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Having a solid pair of earbuds is like having a quality swimsuit—you wouldn’t want to hit the pool or go to the beach without them. And while it’s always important to get buds that repel sweat, water and moisture, if you’re going to be swimming a lot of laps, you’ll want earbuds that are fully waterproof, not just water resistant, and specifically designed to last.
The best earbuds for swimming can also prevent damage outside the pool too. No one wants to lose their tunes when they’re out running and get caught in an unexpected downpour, or have their buds start slipping after a particularly sweaty hike. In general, you shouldn’t let your gadgets near water, but there are earbuds that’ll let you jam to a workout playlist and help get you through any swim, run, or hike.
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Whether you’re looking for the best waterproof headphones for swimming, or just want buds that can stand up to the elements, here’s what you need to know.
What Are the Best Waterproof Earbuds For Swimming?
While different earbuds have different levels of waterproofing, the best waterproof earbuds should be able to stay completely drenched in water without sacrificing audio quality. Mostly using your earbuds in the pool? Consider how long of a swim you’re taking, and how deeply submerged you’ll be.
Waterproofing: The IP rating is the industry standard for waterproofing, so you’ll know exactly how much your devices can handle. For earbuds for swimming, you wouldn’t want to go below an IPX7 rating unless you want serious damage. An IPX7 rating means your earbuds will stay protected in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Any longer and you’ll want to spring for IPX9-rated devices, which can handle continuous submersion.
Wired vs. Bone Conduction: If you’re wondering why there are no wireless Bluetooth buds on this list, that’s because Bluetooth technology is essentially rendered useless once you’re submerged a few inches underwater. So in this case you have two options for in-ear buds: a traditional pair of wired earbuds that you can pair with a waterproof MP3 player, or waterproof earbuds with built-in music storage. There’s also a third kind for swimming—bone conduction headphones, which go over your cheekbones and use vibrations to transfer the sound to your ears. Though the sound quality is debatable for this type, it’s worth looking into if you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones.
Integrated MP3 Player: Even if wireless tech like Bluetooth worked better in the water, you’d still have to keep your phone at a close range to listen to your music, which just isn’t feasible. If you spring for wired waterproof earbuds, it’s best to pair them with a waterproof MP3 player specifically for swimming. With a separate MP3 player, you also won’t have to worry about limited battery life in the same way you would with waterproof headphones that integrate MP3.
Eartip Fit: Eartips come in multiple styles (flanged, tree tips, etc) and materials (rubber, silicone, foam, etc), so you may have to try out a few to see what you like. But ultimately they should keep a watertight seal and have a comfortable fit in your ears, so you swim laps and not have to worry about a stray earbud sinking to the bottom of the pool. Some may come with an earhook, so you’ll be even more secure.
1. JBL Endurance DIVE
These true wireless Bluetooth earbuds top our list for the most secure fit while swimming, without compromising on great sound. If you keep your phone close, you can stream for as long as you want, but thanks to the on-board 1GB memory, you can easily store and access more than 200 music tracks directly from your earbuds.
Great for swimming or working out, these comfortable, durable pair of buds and get you up to eight hours of playtime. In just 10 minutes, you can also power up for up to an hour of use, which works well for impromptu swims. The ear hook and twisted locking design means you won’t have to fiddle with controls or messy wires, either.
These earbuds are rated IPX7, and designed to be waterproof enough for swimming. These are also the only pair of earbuds on our list that include hands-free calling over Bluetooth, perfect for if you want to take a call after stepping out of the pool.
The touch controls to play, pause, use volume and switch track order seem convenient, but reviews say they can be a bit tricky to use when you actually get in the pool. But overall these earbuds are durable, outlasting even your longest lap session.
Buy:JBL Endurance DIVE at$89.95
2. Pyle Flextreme MP3 Earbuds
These earbuds don’t have a ton of frills, but for their price point, they deliver on MP3 storage, so you can listen to hours of music with its built-in 8GB flash memory.
The physical touch controls make it simple to adjust your music when you’re actually in the water. The earbuds come with a bendable, adjustable headband that will keep them secure, but other than that, the design is fairly streamlined as to not distract while you’re working out or swimming.
They typically can play about 10 of music without needing to be recharged, and with an IPX8 rating, are listed as “fully submersible” in water up to 10 feet deep. But we recommend these more for lengthy swims rather than deep-diving. As durable as they are in the water, we also wish they could better handle more extreme conditions, like temperatures over 104°F, below 23°F or very dry environments.
But for waterproof earbuds with a built-in MP3 player, this is a top notch affordable option that will give you all the music you need to power through your workout.
Buy:Pyle Flextreme MP3 Earbuds at$40.59
3. Swimbuds MP3 Audio Player
Even though the design of these wireless earbuds from Swimbuds aren’t the most stylish, if you’re a hardcore swimmer, that won’t matter. With 11 earbud tips in four different styles and a grippy ear hook design, these buds are sure to stay in place for your entire swim.
The IPX8 rating means the earbuds are fully waterproof too, and will stay powered on for up to seven hours of battery life. Though they’re not Bluetooth-enabled, with 8GB of memory (that’s around 2,000 songs), you’ll have more than enough space for all the music you need to keep you motivated.
Audio is surprisingly well-balanced, with a full range of sound and detail even when you’re in the water. The playback controls are a little clunky, but the bigger buttons can actually be easier to press when you’re in the middle of an underwater workout.
These earbuds are absolutely the best fit we’ve seen though, so you won’t have to worry about your buds slipping out during a swim ever again.
Buy:Swimbuds MP3 Audio Player at$80.00
4. HydroActive Premium Waterproof Earbuds
There’s a lot to love about wired earbuds, and HydroActive makes one of our favorite pairs for swimming. The premium waterproof earbuds have a sleek wrap-around headband that will keep these buds in place, but won’t interfere with head gear like swim caps. The IPX8 rating means the buds hold up in deep water and all weather conditions, while the interchangeable eartips make it easy to find the best fit possible.
Unlike the other waterproof buds, these earbuds feature a 3.5mm jack, and don’t come with an integrated MP3 player. But this can actually be a bonus, because you won’t have to worry about the battery dying in the middle of your butterfly stroke, or whether your music files are compatible.
We’ve found the sound on these to be clear and unmuffled, with multiple protection chambers making this one of the most watertight earbuds on our list. Connected to the best waterproof MP3 player, you can attach these to your goggle strap and easily hop in the water right away.
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