What Are The Best Headphones For Swimming?

We consider the JBL Endurance DIVE headphones to be the best option for swimmers by a long way. They offer fantastic functionality at a reasonable price. You’re almost guaranteed the great audio quality that comes with the reputable JBL brand. These will likely become your new favorite pair of headphones both inside the water and out.

RankNameOur RatingPrice
#1JBL Endurance DIVEClick For Price
#2Sony NWWS413Click For Price
#3FINIS DuoClick For Price
#4Diver DB-10Click For Price
#5Bragi The Dash ProClick For Price

If you had asked me, perhaps 5 to 10 years ago, for recommendations on headphones for swimming in, I probably would have given you a confused look. Basic physics tell us sound doesn’t travel well through water. Not to mention, we all know consumer electronics and water just aren’t a good mix.

Fast forward to today, however, and here we are. Thanks to some amazing engineering and thoughtful design, I can grab my goggles and swim some laps all while listening to some of my favorite tracks. Today we’re going to look at what exactly makes a good pair of swimming headphones and how exactly they work.

What To Look For When Buying Headphones For Swimming

As you’d imagine, for many reasons, your regular headphones simply won’t work underwater. For starters, you’ll need a pair that is fully waterproof. While many standard headphones offer water resistance, this rarely covers full submersion for long periods of time. You’ll also want to take a look at design too. They’ll need to be securely in place and create a “sound tunnel” directly into your ears so that water can’t get in and distort our listening experience. This is usually done by a cleverly designed earbud design which creates a seal around your ears.

Just How “Waterproof” Are They?

Nowadays, the majority of manufacturers have settled on using something called an “IP” or “International Protection” rating to judge just how waterproof their devices are. While this is a somewhat complex rating scale, for simplicity in this list, we’ll be looking at a minimum of either IPX7 or IPX8 to judge whether they are suitable or not.

IPX7 is rated to cover the following:

“Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).”

Essentially, this means you should have no issues while swimming normal laps. This particular test is for 30 continuous minutes, although unless you have a serious set of lungs on you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever come close to that!

While IPX8 Covers:

“The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.”

Now, this only really applies to those who intend to go deeper than 1m or for those interested in endurance events. If you’ll be diving or plan on doing anything other than basic laps, you may wish to consider these for that extra peace of mind.

The great thing about this rating is that the device manufacturer needs to have their device tested by an independent external body to carry this marker. This essentially means you are guaranteed that level of protection rather than this just being something that manufacturers can boast about without having to back up their claims.

Media Playback

While all options listed here do have built-in media players, there are a few things you’ll need to consider if you intend to use them.

First of all, all songs will need to be in MP3 format. This biggest issue here is that you won’t be able to store the music from your favorite streaming services such as Spotify or Apple music. You’ll also need to update these media players via good old fashioned cable. If you want to keep your playlist fresh throughout the year, you’ll be making frequent trips to your computer.

That said, a handful of flagship cell phones claim to be waterproof these days. Always ensure you check with the manufacturer’s advice on this to make sure they are properly waterproof and how well rated they are. Not all “waterproof” phones are able to handle prolonged contact with water that would come with a normal swim session. You’ll also need to consider where you’ll store such a large device when you hit the water.

You may also consider a waterproof case. You can get one of these for most devices whether that be a cell phone or MP3 player for a relatively cheap price. Always ensure you securely fasten these and make sure you pick a high-quality one. The last thing you want is a leak caused by the agitation as a result of regular swimming movements.

Safety

Naturally, every device will be safe. The electronics involved within headphones are certainly not enough to do any lasting harm even in the worst case scenario.

That said, you should pay close attention to your audio equipment. Check it for any damage or wear and tear over time to ensure that it operates correctly and lives a long life. You’ll want to pay close attention to the operating manual as they may require some routine maintenance to ensure they last as long as possible.

Our Top Picks In The Best Headphones For Swimming Category


Our #1 Pick JBL Endurance DIVE

 VALUE


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT

PROS

✓ Great design

✓ Nice features

✓ Built-in media player

✓ Bluetooth

✓ 10-minute Quick charge

CONS

✘ Only 1 GB of memory

JBL’s endurance range was created with active lifestyles in mind. Today we’ll be looking at their DIVE model in particularly due to its built-in media player and full IPX7 waterproof rating. The IPX7 rating gives you peace of mind as you go for your daily swim with the knowledge that they’ll be able to withstand the everyday water submersion. They stay on safely thanks to its smart design, creating a secure sound tunnel between the earbud and your ear.

This pair is also packed full of great features too. The so-called “PowerHook” feature detects when the headphones are placed in and taken out of your ear and automatically start and stop music appropriately. This is particularly helpful if you intend to frequently take them out between laps to recuperate. They also feature touch controls rather than traditional buttons which is a very welcome feature. Considering most on-earbud controls can be small and difficult to use, this offers a pretty innovative solution to that problem.

While they built-in media player only has 1GB of storage, this should be able to a good amount of tracks and should have you covered for the average swim session. If that’s not enough for you though, they include a Bluetooth receiver meaning you can connect them to an external device and listen to your favorite streaming service instead. They also have a pretty great battery life considering all these features, averaging at around 8 hours which is more than enough for normal usage.

These make a great pair both in and out of the water. Packed full of features and offering up the superior sound quality you’d expect from a brand like JBL, all in all, these are definitely our top pick.

Click For Price


Our #2 Pick Sony NWWS413

VALUE


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT

PROS

✓ 4GB of storage

✓ 3-minute quick charge

✓ 8 hours of battery life

CONS

✘ No IP rating

✘ No Bluetooth

This is a wearable media player by Sony. It has 4GB storage for your songs. Its waterproof and designed for swimmers. The battery life is up to 8 hours but with a 3-minute charge, you can get an hour of play time when you need it quick. Their design is built from the ground up with swimmers in mind. They fit securely and comfortably inside your ears with little movement and no risk of them falling out while you complete your laps. As you would expect from a reputable brand such as Sony, the sound quality. They produce deep Bass and a great range of fully realized frequencies.

There is one major drawback though. They don’t have Bluetooth connectivity. Because of this, you’ll be relying on their generous 4GB of internal memory and included MP3 player to listen back to your music. Considering this list is titled “Best headphones for swimming”, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you intend to use them in other environments outside the water this could be a pretty big drawback. With no way of connecting them to an external device, you won’t be able to listen to your favorite streaming services, nor use them for connecting to your smartphone for calls etc.

Click For Price


Our #3 Pick Diver DB-10

 VALUE


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT

PROS

✓ 4GB Storage

✓ Price

CONS

✘ Wired

✘ No IP Rating

This is our favorite budget entry in the list. They still pack a punch feature-wise although they do have some drawbacks as you’d expect.

They come with a waterproof MP3 player included that packs a hefty 4GB storage space which is more than enough to keep your playlist fresh. Since these are a wired option, battery life on the headphones themselves is not an issue, however, the MP3 player claims to have up to 12 hours playback which is pretty great, you can leave these in your swim bag for numerous sessions without having to worry about recharging.

Unfortunately, as they are wired you will have to compete with the dangling cable. While this can be comfortably tucked away into your swim cap, its something worth considering if you don’t like the idea of a trailing wire. Their earbud design itself is also somewhat obtrusive. While most designs on this list rely on an ergonomically designed earbud to help them stay in place, these have a bulky clip which will cover your earlobe.

If you’re willing to overlook these issues, then these are a perfect budget option!

Click For Price


Our #4 Pick FINIS Duo

VALUE


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT

PROS

✓ IPX8 rating

✓ 4GB of memory

CONS

✘ Bone Conduction technology which some may find discomforting

✘ No Bluetooth

This option is designed for hardcore swimmers in mind. With its IPX8 rating, this gives it a waterproof rating that is suitable for long-distance swimming and divers, particularly useful for those taking part in endurance events.

Perhaps the most unique part about this pick is the way in which audio is played back. Unlike traditional methods which create a seal around your ear to pass audio into your eardrum, these headphones use something called “bone conduction” which quite literally vibrates your skull to transmit audio into your brain. It’s worth noting though, this experience can be quite unusual and might not be for you if you have particularly sensitive ears. The great benefit of these though is that you won’t have to deal with uncomfortable earbuds wedged into your ears in fact, you can even wear earplugs with them too if you like.

The media player has 4GB of memory and that you can load up from your computer and it’s also iTunes compatible. Charging is via a cool included dock while the built-in battery provides 7 hours of play time. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback of these is that they also lack Bluetooth connectivity making them strictly for swimming only in terms of functionality.

Click For Price


Our #5 Pick Bragi The Dash Pro

VALUE


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT

PROS

✓ Truly wireless

✓ Great for all purposes

✓ Small and light

✓ Built-in Media Player

✓ Bluetooth

CONS

✘ Quite expensive

✘ Price

✘ No MP3 Player

✘ No IP rating

Our final pick is a pair of truly wireless earphones for all fitness activities. These have no wire connecting them together which can be seen as either a pro or con depending on how you feel about securing them around your neck. It might be a little jarring at first but once you get used to it, nothing quite beats the feeling of freedom which they provide.

They come with a somewhat disappointing 5 hour average battery life, although the portable charging dock included with them come with enough juice to supply a total of 30 hours of playback making them the perfect option if you want to leave them in a swim bag or a private locker and not have to worry about frequent charging.

The only issue with these is their price point. This is the result of a very high tech pair of headphones which may not necessarily just be for swimmers. With built-in Alexa controls, they have some pretty fantastic functionally. The killer feature though? These will actually track your activity level and can automatically monitor whether you are swimming or not making it a great choice for anyone tracking their performance.

If you’re looking the absolute cutting edge in headphone technology then these are for you. They offer some amazing features both in the water and out if you’re willing to accept their higher than usual price point.

Click For Price


Summary

The JBL Endurance DIVE offer up a pair of headphones that simply can’t be beaten for swimmers. They come jam-packed with thoughtful features that will make you forget they’re even on your head. While their 1GB of storage space may not be the biggest, it’s certainly enough to get the job done and their Bluetooth functionality gives you the option to connect them to your smartphone and access your favorite streaming services instead.