Best Swim Cap in 2022
Speedo Unisex-Adult Silicone Swim Cap
TYR Latex Swim Cap
Synergy Neoprene Swim Hood
Boat Safe is a community supported site. We may earn comission from links on this page, but we have confidence in all recommended products.
Whether you’re a professional speed swimmer or a casual visitor of your local pool, a swim cap can be a worthwhile investment for a wide variety of reasons. Purchasing a swim cap can be confusing, though, with so many different brands and materials on the market today.
That’s why we’ve written this guide to help you make an informed purchase. Here, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about purchasing a swim cap, the things you should keep in mind before you buy, and some product recommendations available online today. Let’s get started.
Here are our recommendations for the best swim cap products available online today:
Why Buy a Swim Cap?
You may be wondering what makes a swim cap so worth the investment. There are a ton of different ways that swim caps can work to make you a better swimmer, whether you’re in a pool or on the open water.
If you’re a competitive swimmer, you already know that a swim cap is an essential piece of swimming gear. The thing that makes a swim cap so important is how it can reduce resistance as you swim.
With your hair tightly packed in a swim cap, you’ll be able to perform better in competitions with a more dynamic body shape and thus less resistance in the water. It also does wonders to keep your hair back and your vision clear while swimming.
Along with aiding your performance a speed, a swim cap is also a great choice to keep you more sanitary while in the pool. Swim caps can protect your hair from the bacteria found in pools and prevent your hair from getting into the pool itself.
This is why swim caps are often mandatory for professional swimmers- it’s a shame to have the hair of dozens of swimmers clogging a pool drain. Swim caps also do wonders, depending on their fit and material, to prevent chlorine from getting to your hair, which can cause damage if you’re in the water regularly.
Even if you’re not a professional, a swim cap can still be a handy piece to invest in! If you’re one who likes to go for a casual swim, especially in open water like lakes or oceans, a swim cap can be super useful.
First and foremost, a colorful swim cap can do wonders to make you more visible in the water. If you’re one to swim laps on a lake, this can be essential in allowing any other boats or people on the water to see you. Think of it as the lake equivalent to wearing reflective bands while running at night.
Along with improving your visibility to others on the water, a swim cap can also work to keep in more body heat. (This is especially true if you’re using a neoprene swim cap, but we’ll get further into that below.) If you like to take a chilly early morning dip, you may find yourself appreciating the little bit of extra warmth on your head thanks to your swim cap.
Choosing the Right Swim Cap Material
One of the most difficult parts of the swim cap shopping process is deciding which swim cap material is right for you. With so many different options available, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed! Let’s break down the most common swim cap materials on the market today to explore what makes them shine and when they’re best used.
Latex swim caps are the most popular kind of swim cap among competitive swimmers today. These caps, made of latex rubber, have been used by swimmers since the 1920s. They’re incredibly durable and very tight, offering competitive swimmers the tight fit they’re looking for to give them less resistance in the water.
Latex caps tend to run cheaper than other caps on the market today, which can be beneficial. They’re also much thinner than other cap materials, which means better ventilation. This is super beneficial to professional athletes who want some heat to escape as they work hard in the pool but can be a drawback for any swimmer looking to trap warmth.
The major benefit of these swim caps is their super tight fit, making swimmers more dynamic and working to protect hair against harsh chlorine in pools. They’re especially great for athletes who need coverage that has good ventilation to let heat escape.
Extra care needs to be taken with latex caps, though. These should not be left wet at the bottom of a swim bag, as they can become damaged and melted quite easily.
Silicone swim caps are very similar to latex. In fact, these caps were actually developed to serve as an alternative to those who wanted the same benefits of a latex cap but suffer from latex allergies.
With a silicone cap, you’ll find many of the same benefits boasted by a latex cap. A silicone swim cap will be thin, tight, light, and work to make the user much more dynamic in the water, curbing any resistance issues. Silicone caps tend to be much tighter than latex. Their lack of stretch means they’re much more durable, so you can expect them to last longer than a latex cap.
However, silicone swim caps do tend to run more expensive than latex swim caps. They’re also much less breathable, which may lead to some trapped heat when being used by the wearer.
Lycra may just be the swim cap fabric of choice for you if you’re not competition-focused and aren’t prioritizing being more dynamic in the water. Lycra is the same material used to make most swimsuits. As they’re a stretchy cloth material, they are much more comfortable to wear than a silicone or latex swim cap.
As a fabric, lycra is much more durable than latex or silicone, making it less likely to rip or tear. However, this material does mean they tend to slip off a lot more often. However, if you aren’t competition focused and are more of a casual swimmer, this may not be a huge issue.
It’s also important to note that lycra is not waterproof, so these caps won’t do much to protect your hair from chlorine damage or getting wet. They are also more expensive than silicone or latex caps.
If you’re looking for warmth, a neoprene swim cap might be just what you’re looking for. Neoprene is the same material used to make wetsuits used by surfers and is designed to retain warmth.
If you’re an early morning, cold lake swimmer or surfer, a neoprene cap can keep your head nice and toasty as you take a dip. These caps tend to be much thicker than the other caps we’ve listed here due to their protective padding. They also tend to run much more expensively.
As these caps are a bulkier fabric option, they aren’t recommended to those looking to reduce resistance and improve speed. Competitive swimmers may want to stay away from these. However, the more casual swimmers, especially those who swim in cold environments, can find these perfectly suitable.
Taking Care of Your Cap
If you’re looking to extend the lifetime of your swim cap, there are steps you can take to take extra care. Here are some tips for taking care of your swim cap:
It’s a good idea to regularly rinse your swim cap with fresh water after some time in the pool. This will help to rinse off any chlorine residue, extending your swim caps shelf life.
Let It Dry
You might be tempted to throw your swim cap straight into your bag right after use, but it’s a good idea to take the time to let it dry. This is especially important for latex materials that can become warped and cracked if they sit in water too long.
Use Some Powder
If you use your swim cap regularly, it can also be a good idea to sprinkle in some talcum powder or baby powder all over your swim cap after it’s been rinsed. This will ensure any residual moisture is absorbed. (However, please note that this will not work on spandex caps or lycra caps.)
Swim Cap FAQ
Still have questions? Here are some of the most common questions people have regarding swim caps:
Will a swim cap keep my hair dry?
Surprisingly, the answer to this one is no! While a swim cap can definitely work to keep your hair less soaking wet, it’s impossible to get an extremely watertight seal around your head. Keeping your head completely dry isn’t possible with most swim caps.
Should I wet my hair before putting a swim cap on?
Yes, you should! Especially if you are using a latex or silicone swim cap that tends to get stuck on dry hair, resulting in some painful pulling. Wetting your hair will make it much easier to get inside your swim cap and result in fewer tugging pains while wearing.
Will a swim cap make me swim faster?
If you’re using a swim cap designed to make you more dynamic in the water, then yes, it will. Silicone and latex swim caps will reduce the resistance and drag hair can give you in the water, improving your speeds. They also work to keep hair out of your face, resulting in less time needed to stop and clear your vision.
Should my swim cap cover my ears?
Whether or not your swim cap covers your ears is up to you. Most swimmers tend to use their swim cap to cover one ear, to leave one exposed to hear competition sounds while in the water.
Caps aren’t typically designed to cover the whole of your ears, so you don’t need to make it a point to. Using the cap to help pin your ears to the side of your head by covering just the tops is also a common trick. If getting water in your ears is your concern, it’s much better to look into swimming earplugs rather than relying on a swim cap.
Why do competitive swimmers wear two caps?
The most common reason swimmers wear two caps in the pool is to improve their speed and securing their gear. Olympic swimmers who use goggles often use their second cap to secure the goggle strap to their head, eliminating the risk of their goggles falling off mid-race. The second cap can also help to further squash down their hair, making them even more dynamic in the water.
Will a swim cap protect my hair from chlorine?
In most cases, yes. As we mentioned above, a swim cap is not a guarantee that no water will get under your cap. However, it will prevent your hair from being continually soaked with chlorine and often lead to much less water getting in. If you’re looking to avoid chlorine damage to your hair, a swim cap can be a really great help.
What swim cap does Michael Phelps use?
Who wouldn’t want to be like an Olympian? Many Michael Phelps fans have been curious to know what gear he uses, to see what his top choices are for hitting his record-breaking speeds.
If you’re a Michael Phelps fan and want a swim cap just like his, you’re in luck. Michael Phelps actually launched his own line of Olympic-ready swim products in 2015. Along with different race suits, this brand also carries a variety of swim caps.