Top 3 Best Earphones For Swimming Under $200 Of 2021

With waterproof headphones, we can effectively listen to our favourite audio whilst swimming. These headphones are a great choice for swimmers and anyone else that trains in and around water (yes, I’m looking at the dedicated joggers in the rain)!

It goes without saying that not all waterproof earphones and headphones are created equal. Not only is there a spectrum of waterproofing but some will sound better than others and be more comfortable than their peers. In this article, we’ll discuss the best waterproof earphones for swimming that fit within a $200 USD budget.

The top 5 best earphones for swimming under $200 are:

Each of the above models would be a great choice for the typical swimmer. We’ll spend the rest of the article discussing why!

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?

What Makes A Pair Of Earphones Great For Swimming?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great pair of earphones for swimming.

  • Waterproof (IP rating): this goes without saying but a great pair of swimming earphones have to be waterproof. A rating of IPX7 or greater should suffice for most applications (7 allows immersion, up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) depth).
  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any pair of earphones. Though highly subjective, factors such as weight, shape, pressure, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort.
  • Battery life: because wireless receivers require power, these earphones will require batteries. The amount of time it takes for the battery to drain from fully charged is an important factor to consider. Again, if the audio player is waterproof, we may not need a wireless unit.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of earphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.

It’s important to note that radio waves when passing into the water, disperse very quickly. In other words, our wireless audio signals don’t work in water. Therefore, wireless/Bluetooth headphones won’t work. Rather, we need an audio player and a pair of earphones if we are to swim with earphones at all.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best earphones for swimming under $200!

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Aftershokz Xtrainerz

First up the Aftershokz Xtrainerz (link to check the price at B&H Photo/Video) bone conduction headphone.

Aftershokz Xtrainerz

The AfterShokz Xtrainerz are also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Bone Conduction Headphones and Hikers’ Movement’s Top 10 Best Headphones/Earphones For Hiking.

AfterShokz’ Xtrainerz is a bone conduction headphone. Bone conduction headphones work by vibrating our bones rather than our eardrums to elicit a response from our inner ear that is interpreted as sound by our brains.

So these headphones/earphones don’t actually go over our ears. Rather, they press against our cheekbones. This allows our ears to listen to our external environment while we’re also hearing the audio we send to the Aeropex.

For more information on bone conduction headphones, check out my article The Complete Guide To Bone Conduction Headphones (With Examples).

Of course, the sound quality won’t be the greatest with bone conduction headphones and you’ll have ambient noise mixed in with the audio. However, because water is likely to get into our ear canals, a nice tight pair of waterproof bone conduction headphones (like the AfterShokz Xtrainers) can actually give a more consistent sound for our listening please whilst swimming.

That being said, the proprietary PremiumPitch 2.0+ gives the Xtrainerz a powerful bass response and higher volume for our listening pleasure.

The IP68 rating means these earphones can withstand immersion of 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) or more and continue to work as designed.

An 8-hour battery life means that these earphones can last for several swimming sessions without the need for recharging.

Note that these “earphones” are not Bluetooth compatible. Rather, they only have internal music storage. This internal storage holds up to 4 GB, allowing for a library of up to 1,200 songs ready to play at the touch of a button. It Supports MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, and FLAC for device-free listening.

Play, pause and skip through songs and adjust volume with the control panel. Upload audio from a computer via the Xtrainerz’ USB port.

The AfterShokz Xtrainerz come with a 45-day return policy and a 2-year warranty.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: bone conduction
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity: 96 ± 3dB
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Open/Closed-Back: in-ear
  • Weight: 30 g
  • Wireless/Wired: neither (internal storage)

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

Finis Duo

Next up is the Finis Duo (link to check the price on Amazon).

Finis Duo

Like the aforementioned AfterShokz Xtrainerz, the Finis Duo is actually a player/earphone combination that utilizes bone conduction rather than typical headphone drivers.

As we’ve discussed, bone conduction transducers are a great way to mitigate any sound loss due to to water in the ear as they completely bypass the eardrum and vibrate the inner ear directly. It’s no wonder why the Finis Duo is so great!

With an IPX8 rating, the Finis Duo has been tested to perform at a depth of 3 meters (10 feet) for 30 minutes. Of course, we’re talking about swimming here, not diving and so there’s no need to worry about this unit ever breaking unless you drop it into the deep end for an extended period of time.

The Finis Duo has a clip design that allows each transducer to be secured to the goggle straps of the swimmer. Rest the two transducers on the cheekbones and you’ll have yourself a great pair of underwater headphones.

With 4 GB of storage and support for both MP3 and WMA formats, the Finis Duo can store about 1000 songs or 60 hours of playback. Play, pause and skip through songs and adjust volume with the control panel. The unit is compatible with iTunes and other audio programs.

The included USB magnetic dock allows for universal data transfers and charging. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers up to 7 hours of playtime on a full charge.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: bone conduction
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: no info
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: IPX8
  • Open/Closed-Back: on-ear
  • Weight: 150 g
  • Wireless/Wired: neither (internal storage)

Sony NW-WS623

Third on this list is the wireless Sony NW-WS623 (link to check the price on Amazon.

Sony NW-WS623

The Sony NW-WS623 is actually part of Sony’s Walkman line of portable audio players. This waterproof/dustproof unit features built-in dynamic earphones that act like normal headphones.

This particular Walkman is a superb choice for plenty of activities other than swimming. It temperature range is from -5°C to +45°C. It has a Ingress Protection Code rating of IP68 that protects it from fresh or salt water to a depth of 2 m for 30 minutes and dust particles that are up to 75 μm in diameter for 8 hours. It also features an ambient sound mode that allows external noise to be heard along with the audio (for safety reasons or otherwise).

So this pair of earphones/audio player can handle a swim in the pool.

Before we go swimming though, we should choose one of the four earbud sizes that fit the most snug in our ear canals and fit the walkman into our ears firmly. Stabilize the WF-WS623 with your swimming goggles to help prevent the Walkman from detaching in the water.

Of course, this can all be a hassle, which is why I suggested a few bone conduction headphones first. However, if fitted properly, the Sony WF-WS623 can be a great pair of earphones in and out of the water.

Note that radio waves do not transmit through water so the wireless/Bluetooth compatibility of the WF-WS623 is null and void when it comes to swimming. Rather, we’ll rely on the 4 GB of internal storage to access our audio.

As for sound quality, when the earphones fit right, they sound awesome and are well worth the investment for that. Take your time finding the best earbuds and placement and you’ll have yourself a great pair of earphones for swimming.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Open/Closed-Back: on-ear
  • Weight: 1.13 oz / 32 g
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 4.0

Sony is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.

Also, check out the Sony NW-WS413LM (link to check the price on Amazon) for a cheaper alternative.


Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement ( or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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