Everybody knows that music or podcasts are a must when working out. They give you the needed energy, motivation, get your blood pumping, and keep you company while exercising. The music you’re listening to can easily make or break your entire workout.
Consequently, a good-fitting pair of headphones is essential. They have to be comfortable, snug, don’t slide, don’t weigh you down, or make you sweat too much to enable you to enjoy your workouts rather than be annoyed by them.
Today, we’re going to review a list of the five best over-ear headphones for working out; one of them is bound to do the trick. The thing about over-ear headphones is that they completely surround your ear, offering a great deal of passive noise cancellation. Plus, they eliminate pressure points on your ear, so they cause little to no pain. Let’s get into it!
Comparison Table Of The Best Over Ear Headphones for GYM
|Active Noise Cancellation
|Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
|Skullcandy Hesh 3
The 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones for Working Out in 2023
Without further ado, let’s start dissecting our top 5 products down to the very last detail.
1. COWIN E7 – Best Overall
Our very first pick is the COWIN E7, simply because it brings way too many great features for an affordable price and a great fit. As a matter of fact, COWIN isn’t as famous as Beats, for instance, yet, you’ll find that it’s making its way to the top strong and steady with a lot of great efficient products.
These headphones are over-ear, closed-back headphones that come with active noise cancellation, so you’ll be totally lost in your music, making it entirely suitable for working out.
Moreover, it comes with a mic, but unfortunately, the microphone system’s quality is sub-par and could be improved. Additionally, the 45 mm drivers make for accurate, steady, sharp bass. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, which are both incredibly helpful.
As for the charging time, the 750 mAh lithium polymer batteries take 4 hours to charge and give you 30 hours of play and talk time. You can actually go a few days without charging it, depending on how long your exercise sessions are.
The ear cups are rather large, so they encircle your ear quite comfortably without pressing down on it. Also, the ear cup’s depth is enough so that your ear is not scratching the interior mesh constantly.
Lastly, the ear cups swivel 90°, allowing you to place it on your chest to relieve your ears every 1 to 2 hours, which is recommended by the manufacturer to avoid any sort of damage or injuries.
Now, let’s talk about design. You’ll find that the COWIN E7’s build is a mix of high-quality plastic and metal, making it durable yet light. The headband is made out of reinforced metal, so it’s strong and durable, yet a little bit bulky. One last thing is that these headphones come in seven different color options.
- 45 mm drivers
- Large ear cups
- Seven color options
- 30 hrs playtime
- Slightly bulky
- Sub-par microphone system
Why is the COWIN E7 our top choice? Simple. It gives you active noise cancellation, whether wired or wireless, 30 hours of playtime, which is the highest on our list, a light, comfortable fit, and great bass. Also, all of that comes for an affordable price tag.
2. Bose SoundLink II – Runner-Up
Next up is our runner-up, the Bose SoundLink II. This set of headphones is slightly on the expensive side; however, it comes with an incredible phone-call system with HD voice and adaptive audio adjustment.
So, if you’re working out and you need to be on a call, you won’t need to do anything. The Bose SoundLink II will automatically set your volume and have you hear and be heard clearly.
Moreover, it offers 15 hours of playtime, NFC, and multi-point functionality, which means that it can be connected with two devices, not just one. Furthermore, it’s quite durable, as it’s made out of impact-resistant materials; corrosion-resistant stainless steel and glass-filled nylon, to be exact.
Additionally, it comes with a carrying case to protect it at all times and a wire, which allows you to extend its playtime to infinity. The earpads are made out of plush memory foam, which allows for extreme comfort, but the downside to it is that it heats up rather quickly. You’ll have to relieve your ears every now and then.
It also comes with automatic EQ. However, that doesn’t always work out as it can make the music sound a little bit auto-tuned. Other disadvantages include that the cable comes without any controls and that it has no active noise cancellation; rather, it depends on passive noise cancellation completely.
- 15 hrs playtime
- HD voice
- Adaptive audio adjustment
- Accessible buttons
- Carry bag is included
- Memory-foam earpads
- Impact-resistant materials
- Multi-point functionality
- Warms up overtime
- EQ makes sound up-normal
- Cable has no controls
- No ANC
If your first priority is the clarity of sound during calls and not having to struggle with accepting one while working out, the Bose SoundLink II is a great choice for you. It’s highly durable, comfortable, and can be connected with two devices. But it’s a little bit more expensive than its peers.
3. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless – Best Value for Money
Our third choice is the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless, and it’s our best value for money. Why? Because it brings a spot-on package of features to the table.
First of all, these wireless over-ear headphones can provide up to 30 hours of playtime, just like our first pick, the COWIN E7. That’s due to a lot of options implemented to save the battery, which includes smart-pause, which stops the music whenever you take off the headphones. That’s plus the automatic on/off, which shuts them down after a specific period of no-use.
Moreover, it comes with Bluetooth 4.2, which provides for stronger connectivity, NFC, and CapTune compatibility. CapTune is the app for Sennheiser, through which you can tweak a lot of options further to customize your Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless to your taste.
As for the build of the headphones themselves, they’re made out of high-quality materials, with the headband entirely cushioned while still being supported by a metal strip to keep its shape and place. Sadly, the headband is a little bit too short to accommodate all heads. Additionally, the controls are all touch operated.
Another incredible option included in the package will be the triple-microphone, which leads to unprecedented clarity of voice. Consequently, taking and receiving calls becomes a lot easier.
One more thing is that the clamping force of the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless is rather moderate, so it’ll hold onto your head without slipping every now and then. Furthermore, it can do multi-point Bluetooth, so you can connect more than one device to them.
They’re also lightweight, can swivel, and come with a carrying protective case, which makes the headphones way more portable. Unfortunately, though, the adaptive noise cancellation hasn’t managed to impress many people as sound tends to leak outside and inside the headphones.
- Touch controls
- 30 hrs battery life
- Bluetooth 4.2 & Multipoint Bluetooth
- Automatic on/off
- CapTune compatibility
- Triple microphone
- Cushioned headband
- Carrying case included
- Fast charging
- Adaptive noise control
- Headband is a bit short
So, if you want a pair of headphones that will provide you with durability, 4.2 Bluetooth, moderate clamping force, is lightweight, and can do NFC and CapTune, then the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless is the best wireless over-ear headphones for working out for you.
4. Skullcandy Hesh 3 – Best Passive Noise Cancellation
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 is a superb pair of over-ear headphones. They have so many great qualities that we’re going to discuss, yet, the primary feature of these headphones is their state-of-the-art passive noise cancellation.
Now, they come without active noise cancellation, but the passive one does the job perfectly so that you won’t even feel the absence of the first. The sound produced by these headphones is quite balanced as it gives powerful, heavy, deep bass, plus, the high and medium tunes are clear and sharp without overdoing it.
Moreover, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 gives you 22 hours of uninterrupted playtime; the more impressive thing is that 10 minutes of charge time will provide you with four hours of playtime.
So, if you’re running late, all you have to do is plug it in for 10 minutes, and you can get a prolonged gym session in the gym without it even getting close to giving up on you. You can also connect the 3.5 mm wire and extend this playtime infinitely. Another option is activating the passive mode, which will reduce the battery usage over time.
The passive noise cancellation that we’ve spoken about comes from the plush memory foam earpads that encircle your ear and prevent any sound waves from coming in or getting out. The headband is also cushioned; however, it has a very tight clamping force, which can be quite uncomfortable. Plus, it’s not glasses-friendly as it’ll apply significant pressure on them.
Additionally, the earcups swivel so that they lay flat on your chest, and the whole set is foldable for easy storage. Furthermore, you have four different color options to choose from, yet, make sure that they fit you as they’re more suitable for smaller ears.
- Solid bass
- Excellent medium and high tones
- Four color options
- Plush memory foam ear pads
- Cushioned headband
- Incredible passive noise cancellation
- 3.5 mm cable
- Passive mode
- 22 hours playtime
- Not glasses-friendly
- More suited for smaller ears
- Tight clamping force
What the Skullcandy Hesh 3 does is that it offers you premium passive noise cancellation without having active noise cancellation drain your battery consistently. It’s also quite comfortable and produces excellent sound quality with all tunes and is one of the best over-ear headphones for gym.
5. Razer Opus – Best Luxurious
Our last entry is the Razer Opus, and it’s all about giving you this luxurious feel. With its sleek and simple yet attractive design, it’s bound to catch the eye. Nevertheless, it’s not just a pretty device.
The Razer Opus comes with a robust, tough build embellished with an exterior of matte black faux-leather. The headband is supported by a metal strip that provides just enough clamping power to give stability minus the headaches.
Moreover, it comes with active noise cancellation. Add to that the fact that it’s a pair of over-ear headphones and that they do form an exceptional seal around your ear, and you’ll know why it produces such superb sound quality.
Another thing is that the ear cups are designed in an angled style that makes the fit quite snug. Unfortunately, though, the active noise cancellation is not customizable, so you can either get the whole package or nothing at all.
The sound produced here is certainly better off with the higher frequencies, while the bass can be improved slightly. It also provides 25 hours of playtime and straightforward accessible controls on the earcups.
Furthermore, it comes with two options that make your life a lot easier; the auto-pause and the auto-shutoff. The first means that when you remove the headphones, the sound will stop automatically, resuming again when you put the Razer Opus back on.
The second means that if you take it off and leave it for a specific period, that you set, it’ll automatically shut off, preventing the waste of charge.
Additionally, the Razer Opus is foldable for easy storage, and they can be laid flat on your chest. Still, they do lie on the expensive side, so you have to think about your budget beforehand.
- Great build
- 25 hrs battery life
- Excellent high frequencies
- Sleek design
- Angled earcups
- Easy-access buttons
- Weak bass
If you’re looking for something that can do most of the work on its own, comes with active noise cancellation, and awesome high tunes, then the Razer Opus will suit you just fine.
Read also: Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $200 in 2023
How to Pick the Best Over-Ear Headphones for Working Out
Now, we’ll walk you through a very simple guide that will show you the most important features to look for when choosing headphones for working out.
The clamping force is how strong your headphones are and how much pressure they’ll apply on your head to stay in their place. We always advise you to go with a medium clamping force and to try on the headphones to see how they suit you first.
Low clamping force means that the headphones will be sliding off of your head all the time, while a high clamping force will give you stability and a snug fit along with headaches and a lot of health problems.
Of course, when choosing any type of headphones, you have to prioritize sound quality. Know what your playlist looks like; are you more into the deep tones? Does bass take over the majority of your playlist? Or, are you more attracted to lighter, higher tones, and you need them to be sharp and clear without being squeaky?
If possible, try to dig out a set of headphones that can balance both to give yourself the broadest sound scale possible.
Naturally, you don’t want to be charging your headphones every few hours, so the longer the playtime, the better. You can also try to go for headphones that come with a 3.5 mm wire so that you can use them even when they’re dead.
Lastly, a lithium-ion battery is your best choice; they have a very long and steady lifespan; plus, they provide the most extended playtime.
When you’re working out, you’re releasing a lot of heat, and there’s a lot of friction going on. Consequently, you’d want the earpads of your headphones to be designed out of light, airy, breathable materials that don’t hold on to this heat. Rather, distribute and get rid of it efficiently.
Earcups, in general, have to be quite large to engulf your ear comfortably. Additionally, they should be deep enough so that your ear isn’t constantly rubbing against the mesh.
Lastly, try to go for ear cups that can swivel 90° as they’re a lot easier to deal with. When you relieve your ears every now and then, which is advised, you’ll be able to lay it flat on your chest. That’s the safest and most efficient way of carrying your headphones around without having them on your head.
Your headphones’ weight is essential, as you don’t want something that’s going to weigh your head down. If it’s too bulky with many controls on the sides, which overwhelms you, then go with a simpler option that’s a lot lighter.
We hope you now have a clear idea about the best over-ear headphones for working out and acquainted yourself with the essential factors to consider when choosing one!
Now is the time for recommendations. Our first recommendation is undoubtedly our top pick, the COWIN E7. It comes with active noise cancellation, seven color options, 30 hours of playtime, and 45 mm drivers that provide awesome sound.
Our second recommendation is our value pick, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless. For the price tag that these headphones sport, they offer you 30 hours of playtime, a cushioned headband, smart-pause, automatic on/off, and incredibly balanced sounds.
Our last recommendation will be the Razer Opus, and it’s our luxurious pick. It offers a ton of great features, such as active noise cancellation, 25 hours of battery life, angled ear cups for a snug fit, plus automated options such as auto-pause and auto-shutoff. All of that and more comes packaged neatly in a sleek, attractive design.