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The best swimming headphones are some of the best headphones on the market due to their underwater sound performance. These headphones feature an integrated MP3 player with playback control, superior IP rating, streamlined design, and sometimes even bone conduction technology.
Swimming headphones don’t have just water resistance — they’re waterproof. Famed for their underwater durability, high-quality waterproof headphones are available in both wired and wireless models, the former being predominant.
Curious to learn more about swimming headphones? This article covers what swimming headphones are, how long they last, what to factor in before purchasing a pair, and much more. Keep reading to learn about the best earbuds for swimming.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Bone conduction technology enables listening to music without covering up the ears. This unit has a built-in music player with 8GB of internal storage and it uses Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to a number of devices.
Specially built for underwater use, the H20 Audio Sonar headphones are suitable for swimmers and divers. This headset uses bone conduction technology, delivering excellent sounds underwater. It has compact construction, and it’s suitable for users who swim for extended time periods it uses Bluetooth tech to connect to a wide variety of devices. This unit has a wireless connectivity range of up to 33 feet. However, the Bluetooth connectivity range underwater deteriorates drastically to a paltry 4 feet.
This unit is compatible with select smartwatches, allowing users to stream music and sync settings effortlessly. This headset has a built-in MP3 player with 8GB of internal storage, allowing swimmers to take their music collection to the high seas. It supports both M4A and MP3 file formats, providing compatibility with both iOS and Android devices. The headset is waterproof to a depth of 12 feet, so it’s ideal for both swimming and shallow diving.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Featuring water-tolerant, dustproof construction, this headset is suitable for swimmers and surfers. It boasts 8GB of internal memory, so users can swim with their music collection. This device has advanced conducting tech suitable for jogging on busy streets.
These Nocmpic headphones are designed for use underwater. They feature a compact design that is comfortable to wear for a long time. With bone conduction technology, thes headphones provide music playback without blocking the ears. Its IP68-certified body is waterproof and it’s suitable for swimming, surfing, and jogging in rainy conditions. With a Bluetooth 5.0 chip, this device provides fast and stable connectivity. However, the bass on this model is not very deep.
It’s compatible with a wide variety of devices, including smartphones, and computers. Equipped with a built-in music player with 8GB of internal memory, this headset enables users to stay entertained without connecting to external devices. It’s made of aviation-grade materials, weighing in at just 0.07 pounds. This device has a built-in battery that provides up to 8 hours of music playtime. It supports pairing with multiple devices at the same time.
Award: BEST 3.5mm HEADPHONES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A detachable 3.5mm cord enables connecting these headphones to a wide variety of devices. This unit comes with three sets of in-water ear tips and two sets of general-purpose tips.
The Agptek SE11 boasts a waterproof design, featuring an IPX8 rating. It can be used for anything from bathing to swimming, surfing, and skiing. This device is waterproof when immersed in water up to a depth of 4.9 feet for up to 30 minutes. It comes with a detachable 3.3-foot cord that provides wired connectivity, and a 3.5mm connector connects to a wide variety of devices. However, this model is not dustproof.
This headset comes with small, medium, and large swimming ear tips, so users can choose a size that fits them snugly. It also has two sets of ear tips for general use. With high-quality audio drivers, this model produces crisp sound with accurate beats across the frequency range. The headset is optimized to isolate sound, providing a hypnotic listening experience during swimming. Coiled earbud cords that extend in size between 6.3 and 14 inches provide tangle-free connectivity.
Award: BEST INTEGRATED STORAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a whopping 16GB of internal storage, this headset accommodates a large music collection. It connects wirelessly and boasts a built-in microphone for calling and engaging voice assistants.
These Veiersia headphones combine visual appeal with advanced functions, providing users with an all-in-one entertainment option. This device uses bone conduction technology, delivering sound through the cheekbones. It has an IP68-certified waterproof design that stands up to swimming, surfing, and other water sports. It connects via Bluetooth 5.1, providing incredible connectivity speeds and a maximum pairing distance of 50 feet. This unit has a built-in microphone to facilitate calling. However, this model doesn’t have a 3.5mm connector.
This unit comes with a built-in SD card with 16GB of storage space to accommodate plenty of music. A built-in MP3 player keeps the user entertained and engaged. This model pairs with various Bluetooth-enabled devices including smartphones and computers. It supports voice control via services such as Siri. A multi-function key enables engaging various functions and adjusting the device volume. This headset has a built-in rechargeable battery, which provides up to 5 hours of music time.
Award: BEST GOGGLE-ATTACHED HEADPHONES
WHY WE LIKE IT: Equipped with a 360-degree clip for goggles, this device is easy to install. It has a built-in MP3 renderer and runs for up to 10 hours on a single charge.
The Syryn Swimbuds headphones are an all-in-one audio streaming entertainment system for swimmers. It has an IPX8-certified waterproof design ideal for water sports, including swimming. A three-button control panel allows users to pause and navigate through audio tracks easily. It is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet, making it a good choice for shallow water diving. This unit has a built-in MP3 player that supports popular formats, including MP3, WAV, AAC, and WMA. However, it doesn’t support some older iTunes AAC files.
A USB interface connects to devices for adding songs to the collection via a simple drag-and-drop system. This device comes with 8GB of internal storage space, accommodating hundreds of songs. A tangle-free cord offers convenient connectivity. This device has a rechargeable battery, providing up to 10 hours of runtime, and a 360° swivel clip secures it onto the goggles or swim cap. With four different ear tips, this device offers a custom fit, and it has an integrated 3.5mm port for wide-ranging connectivity.
Award: BEST EAR TIP COLLECTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: With multiple sizes and shapes of eartips, this device enables users to experiment and find the perfect fit. It has a short cord to prevent tangling and has a sound-isolating design for an immersive experience.
These Swmiusk headphones have a bright blue color scheme that stands out, and they come with multiple sizes of silicone ear tips, so users can find the perfect fit. With a short 23-inch cord with a coiled section, this device prevents tangling. It has a noise-isolating design that blocks out annoying sounds from waves or traffic, and it’s recommended for use in salt or chlorinated water, offering wide-ranging use. However, this headset doesn’t come with a music player.
This device comes with a clip that secures it easily onto goggles or swim cap. It has silicone parts that hold up well in water. A 3.5mm connector enables connecting to MP3 players, smartphones, and even computers. This connector is gold-plated for seamless conductivity and durability. These headphones are made of high-quality materials that last in the face of daily use. In addition to swimming, these earbuds can be used for a variety of water sports, including surfing.
Swimming headphones are headphones designed for underwater use. Their ergonomic design will ensure you hear underwater audio as clearly as possible, whether in a regular swimming pool or saltwater. These waterproof headphones have several hours of battery life and often feature a built-in MP3 player.
When it comes to underwater audio performance, the best waterproof headphones for swimming effortlessly surpass all regular headsets. Most swimming headphones on the market are wired because Bluetooth has an underwater wireless range of just a few inches. So you won’t find true wireless earbuds that will work for your swimming workout. That said, the same applies to most of the top workout headphones, as those are best for regular workouts.
In terms of their audio performance, swimming headphones may not be as good as regular models. This is obvious, seeing how traditional top-rated neckband headphones have a host of features — like noise cancellation, ambient sound mode, wireless connectivity, and more — that ensure incredible sound quality. Swimming headphones simply won’t have that many features. You also won’t have any over-ear headphones or on-ear headphones for swimming use; you’ll only find earphones and earbuds for water use.
Swimming headphones are coated with a hydrophobic layer that repels water off the surface. A hydrophobic coating has low surface energy, making it difficult for water droplets to stick to it. This results in a peculiar non-stick water bead formation on the surface. If the coating is done well, it’ll be nearly impossible to scrape off the protective hydrophobic layer.
In terms of audio, swimming headphones work similarly to regular headphones. The wired headset connects to a waterproof MP3 player through a 3.5mm audio jack (wire). The wire transmits sound signals to the earphones, which rely on magnets to vibrate the air. The vibrations create sounds that are translated by the headset’s audio drivers and released through the built-in speakers into the ears.
Wireless headphones work the same way, except they don’t receive sound signals through wires. Instead, they receive it through encoded radio waves sent from a source device. Since Bluetooth hardly has any range underwater, you won’t find the best Bluetooth headphones for swimming.
Waterproof headphones for swimming are an excellent choice for swimmers who spend plenty of time in the water. So, if you’re looking for something that’ll keep you focused on your swim laps while listening to your favorite music, these earphones are ideal.
How long a pair of underwater audio headphones will last depends on their quality, how rigorously they’re used, how well they’re maintained, and the type of connectivity they feature (wireless or wired).
As convenient as wireless waterproof earphones are, their batteries will degrade over time and need replacement. Despite taking excellent care of the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, they’re unlikely to last you more than 2 to 4 years. Their lifespan also depends on battery life and the length of the battery cycle, but it is considerably shorter than that of wireless headphones because the latter will have much larger batteries.
Although wired earbuds don’t have batteries that need replacement, they feature connecting cables, and these tend to malfunction quite early if they’re not maintained well. You can expect them to last you between 2 to 5 years, with the more premium ones offering between 4 to 7 years. But if you regularly swim with wired waterproof earphones, they’ll mostly only survive for 2 to 3 years.
Now that you’ve decided to select a pair of headphones for swimming, you have to consider various factors to narrow your selection to the ideal product. IPX rating, connectivity, battery life, and budget are some of these aspects. Let’s take a look.
The IPX rating (Ingress Protection) is a crucial measure of how durable a product is against water. The IPX waterproof ratings range from IPX0 to IPX9K.
IPX0 means the product has no resistance to water, while IPX1 and IPX2 protect against a few water drops (light rain). IPX3 protects from water sprays at a 60-degree angle, and IPX4 can withstand water splashing from any angle. IPX5 is durable against water jets from any angle (like a garden hose). Earphones with ratings between IPX1 and IPX5 are water-resistant and not waterproof, so they cannot be immersed in water or exposed to excess water.
IPX6 can withstand powerful water jets and saltwater (sea), and IPX7 is protected against brief submersion in water (around 3 feet of water for 30 minutes). IPX8 stays durable despite permanent submersion in water (up to 3 meters). IPX9K is more durable than IPX8, and it can even resist high-pressure and high-temperature sprays at close range.
When selecting earphones for swimming, make sure they have a waterproof rating of IPX8. Otherwise, they’re bound to get damaged with regular underwater use.
Like the best Sony headphones, Wireless Bluetooth headphones are so much more convenient than their wired counterparts, but that’s on land. Underwater, Bluetooth has a range that extends to just a few inches, so most of your options are wired.
Since Bluetooth isn’t an option, a lot of swimming headphones have a built-in MP3 player (sorry, Apple Music and Spotify). If you’re using swimming earphones that don’t have an integrated music player, you’ll need to attach a separate waterproof music player to your swimming goggles and connect it to the earphones. With wired models, make sure you select a model with short earphone cords (it’s a bonus if it has a separate extension cord too).
But if you really need a pair of wireless swimming earphones, you’ll want to check out the Zygo Solo. Instead of using Bluetooth to transmit audio signals, these headphones rely on an FM transmitter that can transmit audio signals through water.
If the swimming headphones don’t have an integrated MP3 player, you’ll need to purchase a separate MP3 player suitable for swimming and underwater audio use. Since most swimming earphones now come with in-built MP3 players, finding one shouldn’t be a hassle.
Not all audio files have the MP3 format, especially with Apple-based formats (M4A). If you’re part of the Apple ecosystem, you’ll want to find waterproof music players that support multiple formats.
Playback controls are vital on swimming headphones. Can you imagine the hassle of getting out of the water just to skip to the next song? Most headphones with a built-in MP3 player will have some playback buttons, but if they lack a good design, it’ll feel distracting to navigate through your MP3 library while doing those swimming laps. Make sure you can control volume, playback, and power through the earphone controls.
Remember that some swimming headphones need a goggle strap to attach to. It could be the earphone’s MP3 player that needs to be attached to the back of the goggle strap or the earphone wire that needs to be clipped to the goggles. Some earphones will come with a built-in clip or a built-in rotating clip for connecting to the goggle’s straps.
The more hours of juice your earphones have, the better it is for general usage and the product’s lifespan. You’ll find a wide battery life range across swimming headphones with MP3 players — from 3 hours to around 14 hours. The higher the battery life, the longer its cycle life will be. So if maintained well, it could last you for years. But if you strictly use swimming earphones for brief water workouts, then a few hours of playback should be fine.
Underwater audio quality will certainly not be the same as on land, so don’t expect top-of-the-line music quality from swimming headphones. At the same time, you wouldn’t want to spend on a device that sounds horrible underwater and doesn’t offer decent volume. Make sure to read through the product reviews before you finalize a purchase.
The right earbud tip style will ensure you enjoy a comfortable and watertight seal for extended periods when you’re swimming. Most swimming earphones will come with a pack of earbud tips, so you can try them on to see what fits best for your ear shape.
A wide variety of tips are available in silicone, rubber, foam, and other materials. Look out for fin earbud tips since they’re designed to offer a firm, watertight seal.
Bone conduction headphones are a common product in the underwater sound realm. This headphone design transmits audio through vibrations on the jaw/cheekbones to your ears, but there may be some reduction in sound quality since the sound isn’t going into the ear canal directly. Still, it’s quite useful for those who have limited hearing or are uncomfortable having their ears plugged underwater.
There’s a wide variety of swimming headphones available in the market, and they’re spread across a pretty wide price range.
At the lowest price point, you’ll find swimming earphones for $14 (like the AGPTEK headphones), but don’t expect MP3 player headphones at this price. Between $40 to $60, you’ll start finding waterproof design headphones with built-in MP3 players.
Enter the $100 range, and you’ll start enjoying extended battery life benefits, higher sound quality, and even bone conduction waterproof headphones. Want to go wireless underwater? You’re looking at products in the $300 range that’ll offer seamless wireless connectivity, incredible sound quality, and a compact design that’s ear canal friendly.
It’s best to go for MP3 player headphones, but if you already have a waterproof audio player, then a budget pair of non-MP3 earphones will do fine.