Tech

8 Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimmers (or Really Sweaty Gym Goers) in 2019

It's possible to listen to music underwater if you know the right earbuds to buy.
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If you're on the lookout for a pair of quality waterproof headphones, chances are you're a regular swimmer. It makes sense that you'd like to listen to music while you're underwater, just like runners can listen to music while they hit pavement. You also might be a surfer or diver. Or perhaps you're just really sweaty. Like, really sweaty. There are plenty of earbud options out there for you, each with its own waterproof ratings so you can feel safe submerging them in water or rinsing them clean.

We won't get into the complexities of waterproof ratings, otherwise known as IP ratings—if you're curious, we ran it down over here—but we'll detail the waterproofing capabilities for each of the headphones on this list. JJust know that you want a rating of IPX8 or IPX7 if you plan on spending significant time in the water, with IPX8 being the most powerfully waterproof and IPX7 one step less so. The manufacturer will clarify if you can take it into salt water or only freshwater. (If there's a digit instead of the X, that refers to how dust-proof the headphones are, on a scale of zero to six. An X means the headphones have not been officially tested for dust protection.)

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Another important feature to check for is MP3 storage, which is necessary for listening to audio under the surface with wireless headphones; Bluetooth won't transmit in water, meaning you won't be able to stream your Spotify playlist. It's old-school, but effective.

With all this in mind, here are the eight best waterproof headphones to buy for your summer workouts. Happy swimming (or sweating).

Pyle Flextreme Waterproof MP3 Player with Headphones

Best Value

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These Pyle headphones have built-in MP3 storage, but no Bluetooth. They let you download 4GB of music (or podcasts, or audio books) into the headset. If you want to swim, they come with water-blocking earbuds and an IPX8 rating—the highest level of waterproofing you can buy. If you won't be swimming, the package also includes earbuds better designed for above-water workouts. Either way, the band is adjustable for comfort. These Flextreme headphones hit all the basics without being too pricey.

Battery life: 10 hours

H2O Audio Surge+ Waterproof Sport Headphones

Best Fit

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This is as basic a pair of waterproof headphones as you can get. They aren't wireless, there's no internal MP3 storage, and you'll need to connect them to a device in a waterproof holder via an old-fashioned jack. But if you can get over those hurdles, the Surge+ headphones (with a rating of IPX8) will work for you while submerged in up to 12 feet of water. The cord is 3.6 feet, which ought to be long enough, and you'll get five earbud tips so you have the right fit. The sound quality isn't bad, either. 

Battery life: N/A

Plantronics BackBeat FIT 2100 Bluetooth Headphones Plantronics

Best for Above-ground Workouts

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Plantronics' BackBeat FIT headphones aren't the most waterproof on this list. With a rating of IP57, they can be safely submerged in only one meter of water for 30 minutes, which won't be much use to a long swim anyway, since Bluetooth doesn't transmit underwater. (The 5 in IP57 means they are protected from dust.) They don't have MP3 storage. That said, they're great for above-ground workouts. Completely wireless setup means hands-free use, and each pair comes with a membership to Pear for in-ear, personalized fitness coaching. Plus, if they get gross, you won't be afraid to dunk them under the faucet for a quick clean.

Battery life: 8 hours

Underwater Audio Swimbuds MP3 Wearable Audio Player

Best for Swimmers

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Underwater Audio's Swimbuds are clunkier than some options—they loop over your ears so the control panel fits behind them—but they make up for it in every other way. With a waterproof rating of IPX8, they're built to be submerged in up to 10 feet of water, whether it be in a pool or ocean. MP3 storage of 8GB gives you plenty of space for all your music, which you'll be able to listen to underwater. They come with 11 earbuds in four different styles so you can find the best fit possible. Speaking of fit, you can also tighten the strap behind your head. These Swimbuds were made with hardcore swimmers in mind.

Battery life: 7 hours

JBL Endurance DIVE Wireless Headphones with MP3 Player

Best for Multi-taskers

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With JBL, you know you're getting good sound quality. While JBL's Endurance DIVE headphones only store 1GB in the built-in MP3 player, they'll let you stream audio via Bluetooth above water. They're waterproofed (IPX7) for swimming, too. The combo of Bluetooth and MP3 storage means they're ideal for people who don't stick to one kind of workout every day.

Battery life: 7 hour

Sony Walkman NW-WS623 Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones

Best Battery

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Sony's Bluetooth-transmitting headphones come with more features than most waterproof options. Besides an IPX8 headset rating that allows them to be submerged in up to 6.56 feet of salt water for 30 minutes, they come with ambient noise control, 4GB of music storage, and a quick-charge time of three minutes for an hour of playback. Plus, they're dust-proof and strong enough to work in temperatures from 23 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Battery life: 12 hours

FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction MP3 Player

Best for Depth

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The FINIS Duo headphones are designed to clip onto a pair of goggles to rest on your cheekbones in front of your ears, chunky control panel and all. You won't get style points for these, but the tech is cool. FINIS transmits audio via bone conduction, which means you'll get clear playback without having buds jamming into your ears. These headphones also hold 4GB of music and have an IPX8 waterproof rating, good for submersion up to three meters for 30 minutes. If you spend significant time in goggles, they're your best option.

Battery life: 7 hours

Jabra Elite Sport Wireless Earbuds

Best Features

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These are the only truly wireless headphones on this list, and you'll have to pay for them. But if you have the cash, Jabra will load you up with features. These Elite Sport buds filter out surrounding noise. They're heavily protected against sweat, and they have decent waterproofing (a rating of IP67 means they can be submerged in 3.3 feet of non-saltwater for 30 minutes, and that they have dust protection). You get in-ear fitness coaching, heart heart monitoring, and more tracking capabilities. The portable charging case gives you extra juice for long days. If you're looking for high-tech headphones, you'll want these.

Battery life: 4.5 hours + 9 hours with charging case

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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