Waterproof Earbuds

Waterproof Earbuds (Photo by darksoul72 on Shutterstock)

Most of us own a good pair of earbuds that we use in our day to day, whether it’s to focus during work, get the energy going in the gym, or even catch up on an audiobook. The average person doesn’t need their earbuds to have a waterproof function, but for those who lead more active lives, a pair of the best waterproof earbuds can be life-changing. Whether you’re a swimmer who wants to do laps to your favorite jams or an athlete who sweats heavily and doesn’t want to worry about ruining their electronics, the best waterproof earbuds that can withstand any conditions.

Runners or any kind of endurance athlete know that pushing through that last mile or last set is often more of a mental battle than a physical one. Sometimes playing your favorite music will give you the boost you need to push yourself beyond what you perceive to be your limit. According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh, listening to motivational music from certain genres like rap and hip hop can boost a person’s performance despite how tired they are. Results from the study show runners who took a mentally fatiguing test and then listened to music performed just as well as those who ran without taking the test. The enhanced performance could be due to music altering their perception of how much effort is being exerted.

If you don’t believe that music influences your workout, that may be true for some but it can still improve mindset. Another study from the Max Planck Institute in Germany finds that motivational music can help athletes regulate emotions and increase their confidence enough to take risks. The study divided participants into groups and allowed them to listen to music, and they were then tasked with shooting a ball into a basket. Participants in certain groups were allowed to choose their own music and choose how far away the basket would be placed. Those who were allowed to choose their own music showed higher risk-taking tendencies by setting the basket further away.

If you’re convinced that music can make a difference in your athletic performance, investing in the best waterproof earbuds might be the boost you need to achieve your goals (or at least put you in a better mood while you try!). StudyFinds found the best models for both hardcore swimmers and recreational athletes that will keep your music playing no matter the moisture level. Which ones do you want to try?

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Earbuds in their cases
Earbuds (Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash)

The List: Best Waterproof Earbuds, According to Experts

1. Jabra Elite 8 Active

Jabra Elite 8 Active
Jabra Elite 8 Active

The Jabra Elite 8 Active is an all-around solid waterproof model if you’re looking for a pair of earbuds that can withstand any workout while still delivering great sound. They’re not to take in the pool, but if you sweat buckets or run in the rain you shouldn’t encounter any problems. Pocket Lint explains that the high-friction silicone on the outside of the earbuds keeps them secure in the user’s ears.

Good Housekeeping loves the multiple sophisticated color options, and mentions that the Elite 8 Active model is a substantial upgrade but still includes all the useful features from the Elite 4 Active. The noise cancellation is 1.6 times more effective than the older model, and the Elite Active 8’s have a higher ingress protection rating of IP68 while the splash and dust resistant case is IP54.

Digital Trends mentions this IP rating is the highest that exists in a personal audio product, and has been tested by the U.S. military. If you’re an audiophile you won’t be disappointed either, as the Jabra Elite Active 8’s feature Dolby spatial sound integration. The battery should last about 56 hours with the case charger.

2. JBL Reflect Aero

JBL Reflect Aero
JBL Reflect Aero

Pocket Lint deems the JBL Reflect Aeros the best waterproof earbuds for calls, perfect for those on-the-go multitaskers who often take work calls during workouts or walks. This model boasts multiple mics to ensure that calls come in clear, as well as active noise cancellation modes that can completely block out noise or switch to “transparency” mode to let in some ambient noise for safety reasons if you’re on the street. 

With an IP68 rating, these earbuds are bound to be able to handle anything you throw at them, including being able to stay submerged for 30 minutes in saltwater or freshwater. However, Tech Radar warns that since these earbuds connect to your phone with Bluetooth, they may not fare well if you’re planning to swim laps with them, since Bluetooth connection doesn’t travel well underwater. Otherwise any other wet conditions like rain, snow or sweat won’t faze the JBL’s.

PC Mag says that this model is best for those who want a mid-priced earbud that still gives you active noise cancellation and a fully sealed waterproof design. The audio has a bass-forward sound that may not appeal to everyone who prefers accuracy, but you can control the earbuds hands-free with Alexa or Google Assistant and a companion EQ app.

3. Shokz OpenSwim

Shokz OpenSwim
Shokz OpenSwim

For hardcore swimmers the Shokz OpenSwim is the best for those who will be underwater for long periods of time. The headphones leave the ear canal unblocked and use bone conduction technology to translate soundwaves directly into the ear canal. Garage Gym Reviews mentions that the design allows you to fit the headphones under a swim cap.

The only downside is since Bluetooth doesn’t work well underwater, the Shokz Openswim are basically designed like an old-school mp3 player, where songs are downloaded natively onto the device itself. Tom’s Guide explains that with space to store 1,200 songs and eight hours of battery life, your swimming sessions will be sure to have all your favorite jams.

TechRadar loves that the device has a dedicated swim mode to ensure that music is clear, but you can also hear ambient sounds when swimming since your ear canals will be unobstructed. This is useful in a high traffic pool so you can hear nearby swim traffic or a lifeguard blowing their whistle at you.

4. Swimbuds Sport

Swimbuds Sport
Swimbuds Sport

The Swimbuds Sport are best for those who like simplicity and maybe even the nostalgic feel of plug in headphones. Cosmopolitan mentions that these work best with the brand’s line of waterproof mp3 players, but out of the water you can definitely plug them in to any regular device with a headphone jack.

Spy loves that these were designed to produce less drag in the water and they’re the best budget-friendly option. The company even worked to reduce their carbon footprint by designing the packaging of the headphones to be eco-friendly so it won’t end up in a landfill years later.

Dive In says the earbuds come with 11 different sized ear tips to ensure a perfect fit, and you can easily wrap the wire around the back of a pair of swim goggles or a swimming cap. The set comes with a headphone cord extender if you want to wear them out of the water.

5. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are best for those who want a premium audio experience but a pair of earbuds that can blend in and be used for everyday life. For Samsung Galaxy phone users, PC Mag says that there are extra bonus features like support for 24-bit hi-res audio playback. Some users may not be a fan of the premium price.

Soundguys explains that the Samsung buds have an IPX7 rating for waterproofing and durability, as well as active noise cancelling, Samsung 360 audio, and a great microphone system, which ensures that these earbuds perform well in any situation you might find yourself in, water or not.

If you’re worried about battery, you can get 20 hours out of the set with active noise cancelling on and 30 hours with it off. Pocket Lint loves the sound quality of the earbuds – The Buds 2 Pro are equipped with 10mm woofers for bass, 5.3mm tweeters for treble, and support for the 24-bit Hi-Fi audio. This leads to deeper, more dynamic sound than you’d normally get from a pair of wireless earbuds. 

6. Anker Soundcore Sport X10

Anker Soundcore Sport X10
Anker Soundcore Sport X10

If you have a problem with most wireless earbuds falling out of your ears, the Anker Soundcore Sport X10 have a unique design to make sure this never happens. Vice explains the Anker buds have hooks that rotate 2010 degrees and flip up when in use and can be adjusted for the perfect fit, then flip down for easy storage in the case.

According to CNET if you get a good fit the earbuds deliver powerful sound with active noise canceling. There are audio presets for those who prefer their music to be more or less bassy. The Anker buds are fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating and can be fully submerged for up to three feet for 30 minutes. The case has three full charges, giving you 32 hours of playtime.

Digital Trends loves how comfortable the earbuds are, with rubber padding and earhooks that can adjust to fit almost any size or angle. The set is also pretty affordable for what they offer, with active noise canceling, voice assistant support, and an app full of different features and adjustments for a low price compared to pricier models.

7. Jaybird Vista 2

Jaybird Vista 2
Jaybird Vista 2

If you aren’t a fan of the Anker’s overbearing ear hooks you might be a fan of the Jaybird Vista 2’s inconspicuous stabilizer ear fins. They fit securely into the corner of your ears so you can conquer any athletic activity without worrying that they’ll come loose. Digital Trends notes that they are “incredibly secure”, “fit cleanly and snugly in the ear’s concha”, and won’t disturb glasses wearers.

Besides being secure, these earbuds are incredibly rugged. Vice says they are “water-proof and dust-proof, and freeze, shock, and impact-resistant” with an IP68 rating for dust and water. The case has an IP54 rating, and the earbuds meet the Department of Defense’s MIL-STD-810 standard for environmental durability. Whether you want to sweat in them or take them to the beach and rinse them off afterwards, these earbuds will withstand anything.

Tech Gear Lab finds that the Jaybird Vista 2’s are pricey, but love that they deliver clear sound that can be customized using the Jaybird app. You can conduct a sound test to find your preferred EQ settings and they also have a push button that can be customized to your preferred function. The earbuds also have a “Find my Buds” function similar to Apple’s “Find My” function on their devices in case you lose track of their location.


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About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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