We’ve all been there, that moment when heavy rain, an unlucky spill, or a deeply unfortunate toilet incident left one of our expensive gadgets soaking wet. And in the worst instances, those devices never turned back on again. Thankfully, the innovations made to the best waterproof earbuds mean that you don’t have to break the bank to get a pair that can withstand a heavy splash.
But not all waterproof devices are created equally. Many of the best wireless earbuds, including some of those from Apple, Sony, Jabra and Anker are often water-resistant, but not waterproof. This means they can withstand the occasional rainfall or light spill, but not full submersion in a liquid. As such, there are different ratings to distinguish the different levels of waterproofing.
The IPXX Rating System, Explained
When it comes to discussing resistance against the elements, most tech products are rated with an IP code. IP refers to “ingress protection” and it is a rating system created by the International Electrotechnical Commission to determine how resistant devices are to dust and water. Typically you’ll see codes in formats such as IPX4, IP5X or IP68, which all indicate different things. The first digit in the code indicates a product’s resistance to dust (which you can read more about here). The second number indicates its resistance to water. And if you see an X, that means that a product hasn’t been evaluated or certified one way or the other.
For our purposes on this list, we care about the water-resistance rating, so here’s what you need to know.
The higher the number, the more water-resistant a product is. And once you get to a rating of 7, then the product is waterproof.
- Products that are rated IPX1-IPX4 are increasingly protected against drops and splashes of water. Many earbuds are IPX3 or IPX4 rated, which means that they can withstand rain and light spills from virtually any angle.
- Products that are rated IPX5-IPX6 are protected against water jets, which would include things such as hoses, faucets or showerheads. While some earbuds fall under this classification, there aren’t many.
- Products that are rated IPX7 or IPX8 are fully waterproof and can handle submersion in water to different extents. An IPX7 pair of earbuds (which is what most of the best waterproof earbuds are rated) can sit in water at a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. An IPX8 rating is generally anything that can handle more than that (the standard benchmark is typically 3 meters or water for more than 30 minutes).
With that overly technical explanation finally out of the way, let’s take a look at the best waterproof earbuds you can buy right now.
1. Jabra Elite Active 75t
BEST WATERPROOF EARBUDS OVERALL
If you want the best balance between overall performance and waterproofing, the Jabra Elite Active 75t are your absolute best bet. These buds are IP57 rated, which means they’re guaranteed to withstand submersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. They’re also mostly dustproof (although some fine particles might make their way to the internals).
Beyond that, you also get the premium features that make Jabra’s earbuds some of the best you can buy right now. That includes active noise cancellation, a customizable EQ, a passthrough/transparency audio mode and fully-customizable controls. While many IPX7 wireless earbuds make compromises in other aspects in the name of affordability, the Elite Active 75t wireless earbuds allow you to have your cake and eat it too.
2. Jaybird Vista
The Jaybird Vista headphones are definitely on the expensive side when compared to the best waterproof earbuds, but the money is well spent. In addition to excellent audio quality and an IPX7 waterproof rating, the tiny ear wings keep these earbuds securely inside of your ear while you’re out on a run (or just going to pick up donuts).
3. Jabra Elite Sport
BEST FITNESS TRACKING FEATURES
When it comes to waterproofing, the Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds offer the same level of protection as the Jabra Elite Active 75t. What separates the two, however, is that the Elite Sport earbuds are IP67 rated (compared to the Elite Active 75t’s IP57 rating) which means that the former are a little better for dust protection if you tend to use them in dirty outdoor areas. While these may cost a little more and likely won’t sound quite as good as the Elite Active 75t, these earbuds also have built-in fitness tracking capabilities, which could make them a better pick for a health-conscious user.
4. Treblab X3 Pro
If you have weirdly shaped ear canals that make it tricky to get a secure fit when wearing earbuds, or just need something that will definitely stay put during high-intensity activity, the Treblab X3 Pro are a pair of IPX7 waterproof Bluetooth earbuds that will stick to your head like glue. With an over-ear hook design much like the PowerBeats Pro, these earbuds are perfectly suited for a run in rainy weather or a sweaty workout on a soccer pitch or basketball court. And for the price, you’ll likely be surprised by the quality and clarity of the audio when you consider the price.
5. JBL Reflect Flow
BEST BATTERY LIFE
While the sound profile of the JBL Reflect Flow won’t win over any audiophiles, those looking for big bass and even bigger battery life will be thrilled with these waterproof Bluetooth earbuds. Sure, these are definitely no-frills when it comes to the premium audio options, but it does have one killer feature that sets it apart from the best waterproof earbuds. The Reflect Flow can offer 10 hours of playback on a single charge, which is enough to not only get you through a workout but also your workday (or cross-country flight).
6. TaoTronics Sound Liberty 92
For those who want the absolute max protection from liquids, the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92 are the best waterproof earbuds around thanks to their IPX8 rating. We’re not entirely sure what situations you’d be in where you’d need this much waterproofing from your earbuds, but we’d love to hear from those who do. As far as the actual audio quality goes, these are budget earbuds at the end of the day, and likely won’t blow your mind. But again, if protection from the elements is a heavy priority, these are definitely worth considering.
7. Earfun Free
BEST BUDGET OPTION
OK, so you’re one of those who has a penchant for breaking your expensive gadgets, or worse, losing them. Lucky for you, the Earfun Free wireless earbuds exist. Like many of the best waterproof earbuds on this list, they’re IPX7 rated, so at the very least, you won’t be out a pair of earbuds when you inevitably drop them in the toilet. And if you manage to lose them, these buds are so cheap that replacing them won’t be the end of the world. Thankfully, these perks don’t come entirely at the expense of performance, with the Earfun offering better audio than the majority of competitors in the same price range.
8. Anker Soundcore Life P2
At this point, Anker is the god of releasing products that punch above their weight class (or in this case, price point). And with the Soundcore Life P2, you’re getting a pair of earbuds with a suite of features you’d typically find with earbuds that cost $100. That includes AptX audio support, four microphones for enhanced voice clarity during calls and graphene audio drivers in each bud for added depth and resolution from your music. And it should go without saying, but these are also IPX7 rated. This means you take them anywhere you want without fear of water, including the shower (although we’re not sure why you’d want to do that).