SHOKZ fully submergible waterproof headphones for swimming

As someone who goes through headsets from regular use, I know how important it is to choose durable waterproof headphones. Even if you haven’t lost a device to the perils of the poolside it’s a great feeling knowing your headphones are built to stand up to accidents and general wear and tear. There are a lot of brands that use terms like ‘water-resistant’, ‘weather-resistant’, or ‘waterproof’ without clarifying what that actually means. One of the best ways to know precisely what your device can handle is by its IPX rating.

IPX ratings and what they mean

IPX is a rating system that determines how weatherproof a device is. It measures the amount of protection against both dust particles and water. You may have seen IPX used with the X being replaced by a second number, and that number is a measure of how dustproof an item is. For example, a pair of headphones with an IPX of IP47 would mean they are both dust-protected and able to be submerged in water for 30 minutes. For this article, we’ll just look at the IPX ratings for water. Here’s a quick reference list you can use when shopping.

  • IPX 1: Protection from dripping water or sweat
  • IPX 2: Protection from vertically dripping water
  • IPX 3: Protection from spraying water
  • IPX 4: Protection from splashing water
  • IPX 5: Protection from water poured from a nozzle
  • IPX 6: Protection from a strong jet of water
  • IPX 7: Protection for up to 3 ft. of water, fully submersed for 30 minutes
  • IPX 8: Fully submersible and in water deeper than 3 ft.
Man wearing JBL waterproof headphones while at the beach going for a jog

How to choose headphones by IPX rating

Even if you’re just using your headphones indoors or for short periods, having headphones with an IPX rating of 5 or greater can be a lifesaver, protecting against sweat or any sprays of water that might get into the sensitive parts of your headphones. Headphones with this rating will most likely be in-ear headphones or earphones. Over-ear headphones offer a lot in terms of audio quality and comfort, but they have exposed earcups so they aren’t as water-resistant as in-ear.

While more protection is always better, finding a balance between audio quality, IPX, and budget can be hard. If you’re using your headphones outside for exercise you’ll need a minimum of IPX1 or IPX2 to save you from damage due to rain. For most cases, IPX3 or IPX4 will be more than enough water resistance to increase the lifespan of your headphones. Higher IPX ratings are great for use by the pool or outdoors where there’s a chance of them getting sprayed or dropped into water.

I prefer my wireless earbuds to have higher IPX ratings, so I choose IPX6 or IPX7 just in case. I tend to have bad luck with my earbuds falling out or being knocked over, but higher IPX ratings make me feel confident my device can survive anything I put it through. If you don’t want swimming to stop you from listening to your favourite music, you can also choose entirely submersible headphones. These devices are rated IPX8 and clip around your ear so they never fall out, making them perfect for any outdoor or underwater exercise.

With such a wide range of options available, choosing a new pair of headphones can feel a little daunting. The best way to find the right device for you is to look at all of the features you need the most. If you want a pair of wireless waterproof headphones with long-lasting battery life, you might be interested in a pair of Jabra earphones. I have Jabra headphones and I feel the IP57 rating lives up to the claims of being perfect for both everyday hazards and more. Bose, Samsung, and Sony are also good quality brands that offer a range of IPX rated earphones to choose from.

Portable speakers also have IPX ratings

Jabra Elite wireless headphones at the beach

If you don’t want to listen to music via headphones, you can also choose another type of device that’s rated on the IPX scale. Portable speakers use rechargeable batteries and have different levels of water resistance so you can use them by the pool or hot tub and you won’t have to worry about splashes or water damage. You can share your playlists because they push out audio that fills a room with music

The best part is these speakers are often extremely waterproof without breaking your budget. JBL is a top brand in this space that offers waterproof speakers with long-lasting battery life that will survive any day at the beach.

Which IPX rating should you choose?

Now that you know the different IPX ratings and what they mean, you’re ready to choose your new headphones. Whether you’re looking for waterproof headphones to protect against minor sweating or a plunge in the lake, you’ll find a variety of options at Best Buy.

Steven Garrard
Steven is a freelance journalist and tech enthusiast who enjoys keeping up with technological advancements and sharing them to improve our daily lives. He also runs a video game and tech review blog and can be found on twitter at @BiasedGamer101.