6 Best Sweatproof Over-Ear Headphones [2022]

Wearing over-ear headphones while working out
Wearing over-ear headphones while working out
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We pick the best sweatproof over-ear headphones for your 2022 workout and sunny day needs.

NameIP RatingBattery LifeANCPrice
Jabra Elite 85h Best Overall*not specified36 hoursYBUY
Raycon Everyday Headphones Strong Runner-UpIPx422 hoursYBUY
BackBeat FIT 6100 Best BudgetIPX524 hoursN/ABUY
TREBLAB Z2 Best Connection StabilityIPX435 hoursYBUY
BuddyPhones Wave Best for KidsIP6718 hoursN/ABUY
Bose 700 Best for TravelIPX420 hoursYBUY

How to Pick the Best Sweatproof Over-Ear Headphones

Whether it’s living close to the equator or listening to music while hitting the gym, fans of over-ear headphones struggle due to sticky, sweaty earpads and electrical equipment getting damaged due to moisture. If you can relate to that, it’s best to go with headphones that will stand your sweaty routine.

However, choosing the best sweatproof over-ear headphones can be a complex balancing act.

Part of the problem is that manufacturers assume customers will want earbuds for this sort of situation, all because of their better fit that won’t fall off even with rigorous activities. Over-ear headphones also have a lot more area exposed for moisture to leak into that needs to be covered and manufacturers know that too high of a material cost will turn customers away.

Yet, that doesn’t mean there are no sweatproof over-ear options. There are companies out there that juggle the different factors well. It can just take a bit of more effort to look for one — and this article will save you from that trouble!

But first, here are what wise customers look for when choosing the best sweatproof over-ear headphones:

Sweat resistance level

How protected are your headphones from moisture and sweat? If you’re using words like “somewhat” or “kinda”, we don’t blame you. However, there is a better way of measuring it: the ‘Ingress Protection’ or IP Code rating system.

This gives us a standardized means to understand the object’s resistance to incoming particles and liquids.

Each IP Code is written as “IP##” with the first number representing solid particle resistance and the second number representing liquid resistance. It is common to see an ‘X’ for a number, too, which just means that quality wasn’t tested.

For example, you might have something with an IP Code of IPX4 or IP64. Both products have level 4 liquid protection, but only the second has been tested for solid object protection.

Unlike decibels or degrees Fahrenheit, which gradually change in loudness or temperature as the number rises, IP codes represent discrete steps of ability. You can think of each level as a sort of ‘passed test’ rather than a measure of strength. The International Electronics Commission (IEC) has a full listing of the levels, but here are what some of the most commonly mentioned ones mean:

  • IPX4 – Can resist damage from splashing water coming from any direction.
  • IPX5 – Can resist damage from water jets coming from any direction.
  • IPX6 – Can resist damage from powerful water jets coming from any direction.
  • IPX7 – Can resist damage while submerged up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes.

The best sweatproof over-ear headphones are IPX4 or higher. In fact, it is hard to find headphones being advertised with IPX3 or less. The water resistance provided at that level (protection from water at a specific angle) isn’t worth mentioning for headphones.

Not all headphones will come with an IP Code. This doesn’t mean that they have no sweat resistance, just that they haven’t been officially tested. In this case, you can contact the manufacturer directly or find a water-resistance test review.

Comfort & fit

For people working out or traversing through hot environments, comfort is all about heat. Heat, alongside humidity, is also the top reason why people sweat. But what are headphones manufacturers to do?

The answer is what we call breathability. Not because your ears are gasping for air, but because they need a constant supply of fresh air.

Unmoving air retains heat and humidity from your skin and perspiration, resulting in an unpleasant, sticky sensation between your ear and ear cups. Moving air, under headphones with breathability, picks up heat, and brings in fresh cool air to keep you comfy.

However, while working out with headphones, the heat won’t be the only factor you need to consider – you want them to actually stay on your head. Headphones that are too heavy or don’t clamp tightly enough on the head are more prone to fallouts.

Here’s what the makers of the best sweatproof over-ear headphones know that others don’t:

  • Padding material: The padding of over-ear headphones surrounds the ears quite readily, so padding material is the most important part of driving breathability. For this, we highly recommend memory foam covered in soft, breathable velour.
    If your current headphones are perfect in every way except for the padding, consider giving our ultimate guide to replacing headphone pads a whirl.
  • Adjustability: No two wearers have the same head, so adjustability is very important in getting the fit just right, promoting comfort, and avoiding unnecessary fall offs. Adjustable sliding headbands and 30-45 degree rotatable ear cups are today’s standard.
  • Weight: Experts say that the human head weighs about 11 pounds on average. With this in mind, we don’t recommend wearing headphones over about 0.55 lbs. – a whopping 5% increase to your head’s total weight! Anything over this can increase neck strain and might increase the likelihood of unwanted fall-offs.

Durability

Naturally, the best sweatproof over-ear headphones will be made of materials that can withstand contact with moisture, but this isn’t the only thing to consider. Daily wear and tear can accumulate from many things, not just sweat. Think fall-offs, jostling about in a backpack, and brushing against low-hanging branches while walking.

Consider the following additional factors when thinking about your headphones’ durability:

Construction materials

Sweatproof headphones commonly use aluminum, titanium, and plastic. While aluminum is quite durable and titanium is highly scratch-proof, headphones made with 100% metal aren’t exactly comfortable because of the added weight.

On the other hand, plastics may sound flimsy but that depends on the thickness and type. High-quality plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polycarbonate (PC), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) all come recommended due to their low-weight, sturdy nature.

For many, durability can mean a lot more than just resistance to water. Our guide to the most durable headphones will help you find something that can stand the test of time.

Warranty

Warranties give us a lot of peace of mind when buying headphones, a 2-year guarantee means we won’t have to buy new headphones for a couple of years. They also give us a lot of insight into the manufacturer’s confidence in the product. That same 2-year guarantee tells us that the makers are willing to bet that the pair of headphones won’t break down in two years.

Sound quality

The sound quality is important for all headphones, sweatproof or not.

Sound signatures, variations in sound output that vary between different headphone makes, are a very subjective factor in choosing headphones. Some people like deeper bass sounds, while others prefer more balanced output. This means that, ultimately, there is no universal sound quality rating for any pair of headphones.

To give greater flexibility in this quality, a lot of headphones offer customizable sound profiles, such as by a companion app. Headphones with this sort of flexibility offer increased chances of finding your personally preferred listening settings.

Moreover, Bluetooth-capable headphones have another factor to consider, Bluetooth audio codecs. Depending on the audio codec your headphones use, you can expect different outcomes in terms of sound quality, hardware processing, and battery consumption. The AptX and LDAC codecs are highly recommended for providing efficient quality. Avoid the basic, low-quality SBC type.

Your headphones’ codec must match the codec of the audio source or your connection will default back to SBC.

Battery life

While over-ear headphones are larger than earbuds, don’t immediately assume that they’ll be packing a bigger battery.

Additionally, over-ear headphones may have more equipment and features that drain battery life in them. Finally, different Bluetooth audio codecs can affect battery life.

The United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 2.5 hours. However, if you’ll also use your headphones for work or study, this factor becomes much more important.

Being stretched and ready to go can be the worst time to find out that your headphones are low on power. Be sure to check charging time as well. Look for speedy charging options, such as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge to speed along the process. Some headphones today can get hours of usage out of just a few minutes of charging time.

Additional features

While some headphones are meant to just be used during specific activities, the best sweatproof over-ear headphones will be more advanced. Value-added features that go beyond the basics can improve your workout or make your life easier in unexpected ways.

Here are some of the most common things you’ll encounter:

  • Active Noise Canceling (ANC) – ANC helps you block out your surroundings and focus on yourself. This can help you stay attuned to your own body, even in a crowded gym.
  • Ambient Mode – Ambient mode, as opposed to ANC, helps you bring in the noises of your surroundings despite wearing headphones. A potentially life-saving feature while jogging alongside busy streets.
  • Companion App – Some headphones will have an included companion app that will have a variety of features, including sound profile customization and firmware updates. Every app is different, and not all are bug-free. Quality features that run without an app are often preferable to the same features within an app.
  • Voice Assistant – Voice assistants let us take a hands-off approach to using our smartphones and selecting music. This becomes vital while we’ve got dumbbells in our hands for extended periods.

6 Best Sweatproof Over-Ear Headphones in 2022

Jabra Elite 85h

Best Overall
Close look at Jabra Elite 85h (From: Amazon)
Close look at Jabra Elite 85h (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: N/A
  • Battery Life: 36 Hours
  • Charging Time: Charge 15 min. for 5 hrs.
  • Bluetooth Version: 5
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC & AAC
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Ambient Sound Mode: Yes
  • Companion App: Jabra Sound+ App

The Jabra Elite 85h top our list for their environmentally-resistant build that doesn’t sacrifice on features. They’re perfect for the hot jogs of late spring, where rain could strike at any time. Why? The internal components of Elite 85h have nano-coating, making them sweat, dust, and rain resistant.

A nano-coating is an atoms-thick surface coating that protects objects from dust and water. Treated surfaces become ultra-smooth, becoming difficult for water or dust particles to stick to. The creation of this technology was inspired by the waxy, super-clean lotus leaf.

Jabra takes its promise of rain resistance seriously by offering a 2-year dust and water resistance warranty. You can go through any hot, muggy, and even sandy outdoor environment and feel safe wearing them.

However, compared with the older and significantly more affordable Jabra Elite 45h, the 85h actually have less battery life, at 36 hours vs 50.

This being said, the Elite 85H more than makes up for this via SmartSound and music equalization via the Jabra Sound+ App. SmartSound uses AI to adaptively (and automatically) change sound profiles based on your listening environment.

To take advantage of these features, connect with the Jabra Sound+ (Google Play / App Store). With this, take advantage of hands-free voice control, ANC, and ambient mode.

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Raycon Everyday Headphones

Strong Runner-up
Close look at Raycon Everyday Headphones (From: Amazon)
Close look at Raycon Everyday Headphones (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Battery Life: 22 Hours
  • Charging Time: Charge 15 min. for 2 hrs.
  • Bluetooth Version: 5
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC & AAC
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Ambient Sound Mode: Yes
  • Companion App: N/A

The Raycon Everyday Headphones are great competition for the Jabra 85h. They pack all of the right features at an affordable price. What they lack, such as a companion app or extreme battery life, they make up for with an official IPX4 rating and easy-to-use features at the right price.

For headphones that you just want to work out in, they’ll work more than fine – 22 hours is still a ton of battery life!

In fact, for those that just want to grab some headphones and go, a lot of positive things can be said about the design of the Everyday Headphones. The lack of a companion app means fewer options, but also less fooling around with settings and features before getting started. Stacking in fewer features has also helped them get their weight under a half-pound.

These headphones are equipped with ANC and 3 preset sound profiles called ‘pure’, ‘balanced’, and ‘bass’ mode.

While balanced and bass are quite straightforward, the “designed by artists and producers at the top of their industry” pure mode is worth explaining. The largest notable factor is that the bass notes are dialed down just a bit with a few other small changes. For average listeners, this means being able to hear individual notes a bit more clearly.

If you love the idea of Raycon’s simple feature design and 3 sound profile systems, but are looking for something to take to the office, check out Raycon’s The Work Headphones. You trade in the IPX4 rating for longer battery life and a boom mic. Not a bad deal!

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BackBeat FIT 6100

Best Budget
Close look at BackBeat FIT 6100 (From: Amazon)
Close look at BackBeat FIT 6100 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: IPX5
  • Battery Life: 24 Hours
  • Charging Time: Charge 15 mins. for 2 hrs.
  • Bluetooth Version: 5
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC & AAC
  • Active Noise Cancellation: N/A
  • Ambient Sound Mode: Yes
  • Companion App: BackBeat App

The BackBeat FIT 6100 have a great functionality to price ratio. They keep your workout smooth with great sweatproof design choices, without breaking your bank.

To start off, they have an impressive IPX5 rating. This means they can take a quick hit of water from any direction without falling out on you. The perforated headband and memory foam ear cushions will also keep your ears comfortable and cool.

But, what makes the BackBeat FIT 6100 really unique in the sports headphones world, especially at this price point, is the drawcord stability latch.

Simply pull out the drawcord and latch it to a special indentation in the headband to increase the headphone’s clamping power comfortably. And, once the exercise requiring the extra bit of clamp is complete, you can just quickly unlatch it.

Additionally, the BackBeat FIT 6100 feature the companion BackBeat App (Google Play / App Store). Convenient features, such as tapping your headphones to start a playlist or stopwatch make the app useful for workouts. However, the real bonus of the app is the ability to conveniently update your headphones’ firmware, adjust sound settings, and toggle awareness mode.

The main difficulty gym goers will feel while wearing the BackBeat FIT 6100 is the lack of noise cancellation. This, combined with their overall low volume capacity, can make it difficult to block out the ambient noise of your gym.

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TREBLAB Z2

Best Connection Stability
Close look at TREBLAB Z2 (From: Amazon)
Close look at TREBLAB Z2 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Battery Life: 35 Hours
  • Charging Time: 3 Hours
  • Bluetooth Version: 5
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC, AAC, & aptX
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Ambient Sound Mode: N/A
  • Companion App: N/A

If you have a device using the aptX audio codec, then the TREBLAB Z2 are the best sweatproof over-ear headphones for you.

Most newer android phones today, such as the Moto G Stylus 2022, Sony Xperia Pro-I, have aptX. iPhones, however, are limited to AAC.

The TREBLAB Z2 are designed to be workout headphones, so them coming with an IPX4 rating shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Moreover, their soft ear cups come designed to not warm the ears and add to the sweating. Suggested activities include weightlifting, playing basketball, and running.

While they come without an ambient sound mode or a companion app, they have great ANC and voice assistant technology compatible with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. So, take them to the office with you after your morning jog to enjoy them everywhere.

These headphones are noteworthy as good ANC headphones in their own right, making them worthy of a spot on our list of the best active noise canceling headphones under $100.

However, while their 35-hour battery life means they can stay in your gym locker for weeks between charges, their “quick charge” takes 3 hours, which is a bit outdated for today’s brands.

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BuddyPhones Wave

Best for Kids
Close look at BuddyPhones Wave (From: Amazon)
Close look at BuddyPhones Wave (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Battery Life: 18 Hours
  • Charging Time: N/A
  • Bluetooth Version: 4.2
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC & AAC
  • Active Noise Cancellation: N/A
  • Ambient Sound Mode: N/A
  • Companion App: N/A

With youth depression and obesity on the rise, playing outdoors has never been more important for children. The BuddyPhones Wave are the best headphones up to the task of accompanying them. They are extremely resistant to the natural world and have all of the child-safe features parents have come to expect.

From tumbling through dusty dirt to taking a dip in the swimming pool – the BuddyPhones Wave are ready to come along for the ride.

The BuddyPhones Wave sport an impressive IP67 rating. This means that your kids can even take them along for a quick dip in the kiddie pool and never worry about them.

The included StudyMode is finetuned for spoken audio, helping get kids into a pattern of learning and exercising together at a young age.

Beyond exercise, the BuddyPhones Wave have so many cool features and extras that make them right for kids:

  • Volume-Limiting Settings: Volume limits at 75/85/94 dB for toddlers, kids, and travel.
  • Safe Materials: Don’t sacrifice durability for safety. The BuddyPhones Wave’s materials come safety-certified as non-toxic from TÜV and UL.
  • Sharing Cable: The ‘BuddyCable’ helps kids safely share music without practicing the bad habit of sharing headphones.
  • Travel Bag: The cute travel bag ensures the headphones stay extra safe during transit.

The main thing we don’t like about the BuddyPhones Wave, however, is their short battery life, at just 18 hours. Kids tend to be forgetful, and charging headphones frequently isn’t necessarily the best test of responsibility. Luckily, you can bring along AA batteries as a quick alternative for when you’re miles away from the nearest charger.

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Bose 700

Best for Travel
Close look at Bose 700 (From: Amazon)
Close look at Bose 700 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Battery Life: Up to 20 Hours
  • Charging Time: 15 min. for 2.5 hrs.
  • Bluetooth Version: 5
  • Bluetooth Codec: SBC & AAC
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Ambient Sound Mode: Yes
  • Companion App: Bose Music

Regular Headphonesty readers will quickly recognize the Bose 700, whether from when they were featured for the limited edition ‘Soapstone’ color or in our recent list of the best noise-canceling headphones for travel, where they hit #7. For travel, they shine above the rest by providing that IPX4 rating, making them great companions while traversing hot or rainy areas.

How do they compare to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II? It’s more than just an upgrade to IPX4, the Bose 700 also have a sleeker design, more robust noise canceling, new touch controls, and Spotify integration (with iOS). The main trade-off is the price increase for the upgrade.

During your travels, the Bose 700 provide fantastic durability with a stainless steel headband –making them drop-resistant.

Additionally, the wind-adapted mic will allow you to take calls or take advantage of the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant optimization even while out on a hike.

The Bose 700 come with 11-levels of noise cancellation, making it easy to adjust as your environment requires. Crank it up when next to the busy street to tune out the traffic, but dial it down to let in the birds chirping at the park.

The main detractor for the Bose 700 are the fact that a lot of the features require a connection to the Bose Music app (Google Play / App Store). However, logging into your headphones (which requires internet access or Wi-Fi) isn’t exactly appealing to the average consumer.

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