February 24, 2019

Wireless vs Wired… And What It Means In The Gym

The decision on whether or not to ditch the wires or stick with the old faithful is a long-standing debate when buying a new pair of headphones. You probably already know that both have their own strengths and it’s likely that you’ve already read about this topic some place else.

In this article, we will walk you through the biggest pros and cons of each but we will be focusing on what it means when the headphones is bought specifically for gym use.

Freedom of Movement

The fundamental difference between a wired and a Bluetooth wireless headphones is pretty obvious — the latter comes without wires.

When talking about the gym or physical activities such as jogging or aerobics, it is difficult not to highlight the the clear advantage of wireless headphones. The chords associated with wired headphones can be problematic at the gym as they can get in the way with your movements. In this case, there is nothing quite as freeing as connecting your headphones to your phone, being able to walk tens of feet away while still hearing everything, and no wires weighing you down while you lift those heavy weights.

Aside from that, wireless headphones saves you tons of time as you no longer need to wrap up cords any time you put them inside a bag, or risk getting them tangled. All in all, wireless headphones provide a better option for athletes and active individuals as far as freedom of movement is concerned.

Sound Quality

Most people who go to the gym rely on music for a distraction-free training. However, it is also important to remember that people go to the gym to workout and not necessarily to listen to music. The music is just there to enhance the whole experience and to improve productivity. That being said, it is safe to say that sound quality is only second to freedom of movement when considering wireless versus wired headphones at the gym.  

Although some diehard audiophiles will totally refute this, the difference in sound quality between wireless and wired headphones has lessened over time (thanks to the Golden Age of Innovation). Well, technically speaking, wired connection delivers a much more authentic sound compared to a wireless connection due to the fact that Bluetooth can only handle so much information across its signal.

However, in reality, any remaining gap has narrowed to the point where most people wouldn't know the difference, even to trained ears. We’re talking very minor differences that only an extremely picky listener will notice.This is especially true when people are listening to digital music which most people at the gym do. Listening to music on vinyl... now, that's another story.

Although Bluetooth is a major factor in the sound quality of wireless headphones, the quality of the headphones themselves and the audio device being used affect sound quality as well. Thus, using a quality audio device may improve your chances of getting the best sound quality, regardless of whether you use wired or wireless headphones. Essentially, you can experience excellent sound quality in a wireless headphones, if only you use the best kind.


Compatibility: Wires will soon be useless for future devices

According to market research firm Grand View Research, wireless headphones are expected to be the next big thing in the global headphones industry. The research firm also reported that the increasing adoption of headphones during a workout is primarily expected to drive the headphones market growth over the coming years. Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 as well as the release of the company’s Airpods backs this up and further indicates that the trend is indeed toward wireless.

This only tells us that it may become harder and harder to find a phone that can support a 3.5mm wired connection going forward. And since mobile phones are the most commonly used device with headphones in the gym, choosing a wired over a wireless pair might not be the smartest move in the long run.

If you still choose to go with the wired can nonetheless, just make sure that you review the headphones closely to ensure that they are compatible with your device. For instance, the iPhone 7 requires a separate adapter to connect a 3.5mm cable to the smart phone, which, needless to say, requires an additional expense and additional space in your gym bag. I mean, who has time for that when all you ever want is a distraction-free workout?

On the flip side, most wireless headphones are compatible to any Bluetooth-enabled device. In addition, most wireless headphones these days come with a detachable cord, which gives you the option to plug them in if you wish. This means you get the best of both worlds.


In conclusion, the debate between Bluetooth vs. wired headphones mostly comes down to personal preference and intended application. But if you intend to use your headphones in the gym, the freedom to move around without cables and cords hanging out of your pockets is a vital consideration. Plus, if you love the idea of future-proofing, then Bluetooth wireless headphones are going to be the choice for you.

And if you ever need to use it with a wider variety of technology, like older devices, turntables, and video game consoles, or if you’re running out of battery life, you can always use the detachable cord that comes with your wireless can.

However, if you intend to use your headphones for producing or for DJing, then the wired can will have to be your best bet.

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