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These days, earbuds have almost become like an appendage, something that we’re all using in more and more areas of life as technology progresses — and our reliance on technology progresses as well. For exercise especially, it is almost unthinkable to get moving without a good set of buds to motivate you through your workout. But sweat, water and moisture can quickly damage your favorite pair. If you’re looking to upgrade to a new set, consider some waterproof ones to protect them, and keep your buds lasting long through all your laps and miles.
What Are the Best Waterproof Earbuds?
The best truly waterproof earbuds can be completely submerged in water without damaging the audio components or shell. But keep in mind, different models will have different waterproofing capabilities. If you’ll be using earbuds primarily in the pool, for example, consider how deep you’ll be diving. Some buds are waterproof up to one meter of water, but there’s usually a time limit for how long they can be submerged and how deep they can go (so find out how deep the pool is too, in case one accidentally slips out and falls to the bottom).
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant: Waterproof earbuds can be submerged without damage. Water-resistant earbuds, on the other hand, will hold up to light splashes (say, if you’re accidentally caught in the rain) but aren’t designed to be submerged. Both waterproof and water-resistant earbuds are great for working out, staying powered-on even if you sweat, but if you’re taking your routine outdoors or near a body of water, it’s best to go for a fully waterproof pick.
Waterproof Scale: Waterproof earbuds are rated for their ability to protect against outside elements like water by the IPX rating scale. A zero means no protection, while an IPX8 rating means it’s fully waterproof up to three meters. It may be rare to find an IPX8-rated set, but an IPX7 or even an IPX6 will be well-protected against normal splashes and sweat drops.
Audio Quality: Possibly the most important aspect though other than protection is sound quality. For music, you’ll want something with good bass response and balanced mids and highs. If you’ll be primarily using it for audiobooks, podcasts, and phone conversations, that won’t matter as much (but you’ll still need a good built-in microphone to chat). Also be sure that they’re designed to keep working underwater – some buds are indeed waterproof, but programmed to shut off as soon as you dive under.
Noise-Cancellation: Blocking out noise is another important one to consider. The ideal pair are buds with balanced levels and noise isolation, and while they do a great job of immersing you in music, not everyone may be looking to be completely isolated. Hearing your surroundings can be a huge help, just in case something important is happening right around you, especially if you’re running in traffic, for example, or trying to get home in the rain.
These four pairs vary in features, so find the ones that best fit your needs and don’t let a little rain slow you down.
1. Jabra Elite Sport Earbuds
These buds go way beyond just fitting snug and sounding great (which they also do).
The Jabras also include a fitness tracker, keeping tabs on your steps, calories burned, heart rate, and distance you’ve traveled – and it’s all viewable in the Jabra app.
Aesthetically, they’re pretty opposite of the standard white Apple Airpods. They’re chunkier and bulkier, but still comfortable, and charge up quickly inside the secure carrying case thanks to its two-pin connection. Unlike other buds, no magnets hold them in place, making them easier to shake out instantly.
Buttons on the buds let you control things like volume and track skipping. Plus they boast an IP67 rating, allowing them to be fully submerged in up to a meter of water, for 30 minutes at a time.
They also come with a whole bunch of foam and silicon earpieces, so you can find the perfect fit for your ears.
2. Anker Soundcore Life P2 True Wireless Earbuds
These sleek buds come in a clamshell carrying case that’s light enough to tote around, at about two ounces, and can fuel up to 40 hours of charging before it needs to be recharged itself.
Buttons are included on the buds themselves, and can handle the basic commands (except volume), plus summoning AI assistants like Siri. Fielding phone calls is especially easy, and with two mics in each bud, your voice comes through clearly while reducing unwanted background noise.
Bluetooth connection is effortless, and the buds fit snug into most ears with interchangeable silicon tips. They typically can play about seven hours of music without needing to be recharged, and with an IPX7 rating, are listed as “fully waterproof,” but we’d advise against swimming or showering with them in.
3. Sony WI-SP600N Premium
Sony consistently puts out quality products, and these buds are no different. Their noise-cancelling ability works well, and music sounds great while working out or just working, thanks to its wide frequency range. Phone calls and Bluetooth connection are easy to handle with the touch of a button, and the buds stay secure and comfortable in your ears, even for long stretches.
While they are indeed wireless, as in, there’s no wire connecting them to your device, there is a short wire connecting the buds. This may be a dealbreaker for some, but can actually be beneficial to others. For example, if you’ll be mostly on phone calls, the wire lets the built-in microphone dangle right by your mouth, allowing others to hear you perfectly. Having a short wire also lets you find the buds more efficiently, should they fall out while on an outdoor run. There’s also more options for controls on the microphone piece, and the ambient noise reduction does an excellent job at filtering out any background sounds.
As far as waterproof goes, these are rated as IPX5 – meaning they’re splash-proof and sweat-proof, and it’s safe to gently wash them, but not recommended to submerge them.