Airpods vs. Airpods Pro: Which I Prefer for Running

I recently decided to update my airpods to airpods pro. I only started using airpods this year, and was super unsure about how they would work for running, but ended up being super happy with them! I tried upgrading to the pro for a couple of reasons and (spoiler alert), I ended up returning them and going back to my old ones!

Here’s why:

I actually bought airpods for the first time last year, panicked over the decision, and ended up returning them. I didn’t do a lot of research before buying them, but quickly learned that the battery life was limited (less than 4 hours) and that they aren’t waterproof (hello rain!?). They just didn’t seem like the right investment at the time, so I went back and got another pair of powerbeats instead.

After yet another pair of my powerbeats broke (I’ve gone through 6 pairs in like 4 years…), I decided to try airpods again this year, and ended up loving them! They fit my ear really well, and have never fallen out despite being really sweaty. They actually stay in better than my old powerbeats that had an over the ear piece. The airpods are also so lightweight, you hardly know they are there. Any other headphone that I try now seems so clunky and annoying compared to my airpods.

I have run with them in the rain, and each time I was a little worried that they would be ruined, but they were always fine. At first, I was annoyed that I couldn’t pause or turn down the volume on the headphones, but I just got used to taking one out if I needed to. You can set up the airpods to skip songs by tapping them.

A lot of runners act like apple products are the worst thing on earth, but the headphones are actually pretty great for some uses. The one downside of the airpods is the battery life. After a few months of using on long runs, I learned mine had about a 3 hour lifespan of playing music before they died. This became an issue with my long runs and running marathons! I loved the fit and style so much, I decided to upgrade to the airpods pro.

The benefits of the airpods pro is that they have up to a 5 hour battery life (still not great, but better), and that they are water resistant. You can’t swim in them, but they are designed to withstand sweat or rain, which made me feel better about them for running.

The airpods pro also have a noise cancelling feature that can be turned on or off. It seems to work really well, but I wouldn’t have this on while I was running, so that I can hear my surroundings. The airpods pro also have a different fit in the ear, and come with 3 different sizes of ear tips, which give you more ability to customize. The airpods pro fit in my ears, but they were less comfortable and more noticeable than the regular ones.

The airpods pro also offer more control from the headphones. Both sides of the headphones have a small area to press to pause your music. You can also skip songs by double pressing this small area. It was much harder to use this feature while running, compared to just tapping on the regular airpods. I would often accidentally pause a song instead of skipping and had to really slow down in order to have the precision to press the right spot.

The airpods pro also have a noticeably better sound quality. They sit a little deeper in your ear, helping the sound quality be richer. This is also supposed to help with the quality of phone calls. I found this to actually hurt my ear after a long run. It gave the sensation that your ears were plugged the entire time, which was pretty bothersome for me.

After using the airpods pro for a few days, I realized that I just wasn’t happy with the purchase. For me, it came down to comfort, and how I used the headphones for the bulk of my runs. I didn’t want to run in something I didn’t love all the time, just so I had battery life for a few really long runs (there are those ancient headphones with cords still around!). I ended up returning the pros and going back to my normal ones, and I was so happy to us them again.

So which should you get?

The regular airpods with the wireless charging case cost $199, while the airpod pros (that also include the case) cost $249. I would recommend upgrading to the pros if you frequently run outside in rainy conditions or have runs that are 3 hours or more. I would also recommend upgrading if regular apple headphones don’t fit in your ears– the regular airpods are the same shape. Other than these few factors, the regular airpods are what I prefer, and you can even find the on sale for $160 or so. I would recommend getting the wireless charging case, so that they can be fully charged when you go to use them!

Of course there are tons of other wireless headphones out there to try that may better serve your needs! Sometimes its just about trial and error!

You can read my review of the apple watch 5 vs. the garmin fenix 6 for running here!

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