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Best Waterproof Earbuds of 2021

Credit: Jill Rice
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 23, 2021
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Love running in the rain? Tired of being tied down by cords? Then this review of the 12 best waterproof, true-wireless earbuds has you covered. We researched dozens of the most popular options on the market, settling on some of the top models to put through rigorous, side-by-side testing. Our team of experts wore these earbuds on hot, mid-summer trail runs, through sweaty at-home workouts, and then right into the shower as a dynamic approach to evaluating athletic performance and waterproof rating. We also listened to music throughout the workday to assess both sound quality and all-day comfort. Whether you need a new pair of TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earbuds for work or play, our comprehensive review breaks down some of the best waterproof models on the market today.

1

Best Overall Waterproof Earbuds


Jaybird Vista


Jaybird Vista
Editors' Choice Award
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$149.99
(17% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 6 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Super stable fit
Fully personalized EQ
Highly waterproof
Expensive
Low charge capacity from case

For the athletically-inclined, you will be hard-pressed to find a better-equipped pair of waterproof earbuds than the Jaybird Vista. These IPX7-rated buds are secure enough to handle any workout or adventure, thanks to a well-designed ear-fin — available in three very particular sizes — that makes these buds all but hard to pull out of your ear once properly fitted. A best-in-class quick-charge feature is ideal for gym sessions, with a mere five minutes providing an additional one hour of playback time. Like many modern devices, the Vista is supported by and meant to be used in conjunction with the Jaybird app, which allows you to access the full potential of these incredible waterproof earbuds. The brilliance and fullness of the sound really shines through after using a sound test to adjust your personalized EQ, and you are able to fully customize the function of the push-button controls. Despite their somewhat bulky appearance, these lightweight buds are designed to perfectly seat in the contours of your outer ear. Considering the tested effective Bluetooth range of 290 feet, you may just forget that you're even wearing this pair of TWS earbuds!

Considering the high price tag attached to these top-quality headphones, we appreciate that the app also includes a "Find My Buds" feature. Despite the long playback time, the case only holds an additional 10 hours of charge (equivalent to just shy of 1.5 full charges per pair), which limits their ability to travel far from a definitive power source. It would also be a nice addition for such an expensive product to extend a waterproof rating to the case. But aside from the high price point, our concerns for the Vista are really few and far between, making it an easy choice for our top spot. If you need a second opinion, you can be confident in your purchase knowing that they also hold the crown in our Best Bluetooth Earbuds review.

Personalized function, a sturdy fit, impressive acoustics, and a...
The low profile fit of the Jaybird Vista is right in-line with their...

Read full review: Jaybird Vista

2

Best Bang for your Buck


Mpow M30 Bluetooth


Mpow M30 Bluetooth
Best Buy Award
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$40
List Price
See It

Playback Time: 4.5 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX8
Well-balanced EQ and impressive call clarity
Highest waterproof rating
Long-range connection
Subtle rattle of stereo driver
No quick-charge feature

Sometimes, powerful products come in unassuming packages, and such is the case with the Mpow M30. These impressive little headphones tick all of the vital checkboxes for a truly great pair of waterproof earbuds: a fully submersible, IPX8 waterproof rating; a measured Bluetooth range of just over 100 feet; a lightweight, stable fit that is perfect for any athletic endeavor; and most importantly for our lead tester, a beautifully clean EQ that leaves plenty of room for a solid bass kick. Thanks to the clarity and noise-canceling capability of the dual microphones, we were even able to take business calls during our bike commute. And best of all, this top-quality performance is delivered at an untouchable price point.

At only four and a half hours, we do wish that the playback time was longer — mainly because we love the fit so much and want to listen to these all day long. The touch controls can be pretty sensitive, so you have to be careful adjusting the earbud not to pause or skip a track accidentally. The polyurethane drivers rattle very subtly, which is most noticeable if you happen to be exercising to a podcast or acoustic music. Although the case is not equipped with any quick-charge feature, it does carry up to four full charges. With few flaws and an affordable price tag, the Mpow M30 is a favorite for our testing team.

These earbuds offer not only top-notch sound, but a design that...
Their lightweight, relatively low-profile design improves their...

3

Best Sound Quality


Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless


Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless
Top Pick Award
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$149.99
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 7 hours | Waterproof Rating: IP57
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Fully customizable
Highly waterproof and dust protected
Expensive
Not the most stable fit

The audiophiles in the crowd will certainly appreciate the brilliant sound quality of the Jabra Elite Active 75t. Very similar to our top contender, these are designed to be used in conjunction with the Jabra Sound+ app. Once connected, you unlock the power and potential of these 'smart' earbuds — you can tweak just about everything on these fully-customizable headphones. Most importantly for overall sound quality, a few simple (but seriously sensitive) hearing tests allow you to set both personalized EQ and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) settings. Commuters will certainly appreciate the HearThrough technology, which allows you to hear outside noise through your music, and on-the-go business professionals will love the Sidetone technology, which allows you to hear your own voice on a call so that you don't end up talking too loudly. And all of this technology doesn't come at any expense of waterproofing. These buds carry an impressive IP57 rating, making them both waterproof and dust-protected.

But the incredible tech packed into the Elite Active 75t means that these waterproof earbuds carry an incredible price tag — they are by far the most expensive pair we tested. While they are well-protected from the elements, a bulky profile makes them fairly easy to knock out of your ear accidentally. More of a comment than a complaint, it is also important to acknowledge that the ANC technology severely limits playback time. So while you can enjoy an impressive seven hours of sound with ANC turned off, with the noise cancellation technology engaged, that time is cut down to a much more modest five hours. But regardless of the extent, you can rest assured knowing that these buds will provide top-quality listening time.

The Jabra Elite Active 75t is a bit bulkier than other models we...
Although they stick out a bit from your ear, the Jabra Elite Active...

4

Top Notch Call Clarity


Anker Soundcore Life P2


Anker Soundcore Life P2
Top Pick Award
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$39.99
(33% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 6.5 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Dual microphones on each earbud
Lightweight fit, perfect for all-day wear
Extended battery life
No volume control
Despite CVC tech, microphones are sensitive to background noise

Are you the relentless multi-tasker who makes themselves available for calls even while in the gym or out on a run? Well, you don't have to sacrifice call clarity for athletic performance, thanks to the Anker Soundcore Life P2. It is true that these are designed with a "reduced pressure" fit in mind, as they seem to comfortably rest just on the edge of the ear canal and yet are still impressively stable. Unlike others we tested, these have microphones on the top and bottom of both earbuds, resulting in excellent call clarity on both ends of the line. With an EQ that is adjusted towards the higher end of the spectrum, we thoroughly enjoyed the quality of sound for listening to podcasts. But don't expect much by way of kick if you are a lover of hip-hop, despite Anker's claims that their BassUp technology "enhances bass by up to 43%."

We were similarly underwhelmed with the Clear Voice Capture (CVC) technology that is supposed to significantly filter out background noise. Instead, we found that the dual microphones were uber-sensitive — while we were washing dishes, even the running water drew the attention of the person on the other end of the line. Similarly, we are a bit confused by the claims surrounding the waterproof rating on these. Even though the Soundcore Life P2 earbuds sport an IPX7 rating — which means that they should be safe to immerse in water up to three feet — the safety manual explicitly states, "[do] not submerge in water," and that "the product shall not be exposed to dripping or splash…" While this may be a case of read-the-fine-print, we will leave it up to you to decide whether or not to take them for a swim.

With an appearance similar to the ever-popular Airbuds, these...
These earbuds do stick out a bit from your ear, but that is a...

5

Best Complete Waterproofing


TOZO T6 True Wireless


TOZO T6 True Wireless
Top Pick Award
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$39.99
at Amazon
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Playback Time: 4 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX8
Both case and earbuds have the highest waterproof rating
Long range
Large variety of sizing options
Underperforming playback time
Unstable fit

Don't be deceived by their appearance… the TOZO T6 earbuds are reinforced with a robust level of waterproofing. These are one of the few models on the market that offer a top-level IPX8 rating for both earbuds and case. This makes them a fantastic option for swimmers, who can tune in for their morning laps and leave the case poolside without fear of damage. Though they do not boast the same overall sound quality when compared directly to other models in this review, the sound is consistent, with absolutely none of the "bouncing" that often plagues lighter-weight earbuds. Considering their relatively quick one-hour charge time and 190 foot measured Bluetooth range, there is no reason to NOT get up, out, and on your way, no matter what the day has in store.

Although the 6mm drivers of TOZO T6 provide a stable sound for activity, the quality is not particularly rich and even seems distant at points. We noticed a similar issue while making phone calls, with the receiving end sometimes remarking that we sounded like we were "calling through a tunnel." Even though they are stable enough for most athletics, the ear-cups fit tightly in a way that makes us not want to wear them all day. But perhaps the greatest flaw is a relatively short playback time of only four hours. Fortunately, the sleek carrying case is stocked with nearly six additional charges, which should be plenty if you're planning to use these for travel.

The TOZO T6 is one of the only models on the market that is secured...
The fit of the the TOZO T6 is a bit awkward, but it seems to fit...

6

Best Battery Life


Vankyo X200 Bluetooth 5.0


Vankyo X200 Bluetooth 5.0
Top Pick Award
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$29.99
(52% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 7 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX8
Hundreds of hours of playback time
Case doubles as a charging block
Highest waterproof rating
Super heavy, metal case
Earbuds refuse to stay in place

If you are looking to take your TWS headphones on an extended trip away from a reliable power outlet, then you will surely be intrigued by the superior power behind the Vankyo X200 waterproof earbuds. Not only do they offer seven hours of playback time, but the heavy-duty case carries 200 hours of extra charge. As a real bonus for travelers, the case is designed as a 5V/1A power supply, meaning that it can double as a power block to charge your phone. The earbuds also have a relatively low profile and comfortable, close-to-your-ear fit — which likely contribute to their impressive call clarity.

Despite a large, 8mm driver, the sound output on these is pretty weak and is definitely better suited for voice calls and podcasts than musical tracks. More distractingly, the drivers faintly rattle inside the housing of the earbuds. Additionally, even though it is small in comparison to many other power blocks on the market, it is important to note that the metal case weighs four ounces — twice the average weight of all other headphone cases in this review. And, like the case, the headphones themselves are rather bulky and heavy. It is difficult to achieve a stable fit, as the earbuds seem to consistently work themselves out from the ear and require constant adjustment. So despite their IPX8 rating, we remain leery of taking these out for a run or swim.

This sturdy, metal case is the only one to indicate the overall...
These earbuds are relatively bulky, and are really more suited to...

7

Fantastic Sound Quality


EarFun Free


EarFun Free
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$39.99
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 6.5 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Deep bass and full-range EQ
Stable fit
10-minute quick-charge provides 2 hours of playback
Large, bulky earbuds
Not breathable

Sound quality is paramount for any headphones, but it isn't often achieved, especially when it comes to earbud design. Fortunately for those in the market for a set of waterproof earbuds, the EarFun Free does not sacrifice a full sound for functionality. Don't be fooled by the size of the 6mm graphene drivers; these headphones offer a rich sound with a well-equalized, deep bass. The noise-canceling qualities are enhanced by a suction-cup-like fit that secures them in place, providing full confidence to go for long trail runs in rough, mountainous terrain. And if it just so happens that you get caught up in your listening and run through the six and a half hours of charge, a 10-minute, quick-charge feature will get you back in the game with an additional two hours of listening time.

Even though the waterproof rating is not quite as high as others we tested, an IPX7 rating allows for full immersion up to three feet, which is plenty for a swimmer. These are not touch control earbuds, and it does take a fair amount of push to engage the controls — sometimes, we found it difficult to change tracks without pushing these uncomfortably far into the ear canal. The EarFun Free is also significantly bulkier than other earbuds we tested, sticking out farther than most, which slightly reduces breathability. The fact that they block all water ingress is surely a plus for a swimmer, but the lack of breathability may not be as welcome for those planning on using these mainly in a gym setting.

The size and shape of these earbuds contributes to passive noise...
A bit bulky (even a bit android-looking), but their sound...

8

Designed for All-Day Comfort


AUKEY EP-T27 Soundstream Wireless Extreme


AUKEY EP-T27 Soundstream Wireless Extreme
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$50
List Price
See It

Playback Time: 6 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Lightweight and comfortable
Fast charging
Overly sensitive touch controls
Audio drivers rattle

The AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme are an incredibly comfortable pair of TWS earbuds. The elongated design is very similar to the Anker Soundcore Life P2, with a lightweight frame that rests gently at the edge of your ear canal — perfect for all-day wear. These are ideally designed for the remote professional who seamlessly alternates between making business calls and listening to music while working. You can enjoy high-quality audio — thanks to integrated aptX that ensures zero loss during Bluetooth transmission — with over six hours of playback time. And when it comes time to switch over to make a phone call, two microphones per earbud are supported by Clear Voice Capture technology to make sure your message comes across loud and clear. Although the Soundstream Wireless Extreme doesn't have a true quick-charge capability, these buds can fully charge in an incredible 40 minutes, the fastest charge time of any model in our review.

While these are well suited for work, they are slightly less suited for play than other earbuds we tested. They do sport a nearly top-level waterproof rating of IPX7, but the touch controls are so sensitive that even the slightest splash of water can trigger them. And when it comes to dryland activity, the drivers rattle enough with each step that we found these annoying to listen to while running. While the wider ear-cups do a good job of keeping the buds in place, if the extended arm gets knocked accidentally, these can easily pop right out of your ear. So while we are impressed by both the fit and sound quality of the Soundstream Wireless Extreme, it's best to use these buds for work or travel.

The AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme are one of the few models we...
The lightweight, extended design of the AUKEY Soundstream Wireless...

9

Petite But Highly Waterproof


Kurdene Wireless Earbuds


Kurdene Wireless Earbuds
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$22.99
(21% off)
at Amazon
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Playback Time: 7 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX8
Highest waterproof rating, including IPX6 rated case
Long playback time
Driver rattles in the earbud
Bluetooth connection is easily hijacked

The Kurdene Wireless Earbuds are a solid set of TWS waterproof earbuds at a great price, all wrapped up in a case that is noticeably smaller and lighter than the competitors. The earbuds themselves are a fairly standard size and sit a bit further out from the ear than other models we tested, but they still stick to the theme of being remarkably lightweight. These headphones sport an IPX8 rating, and even the case is IPX6 rated — so you don't have to worry about leaving it poolside. The earbuds can be used independently, with nearly ubiquitous touch controls (except for volume and track navigation, which are side-specific), and have an impressive playback time of nearly seven hours. The earpieces are also worth mentioning: you don't have to push them in very far to achieve athletic stability, thanks to a stiffer rubber "spine" that increases in-ear support and security.

The Kurdene earbuds have a clean EQ that is good enough for acoustic tracks but is treble-heavy and lacks any full-range resonance or deep bass kick. The driver — a "moving-coil, horn loudspeaker" — rattles around when running or performing exercises like box jumps. This can be very distracting and certainly detracts from the overall sound quality. The other major sacrifice of these price-point TWS headphones is their connection range, losing Bluetooth connection at 51 feet. So if you train in an Olympic-size pool (50 meters, 164 feet), plan on swimming a short-course (25 meters, 82 feet) to ensure you can keep your music playing.

These earbuds are more than half the price of some models featured...
Not exactly low profile, but the stiff rubber spine incorporated in...

10

Long Distance Bluetooth Connection


JLab JBuds Air Icon


JLab JBuds Air Icon
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$35.40
(41% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 7 hours | Waterproof Rating: IP55
Long-range Bluetooth connection
Long playback time
Not fully waterproof
Sound quality is severely affected by running

JLab Audio products are marketed as the "official audio partner of Major League Soccer," and for good reason. The JBuds Air Icon is the touch-control version of their signature JBuds Air earbuds. The Air Icon has an impressive connection range, measured at 102 feet. This capability, coupled with seven hours of playback time, makes them perfect for working out on the soccer pitch or in the gym. The case is thoughtfully designed with a built-in charging cord, and don't be thrown off by the cord's obscure appearance — simply plug directly into any standard USB type-A charging block to charge the case. The case carries three full charges, and you can enjoy 1.5 hours of playback from a 15-minute quick-charge.

Unfortunately, their IP55 rating is only water-resistant, so make sure that you take these out before hitting the showers. The Air Icon comes with a variety of ear cups and fins to help you dial in that perfect fit. However, all but the foam ear cups are unnecessarily embossed with the JLab symbol, severely impacting both their stability and in-ear comfort. These earbuds distinctly offer the ability to cycle through three different EQ options, but all fall flat of a rich sound. We are also disappointed with how much the sound is affected by movement. Particularly when running, the sound bounces so badly that at points, it seems like there is a "wawa" effects pedal dubbed over the song.

The athletic performance of these earbuds is in-part thanks to a...
The design of these earbuds incorporates passive noise cancelling...

11

Perfectly Pocket-Sized


iLuv TB100 Bubble Gum True Wireless


iLuv TB100 Bubble Gum True Wireless
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$24.99
(53% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 5 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX6
Tiny, lightweight case
Well-balanced EQ
Poor Bluetooth connection
Terrible microphone clarity

The iLuv TB100 Bubble Gum TWS earbuds have a fitting namesake. The case is about the size and weight of a pack of bubble gum, so you can easily slide them into your pocket before heading out the door. The earbuds, too, feel significantly smaller than many others, with the speakers comfortably covering the entrance to the ear canal — although it is important to mention that a smaller earbud does not make certain that they will fit a smaller ear. The tight, stable fit results in a surprisingly deep bass that is well-balanced with crisp highs. The fit also affords a decent level of passive noise canceling — we were able to listen to podcasts clearly while cruising downhill on our bike commute.

Unfortunately, the sound quality does not extend to voice calls. The feedback and background noise was so bad for the receiver that it made it impossible to carry on a conversation longer than a minute or two (and this was tested while standing still.) The tight, suction cup-like fit also contributes to the sound "bouncing" when running. And the lower IPX6 rating precludes these from being worn while swimming. The manufacturer claims that the touch controls are "intelligent" and able to adapt to individual touch patterns. We found the touch interface to be both overly sensitive — it was repeatedly triggered by the strap of our bike helmet — and often impossible to restart playback without pulling our phone out.

Larger than the size of the case suggests, these earbuds do a great...
A pocket-sized case reveals a set of earbuds that are surprisingly...

12

Small Profile for Small Ears


OKG IPX8 True Wireless Stereo


OKG IPX8 True Wireless Stereo
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$22.99
(43% off)
at Amazon
See It

Playback Time: 3 hours | Waterproof Rating: IPX8
Highest waterproof rating
Very stable sound during movement
Unfortunate EQ
Short playback time

For those with particularly small conchas (the inset space around your ear canal), the OKG TWS Earbuds may just be the perfect fit. Their lightweight, low-profile design rests comfortably just outside the ear canal and seems to do the trick when many other models simply won't match the shape of a smaller ear. Even for larger ears, they seem to float just on the edge of the inner ear, making them fairly comfortable for all-day use.

But that same characteristic of the fit makes them feel incredibly unstable, like they just might pop out of your ear at any moment. We were hesitant to run or workout in these headphones, and despite their IPX8 rating, we completely avoided swimming for fear of losing the small earbuds to the depths. This "floating" fit, combined with small, 6mm drivers, unfortunately, also results in a very low EQ. Music, podcasts, and voice calls all sound distant, and even turning up the volume won't help achieve a rich sound. These earbuds also only have three hours of playback time, no quick-charge feature, and no audible, low-battery warning — only an external LED light that will flash red when the battery is low (but you obviously cannot see this while wearing them.) So make sure to time your listening wisely, or risk having your music cut-out halfway through a song.

These earbuds are significantly smaller than most of the other...
These low profile earbuds are stylish, but unfortunately are not...

Why You Should Trust Us


Our sound-connoisseur and lead-tester for this review is Aaron Rice. As an athlete and a musician, he knows a thing or two about the intersection of sound and athletic performance. Whether out in the mountains on a long trail run or hard at work writing for GearLab, Aaron fills his days with music and always seems to have something playing in the background.

We dissect the details to bring you the most comprehensive review...
We confirm the waterproof rating of each pair of earbuds by...
While they may not offer the best fit for athletics, the IPX8 rating...

This comprehensive review is the result of over 100 hours of side-by-side comparison of some of the top waterproof, wireless earbuds on the market. Our eclectic musical interests mean that we listened to a wide variety of music, not to mention the hours of knowledge gleaned from new and interesting podcasts. We wore these while working all-day from our home offices, listening to music, and conducting business calls. After the workday was through, we took them on long trail runs, mountain bike rides, or wore them through sweaty, at-home workouts. And when we finished up our daily routines, we hopped right in the shower — of course, still while wearing our earbuds — in order to put their waterproof ratings to the ultimate test.

The TOZO T6 are one of the few options on the market that carries an...
The TOZO T6 are one of the few options on the market that carries an IPX8 rating for both earbuds and case.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Analysis and Test Results


In order to accurately assess all of these waterproof earbuds, our team of experts devised a test-plan that covers six comprehensive and mutually-exclusive metrics: sound quality, athletic performance, comfort, waterproof rating, battery life, and ease of use. We apply a weight to each of these metrics appropriate to their importance in contributing to a truly great pair of headphones. For example, all of the headphones we tested include some level of waterproof rating, so this was not weighted quite as heavily in our consideration as sound quality or comfort. Our side-by-side testing allows us to compare each set of earbuds relative to one another — even if a pair of headphones ranks lower than others, it is worth considering that it may include just the right features to fit your particular wants and needs.

Even though the 6mm drivers are small on the EarFun Free, their...
Even though the 6mm drivers are small on the EarFun Free, their graphene construction delivers a rich sound.
Credit: Jill Rice

Sound Quality


Waterproof rating is an important consideration for those of us looking to buy a new pair of TWS earbuds with athletic endeavors in mind. But what good is waterproofing, or athletic performance, if your new headphones aren't able to produce a really quality sound? We listened to a wide variety of music — from bass-heavy dubstep and hip-hop, to acoustic folk tracks, to long-form podcast interviews — to gauge how deeply the bass kicks, how crisp the treble rings, and how a well-balanced equalization contributes to overall rich tones. We also put the internal microphones to the test and used our friends on the other end of the line to judge call clarity and quality.

The exterior microphone on the Jabra Elite Active 75t is the key to...
The exterior microphone on the Jabra Elite Active 75t is the key to both the Active Noise Cancelling and the SoundThrough technology, which allows the earbuds to subtly include ambient noise in the background, a key trait for commuters.
Credit: Aaron Rice

A Quick-Guide to Noise Canceling Technologies



CVC
  • Stands for "Clear Voice Capture" and is software-based.
  • Designed for phone calls, it uses a computer algorithm to detect and isolate your voice.
  • CVC filters out background noise, increasing call quality and clarity for the person on the other end of the line.
  • Because the algorithm is intelligent, clarity will increase the longer you are on the phone.

ANC
  • Stands for "Active Noise Cancellation" and is hardware-based.
  • Designed to improve personal sound quality, it detects external sounds and "blocks" them with a counterwave that effectively cancels out the incoming sound wave.
  • This is what you often see in noise-canceling, over-the-ear headphones but is less common with earbuds due to certain design restrictions.

There is also Passive Noise Cancellation. Not really a technology in itself, this is instead the result of a shape that provides a noise-canceling seal over your ear canal and is very commonly used in earbud design.

Passive noise cancellation is a common design concept for earbuds...
Passive noise cancellation is a common design concept for earbuds, like the JLab JBuds Air Icon, that employ an ear-fin to create a better seal around your ear canal and as a result, increase sound quality.
Credit: Aaron Rice

While EQ preferences might vary depending on your musical interest, there are some very clear winners in this category. The graphene drivers and design of the EarFun Free — one that embodies the ideals of passive noise cancellation — resulted in a superior listening experience. The sound produced by these earbuds is beautifully equalized, resulting in clear highs, deep lows, and a rich mid-range. For those of us who love hip-hop, it is important to note that the EarFun Free is one of the few pairs we tested with bass that actually slaps, an uncommon quality for earbuds in this price range.

The fullness of sound delivered by the Mpow M30 earbuds is derived...
The fullness of sound delivered by the Mpow M30 earbuds is derived from a large speaker and quality driver, rather than fit alone.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Not far behind the Earfun Free are the Mpow M30, with similarly punchy bass and notably crisp highs, and the AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme, which produces an all-around full sound. All three of these models offer amazing call clarity, a testament to their well-designed drivers and well-placed microphones. But it is hard to compare any to the truly personalized EQ offered by the Jaybird Vista and Jabra Elite Active 75t. Both of these are powered by an app, which starts off your listening experience with a sound test that allows you to adjust these "smart" buds to your own ear.

One of six tests that the Jaybird Vista uses to dial in your...
The personalized EQ on the Jabra Sound+ app allows you to tweak...

Athletic Performance


Of course, you want to listen to your favorite tunes while engaging in your favorite physical activity — why else would you be interested in the freedom of the truly wireless experience? TWS earbuds are convenient, and when combined with a waterproof rating, serve as the perfect companion to any athletic endeavor. We spent hours wearing these earbuds while out on long trail runs, working out with dynamic body-weight exercises, and riding our bikes. We judged fit and stability, considered sweat resistance, and made notes on how movement affects sound quality.

The Realities of Gear Testing in the Times of COVID-19


Our hands-on testing period occurred after the significant outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent closures and restrictions on public spaces. Unfortunately, this included any reasonable access to public water sources for swimming. But we plan to update this article with those notes as soon as it becomes safe to do so.

For the meantime, many of our workouts occur at home, which is not...
For the meantime, many of our workouts occur at home, which is not nearly as well-ventilated as our regular gym. These very sweaty workouts were perfect for testing the sweat resistance and breathability of the Mpow M30 earbuds.
Credit: Aaron Rice

It may come as no surprise that, again, two of our highest-scoring earbuds overall also scored highly in this realm — but for very different reasons. The Mpow M30 offers a fit that is not only stable, but the lightweight design is remarkably more breathable than its competitors. The Jaybird Vista is equally lightweight but locks in by using an extended ear hook to secure itself tightly to your outer ear. While some earbuds, like the Earfun Free, have a stable, suction cup-like fit, the sound bounces with each impact of a footstep, making them very annoying to run with. Alternatively, the AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme and TOZO T6 trade-off a slightly less stable fit for absolutely no change in sound quality, regardless of how you move while wearing them. We were also surprised by the athletic performance of the Soundcore Life P2, a model that is particularly enticing for those who like to walk-and-talk.

We love the freedom from wires, particularly when it comes to...
We love the freedom from wires, particularly when it comes to running. The lightweight design of the Soundcore Life P2 surprised us when it came to athletic performance.
Credit: Jill Rice

Comfort


Our hope is that you fall so in love with your new pair of TWS earbuds that you will never want to take them out. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but we do want to direct you towards a pair that offers all-day comfort, whether you're on-the-go or working from home. These are indeed waterproof earbuds, so we showered and dunked our heads to see whether or not water can get into your ears. We wore each pair for an entire workday to directly compare their ease of extended-wear. Since we all have ears of different sizes and shapes, we then adjusted scores based on available sizing options for ear cups and fins.

The TOZO T6 offers the largest variety of earcups of any in our test.
The TOZO T6 offers the largest variety of earcups of any in our test.
Credit: Aaron Rice

A well-designed ear-fin comfortably supports the weight of the earbud on the edge of the antitragus (the lower portion of the middle ridge of your ear) so that the job of holding the earbud in your ear doesn't rest solely with the ear-cup. We love any earbud that includes an ear-fin for this reason in particular. The fins on the Mpow M30 result in a fit ideal for all-day wear, and the ones on the Jaybird Vista hold the earbuds securely in place for any athletic endeavor. The JBuds Air Icon also employ an ear-fin, but their rubber ear-cups are embossed with their logo, which is incredibly irritating to the outer ear canal. Fortunately, they come with a wide selection of ear-cups and fins, including a foam tip that is absent of this annoying design oversight.

The Jaybird Vista is our choice for all-day comfort, regardless of...
The Jaybird Vista is our choice for all-day comfort, regardless of whether you're running a marathon or just running errands. Once sized correctly, they perfectly contour to your outer ear.
Credit: Jill Rice

Without the use of an ear-fin, both the Soundcore Life P2 and the AUKEY Soundstream manage to achieve an impressive fit, thanks in large part to their similarly lightweight design. Despite their bulky appearance, the Jabra Elite Active 75t are well designed and offer all-day comfort — they also have a sensor that will automatically pause music if you need to remove the earbud to adjust its fit. Although they don't present an overall great fit, the OKG TWS earbuds seem to particularly suit those with smaller ears that may have had a tough time finding appropriately sized earbuds in the past.

Two earfins, with two very different designs and purposes. The Mpow...
Two earfins, with two very different designs and purposes. The Mpow M30 (left) lightly hooks into the concha, while and the Jaybird Vista (right) uses an extended hook to secure itself by holding firmly onto the valley of your outer ear.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Waterproof Rating


The whole reason you landed on this review is waterproof status. Waterproof ratings, commonly referred to as IP ratings, are clearly defined according to the International Protection Rating. However, manufacturers seem to include specific recommendations in their user manuals regardless of the IP rating advertised. But it is our duty to put these claims to the test — appropriate to their waterproof rating, of course — and we did so either by showering or subjecting ourselves to a dunk-test.

Even though it was a secondary option, testing in the shower...
Even though it was a secondary option, testing in the shower provided an arena to assess waterproof rating, comfort in a wet environment, and how ambient noise affects sound quality. The EarFun Free passes all three tests with flying colors.
Credit: Jill Rice

A Breakdown of IP Ratings


Below is a quick listing of IP ratings, in descending order of waterproof rating, associated with the earbuds included in our review:

IPX8
  • Immersion in water beyond 1 meter (3 feet), according to conditions defined by the manufacturer, which are generally a specified depth and amount of time.

IPX7
  • Immersion in water up to 1 meter (3 feet), according to conditions defined by the manufacturer, which is generally a specified amount of time.

IPX6
  • Capable of withstanding powerful water jets (i.e., high-pressure nozzle) from any direction.

IP55
  • Capable of withstanding water jets (i.e., industrial kitchen sprayer) from any direction. Additionally, this rating includes dust protection.

Gear testing at its finest! We weren't able to easily access any...
Gear testing at its finest! We weren't able to easily access any public water sources, so we had to improvise.
Credit: Aaron Rice

We ranked each pair of earbuds according to their IP rating and then adjusted those scores according to specific manufacturer recommendations. For example, our favorite for waterproofing — the TOZO T6 — has an IPX8 rating and is one of the few options on the market that also extends the same waterproof rating to its case. We noticed an odd-yet-common theme across a number of the headphones we tested: while a pair may carry an IP rating that allows for full immersion without damage, many of the user manuals explicitly state "not for swimming." Specifically, the earbuds from Mpow, OKG, and Soundcore all carry IPX7 or IPX8 ratings but state in their user manuals that their products are not designed for swimming or submersion. It is important to note that a Bluetooth connection will quickly be interrupted if you dive underwater — our testing corroborates that you will lose connection within less than a foot. But our testing revealed no significant issues related to waterproofing with any of the IPX7 or IPX8-rated headphones by dipping just below the surface. We always recommend following manufacturer recommendations, but we'll leave it up to you to decide whether to take your new pair of TWS earbuds out for a swim.

The user manual that comes with the Kurdene earbuds describes the...
The user manual that comes with the Kurdene earbuds describes the issues one might face while trying to use Bluetooth headphones while swimming.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Battery Life


As with many modern conveniences, there are trade-offs. With TWS headphones, you may no longer be tied down by cords, but you are restrained by battery life. We tested the battery life of each of these while playing music at approximately 30% volume — a lower volume than the manufacturer tested-claims for playback time and a more realistic volume for the majority of earbud users. We then adjusted scores based on the number of extra charges carried by the case and awarded bonus points if those cases include a quick-charge feature.

The Vankyo X200 is a case that is capable of delivering 200 hours of...
The Vankyo X200 is a case that is capable of delivering 200 hours of charge, and doubling as a power block to charge your phone.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Interestingly enough, a lower streaming volume did not seem to increase playback time for all of the headphones we tested. Some, like the TOZO T6, AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme, and JBuds Air Icon squeaked out an additional half- to one-hour of playtime — with the biggest gain coming from the Kurdene earbuds, earning an additional two-hours of playback. Many were right on the mark of their manufacturer claims, while others like the iLuv and OKG earbuds fell one- to two-hours short of their claimed battery life. The most remarkable contender in this realm is the Vankyo X200 earbuds. Not only do these match claims of seven-hours of playtime, but the case offers an additional 200 hours of charge — that equates to 28 additional charges — and can also double as a charging block for your phone.

The JLab JBuds Air Icon is the only set of earbuds that incorporates...
The JLab JBuds Air Icon is the only set of earbuds that incorporates a charging cord directly into the case.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Ease of Use


One of the greatest advantages of TWS headphones is the ability to put them in and then walk away from your phone to go about your business. This is particularly important for waterproof earbuds because it means you can keep listening to your favorite tunes while swimming laps. With a few notable exceptions, the interface features and controls are fairly ubiquitous across the board — the main difference is that the EarFun Free, Soundcore Life P2, Jaybird Vista, and Jabra Elite Active 75t are all button-controlled, rather than touch-sensitive. This is actually a nice feature to opt for with waterproof buds, considering that many of the touchpads are so sensitive that splashing water can actually affect the controls, pausing music or even changing tracks.

We love the EarFun Free, an earbud that would only further be...
We love the EarFun Free, an earbud that would only further be improved by eliminating the button control that can result in you pushing them uncomfortably far into your ear.
Credit: Jill Rice

We also assessed portability, which comes down to case size and shape. The Kurdene, Mpow, and especially the iLuv earbuds all have small, lightweight cases. But we particularly loved the shape of the cases holding the TOZO T6 and AUKEY Soundstream, which are both vertically elongated and slide more comfortably in a pocket.

A comparison of the sizes and shapes of earbud cases. The Mpow M30...
A comparison of the sizes and shapes of earbud cases. The Mpow M30 (top left) and Jaybird Vista (bottom left) are narrow and elongated, while the TOZO T6 (top right) and AUKEY Soundstream Wireless Extreme (bottom right) are wider, but flat enough to easily slide into your front pocket.
Credit: Aaron Rice

But as stated above, it really comes down to pairing and, most importantly, Bluetooth range. To maintain objectivity, we tested this without interference of barriers — as stated above, the Bluetooth connection of all of these headphones will be interrupted below the water surface. The Jabra Elite Active 75t and Jaybird Vista both maintain a solid connection at 265 and 290 feet, respectively — well exceeding their claims of 33 feet (10 meters.) On the other end of the spectrum, the OKG and iLuv earbuds have more limited ranges of 50 and 41 feet, respectively — although to their credit, this still exceeds their similar claims of 33 feet (10 meters.) But along the lines of restricted range, we noticed while working that often just your body is enough to disrupt the Bluetooth connection (for example, if you are bending over with your phone in your pocket.)

Without cords, battery life is the only thing tying you down...
Without cords, battery life is the only thing tying you down anymore. Most cases, like this one for the iLuv TB100 earbuds, provide an LED readout of remaining charges.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Conclusion


Wireless headphones are a fantastic new technology that helps separate us at least a little bit from our phones. Particularly from the perspective of athletes and those of us who commute via bike or live in rainy climates, that technology is made even better by adding a waterproof design. Not all of these wireless waterproof earbuds are created equal, and we hope that this comprehensive review has helped you plug into the pair that best suits your needs.

We take our testing seriously (okay, not too seriously...)...
We take our testing seriously (okay, not too seriously...) But we did go the distance to bring you a comprehensive review of some of the best wireless, waterproof earbuds on the market.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Aaron Rice