Waterproof earbuds are an essential tool for fans of fitness who have a fear of mixing tech and liquid. This is a valid concern, but many newer earbuds are designed with exposure to water in mind. You shouldn’t go around dropping these earbuds in a glass of water for hours at a time, but they won’t need to be replaced if your run gets interrupted by the rain, or you sweat during a particularly long workout. Waterproof earbuds don’t look different than the average pair you’ll see on the street or public transportation, they simply have an extra trick up their digital sleeve. If you’re planning on hitting the gym more often, or have invested in high-end earbuds or headphones that you don’t want getting ruined in a gym bag, these are the best waterproof earbuds available right now.
How We Picked the Best Waterproof Earbuds
Our waterproof earbud recommendations are based on in-depth research and testing. Here are the factors we weighed in making our selections:
Ingress Protection Rating: All waterproof technology receives an IP rating, which designates how much water and dust it can be exposed to without being permanently damaged. An IP67 rating, for example, means the gadget in question is totally dust-proof, and can be submerged under water for 30 minutes. Most of our waterproof earbud recommendations have that rating or above, with the exception being our pick for the best wired pair.
Style: Earbuds can be classified into three sub-categories: true wireless, wireless, wired.
— True Wireless: Each earbud is completely disconnected from the other, has its own battery, and receives audio from your device simultaneously over Bluetooth.
— Wireless: Both earbuds are tethered to one another with a cable, but connect to your device wirelessly using Bluetooth.
— Wired: Both earbuds are tethered to one another with a cable, and connect to your device directly through a wired adapter or headphone jack.
Battery Life: The wireless earbuds we’re recommending run on battery power, and get at least 15 hours of music playback per charge. Their battery life will be impacted by the volume at which you listen to audio — the louder you listen, the less playtime you get.
Water Resistance: Many earbuds, including Apple’s AirPods Pro are “water resistant,” which means they can handle exposure to moisture from sweat, but not much else. We’ve decided to focus exclusively on earbuds labeled as waterproof for this guide.
Best Waterproof Earbuds: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Soundcore Sport X10
Why They Made The Cut: Soundcore allows you to adjust how its ultra-durable Sport X10 earbuds sound and fit to suit your ears.
— IP Rating: IPX7
— Style: True Wireless
— Battery Life: 8 Hours (32 hours with battery case)
— High IP Rating
— Long battery life
— Extra bass
Soundcore has made some of the most impressive audio gear we’ve tested over the years, and its Sport X10 earbuds are our top pick in this guide. The true wireless earbuds have rotatable hooks, which you can slip around the back of your ears to ensure the headphones don’t pop out in the middle of a strenuous exercise. Many true wireless earbuds designed to be used while working out have ear hooks, but the fact that you can adjust the positioning of them on the Sport X10s ensures they’ll fit your ears comfortably.
The Soundcore Sport X10s have an IP7X rating, which means they’re totally dustproof and can be fully submerged underwater for up to a half hour. That’s plenty of time for a swim, and means you can sweat while wearing them for hours without having any issues. You also shouldn’t run into problems with battery life as Soundcore says the Sport X10s offers up to eight hours of audio playback per charge.
The earbud case has a battery that holds enough power to fully recharge them three times. Battery life is important if you want to keep your waterproof earbuds in your gym bag — or locker — all the time. You should only have to charge the Sport X10s once a week or so, which is more manageable than having to top them up daily. For reference, these earbuds get an additional eight hours of battery life compared to the AirPods Pro.
We typically like the way Soundcore’s speakers and headphones sound right out of the box, but the Sport X10s have a mode called BassUp that boosts the bottom end if you want music to have a bit more of an impact. If you download Soundcore’s mobile app, you’ll have the option of choosing between 22 different EQ modes. You’re almost guaranteed to find an audio mode that sounds perfect to your ears.
At $79.99, the Sport X10s are the most expensive waterproof earbuds we’re recommending, but their customizability justifies the higher cost. The company is currently offering a 15 percent discount on Amazon by way of a free coupon, which drops their price by $12. If you’re looking for a long-lasting, great-sounding pair of waterproof earbuds, Soundcore’s Sport X10s should be your first choice.
Best Budget: Boean Bluetooth Headphones
Why They Made The Cut: Boean’s Bluetooth Headphones are just as durable against water as our top pick, but cost a fraction of the price.
— IP Rating: IPX 7
— Style: Wireless
— Battery Life: 15 hours
— IP Rating
— Battery life
— Not customizable
Boean’s Bluetooth Headphones have most of the same features as our best overall pick at a fraction of the price. These waterproof earbuds have an IP7X rating, get 15 hours of battery life per charge, and have a hook that fits behind the back of your ear to keep the headphones in place. These aren’t true wireless earbuds though, which means they don’t have a case that will recharge them automatically. This means you’ll probably have to plug them twice as often as the Soundcore Sport X10s. Additionally, there’s no way to customize the fit and sound of these earbuds, which are admittedly luxe features.
Still, you’re getting a lot out of a pair of waterproof earbuds that cost less than $20 thanks to an Amazon coupon. The right earbud has volume up and down buttons, which can also be used to switch the track you’re listening to. This is helpful because it allows you to change your music without having to touch your phone. Boean says it’s tuned the earbuds to have the right balance of treble and bass to satisfy the taste of any listener, but you’ll ultimately be the judge of that. If you’re trying to get in better shape and want to add some water exercises to your repertoire, this pair of earbuds from Boean will satisfy your needs at a very reasonable price.
Best for Running: JBL Endurance Race
Why They Made The Cut: The JBL Endurance Run earbuds get phenomenal battery life, and have an ambient mode that will improve your safety while running.
— IP Rating: IP67
— Style: True wireless
— Battery Life: 10 hours (30 hours with the battery case)
— Long battery life
— Compact design
— Passthrough audio feature
— Won’t stay in your ears as easily
JBL’s Endurance Race waterproof earbuds are the best-looking pair of headphones we’re recommending, from their small size to the fact that they come in three colorways. This futuristic form is matched by the earbuds’ functionality. The Endurance Race earbuds get up to 10 hours of music playback per charge, a figure that triples when you factor in its battery case. Yes, the Soundcore X10s still last longer overall, but the Endurance Race earbuds live up to their name.
JBL designed this pair of earbuds with a pair of small “wings,” which fit inside the ridge of your ear to keep them in place while you move around. Inner ear wings don’t work as well as hooks that go around the outside of your ear because everyone’s body is different. If you don’t have deep ridges on the inside of your ear, the JBL Endurance Run earbuds probably aren’t for you. That said, we appreciate that JBL made an effort in making sure its waterproof earbuds looked good and fit correctly.
You typically won’t find a pair of waterproof earbuds with multiple microphones, but the Endurance Runs are the exception that proves the rule. The earbuds’ dual-microphone design makes them a good pair of headphones to wear while making phone calls, and allows you to trigger a mode called “Ambient Aware,” which lets some outside noises leak into your ears. This may sound counterintuitive when you’re trying to focus on your music or podcast, but can be very helpful if you wear these earbuds while running. It’s important to hear the sound of a car beeping, or a cyclist letting you know they’re coming up fast from behind.
If the JBL Endurance Run earbuds fit properly, and you want to exercise using the smallest headphones possible, we can’t recommend this pair highly enough.
Best Wired: Granvela GV1 HD
Why They Made The Cut: Granvela’s GV1 HD waterproof earbuds are inexpensive, and will keep running as long as your device does.
— IP Rating: IP5
— Style: Wired
— Battery Life: N/A
— Unlimited battery life
— Bendable “memory wire”
— Comes with a clip
— Wire may get distracting
— No volume controls
If you don’t want to worry about your headphone’s battery life while exercising, Granvela’s GV1 HD are the waterproof earbuds we recommend. The earbuds have an IPX5 rating, which means they can be exposed to “water jets” without being damaged. You may not want to swim with the GV1 HDs, but they’ll shake off sweat and rainwater without batting a bud.
These earbuds don’t have ear hooks or ear wings, but Granvela did fit the ends of the GV1s with a material it calls “memory wire,” which allows them to contour around the back of your ear. The company also includes a clip, so you can attach the earbuds’ wire to your clothes to help it stay put.
These features are helpful, but there’s no getting around the fact that a cable whipping around while you exercise can get distracting. If you’re used to wearing wired headphones all the time, this will be less of a concern. The GV1s have an in-line microphone for taking calls, but no volume or playback controls, which is strange for wired earbuds.
Despite these drawbacks, the Granvela GV1 HD earbuds are an excellent choice if you want waterproof earbuds with a cable. The fact that you don’t have to worry about them conking out in the middle of your run may be worth their very reasonable cost all on its own.
Things to Consider Before Buying Waterproof Earbuds
Your Source Device: The waterproof earbuds we’re recommending are designed to withstand exposure to water, but the same might not be true of the device they’re connected to. If you’re listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks on your phone, you’ll need to be cognizant of the fact that it’ll need to stay on land while you swim. If your device is too far, your earbuds will disconnect from it, which defeats the purpose of wearing headphones.
Q: Can you use waterproof earbuds while swimming?
Yes. If your earbuds have an IP67 rating or above, you can wear them swimming. You should consider the fact that rushing water has a higher likelihood of popping the earbuds out of your ears, however.
Q: What is the highest waterproof rating for earbuds?
IP67 is currently the highest waterproof rating for earbuds.
Q: Can you swim with Apple AirPods?
No. Apple has labeled the AirPods as water-resistant, so they cannot be used while swimming.
Q: How do I responsibly dispose of my earbuds?
If you're replacing older earbuds with one of our recommendations, we recommend reading our guide on how to responsibly dispose of e-waste.
Final Thoughts on Waterproof Earbuds
Waterproof electronics have come a long way in the past few years, and the earbuds we’ve recommended are prime examples of the durability of today’s gear. The thought of swimming with earbuds would have seemed impossible (or extremely expensive), but that’s changed. You may have to give up some features — active noise cancellation most notably — in exchange for this functionality, but that domino will probably fall before too long. Until then, take a pair of these waterproof earbuds, hop into the pool, and take some laps without thinking about whether they’ll survive the swim.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.