The JBL Endurance Peak 3 may be budget earphones but they have an unshakable fit, decent battery and good durability.

If you’re on a budget, or you’re just the kind of runner who regularly misplaces their headphones (like me), picking a capable but inexpensive pair of headphones is pretty sensible. The good news: the quality of the best headphones for running under $100 / £100 has improved hugely.

You might not get top-drawer sound and premium materials but these budget ‘phones are now better built, offer good battery life and often pack top-end features like ambient awareness mode. The JBL Endurance Peak 3 do exactly that. They pack in a lot for the price tag but you’ll make compromises on quality compared to higher-end headphones.  

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you’re on a budget, these offer great value with a reliable fit, solid battery life, and good durability, though sound quality is a bit thin. Perfect for shorter runs and everyday use.
  • Unshakeable fit
  • Month-long battery life
  • Good durability
  • No ANC
  • Bulky case
  • Fiddly control

How we test the best running headphones

We tasked Kieran Alger, one of our top professional fitness product testers, with putting these headphones through their paces. In practice, that meant seeing how they performed in all sorts of active environments, from the gym, to the pool, to the great outdoors. Specifically, Kieran assessed traits like sound quality, comfort, and additional tech/features.

JBL Endurance Peak 3 features

The earpieces are quite big and bulky, weighing just under 26g – that’s pretty heavy for running headphones. But the ear-hook design, with its bendable arm and twist-lock style, creates a fit that’s lock-tight and doesn’t tug or wriggle when you’re moving at pace. If you struggle to make in-ear buds stay put, you’ll be happy with the JBL earpieces.  

On runs up to an hour, I found them comfortable. You can almost forget you’re wearing them. However, on longer runs the ear hooks begin to press and the big, ear-canal-filling buds get can get a bit irksome.  

On paper, the JBL Endurance Peak 3 pack a whopping 50-hour case-plus-buds battery life, with 10 hours on the buds and 40 hours backup in the charging case. One big drawback for me was that the charging case is big. It’s really not running belt friendly and it’s not IP rated, making it harder to capitalize on that additional charge on longer endurance adventures.   

In my tests, on average a 1-hour run burned around 20%. That’s with the volume whacked right up, but it still comes up short of the listed run time. However, I found I could easily train an hour a day for a month without needing to recharge, if I made strategic use of the rapid charge. That provides an hour’s run time from just 10 minutes on the plug. I also liked the auto power down that saves juice when you take them off.   

JBL Endurance Peak 3

JBL Endurance Peak 3 sound

Each bud packs 10mm dynamic drivers to kick out your tunes. But the sound is no match for pricier running headphones like the Jabra Elite 8 Active. The top volume is plenty loud but out-of-the-box audio is a bit thin and tinny, lacking richness and depth. I wasn’t a fan of the app’s jazz, bass and vocal presets either. But I do like that you can create and save different sound profiles in the app. Tweaking the EQ profiles in the partner app can improve things too. 

While there’s no Active Noise Cancellation, the JBL Endurance Peak 3 offer ambient awareness mode. But like so many headphones that offer this, it’s badly affected by the wind. And it’s practically unusable outdoors.    

The capacitive controls are not as easy to use on the move as physical buttons. Things get very fiddly when you’re moving at pace. There’s also some customization in the app but it bizarrely forces you to choose two from three sets of controls: playback, volume and ambient studio. You can’t have it all.  

There’s no Find My Buds geolocation smarts. But on the plus side, durability is really competitive. The JBL Endurance Peak 3 are IP68 rated, so they’ll withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5 metres of salt or fresh water. So sweat as much as you like or drop them in a puddle – they’ll come out fine.  

Overall the JBL Endurance Peak 3 offer a lot of what you need in a good set of running headphones: excellent, reliable fit; competitive, month-long battery life; and good durability. The trade-off is sound that’s a bit thin, though it’s loud and decent enough.  

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