Waterproof Headphones

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Listening to music is a must-have for running and lifting, so why not swimming?

Luckily, there are waterproof headphones for swimming that allow you to take your favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks into the water with you!

There are all sorts of waterproof headphones on the market today. If you’re looking for one that won’t break your budget or has certain features like bone conduction or streaming capabilities, then be sure to read our Athlete Approved guide to help you make your purchase.

Our Athlete Approved guide to using waterproof headphones includes:

Elevate your swimming performance with music. Multitask your water time by learning from your go-to podcast. Or enjoy that audiobook you have been meaning to get to all while swimming laps!

BEST WATERPROOF HEADPHONES OVERALL: Finis Duo

The Finis Duo Underwater Bone Conduction MP3 Player is our top pick for underwater headphones.

It uses bone conduction technology to transmit audio. This means you can listen to audio without the use of earbuds! This patented technology by Finis is best in its class.

The Duo’s two piece design seamlessly attaches to your goggle strap. It is designed with buttons that make it simple to navigate the play, stop, forward, backward, and volume buttons.

We love the crystal clear audio while you swim with your head in the water.

What we love even more is the lowered audio while your head is not underwater. This makes it perfect for swimmers to easily hear coach instructions or chat with their fellow swimmers between swims.

The device comes with a USB magnetic dock for charging and importing files.

Files the Finis Duo Supports:

  • Non-protected MP3 and WMA
  • AAC and purchased AAC files that are converted to MP3 files

Files the Finis Duo Does Not Support:

  • Protected MP3, WMA, and AAC files
  • Audible book downloads

The Duo offers battery life up to 7 hours. It stores 60 hours of playback (approximately 100 songs).

Pros:

  • Bone Conduction – Amazingly clear audio with patented bone conduction technology
  • Streamlined Design – Easily secured to your goggle strap
  • Storage – Stores 60 hours of playback

Cons:

  • Streaming Capabilities – Files must be uploaded vs steamed (this is the case for most waterproof headphones, except for the Finis Amnis Stream)

BEST WATERPROOF HEADPHONE EARBUDS WITH PLUG IN CORD: Underwater Audio Swimbuds Sport

The Underwater Audio Swimbuds Sport are the perfect pick for swimmers looking for earbuds with a cord to plug into a waterproof device.

Underwater Audio specialize in water proof music options. The Swimbuds Sports is their premium short cord headphone with amazing sound and comfort.

Swimbuds Sport come with 11 earbud tips unique for everyday listening, swimming, water sports, and dryland activity:

Swimbuds Sport Rounds
Standard Earbud
Swimbuds Sport Suction Tree
Swimming Earbud
Swimbuds Sport Fins
Water Sports Earbud
Swimbuds Sport Ergos
Running/Biking Earbud

These waterproof earbuds give you a secure air tight fit. The short cord can be tucked into your goggle strap. It is the perfect length not to impede on your swimming.

Do you need a waterproof device to use with your Swimbuds? Look no further than Underwater Audio’s two options:

  • Swim with apps Spotify, Apple Music, Audible, Stitcher, Pandora, and iHeart Radio through offline playlists. (Note that most of these apps require a paid subscription.)
  • Upload file types including MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, and more.
  • Counts your laps and split times!
  • 8GB or 16GB storage options.
  • Drag and drop MP3 and WMA files.
  • This lightweight waterproof MP3 is designed to clip to your goggle strap.
  • Simply plug it into your computer.
  • 8GB of memory – approximately 2,000 songs.

Pros:

  • Design – Premium earbuds that deliver high sound quality in the water
  • Pair Well with Streaming Tablet or MP3 Player – Both options are made by the Underwater Audio company
  • Fit – Comes with 11 different fitting earbud tips

Cons:

  • Care Required When Putting On/Off – Like all waterproof earbuds, the sound can muffle when water gets in your ear

BEST WATERPROOF HEADPHONES FOR STREAMING MUSIC WITH A SMARTWATCH: Finis Amnis Stream

The Finis Amnis Stream allows swimmers to listen to their favorite subscription service with Bluetooth through waterproof headphones. All you need is a smartwatch!

With the popularity of subscription services, Finis created a device to stream audio through your favorite smartphone app. The Amnis Stream works with Apple Music, Spotify, Audible, and more. Download music, podcasts, or audiobooks to your smartwatch. Or select “offline listening”, the same you would do in airplane mode.

Do not wear your smartwatch on your wrist. The Bluetooth connection cannot travel that far. Your smartwatch must be within 5cm of the cord for the Bluetooth to pass through water.

Simply tuck your smartwatch into your cap or clip it to your goggle strap.

Note that since you are not wearing your smartwatch on your wrist, you may not be able to use it to track laps, heart rate, or other traditional functions.

To view if your smartwatch will work for audio, view the compatibility chart on the Amnis Stream product page.

The Amni Stream comes with clips for Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, as well as Garmin Watch: Fenix 5 Plus Series, Forerunner 645 Music, Vivoactive 3 Music).

This device uses crystal clear bone conduction technology (no earbuds). Like the Finis Duo, the audio quality is second to none.

Place the headphones in front of your ears on your temple bones. The audio vibrates through your cheek bones allowing you to listen without the use of earbuds.

The Amnis Stream battery lasts for up to 5 hours depending on the volume. It is waterproof up to 3 meters.

Pros:

  • Stream Music with Bluetooth – Easily connect your smartwatch to stream and skip downloading audio files
  • Bone Conduction – Great sound quality through bone conduction
  • Long Lasting Charge – Up to 5 hours of playback

Cons:

  • Requires Smartwatch for Streaming – Must be clipped to devise or tucked in your cap for bluetooth to work in water (note that you cannot use your watch for tracking your laps while doing this)

BEST WATERPROOF HEADPHONES FOR WATER SPORTS: Sony Waterproof Walkman NW-WS623

The Sony Waterproof Walkman NW-WS623 is out top pick for waterproof headphones to use for water sports like canoeing, paddle boarding, or aqua fitness.

When you swim laps with your head in the water, you will not be able to hear the audio well. The only work around is swimming head-up breaststroke.

Sony is one of the most reputable players in the headphone industry. This product delivers for both in and out of the water.

Store your favorite audio directly on the Waterproof Walkman NW-WS623 to use when swimming. The Bluetooth connectivity does not work in the water.

Considering upgrading storage size:

  • The 4GB model is called the NW-WS623. It holds approximately 1,000 songs.
  • The 16GB model is called the NW-WS625. It holds approximately 4,000 songs.

It can stream audio wirelessly through your smartphone on land. It features an option for an ambient sound mode which allows you to hear outside noises. This is perfect for having conversations with your workout partner and being aware of your surroundings.

You can additionally pair it with your phone to take phone calls.

These headphones have a 3 minute quick charge for 60 minutes of playback. They will have 12 hours of playback on a fully charged battery. They come in black, blue, green, and white.

Pros:

  • Versatile Headphones – An ideal option for use on land and in the water
  • Pair With Phone – You can also take phone calls
  • Trusted Brand – Sony is a leader in this space

Cons:

  • Not For Lap Swimming – Cannot hear audio well when your head is in the water

BEST WATERPROOF HEADPHONES FOR A BUDGET: UooEA Bone Conduction Waterproof Headphones

The UooEA Bone Conduction Waterproof Headphones are our top pick for the least expensive option.

Despite their lower price, this device is still an all around solid product.

These headphones work well both in water and on land. For water use, you can easily upload MP3 files. For land use, you can pair it with your phone to stream audio of your choice.

Note that the bluetooth mode does not work in the water, so use the MP3 mode for the best experience in the water.

This device comes in black with white, blue or yellow trim. It has 16 GB of storage or is compatible to stream via bluetooth.

Pros:

  • Budget Friendly – A great lower costing option
  • Ergonomic – The ultralight design provides all-day comfort
  • Bone Conduction – Great audio in and out of the water

Cons:

  • Flip Turns – Can fall off when doing flip turns when lap swimming

Benefits of Swimming with Music

Some swimmers enjoy the quiet zen of swimming.

Others get bored of staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool. Listening to music while swimming can help solve that.

There are countless studies that show how music elevates mood, increases athletic performance, and even promotes metabolic activity. Music keeps you entertained while you workout longer and harder! It can also lower your perceived pain threshold.

Multitasking with an educational podcast can help you learn while you swim. Do your mind and body good all at the same time!

Do you have a book you have been meaning to read? Purchase the ebook version to listen during your swim.

It is not always easy to find the motivation to go to the pool. Waterproof headphones make it a little easier!

Bone Conduction vs Earbuds: Which is Best for You?

Bone conduction technology vibrates sound through your cheek bones into your ear canal vs. earbuds which traditionally have in-ear placement.

Bone conduction does not work as well on land. You can test it out on land when wearing bone conducting headphones and plugging your ears.

When swimming, bone conduction works with your ears in the water. It works with no disruption while swimming any of the four traditional strokes.

When resting on the wall or kicking head-up with a board the volume will be turned down. This can be perfect for swimmers listening to a coach or chatting with their fellow swimmers.

Earbuds are the way to go if you are an aqua-jogger, aquafit swimmer, or pool lounger.

They are most effective when placed into dry ears. It is a best practice to keep them in your ears for the duration of your swim. It can be difficult to get an air tight fit when water is already in your ears.

When you have a solid fit, they can double as earplugs (and we have a guide to earplugs too).

We feel the overall quality when swimming is better with bone conduction vs. earbuds.

Bone Conduction is best if you are…

  • Lap Swimming
  • Looking for high quality while swimming and lower volume when not swimming
  • Hard of hearing since you are not using ear canal to hear sound

Earbuds are best if you are…

  • Aqua-jogging or swim with your head out of the water
  • Looking for headphones to also use on land
  • Listening to music on a pool float

Streaming App Services vs Purchased Audio Files

These days, purchasing audio files for download is becoming less and less popular.

Most people stream music through apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. There are options to use these apps when swimming through “offline listening”.

If you have music files you would like to upload, be sure your underwater headphones have a built in storage. If you do not, then use a streaming option. The streaming apps require that you download files for “offline listening” for listening in the water.

Waterproof, Water Resistant, and IPX Rating

Keep an eye out for headphones that are water resistant instead of waterproof.

Water resistant headphones are built to withstand rain and sweat. Do not mistake them for being able to withstand 100% water immersion.

Our top Athlete Approved picks in this article are all waterproof.

In case you look outside of this list, understand IPX rating. Most waterproof headphones will be at the IPX8 level.

  • IPX0: No protection from water.
  • IPX1: Resists water that drips vertically.
  • IPX2: Resists water at a 15 degree angle or less.
  • IPX3: Resists water sprays up to 60 degrees.
  • IPX4: Resists water from any direction.
  • IPX5: Resists low pressure water splashing.
  • IPX6: Resists high pressure water spray.
  • IPX7: Protected when submerged in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
  • IPX8: Protected when submerged in water deeper than 1 meter.
  • IPX9K: Protected from high pressure and temperature sprays.

Conclusion on The Athlete Approved Guide to Waterproof Headphones for Swimming

There are many important factors to consider with waterproof headphones, such as bone conduction vs earbuds and streaming vs audio storage.

These are a big purchase, so take time to make sure you get the right set for you.

Let us know your feedback on our Athlete Approved Underwater Headphone picks in the comments and social media.

*Get the most out of your next swim with our Athlete Approved Guide to Lap Swimming Equipment! Equip yourself for success with our ultimate swim gear guide.*

1 Comment

  1. My kids bought me the Delphin Micro Tablet for Mother’s Day and I couldn’t wait to get it set up and use it. They worked great. Delphin has good instructions on Youtube if you get into trouble. I was able to easily download my mp3s to the device without incident. Being a senior swimmer I needed something fairly simple and these were perfect for me.


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