7 Best Earplugs for Swimming (Keep Water Out, Finally)

This sponsored post contains affiliate links, which means the author may earn a commission if you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you.

Frustrated with getting water in your ear when swimming? Here’s your ultimate guide to the best earplugs for swimmers.

Swimmer’s earplugs prevent water from entering the ear canal at the pool or in open water, reducing infections and itchiness.

As a lifelong earplug wearer over decades of competitive and recreational swimming, I’ve tried every earplug on the market (and incurred more of my fair share of painful ear infections along the way, too).

Earplugs for swimmers should be comfortable, durable, and most importantly, keep water from entering the ear canal when swimming.

In this guide to the best swimmer’s earplugs, we evaluate the top options on the market, the pros and cons of each earplug, the different types of swimmer’s earplugs, and some tips on how to keep water out of your ears at the pool.

By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of how to choose the best earplugs for more enjoyable swimming workouts.

Let’s jump right in.

The Best Earplugs for Swimmers

Here is a quick look at the best earplugs for keeping water out when swimming:

Next, we will take a closer look at each swimmer’s earplug, highlighting key features, pros and cons, how they compare against each other, and which earplugs are right for the swimming you are doing.

Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Ear Plugs

⭐ Best overall earplugs for swimmers

Earplugs for Swimming - Mack's Silicone Putty Soft Earplugs

The Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Ear Plugs are far and away the best ear plugs for swimmers, thanks to a soft, moldable plug that fits perfectly to the unique shape of your ear canal.

This watertight seal effectively keeps water out of your ears while swimming, whether it’s a leisurely afternoon swim or standing up on the blocks to race at a swim meet.

Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs for Swimming

The earplugs can work with any type and shape of ear, Mack’s ships them with a carry case to protect them between swims, and they are super inexpensive, with a 6-pair set costing around $6.

I’ve been using Mack’s earplugs since my earliest days in the pool as an age-group swimmer in summer league.

While I have strayed occasionally to try other earplugs, from competing silicone plugs to $200+ custom earplugs, nothing has ever been as effective as Mack’s Pillow Soft earplugs for keeping water out while swimming.

Best Overall Earplugs for Swimming

Regarding durability, I get around two weeks of use from a single set of earplugs before they begin to harden, which happens naturally over time from exposure to pool chemicals, heat, and moisture.

Mack’s continues to lead the pack regarding the best earplugs for swimming, and the competition isn’t even close.

Comfortable, leak-free, and inexpensive, Mack’s earplugs are your best choice for keeping water out of your ears when swimming.

✅ Reasons to Buy: ❌ Things to Note:
Most comfortable and leak-free earplugs for swimmers Silicone earplugs naturally harden over time as they are exposed to heat, moisture, and pool chemicals
Inexpensive; six pairs cost just $6
Mack’s ships them with a carry case to protect them between swims
Customizable to your ear shape and canal
They work!

Sporti Silicone Earplugs

⭐ Runner-up: best swimmer’s earplugs

Earplugs for Swimming - Sporti Silicone Earplugs

The Sporti Silicone Ear Plugs are another moldable earplug that can be placed into the exterior of the ear canal, molded to the opening of your specific ears, and keep water out while swimming.

Each set of the Sporti earplugs comes with four earplugs, working out to about a $1 per pair (similar to the Mack’s earplugs), and a clear plastic case is included to keep the earplugs dry and clean between swim workouts.

Younger competitive swimmers or people with smaller ear canals will want to opt for the Junior version of the Sporti Silicone Ear Plugs, which creates that watertight seal in a smaller plug.

Inexpensive, highly functional, and available in adult and junior sizes, the Sporti Silicone Ear Plugs are an excellent earplug for lap swimmers, young and old.

✅ Reasons to Buy: ❌ Things to Note:
Soft silicone fits perfectly to the shape of your ear canal, keeping water out Like the Mack’s earplugs, hardening happens over time and use
Carry case to extend lifespan of the ear plugs
Budget-friendly pricing
Available in a junior size, too

FINIS Ear Plugs

⭐ Best reusable pre-molded earplugs

Earplugs for Swimming - FINIS Earplugs

The FINIS Ear Plugs are a pre-molded silicone plug designed to stop water intake without stuffing the plug too far into the ear canal. Unlike other pre-molded ear plugs, the FINIS ear plugs have a small clip that can be rotated into the cartilage of the outer ear, effectively locking the ear plug into place.

Unlike moldable silicone ear plugs for swimmers, like the Mack’s above, the FINIS Ear Plugs won’t lose their flexibility and harden over time. You could conceivably go the whole swim season using a single pair of these bad boys.

FINIS bundles the earplugs with a carry case to keep the plugs clean between swims, and SwimOutlet sells them for about $5 a set.

✅ Reasons to Buy: ❌ Things to Note:
Best reusable pre-molded ear plugs Like all pre-molded ear plugs, can be challenging to get a perfectly leak-free fit
Won’t harden over time; can get a lot of yardage from a single set
Clips to keep them in place while swimming
Carry case included to protect the ear plugs between swim workouts

Speedo Kids Silicone Ear Plugs

⭐ Best kids’ ear plugs for splashing around

Earplugs for Swimming - Speedo Kids Silicone Earplugs

The Speedo Kids Silicone Ear Plugs are designed for toddlers and small children to keep water out of small ear canals.

Each set comes in bright, vibrant colors, making it easy to see if they are still in place on your child, and the moldable material gives a custom fit each time your kiddo hits the pool.

Speedo ships each set with four pairs of earplugs. These earplugs are definitely more for the splashing type of swimming and not lap swimming, so keep that in mind when comparing these against other earplugs for swimmers.

Additionally, Speedo doesn’t ship these with a proper case, making it difficult to store them properly between visits to the pool.

✅ Reasons to Buy: ❌ Things to Note:
Vibrant colors make it easy to see if they are still in place Best suited for splashing and not swimming
Four pairs of ear plugs with each set Carry case isn’t very good
Moldable to the shape of a swimmer’s ear canal
Made for smaller ear canals and young kids

Sporti Silicone Ear Plugs

⭐ Best tree-shaped silicone earplugs

Earplugs for Swimming - Sporti Tree-shaped Silicone Earplugs

The Sporti Silicone Ear Plugs are tree-shaped silicone earplugs that can be easier for some swimmers to use.

The shape and structure of the earplugs make them more straightforward to position in the ear canal compared to putty earplugs. These earplugs are also much more durable than putty earplugs, which can degrade and lose effectiveness over time.

That said, I’ve always found it harder to get a secure fit with this type of earplug when swimming, and you don’t get as personalized and snug a fit as with silicone putty earplugs.

Sporti makes the best tree-shaped silicone earplugs for swimmers, with a set that has an elastic string between the two earplugs and a carry case to hold and store them between swim practices.

They are also just $2 a set, making them a great deal considering how much more use you can get from them compared to a pair of silicone putty earplugs.

✅ Reasons to Buy: ❌ Things to Note:
Best tree-shaped earplugs for swimming Not as personalized a fit in the ear canal compared to putty earplugs
Quicker to position compared to silicone putty earplugs More prone to falling out when swimming
Carry case and string connecting earplugs included

Other Swimmer’s Earplugs We’ve Tried and Tested

There are several other earplugs for swimming on the market outside of the top picks listed above.

The earplugs below are worth checking out if none of the earplugs up top tickle your chlorinated fancy.

They include:

Speedo Silicone Earplugs. A direct competitor to Mack’s Pillow Soft, the Speedo Silicone Earplugs have the same moldable putty design. I’ve tried them several times over the years and found them stiffer and more prone to leaks compared to Mack’s. They are also pricier, with a four-pack retailing for the same price as 24 of Mack’s earplugs.

Arena Earplug Pro. Made of silicone and featuring a three-layer design, the Arena Earplug Pro is great for sound reduction, but I struggled to get them to stay in my ears while swimming. Some users report success with them, but I was not one of them.

Wrapping Things Up

Swimming is one of the best activities and sports on the planet. Getting water in your ear, and the resulting earaches and infections that can occur, however, are not awesome.

Fortunately, swimmer’s earplugs can keep water out so that you can stay focused on swimming with great effort and efficient technique instead of that creeping onset of water in the ear canal.

To recap:

The Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs are far and away the best earplugs for swimming. They are easy to mold to the opening of your ear canal, maintain a watertight seal while swimming, and are inexpensive.

Choose the right earplugs for you and your swimming, and hit the water with confidence.

Happy swimming!

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national-level swimmer, swim coach, and best-selling author. His writing has been featured on USA Swimming, US Masters Swimming, NBC Sports Universal, the Olympic Channel, and much more. He has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 …

Read More »