The Beats Powerbeats Pro true wireless earbuds are extremely popular. With their stellar battery life, secure and comfortable fit, and bold, vibrant sound, there’s a lot to admire about these headphones, even if we did experience some less-than-ideal connectivity issues. But aside from that, it’s hard to ignore another big downside to the Powerbeats Pro: The price. At $250, they’re some of the most expensive wireless buds on the market, putting them out of reach for many folks looking to wirelessly rock their workouts.
Fear not, friends. One of the benefits of getting to try the latest wireless earbuds from major brands is that we know a good deal when we see one. With that in mind, here’s our roundup of fantastic alternatives to the Powerbeats Pro that will keep your heart beating to the music and keep your next credit card bill from causing cardiac arrest.
The best Powerbeats Pro alternatives at a glance:
- The best Powerbeats Pro alternative: JLab Epic Air Sport
- The best waterproof Powerbeats Pro alternative: JBL Reflect Flow
- The best Powerbeats Pro alternative for everyday use: Jabra Elite 75t
- The best cheap Powerbeats Pro alternative: JLab JBuds Air Sport
- The best hands-free Powerbeats Pro alternative: Amazon Echo Buds
Why you should buy them: They’ve got most of the features we love about the Powerbeats Pro, for way less cash.
Who they’re for: Workout and fitness junkies who want massive battery life and a very secure fit.
Why we picked the JLab Epic Air Sport:
The JLab Epic Air Sport prove that you can have it all, and still afford to pay your rent. Using the tried-and-true ear hook design that makes the Powerbeats Pro such a good choice for high-energy activities, the Epic Air Sport offer a killer combination of comfort and stability. With seven different choices of ear tips, they should accommodate almost every ear shape. Their IP66 rating offers considerably more protection from dust and water than the Powerbeats, however, it’s not quite robust enough for swimming.
A two-year warranty — double the time we usually see in these kinds of gadgets — adds to our faith that these earbuds will be able to stand up to the toughest of workouts. They’re also champs in the stamina department, with 10 hours of battery life in the earbuds themselves, and a whopping 60 hours in the charging case, for a total of 70.
That charging case is definitely on the bulky side, but that’s to be expected — even the Powerbeats Pro’s case isn’t what we’d describe as easily pocketable.
But the real surprise with the JLabs is their sound quality. The Powerbeats still have a slight edge when it comes to overall fidelity, but not to the degree that it justifies their much higher price. Overall the Epic Air Sport sound fantastic, and they get a big rave from us for their built-in three-mode EQ which can be accessed from the buds themselves — no phone settings required. You can pick from Balanced, Bass Boost, and Signature, and each one offers audible benefits depending on your preferred genre of music.
With all of these benefits and a price that is typically in the $150 range, the JLab Epic Air Sport should give prospective Powerbeats Pro buyers something to think about before they lay down their hard-earned cash.
Why you should buy them: They offer the highest level of water resistance in a set of
Who they’re for: Those who want real protection from water, a secure fit, and great battery life.
Why we picked the JBL Reflect Flow:
Although technically speaking, no product is genuinely waterproof — here are the reasons why — JBL nonetheless refers to its Reflect Flow
That’s a big deal, especially for folks who want a set of
Even if you’re not swimming, the Reflect Flows are super comfortable and secure thanks to the use of high-quality silicone eartips and wingtips. Unlike some earbuds which come with thin, barely-there eartips, these are dense and durable.
They can be relied on to last a long time, with 10 hours per charge in the earbuds, and 20 hours in the charging case, which we wish more truly wireless buds would offer. Of course, it comes at the cost of size — the Reflect Flows protrude from your ears more than other designs — something to keep in mind if you intend on wearing them under cycling, skiing, or
Sound quality on the Reflect Flows is good, but we noticed it struggled a bit through the midrange, causing some tracks to lack the presence and punch of the Powerbeats Pro. Still, there’s plenty of bass, which should please those who want a workout companion that keeps them tuned to the rhythm.
There are two small drawbacks, however: It takes a significant amount of pressure to make the buttons click through their thick silicone outer skin, and that can be both uncomfortable and difficult during workouts. Their Ambient Aware settings let some outside sounds in, but it’s not as effective as we’d like.
Why you should buy them: They’ve got a great mix of battery life, sound quality, comfort, and durability.
Who they’re for: Those who want one set of
Why we picked the Jabra Elite 75t:
Jabra’s Elite series of
The Elite 75t are smaller than their predecessors, the Elite 65t, and we think even those with hard-to-fit ears will find that they go in and stay in. Once they’re securely seated in your ear, you barely notice them.
That secure fit provides an amazing amount of noise isolation. It’s not quite as silky-silent as buds with active noise cancellation, but when you trigger the Elite 75t’s passthrough mode you become instantly aware of how much sound they block.
Battery life at 7.5 hours is good but not stellar by today’s standards, but considering the tiny size of the Elite 75t, perhaps they deserve more credit — after all, they’re still way better than the AirPods Pro which top out at 5 hours.
You get IP55 protection with the Elite 75t, so they’re slightly more water-resistant than the Powerbeats Pro, making them more than ready to tackle heavy sweat or the occasional water spray.
Jabra’s Sound+ app offers plenty of customization, from setting the amount of passthrough sound to picking the perfect EQ. You can also adjust what each button controls. Speaking of the buttons, they’re amazing: They require just enough pressure that you won’t click them by mistake, but not so much that it’s hard to do. They work really well with gloved hands too.
Why you should buy them: They’re tough as nails and incredibly affordable.
Who they’re for: Those who need a set of workout-friendly
Why we picked the JLab JBuds Air Sport:
You should be able to buy a decent set of wireless buds for the gym or the track without spending hundreds of dollars, and that’s exactly why we like the JBuds Air Sport. Think of them as a more affordable set of JLab Elite Air Sports — they may not sound quite as good, but they deliver on most of the things that matter in a set of wireless buds designed for sports.
You get the same IP66 water- and dust-resistance, and the same comfortable and secure ear hook design that will keep them in place no matter what you do. JLab’s excellent two-year warranty is also in effect, which is especially commendable at this price.
Also on tap is the Be Aware passthrough mode and the same three-mode built-in EQ settings that we enjoyed so much on the Elite Air Sports. So what’s the catch? Battery life isn’t in the same league. You get six hours on the earbuds, and 34 hours in the charging case, which is still very good — just not the Powerbeats Pro-killing longevity of the Elites.
Otherwise, the JBuds are a really solid value in a set of workout-ready
The Powerbeats Pro work well enough with Android phones, but to get the most out of them, you really need an iPhone. Amazon’s Echo Buds, by contrast, are just as happy on Android as they are on iOS, making them an ideal workout partner no matter which platform you prefer. They’re compact, fit snugly (especially when using the optional wingtips), and they can handle your sweatiest workouts thanks to IPX4 protection. However, it’s the Echo Buds many other features that help them rise above the competition as a true alternative to the Powerbeats Pro.
With Active Noise Reduction from Bose that can be quickly disabled using a pass-through mode, you can block out unwanted sounds when concentrating or let them in for conversations. Their hands-free access to Alexa means most actions can be performed simply by speaking instead of tapping on the buds — they’re the only non-Apple
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