Best Adult Swim Caps

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

34 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
370 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best adult swim caps

Last Updated July 2020

When you dive or swim laps, does hair get in your face and distract you? When that happens, it can take away from your swimming experience and in some cases affect your training or times. To keep stray strands in one place, consider investing in an adult swim cap.

Made from flexible latex or silicone, swim caps hug your scalp and stay put, even during intense bouts of aquatic activity. Swim caps also cover your ears, which means you’re less likely to experience uncomfortable water clogging. For competitive swimmers, swim caps are essential for reducing water resistance and allowing you to cut through the water quickly and efficiently by streamlining your head.

Before your next dip or dive, make sure you’re wearing an adult swim cap. If you’re wondering how to find the right cap that is both comfortable and well-fitting, our buying guide has everything you need to know. When you’re ready to buy, check out our picks for the best adult swim caps on the market.

To avoid a large bump in your swim cap, put your hair in a ponytail and wrap it into a loose, flat bun before putting on the cap. This will also help eliminate additional pulling of the cap and prevent it from creeping up your forehead.

Why wear a swim cap?

Faster swim times

Competitive swimmers work hard at swim times, and one of the best ways to shave off seconds is to streamline the body in the water. Wet hair resists water and can weigh down the swimmer’s head. Swim caps aid in streamlining the body by making the head smooth and resistance-free.

Eliminate distractions

Even if you’re not a competitive swimmer, the last thing you want when you’re diving or swimming is stray hair getting stuck to your face or swim goggles. Because swim caps tuck away all your hair, you don’t need to worry about brushing strands off your face between movements. Swim caps also have non-slip details, so you don’t have to worry about them popping off your head.

Protect hair from damage

Pool chemicals are harsh and can take a toll on your hair. To minimize damage to your hair, especially to dyed hair, it’s imperative that you wear a swim cap. Otherwise, chlorine and other chemicals can dry out hair and even leave you with a hard-to-remove greenish tinge. Keep in mind that swim caps won’t keep your hair dry, but they will reduce how much exposure your hair has to the water.

EXPERT TIP

By the time most kids hit their teenage years, they’ll find a better fit with adult swim caps as kids’ caps will likely be too small.


Staff  | BestReviews

Key considerations

Material

Swim caps are made of either latex or silicone. Latex swim caps are more efficient and less expensive compared to silicone caps, but they’re much thinner – and poor-quality latex caps are notorious for ripping. Many people have latex allergies, which is one reason why silicone swim caps are more popular. Like latex, silicone is flexible and hugs your head well. Silicone swim caps tend to be thicker and a bit softer, and they won’t retain odors as much as latex caps.

Size

Like kids’ swim caps, adult swim caps are rarely available in different sizes. If you have thick or long hair, you might need to embark on a search for a swim cap specifically tailored to hold more hair. These designs have more room at the crown of the cap to accommodate more hair.

Coverage area

Swim caps reach down to the middle of your forehead in the front and down your neck in the back to where your hairline stops. They also cover your ears. Keep in mind that everyone’s hairline is different, so the exact coverage area of swim caps can vary between individuals.

Non-slip

While latex and silicone are naturally non-slip in their own right, swim caps are often textured to improve grip even more. You’ll often find grippy nubs or lines on the inside of the swim cap’s band to help your cap stay put and prevent rolling. The edges of some swim caps have tiny scallops as this shape is also effective at preventing rolling.

EXPERT TIP

When tying your hair back, stick to metal-free hair ties to prevent snags and punctures to your swim cap.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Molded ears

Because your ears can cause rippling or puckering in a swim cap, some designs feature molded ear areas. These swim caps allow extra room for the ears to give the cap a smoother profile. While it’s a convenient design improvement, not everyone’s ears are the same size, so fit can be hit or miss with these caps.

UV protection

Swim caps aren’t just for indoor pools. Certain swim caps offer UV or UPF protection to minimize the impact of the sun’s rays beating down on your head in an outdoor pool or at the beach or lake. While they’re a bit harder to find, one perk of these swim caps is that they usually cost no more than non-UV caps.

Color and design

There’s no need to worry about having to settle for a boring swim cap as most are available in a diverse assortment of colors and designs. Solid colors remain among the most popular choices, especially since you can choose from neon colors, pastels, or traditional jewel tones. If you’re looking for something more stylish, you’ll find swim caps featuring prints or team colors.

EXPERT TIP

Most swim caps have a fold line running down the center, which you can use as a guide to help position the cap on your head.


Staff  | BestReviews

Adult swim cap prices

Adult swim caps cost between $5 and $35. You get what you pay for with swim caps, so if you swim on a regular basis, it’s definitely worth it to make more of an investment.

Casual swimmers may enjoy entry-level swim caps, which cost $10 and below. These adult swim caps are usually made of latex. However, there are some silicone designs in this category.

If your main concerns are comfort and a secure fit, you’ll want to spend closer to $20 on an adult swim cap. These swim caps are more durable and have textured bands that hug your head.

Competitive and frequent swimmers may wish to spend up to $35 on a high-quality adult swim cap. These swim caps last significantly longer than less expensive options. Most swim caps intended to accommodate long hair are also found in this price range.

Tips

  • Try more than one brand of swim cap. Each brand designs its swim caps differently. If you have trouble finding a comfortable fit in one brand, consider trying another brand with designs that may be more accommodating.
  • Avoid using your nails to adjust the swim cap. Your fingernails, even if they’re filed down, can be sharp enough to puncture your swim cap. When you’re adjusting the cap, simply use your fingertips or knuckles instead.
  • Put the back part of the swim cap on first. To catch as much hair as possible, first place the cap on your head at the back of your head. This will capture stray hairs as you fit the rest of the cap over the top and front of your head.
  • Use a hair conditioner before putting on your swim cap. Experienced swimmers often recommend coating your hair with conditioner prior to putting on a swim cap. Not only does hair conditioner reduce flyaways, it also makes cap removal easier and less painful.
  • Never share your swim cap. As is the case with hair brushes, for hygienic reasons be sure you never share your swim cap with others.
  • Rinse or wash your hair after a swim. A swim cap minimizes your hair’s exposure to chlorine, but it doesn’t totally prevent it. To avoid the dreaded greenish tinge of chlorine, rinse or wash your hair after each swim to ensure pool chemicals don’t settle on strands.
It’s a good idea to buy swim caps in pairs and to keep your spare in your gym bag or beach tote. In the event one cap is damaged, you can quickly switch to the other one without missing a swim session.

FAQ

Q. How long do adult swim caps last?
A.
Depending on the quality of the construction and frequency of use, adult swim caps can last anywhere from a couple months to a couple years. Silicone caps tend to last longer than latex swim caps. One way to preserve your swim cap is to care for it appropriately. In addition to rinsing it off after each swim, be sure to keep the cap away from objects that could puncture the material, especially earrings or keys.
 

Q. Do adult swim caps come with cases?
A.
Only some swim caps come with dedicated cases, which are usually waterproof pouches or tubes. If your cap doesn’t come with a case, you can purchase one separately. Some individuals simply use resealable plastic bags. However, keep in mind that plastic bags can be delicate and rip easily in a gym bag or beach tote when stored with other objects.

 

Q. Should I invest in a brightly colored swim cap?
A.
If you swim in public pools or at beaches or lakes, you may wish to wear a swim cap in a bright color. This helps fellow swimmers, surfers, boaters, and beachgoers see you. By boosting your visibility, those engaging in other aquatic activities can give you enough space as you swim.

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