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Best waterproof headphones for swimming
If you’re a swimmer, sweat-resistant headphones won’t cut it in the pool. Thankfully, there are finally some solid options for completely waterproof headphones. Just because a pair of headphones can be submerged, though, doesn’t mean they can effectively relay audio. For that, you’ll need something with onboard storage. Since 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.
- This list was updated on April 13, 2023, to update formatting, add all new top picks, and change outdated information.
Swimmers, paddle boarders, and people who find themselves precariously placed near water should look for waterproof headphones. Exceptionally sweaty people may also want to take note.
What you should know about waterproof headphones
Before you jump in and buy a pair of waterproof headphones, you should know a few things about the tech specs and features.
What are IP ratings?
If a pair of headphones is officially water-resistant, that means that they’ve received an official Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Check out our in-depth article to fully understand IP ratings, but if you’re crunched for time, just skim this table.
Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
Remember: no pair of headphones is actually waterproof. If a headset is submerged for long enough and at a great enough depth, it will fail after a given period of time.
Not all waterproof headphones can play music underwater
In a similar vein, just because a pair of headphones is IPX7 or higher doesn’t automatically mean it can properly transmit audio underwater. In order to ensure your pair will work for swimming, make sure the headset has onboard storage—because Bluetooth isn’t going to work well when you’re below the surface. This is well worth it for people who feel their performance is boosted when music is playing.
Get a pair of earbuds with onboard storage if you want to actually use them for swimming.
Now, there are plenty of reasons to get waterproof headphones that don’t include swimming. For one, if you’re just clumsy (or have grabby kids), the added durability is always helpful. Also, if you sweat a lot or they get dirty, you can easily rinse them off without worrying about short-circuiting them.
The best waterproof headphones are the Aftershokz OpenSwim
This pair of waterproof headphones includes 4GB of internal storage, so you can upload your favorite songs and listen in the pool. Because these are bone-conduction headphones, your ears won’t be occluded, and you can easily slide these behind a swim cap or goggle straps to keep them in place.
Despite the non-occluding design, the Aftershokz OpenSwim has the benefit of being made by a company that really knows its stuff. Aftershokz has released a bunch of models of bone conduction headphones suited for several different uses, so there shouldn’t be any danger of poor build quality—just know that bone conduction headphones are a pretty unique experience, and it takes a while to get used to. The benefit here is that because your ears aren’t blocked off from the rest of the world, you should be able to hear your surroundings, as well as avoid adding any pressure changes to your ear canal from ha
Because the OpenSwim is more of a combination MP3 player and headphones, it doesn’t support modern features like virtual assistants or music streaming, but that’s more of a function of the fact that Bluetooth can penetrate about 1cm of water before the signal degrades significantly. Consequently, several of the picks on this list are going to be some form of combo device. It’s just the nature of the beast.
The JBL Endurance Peak 3 is the best workout earbuds
If you’re merely looking for workout earbuds to survive an exceptionally sweaty person, the JBL Endurance Peak offers an IP68 rating, so it should be perfectly able to take whatever you dish out, sweat-wise, anyway. If you’re thinking about lounging by the pool, the ear hooks and waterproofing make these a good choice, as you likely won’t have to worry about fit or splash issues.
Even if the ear hook design isn’t the most popular, it’s a good feature to have in the gym, trails, or anywhere you’re moving a whole lot. This is because it provides a secondary point of stabilization and a sort of fail-safe against your earphones flying out unexpectedly. Sure, they may pop out of your ears, but if they’re still hooked on the outer ear, you won’t lose them while moving fast.
The Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless is 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 is for you. It includes a plethora of ear tips, including both the silicone and memory foam variety. Though the battery life isn’t stellar (three hours), the charging case lets you squeeze two extra charges out of them before needing to search for a micro-USB cable.
As far as true wireless earbuds go, the Elite Sport successfully maintains a solid connection that was only interrupted occasionally during testing. The Jabra Sport app gathers plenty of information from the Elite Sport’s heart rate sensor. If you want, you can listen to a training coach in your right ear that will rate your workout, depending on your exertion.
These earbuds don’t have onboard storage, though, so they’re not great for swimming. But if you take your smartphone and these earbuds out paddleboarding, you don’t have to worry about accidentally falling in.
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.
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.
The Anker Soundcore Sport X10 are decent, cheap workout buddies
Like the JBL Endurance Peak, the Anker Soundcore Sport X10 is a set of hook-style earbuds that are mostly waterproof. Unlike the Endurance Peak III, these are significantly cheaper at $69 USD. Though that’s still a fair amount of money to throw at what may be a piece of disposable tech to you, there’s no reason to overpay for something you’re going to abuse.
Sometimes you just need a cheap pair of earbuds to work out with, but it’s always nice to have a set that can also dish out what you have to give. Not only is an IPX7 water resistance more than enough to handle the odd splash of water or rain, but it’s also enough to protect your money if you’re on a tighter budget for things you’re going to replace every few months.
Best waterproof headphones: notable mentions
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro ($139 at Amazon): These IPX7-rated earbuds are great for athletes who want something that can blend in outside of the gym. Samsung packed plenty of features into these noise canceling earphones, including Samsung 360 Audio, a great microphone system, and other experimental features.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro ($179 at Amazon): Like their predecessor, these earbuds also boast an IPX7 rating, as well as excellent active noise canceling (ANC) of low frequencies and comfortable fit.
- Jabra Elite Active 75t ($149.99 at Verizon): If you want water-resistant earphones that can withstand a dunk in the pool, the Elite Active 75t is the headset for you. The compact charging case is durable and easy to grip, just like the earbuds. You can control calls, playback, volume, and noise canceling all from the earbud buttons.
How we picked the best waterproof headphones
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, 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 its pedestal.
Why you should trust 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 click that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though the site going under might be a good hint.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Bluetooth does not penetrate water very far, so the signal strength will be crappy at best. Additionally, earbuds have a tendency to fall out every so often—something that’s much more annoying when they sink to the bottom of a pool or lake.
No. Those are pretty much only for those looking for gym tunes while they work up a torrent of sweat. Bluetooth also does not penetrate water very far, so dropouts and failures will be common.
Waterproof products will be sealed against the ingress of water, while water-resistant products will be able to repel water—but won’t be sealed against it completely. This means that water-resistant products will let water in should there be enough of it, say, in a pool or a hose’s spray.
No, you shouldn’t wear AirPods in a pool. Most AirPods aren’t that water-resistant and have an IPX4 rating, which means they can handle splashes but aren’t suitable for submersion underwater.