The Best Swimming Headphones You Can Use Underwater

Last updated: 3 months ago, Apr. 6. 2020
Article Contents

    Enjoy music in the pool or sea with the best swimming headphones available right now.

    Comparison of the Best Swimming Headphones

      RatingPriceWater Protection
    WarrantyEartipsCord Length 

    Swimbuds Sport
    4.5$$ ($30-$80)Up to 10ft (3m)
    1-year-warranty11 pairs
    (4 types)
    Short cord
    +cord extension
    More info
    HydroActive by
    Underwater Audio
    4.3$$$ ($80-$120)Up to 10ft (3m)
    1-year-warranty11 pairs
    (4 types)
    Short cord
    +cord extension
    More info

    4.2$$ ($30-$80)Up to 10ft (3m)
    1-year-warranty5 pairs
    (2 types)
    Short cord
    +cord extension
    More info
    H2O Surge S+4.3$$ ($30-$80)Up to 12ft (3.6m)
    1-year-warranty8 pairs
    (2 types)
    Short cordMore info
    Sigomatech4.4$ (<$30)Up to 10ft (3m)
    1-year-warranty4 pairs
    (2 types)
    Short cord
    +cord extension
    More info
    Pyle PWPE103.6$ (<$30)Up to couple a ft
    Limited-warranty4 pairs
    (2 types)
    Long cord
    (4 foot, 120cm)
    More info

    Swimming Earbuds
    3.9$ (<$30)Up to 10ft (3m)
    1-year-warranty5 pairs
    (2 types)
    Short cord
    +cord extension
    More info

    Sometimes swimming for hours can be a drag without some additional entertainment. Introduce music and audiobooks to your regular swimming routine with the top headphones for swimming.

    All the models recommended here are waterproof and suitable for swimming above and underwater.

    But you won’t find any wireless Bluetooth headphones because they don’t work in water, Bluetooth stops working every time.

    Also, we review only headphones that require an additional waterproof music player. If you don’t have it yet, see the related guides below to get a set.

    Table of Contents

      Related guides:

      The best swimming MP3 players (with headphones)

      All the best waterproof headphones

      The best waterproof wireless headphones (not for swimming)

      Key Features of Swimming Headphones

      How are waterproof swimming headphones different from other headphones?

      Waterproof design – Full water protection with minimum IPX7 waterproof rating is required. Regular headphones with lower protection run the risk of breaking underwater. Water resistant, IPX6 or lower, or sweatproof headphones aren’t good enough for submerging.

      Stable fit in water – Keeping headphones in your ears without water coming in is a unique problem. The best solution so far are in-ear headphones with triple-flange eartips that keep the water out. Put on a swim cap for extra stability just in case. The moment you lose the fit and water fills the ears, you won’t hear the music anymore.

      Wires with gold-plated plug – Bluetooth doesn’t work in water. You need wired headphones that are protected against corrosion, like a gold-plated AUX plug.

      Short cord – If you wear your waterproof MP3 on your goggle strap, then you need short-corded headphones; otherwise, the cord gets in the way. Many swimming earbuds have short wires and additional extensions when needed, but not all of them. So, check before buying.

      Reliability – You probably don’t like replacing your broken headphones with new ones all the time. Often, spending more money on a quality product is more reasonable and provides more value in the long term. This is why earphones with a proven track record are recommended as the best.

      Sound quality – While swimming headphones won’t win any audio awards, you still want your headphones to sound good. You want to enjoy your music in relative quality, even during a swim. As long as you get a good fit, the waterproof headphones for swimming recommended here have enjoyable sound quality (for the category).

      The Best Headphones for Swimming

      1. Swimbuds Sport (best overall)

      Swimbuds Sport headphones for swimming

      Best headphones for swimming overall

      Swimbuds Sport waterproof headphones are the best you can get right now. Made by Underwater Audio. Designed specifically for swimming, the fully waterproofed casing with 1.3ft (40cm), short cord, 3.3ft (1m) extension cable, and a full selection of accessories is everything swimming headphones can offer.

      Watertight seal and stability are achieved with the help of 4 different eartips, each with multiple size options. Some even work like earplugs, keeping all the water out. Altogether you get 11 pairs of eartips.

      The in-ear headphones have an IPX8 rating, which makes them fully submersible for long periods of time. The materials are of high quality and an improvement from the older version. Keep note that the manufacturer advises not to submerge them deeper than 10ft (3m).

      “Rebecca Soni, six-time Olympic medalist, former competition swimmer, used Swimbuds during her practice.”

      The sound quality is good too. While you can’t compare waterproof headphones to regular ones, getting high enough volume is important. In the water, you’ll hear a lot of water noises like bubbles and splashes, so you need your headphones loud enough.

      Thankfully, the Swimbuds Sport have no problem with low volume or lack of clarity. You can easily enjoy them for all types of music.

      They connect with gold-plated 3.5mm AUX plug-in. It means you can attach them to waterproof iPod Shuffles and most MP3 players.

      The price might be a bit higher than most swimming earbuds, but you get what you pay for. Plus, they consistently offer a discount if you buy them together with a waterproof iPod Shuffle.

      2. HydroActive Headphones by Underwater Audio

      HydroActive swimming headphones

      Runner-up for the best swimming headphones

      Underwater Audio is known for Swimbuds and waterproofing iPod Shuffle with great success. Now they’ve made neckband headphones for swimming as well. Called HydroActive, these waterproof earbuds are perfect for swimming, even underwater, kayaking, paddleboarding, and any other sport that includes water.

      Their behind the neck design might not seem like the best idea, but it actually works. As is typical for premium underwater headphones, they come with a lot of accessories.

      There are 11 pairs of different eartips in the package. They come in 4 different types, each with multiple sizes. To help you carry everything, you also get a nice hard carrying case.

      Since the earbuds come with a short cord, you also get an extension cable, it’s also fully waterproof. The short cable is great to use with a goggle strap while the longer cable is used with an armband.

      Put on the extension, and you can have a workout outside the water.

      “The IPX8 rating means you can easily submerge them in water. But the manufacturer advises against submersion deeper than 10ft (3m). Thankfully, most pools aren’t that deep anyways.”

      You can connect them to any waterproof MP3 player with a 3.5mm gold-plated plug. The audio quality is good for waterproof headphones. You can make them loud enough, and clarity is usually not a problem. Just keep in mind you’re using special waterproof headphones and not regular earbuds.

      If you are having problems with Swimbuds staying in the ears then you might want to try HydroActive headphones by Underwater Audio. The unique design seems to work well at staying put even during intense lap swimming.

      3. Swimbuds (best value)

      Swimbuds (first edition)

      Best value underwater headphones

      These are the first edition of Swimbuds, older than Sport and Flip models,  but equally suitable for swimming.

      The Swimbuds waterproof headphones are a relatively affordable option for dedicated swimmers. They have many fans who’ve been using these for years.

      Now, you shouldn’t expect high-fidelity sound, but what makes them so popular is their stable fit underwater.

      These are designed with swimmers in mind. The Swimbuds create a tight fit and sit comfortably within the ear canal even during a dive.

      You can choose between three eartip sizes with triple-flange design. They are created to make a seal, to stop water from getting in and ensure sound waves reach your ear uninterrupted.

      There’s also a tube of “FitGoo” which lubricates the earbuds and creates an even tighter fit.

      If you aren’t using the Swimbuds for swimming, there’s a pair of regular ear tips as well.

      The swimming headphones are IPX8 rated, which means they are suitable for submerging in water. They also come with a gold plated jack, which is designed to stop corrosion, a process likely resulting from exposing to water.

      A short cord (25cm, 10-inch) is designed to avoid tangles. Your iPod or MP3 player can sit on your swim goggles, and the short cable fits in ideally. If you need it longer, there is a 99cm extension cord, too.

      The Swimbuds stay in place very well while you’re underwater, and can even withstand flips and vigorous movement. The durability isn’t 100% amazing, but the cost is pretty reasonable, which makes up for this.

      For a reliable solution to listen to music in water, get the first-edition Swimbuds that have been popular with swimmers for years.

      4. H2O Audio Surge S+

      H2O Surge S+

      Value for money runner-up

      Right now H20 Audio Surge S+ are great value-for-money swimming headphones. Made by a reputable company called H20 Audio that is specialized for waterproof products. These in-ear headphones are perfect for any serious or casual swimmer.

      For the price that you pay, you get a lot of value. The short-cord swimming earbuds are made from quality materials and end in a regular 3.5mm AUX plug. They also come with 8 pairs of ear tips. Unfortunately, there are only 2 types, the triple-flange, and regular ones.

      Michael Phelps H2O Audio Swimming Headphones

      Michael Phelps has used these during his swimming practice.

      The good thing is this doesn’t seem to be a big handicap for the tightness of the fit. The design is made for underwater use and stays in ears very well. You can swim laps and do underwater turns without losing music. Finding the right eartips and combining it with a good swim cap is necessary, of course.

      Having an IPX8 rating, these are made for underwater use.

      “The H20 Audio claims you can submerge them up to 12ft (3.6m) under water.”

      This is deeper than most pools, so you can be confident you won’t go too deep.

      Add to this a fun and dynamic sound quality that doesn’t lack clarity compared to other swimming earphones, and you get an almost perfect piece of swimming gear. The only things lacking in this package, we think, are an extension cord and a better selection of eartips.

      Nonetheless, H20 Audio Surge S+ are an exceptional swimming earbuds for the price right now. Since these usually cost under $50 you’ll hardly find a better deal in the category.

      5. Sigomatech waterproof headphones

      Sigomatech swimming headphones
      The Sigomatech waterproof swimming headphones are the best choice for slightly above $20. If you don’t want to spend too much but also don’t want to get the cheapest, these are a good option.

      They come with 4 pairs of ear tips. A pair of regular ones and 3 pairs of triple-flange silicone ear tips (S, M, L). The cord is short so that you can use them with head-worn audio players, and there’s also an option to extend it. The extension cable is also waterproof. Additionally, you get a nice, hard carrying case to put in everything.

      The fit seems to be stable for most people, and you can easily use them for water and even some underwater activity. We wouldn’t recommend any fast and aggressive action underwater even though the earphones can take it. The stability of the fit might be less secure without extra help from a swimming cap.

      Rated as IPX8, they can survive long dips in the water even under harsh conditions. Now, IPX8 doesn’t mean you can dive deep with them. You can only dive for around 10ft (3m) before you can expect water damage. The build quality is good but not premium. These are quite cheap, so that’s to be expected.

      How well do they sound? Just like other waterproof headphones, these aren’t anything special but sound well enough. The sound is about average, which means some bass with good clarity. With all the water sounds you’re going to hear, you won’t be able to focus on sonic-fidelity anyways.

      For slightly above $20 you’re getting great swimming earphones that will make your lap swimming a lot more fun.

      6. Pyle PWPE10

      Pyle PWPE10

      Cheap alternative for swimming headphones

      The Pyle PWPE10 might not be the best cheap option but still do a decent job. If you’re not too serious about swimming but still want buds for listening to music, these are for you.

      Pyle makes a lot of different waterproof products with low prices and good decent quality. These waterproof earphones come in a very simple package, just so you know you paid little money for them.

      You don’t get many accessories, but that’s to be expected. You get 4 different eartips, 1 pair of regular and 3 sizes of triple-flange tips that keep the water out better. The cable is long, 4ft (120cm), and there’s no way to shorten it. This takes out the option of having your waterproof MP3 player on your head.

      The earphones connect with the standard 3.5mm plug, which is also gold-plated to prolong life. Overall the build quality isn’t bad but isn’t great either.

      With the help of the flexible ear hooks, you can keep them fixed on your ears relatively well. Combine that with a swim cap, and you can easily use them for swimming. Just don’t expect the fit to survive aggressive turns underwater. These are more suitable for casual swimmers.

      Water protection is rated as IPX7, which means these can easily be submerged in water and can survive moisture to a high degree.

      According to feedback from a lot of people, they tend to last at least a couple of months of vigorous use, after which they tend to die out. These earphones for swimming are really cheap, so this is to be expected. But if you’re a swimmer who gets great exercise, you might want to look at the premium alternatives with a better lifetime.

      Furthermore, the audio quality doesn’t disappoint either. You can expect high quality, but you’re still getting a clear and fun sound that will more than satisfy most people.

      Overall, for the price that you’re paying these are good waterproof earbuds for swimming.

      7. AGPTEK Swimming Earbuds (best cheap)

      Agptek Swimming Earbuds

      Best cheap swimming earbuds

      The AGPTEK swimming earbuds are generic and cheap. But still manage to do a good job for swimming purposes.

      The sound quality is fine, though nothing spectacular. However, the main selling point of the AGPTEK earbuds is probably the fact they offer the waterproof functionality (IPX8) and stable fit at such a low price.

      The frequency response of the headphones is 20-22,000 Hz, and the mid frequencies and highs are actually pretty clear. Though the bass is a lot to be desired, this is a problem most waterproof earbuds struggle with.

      They come with an ear-hook design which goes around the back of your ears. They sit comfortably for swimming (when you wear a swimming cap) as well as watersports and other exercises.

      The cable on the headphones is short at 2ft long, but there is a 3.3ft extension. You can choose the length you require. This means you can clip the headphones onto a swimming cap or keep your device in your pocket if you are out of the water.

      5 pairs of ear tips allow you to choose the best for your needs (triple-flange for swimming and regular for out of water use).

      We found the AGPTEK to be good for light swimming, but for vigorous underwater activity, you might want to spend a bit more. However, for the price, it is hard to argue with the features on offer. So, if you’re on a budget, get these.

      How to Choose Headphones for Swimming

      The best way to listen to music while swimming is with quality wired swimming earbuds. Most are in-ear headphones and create an airtight fit in the ear canal (over-ear headphones are too big).

      Combine that with a waterproof MP3 player, and you get an excellent combination for music in the pool. Underwater music can sound great, but you need unique instruments to play it.

      Why Avoid Bluetooth Headphones for Swimming?

      If there’s one thing you should avoid when buying swimming headphones, it’s Bluetooth.

      The reason wired headphones are better for swimming is that wireless Bluetooth technology doesn’t work underwater.

      Water is too dense for the wireless signal to travel through. You get too many signal interruptions.

      You can’t use Bluetooth workout headphones for swimming. The only way you can use them is if you only swim above water and never more than 30ft (10m) away from your music device. It’s too bothersome if you ask me.

      On the other hand, you can use these for any activity near water, like water sports.

      The best waterproof Bluetooth headphones.

      How Does Water Protection Work?

      The hardest part of waterproofing headphones is protecting small holes from water intrusion. There are 2 ways this is achieved.

      Swimming headphones have a design that minimizes such weak points. Usually, they are made from 1 piece of plastic. This way, it’s hard for water to get in.

      The second way is by protecting it with an invisible layer that blocks water. An example is hydrophobic protection. This super-hydrophobic protection layer is used for many different waterproofed products, including headphones.

      “Keep in mind, the effectiveness varies depending on the design and specific product features. Not all water protected headphones have equal protection.”

      How to Get the Best Fit in the Water

      Because water is denser than air, it gives more resistance. Because of this, maintaining a tight, comfortable fit with headphones is more difficult. The way to avoid this problem is to help keep the swimming earbuds in place with a swimming cap.

      Swimming caps are cheap and common, plus they give extra stability to your headphones. This is the first thing you should try if you have a problem keeping your headphones on.

      Another thing worth mentioning is the eartips. Most swimming in-ear earbuds come with a wide variety of them. Trying them all and picking the right ones—most comfortable—for you can take some time, but it’s worth it. Don’t despair if the first eartips don’t fit your ear canals. Try another pair.

      Are Waterproof Headphones Good for Swimming in the Sea (Salt Water)?

      Beach sea

      Saltwater can be a problem for a lot of different gear, including headphones. The salt makes it more aggressive and causes material to deteriorate faster.

      Any waterproof headphones for swimming that are suitable for freshwater are also suitable for the sea and ocean. Just keep in mind to wash them off with fresh water after each use to prolong the lifetime of your headphones.

      How to Take Care of Waterproof Swimming Earbuds

      The only thing that you really need to take care of is their structural integrity. In other words, not physically damaging them.

      Because water protection is quite sensitive to physical damage, it might create new openings for the water to get in.

      We recommend keeping your pool headphones in a sturdy, carrying case. In instance you drop them, they’ll most likely survive without damage. If you drop your pair of headphones too often, it’s possible they’ll lose their water resistance and thus start to leak in water.

      Additionally, you should wash them with fresh, clean water regularly. If you swim in a public pool with lots of chloride, there’s probably a lot of other “stuff” in there as well. It’s preferable to keep them clean after use for hygiene purposes. This holds true for swimming in salty water, as well.

      If you’re missing the MP3 player, you can also consider all-in-one solutions like bone conduction headphones with a built-in music player.

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