Live Science Verdict
Offering exceptional fit and a polished performance at a fairly affordable price, the JBL Reflect Flow Pros have plenty to offer avid exercisers looking for a robust and reliable pair of headphones. Their IP68 rating will easily survive sweat and general gym grit, while the impeccable fit offered by the silicone ‘powerfins’ meant they stayed in place through squats and sprints alike. The lack of volume settings via the touch controls is a small black mark on an otherwise impressive results card.
Waterproof and dustproof
Great battery life
Protrude from the ear slightly
'Powerfins' can become uncomfortable after multiple hours of wear
Why you can trust Live Science
If you’ve ever whipped off your sweatshirt in the gym, only to find your Airpods (or equivalent true wireless headphones) have gone flying across the room, you need the JBL Reflect Flow Pros.
During our tests we found these nifty earbuds didn’t just offer excellent sound quality and sweatproof performance, they also stayed put in our ears throughout all manner of high impact activities, from strength exercise to sprinting — no wonder they breezed into our roundup of the best running headphones.
Upgraded from their popular predecessor, the JBL Reflect Flow, they have effective noise cancellation technology (ANC), something we’re sure will be music to the ears of anyone wanting to block out fellow gym-goers and get in the zone. Or, you can opt for Smart Ambient listening if you want to let in some external sound — ideal if you want to chat to a friend or stay aware of your surroundings while running on the road.
Smart enabled/compatibility: Yes
Waterproof: Yes, IP68
Battery life: 8 hours with ANC, 10 hours without (up to 30 hours with charging case)
OS support: Yes
We found the battery life isn’t bad either, offering around eight hours of playback with the ANC on. This is bolstered by about 16 hours courtesy of a hardy charging case, which will grant them a full tank in 120 minutes.
At $179.95, they’re on the pricier side, and you can’t control the volume via the touch controls, which is a slight drawback. However, options to pair them with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant mean you can adjust the sound with a few cursory words.
Overall, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro earbuds are an excellent pair of true wireless headphones for running, gym visits and pretty much any other land-based activity you can imagine.
Read our full review below to find out if they’re the right fit for your fitness regimen.
Price and release date
The JBL Reflect Flow Pro headphones were released in August 2021, as a premium edition of the popular JBL Reflect Flow (launched in 2019). To upgrade their successor, the new earbuds have improved several aspects such as the dust and water resistance, and the size of the driver. They also now have ANC, to compete with other top true wireless headphones on the market.
These additional features do make them slightly more expensive, however. They have an MSRP of $179.95 on Amazon, compared to the regular Reflect Flow’s $149.95 price tag.
Set-up and design
Gone are the days when you would slot your selected earbuds’ aux into a headphone jack and hit play; Apple cemented the demise of this procedure when they removed this port from the iPhone.
Instead, true wireless headphones now require you to sync them with your phone via Bluetooth — and the JBL Reflect Flow Pros go one step further for anyone wanting a more personalized listening experience. You can download the JBL Headphones app and set them up from there.
They connected to our iPhone in seconds, and were ready to go straight out of the box. But, if you want to tailor your listening experience, you can choose between several equalization (EQ) settings — jazz, vocal and bass, with the last option proving ideal for intense exercise sessions.
As far as the design is concerned, the JBL headphones are a neat looking bit of kit. The pill-shaped charging case feels robust, and has magnets to attract the earbuds and ensure they’re in the right position to charge. The buds themselves have silicone tips and “powerfins” (more on these in the fit section below) to provide a secure fit, and they also feel more hard-wearing than flimsy stemmed headphones we’ve tried previously.
They do protrude from the ear slightly more than other true wireless headphones, but this is more of an aesthetic note, and not something we found ever impacted their performance.
These headphones benefit from touch controls and voice assistant compatibility, so you can play and pause tracks without interrupting your run to take your phone from your pocket.
The left and right earbuds have different controls assigned to them, so it can take a while to memorize these settings, but we found we were able to pick them up fairly easily after a few days of use.
A single tap on the left bud cycles through ANC on, ambient aware and ANC off, while a double tap takes you to a “talkthru” mode and you can hold for your phone’s voice assistant. On the other hand, a touch of the right earbud will pause and play your music, two taps takes you to a phone call function, and hold again summons your go-to voice assistant.
We really liked the sensitivity of the touch controls, which were responsive enough to work quickly when called upon without being so sensitive that we found our music was being unwittingly paused by hair, hats and any other objects that might brush against the headphones.
However, the omission of volume controls and the ability to skip between songs on the touch controls feels like an obvious omission. This is possible through voice controls, but we found we weren’t overly keen on summoning Siri when we were gasping for breath during a busy city run.
The Jabra Elite Reflect Flow Pro headphones truly flourish when it comes to fit. If it’s a secure feel you’re after, we found these true wireless earbuds truly are second to none.
They come with a choice of three different sized silicone earbud tips, and you can check which ones offer a good seal for optimum sound and fit with the “check my best fit” feature on the JBL headphones app. Just pop them in your ears and select this option, then the app will tell you if they are the right size for you.
In the box, you’ll also find four sizes of silicone ‘powerfins’ — the small rubber protrusions designed to sit snugly against the antihelix (the ridge on the inside of your outer ear) to stop the earbuds from moving while you exercise.
When we took them out for testing, the headphones didn’t budge throughout short sprints and long distance runs, as well as HIIT and CrossFit workouts that involved high impact activities like skipping double-unders and burpees. Not only this, they even passed the sweatshirt test which has been the undoing of so many stemmed headphones, sitting snugly in our ears when we removed a tight-fitting top.
After particularly long sessions, our ears could sometimes ache slightly from the pressure of the powerfins, but this was only the case after two-or-more hours of constant wearing.
Many sports-specific headphones will blow you away with powerful bass, but the JBL Reflect Flow Pros instead deliver a more balanced sound. If you like an upbeat or electronic track to run with, you will still find they provide a lively and energetic backing track to your sweat session. However, we also found their impressive detail did justice to videos, audiobooks and the like, if you're after a running headphone that won’t fall from your ear while you binge a gripping true crime podcast.
Pair this quality sound with the impressive ANC, which can drown out most distractions in a bustling room or gym, and you’ve got an enjoyable listening experience.
As a pair of headphones for running, or sport in general, it’s hard to find fault with the JBL Reflect Flow Pro earbuds. They offer a welcome element of personalization by offering different preset EQ settings on the JBL Headphones App and a range of interchangeable silicone buds and “powerfins”. The latter allowed us to create a secure fit capable of staying in place throughout high impact activities like sprinting and skipping.
The sound is crisp, clear and lively, without being too bass-heavy like other exercise-specific earbuds, and the charging case means you can enjoy up to 30 hours of listening before you’ll have to seek out a mains outlet to refill their fuel tank.
There are responsive touch controls and you can summon a voice assistant with a prolonged touch of either bud. The ability to skip tracks or alter the volume via the touch controls is the only place these excellent earbuds fall down. Otherwise, we can’t recommend them highly enough for runners or any other sportsmen who like a lively soundtrack to their workouts.
Jabra Elite 4 Active
The powerfins or silicone wings of the JBL Reflect Flow Pros aren’t for everyone, particularly those with sensitive ears. If that’s the case for you, we would recommend the Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds. These omit the soft barbs in favor of an ergonomic design made to fit flush with the ear, which we found allowed them to stay in place impressively throughout workouts. Pair that with impressive sound and solid battery life, and you’ve got yourself a great pair of true wireless headphones for running.
If you want great sound but don’t want anything sitting in or around your ear canal, these innovative headphones are the ideal solution. The Shokz OpenRun headset sits around the ear and uses bone conduction technology to transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear bones of the skull while bypassing the eardrum entirely. Testing them out, we couldn’t believe how effective this was, and we also liked how we were more aware of our surroundings when running through busy settings as our ears weren’t plugged.
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.