Best Waterproof Earbuds

Updated November 2019
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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.

28 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
124 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 waterproof earbuds

Last Updated November 2019

Earbuds are a popular choice for listening to music on the go. They’re lightweight, portable, and durable. Plus, you don’t need to worry about them messing up your hair the way some traditional headphones can. But earbuds do have one major flaw: when it rains, most earbuds must be put away. However, if you enjoy being outdoors rain or shine, there is another option: waterproof earbuds.

Waterproof earbuds work exactly the same way as regular earbuds, with the added benefit that they can be used around or even in the water without fear of damage. But just like with traditional earbuds, there are some quality differences between the different models.

Here is a short guide to help you determine which waterproof earbuds are right for you.

Earbud tips are available in several varieties, including trees, fins and rounds. Choose the shape that best fits your ears.

Key considerations

Type

Before you can delve into the specific features of waterproof earbuds, you first need to decide which type you want.

  • Earbuds vs. in-ear headphones: Some consider in-ear headphones to be different from earbuds because they actually enter the ear canal while earbuds don’t, but this is a fine distinction. Many people lump the two types together under the heading of “earbuds.” Some prefer the in-ear models because they do a better job of blocking external noise. Other people find earbuds to be more comfortable than in-ear headphones because they don’t reach as far into the ear.

  • Corded vs. wireless: The advantage of corded earbuds is that they never require charging. They’ll work for as long as they’re plugged into the device. These models also tend to have better sound quality. However, the cords are prone to tangling, and if you hook the cord on something, it could come loose from the device. For this reason, some prefer the freedom of motion offered by wireless waterproof earbuds, even if it means sacrificing a little sound quality.
     

Before choosing between corded and wireless, consider where you plan to use the earbuds and with what type of device. Corded earbuds may not be much use to you if you don’t have a waterproof music player or phone to pair with them.

Waterproof rating

Water-resistance ratings are usually given as IPX followed by a number ranging from 0 to 8, with 0 indicating no protection against water and 8 representing the highest degree of water protection. If you plan to use the earbuds while swimming, look for models rated IPX-8. But if you only need a little protection against rain, you might be able to get by with earbuds rated IPX-6.

Crisp sound quality anywhere

These HydroActive headphones are rated IPX-8 and suitable for all types of activities, including swimming. They offer clear, high-definition sound, and the short cord with built-in ear hooks helps hold the earbuds in place while you’re moving. Plus, they’re backed by a one-year warranty.

Waterproof earbud features

Once you’ve figured out the type of waterproof earbuds you need, it’s time to focus on the details.

  • Fit: Ill-fitting earbuds can hurt or fall out of your ears, making you less likely to use them. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a well-fitting pair. Everyone’s ear shape is a little different, but by reading through customer reviews of the earbuds you’re considering, you should be able to get some idea of whether fit is a major concern. Active individuals should choose waterproof earbuds that have ear hooks to help better hold the earbuds in place while you’re moving.

  • Sound quality: As with any headphones, waterproof earbuds vary in sound quality. As a general rule, corded models will produce slightly better sound than wireless earbuds, but you can still find wireless waterproof earbuds with crisp, high-definition sound. Read through         customer reviews to get a sense of the sound quality for the waterproof earbuds you’re considering.

  • Cord type: If you go with corded earbuds, you have your choice of the traditional Y-shaped cord or asymmetrical cord. The Y-shaped cord hangs down in front of you in the shape of a Y, hence the name. Asymmetrical cords typically go behind your head, so there’s less of a chance that you’ll hook the cord on something and accidentally pull the earbuds out of your ears or the device.

  • Cord controls: Many corded waterproof earbuds have some basic controls on the earbuds themselves, so you can play or pause what you’re listening to or increase or decrease the volume. This is a nice option if you don’t feel like pulling out your phone or music player every time you want to make a small adjustment.

  • Wireless range: Most wireless waterproof earbuds connect to your devices via Bluetooth. Each will have a range, and if you go farther away from your device than this, your headphones will no longer be able to connect to the device. Think about what you intend to use the earbuds for and choose some with a range long enough to accommodate this.

  • Battery life: Wireless waterproof earbuds use a rechargeable battery. Most work for several hours on a single charge, which should be plenty for most activities. But if you plan to use your earbuds for longer periods, choose some that have an extra-long battery life.
EXPERT TIP

Noise-cancelling waterproof earbuds usually fit more tightly in your ear canal.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

When removing your waterproof earbuds from a device, pull on the plug rather than the cord to avoid damaging the wires.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Gently wrap the cord and store the waterproof earbuds in a dry place when not in use.


Staff  | BestReviews

Waterproof earbud prices

Waterproof earbuds range in price from about $15 to over $100. Earbuds under $20 can do the job, but the sound quality is usually poor and they don’t hold up well over time.

If you want nice, mid-range waterproof earbuds, you should expect to spend at least $20 to $50. These earbuds usually have better sound quality, longer battery life for wireless models, and a rating of at least IPX-7.

Those who plan to wear their waterproof earbuds while swimming will need to spend at least $75. These models usually have the best sound quality, and some are rated IPX-8.

Feature rich and bargain priced

These Otium earphones are rated IPX-7 and have an impressive 30-foot range and eight-hour battery life. With controls and a microphone built into the cord, you can control your music and calls without having to reach for your phone or music player. Comfortable ear hooks help hold the earbuds in place.

Tips

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using waterproof earbuds in or around water. Some are only rated to certain depths and using them deeper than this could break the earbuds.

  • Replace worn-out tips with waterproof tips. Otherwise, water could leak in and damage the electronics.

  • Charge your wireless waterproof earbuds before every use. It’s a good way to make sure that they don’t die on you part way through the day.

  • Keep the volume as low as you can to prevent damage to your eardrums.

Other products we considered

The five products recommended above are great options for the all-season athlete, but swimmers may want to take a closer look at the Swimbuds 100% Waterproof Headphones as well. These completely waterproof corded headphones are designed to be snug enough to stay in your ears even when you’re doing flip turns. Those who want waterproof earbuds that can do everything traditional earbuds can do should check out the LETSCOM Bluetooth Headphones. In addition to an IPX-7 rating and excellent sound quality, these earbuds have a built-in microphone, so you can take calls as well as listen to music.

Your music shouldn’t exceed 85 decibels or you could permanently damage your hearing.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need waterproof earbuds?

A. Not necessarily. It all depends on how you intend to use them. But waterproof earbuds are a nice choice for athletes who want to be able to listen to music while they exercise without worrying about rain or sweat damaging the electronics.

Q. What IPX rating do I need?

A. That all depends on how you intend to use the earbuds. A rating of IPX-4 indicates that the earbuds are splash-proof, so this may be all you need if you want to use them without fear of a little drizzle or sweat. But if you plan to use your earbuds in the water, you should choose some that are rated to IPX-7 or IPX-8 because these can be completely submerged.

Q. Can I use waterproof earbuds with a swim cap?

A. Yes. Slip the earbuds underneath the cap to help keep them in place. You can also put some of the extra cord under the cap to keep it out of your way.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer
  • Vukan
    Vukan
    Post Production Editor

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