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If you’re one to swim laps on the open water, you probably know that one of the biggest downfalls to being alone out there can be swimmers’ boredom.
Many people love to listen to music during exercise, pumping the jams as they run on the treadmill or lift weights. The same can’t always apply for swimming, as typically, electronics and water don’t mix.
However, there have been massive advances in waterproofing technology in the last few decades, using headphones while many athletes favor swimming! If you want to listen to some music as you swim laps, it can be a breeze with a reliable pair of waterproof headphones.
There are a lot of factors you should try to keep in mind before you buy. Here, we’re going to break down everything you might want to consider before investing in waterproof headphones. We’re also going to showcase a list of product recommendations that you can purchase today. Let’s dive in!
Our Product Recommendations
Why Buy Waterproof Headphones?
So what’s the benefit of buying waterproof headphones, anyhow? As we mentioned briefly above, waterproof headphones can be a great way to enjoy some upbeat, motivating music while taking a swim. It’s no secret that music has been used as a motivator in the gym for decades. In fact, there’s even research that shows that music can do wonders to help you along during a workout.
It can be hard to hear music playing aloud in a pool or by the lakeside as you go in and out of the water. That’s why waterproof headphones are so great.
These headphones are specifically designed for use in water and often have features to keep them more securely attached to your ears as you move. They also often have other features that make in-water use a breeze, though we’ll explore these more in-depth later.
How Do Waterproof Headphones Work?
Now we know that waterproof headphones can be great for motivating you and keeping you entertained while working out in the water. But how do these devices work? This can be confusing to think about, especially when you consider that water and electricity are typically two things that don’t work well together.
To put it plainly, waterproof headphones are headphones that have had their working components and internal circuitry waterproofed. This is often achieved by using some kind of hydrophobic coating, which works to repel water particles from the surface of an item.
Hydrophobic coatings lower the energy level on an item’s surface, causing the water to resist and roll off of that surface. This is often either nanocoating (made with a vacuum environment or some kind of plasma technology) or, more commonly, a chemical coating film. Depending on how well this hydrophobic coating works, your headphones will have a different IPX rating. But what is an IPX rating?
IPX stands for International Protection and represents the industry standard for waterproofing products. These ratings are on a scale of IPX0 (non-water-resistant) or IPX9K (completely waterproof).
The IPX rating of a product can indicate if your headphones are actually fully waterproof or if they are instead merely water-resistant. Anything with an IPX rating between IPX3 and IPX7 is water-resistant. This means it can handle some level of general water droplets, sprays, and moisture, but will not be able to handle being fully submerged in water.
Items with an IPX rating between IPX7 and IPK9K, on the other hand, are fully waterproof in nature. This means these products can handle being fully immersed in water, with varying degrees of depth and for varying amounts of time.
Looking at the opinions of other swimmers online, it appears that anything less than IPX8 will be of no use to any swimmer who wants to use their headphones in the water regularly.
If you’re looking for waterproof headphones, it’s extremely important to keep the IPX rating in mind. This can help ensure that you aren’t accidentally buying water-resistant headphones rather than waterproof.
What To Know Before You Buy
Before you start shopping, there are a few more things you might like to know! Let’s take a look at some of the factors you should pay special attention to when shopping for waterproof headphones.
When shopping for waterproof headphones, you may encounter lots of different claims about what body material is best. Many headphones made of metal alloy materials will claim they can combat erosion or rust issues or claim metal bodies can withstand pressurized water better.
These are often lofty claims with no real merit. You don’t need to think that you need to spend extra money on any kind of special, expensive body material. In fact, most high-quality plastic bodies on waterproof headphones can withstand water pressure just as well as any metal headphones.
If anything, it’s best to look at purchasing headphones made of a synthetic material like rubber, plastic, or silicone. These will avoid any rust issues that metals are prone to. As long as they have been adequately waterproofed and have that IPX8+ rating mentioned above, they should prove useful.
Wired or Wireless
When shopping for a typical pair of headphones, you might consider whether or not you want to buy something wired or wireless. Unfortunately, with waterproof headphones, technology hasn’t made the advances yet to see wireless models in abundance. While there are a few wireless models on the market today, they are not nearly as common as wired waterproof headphones.
With the “wired” headphones, there are a few different variations available. Typically, these headphones will feature two earbuds connected by a single wire to secure them across the back of your neck while in use. However, a few models out there feature an audio jack to connect the headphones to a waterproof MP3 player (we’ll get more into those later).
It all comes down to user preference, but we suggest going for wired models. These are much more popular and will often lead to a more stable sound connection and an overall better quality product. Also, having a wire will make the headphones significantly more secure while wearing them in the water.
The biggest question you might have is how exactly you’ll use these headphones. While waterproof MP3 players do exist to connect your headphones, too, it’s more common to find waterproof headphones that store songs within themselves via an internal memory card.
These work by allowing you to plug your headphones into a computer via a USB cable to load the songs you want to listen to while you work out. A majority of the headphones on the market today are around 8GB of storage, though, of course, you can often find more storage for an increased price.
Depending on how much music you like to listen to, you may need more or less storage! Something to keep in mind while shopping.
The controls on your waterproof headphones are extremely important, as you’ll use them frequently while in the water. Most headphones come with the standard features needed to function, giving you the ability to pause and play your music, control your volume, and skip between your tracks. However, some models may come with additional features, including a microphone toggle, shuffling your music, etc.
Battery life is important depending on what type of activity you’re doing. It would be a shame to have your headphones die in the middle of a swimming marathon or to have to go without them during practice.
Keep an eye on the battery lifespan, as well as the charging methods themselves, when reviewing different waterproof headphone models. While most models tend to advertise a battery life of around 4 hours, this can increase if you go for something higher end.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the way your headphones charge. Watch out for headphones that require any kind of unique connector- going for something more universal is best, especially if/when you need a replacement part or new charging cord.
Many people out there have very specific preferences regarding the style of ear tip on their headphones. You’ll want to make sure your headphone ear tip style is a comfortable fit, especially if you plan to wear them for long periods of time.
Ear tips on waterproof headphones are almost always in-ear to block against water coming into the canal and secure the sound by creating a watertight seal. These can come in a wide range of materials, including rubber, foam, silicone, or other hybrids.
Some might be a typical single flange, though some come in a triple flange, also known as a tree tip, to provide an even stronger seal while in the water.
For use in the water, we suggest going for rubber or silicone. Silicone is your best bet for comfort, as it is a lot less hard than rubber and often more forgiving when being used for long periods of time.
To really ensure a comfortable fit, look to see if your headphones come with multiple ear tip heads that you can swap them out! Often, you’ll find headphones with ear tips in varying sizes so users can pick a size that works best for them.
Do You Need a Waterproof Music Player?
Before we get to the product recommendations, we thought it important to touch on the subject of waterproof music players. These are an accessory that can be great to pair with waterproof headphones.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll often find waterproof headphones that have storage space built-in, so you’ll only need the headphones for your complete listening experience. However, some waterproof headphones are designed to be used with a corresponding waterproof MP3 player.
These devices can be great for a more casual swimmer. They’re often designed to be small, easily clipped to a bathing suit for use. However, if you’re more of an athlete, these MP3 bodies can get in the way or be a hindrance when looking to achieve peak speeds. If that’s the case, sticking to plain headphones may be best suited for you.