New wireless headphones go 'beyond IPX8' for ultimate waterproofing and I want them

H2O Tri headphones, worn by a swimmer, underwater
(Image credit: H2O Audio)

Do you do triathlons of a weekend? I tip my hat to you. For the rest of us, maybe we just want some good running headphones or a set of the best swimming headphones we know we can rely on for being really, really waterproof.  

And these are they, because H2O (the Californian specialist that was first to market with waterproof headphones in 2003) today released its newest invention – multi-sport, waterproof bone conduction headphones that go beyond the IPX8 rating by being submersible up to 12 feet of water for an unlimited amount of time. Yes, you read that correctly.

Wondering how you'll take your mobile phone into the drink with you? Don't fret. The Tri Multi-Sport Headphones with Bluetooth and MP3 (yes, quite a mouthful, but that's their name) also have a built-in MP3 player as well as Bluetooth, shockingly.

The headphones actually feature 8GB of memory, so you'll be able to take approximately 2,000 MP3 songs with you. They also offer a claimed nine hours of battery life. Impressive.

Opinion: you don't need to be an elite athlete to own them – but you could Tri…  

H2O Tri headphones in black, on white background

The athlete-friendly design will probably help you get a PB... if that's what it's called (Image credit: H2O Audio)

These headphones were designed for triathletes, but made for anyone who likes to listen to music while they swim, surf, run, bike, ski, or snowboard. OK, I only do some of those things but I would love a set – and let's be clear, I may never run a triathlon.

Why do I want something designed for elite athletes? Why does an Apple Watch owner want the new Watch Ultra? Because we've suffered too many losses, friends. We've dropped earbuds in puddles (my colleague even put his AirPods through the laundry), dried them religiously, rejoiced when they did come alive then lamented their fate, ie. sounding forevermore as if they're still underwater. 

And now there's H2O's Tri headphones, which also offer a refreshing open-ear design with a behind-the-neck headband, so you can hear the traffic on your run, or stay with the yoga teacher in class, say. For a pretty low price (specified below) I'll absolutely give them a go. 

But the Tri headphones' biggest draw is that concurrent with the 2022 Ironman World Championship and The Underpants Run in Kona, Hawaii (which I didn't know about, but I'll be researching as soon as I finish writing this piece) H2O Audio’s waterproof technology goes beyond the IPX8 rating.

To clarify, IPX8 is specified as a device that can be submerged in up to 1.5m of freshwater for up to 30 minutes and still survive. These headphones, however, are billed as being able to withstand submersion up to 12 feet underwater (that's 3.6m for us metric heads) for an unlimited amount of time. It's a huge jump in waterproofing, and could mean they jump straight into our best bone conduction headphones buying guide. 

At a promotional launch price point of just $99 (around £90, AU$157), in black, blue and pink headband finishes, the H2O Tri Headphones are possibly the most affordable premium multi-sport, waterproof headphones on the market today, too. 

Want to hear how they fare for sound, features and comfort under review? Watch this space…  

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.