The Best Waterproof Headphones

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Listening to our favorite music can relax us or get us excited. Waterproof headphones are a great way to integrate this essential aspect of our daily lives into our other passions. Whether you’re a runner or a swimmer or want a safe pair of headphones for us in the sauna, shower, or bathtub – these are our recommended picks for the best waterproof headphones.

The Best Waterproof Headphones 1
Swimbuds SPORT Waterproof Headphones

Offering a better fit, greater comfort, and a rugged design. The Swimbuds SPORT comes packed with 4 different styles of earbuds to find the fit that works for you.

The Best Waterproof Headphones 2

Types of Waterproof Headphones

Buying a quality pair of waterproof headphones can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Despite the multiple variations in styles and purposes, waterproof headphones can be classified into three distinct types:

In-ear headphones for swimming

These waterproof headphones have IPX7 or IPX8 protection and are designed for submergence in water. In most cases, they are wired and are made for use with an MP3 player. Some even include their own MP3 player.

In-ear headphones for exercising

Ideal for sweaty workouts, these in-ear waterproof headphones are made to withstand high levels of moisture while working out. They are usually connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

Waterproof bone-conduction headphones

Bone conduction headphones use vibrations to send audio directly to the bones of the skull, bypassing the eardrums. They rest outside the ears and provide better situational awareness than traditional in-ears.

1. Swimbuds SPORT Waterproof Headphones

Swimbuds SPORT Waterproof Headphones
  • Depth: 10 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 4
  • IPX: 8
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

The Swimbuds SPORT Waterproof Headphones are an upgrade from the regular Swimbuds Waterproof Headphones featured at the beginning of this article. The Swimbuds SPORT features the same four styles of earbuds in various sizes, giving you a total of 11 earbuds to choose from. These waterproof headphones come with a 1-year warranty and feature Swimbud’s third generation Hydrobeat™ sound.

The short-cord waterproof headphones come with an extra cable extension to make these headphones versatile. One set of headphones for all your activities!

The Swimbuds SPORT’s four earbud styles are designed for different activities in and out of the water.

What’s in the Box?

  • Swimbuds SPORT Waterproof Headphones
  • Extension cord
  • 11 x waterproof earbuds in 4 styles
  • 1 x carry case

2. HydroActive Waterproof Headphones

 HydroActive Short-Cord Waterproof Headphones
  • Depth: 10 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 4
  • IPX: 8
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

The HydroActive Waterproof Headphones are specifically designed for water sports, including swimming laps, SUP, kayaking, aqua aerobics, canoeing, fishing, and most other aquatic activities.

The unique wrap-around design keeps the waterproof headphones in your ears without any cable hanging around your ears, neck, or shoulders. This allows you to move freely without worrying about getting caught on your headphone cable.

The short headphone cable connects from the left ear to your waterproof MP3 player, which can be connected to your goggle strap or a swimming cap. This leaves no cable hanging down below your ears at all! Perfect to allow for freedom of movement.

The HydroActive Waterproof Headphones are rated to a depth of 3m meet the IPX8 waterproof standard. The ⅛-inch jack connector is gold-coated for a superior connection to any MP3 player and prevents corrosion.

The most impressive feature of the HydroActive Waterproof Headphones is the selection of waterproof earbuds from Swimbuds SPORT. Four styles of earbuds to match various activities. Each style of earbud comes in different sizes, giving you a total of 11 waterproof earbuds. So you’re sure to find the right fit.

What’s in the Box?

  • HydroActive Waterproof Headphones
  • Wrap-around headphones with a short cable
  • Extension cable
  • 11 x waterproof earbuds in 4 styles
  • 1 x carry case

3. H2O Audio Waterproof MP3 Player

 H2O Audio 100% Waterproof Stream MP3 Music Player with Bluetooth and Underwater Headphones
  • Depth: 12 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 2
  • IPX: 8
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

If you don’t own a waterproof MP3 player, then the H20 Audio is an inexpensive model that comes with a pair of waterproof headphones. The H20 Audio is 100% waterproof, rated to a depth of 12ft (3.6m) (Waterproof to IPX8 waterproof standard).

The MP3 player is ultra-compact, designed to be fixed to your goggle strap, cap, or costume. The short cable on the waterproof headphones fits perfectly for placement as low as the shoulders or just behind the head.

The MP3 player has a capacity of 8GB, which equates to around 10 hours or 2000 songs, depending on the size of your MP3 music files. H20 Audio has even pre-loaded the MP3 with a selection of music to get you started. Supported music file formats include MP3, WMA, FLAC, and APE. As most music is in MP3 format, this is sufficient for an MP3 player used for swimming or other workouts.

To get the most space while still retaining the best quality, load MP3s at a bit rate of 192kps. The buttons are large and configured in such a way that you can change sounds and adjust settings without looking at the MP3 player.

The H20 Audio is also Bluetooth enabled, which means you can stream music from your phone or other Bluetooth devices. If you are going to the gym, on a run, hiking, or cycling, you can use the H20 Audio as a wireless headphones that are connected to your phone. Especially useful if you want to have your phone in your pocket or backpack without a trailing cable.

Keep in mind that Bluetooth will not work underwater. The wireless range is 30ft (10m).

The H20 Audio Waterproof MP3 player has been engineered to produce improved bass, a frequency that is often lost while swimming. The earbud speaker grill is designed to sit as close to the end of the earbud piece for improved sound quality and clarity. The H20 Audio MP3 player comes with a total of 8 earbud attachments to accommodate most ear canals.

What’s in the Box?

  • H2O Audio Waterproof MP3 Player
  • 8GB MP3 player
  • Waterproof headphones
  • 8 x earbud attachments

4. H2O Audio Noise Canceling Waterproof Headphones

H2O Audio 100% Waterproof Headphones.
  • Depth: 12 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 1
  • IPX: 8
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

If you prefer smaller, low-profile headphones, the H20 Audio Noise Canceling Waterproof headphones are great. These waterproof headphones are designed to sit flush inside the ear while the earbuds fit perfectly inside the ear canal for a snug, watertight fit. With five sizes of earbud heads to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your ear.

Although the H20 Audio Noise Canceling Waterproof Headphones don’t have a short-cord option, the headphones, cable, and fitting are rated IPX8 waterproof standard. These waterproof headphones are rated to a depth of 12 feet.

With a standard length cord of 3.6-foot, the H2O Audio Noise Canceling Waterproof Headphones are suitable for all water sports and non-water sports activities where heavy perspiration is common. The headphones are also a great option for day-to-day use.

What’s in the Box?

  • H2O Audio Noise Canceling Waterproof Headphones
  • 1 x pair of waterproof headphones
  • 5 x earbud attachments
  • 1 Year Warranty

5. SENSO Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones
  • Depth: 3 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 1
  • IPX: 7
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

SENSO’s Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones are perfect all-around sports headphones at an affordable price. At under $30, their few waterproof headphones can compete with SENSO’s features and value for money.

These waterproof headphones come with a built-in microphone, so you can use them with your mobile phone as a hands-free kit, even in the pool!

SENSO Bluetooth waterproof headphones are 100% wireless and up to 30 feet long, which means there are no cables. This could be an issue with older MP3 devices. However, it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re connecting a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, which all have Bluetooth connectivity these days.

The waterproof headphones are powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery which lasts 8 hours and only takes 1-2 hours to fully charge. The charging port is a Micro USB, and a charging cable comes with the headphones. The opposite end is a USB A connector, which means you can plug it into the laptop or USB socket to charge.

Small controls on the headphones allow you to change volume, skip, pause, play, and even answer and end calls. This hands-free is especially useful while working out or driving, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

The headphones are designed to sit over your ears for a secure fit. The earbuds sit snug inside the ear canal and come with 3 sets of earbud attachments – small, medium, and large. The cable linking the two headphones is short so it sits behind the back of the head/neck and out of the way.

What’s in the Box?

  • SENSO Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones
  • Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones
  • Carry case
  • Short charging cable
  • 3 x sets of earbud attachments – small, medium, large
  • Cable management clip
  • User manual

6. Otium Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones

 Otium Bluetooth Headphones
  • Depth: 3 ft
  • Earbud Styles: 1
  • IPX: 7
  • Jack: 3.5 mm

The Otium Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones are both stylish and practical. The waterproof headphones carry an IPX7 waterproof rating. A built-in microphone enables users to make and receive, perfect for a hands-free replacement while working out or driving. One set of headphones for a variety of applications and activities.

The Otium Bluetooth waterproof headphones have comfortable ear hooks that ensure a secure fit, and the earbuds sit tight and snug inside the ears. The short cable linking the two earbuds can be tightened with the wire clamp to be extra snug and secure as well as keeping excess cable out of your way.

Noise-canceling technology means you can enjoy calls and music at accepting volumes. A full frequency response means audio is enjoyed with crystal clarity and improved bass.

The Otium’s battery lasts 7-9 hours and can be fully charged in 1.5 hours. Battery life is displayed on the screen for iOS smartphones. The waterproof headphones come with a Micro USB charging cable.

On the side of the headphones is a simple control panel that allows you to skip/play/pause, answer, and end calls.

What’s in the Box?

  • Otium Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • 2 x Sets of extra earbud attachments

Water-Resistance vs. Waterproof

While the terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof headphones. Headphones with water resistance are great for situations where water may touch them but where they won’t be submerged. In contrast, if you’re going to be swimming or, through any other means, submerging your headphones – you’ll need a fully waterproof option.

The water-resistant properties of electronics are usually defined using the Ingress Protection rating (IP-Rating). IPX1 through IPX6 offers protection from light splashes and drizzle on the low end and against pressure sprays of water towards the upper end. However, for use in water where submergence may occur, only IPX7 and IPX8 are suitable.

An IPX7 rating is fully waterproof and protects the device from damage when submerged at under 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. IPX8 further enhances this protection by allowing for submergence in more than 1 meter of water for periods over 30 minutes. IPX8 is less defined in terms of its limits, and the manufacturer often provides exact details on its capabilities.

Given today’s technology, there’s no reason you should settle for subpar protection from water and sweat.

What to Consider when Choosing Waterproof Headphones

The first feature you need to consider when choosing the best waterproof headphones for swimming is waterproofing. This seems obvious, but many “waterproof headphones” are only sweat and splash-proof and cannot be fully submerged. These waterproof headphones carry an IPX rating of less than 7.

Additionally, you should check to ensure the depth to which they are rated aligns with how you’re using them. If you’re swimming laps, you can get away with a 1-meter submergence depth, while activities where one is under deeper water will require a higher level of protection.

Headphones for swimming typically come with a shorter cable compared to regular waterproof headphones. This means you don’t have trailing excess cable behind you, which often gets caught up in your arms. Some swimmers wrap the excess cable into their swimming cap or around their goggle strap.

Wired vs. Wireless

In an era where wireless is the standard, it may come as a shock that waterproof headphones for swimming often use a wired connection and are often paired with a dedicated MP3 player and not a cellphone. Bone conduction headphones tend to offer more wireless options than traditional in-ears, but are also often wired. In contrast, earbuds that are intended for exercise purposes but not for long submergence have more Bluetooth-supported models.

Headphones vs Earbuds

Most areas of the audio industry have separated earbuds from headphones, with earbuds going inside the ear and headphones sitting over the ear. However, the waterproof headphone market is one of few that still categorizes these two technologies together. This is primarily because over-ear headphones aren’t made for swimming, and thus, there’s no reason to separate the two.

All waterproof headphones in this article are also technically called waterproof earbuds.

Audio Quality

Audio quality is an essential part of any speaker or headphones. Swimming may not immediately come across as a loud activity, but the splashing of water next to your ears can compete with the audio of your earbuds. That’s why ensuring sufficient volume and clarity with any pair you plan to use is essential. You typically get what you pay for, and more expensive options are more likely to have higher-quality sound. Bass, midrange, and treble performance should all be considered.

Swimming Headphones Pro Tip

Sometimes, earbud designs don’t fit snugly enough in your ear canal, allowing water to seep into the ears. To ensure the waterproof earbud sits deep into the ear canal, swimmers use a lubricant like FitGoo. FitGoo lubricates your waterproof earbuds to improve insertion and ensure a watertight seal inside the ear canal.

How to Get The Best Fit From Your Waterproof Headphones

Waterproof headphone earbuds come in various shapes and sizes. Some earbuds are designed for comfort, while others are a balance of comfort and secure fit. Each earbud-style sold with your waterproof headphones is designed for a specific purpose. Let’s briefly look at these and discuss the pros, cons, and best applications.

In-ear Headphone

Single Flange – The single flange fitting earbud is the most common earbud sold with waterproof headphones. The simple design will fit most ear canals, offering a snug fit and some isolation. The single flange may not be best for swimming.

Conventional Earbuds

Conventional Earbuds – The conventional earbud is the old standard. Many smartphone manufacturers used to include these with their mobile phones as headphone/hands-free kits.

While they are designed to fit snugly on the outside of the ear canal, thus accommodating most ear sizes, these earbuds were not designed for any form of activity or sports.

Too often, these earbuds will fall out during any physical activity. The conventional earbuds were certainly not made waterproof.

Memory Foam Earbuds

Memory Foam EarbudsMemory foam earbuds are great because they can be molded to fit any ear size. Once in the ear, they expand, offering some isolation and a relatively watertight seal. Memory foam earbuds are popular for physical activity as they don’t easily come loose and fall out.

Tree Shape Earbuds

Tree Shape Earbuds – Tree-shaped earbuds are excellent for water sports and other physical activities. The tapered design fits deep in the ear, offering a good isolation and watertight fit. Tree-shaped earbuds sit deep in the ear canal, so they won’t fall out easily. The improved isolation means you won’t have to turn up the volume on your MP3 device.

Fitted Earbuds

Fitted Earbuds – Fitted earbuds offer the most superior watertight fit and isolation. The earbud fits flush inside the outer ear, and the tip is deep into the ear canal. This isolation improves the sound quality, which allows you to play your audio at lower levels, thus protecting your ears over time.

Some brands sell fitted earbuds or ear fins with waterproof headphones, which are best for swimming. The downside is the generic designs might not fit everyone’s ear. For a small investment, you can get custom-fitted earbuds. Chat with your doctor about a reputable ear clinic near you.

Most of the time, you should find an earbud shape that fits your ear. Nowadays, silicon and memory foam earbuds offer the most flexibility as they can be molded and change shape to fit your ear and ear canal. The best recommendation is to test all the earbud attachments that come with your waterproof headphones to find the right fit. Replacement earbuds or ear tips can be purchased separately from your waterproof headphones for even more choice.

How Music Influences Your Workout

Let’s look at how music can affect your workout and why you should consider using music with your waterproof headphones while working out. For many people, music is a way to close off the outside world and focus on the task at hand, getting a good workout. But does music actually have an effect on your workout?

This article on how music affects exercise from the Huffington Post examines research covered by Dr. Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and author of This Is Your Brain On Music. While Dr. Levitin explains his research is still inconclusive, music does appear to affect training or working out positively.

There are two primary possibilities. The first possibility is music distracts your brain from physical exertion or pain. So, music will help you push past your usual physical and psychological limits. The second possibility is that music acts as a mood enhancer; thus, your brain perceives the training or workout as an enjoyable experience.

Dr. Levitin goes further to say the tempo of the music you are listening to will also have a positive effect. With repetitive exercises like aerobics, running, or even swimming, music can help regulate your exercise pace and regime. This makes sense when you consider that if you want a hard workout, you’ll typically listen to something with a driving beat, like dance music.

Essentially, exercise is a form of movement similar to dancing, so it’s no surprise music has a positive influence on your tempo and pace.

Another study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health looked specifically at the effects of music on swimming performance. The tests were carried out using waterproof swimming headphones with a built-in MP3 player. The study found significant improvements in swimming performance times over 50m (164 foot) and 800m (2625 foot) distances.

It is interesting to note while performance improved, swimmers did not feel any improvement in physical enjoyment while listening to music while swimming. So, although lap times improved, physical exertion was still felt.

Conclusion

Waterproof headphones allow us to immerse ourselves in water while still enjoying our music. They’re typically affordable and feature unique designs to reduce cable obstructions. We trust this article helped you find which waterproof headphones will work best for your needs and welcome any questions, as we’re more than happy to further assist you in finding what you need.

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Author: Matt Hallowes

Matt has worked as a sound engineer and tour manager since 2003. His work as a sound engineer includes both live production and venue installations. With a passion for the industry, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us.

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