Headphones vs Earbuds: Which Are Better For Running?

Two of the finest things in life go well together, music and exercise. In addition to weightlifting, I also run outdoors three times a week and highly recommend running outdoors to everyone who cares about being in shape and being healthy. During all these things, there is always music playing – the radio plays in the weight room, music plays from my home theatre speakers during my exercises in the gym. But when you get out in the great outdoors when you are no more in the comfort of four walls, you are left to your own mad thoughts (allow me to say that).

Seriously, nobody likes to be alone inside their own head, thinking about the future for so long. Being in this state of mind detracts you from the moment, and for a runner, it especially makes the mental game of pushing yourself healthily a more difficult activity. I think you understand where I am going – have you looked down a long, straight trail while running on it, and had limiting thoughts rush into your head as a result?

“Oh, isn’t that too far? So- so far. How can I ever make it? It looks like I’m not getting any closer to my goal.”

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Having thoughts like this in your head while you try to work out is really no fun. The big trick to get over this is to not look that far ahead but to just keep your head focused on the space immediately around you or on the ground in front of you. The best proper way to get this is by my personal fave: MUSIC!

Listening to high energy tunes can make you feel really excited at home, during a workout or even when at work. For us, workout enthusiasts, staying in shape is the most important thing to do. To stay in good shape however, you must understand how important good music is to real productivity. This doesn’t mean that without music, your workouts would not really work out. What I mean to say is that if you are a music lover, you definitely know how entertaining and uplifting good quality songs can be when you are doing your thing. I always enjoy great banging tunes that seem to direct my steps and give me real-life momentum when I am running or doing a simple indoor workout. Landing my feet at the right times and intervals to follow the rhythm of whatever song I am listening to at that moment feels heavenly.

When I run, I always take an iPod with me. I just must have my jams playing on my iPod to help put me in a great mood while running. But since I run so often, the headphones that came with my iPod started to give out. Not only did they become uncomfortable to my ears, but the cord started to fray at the base! Now, I was also already dissatisfied with the headphones because I am an amateur music producer and I like to hear things in good quality. So when it came time for me to get a replacement, I kept all that in mind. I tried earbuds. Well, I didn’t enjoy the one I bought as much as I expected.

Because I love running to stay in shape, and I also love good quality music, I use a good and handy way to carry the music along with me as I run. Besides, I love not only music but also the high quality of the tunes, the beats and all the elements in each song (you know what I mean). You know how the speakers you have can affect this output. How much you enjoy music depends solely on the speakers you have.

For many years, all my friends and I have been battling this big question. Many people use Over the Ear headphones when they run, others prefer tiny earbuds. The question that has caused a lot of controversies however is,

Is it better to run with headphones or earbuds?

It’s better to use earbuds while running than Headphones because they are mostly small and lightweight, they always fit in-ears and no dangling while juggling or running.

Whether you are looking for running headphones or running earbuds, you have to see this.

I am welcoming you to the front row in this debate between Earbuds and Headphones as they both try to win your love and as they both try to show you why each one is the perfect fit for your lifestyle, running course, choice of music, and budget. Sit back, relax and enjoy the greatest debate Of The YEAR!!! I am your host… I’m going to be working on a good presentation of that later but now, let the great debate begin!

You see, choosing between earbuds or headphones for running is no easy task as it is linked to a very important aspect of our life; our health. Picking the right music agent for your own health through exercise is very important and therefore I have brought them both to show you how to choose the better between the two. After this post also, you will see the best recommended amongst the large numbers of models that are available in the market. What matters now and what is crucial is that you choose one (whichever it is) that provides the highest quality music yet also comfortable while listening to your favorite tunes and running around town.

I welcome the first speaker EARBUDS! Please give a round of applause as she comes on stage to deliver her beautiful speech on the benefits that have a good earbud for running. ENJOY.

Why it’s Better to use Earbuds For Running:

Earbuds are handy when it comes to delivering great music. We stay in your ears while you do whatever it is you love. However, it is always a wise choice for you to gather as much information as possible about the current best earbuds for running available in the market in 2019. By doing so, you would get enough information about a certain product or brand through the experiences of people who have actually purchased them such as comfort, durability, budget, etc. Earbuds understand how listening to good music has always been a benefit to a person who is exercising as a very strong tool in affecting your mood. Good music provides you positive thoughts and removes negative vibes like tension, stress and any type of confusion. Therefore, using earbuds while you are running delivers relieving music. This will boost your energy level, focus, and concentration towards your exercise.

Earbuds are always putting everything in your ears while you run. We always deliver. At this juncture, I want you to make the right choice looking at the benefits we bring you. I currently rest my case until I will need to bang again.


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There you have it, folks. You have heard directly from the horse’s mouth. Earbuds have given you the benefits of using her while you run. Now, it’s about time we listened to Headphones as he delivers his own great speech on the benefits of using headphones to listen to good quality music while running.

Benefits Of Headphones While Running:

Hello, a human who loves good music. I am not here to advertise to you. Rather, I want you to see and make a good choice. First, headphones are great if you want to hold your ears from the world and listen to your music all alone. Most brands of headphones are Over The Ear and others are In-Ear headphones. Both are used for and by specific people with specific lifestyles. For instance, if you like to hear your music alone in your house, or you just want to get the groove on and isolate beats in music, In-Ear Headphones are perfect. My argument is that when it comes to enjoying good music on the run, headphones are perfect to choose for everyone who loves loud and arresting music.

Thank you for that wonderful speech in favor of headphones, Headphones.

Both speakers have made an argument and it is hot. There are many things said and done that we cannot even put in print.

However, I am going to make you highlights from both the speeches so that you will understand where each one is standing. But I must warn you, it’s hot!

First, Earbuds came out to ask about the durability of headphones. Headphones made a counterargument to say that only some fake brands are not durable.

When asked about what happens with runners who sweat, Headphones really couldn’t make sense but he made a point to say that there are brands who can actually be comfortable even to sweaters. And he countered by pointing out that sweat can make earbuds remove from a runner’s ears on the run.

What are the things to look for before buying a running headphone?

Answer: Basically, I recommend that you find a headphone or earbud that has these 4 features:

  1. Waterproofing or Water Resilience. Many a headphone can work well for running if they fit well enough. The only reason why you should look for special ones is that they’re not built to stand heavy rain when running or, more importantly, sweat. No matter how easy you go, sweat or heavy rain will find your headphones and kill them. The headphones in this recommended list are Sweat-proof.
  2. A comfortable yet secure fit.Many headphones that will fit tightly around your head, over and around your ears, and then deep into your ear lobe. Still, from my own experience, the best types of running headphones are actually either wireless or lightweight Bluetooth in-ears with tips that go into the ear as usual, and also with additional curved, tapered ‘hooks’ that sit under the crater of cartilage that sits above your earhole.
  3. Decent sound quality. I don’t want to generalize too much but sincerely, this is the least important element in sports headphones. Most people want to be able to hear or feel their tunes as they workout and be motivated by them, whilst blocking out the gym or the outside world. You have to be careful though, blocking out all noises make you vulnerable to road accidents.
  4. Situational awareness. This is all-important for people like me, who feel that effectively deafening themselves leaves them in danger of traffic or muggers when road running.


Therefore, at the end of the argument, I have come to the conclusion that the choice of whether to use earbuds over headphones or the other way round is left to you. So what I will do is to highlight THREE brands out of each side that you can pick from. We will be looking at the specifications of each product in terms of durability, comfort, budget, and last but not the most important, audio quality.

Best Three Recommended Running Headphones.

1.     66 Audio BTS Pro Wireless Headphones

Has Long-lasting battery, and an impressive wireless range

Weight: 83g | Battery life: 40 hours | Heart rate monitor?: No | On-ear controls?: Yes

Pros & Cons:

Great battery life

Long wireless range

No heart rate monitor

Heavier than most

Now my number 1 running headphone is from the relatively obscure start-up 66 Audio that stands out with a number of key facets. Firstly, the BTS Pro earphones give an incredible 40+ hours of continuous playback from a full charge along with a stunning wireless range of 100-feet.

Most Bluetooth headphones give you about 30-feet connection, but thanks to the aptX 3D antenna tech you can wander much further away from your mobile device, which is especially handy for track sessions.

For runners who like as much control over sound equalization as they do their fitness levels, the Motion Control app allows effortless control of the sound output.


2. AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones

AfterShokz Trekz Air Open Ear Wireless
Talking about having situational awareness? I give you this.

Weight: 30g | Battery life: 6 hours | Heart rate monitor?: No | On-ear controls?: Yes

Pros & Cons:

Comfortable yet fit not to fall off

Helps with situational awareness

Volume not too loud

Short battery life

This new Air model from Trekz is a bomb. It is lighter than the earlier models and I’ve found the sound quality has improved as well.

AfterShokz brands are wireless options designed in a way that particularly suits urban runners. The sound literally is delivered through your cheekbones, thanks to the bone-conducting design that leaves your ears open and free to hear the traffic and everything around you.

One thing that makes this brand stand out is that it is really one of the few sets that are ‘race-legal’ in some countries because they allow you to hear the commands of marshalls and traffic on open-road courses. If you want to run with music in smaller races or when running for work out, these are really your only options. Plus they’re sweat-proof, have a good secure fit and they can’t fall out when you’re jogging.

3. KuaiFit Sport Headphones

KuaiFit Sport Headphones
Do you like to run without your phone in your pocket?

Weight: 31g | Battery life: 7 hours | Heart rate monitor?: Yes | On-ear controls?: Yes

Sports 8GB of storage capacity

Equipped with Heart rate monitor

Good battery life

Has Training courses that cost extra

The KuaiFitSports headphone is a ‘jack of all trades’. With 8GB of storage, The KuaiFit Sports Headphone is a music player, a fitness tracker, a heart rate monitor, a real-time running coach and a pair of wireless headphones all in one.

There are many fitness coaching plans created by Olympic athletes and verified coaches. KuaiFit sells these fitness plans as part of its offering, and its headphones will store and deliver voice notifications based on your progress towards goals – all these happen while leaving your phone at home.

The KuaiFit has an app for iOS and Android that will store all your data and, if you want to link up to your phone, play music from Spotify too.

Best Three Recommended Running EarBuds:

1. Jaybird X3 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

JayBird X3 Sport Bluetooth Headset for iPhone and Android
Great design that gives real comfort, good quality, all at a competitive price

Weight: 17.9g | Battery life: 8 hours | Heart rate monitor?: No | On-ear controls?: Yes

Pros & Cons:

Sound, excellent

The design is durable and compact

Comes with a proprietary charging dock

Awesome Intermittent signal

Talking about earbuds that are actually built for runners, the compact, durable and affordable Jaybird X3 in-ear buds proved itself outstanding and popular among runners, I tell you. The new Jaybird X3 neckband comes at a more favorable price point than others in the set.

The Jaybird X3 has an amazing sweat-proof design and a surprisingly great sound. You will have great control over the audio is because the earbuds come with the new MySound app. Also, the abundance of fitting options means they stay secure in your ear holes.

Jaybird X3 is equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, which means longer battery life, although we struggled a little with intermittent Bluetooth dropouts. The Jaybird X3 is a beautiful earbud with great sound that you can rely on for running.

2. Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Bluetooth EarBuds

Monster iSport Victory Bluetooth Wireless In-Ear Headphones (Earbuds)
Do you need great earbuds with the high quality on a budget?

Weight: 15g | Battery life: 10 hours | Heart rate monitor?: No | On-ear controls?: Yes (on the neckband)

Pros & Cons

It is Comfortable

Has Secure fit with the neckband

The Sound quality isn’t That great

No heart rate monitor

Monster iSport Victory lacks some of the newest running earbuds technology, but still, it makes up for it in comfort, durability and their inexpensive price.

Running with earbuds can be really annoying when you have earbuds coming loose or even falling out of your ears altogether. The Monster iSport Victory stay securely in your ear no matter how moist your ears are or how much jiggle you do, thanks to the rubber ‘wings’ and a surprisingly wide variety of ear tip options that is in the design. Naturally, Monster iSport Victory is sweat-resistant and, at only 15g, it is also the most lightweight headphones on this list.

After a full charge, Monster iSport Victory gives you 10-hours of Bluetooth battery life, to get you through your workday and your post-work run. Sound quality doesn’t quite cut it for regular use and it’s lacking a heart rate monitor but, for the price, they’re still a great simple option for most runners.

3. Jabra Elite Sports Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Waterproof Fitness & Running Earbuds
Great completely cordless earbuds design

Weight: 17.9g | Battery life: 4.5 hours | Heart rate monitor?: Yes | On-ear controls?: Yes

Pros & Cons:

Fully wireless

Comes with a charging case

Only 4.5 hours of battery life

Firm stable fit

Jabra Elite Sports earbuds are one of the best in the industry of earbuds. This product is actually outstanding because it is entirely cordless. What’s more? The biggest feature of the Jabra Elite Sport is the Hear Through technology that allows you to alter the way the buds filter out ambient noise.

For instance, if you’re running from a park to a busy road, a quick press of a button enables you to hear from the surroundings as well as your tunes. The Jabra Elite Sport is also designed for calls. You can really choose to wear one at a time. Each bud has two independent microphones, which help to filter out background noise for the person on the other end of the line.

Another key feature is the on-the-go charging case which provides 13.5 hours of battery life in total but with only 4.5 hours battery life available from a single charge slower marathoner and ultra runners will probably want to jog on – although for 99% of your training this won’t be an issue.


The Jabra Elite Sport is waterproof and sweat resistant. This ensures that they can be used while swimming or in the rain. The Jabra Elite Sport comes with a companion app that utilizes the built-in heart rate monitor to enhance your workouts, along with the internal accelerometer to monitor your reps of squats, lunges and the like.

Are you desperate to get the best headphones or earbuds for music which you could use to enjoy your favorite music while running? This superb list has been more than enough help for you to make a choice.