Earbuds vs Headphones for Gym

Earbuds vs Headphones for Gym (which type is best?)

Nothing is better than the music blasting in your ears as you bench press or speed up on the treadmill. Keeping the jams coming while you engage your body is essential for your mental state. Most fitness enthusiasts love to remain focused and eliminate anything that would interfere with their sets or routines. To help you choose the right equipment, I’ll compare earbuds vs headphones for gym use.

Many people love to work out with a soundtrack, and some even go as far as creating a gym playlist. Listening to music while exercising can improve your mood and increase your stamina. Fast-paced music can get you pumped and make your workout sessions productive. You can also get motivated and block out distractions using music at the gym. Some people claim that working out without music can be overwhelmingly quiet and even boring. That being said, what is best: earbuds vs headphones for gym use?

Let’s get into it.

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Headphones vs Earbuds

As with everything else when it comes to working out, listening to music while working out has to be comfortable. You do not want to reach up every ten minutes to ensure that your audio device is sitting correctly.

There are two primary options when it comes to working out with music:

  • Headphones
  • Earbuds

Let us look at the differences between these two options, their pros, and their cons.

Using Headphones at the Gym

These can be wired or wireless. Some models go over the ear while some sit right on the ear. Headphones are designed to fit snugly on your head using a band that runs over the top of your head, connecting both earpieces.


  • Headphones that go over the ear produce a higher quality of sound because they cover the area outside your ear
  • With headphones, you can block out any ambient noises and get a fuller-feeling sound
  • When you have headphones on, the device is almost always visible, deterring other gym-goers from trying to make small talk and distract you
  • Compared to earbuds, headphones have a more reliable and defined construction, making them easier to grip and hold in position


  • They can get bulky and uncomfortable to use
  • Headphone models that go over your entire ear can trap sweat due to the heat you produce when you perform an activity
  • Wearing headphones can ruin your hair because of the tight-fitting band, and if this bothers you, then you might have to work out with a hat on

Headphones are fabulous for lifting weights, bench presses, deadlifts, and other similar workouts. These types of exercises do not require vigorous motion, so you are not worried about your headphones slipping off.

Using Earbuds at the Gym

Most earbuds typically have a cord that you can connect to your phone. However, newer Bluetooth models that wirelessly connect to your phone are now available.

There are also various shapes and sizes – from circle and square-shaped buds to buds that mimic the shape of your ear canal.


  • Earbuds that are designed to the shape of your ear canal have a perfect fitting and stay put throughout your workout
  • Unlike headphones, earbuds are not bulky, are pretty comfortable and lightweight to exercise with
  • You do not have to worry about excessive sweating when using earbuds


  • Earbuds that come with cords can get caught on equipment while you work out.
  • Many cordless earbuds do not have great battery life.
  • You will find that earbuds are relatively easy to misplace compared to headphones.
  • With earbuds, you do not get as much noise cancellation as headphones offer. Some models are great and pull their weight, but you really can’t compare the sound quality most times.

Earbuds are perfect for running on the treadmill, skipping, jumping jacks, and exercises that require a lot of movement. They are less likely to fall off or shift position because your ear canals hold them in place.

What to Look for When Purchasing Headphones or Earbuds

Here are some things you should look out for when purchasing earbuds vs headphones for gym use:

  • Sound quality: you do not want to work out using headphones or earbuds that produce weak sound. When working out, you need to get into the music for that extra pump
  • Waterproof: even if you never have to work out in the rain, believe it or not, sweat can ruin your audio device. Look out for waterproof or water-resistant varieties
  • Proper fit: the ideal headphones or earbuds should fit comfortably and securely. You do not want to worry about adjusting the position of your device regularly as you workout.

Final Thoughts About Choosing Earbuds vs Headphones for Gym Use

You want to select an audio device that you feel comfortable working out with. You do not want to worry about your headphones or earbuds staying in place whenever you move, so pick what works for you.

Today, there are so many audio devices available on the market – in varying shapes, models, and even connections.

Hopefully, it will be a lot easier with this article to find something that works perfectly and is very convenient to use.