Lightest and Best MP3 Players for Running Use

Music makes everything more enjoyable, including running.

It can raise your spirits, help you run longer and help you keep an even stride. And if you happen to break out in a little dance once in a while, no problem.

When a great tune comes on, you can't help adding a little extra wiggle in your hips or swing in your arms.

The more you enjoy your work outs, the less likely you are to quit. And when your favorite running song comes on just as your run is ending, you might just feel like running a little farther to hear the whole song.

Here are a few things to look for when choosing MP3 players for running.

Editor's Pick of MP3 Players for Running

Click to buy Sony Walkman NWZW273S 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player from Amazon

The Sony Walkman NWZW273S 4GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player can even be worn when swimming!
Click to buy from Amazon

Size of Player

Size. You want something small and compact that won't get in the way or add too much extra weight.

A clip-on MP3 player is quite handy. As long as it is small enough to slip into your pocket or strap to your arm, you're good to go.

Got Earbuds?

See our article on Best Earbuds for Running
to help you choose the most comfortable

Song Capacity

A 2GB MP3 player can hold about 14 hours of music. That's good for about a week of running.

However, the more space you have, the better. You'll be able to load all of your favorite running tunes without having to decide which ones to load and which ones to leave out.

Editor's Pick

The BestRunner combines a 2GB flash drive memory with a radio function. Click to buy from Amazon

The BestRunner combines a 2GB flash drive memory with a radio function. Click to buy from Amazon

Battery Life

The average MP3 player has a battery life of about 12 hours.

For most people this is plenty, but when running an ultra-marathon, you might want to bring a backup.

Display and Usability

You won't really have time to look at a display while running, but it does make finding your favorite tunes easier.

A player with an audible menu eliminates the need for a display.

Waterproof Unit

You may be running in all types of weather. You don't want your MP3 player getting ruined in the rain, or destroyed if accidentally dropped in a puddle.

Waterproof MP3 players can be quite pricy. An easy solution is to slip your player into a small plastic bag.

Editor's Pick

A simple-to-use 4GB clip-on MP3 player with backlit display for low-light use. Click to buy from Amazon

A simple-to-use 4GB clip-on MP3 player with backlit display for low-light use. Click to buy from Amazon

Sound Quality

The quality of the sound depends more on the headphones or earbuds than the player, but it is something to consider when choosing MP3 players for running.

Bluetooth Capability

Wearing a Bluetooth MP3 player is very convenient. You don't have to worry about wires hanging around or getting tangled in your hair or clothing.

However, Bluetooth systems with wireless headphones tend to have a shorter battery life.

Software

Your device won't be much use if you can't easily load it with your favorite songs, or separate tunes into playlists for easy access.

There are all types of solutions to this problem, depending on the model you choose.

The manufacturer of the player will probably have suggestions of where you can get tunes, and might even give you music credits, or you can do a simple internet search for more options.

Stay Safe When You Run

When running with an MP3 player, keep in mind that you won't be able to hear traffic as well.

Always think about safety first. Run facing traffic and keep your eyes pealed for any potential hazards.

See our safety tips for running article for more ways to keep yourself safe when you're putting in the miles.

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