When water meets gadgets, bad things happen. Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of getting our favorite gadgets wet, accidentally ruining them in the process. Waterproof earbuds are a great pick for anyone who is accident-prone, but they’re also a particularly good investment for swimmers, or for any athlete who wants to avoid sweat or water damage. If you’re in the market for a pair of waterproof earbuds, read on to see our top five picks.
Can’t get enough waterproof gadgets? Check out our posts on the best waterproof digital cameras, the top-rated waterproof iPhone cases, the very best waterproof S6 cases, or the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers. You might also enjoy our roundup of the best waterproof gadgets, which includes top-rated cameras, fitness trackers, sporting goods, and more.
1. Best Waterproof Earbuds for Swimmers: Underwater Audio Swimbuds Sport Waterproof Headphones
Underwater Audio specializes in waterproof audio solutions. The company provided us with a sample pair of their Swimbuds Sport waterproof earbuds for review purposes, along with one of the company’s waterproof iPod Shuffles. Both the earbuds and the waterproofed iPod performed admirably during extended underwater use.
The Swimbud Sport earbuds come with four different attachments, making it easy to find a fit that’s right for the shape of your ear canal and the activity you’ll be performing. The “Trees” shape offers the best seal against water, and it’s good for listening to audio or music that requires enhanced noise isolation. The “Fins” style are most likely to fit your ear shape, since they work with the largest number of ear sizes. The Fins are also good for surfing and wakeboarding. The “Ergos” are arguably the most comfortable, and are a good bet for times when you want waterproof protection, but are doing a sport that’s not actually in the water (such as running in the rain). The “Mushroom” buds can be used for everyday activities, such as jogging, walking, or relaxing. All four tips can be used for swimming laps.
I found all four earbuds surprisingly comfortable, since they need a tight seal to ensure a good sound. The sound quality was excellent, with a nice balance between mids and lows. Audio sounds clear whether partially or completely submerged. It’s worth noting that all the headphone attachments should not be used below 10 feet, for safety’s sake. The earbuds come with the four tips, an audio extension cord, and a mesh bag for storage.
These earbuds come with a one-year warranty. The headphones are approved for all types of water: chlorinated water, fresh water and saltwater. Whether you’re into swimming, surfing, running, or biking, these waterproof headphones are truly top-of-the-line.
- Surprisingly comfortable
- Four tips for comfort/type of activity
- Frustration-free packaging
- Audio sounds great
- Somewhat expensive
- May be hard for some people to attach to the body when not wearing swim goggles
- Only under warranty for one year
- Not wireless
2. Best General Purpose Waterproof Earbuds: Photive PH-BTE50 Lightweight Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Earbuds
Looking for an affordable pair of waterproof headphones? These are a nice option for people who crave wireless design and sweat-proof/waterproof features. The headphones have a built-in mic, allowing you to take calls on the go. Talk time/music time is around seven or eight hours. Each pair of earbuds comes with three sizes of eartips, and well as small, medium, and large ear stabilizers. That blend of in-ear and outside-the-ear structure helps to ensure a more stable fit, no matter what kind of activity you are pursuing.
Price: $29.95 (70 percent off MSRP)
- Protected by a nanocoating
- IPX6 rated
- Wireless design
- On board controls
- Only about eight hours of talk/music time
- Some users have reported issues with Bluetooth pairing
- Some wish seal was a bit tighter
- Customer serviced has been panned by some customers
3. Best Waterproof Earbuds for Runners: Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones
These handy headphones fold up for easy storage. They can stand up to water and sweat, and they have a handy battery meter to you know how long you have until you run out of juice. A headset battery meter automatically displays onscreen for iPhone and iPad. For Android smartphones and tablets, the free Plantronics Battery Meter app displays a headset battery meter and can provide on-screen alerts.
It’s also possible to put your earbuds into “hibernation mode” to extend the battery’s life. These headphones ship with a neoprene armband for your smartphone, which is a nice perk. These are a nice shape and size for running or walking, though ear customization could be improved.
Price: $92.49 (29 percent off MSRP)
- Waterproof and sweat proof
- Eartips are designed to allow you to hear the world around you
- On-ear controls
- Somewhat limited color options
- Some may find this style of headphone uncomfortable
- Eartip feels less customizable
4. Best Waterproof Earbuds With MP3 Player: Sony Walkman NWZW273S 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player With Swimming Earbuds
Looking for a one-piece music solution? This Sony Walkman can be used while swimming, or while doing any other activity where you want to listen to some tunes. One awesome feature here is the three-minute quick charge. With just a few minutes of charging, you can get up to an hour of battery life. This feature is perfect for those mornings where you want to go for a run or a swim, only to find the battery is dead. These headphones are rated at IPX8, and come with a USB dock, as well as small, medium, large and large-long ear buds.
Price: $78 (22 percent off MSRP)
- Can be used while swimming
- Multiple color options
- Deep bass
- Can’t be used at depths lower than two meters
- Can’t be used in salt water
- Some may find storage space limited
Find more Sony Walkman NWZW273S 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player (Black) with Swimming Earbuds information and reviews here.
5. Best Cheap Waterproof Earbuds: Travelon Waterproof Headphones
Just want a pair of dirt-cheap earbuds that you can treat kinda rough? These may be the right option for you. While they aren’t the most feature-rich pair of earbuds on our list, they are ideal for the budget-conscious shopper. You shouldn’t do deep dives with these headphones, but you can rest easy knowing that they can survive plunges down to 65 feet underwater. If you accidentally drop them overboard on a boat, you should be able to retrieve them and have them still work.
Price: $13.46 (10 percent off MSRP)
- Salt-water corrosion tested
- Limited color options
- No alternative ear tips
- Some users have reported one earbud failing over time (other one still worked)