Swimming is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it’s important to protect your ears from the water and swimming earplugs can help.
Water can cause ear infections, so it’s vital to use swimming earplugs to keep your ears dry. But with so many types and brands of swimming earplugs on the market, how do you know which ones are the best?
Having suffered an ear infection in the past from poor-quality swimming pool water, I know exactly what it feels like to be on a mission to protect your ears. When I am not swimming, I am a musician so I am always very conscious about my hearing health.
I went onto Amazon and purchased the most popular and best-rated swimming earplugs. As well as being some of the best-selling swim earplugs out there, this list covers all the most popular swimming ear plug designs, from the classic speaker’s head shape to silicone putty.
Scroll down for the full list of the top swim earplugs and what they actually look and feel like.
What To Look For In Swim Earplugs
Generally, as swimmers, we all look for the same thing in a good pair of swimming ear plugs and that is:
- They are comfortable.
- They do not fall out easily.
- They protect our ears.
- They are easy to store and clean.
As a side note, if you have smaller ears (or a smaller ear canal) you will be more prone to getting ear infections as it is harder for pool water to exit the ear. This is why children suffer from ear infections more than adults.
If you really want to keep your ears protected, it is best to ensure that they are fully dry after each swim. Do not leave the swimming pool facility until your ears are dry. It is the dirty pool water staying inside your ear that creates the perfect environment for infection.
Only a very few types of swimming earplugs (unless you are lucky enough to get a perfect fit) will actually keep your ears dry. I have covered this in much greater detail in the article, “Do Swimming Ear Plugs Stop Water Getting In Ears?”
Let’s dive into the best-rated swimming earplugs and what they are actually like.
1. Zoggs Aqua Plugz (Adult Size)
These are my absolute favourite swim earplugs. They come in two sizes, adult and junior. The blue colour is the adult size.
Of all the swimming earplugs that I tested I have to put these as number one for the following reasons:
- They are very comfortable with soft silicone.
- The lip design stops too much water in your ear. (Unless you are lucky enough for a perfectly sealed fit, swimming earplugs can’t always guarantee to keep water 100% out of your ears).
- The lip design tucks beautifully underneath a swimming cap, so even if these do fall out, the lip can remain trapped under your swim cap so you reduce the risk of losing them.
- They come in a perfect carry case so they keep their shape and are easy to find at the bottom of your swim bag.
Here is an image of what this earplug actually looks like in place.
The only downside of these earplugs is that the adult size was a little too big for my small ears, however, the junior size fitted perfectly. (See a review of these below).
Here is a link to these swimming earplugs on Amazon.
2. Zoggs Aqua Plugz (For Small Ears)
These are identical in design to the Zoggs Aqua Plugz adult earplugs and have all the same benefits as listed above.
They are soft, do not fall out easily and are great for small adult ears or for kids.
Here is how the adult and junior size Zoggs Aqua Plugz adult and junior sizes compare. To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in their size, but I have smaller ears and the fit is so much better with these.
Here is an image of how well the smaller Zoggs Aqua Plugz fit. You can see that they fully block my ear and are a very snug fit. There is very little chance of these falling out.
To view these earplugs or purchase them, you can also get these from Amazon. Just make sure you pick the 6-14 years option.
3. Macks Pillow Soft Moldable Silicone Putty Earplugs
These are great swim earplugs, but I do have some reservations.
These are wonderful if you are OK with putting silicone putty in your ears. Personally, I do not like sticking things in my ears that can go in too far, and these swimming earplugs require some user caution.
The good things about these earplugs are:
- Super comfortable as the silicone is so soft.
- A perfect fit as the silicone can be moulded.
Here is what these swimming earplugs look like out of the packaging:
According to the Macks official website, you can use these silicone putty earplugs up to 5 times. [source]
So if you are OK with putting putty in your ears, these are a great buy.
My only complaint about these is that they are difficult to store after use. If these happen to get loose in your swim bag, they will quickly attract dust and dirt and must be put in the bin. You will need to find a small container to store these to keep them clean.
Here is an image of what these swim earplugs look like fitted:
To view more details about these swimming earplugs, here is a link to these swim earplugs on Amazon.
4. Swim 2 Pairs Plugz Adult Swimming Earplugs
These swimming earplugs caught my attention as they have a cord connecting the swimming earplugs.
One of the most common fears and complaints from swimmers who use earplugs is that they hate it when they lose them in the pool or if they fall out mid-swim.
Swimming earplugs can get very expensive if you have to keep replacing them regularly.
Here is what these swimming earplugs look like inside the packaging.
These swimming earplugs have some nice features, including:
- Very soft silicone.
- A traditional “spearhead” design, which seems to work for a lot of people.
- A long cord, so hard to lose.
- A plastic carry-case to keep them clean and protected.
Here is what these swimming earplugs look like fitted.
If you like the idea of having a cord to keep track of your swimming earplugs, then these could be a good option for you. Here is a link to these swimming earplugs on Amazon.
5. Reusable Silicone Swimming Earplugs
These swimming earplugs are so affordable and popular that I just had to try them.
I think these are a good option for larger ears or those who use swimming earplugs a lot and need to continually buy a fresh supply as they are very affordable.
This is what these swimming earplugs look like. There are six pairs in one pack.
Some good features of these swimming earplugs are:
- Very affordable. The cheapest swimming earplugs on the market.
- Standard spearhead design.
- Good for larger ears.
Here is what these swimming earplugs look like fitted. In the following image, I have not tucked the stem in so you can see how long it is. I can tuck this stem into the ear for a more secure fit or underneath a swim cap.
If you are looking for some very affordable swimming earplugs that get the job done, these are a good option.
My only complaint about these is that they are hard to store as they do not come in a compact case.
Keeping earplugs clean and free from dirt in your gym bag is essential, so you need to purchase a little carry-case, for example, this earplug carry-case. (View On Amazon)
To read more about these swimming earplugs, you can view them on Amazon. Here is the Amazon link to these swimming earplugs.
6. Silicone Swimming Earplugs
Because I loved the Zoggs Aqua Plugz, I wanted to try a cheap alternative.
These three pairs of unbranded silicone swimming earplugs seem to be a copy of the Zoggs Aqua Plugz. With a similar design and carry case, I was eager to see how they compared.
Value-wise, these swimming earplugs are great value for money. They are very similar in shape to the Zoggs Aqua Plugz, but not as comfortable.
They made these swimming earplugs from a much thicker silicone than the Zoggs Aqua Plugz. Although the extra thickness makes these swimming earplugs feel very durable, they do not have the same degree of flexibility as the Zoggs Aqua Plugz.
If your ears are on the smaller side, this stiffer silicone does not push into the ear as well as the Zoggs Aqua Plugz.
Here is an image of how these swimming earplugs fit.
Despite the thicker plastic, these swimming earplugs are an excellent option and great value for money. If you have smaller ears, however, stick to the Zoggs Aqua Plugz.
I also really like how this pack of three has three different colours. It is a nice way to keep track of which swimming earplugs you are currently using.
Here is a link to these swimming earplugs on Amazon.
7. Reusable Silicone Ear Plugs
These silicone reusable earplugs are very similar to the budget spearhead design already mentioned.
There are many variations of these swimming earplugs out there. Here is an image of the ones I purchased.
The nice thing about these swim earplugs is that they have a carry case, however, to ensure that the earplugs you are currently using do not get mixed up with a fresh pair, you will need to separate the fresh earplugs, and store them somewhere safe.
The box compartments do not contain the swim ear plugs or keep them separated, so it will mix your used swim ear plugs with fresh new ones.
The one complaint I have about these swim earplugs is that the stem sticks out a lot and feels long. Although you can bend the stem and fit it into the ear as shown in the following image, it was just a little too long for me. The manufacturer recommends cutting the stem to fit.
Here is an image of how these swim earplugs fit. Without pushing the stem into the ear, they stick out really far, but this is uncomfortable. The stem of these earplugs will be too long for the average ear and will need to be cut.
I can appreciate why this spearhead design is very popular with so many people, as it just works and is really affordable. These particular swim earplugs are my least favourite but still a great and affordable buy that will work for those with larger ears.
Here is a link to the spearhead reusable soft silicone earplugs on Amazon.
Although these are not swimming earplugs, I want to mention them as it is can be a great option for those who are not a fan of putting things in their ears, yet need some protection from the extra ingress of water into the ear.
A swimming headband is a neoprene band that fits around the head. Here is an image of what it looks like in place:
I came across this option at my local pool, where a fellow recreational swimmer was wearing one.
She didn’t enjoy putting her head in the water at all, and used this with a swimming cap for the following reasons:
- To keep her hair dry, as the extra layer of neoprene with a swim cap stopped water from getting to the base of her hair.
- To stop splashes of water from getting in her ears.
For those who want to keep their swim earplugs in place and don’t want to tuck them underneath their swimming cap, this could prove to be a great option.
In addition, for cold water swimmers, this can add a level of warmth around the ears without the need for wearing a full neoprene hood.
I liked this option a lot and could be a very useful tool for those swimmers who are very protective of their ears.
Here is a link to a swimming headband on Amazon.
Swimming earplugs are limited to three designs.
We have the in-ear fully covered design, the spearhead design, and the mouldable silicone putty.
My favourite swimming earplugs of all the ones I have tried are the Zoggs Aqua Plugz. I hate sticking things in my ears and I felt like the Zoggs Aqua Plugz did not push in too far, stayed in place and were super comfortable.
The custom carry case also makes life very easy as you are carrying your swimming earplugs in your swim bag.
It is important to remember that no earplugs will keep your ears 100% dry unless you are very lucky and get a perfect fit. Swim earplugs are not designed to keep your ears dry, just to prevent excessive saturation and ingress of water.
With a little bit of experimentation, it is possible to find a great pair of swim earplugs that will work for your unique ears.