Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best fitness armbands

When you need extra motivation to get through a workout, it’s amazing how the right music can help you power through. If you’ve got the perfect exercise playlist on your smartphone, holding the device in your hand while you’re running or working out is a recipe for a cracked screen or other damage. For this reason, a fitness armband is such a great addition to your workout gear.

A fitness armband is a piece of flexible material that fastens around your bicep or wrist with a compartment to hold a small mobile device. It allows you to listen to music on your phone while you’re working out, as it keeps your hands free and your device secure. The armband is designed to stay in place, so you don’t have to worry about it shifting around. Many fitness armbands have additional pockets for items like a key, cash, and ID, making them even more convenient.

A person in a gray top and light jeans stands on a sun-dappled sidewalk as they take a smartphone out of a fitness armband.
Some manufacturers offer lifetime protection for their fitness armbands, so they will replace the band if there’s an issue with its performance.

Key considerations


Since smartphones and other mobile devices that you might use to hold your playlists come in different sizes, it’s essential to choose a fitness armband that can hold your device model. The compartment for the device can’t be too small or you won’t be able to fit your phone in it. If the compartment is too large, your device may not be secure and could move around while you’re working out. 

Some fitness armbands are only compatible with a few smartphones and devices, so it’s important to make sure that your model works with the band you choose. Other armbands can work for a wider range of devices, so you’ll be able to use the armband even if you upgrade your phone at some point.

Expert tip
Armbands can really improve your exercise experience by offering the ability to enjoy your favorite music.
BestReviews Fitness Expert


Bicep: Most fitness armbands fasten around the bicep. For most people, this is the most comfortable area of the body to wear an armband because it’s wider than a wrist and provides a more stable base for your device to sit on. The only drawback to a bicep armband is that it may not be as easy to read your phone’s display as you might like.

Wrist: Some fitness armbands fasten around the wrist, so you’re able to see the device’s display more easily as you work out. However, some users don’t like these armbands because they find that their device doesn’t feel as stable on the wrist.


Most fitness armbands are one size fits all. While these can fit most people comfortably, they may not be the best option if you have particularly large or small biceps. In that case, a fitted size option is a better choice. It won’t pinch or cut off your circulation because it’s too small or move around because it’s too large.

To find the right size, you’ll need to use a tape measure to determine the circumference of your bicep or wrist. Match that number with the manufacturer’s sizing chart to choose the appropriate size.

Ease of use

For convenience, you want to choose a fitness armband that’s as easy to use as possible. Certain features can make one armband more user-friendly than others, so keep an eye out for these details:

Closure: Some fitness armbands have a strap-and-buckle closure, which can make the band more difficult to put on and take off. Bands with hook-and-loop closures are much easier to use: you simply wrap one end of the band over the other, and the hook-and-loop tab holds it in place on your arm. An elastic compression-sleeve band simply slides on and off your arm.

Touchscreen access: While you’re working out, there might be times when you want to choose a new song or take a phone call. In those cases, you’ll need to be able to operate your phone’s touchscreen, so choose an armband that provides access to the device’s screen without having to take it out of the band.

Headphone port: Choose a fitness armband with an easily reached headphone port if you want to get your running headphones in and out during a workout.

Fitness armband features


Some fitness armbands have a fastener for your smartphone that allows you to rotate the device to read the screen more easily. Most models rotate 180°, but some armbands allow you to rotate your phone a full 360°.

Storage space

Many fitness armbands offer additional storage space beyond just the area for your smartphone. This allows you to bring an ID, debit card, key, and even some cash with you when you go for a run. Not all armbands offer the same amount of extra storage room, so choose a model with enough space for the items you’re likely to carry.

Water resistance

If you’re really hard-core about your workout routine, you may find yourself running in the rain or other inclement weather. That’s why it’s important to choose a water-resistant fitness armband that can protect your phone during your run and won’t require hours to dry after your workout. A water-resistant band can also protect your phone from sweat.

Expert TIp
Fitness armbands are a great way to store money, credit cards, and a driver's license when doing long hikes or runs.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Cord wrap

If you have an issue with your headphone cord getting in your way during a workout, choose a fitness armband with a flap or other piece that you can wrap the excess cord around. It helps keep the cord from getting tangled when you’re in the midst of an intense workout.

Color and style

While a fitness armband is meant to be a functional piece of workout gear, there’s no reason it can’t look good, too. You can find armbands in a wide array of colors, though many users prefer black or white, which coordinate with workout clothing of any shade. Some manufacturers offer fitness armbands in fun patterns, too.

Fitness armband prices

Fitness armbands vary in price based on the type of closure and any special features. Most models cost between $3 and $54.


The most affordable fitness armbands typically have a strap-and-buckle closure, aren’t usually water resistant, and don’t offer many special features. You can expect to pay between $3 and $10 for these basic armbands.


Most of these fitness armbands have a hook-and-loop closure or compression-sleeve design. They may be water resistant and provide storage space for ID, credit cards, cash, and a key. Armbands in this price range may also rotate. You’ll pay between $10 and $20 for these armbands.

Expert Tip
I recommend hand washing the band after each use and letting it hang dry.
BestReviews Fitness Expert


The most expensive fitness armbands have a hook-and-loop closure or compression-sleeve design and are made of more durable materials. These are water resistant, and many rotate and provide specific pockets or slots for ID, credit cards, cash, and a key. You can expect to pay between $20 and $54 for these armbands.


  • Don’t overload your fitness armband. A smartphone can be fairly heavy. If you add too many other items to your armband, you could weigh it down and cause it to slip on your arm. Only bring the essentials like your key, ID, and debit card when you work out.
  • Check the size. If you experience chafing from your fitness armband, it could be a sign that it’s too tight. If the band is properly sized and still causes chafing, apply an anti-chafing balm to your arm before putting on the band.
  • Stay safe. If you like to run at night, opt for a fitness armband with reflective patches. It will keep your phone secure while you run and help you be more visible on the road after dark.
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If you have larger biceps, you might want to choose a fitness armband with an included extension, which helps increase the size of the band to fit more comfortably.


Q. Can I wash a fitness armband?

A. Fitness armbands can get pretty sweaty, so you’ll definitely want to wash it regularly. They’re usually fairly easy to clean, but you should check the instructions for the proper washing procedure. Many models can just be tossed into the washing machine.

Q. What features make a fitness armband most comfortable?

A. It all starts with getting the size right. A band that’s too tight can cut off your circulation, while one that’s too big can slide around, which means you’ll be constantly tugging at it as you work out. An adjustable armband is most comfortable because you can make it as snug as you need. Padded armbands can also be more comfortable because you don’t have to worry about your smartphone digging into your arm.

Q. Will I be able to use my smartphone without taking it out of the fitness armband?

A. Most armbands feature cutouts that allow you to use the side buttons on your phone without removing the phone. If you want to use the touchscreen while the phone is in the band, make sure to choose a model with touchscreen access. That means the screen is responsive to your fingers even through its protective cover, so you can use the phone without taking it out of the armband.

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