The Best Swimming Headphones in 2021

Swimmers have always had that extra challenge of focusing through monotonous laps, but no more – with so many waterproof headphones available there is no reason you can’t take your music with you.

Choosing underwater products can be tough: there are so many options available and it can be hard to know what is really going to work for you whether you are trying to decide on the triathlon watch, goggles – or swimming headphones!

Let us help you out by laying out the pros and cons of some of the best headphones for swimming.

sony nw ws623
  • Type: wireless, connected in-ear
  • Waterproof: to 2m, salt or fresh water
  • Noise cancelling: no
  • Ambient sound mode: yes
  • Mic: yes
  • Battery life: 12 hours

These earbuds are not only waterproof, they are dustproof and sweat-proof as well, meaning they are designed for whatever tough training conditions you need them to be. The coating is scratch proof and it will take more than a few bumps or bangs to damage these earphones. Most importantly, they provide crisp sound with a solid base component. They also have a great ambient sound feature which allows you to hear the world around you – or have a conversation! – without removing the headset.

They have both Bluetooth and 4GB internal storage which makes them very versatile. Further adding to their versatility is a 3-minute quick charge feature – 3 minutes of charging for an hour of playtime – which is very convenient for those moments when you’re rushing out the door. Another convenient design feature is the simple control buttons which are subtle but easy to feel and operate while wearing. Check out this review for an even more detailed breakdown of the user experience.

The greatest compromise is wearing comfort. While these Sony’s aren’t designed to fit tightly, they have a short enough cord between earbuds to fit too snugly on larger heads. In addition, the various earpieces all feel rigid and can be challenging to fit comfortably into place. They are far from being uncomfortable, but the tough, sleek design definitely doesn’t prioritize comfort.

Pros:
  • Great, crisp sound
  • Very durable
  • Easy to operate buttons
  • Excellent battery life
  • Quick-charge feature
Cons:
  • Bluetooth connection is fidgety
  • Short cord potentially too small for larger heads
  • Rigid earpieces
  • Pricey

AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Best Bone Conduction Swimming Headphones

aftershokz xtrainerz
  • Type: wireless, connected open-ear
  • Waterproof: IP68: 2 hours at 2m
  • Noise cancelling: no
  • Ambient sound mode: no
  • Mic: no
  • Battery life: 8 hours

These unique earphones are designed with an open-ear concept meaning the sound is conducted through the cheekbones and your ear canal is never blocked. The advantage here is that the wearer always has an excellent perception of the noises around them. Not only that, but one can easily wear actual earplugs at the same time.

The bone conduction technology also makes these ideal for anyone with impaired hearing as well as making them allowed in race conditions where in-ear devices are often banned. The sound quality above water is decent, but the AfterShokz really shine underwater where they deliver unmatchable sound quality.

The fit is comfortable and secure: these earphones stay put so well that it is easy to forget they are there. While they work well for training out of the water as well, they have no Bluetooth meaning that these earphones rely on internal storage only – thankfully they have 4GB which equates to roughly 1200 songs. You will need to download mp3 files. They have 3 buttons that can be used to execute a lot of commands but the combinations can be tough to remember, at least in the beginning.

As long as you don’t mind passing on the music streaming above water, the Xtrainerz are excellent underwater companions.

Pros:
  • Excellent underwater sound
  • Very comfortable
  • Bone conduction: open-ear
  • Ideal for races and hearing impaired
  • Fit well with swim cap
Cons:
  • No Bluetooth
  • Software makes sorting music difficult
  • Complex control commands

Swimbuds Sport Premium Waterproof Headphones

Best Value Swimming Headphones

swimbuds sport premium waterproof headphones
  • Type: wired, in-ear
  • Waterproof: IPX8, 12 ft underwater
  • Internal storage: no
  • Noise cancelling: no
  • Ambient sound mode: no
  • Weight: 0.4 Oz

These swimming headphones are the second generation of a well-loved model. The 40cm cable is much shorter than standard headphones and is designed to tuck under your goggle strap where it connects with your waterproof, strap-mounted mp3 player without getting in your way. The reinforced strap and connection points are well-made and durable so you can count on these earphones to last.

The Swimbuds come with no less than eleven different earpieces so you are guaranteed to find a comfortable match. The hybrid silicone earbuds provide a comfortable, watertight fit and optimal sound conduction. The watertight fit is important as it is necessary for good sound. On that note, the Swimbuds sound great underwater!

You will need to connect to a waterproof mp3 player, but if your heart isn’t set on internal storage then these wired earbuds are an excellent choice.

Pros:
  • Guaranteed fit for any ear
  • Short cable
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Good quality sound
  • Durable
Cons:
  • No internal storage

H2O Audio Store Headphones for Swimming Surge S+

The Best Budget Swimming Headphones

h2o audio store headphones for swimming surge s plus
  • Type: wired, in-ear
  • Waterproof: IPX8, 12 ft underwater
  • Internal storage: no
  • Weight: 1.4 Oz

Looking for reliable underwater sound without breaking the bank? Well, here you go! Designed with a short cord, 30cm, to fit with a waterproof, head-mounted mp3 player, these wired earbuds are simple and tuck comfortably under your goggle strap or swim cap.

The Surge S+’s come with 6 earpieces to help you find a great fit. Expect amplified bass – though keep in mind the small driver and waterproofing compromise sound. Simple and fuss-free operation is the name of the game here.

Pros:
  • Multiple ear pieces included
  • Short cable
  • Amplified bass
Cons:
  • No internal storage

HydroActive Waterproof Headphones

The Best Wired Swimming Headphones

hydroactive waterproof headphones
  • Type: wired, connected in-ear
  • Waterproof: IPX8, 12 ft underwater
  • Internal storage: no

These wired earbuds feature a very streamlined design: the behind the neck connection has a super short audio cord running from only one ear bud to the mp3 player. With less cable to deal with and no possibility of getting anything twisted or tangled, these are as good as waterproof, wired headphones can get! The wrap-around design makes them compatible with swim caps or helmets and therefore ideal for most aquatic sports and activities.

The HydroActive comes with 11 different earpieces in 4 different styles to help you find the right fit. Just in case water does get into your earphones, there is a special waterproof chamber that provides an extra safeguard for the electronic parts and keeps the tunes going no matter what.

These are no hassle, high-quality earphones that are ideal for anyone who is looking to pair them with a waterproof mp3 player.

Pros:
  • Streamlined, no-fuss design
  • Good underwater sound
  • Extra dry chamber
  • Great durability
  • Super short cord
Cons:
  • No internal storage
  • May be too tight for larger heads
  • Fragile ear piece retainer

FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction MP3 Player

The Best Goggle-mounted Swimming Headphones

finis duo underwater bone conduction mp3 player
  • Type: open ear, bone conduction
  • Waterproof: IPX8
  • Internal storage: 4 GB
  • Battery life: 7 hours

Tired of trying to find the perfect watertight fit? These earphones eliminate the need completely! They are designed to clip onto your goggles, positioned so that they sit just in front of the ear opening. The sound is transmitted via bone conduction through the cheekbones.

The integrated goggle clip is solid and holds the earphones securely. They ensure a comfortable fit with nothing being attached to your head or ears. The two sides are connected by a thin cable as opposed to a thicker band as is common with connected earbuds: the thin connection makes these FINIS headphones versatile and lightweight, but also more fragile.

The major downside is that these earphones are only designed for swimming and can’t easily be used for other sports.

With 4 GB of storage you can load over 1000 songs, the equivalent to roughly 60 hours of playback. The software supports iTunes which makes it easy to load songs, podcasts, and more. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts about 7 hours when fully charged which should be more than enough for a few swim sessions.

Pros:
  • Great underwater sound
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Bone conduction: open ear
  • Swim cap and ear plug compatible
  • Easy to operate control buttons
Cons:
  • Must be attached to goggles
  • Use for swimming only
  • Charging connection can be finicky

AGPTEK IPX8 Waterproof in-Ear Earphones

The Best Cheap Swimming Headphones

agptek ipx8 waterproof in ear earphones
  • Type: wired, in-ear
  • Waterproof: IPX8, 12 ft underwater
  • Internal storage: no

These earphones are simple, minimalistic and they work underwater – if you aren’t looking for something fancy then this cheap pair is more than adequate for the occasional swimmer. The coiled cord is a convenient feature that goes a long way in terms of preventing hassle and tangles. The 19cm long cord is quite short in its coiled form but can be extended up to 35cm.

These waterproof earphones come with 5 earpieces in two shapes and varying sizes to accommodate different ears: this works great for many people but doesn’t offer the same range of earpieces shapes and sizes as some higher-end earphones do.

The durability isn’t the best, but the sound is decent and at this price one really can’t complain!

Pros:
  • Coiled cord
  • Simple design
  • Very affordable
Cons:
  • Poor durability
  • Only 5 ear pieces

What to Consider When Buying Earphones for Swimming

Often choosing a product is challenging when they all somehow seem the same – this is not the case with underwater earphones! There are huge differences in the types of earphones available, all of which have their merits.

You have a few big choices to make when choosing an option for underwater audio. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider before deciding which pair is right for you.

Storage

Internal storage (wireless) can be super convenient, but it isn’t for everyone. The major benefit is not needing to have any external device – like a waterproof mp3 player. Without needing a connection between your music player and your earphones, you will also have less cables that can get tangled and fewer underwater connections. Most internal storage options are somewhere around 4 GB which equates to over 1000 songs and 60 hours of playback. The disadvantage is often the format and software compatibility provided by the earphones. Here you will have control buttons directly on or near one of the earpieces.

An external mp3 player (wired) generally provides more storage, more control over the organization of your content, and most importantly it allows you to use the same mp3 player for your swims as you likely use for other types of training. The downside is the external player usually needs to be mounted onto the back of your goggle straps and can take some getting used to as well as a bit longer to set up. Here you will have control buttons on your mp3 player and/or the earphones depending on the design.

In-Ear Design

Most earphones designed for underwater use come with very specific earbud pieces that need to fit snugly into the wearer’s ear canal in order to provide a watertight fit. The watertight fit is important because it traps a bit of air in the ear canal which ensures optimal sound conduction – if you get water in your ears then the sound will be compromised. One needs to insert the earpieces before getting in the water and it can be trying to get them set up again if one accidentally loses its seal or pops out mid-swim. TIP: some swimmers get a better seal and more comfortable fit using FitGoo or a touch of petroleum jelly.

Bone Conduction

This is an up and coming technology in which there have recently been significant improvements. The earpiece rests just in front of the ear at the edge of the cheekbone. The sounds are actually conducted through the cheekbone to the mid-ear leaving your ear canal free. While bone conduction earphones tend to be more expensive, their use is much more carefree. No worries about getting them wet and no need to find perfectly sealing earpieces. TIP: They actually sound better with earplugs in.

Waterproofness

This is a no brainer, but it isn’t always easy to know what those numbers mean! The first number of a waterproof rating actually refers to the product’s resistance against solids or dust, the second number defines the water resistance. The only fully waterproof option is ‘8’ which allows for full submersion for an unlimited time up to 12 feet under. Your swimming headphones should be IPX8 or IPX68.

Bluetooth and Sound Quality

Keep in mind that enjoying music underwater comes with compromises. No matter what type of earphones you decide on, the driver will be relatively small; in addition, the waterproofing affects the sound quality so although you can enjoy great sound underwater, it won’t be comparable with a high-quality pair of headphones above water. The other note is that Bluetooth doesn’t work well enough to be practical for underwater use, hence we are limited to built-in memory (internal or external) at this time. This means no streaming.

We wish you good vibes with your waterproof headphones whether you are swimming laps or grabbing a snorkel for some fun!

About The Author

AthletePath Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts and professional athletes thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to become a better athlete.

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