones for cycling

Fit and Weight

For most, this means starting with things like fit and weight. The best earbuds for cycling aren’t always the lightest, but they will never make riding more challenging than necessary.

Read as many earbuds reviews as possible on the subreddit of Cycling on Reddit.

Battery Life

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 one set might be better than others — riding a bike at the gym?

If so, you might not mind more weight as long as you get better battery life.

Noise Cancellation

Are you planning on riding long distances? Better noise cancelation might make a particular headset the best headphone for cycling when there’s wind noise.

Though you should be careful with noise-canceling headphones because they are not recommended for cycling on the open road.

I prefer headphones that provide noise canceling but not in full, so I can still hear a little bit of the noise outside.

It’s handy to hear some horns, people yelling at you, etc.

Hitting the road with your brand new road bike while listening to your favorite tunes on a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones is definitely on my weekend shortlist.

But is it legal to listen to music while cycling?

Here’s the short answer:

Cyclists can’t wear headphones or earplugs in the following states – California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

They can wear headphones in all other states, but they shouldn’t. Listen to music on bike paths, in parks, and in other safer environments.

While cycling, listening to music on headphones is dangerous, and you should always hear a reasonable amount of road noise.

Is It Safe to Wear Headphones

According to attorney/author/cyclist Bob Mionske, “Although detractors say it’s unsafe, that’s not necessarily true.” He adds, “if you’re listening at a reasonable volume out of a single earbud–it’s still possible to safely operate a bicycle.”

By 2019, the topic remained contentious, says CyclingWeekly.com’s Richard Windsor.

“Listening to music while riding is controversial, but the evidence regarding safety cuts both ways, and a favorite tune can boost performance,” he says in his article’s lead-in.

Windsor cites a study conducted by Drs. Katrina Jungnickel and Rachel Aldred in which two concluded that headphones worn by cyclists could “create a ‘sensory strategy'” that can significantly help cyclists cope with riding in dangerous environments like busy urban streets where sensory overload—noise, honking, yelling, and other street sounds–can assault the senses.

My Personal Tips on Safe Listening

  • Enjoy your tunes through one earbud only
  • Turn down the volume to 60 percent of the max
  • Invest in bone conduction earphones if you can

Do Pro Cyclists Listen to Music

Pro cyclists listen to music on headphones, but not while racing. They listen to music while training for races or riding casually for fun.

You can see the earpiece on their ears during races for communication with their team director.

Smart ones, like “Iron” Sally Bingham, only make music part of their pre-performance routine to reduce anxiety, get a handle on their nerves and get motivated.

Editors’ Recommendations:

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About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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