TUCSON, Ariz. - Everyone has a preference when it comes to headphones for working out. And Consumer Reports should know. They test dozens of models each year for sound quality, features, comfort and fit.
"That's especially important… the fit factor," says Consumer Reports Tech Editor, Thomas Germain. "When you're out for a run or at the gym, you don't want to find out 20 minutes into your workout that you're getting pain in your ears."
That's why CR says, if you can, try on headphones to see how they fit you before you buy them. More and more consumers are choosing wireless bluetooth models, in part because some smartphone manufacturers, like Apple, dropped the headphone jack from their flagship models.
"A lot of headphones that are marketed as "wireless" still actually have a cable or a cord that connects to two earpieces," says Germain. "But there are some which are called true wireless headphones. True wireless headphones don't have a cord or a cable connecting the two earpieces, which gives you even more flexibility."
The downside to true wireless headphones, is they typically have a shorter battery life and, of course, they're easier to lose. When it comes to buying headphones, CR says it's important to figure out what kind of exercise you may use them for.
"If you're gonna run outside, some noise canceling headphones are adjustable so you can let in more or less sound from your environment," says Germain.
If you want a pair you can take in the pool, Consumer Reports recommends a $90 pair from JBL. They're designed for swimming and have dependable sound quality.
If you work out at a gym but don't really like the music that they play, CR says a $90 pair from Sony that got very good scores for noise-canceling and sound quality.
For those who do extended workouts, like long runs or hikes, battery life is even more important. So, CR suggests checking the battery life if you plan to go wireless.