Taking Music Further – Best Waterproof Headphones 2016
Waterproof headphones are a must have for any serious athlete and water adventurer. Whether you are going swimming or surfing, these headphones ensure that you can take your music wherever you go. Even for non-water athletes, waterproof headphones are significantly sturdier, more durable and definitely safer in the rain.
The market has plenty of waterproof headphones to choose from. They include Bluetooth headphones, headphones that come with an inbuilt or attached MP3 player and simple headphones that physically attach to a music player or Smartphone. Below, we list 10 of the best. As you will notice, most of them are designed as sports headphones.
If there is any notable one we have left out, feel free to mention it in the comments. Let’s go:
1. FX-Sport VR1 Wireless Sports Headphones
These FX-Sport waterproof headphones come with an inbuilt 8GB mp3 player. There is no need to carry your phone or portable music player with you during your workouts; simply load your favorite music onto the player and you are good to go. The UK-made headphones come with text-to-speech recognition technology that enables it to voice album and playlist names to the listener.
But the VR1 sport are not just for listening to your favorite workout beats, they also act as a personal trainer. FX-Sport has a Workout Store where you can get various audio workouts free and upload them to your headphone’s inbuilt MP3 player. You can get workouts for swimming, running, biking, rope jumping and weight lifting. The headphones also come with a virtual athlete program, which you can set in a Race or Pace mode. This is important for professional athletes looking to up their performance.
To make the headphones waterproof, you need to get the separately sold silicone skin and swim cap. With the skin and swim cap accessory, you can enjoy your swimming or surfing sessions without worrying about damaging the headphones. The audio quality remains impressive even when underwater.
2. Sony NWZ-W273S Waterproof Walkman
Sony is an experienced player in the audio market, with its famous walkmans that have remained popular over the years. The Sony NWZ-W273S waterproof walkman carries the exquisite quality of Sony and adds to it a waterproof feature for the water lovers who like carrying their music with them.
The slick headphones come with a digital MP3 player built in, meaning you do not have to worry about carrying your phone or MP3 player around. The digital MP3 player has a 4GB capacity, which allows you to upload between 1,000 and 2,000 songs. Once fully charged, it can last for 8 hours. If you forgot to charge it and need it for a quick lap around the pool, it has a 3-minute quick charge feature. A full charge takes 1.5 hours.
The headphones are surprisingly light and comfortable. You barely feel a difference except for the great music pouring into your eardrums. The design ensures the headphone stay in place no matter how hard you workout. If you want to go underwater, feel free. Being IPX8 waterproof rated, you do not have to worry about any damage to the headphones. You can use them at a depth of 2 meters.
Learn more about Sony NWZ-W273S and see the current pricing at Sony’s own website.
3. JLab Epic Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earbuds
JLab is one of the leading brands in personal audio. Some of their most popular products are their Bluetooth headphones. With the Epic Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earbuds, JLab brings an IPX4 waterproof rating to ensure that it is sweat proof and will stay relatively safe when there is a slight drizzle.
But do not go swimming with them. For that, you need waterproof headphones with a rating of at least IPX6 and above. You can read more about the different water resistant and waterproof ratings here.
The ear buds fit snugly in your ears, remaining comfortable even after long periods of use. And do not worry about using them during your workouts, once you put them in, they stay in. They have a 10-hour battery life with a convenient battery indicator on your Smartphone. Being sweat, blood and splash proof, they are perfect for the gym and any other non-water workouts. Once you are done, you can give them a quick splash to get the sweat and grime off, ready for your next session.
Finally, the JLab epic keeps you connected and in control using the universal mic mounted on it. Whether you want to make a call, use Siri or change the volume, you can do it all without touching your phone.
4. Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones
Plantronics focuses on wireless headsets for personal and office use. The Backbeat Fit Bluetooth headphone is one of its most popular personal audio products. With an IP57 waterproof rating, the headphones can be submerged in water up to a depth of one meter for a continuous period of half an hour. If it can withstand that much water, you can be sure that the headphones will not be hurt by a little (or a lot of) sweat.
Something to note is that the waterproof rating is IP57 instead of the usual IPX7. This is because the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones are also dustproof. The X refers to the level of protection from dust, which is 5 in these headphones. The IP stands for International Protection (more about it in an article from our friends at cnet.com).
The earbuds have a flexible design that allows them to stick into your ears comfortably and stay there not matter how intensive your workout. Easily accessible controls let you change volume, songs and make or cut calls wirelessly.
On a single charge, the headphones will go a full 8 hours, giving you the flexibility for longer workouts. You can keep track of the battery level on your connected Smartphone. The headphones come with an armband for your Smartphone, a micro USB charging cable and a brief quick start guide.
5. Sony Sbh70 Water Resistant Sports Bluetooth Headset with NFC
The Sony Sbh70 brings smart’ to Bluetooth headsets. The headset is not only equipped with Bluetooth, it also comes with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology for a superior wireless experience. On top of all this, it has a waterproof rating of IP57, meaning you can take it on your swim and surf sessions without fear of damage.
With the Bluetooth technology, you can connect and listen to music from Bluetooth-capable devices including Smartphones, computers, MP3 players and computers. On a full charge, you can stream music continuously for 6 hours. If you use it primarily to communicate with others, the headset provides a talk time of 8.5 hours.
To enhance its communication capabilities, the headset is equipped with another technology known as HD Voice. Also called wideband audio, this technology improves voice quality such that the person you are talking to hears your voice as it is without any deterioration.
As if all that is not enough, the headset’s Bluetooth is multipoint, meaning you can connect to two devices at once.
As for your music, it is delivered in ultra high quality regardless of whether you are on land or under water. The headset is equipped with aptX audio enhancement for sound clarity.
6. Photive PH-BTE50 Lightweight Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Earbuds
If you are on a tight budget and are looking for the cheapest water resistant headphones, try Photive’s PH-BTE50 earbuds complete with Bluetooth technology. With a $23-$30 price range, this is one of the cheapest Bluetooth earbuds you can get on the market.
At such a great price comes a major downside; the headset is rated water resistant, not waterproof. This means that it will do well against sweat, tears, a light drizzle and a few water splashes. But it cannot be submerged in water, so no swimming with it on.
The earbuds are designed with tough but comfortable materials to withstand the aggravating nature of exercise and the resultant sweat. They fit ergonomically in your ears and stay in place no matter what you are doing.
Like with any other Bluetooth headset, you can answer calls as well as control your playlist (play/pause, next/previous). The controls are designed to be easily accessible especially when you are on the move.
On a full charge, you get 8 hours of uninterrupted music playback time. You can use any USB port on your computer, car charger or wall charger to refill up the battery.
The Photive PH-BTE50 is immensely popular thanks to the affordable pricing. But do not expect anything higher than average. The sound quality is tolerable but not great and after repeated intensive workouts, the earbuds may feel a little looser.
7. Supershop 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player and FM Radio Earphone
We have talked aplenty about waterproof Bluetooth headphones for swimming in this column. But a disadvantage with Bluetooth headphones is that you have to carry along other gadgetry, which can be quite cumbersome if you are going swimming, diving or running.
Headphones with MP3 players offer the advantage of everything you need in one lightweight headset. This and much more is what you get with Supershop 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player and FM Radio Earphone.
To start off, it has a water resistance rating of IPX8. This gives you the green light to use it in almost all kinds of watery conditions including swimming, diving and surfing. The music quality remains good enough even when underwater.
The 4GB MP3 player can easily fit a thousand or more songs, giving you plenty to listen to during your workouts. The lack of Bluetooth means that it can last much longer, providing playback time of 12 hours on a full charge. A USB cable is included for charging and loading songs onto the player.
The inbuilt FM provides an additional audio option. You can catch up on your favorite radio shows with clarity, thanks to the inbuilt antenna. Not the prettiest setup around, but definitely worth a look.Buy on Amazon
8. Bose SoundSport wireless headphones
Back to Bluetooth water resistant headphones, we look at one of the latest products from Bose. The SoundSport wireless headphones are not for use when swimming but can withstand considerable moisture torture as long as they are not submerged.
At $150, these headphones are not exactly budget, especially considering that they are not full waterproof. But they come loaded with the best technology from Bose. This includes Bluetooth and NFC pairing, volume optimized EQ and StayHear+ earbuds for maximum comfort and stability.
While this is legendary Bose brand, quite a number of reviews say that the sound quality was below expectations. Other sport Bluetooth headphones such as those from Jlab perform much better for a similar price range. The feeling is that Bose did not try hard enough to maintain the legendary sound quality their products are known for.
Where the SoundSport performs best is in comfort and stability. Thanks to the StayHear+ (a bad pun on Stay Here) technology, the earbuds will not keep coming off during your workout. They are so comfortable that the only thing you will notice is the music streaming into your ears.
If your workout adventures do not involve much water and you love the Bose brand, the SoundSport is for you.
9. Travelon Waterproof Swimming Headphones
All the earphones we featured on this list are either wireless or have an inbuilt MP3 player. It is only fair that we end with a simple pair of earphones that has neither Bluetooth nor an MP3 player. The dirt cheap Travelon Waterproof Headphones are for anyone who is simply looking for a good affordable pair of waterproof headphones to connect to an MP3 player or Smartphone. This means that you must have already taken care of the waterproofing needs of your phone or music player.
The Travelon headphones have a rating of IPX8, allowing you to use them under water up to a depth of 65 feet. They are made from plastic to keep them lightweight and prevent any corrosion. Silicone ear-loops ensure that the ear buds stay in place throughout.
The best part about the Travelon Waterproof Headphones is that they retain their sound clarity even deep underwater. This keeps your podcasts and music at premium audio quality. You can get a pair of these headphones for less than $20. Amazon is currently stocking them at $13.17. You will not find similar quality waterproof headphones for such a price.
Waterproof Headphones – Taking Your Music Further
With so many options for waterproof headphones available, you no longer have to leave your music on land when you venture into the water. From the water resistant earbuds to fully submersible headsets, from inbuilt MP3 players to Bluetooth and NFC-enabled headphones the choices are dizzying.
Hopefully the above selection has given you a place to start your search. Feel free to mention any great waterproof headphones we may have left out in the comments below. And if you have used any of the mentioned headphones, tell us about your experience.