Can you use AirPods for working out? We think the more important question is, should you? We both know that not every earbud was designed with the same purpose in mind. Some models are just better for casual listening, while others were built for the gym.
Did Apple have a specific purpose in mind when they designed their truly wireless ‘buds? Are the AirPods a solid all-around choice, or are they best-suited for non-active use? Keep reading to see why they are (or absolutely aren’t) ideal for active use!
Should You Use AirPods For Working Out?
Whether you already own a pair, or are thinking about grabbing one soon, we’ll give you some tips and/or advice to consider. At the end of the day, you can obviously use them however you’d like, but at least you did your research and considered both sides!
The AirPods are extremely lightweight (0.14 ounces per earpiece), wireless, and barely visible when you’re wearing them. In many cases, those 3 factors combined usually make for a great workout companion. That being said, if you look a little bit deeper underneath the most obvious surface specs, there may be more than meets the eye!
Should You Worry About Their Average Battery Life?
The AirPods have a 5 hour battery life on a single charge, which is pretty decent compared to other similarly designed truly wireless earbuds. Most of us don’t put in more than (or even close to) 5 hours at the gym or yoga class on any given day. Usually a single workout (for most people) lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or two.
As far as single charge battery life is concerned, they offer about the same amount of juice as most competitors. If you were thinking about grabbing a pair for everyday use during work or at home, there are a few better options, for around the same price, that may be more appropriate.
Is The Charging Case Wireless?
This is partially due to the fact that the included charging case isn’t wireless. If you don’t have access to a laptop, PC, battery bank, or other device that’s compatible with the lightning connector – when the case runs out of juice, that’s it.
You can use the included case for 2 additional full charges and in case you forget to charge it the night before – you can use the 15 minute quick charge feature for 3 extra hours of battery life. 5 hours is pretty average in the truly wireless arena and these are no exception.
To help put it into perspective, other popular models like the Beoplay E8 offer about the same amount of life on a single charge.
Are They Waterproof? – Why It Matters!
It’s extremely important to remember that they aren’t officially water or sweat proof. They don’t carry what’s called an IPX rating. What is an IPX rating? IPX ratings are based on a scale of how much moisture your headphones can withstand before they completely give out and short circuit.
Headphone companies are required to put their products through rigorous testing before they can slap an official rating on the outside of the box. Without the required testing (or an official rating), you’re pretty much rolling the dice and hoping for the best.
That being said, there are a few exceptions. Since you can still sweat quite a bit while wearing unofficially sweat-resistant earbuds, it’s safe to say you could technically do the same with AirPods. Some in-ear headphones can be worn on a run or at the gym despite the fact that they’re not completely waterproof.
Constant Worry vs. Guaranteed Piece Of Mind
Granted, you won’t be able to take them for a swim or safely bring them with you on a rainy morning when you want to get your day started with some jogging. Well, you can, but it’s definitely not advised. Even if you have the hood of your windbreaker fitted snugly over your head, there’s always the possibility that some rain will find it’s way under the hood.
Whether or not enough rain (to cause permanent damage) will seep in and destroy your investment largely depends on the preventative measures you’re willing to take. Would you rather live with the fear of excessive moisture causing irreparable damage while you’re breathing heavily and sweating bullets in between reps, or have the calm piece of mind guaranteed by actual waterproof/resistant ‘phones?
These particular earbuds definitely weren’t built to survive much more than everyday wear and tear. If you’re looking for a more rugged and durable option, we recommend considering our alternative recommendation below!
Ergonomic Comfort – Will They Fall Out Of Your Ears?
Most people don’t run into any major issues keeping them securely fitted inside their ears. Of course, our ear size and shape does vary, so we can’t absolutely guarantee a perfectly stable fit.
Watch the video below to see a live demonstration at the gym:
If they don’t want to stay in your ears for some reason, you can grab some silicone ear hooks using the link here to help them stay in place. Aside from keeping them securely in place, there is one more feature you’ll want to consider.
In our mind, the main issue lies in their signature build design. Apple is notorious for manufacturing earbuds that are completely plastic. Why does their plastic build become an issue?
If you’ve ever kept a pair of all-plastic earbuds in your ears for longer than an hour or two – you know how uncomfortable they can get. In ear headphones that come with a variety of ear tip sizes (and materials) are usually much better-suited for both active and casual use.
Plastic Ear Tips For Active Use
As we mentioned above, most of us don’t spend all day at the gym, so you can probably get away with wearing them during your average workout. Although they definitely won’t be as forgiving as ‘buds with comfy silicone or memory foam tips, it won’t be the end of the world either.
Here’s the bottom line – plastic ear tips will cause some level of discomfort, no matter how “ergonomically-designed” they claim to be. The fact of the matter is that the soft cartilage on the inside of our ears doesn’t exactly get along very well with a piece of hard plastic resting inside for very long (regardless of how we’re using them).
Bluetooth Range & Sound Quality – Above Average?
Unless you want to keep your phone in your pocket (or on an athletic armband) a solid wireless range is pretty important. This is one area where these ‘buds outperform other truly wireless earbuds. If you want to keep your phone in a locker, or in your bag while you lift some weights – the connection will remain intact at distances of up to 100 feet.
Most other wireless headphones usually tap out at around 30-50 feet. Their Bluetooth connection and overall performance is actually pretty impressive. When you’re streaming from your smartphone, the sound quality won’t sound like an old portable radio.
Sound Quality Compared To The EarPods
As you saw in the video above, they have a stronger bass response compared to the EarPods which use a lightning USB connection. They are advertised as being able to produce AAC sound quality, which is Apple’s default file format.
Although there’s still some debate about what sounds better (AAC vs. MP3) most people hear a noticeable improvement. When you couple their wireless transmission range with the AAC sound quality, their Bluetooth performance is easily one of their strongest features.
Price vs. Performance – What Are You Willing To Sacrifice?
The AirPods usually cost around $159 brand new. Sure, the built-in Apple W1 chip and Bluetooth performance are pretty impressive, but is it worth the trade off in other areas? The answer to that question ultimately depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice. If comfort is the first thing you look for before buying new ‘buds, you’ll be setting yourself up for some major disappointment.
If a lightweight build and lightning-fast wireless connectivity is your main priority, you might really enjoy these ‘buds. There have been very few complaints about sound quality and the 100 ft. wireless range doesn’t leave too much to room for improvement.
Practicality For Extremely Rigorous Exercise
All that’s great, unless you plan on bringing them along for extremely rigorous exercise. The fact that they’re not waterproof or even sweat resistant is by far, their biggest downfall. Whether or not you choose to use the AirPods for working out ultimately depends on which type of exercise you prefer.
In most cases, they’re fine for lighter jogging, weight lifting, stretching, and body weight exercises like push ups. Their overall practicality starts to decrease as you increase the intensity of your workouts.
It would probably be wise to avoid using them for any exercise that usually leaves you drenched in sweat or requires involves excessive head movement. Then again, if you decide to try the silicone ear hooks we linked to above, you will have a bit more wiggle room.
What’s Their Least-Impressive Feature? Are There Any Alternatives?
Once again, their lack of an official IPX rating immediately knocks a few points off their overall score, especially for this application. Well that, on top of their all-plastic build of course. If you’re a die-hard Apple fan who can spare the extra cash (without having to worry about ruining them with sweat exposure), give them a try and see what you think!
If you’d rather invest in a completely workout-ready pair of earbuds, you could try a cheaper alternative first. Or, you could skip that step entirely and grab a pair of reliable gym-tested ‘buds like the Jabra Elite Active 65t. Although they are a little bit more expensive, the guaranteed piece of mind is totally worth it!
Did Your Opinion Change, Or Stay The Same?!
After reading this, how has your opinion changed? You most likely had at least some idea about the practicality of using AirPods for working out, but maybe we helped sway you one way or the other.
Do you already own a pair, or are you doing the research before you actually try them for yourself? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below! If you have any questions about any of the features we covered above, feel free to ask!
We always respond to every single comment and look forward to hearing from you! Next time you go for a run or hit the gym – will you be bringing them along for the ride, or leaving them at home?