Best Headphones for Basketball

Since the Sony Walkman, way back in the early 1980’s generations of street basketball players listen to music while playing. Whether their tastes were The Chilli Peppers, Public Enemy, Run DMC, Eminem, Drake or a Jane Austen audiobook.
Today we have the option of Bluetooth, which takes care of the wires. So, what are the best wireless headphones for playing Basketball?
We’ll answer that question here.

Top Criteria when choosing headphones to play basketball in

best headphones for basketball
So, you are playing basketball with friends but wearing headphones. You’re not going to be doing this in a real game.

OK, let’s be honest, it’s to listen to music but it is also a fashion statement. It’s a look. We could talk all day about cost, reviews, and ratings. We could (and will) talk about how they sound. But a brand can count too and having a popular model also matters to some people.

That said, having an obscure brand of headphones matters to other people. Especially if they are high priced. It’s also a statement.

We worked for about 64 hours, to sift through all the different criteria that might matter and all the models that might fit.

We’ll list eight models including a couple of old -school over-ear Bluetooth headphones for basketball players (because that’s a topical hipster fashion statement too, like buying vinyl).

To start out, here’s our top three we recommend:

EDITOR’s PICK
1. Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best High-Tech Bluetooth Headphones
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If it’s a statement you are after these are the ones. So high-tech, you’ll feel like a character in The Matrix or a Cyberpunk short story.
Reassuringly expensive too.

Pros:
— Very cool. Great for people with impaired hearing too.
2. AMORNO Foldable Bluetooth Headphones with Noise Cancelling
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best Reasonably Priced Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great if you want to listen to your music in a noisy environment, not just pose.

Pros:
— Very inexpensive and great for people who want to listen to their music.
3. Elecder Bluetooth Headphones
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best Low Budget Headphones for Basketball
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Our budget best headphones for basketball. They do the job for the price of a post-game visit to Starbucks with your friends.

Pros:
— Extremely low cost but useable. Lose a pair, and you just get another.

Selection criteria for the best wireless headphones for playing Basketball

Before we start, just a little bit of audio theory:
First, all forms of headphones don’t really give the same audio experience as moving around in front of speakers. Our bodies are more involved than we realize in ‘feeling’ music, especially deep bass and in spatial awareness inside a sound field, where waves are bouncing off objects.

So, in plain English, what does that mean? It means that no headphones are really going to give you exactly what speakers can.

Anyone who knows about real recording studios, where live music is captured knows that many audio engineers use reference speakers ahead of headphones for making quality decisions.

So, don’t get too hooked on ultimate audio quality – you aren’t going to get it from headphones, especially for very low frequencies, no matter how ridiculously expensive the headphones are, or what hyped-up marketing message the manufacturers are trying to push. Real audio engineers find much hi-fi hype amusing.

Now, here’s some more sensible criteria
  1. Are they really secure? Jumping around a basketball court or in the park means the headphones need to stick on your head. If they do drop off, will they survive the fall? Or survive being stomped on?
  2. Are they water-resistant, sweat-proof and dust-proof? Closely related to our first point. Waterproofing is a major plus, as is protection from sweat and dust. Headphones that die when they get slightly wet or otherwise exposed to sweat or dirt, are going to have a short basketball-playing life
  3. Do they have noise-cancelling? Another big plus if you actually want to listen to music or your favourite podcast. Basketball is a noisy game and playing outside is a noisy place.
  4. Can I hear the other players? If you are actually interested in the game, there’s’ no point playing if you can’t hear the shouts of encouragement (or sarcasm) form your teammates.
  5. Does it work with my phone / iPod, MP3 player etc? An obvious point but a few people still fail to check

Then, of course, there is cost. Go to any Gym lost property and there’s often a big selection of lost headphones, including high-cost ones. If you spend $500 plus but only get a few week’s use, is that a really such a wise investment? Maybe a low-cost pair is a more sensible option. After all, you are out playing Basketball, not at home listening to Beethoven.

Earphone Types

There are several different types of form factors for Bluetooth earphones, here are some of the more common ones:
  • Over-Ear. These are the traditional large ‘Bins’ that create a seal all around the ear. They are a bit clunky for sport and might need a headband to keep them on. Bass is typically better than some other designs.
  • Connected Earbuds. These are small ‘in-ear’ devices. They are connected to each other, usually by a cable, which is a useful safety feature for sports as if one drops out the other stays in place to hold it.
  • Separate earbuds. Entirely sperate units. Not really suited for energetic sports due to the risk of falling out and being stomped on, dropping into a puddle or lost
  • Bone transmitters. These sit on the skull and transmit directly to the bones in the inner ear. Some models are even incorporated into sunglasses.

Now let’s dive into the full detailed list of best Bluetooth headphones for basketball

The Best Headphones for Basketball

1. Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best High-Tech Bluetooth Headphones
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2. AMORNO Foldable Bluetooth Headphones with Noise Cancelling
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best Reasonably Priced Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
3. Elecder Bluetooth Headphones
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best Low Budget Headphones for Basketball
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. GEVO GV28 Qualcomm Bluetooth V5.0 Earbuds
Best Mid-Price Earbud Headphones for Basketball
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5. Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Bluetooth Foldable Headphones
Best for that Retro Old School Look
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
6. NSST Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
Best Headphones for Their Looks
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
7. HOCO Yuemu Wireless Bluetooth Headset ES34
Best Wireless Headphones for Bling Factor
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
8. Elecder D8 True Wireless
Best for Low-Cost In-Ear Use
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

1. Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

Best High-Tech Bluetooth Headphones


Top of our list for ‘pose’ factor, these ultra-sophisticated babies are great for – let’s be honest – fashion. If you have the money.

Features:
Bone conduction headphones allow you to hear music through vibration on the skull bone, rather than through the ears. That means you can still hear your team-mates praising your talent. Or whatever.

They fold and rotate and are designed not to fall off during exercise. When things get hot and sweaty, they are water-resistant, although we don’t recommend accidentally washing them with the rest of your sports gear.

There’s a one-touch multi-function button for use during call or to switch the headphone on or off.

Pros:
  • Very cool. Great for people with impaired hearing too.
Cons:
  • Very expensive. No Apple Watch support.

Verdict: Impress your friends or annoy them. Either way, you’ll be able to hear their comments.

FAQ:
Q: How do bone conduction headphones work?
A: They transmit sound directly to the bones used in the ear, without having to use the eardrum. That makes them ideal for people with damaged eardrums or alternatively for people who still want to hear what is going on around them.


2. AMORNO Foldable Bluetooth Headphones with Noise Cancelling

Best Reasonably Priced Noise-Cancelling Headphones


In a crowded noisy environment – like a basketball game – noise cancelling sometimes makes a big difference.
Noise-cancelling headphones work by taking the ambient noise around them and inverting it. The two signals are then put together and each cancels out the other.
These Amornon neckband models do it at a low price, without compromising quality.

Features:
The Amorono units handily come with three different sized earpieces. This is important, as a too-small size unit is likely to fall out during a game and a too-large size will be uncomfortable.

Time to recharge battery is around 16 hours. Bluetooth 5 is used, which should make the signal to and from the phone robust, with few dropouts.

They come with a reasonable carrying case too, for protection.

Pros:
  • Very inexpensive and great for people who want to listen to their music.
Cons:
  • Limited Bass and can be dangerous if you really can’t hear what is going on around you.

Verdict: A good model at a good price.

FAQ:
Q: How exactly does the principle noise cancellation work?
A: Imagine you have a series of waves on the sea. Between each wave, there is a trough. So, imagine copying the waves, offsetting them (or re-phasing them) and superimposing a wave crest on each trough and a trough on each wave crest. The result would be a fairly smooth sea, as the opposing peaks and troughs even out somewhere near the middle. That a good analogy for the principles of noise cancellation.


3. Elecder Bluetooth Headphones

Best Low Budget Headphones for Basketball


These are really cheap but also fine for basketball.

Features:
The design is two over-ear earbuds, joined by a cable, all of which are water-resistant though again only up to a point. The joined cable form factor is a plus for some, as unlike in single unit models if one falls, the other can act as an anchor.
Battery life is a little miserly at 8 hours, with 2 hours to recharge however at the price it’s hard to complain.

Pros:
  • Extremely low cost but useable. Lose a pair, and you just get another.
Cons:
  • Limited Bass, no noise cancelling, one size fits all and a slightly flimsy carrying case.

Verdict: You can’t really complain much at these prices.

FAQ:
Q: Isn’t it a little risky to have headphones with dangling cables to play basketball in?
A: It’s a trade-off. It is correct that the cables could snag, on the other hand, they are like a safety rope for the earpiece.


4. GEVO GV28 Qualcomm Bluetooth V5.0 Wireless Earbuds

Best Mid-Price Earbud Headphones for Basketball Players


Moving up in price slightly, and with a different form factor to anything we’ve reviewed so far, this is a linked earbuds design with a neckpiece. Again Bluetooth V5.0 is used, giving a better connection – at least in theory.

Features:
Noise cancelling is included and a better battery life than the Elecder model. For protection, there,s some waterproofing and the neckband (which is really a clamp) will help keep the buds in, and the cable protects them from falling.

Pros:
  • Ticks the boxes of noise cancellation and waterproofing.
Cons:
  • Not everyone will like the neckpiece.

Verdict: A solid contender, moving up above the rock bottom budget models.

FAQ:
Q: What’s the deal with Bluetooth 5?
A: Bluetooth 5 is an evolution of Bluetooth 4.2. It potentially can work more reliably at longer distances and with more carrying capacity. The usually quoted statistics are that it has twice the data rate and four times the range of Bluetooth 4.2.


5. Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Bluetooth Foldable Headphones

Best for that Retro Old School Look


Now, why would we put a pair of ‘bin’ style over-ear Bluetooth headphones on this list? The answer is that wrap a sweatband around them to hold them on and they are comfortable plus have a great sound.

Features:
The Bluetooth headphones are actually designed to do what you want from a headphone – sound really good. The over the ear design, with a cushioned leather seal, are both comfortable and also good for deeper bass reproduction. There is a decent 6-hour battery charge too.
Of course, they can easily fall off, but a sweatband, headband or even bandana can take care of that. Back in the day that was a look. You could imagine Samuel L. Jackson wearing something like them in ‘Jackie Brown’ or if there was a basketball scene in ‘Pulp Fiction’

What’s more, there’s an optional 1/8 inch jack cable, so these can be plugged into other devices when not being used for sports and give you real sound quality.
So, a left-field pick but hey, do you want to follow trends or start them?
Just don’t drop them in a puddle.

Pros:
  • Great sound and you can use them for other audio needs. So ‘not cool’ they are actually cool.
Cons:
  • A bit fragile and they won’t like the wet.

Verdict: Be different – we dare you. In fact, we double dare you.


6. NSST Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

Best Headphones for Their Looks


Since we are on the subject of style, these bone conduction models have it and then some. In this case, the sound is delivered through cheekbones, rather than the skull method used on the YSCysc.

Features:
Frankly, you’ll look like you just stepped off the bridge of the Enterprise. There are dual noise-cancelling modes for speech clarity and your ears play no part in getting the sound, leaving them free to do all the other things your ears should be doing, during a sports game.
Battery life is a bit tight at 6 hours but the unit is water, sweat and dust resistant.
They are another pricey model but interesting nonetheless.

Pros:
  • Leaves ears free. Good if you have eardrum related hearing issues too.
Cons:
  • Short battery life and quite high cost.

Verdict: Another interesting and striking-looking choice, if you are prepared to pay.

FAQ:
Q: Why route the sound through the cheekbones?
A: So long as the bones in the inner ear get an accurate signal, this is an OK way for headphones to play basketball in, to transmit sound. Don’t expect much high-quality accurate bass though.


7. Lucky Coco Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Best Wireless Headphones for Bling Factor

Sometimes you wonder who dreams up the names of products. The answer is sometimes Google Translate when Asian language product names get a literal translation. Maybe that is the case for ‘Luck Coco’. Who lucky Coco is ad why he or she is lucky we may never know.

Features:
What we do know is that these are quality sports headphones with a different kind of fashion statement. These in-ear earphones are designed to look like jewellery. Two red metallic dots are visible when you wear them but that is almost it. They come in a choice of colours and also come with a well-made carrying box.

They are not entirely fashion accessories and actually are fine for basketball, with a sweatproof and waterproof design. When used as a phone accessory, they have a microphone and basic controls, so you don’t necessarily need to use your phone for some function.

Pros:
  • Will appeal to people who don’t like the look of other form factors
Cons:
  • A bit pricey

Verdict: designed to fill a niche of fashion-conscious basketballers who like music or making calls during a game.

FAQ:
Q: Are these really OK for a rough game like basketball?
A: You need to be careful that the size fits your ear comfortably. As we explain elsewhere, too small and they might fall, too large and they will be uncomfortable, especially when using over long periods of time.


8. Elecder D8 True Wireless

Best for Low-Cost In-Ear Use


Our final choice is another in-ear design at a lower cost than Lucky Coco. The big plus of in-ear designs for semi-contact sports is that there are no cables, neckbands etc. to get knocked off or snagged.

Features:
Their tiny size means short battery life – just 3 hours from a single charge – and nothing to catch them if they fall out. Finding one on the ground before it gets crushed might be tricky.
That said, the sound is good and the fact that they are fully recessed means its less likely they will get knocked out by another over-enthusiastic player. The battery limitation is also partly addressed by the supplied charging case.

They are also sweatproof, though their small size might increase the chance of accidentally leaving them in a pocket in your sports clothes on Laundry day. That’s not too bad an issue, as they are reasonably priced and not too painfully expensive if you lose some and then have to replace them.

Pros:
  • Compact in-ear design, no cables to snag, good sound.
Cons:
  • Easy to lose, could drop out during a game

Verdict: A capable and low-cost option to play basketball in.

FAQ:
Q: Is 3 hours charge going to be an issue?
A: Remember that there is a charging case that extends the life.


Best Headphones for Playing Basketball

best wireless headphones for playing basketball
So, that concludes our review of the best Bluetooth headphones for Basketball. There are plenty of other good models out there, this is more of a sample than a list. The most important thing to remember is that this is all about fun. Don’t get too serious in carefully choosing your buying criteria – if you like something and you are happy to pay the asking price, then do it and then have fun. But do not leave them in your jogging pants, when laundry night comes around.

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5 Comments

  1. You mentioned Bluetooth 5 several times. A lot of the models here don’t seem to have it. Can you tell me more about what it is and what the benefits are, compared to older forms of Bluetooth?

    1. Compared to Bluetooth V4.2, Bluetooth V5.00 has low power consumption, less expensive hardware and smaller size implementations. These are important considerations for someone trying to design the best Bluetooth headphones for basketball

      Bluetooth 5 is back-compatible with Bluetooth 4.2.

      Bluetooth 5 has much better stats than it’s predecessor:
      – 2x the bandwidth / data rate
      – 4x the useable range
      – 8x the broadcast capability (bigger data packets)

      So, in a nutshell, it is faster, more robust and has greater range.

      Bluetooth 5 has an increased data rate of theoretically to 2Mbps, although there are overheads which can bring the useable rate closer to about 1.4 Mbps. That’s not enough for decent quality video but plenty for – in theory – better quality audio in headphones for basketball players

      We mentioned that the range is up to 4x the range of Bluetooth 4.2, which maxes out at about 50m.
      With Bluetooth 5.0 a 200m range is possible.

  2. You also mentioned Noise Cancellation. Can you expand a bit more on that and how is it different from Noise Isolation?

    1. Noise isolating headphones just reduce the amount of noise using the physical materials that they’re made from.

      True noise-canceling listen to the external noise and cancel it out.

      They have one or more microphones on the outside surface of the headphones that listens to the ambient noise, then a mini-computer in the headphones analyses and processes the pattern of the noise, and play the exactly inverted and opposite pattern inside the headphones. Noise cancellation doesn’t affect the music or voices you are listening to because the headphone microphone is only working on outside noise. Outside the ear-cup.

      Noise-cancelling headphones are better at blocking persistent and repetitive ambient noise.

      They aren’t as good at blocking occasional or random noise because they take time to capture the noise, then process it, and then finally play the correct cancelling signal.

  3. In my opinion, the best basketball headphones from this list are: YSCysc with built-in microphone.

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