In the run-up to doing my first half Ironman, the one thing I struggled with most was boredom when swimming. The hours in the pool added up and I got more and more frustrated. That was until one of my training partners introduced me to waterproof headphones (actually waterproof earphones) and this completely changed the way I train.
It has been a couple of years now and I have tried a many different models. So I thought, with this being a headphone review site, it was high time to put together this list of the 10 best waterproof headphones for swimming.
That said, I don't think that this list only benefits swimmers. In fact, these headphones will work well for almost any sport in which your headphones are going to get wet. They are perfect for all sorts of sports such as paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking etc and anything in between. The key thing to note hear is that if your earbuds are going to come into contact with water then these are the best options you can buy right now.
Just in case you were wondering or don't want to read the full list my personal preference is for these awesome waterproof earbuds from Surge. I have tried many but these work best for me. A lot of lists just run down the products and truth be told most sites have never even owned or remotely tested their products to their full capabilities.
After some time I have came to note that the Surge earphones are by far and away the best option for me. Oh and don’t think for a second that anything on this list is sponsored as I have actually bought and paid for every set of earphones on the list. No freebies, no paid placements. Just an honest opinion on what is good and bad.
While this article covers the best waterproof headphones currently available if you don't need such a high level of waterproofing you can check out our list of the absolute best sports headphones.
Water Resistant Headphones vs Waterproof Headphones
Don't make the mistake of getting buying something that is only water resistant, what you are looking for are waterproof headphones or earphones for swimming. Preferably something with an IPX68 or IPX70 rating. Only those are designated as being fully waterproof will stand up to being fully submerged in water.
Some headphones will be labelled as sweat resistant or water resistant and this does not mean they are waterproof. They will work great if your headphones will get splashed in the rain or if you sweat on them when running but they are not designed for swimming and watersports.
Also the one thing I have learned is to manage expectations with the durability of the earphones. These most likely wont last a couple of years if using them in salt water in the sea or in chlorinated water in the pool. If you are going to used them in such environments then I highly suggest rinsing them after every use with clean fresh water. This will help avoid staining and corrosion over time.
Waterproof MP3 Players for Swimming
To use your waterproof headphones whilst swimming you are going to need a device capable of playing music under water. Whilst some mobile phones are indeed labelled as being waterproof they are not designed to be used continuously under water for either extended periods of time. Additionally, they meant to be used at depths of greater than a few feet. However, there are a number of companies who make awesome waterproof MP3 Players for swimming.
The 2 I recommend most and that I personally use is the SYRYN 8GB waterproof MP3 player and the Audioflood iPod Shuffle by Apple. Both of these MP3 players are excellent for the task they are fully waterproof and designed to be used for swimming. Both Also come with a good set of waterproof earbuds so that kicks this off with 2 solid sets.
Update: We now have a list of the best waterproof mp3 players for swimming and will continue to keep it updated during 2018 as new models become available.
Here is our current top 10 best headphones for swimming 2018 buyer guide.
Finis Duo - Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones
I360 Integrated MP3 player headphones
AGPtek SE01 earphones
H20 Audio Surge S+ (Best swimming headphones 2019)
Audioflood MP3 Player and Headphone Bundle
1. Finis Duo - Waterproof Bone Conduction headphones
These waterproof earphones use Bone Conduction technology to transmit soundwave through your bone as opposed to through your ears.
This might seem strange but when we tested them in the pool they offered some of the clearest sounds from this list.
They have a built-in MP3 function with controls and as a storage capacity of 4gb. The are IPX8 certified and can be submerged up to three meters.
2. i360 - Integrated MP3 player and Headphones
Another set of waterproof swimming earbuds with a built-in MP3 player. The i360, however, is a more traditional style of earphone because unlike the Finis Duo you insert them directly into your ears.
The i360 available with either 4GB or 8GB of internal storage and again is IPX8 certified to depths of up to 3 meters.
Its a fairly generic design but one that is well executed and serves the purpose well.
3. Agptek SE01 IPX8 - Best Cheap Waterproof Earphones
A great option if you are just looking for a cheap set of earphones for swimming and if you already own a waterproof MP3 player.
Surprisingly these are my favourite set of earbuds on the list because I really like the way they fit under my swimcap.
They stay in place right through training sessions in the pool but they also have a regular length cable that can be unwound and allow you to put your MP3 player in a pocket.
This is excellent if you want to use them when doing other watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing.
4. H20 Audio Surge S+ - Test Winner
H20 Audio are one of the pioneers that brought swimming headphones to prominence.
They offer a few different models but the best one is the Surge S+. They are the smallest earphones we tested and are very comfortable for extended use.
They also won out this test with their excellent sound quality and the fact that they are waterproof down to 3.6m as opposed to the more swim cap 3m you see on other headphones.
5. Swimbuds - Swimming specific earbuds
Swimbuds are specifically designed for swimming only and little else.
Myself and most other swimmers I know who listen to music in the pool will commonly clip their MP3 player to their goggle straps.
What that means is a lot of other waterproof headphones have a longer cable that means you can use them away from the pool.
The Swimbuds have a shorter cable which cuts down on excess. A very good choice if you don't like having to tuck the excess cordage into your swimcap.
6. Sony B-Trainer - All Round Sports Tracking Headphone
More than just a set of swimming earphones Sony's B-Trainer is an out ad out sports monster.
This headphone is packed with sports specific technology designed to improve your performance. It's packed with 6 sensors (Heart Rate Monitor, accelerometer, GPS, compass, gyroscope, barometer) which can track Heart rate, Calories, speed, distance, time, pace, steps, stride length and altitude.
It is IPX8 certified for use in the pool or open water and has a massive 16GB of storage capacity. This is a seriously potent headphone and it even adapts the pace of music to match your heat.
7. Pyle Flextreme - Inegrated MP3
The Pyle Flextreme is very similar to the i360 listen above.
It has IPX8, 4GB of storage and had about 7 hours of battery life on our tests.
They are very well made for such a cheap headphone and we have been using them in the sea and the pool for a few months and nothing has gone wrong.
The bulky shape makes them a bit uncomfortable under the swim cap however.
8. Exeze Rider - Budget runner-up winner!
Another solid cheap set of earbuds that don't really do anything fancy but at the same time get the job done.
Just like the AGPtek you will need to use your own MP3 player but that means that if these headphones ever break or get lost you won't be too far out of pocket.
An earbud design with large hooks to hold them in place they have good strong bass and reasonable build quality.
9. HydroActive Shortcord Swimming headphones
One of the most polished waterproof headphones in 2018 has to be the Hydroactive Shortcord. A very well made headphones with the above-average sound quality
I found them to stand head and shoulders above the competition in terms of customization. The Hydroactive headphones come with 11 different options for eartips making them super easy for you to find a system that works for your ear shape.
They aren't the cheapest on this list but they are one of the most well thought out designs with a deliberate short cable that will negate you having to wind up excess if you prefer to wear your waterproof mp3 player on your goggles or swimcap.
10. Audioflood Waterproof Earphone and MP3 Player Bundle
If you are looking for the absolute best solution for listening to music whilst swimming then hands down I recommend the audioflood ipod shuffle. I use the shuffle myself and it just works flawlessly. Audioflood basically takes a stock shuffle and modifies it to allow it to be used underwater.
The bundle comes with the excellent included headphones and other accessories and is covered by their 2 year warranty.
Update: I have been using my Audioflood for 2 years now and it has not skipped a beat. I have been extremely impressed at just how practical it has been and despite numerous more specific and modernized designs this is in my opinion still the best option on the market.