How waterproof are running headphones?

Best answer: How waterproof running headphones are is entirely dependent on the IP rating that they have. As a general rule of thumb, you'll want to look for something with a rating of IPX7 or IPX8 for maximum protection against water.

It all depends on the IP rating

With headphones, smartphones, and just about every tech product we talk about, waterproofing and water resistance is based on something called an "IP rating." IP (or Ingress Protection) ratings typically have two numbers that follow them (e.g. IP68). The first number stands for how resistant something is to moving parts, dust, etc. while the second number is how resistant the product is against water/moisture.

6 and 7 are the two most common ratings for the first number, with 6 standing for protection against most dust while a 7 means the device is completely sealed off from dust of any kind. If you see an X instead of a number, that means there's no guaranteed protection in these regards.

Looking at the second number that accounts for water resistance, the three most common ratings are as follows:

  • 5 — Protected against spraying water
  • 6 — Protected against low-pressure water jets
  • 7 — Protected against high-pressure water jets + waves (up to 1 meter of submersion for 30 minutes)
  • 8 — Protected against temporary water submersion (up to 1 meters of submersion for 30 minutes or longer)

In other words, the higher the number the IP rating has, the greater the protection there is.

Don't push your luck if you don't have to

Having a pair of headphones that you can technically submerge in water for 30 minutes or more is a great safety net to have, but just because you've got something with a high IP rating doesn't necessarily mean you should test it out if you don't have to.

Those ratings are in place to protect your gadgets, not for you to play around with.

Jaybird and Soundcore have two great options for you

If you need a bit of guidance on where to start with waterproof running headphones, I recommend checking out the Jaybird X4 and Soundcore Spirit Pro. The X4 delivers an IPX7 waterproof rating, a great design, fantastic battery life, and top-notch sound quality. If you want something a bit more affordable, Soundcore's headphones offer an even better IP68 rating at the expense of sound quality.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.