If you’re a swimmer, sweat-resistant headphones just won’t cut it in the pool. While there are a lot of headphones out there made for working up a sweat, very few that can actually handle a few laps. Thankfully, there are finally some options for completely waterproof headphones. Using our experience as a guide, we’ve compiled a list of waterproof earphones that you should consider. Don’t have a waterproof media player? We’ve included a couple all-in-one solutions to make sure you’ve options no matter what your media player situation is.
Just be sure not to use any of these picks at depths greater than 2 meters, because water pressure can and will ruin your inner ears’ day. Additionally, because this market is so niche: you’re unlikely to find much in the way of premium products, so you’ll be compromising a lot in order to get waterproof audio.
Who should buy these?
Swimmers, paddle boarders, and people who find themselves oft precariously placed by water. Generally speaking, these waterproof earbuds are ideal for athletes and the profusely sweaty. After combing through a range of reviews and lists, comparing what’s what in this specific class of earphone, we’ve concluded that these are the standouts to make Aquaman jam out.
The best waterproof headphones are the Plantronics BackBeat Fit
Waterproof, wireless, and comfortable. If that sounds appealing to you, then the Plantronics BackBeat Fit may be your perfect workout buddy. These waterproof headphones are IPX57-certified and built with the athlete in mind. Plantronics understands the importance of safety and used it as a guide for developing the BackBeat Fit. While training out of the pool, your surroundings are still audible, and the Fit’s reflective coating promotes nighttime visibility during evening runs.
Plantronics BackBeat FitFull Review
Not only do you get the earphones, alternate ear tips, and a micro-USB cable, but Plantronics also throws in an armband that can store both your phone and the BackBeat Fit. Furthermore, the IP57 rating indicates that these can be submerged for up to 30 minutes (freshwater only). The battery affords 8 hours of listening time, which is fine. What’s really neat is that the BackBeat Fit can enter DeepSleep mode; this keeps them dormant for up to six months, about the amount of time that I take off from my New Year’s resolution before picking it back up again.
What you should know about waterproof headphones
If a pair of headphones is officially water-resistant or waterproof, that means that they’ve received an official Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Now, if you want to take a deep-dive into decoding IP ratings, make sure to check out our in-depth article on them. But if you’re crunched for time, no worries, just skim this table.
|IPX1||✓||Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
|IPX2||✓||Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
|IPX5||✓||Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
|IPX6||✓||Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
Aside from that, Bluetooth codec compatibility matters. Not all codecs are created equal, and if you want to avoid all perceptible latency, get a pair of headphones that support aptX. If you’re using an iPhone, then AAC is fine. Additionally, the better the codec, the greater the sound quality. Though, in all fairness, sound quality is likely the last thing on swimmers’ minds when using waterproof headphones.
The Leophile EEL are a value-packed pair of waterproof headphones
Leophile is a brand that’s new to my ears but already dear to my heart. The EEL waterproof headphones support Bluetooth 4.1 for quick and easy pairing. They’re ergonomically designed so that the neckband conforms to the contours of your neck, providing a secure, non-intrusive fit for workouts. Like the Plantronics BackBeat Fit, they too can be twisted in an infinite number of ways in order to fit into your back pocket.
Similarly to the Under Armour Sport Wireless Flex by JBL, the neckband boosts battery life; you can get 10 hours of playback before topping back up. Unfortunately, they take two hours to complete a full charge cycle and aren’t compatible with quick chargers. However, the EEL can operate within 10 meters of your device and are incredibly light at just 36 grams. Just like all the other headphones on this list, these can be submerged for 30 minutes (up to one meter) in freshwater.
The Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless are packed to the gills with features
If you need the latest and greatest and have a passionate disdain for all things wired, then the Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless are for you. They come with a plethora of ear tips, including both the silicone and memory foam variety. Though the battery life isn’t stellar (3 hours), the charging case let’s you squeeze two extra charges out of them before needing to search for a micro-usb cable.
Jabra Elite SportFull Review
As far as true wireless earbuds go, the Elite Sport successfully maintain a solid connection that was only interrupted occasionally during Adam’s testing. On the left earbud, you’ll find volume toggles that double as playback controls when held down. The right earbud is also outfitted with a few controls.
Now, if you’re interested in fitness, you may be pleased to hear about the Jabra Sport app. It’s not incredibly intuitive but it gathers plenty of information from the Elite Sport’s heart rate senor. If you want, you can listen to a training coach in your right ear that will rate your workout, depending on your exertion.
If you have the budget, the Bragi Dash Pro are another true wireless waterproof option
I think we can all agree that everything sounds better in a British accent. Isn’t that right, John Oliver? Engineered in the UK, the Bragi Dash Pro waterproof headphones are IPX7-certified, come integrated with Amazon Alexa, and include 4GB of internal storage. What’s more, they support both AAC and SBC Bluetooth codes, which is good for iOS users, not so much for us Android users. Regardless of your operating system, the Bragi app supports AI activity tracking.
Though you may have your own opinions on AI mind reading, it’s at least interesting that the Dash Pro can sense if you’re running, cycling, or swimming, and appropriately catalogue the information for health tracking. The Bragi app also includes an activity coach to keep you motivated or annoyed, depending on your disposition.
Meanwhile, the touch interface is extremely intuitive and houses a bunch of optical sensors and gyroscopes that allow for an gestural experience. Battery life is lacking with five hours of playback time and about two hours for a full charge, but Bragi compensates by providing a charging case that gives you an extra five charges for 30 hours of on-the-go listening.
Enjoy the music with the Sony Walkman NW-WS413LM
Like the Bragi Dash Pro, these waterproof headphones double as a 4GB MP3 player. The water and dust-proof design keeps moisture out, letting you focus on clearly reproduced vocals and treble. Ease of use is emphasized in the software as you can drag and drop your music—be it individual songs or complete playlists—right into the storage folder.
It’s a quaint process that’s reminiscent of early days of the MP3 player when the Creative Zune was relevant. I digress, the physical controls are simple and easy to access, keeping your mind and body focused on training rather than fumbling around with a hodgepodge of unreachable buttons.
By far one of the best features, aside from waterproofing, is the three-minute quick charge feature. Yes, you read that correctly; three minutes of charging affords an hour of playback. This is great for those days that you forget to charge them until you’re at the pool. Generally speaking, the battery life is 12 hours, and if you’re so inclined, you can opt for a pricier 8GB model of these waterproof headphones.
If comfort is your top priority, go with the Mpow Flame
The Mpow Flame waterproof headphones take a more traditional design approach to constructing waterproof earbuds. Sure, the housing is still bulkier than something like the IPX4-rated RHA MA750 Wireless, but it’s much slimmer than others on this list. The ear hooks help to maintain a secure fit by distributing weight and pressure around the back of the ear.
As far as sound quality is concerned, the company tuned the Flame to be bass-heavy, so if you have an aversion to that, the Sony headphones may better suit your needs. Additionally the Flame only take 1.5 hours to fully charge; this allows for 7-9 hours of playback time. For such a cheap pair of headphones, the Flame include plenty of accessories such as foam ear tips, a carrying case, a wire clam to adjust the cable, and alternate ear tips. If you want a familiar fit with your waterproof earbuds, Mpow is the way to go.
You may also like: The best workout earbuds of 2018
Why you should trust us
Not only is this site our nine-to-five, but Adam, Chris and Lily each have multiple years of reviewing consumer audio products. We’ve kept tabs on the ever-changing world of audio, giving us the ability to parse apart the gimmicks from the gems. As frequent visitors of SoundGuys already know, Chris wears his hatred for all things Bluetooth like a lovesick teenager wears his heart on his sleeve. The Bluetooth waterproof headphones listed? They’re damned special. Adam, a SoundGuy for nearly three years, has heard everything from pristine highs to vacant lows. Then there’s Lily with countless hours clocked in at a radio station working in a professional studio environment and reviewing audio products on her own time prior to joining SoundGuys.
We want you to be happy with your purchase—none of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work, regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though the site going under might be a good hint.
How we picked
Although we’ve directly reviewed a vast array of products here at Sound Guys, we haven’t gotten around to all of them. After all, we’re only human and are inherently subjective. To counteract our unavoidable bias, we do quite a bit of research by perusing online forums, reading other reviews (PCMag, CNET, etc), conducting Twitter polls, and more.
In short, this list is the running conclusions of thousands of hours of use from a growing list of contributors over many years. This is a living document, and it’s updated every time a new model knocks an existing one off their pedestal.
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