To get the most out of your Apple Watch, a good pair of headphones is key. The best headphones for your Apple Watch have Bluetooth capabilities, great battery life, and a built-in microphone, so you can use all of your watch’s audio features.
Apple Watches don’t have headphone jacks, but they can be paired with any Bluetooth-enabled headphones. There are several different versions of Bluetooth, including the newer Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth 5.2. The primary difference is in the fact that headphones with later versions of Bluetooth tend to have longer connection ranges and stronger battery lives, but since connection range is less of an issue with an Apple watch, headphones with older versions of Bluetooth are still a good choice.
Because Apple Watches are used on the go, the battery life of your headphones is also an important feature to consider. Some headphones have a longer listening time of eight hours or more, while others have a shorter battery lives. Many also come with a charging case, so you can recharge while you’re out, and some have quick-charging capabilities, meaning they can charge for up to an hour of listening time in just minutes.
Another feature to look for is a built-in microphone, which allows you to take phone calls and use Siri, and can also be used for noise cancellation. For the best sound quality, look for headphones with active noise cancellation, which means they record outside noise, then create “anti-noise” to counteract it. Some headphones also have transparency modes that allow you to easily switch off the active noise cancellation, so you can have a quick, in-person conversation without taking them off.
Like many other tech devices, headphones are often given an IP rating to signify how water-resistant they are. Headphones with an IPX4 rating can withstand splashing water, while headphones with an IPX8 rating can be submerged. Headphones without a listed IP rating are might not be water-resistant at all, even if the brand claims otherwise, so it’s best not to use them in rainy weather or during sweaty workouts.
Finally, consider whether you’d prefer earbuds or over-ear headphones. Both types have their benefits and drawbacks, so this choice will largely come down to personal preference.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best features, check out this list of the best headphones for Apple Watches below.
If you want noise-cancelling earbuds that will pair seamlessly with all of your Apple devices, check out the Apple Airpods Pro. They feature Apple’s proprietary H1 chip with Bluetooth 5.0, so you can seamlessly pair them with your watch, laptop, and iPad. However, unlike regular Airpods, these have active noice cancellation as well as adaptive EQ, which adjusts your music to the best quality for the shape of your ear.
For times when you don’t need the noise cancelling feature, you can change to transparency mode, which allows you to hear your surroundings. These headphones only get around 4.5 hours of listening time per charge, but with an included charging case that supplies 24 hours of battery, it may not matter much. They’re also rated IPX4, which means they are sweat-proof and can withstand splashes from any direction.
One fan raved: “I use them daily for both work calls, listening to podcasts, and running. Honestly they are so seamless [transitioning] between laptop-phone-apple watch. Definitely worth it if you have multiple apple devices.”
These Apple Airpods are hugely popular, with over 350,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. They work great with all Apple products, including Apple watches, thanks to their H1 chip and Bluetooth 5.0 features. They also get five hours of listening time per charge, or 24 hours with the included charging case, which can be recharged with a lighting connector. Airpods are great for when you’re on the go too because just by tapping them, you can activate Siri, press play, and pause. They don’t have active noise cancellation, and are rated IPX4.
One fan raved: “It is exactly what you expect from an Apple product: easy to set up, easy to connect to the iPhone and Apple Watch and works great with [both] of them.”
If you’re looking for a less expensive option, check out these budget-friendly wireless earbuds, which cost just $40. Like the Airpods, they get five hours of listening time per charge, and they come with a high-powered charging case that give you up to 100 hours of listening time, and can also be used as a power bank to charge your other devices too. If you ever forget to charge the case before heading out, you can plug it in for just 10 minutes to get 1.5 hours of battery life. These earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 to connect, and they come with multiple ergonomic ear-tips and ear-fins for a better fit. They don’t have active noise cancellation, but they do have an IPX8 water-resistance rating and can withstand all weather conditions, according to the brand.
One fan raved: “These Earbuds are easy to setup, comfortable to wear and connect with all my Apple products without any effort at all. The battery life is great also.”
These wireless Tribit headphones have an over-ear design and cost under $100 dollars, making them another great budget-friendly pick within the category. They use Bluetooth 5.0 technology, so they can easily connect to your watch, and they have 36 hours of battery life on a single charge. They’re also comfortable enough to wear all day thanks to the adjustable headband and padded earmuffs. They feature active noise cancellation, and have both a built-in microphone and Hi-Fi stereo sound. When you’re not using them, they fold for easy storage, and also have an optional cable that you can use for wired listening with other devices. Note that these don’t have an IP rating.
Editor’s Note: “I own more expensive headphones, but these are the ones I reach for again and again. They have the best sound quality, and the active noise cancellation is great for days when I work from noisy coffee shops. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day long, and are easy to pair with my smartwatch.” — Carina Finn
If you use your Apple Watch for running, biking, or other exercises, consider these Bose workout headphones, which have an IPX4 rating, making them sweat- and splash-resistant. Designed for exercise, they have Bose StayHear+ sport ear-tips designed for a secure fit, and a wired design, so even if an earbud does fall out, you won’t have to worry about losing it. They can connect to devices with Bluetooth and NFC pairing (although the Bluetooth version is not noted) and they get six hours of battery life per charge. They also provide great sound thanks to the Bose active EQ feature, which balances the sound for your volume, though they don’t feature active noise cancellation.
One fan raved: “I been through a number of inexpensive bluetooth headphones. In the $20 - $40 range. This Bose pair is well worth the extra money. I run 15 - 20 miles per week and these have been great. Stays securely in my ear, never loses connection with my Apple Watch and delivers great sound. I recommend them for anyone who is looking for a good pair of wireless earphone for running”
These Beats Studio Buds are great for work and working out because they have active noise cancellation as well as transparency mode, so you can hear your surroundings when you need to, and shut out unwanted noise when you don’t. They come with three sets of ear-tips to help you get the best fit, and they offer one-touch Bluetooth pairing with Apple devices thanks to Bluetooth 5.2 technology. They have an IPX4 rating, which makes them a good option for everyday use since they’re resistant to splashes. The Beats Studio Buds offer eight hours of listening time per charge, and 24 hours when using them with the charging case. If you ever forget to charge them before heading out, you can do a quick charge in just five minutes for one hour of battery. They also have built-in microphones, which you can not only use for talking on the phone, but also for voice activating Siri.
One fan raved: “ love these earbuds. Just picked them up today and they are good as hell!”
The Apple AirPods Max have some of the best sound around thanks to high-fidelity audio and adaptive EQ, which uses internal microphones to adjust the settings for the best quality sound. They also have active noise cancellation as well as spatial audio with head tracking for amazing surround sound. They’re designed for comfortable wear, with memory foam ear cushions and a mesh canopy that rests on the top of your head. They have a long battery life, with 20 hours of listening time per charge. Once you’re done listening, you can store these headphones in the included smart case, which puts them into an ultra-low power mode to save battery. Note that these headphones are not water resistant, and the Bluetooth version is not listed.
One fan raved: “I am deep in the Apple ecosystem. MacBook, Apple TV, watch, iPhone. [...] Their sound is excellent. And the noise cancellation is great too. I don’t find them too heavy to wear for long periods of time.”
Get better sound quality on phone calls with these Sony overhead headphones, which have five built-in microphones for precise sound pick up and active noise cancellation. They have up to 30 hours of battery life and quick charging, which gives you five hours of playback after only 10 minutes of charging. They also boast speak-to-chat technology, which automatically lowers the volume when you start talking, and adaptive sound control that adjusts the settings depending on your environment. They have Bluetooth 5.0 technology for seamless pairing, but note that they don’t have an IP rating.
One fan raved: “I have my headphones connected by bluetooth to my Apple Watch. I use them to walk for exercise and listen to audible books. I listen when I am doing housework or crocheting. My husband has to come to me to speak to me; so the noise cancellation really works!”