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10 Best Headphones for Swimming in 2024

Last updated: 6 months ago
10 min read

Here are the best headphones for swimming. You can take them to a pool, lake, or sea. And even dive underwater.

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Quick Overview

More info Price Water protection Battery Type
Shokz OpenSwim Best overall
Shokz OpenSwim small image
Under $150
IP68
8h
Bone conduction MP3
H2O Audio Sonar Best under $100
H2O Audio Sonar
Under $100
IPX8
7h
Bone conduction MP3
Swimbuds Sport Best wired earbuds
Swimbuds Sport
Under $60
IPX8
n/a
in-ear
H2O Audio Interval Best for Apple Watch
Under $100
IPX8
Apple Watch battery
in-ear + accessory
FINIS Duo Best underwater
FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction
Under $100
IPX8
7h
bone conduction MP3
Under $60
IPX8
10h
in-ear + MP3

Not all waterproof headphones are suitable for swimming.

You need headphones that work underwater and stay on the head when diving.

Imagine swimming laps in a pool with your favorite tunes or listening to a whole audiobook while you get your exercise. No more boring workouts.

It sounds nice.

So, a small group of swimmers liked the idea. They wanted to listen to music when swimming. And they succeeded.

The listening experience of your favorite music underwater is quite special, plus music improves performance during physical activity, so you can get a better workout.

The selection isn’t big, but there are different types. Read the guide before making a decision so you avoid the bad ones. You can also chec the best waterproof headphones (not for swimming) best sports headphones.

CONTENTS (show more)

    How to Choose the Right Headphones for Swimming?

    There are 2 things to get right:

    1. Waterproof design

    Full water protection with a minimum IPX8 waterproof rating. Regular headphones with lower protection run the risk of breaking underwater. IPX7 or lower headphones aren’t good enough to fully submerge underwater.

    2. Stable fit in water

    It’s a unique problem to keep headphones in your ears in water. There are multiple options:

    1. In-ear earbuds with triple-flange eartips that keep the water out. Put on your swimming cap for extra stability, just in case. The moment you lose fit and water fills your ears, you won’t hear the music anymore.
    2. My favorite: Open-ear headphones (bone conduction) that leave your ears open and fit nicely under a swimming cap. And most importantly, it’s much easier to maintain a proper fit with bone conduction headphones.

    Other things to consider:

    Wired headphones or MP3 player? Bluetooth doesn’t work in water. So, it’s only an option if you always swim above the surface.

    If wired, get a gold-plated plug: You want wired headphones that are protected against corrosion. A gold-covered 3.5mm AUX plug (or some other non-corrosive material) works nicely.

    Short cord: If you wear your waterproof MP3 player on your goggle straps, then you need short-corded headphones; otherwise, the cord gets in the way. Many swimming buds have short wires and an additional cord extender 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. Spending more money on a quality product is often 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 even the best swimming headphones won’t win any audio quality 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 models recommended here have enjoyable sound quality.

    Best Headphones for Swimming

    1. Shokz OpenSwim

    1st-place Best Headphones for Swimming
    Shokz OpenSwim bone conduction headphones

    Shokz OpenSwim are the best swimming headphones with bone conduction and a built-in MP3 player.

    Connection icon Connection: Built-in MP3
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conduction
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Bone conduction | Water resistance: IP68 | Battery life: 8h | Charging: Proprietary USB cable | Memory size: 4GB | Weight: n/a | Supported files: MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC, AAC | Features: Sumbersible, open-ear design
    • Highly durable with IP68 rating
    • Stable fit under a swimming cap
    • Quality sound for bone conduction with EQ
    • Random shuffle of songs repeats the same song before all play
    • No Bluetooth connectivity

    Why do I like them?

    Shokz OpenSwim have top-notch comfort and fit in water without irritating ears or losing the fit during swimming.

    Best on the market

    Shokz is a leader in bone conduction technology. They offer multiple different workout headphones, so you’re sure to get high-quality sound and design.

    Check the AfterShokz Aeropex review as a sports alternative bone conduction headphones.

    The OpenSwim (previously known as AfterShokz Xtrainerz) are made specifically for swimming in water. Despite having an overall comfortable fit, they fit tightly to your bones for the best sound transmission outside and in water.

    If you plan on making flips, wear a swim cap for the best fit. Due to its ergonomic design, the headband is stable but can move at faster speeds underwater.

    Reliable protection

    Like other waterproof headphones, these have an IP68-certified design. You can take them swimming, do water sport activities, and even dive underwater for a couple of feet (though it’s not for deep diving).

    Unfortunately, you can only store music locally, as you can’t stream music wirelessly, even when on dry land. They store 1200 MP3 songs and last for around 8 hours per charge.

    Check other top-rated bone conduction headphones.

    Best Swiming Headphones to Use With Goggles under $100

    2. H2O Audio Sonar – MP3 & Bluetooth

    2nd-place Best for Swimming Goggles under $100
    H2O Audio Sonar Waterproof headphones with MP3 Bluetooth

    H2O Audio Sonar are the best swimming headphones to wear with goggles under $100. These are bone-conducting headphones with built-in MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity.

    Connection icon Connection: Built-in MP3 & Bluetooth
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conduction
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: /
    Type: Bone conduction | Water resistance: IPX8 | Battery life: 7h | Charging: Proprietary USB cable | Memory size: 8GB | Weight: n/a | Supported files: MP3, M4A | Features: Must use with goggles, supports Apple Watch too
    • Work underwater thanks to bone conduction
    • MP3 & Bluetooth support for Apple Watch
    • Great fit in water as they attach to goggles
    • Can't wear without goggles or a strap

    For hassle-free listening to music in a pool, the H2O Audio Sonar high-quality waterproof headphones make a great offer.

    Fantastic fit

    Thanks to bone conduction, you don’t have to deal with wearing earplugs and earbud tips. The headphones sit next to your temples, so your ears are always free.

    But you have to wear them with swimming goggles. They attach to the strap for a stable fit underwater, and without it, you can’t wear them at all.

    Even the best swimmers listen to music in a pool. Check this Michael Phelps H2O Audio video.

    Michael Phelps – H2O Audio
    Famous swimmers like Michael Phelps use H2O Audio waterproof headphones. Though they probably paid for this video.

    Plenty of technology

    With an MP3 player that has 8 GB of storage and supports many file formats, you’ll never run out of songs. And if it’s too much of a hassle, you can connect them via Bluetooth to your phone or Apple Watch (you need the additional clip).

    Moreover, they’re rated for IPX8 and charge with a proprietary charging port (sadly, not a USB-C). You get a solid 7 hours of playing music on a full charge, which is plenty for even the most extreme swimmers.

    Best Wired Earbuds for Swimming

    3. Swimbuds Sport In-Ear Headphones

    trophy Best Wired Earbuds for Swimming
    Swimbuds Sport Waterproof Headphones

    The Swimbuds Sport are your best choice if you are looking for fully submersible swimming earbuds for your MP3 player.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired: 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: In-ear | Water resistance: IPX8 | Cable: Short cord + cord extension | Warranty: 1 year | Ear tips: 11 pairs (4 types) | Features: Lots of accessories, reputable and proven product
    • Good sound in water
    • Many accessories (eartips and earplugs)
    • The AUX plug is gold-plated, so it's resistant to corrosion
    • Require an MP3 player

    Though the sound quality can’t quite compete with non-waterproof earbuds, they have plenty of volume and better clarity than most fully waterproof earphones.

    Proven track record

    Swimbuds Sport have been used by thousands of swimmers for many years, and they’re still popular today.

    If you need earphones for underwater use, the highest IP rating (IPX8), and a stable fit in the water, the Swimbuds Sport were made for that.

    Short cord and the extension, plus other accessories

    They come with a casing and a short cord to attach to a music player at the back of your head (the usual way to wear them). There’s an extension cord if needed, too.

    Plus, you get 11 pairs of different eartips and fin tips. They are specially designed to give you a watertight seal, so it’s easy to find the ideal fit for your ears.

    Best Swimming Headphones for Apple Watch

    4. H2O Audio Interval

    trophy Best for Apple Watch
    H2O Audio Interval

    H2O Audio Interval is the best missing peace you need to swim with an Apple Watch.

    H2O Audio Interval is an accessory that comes with a clip for the Watch and Surge S+ waterproof headphones.

    Connection icon Connection: Apple Watch
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Wired earbuds | Water resistance: IPX8 | Battery life: Apple Watch battery | Features: Must use with Apple Watch, strapped on goggles
    • Stable fit for swimming, even underwater
    • Good sound quality in water
    • Must use with Apple Watch
    • Must be attached on a strap/goggles

    Convenient for Apple Watch

    If you already own the Watch, you get plenty of extra features that come with it. You can stream music via Spotify, listen to audiobooks with Audible or use any other audio app you have installed.

    It comes with physical playback controls for easy operation with wet hands and proven H2O Surge S+ waterproof earphones. The in-ear fit ensures high sound quality underwater.

    Stable fit with swim goggles

    The fit behind your head is great to swim laps. Although, you need to wear swimming goggles and attach the accessory to the strap. But it’s simple and doesn’t take a lot of time.

    One thing worth mentioning is that like other accessories, the battery life and features depend on your Apple Watch and apps.

    If you have an Apple Watch and want to listen to music in a pool, H2O Audio Interval headphones make it really convenient.

    Best Headphones for Underwater Swimming

    5. FINIS Duo

    trophy Best for Underwater Swimming
    FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction underwater headphones

    If you do a lot of underwater swimming, check the FINIS Duo. These bone-conduction headphones with an MP3 player stay stable during flips.

    Connection icon Connection: Built-in MP3
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conducting
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: /
    Type: Bone conduction MP3 player | Water resistance: IPX8 | Battery life: 7h | Charging: Proprietary USB cable | Memory size: 4GB | Weight: n/a | Supported files: MP3, WMA | Features: Clip-on design, physical controls
    • Popular swimming MP3 player
    • Good sound (if you also use ear plugs)
    • Stable fit in water
    • Must attach to a strap or goggles
    • Quality control issues

    The FINIS Duo are one of the older bone-conduction swimming headphones that have been on the market for some time. But that doesn’t mean they’re outdated.

    Solid performance in water

    Many swimmers swear by them for their pool routine. You attach them to your swim goggles and get a stable fit even when doing backflips.

    The bone conductors work outside and even better in water. The sound quality is clean and loud, so you can easily listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, and other entertainment.

    MP3 player is simple to use

    It comes with 4GB of internal memory and playback control buttons, which are easy to use when swimming. Listen to songs in order or use a shuffle mode. You can also control volume without having to stop.

    On top of that, the 7-hour battery capacity on a single charge is enough even for marathon swimmers. Just charge them up before use since they don’t have fast charging.

    All in all, FINIS Duo are proven swimming headphones that are a great buy today.

    Best Budget Swimming Combo

    6. SYRYN MP3 + Swimbuds Flip

    dollar Best Budget Swimming Combo
    SYRYN MP3 Swimbuds

    SYRYN MP3 + Swimbuds Flip is the best earbuds and MP3 combo for swimming on a budget.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: In-ear earphones + MP3 player | Water resistance: IPX8 | Battery life: 10h | Charging: 3.5mm to USB cable | Memory size: 8GB | Cable: Short cord + cord extension | Warranty: 1 year | Ear tips: 10 pairs (4 types) | Supported files: MP3, AAC, WAV, WMA
    • Affordable bundle
    • Good sound of Swimbuds Flip
    • Compatibility issues with older iTunes bought songs
    • Needs to be attached to goggles

    The audio quality is clear and powerful enough to listen to music and audio books. This is greatly helped by the FitGoo gel, which helps isolate the audio to produce its full range.

    Affordable solution

    This is a similar package to alternatives but costs less money while staying reliable. The MP3 has a 10-hour battery life, and it supports various music files, so you can create an extensive workout playlist.

    Up to 8GB of onboard storage is enough for at least 1,000 songs. One tricky part is that you have to download music since this MP3 doesn’t support streaming.

    In the package, you also get Swimbuds Flip waterproof headphones. They are proven to perform well in water, and together with FitGoo gel and 10 different sizes of eartips, you’ll easily find the right fit.

    Long or short cable

    You can strap it to the back of your head, onto your goggles. Or use the long cord to use it outside water. It gives you plenty of flexibility to find your perfect length. Use it during a swimming workout or on your way home.

    If you’re on the fence about getting yourself a pair of swimming headphones, try with a budget version. SYRYN MP3 + Swimbuds Flip are a great start.

    9. AGPTEK Swimming Earbuds

    dollar BEST CHEAP WATERPROOF EARPHONES
    Agptek Swimming Earbuds

    Best waterproof earphones for swimming for a dirt-cheap price.

    The AGPTEK swimming buds are generic and of cheap build quality. But they still manage to do a good job for swimming purposes.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-22.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Water resistance: IPX8 | Cable: Short cord + cord extension | Warranty: 1 year | Ear tips: 5 pairs (2 types)
    • Dirt-cheap
    • Decent sound
    • Not for vigirous underwater activities

    Cheap yet solid

    The overall sound quality is good, though nothing spectacular. The frequency response of the mids and highs is actually pretty clear.

    Though the bass leaves a lot to be desired, this is a common problem with even the best waterproof earbuds.

    The main selling point of the AGPTEK ear buds is that they offer waterproof functionality (IPX8) and a snug fit at such a low price.

    Eartips for swimming in comfort

    Five pairs of eartips allow you to choose the best for your needs (triple-flange for swimming and regular for outside use).

    They sit comfortably for extended periods under a swimming cap and during watersports and other water activities.

    However, it’s advisable to stabilize them with a cap. Otherwise, they might lose the water tightness when performing swimming strokes.

    Other Models Worth Considering

    7. Sony NW-WS623

    Sony NWWS623 waterproof Walkman MP3

    Sony NW-WS623 have an in-ear fit that gives high-quality audio with bass that’s better than with any bone conduction headphones. Thanks to certified IP68 protection, they’re dustproof and waterproof for most extreme uses. And they support ambient sound mode and fast charging: a 3-minute charge adds 1 hour of playtime. Choose from 4 or 16GB storage capacity for your favorite songs. They’re just a big harder to get.

    Check Sony NW-WS623 price

    8. HydroActive Headphones by Underwater Audio

    HydroActive swimming headphones

    These have plenty of clarity and power to ensure you can hear your music underwater. The neckband design is perfect for in-water use. They stick to your head well. They come with 4 different styles of eartips, 11 pairs altogether. For a solid pair of swimming earphones that offer a secure fit, the HydroActive by Underwater Audio are a solid choice.

    Check Underwater Audio HydroActive price

    9. Best Cheap: AGPTEK Swimming Earbuds

    Agptek Swimming Earbuds

    The overall sound quality is good, though nothing spectacular, the bass leaves a lot to be desired. The main selling point of these are a waterproof IPX8 design and a snug fit. 5 pairs of swimming eartips allow you to find a proper underwater fit. However, it’s advisable to stabilize them with a cap.

    Check AGPTEK Swimming Earbuds price

    10. H2O Surge S+

    H2O Surge S+

    These wired waterproof earphones are ergonomically designed for swimming but require a waterproof MP3. They are often packed in combos with other H2O Audio products. They fit well, produce less drag, and are reliable in water and land use. Great as a replacement pair.

    Check Surge S+ price

    Models that didn’t make the list

    • FX-Sport VRX: These are harder to fit due to the silicone skin, which makes you look funny (too embarrassed to show the photo 🙂 ).
    FX Sport VRX in silicone skin
    FX-Sport VRX in a silicone skin.

    How to Get The Best Fit in The Water?

    Here are some tips:

    • Keep your headphones in place with a swimming cap. Swim caps are cheap and give extra stability to your headphones.
    • Use the right eartips: Most swimming headphones come with a wide variety. Try them all and pick those that fit you best. Triple-flange worked best for me.
    • Use swimming goggles as the anchor for your headphones. This depends on the design but works well in water.

    Types of Swimming Headphones

    In-ear earbudsYou can use these for water activity, even underwater, so they’re perfect for swimming laps.
    Bone-conducting headphonesOften come with a built-in waterproof MP3. Bone conduction works reliably underwater. It’s best for underwater swimming.
    Headphones and MP3 comboYou can use the MP3 players for swimming under water. Some come with Bluetooth as well, so when you don’t swim, you can set up Bluetooth connectivity and use them as regular waterproof headphones.

    Key Features of Waterproof Headphones for Swimming

    The best swimming headphones are like normal headphones except for protection against water and hydrodynamic design.

    Water protection is measured with an industry standard called Ingress Protection, or IPX for short. With hydrophobic (water-repelling) coating and watertight design. However, not all are equal, and there are different water safety levels.

    Look for at least IPX8 if you want to use headphones for swimming. Anything less and you run the risk of ruining them in water.

    Quick IPX explanation

    IPX rating - infographic

    All waterproof headphones go through different levels of testing to get an IPX rating. Based on the results, they can be advertised as waterproof or water-resistant.

    IPX ratings run from IPX1 to IPX9. Swimming headphones require a high IPX rating.

    • From IPX1-IPX3 =sweat-resistant
    • From IPX4-IPX5 = water-resistant
    • From IPX6-IPX9 = waterproof

    Wired Headphones are Better for Swimming

    Wired headphones for swimming dominate the market. These are specifically designed for swimming.

    When it comes to water resistance, though, wires present another issue. The AUX plug needs to be resistant to corrosion. Usually, it’s plated with a non-corrosive metal like gold.

    Waterproof Bluetooth earbuds are another option, though they aren’t suitable for swimming because the Bluetooth connection doesn’t work in the water.

    Water is too dense for a Bluetooth signal to get through. That’s why you won’t find any decent wireless headphones for swimming (contrary to information on other websites).

    Consider MP3 battery life

    This is only relevant if you go for headphones with an integrated MP3 player. You need them to last long enough for a swimming workout. Going for a long swim and having your sport headphones run out of juice is frustrating.

    A woman swimming in a lake
    Swimming requires special headphones with a minimum IPX8 rating.

    Why Trust HeadphonesAddict?

    At HeadphonesAddict, we provide honest headphone tests through a rigorous methodology and a transparent process. See how we test here. We put a lot of effort into personally testing and measuring each pair so we can make educated recommendations.

    More reasons to trust us:

    • We test headphones ourselves on 9 key points (less for wired models).
    • We measure frequency responses, ANC, passive isolation, compare EQ presets, and battery life.
    • We don’t take money for tests and reviews.
    • We don’t delete or edit “bad reviews.” Even when brands ask us to. If the headphones sound bad or have other faults, we tell you without embellishment.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    Do Bluetooth headphones work underwater?

    Wireless Bluetooth technology doesn’t work underwater. Water is too dense for the wireless signal to travel through. The only way to use Bluetooth workout headphones is to swim above water and never out of the wireless range of your music device.

    How does water protection work?

    Waterproof headphones are protected with a hydrophobic coating that blocks off the water. As long as the water doesn’t reach the electronics inside, the headphones work. Keep in mind the effectiveness varies. Not all water-protected headphones are suitable for swimming.

    Can you swim with water-resistant headphones?

    No, water-resistant headphones are not suitable for swimming. They have to be fully waterproof with an IPX7 waterproof rating or above.

    Related guides: The best swimming music players

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