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Which adult swim cap is best?

It’s known that hair and swimming don’t mix well — and no matter how well you tie it back or braid it, rogue strands may end up distracting you in the water. To keep your hair under control and reduce drag while you swim, choose an adult swim cap.

From nonslip edges to contoured designs that accommodate hair and ears, swim caps are designed to be comfortable while keeping hair in place. If you’re looking for a customized fit, some swim caps are available in a broad range of sizes as well.

Our top choice, the Speedo Unisex Adult Elastomeric Swim Cap, is a well-designed cap equipped with a textured silicone surface that won’t pull or pinch.

What to know before you buy an adult swim cap

Why wear a swim cap?

Competitive swimmers wear swim caps to improve their swim times. Not only does a cap streamline the body to minimize resistance, but it also keeps distractions at bay, such as wet strands sticking to goggles.

Other swimmers choose to wear swim caps to protect their hair, as chlorine and other chemicals can damage or discolor hair. While swim caps don’t aim to keep hair completely dry, they reduce your hair’s overall exposure to pool water.

Coverage area

An appropriately sized swim cap covers the mid-forehead area down to the hairline at the back of your neck. With that said, everyone has a different head size and hairline. For that reason, swimmers often gravitate toward adult swim caps that are available in a variety of sizes for a better fit.

Nonslip detail

Swim caps are made with nonslip materials including silicone, rubber and latex. Certain designs take nonslip to the next level and add texturized nubs or bands around the edges. Some consumers appreciate these details, but for those with sensitive skin, they can be bothersome and cause skin irritations.

What to look for in a quality adult swim cap


Swim caps can be stylish, so you don’t have to compromise on aesthetics. Most are available in a broad range of colors, including traditional jewel tones, neon or pastels. There are also swim caps with fun prints, patterns or team colors.

Molded ears

Many swim caps have adopted the molded ears design, which allows additional slack or room to accommodate ears. This also means that ear plugs aren’t scraping against the inside of the cap, which could result in tearing. In non-molded designs, particularly tighter-fitting caps, ears can be crushed against the head, resulting in an uncomfortable wear experience.

UV protection

If you swim in outdoor pools, consider an adult swim cap with UV or UPF protection. These caps are specially designed to minimize the impact of the sun’s rays. While they’re harder to find and tend to be more expensive, those who swim in lakes or beach club pools swear by them.

How much you can expect to spend on an adult swim cap

Budget-friendly adult swim caps cost $10 and less, although quality can be hit or miss. Midrange caps cost around $20 and are usually fit- and comfort-oriented in their designs. Long-lasting swim caps and those designed for long hair can run as much as $35.

Adult swim cap FAQ

How do you get the chlorine smell out of a swim cap?

A. A thorough rinse with water usually does the trick. If the smell lingers, you may need to plunge the cap in a diluted mixture of vinegar to neutralize it. Rinse the cap to prevent vinegar from transferring to your hair the next time you wear it.

What’s the best way to tuck long hair inside a swim cap?

A. Many swimmers recommend putting your hair in a ponytail and wrapping the hair into a flat, loose bun. This prevents your swim cap from having a strange bump, and it prevents the cap from being pulled back too far from the added bulk.

What’s the best adult swim cap to buy?

Top adult swim cap

Speedo’s Unisex Adult Elastomeric Swim Cap

Speedo’s Unisex Adult Elastomeric Swim Cap

What you should know: This simple, fitted cap is from a leading brand in swimwear.

What you’ll love: Made from silicone and free of latex, the edges are scalloped and won’t pull on hair.

What you should consider: While they’re available in 20 designs, colors appear different than pictured.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top adult swim cap for the money

Phelrena’s Waterproof Swimming Cap

Phelrena’s Waterproof Swimming Cap

What you should know: Budget-friendly, this is designed with extra room to accommodate ears.

What you’ll love: It comes with bonus ear and nose plugs. Made with flexible silica gel, it has slip-resistant edges.

What you should consider: Intense pulling or stress may cause the cap to tear.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Swim Elite’s Swim Cap for Long Hair

Swim Elite’s Swim Cap for Long Hair

What you should know: This is a popular design for those with long hair, braids or dreadlocks.

What you’ll love: With extra room at the crown, it is available in several sizes for a custom, comfortable fit.

What you should consider: Sizing is hit or miss, so be prepared to try more than one.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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