As is the case with almost any sports purchasing decision today, swimming caps are difficult to buy. There are simply so many choices out there on the market, which is a good problem to have.
However, people get overwhelmed and distracted due to the sheer number of options that do exist. This buying guide is here to help you determine what you should look, and what you need in a swimming cap.
This is will make your purchase decision much easier. After we have went over things to look for, we’ll review the top swimming caps out there for this new year!
Swimming Cap Buying Guide
Reasons to Wear Swim Caps
There are many reasons to wear swim caps, but here are just a few:
- They protect your hair, though not totally, from chlorine.
- Swim caps keep your hair from getting in your face and further blurring your vision.
- Swimming caps are sometimes mandatory to make sure filters don’t get clogged up by everyone’s hair!
- They are hydrodynamic
- They keep you warm
- Makes you much easier to see, which helps people avoid running- or swimming- into you, whether they are swimming or boating themselves.
Some Fun Facts
- One of the first things that needs to be mentioned is that no matter how high the quality your swim cap is, you are still going to get wet.
- There isn’t a swimming cap in the world that can fully keep you dry. That is something that needs to be known from the get-go because it could potentially leave some upset if they feel that they have a ‘leaky’ cap.
- Sorry ladies and guys, that means that you can’t keep your hair perfect and 100% free and safe from chemicals. So if you do have some sort of issue, you can always get a shampoo to balance your pH back out as soon as you finish swimming!
- All swim caps will make you more hydrodynamic in the water, which means you will go faster- almost gliding over it. Some are better than others, but any cap will produce better results than you would see without one (all things being equal, of course).
- Did you know that the length of your hair can determine what you should wear? We’ll discuss more about materials below, but people with longer hair should tend to side with silicone as it is more forgiving on the hair. For people with short or medium hair, mostly men, latex is better and perfectly suitable.
- A swimming cap should never leave a line around your head after you’ve worn it. If you are experiencing this, then you need to find another size. The cap should fit your hair, but not so tight that you see marks on you. For those that have difficulties in between sizes and are afraid of the swim cap coming off, you can find chin straps to help them stay on.
- Make sure that if you are a part of a team that you choose something that matches your teammates. This is an underrated thing, but it really can bring a team closer if they wear the same color at practices and well as competitions.
- Someone that is very concerned about letting water in can try to wear two swimming caps at once in an attempt to reduce the amount of water.
Swimming caps can be made from any number of materials as we live in a world where practically anything can be used or manufactured. However, swimming caps have two main materials that are typically used: latex and silicone.
swimming caps are the more inexpensive versions that are meant to be used by people that aren’t quite in a competition. These would be great for anyone that just wants to protect themselves when they are swimming in the recreational pool.
They’re also great for those on a budget since they do the job (usually) but are manufactured with slightly “lower standards” than their silicone counterparts.
They are cheaper because they are relatively thin, which is also going to cause them to wear out sooner than silicone caps would.
Latex is very bad about keeping its shape, thus leaving a latex cap lying around for a long period of time could prove to be too much for it to take. Latex can and will turn into a goo that simply bonds itself to whatever it is close to if you allow it to do so.
swimming caps are more expensive and more heavy-duty than their latex counterparts. Silicone caps are thicker, which helps them last much longer.
This does make the price go up quite a bit, but they can prove to be well worth it because of their durability. This is great, and really, the only option for a competitive swimmer that wants to have a serious go at swimming in his or her meets.
In addition to all of this, silicone keeps it shape much better over an extended period of time when not being used. So not only in terms of its actual use, it is just simply a better material for durability purposes.
Temperatures and Its Effect on Materials
Nothing above really makes latex seem appealing whatsoever. Many of you are wondering why it’s even around if it won’t even hold up for long periods in between swimming trips.
This is an excellent question that can be answered completely by temperature. Temperature affects caps tremendously, and it is the main reason why latex is still a thing in the swimming cap market.
Latex is actually good for something, and that something is for pools that are heated at 81 degrees (Fahrenheit) or above.
Latex, thus, has become a favored material for people that go to the public pool for swimming lessons or even water aerobics. At 81 degrees, you can start to get a little warm in the pool.
The best answer to this, besides taking off your cap, is to have a cap that isn’t thick. So latex is your answer! So, you won’t overheat nearly as bad as you would if you were to have a silicone cap on.
Silicone does a great job of keeping you warm. Thus, it is great for anyone that is swimming at a temperature of 80 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Remember, silicone is very thick (which gives it its durability), but in this case, it may not be the best answer if you’re at 81 or above.
Which one serves your needs best is determined by where you swim and how often you swim! If you swim at both temperature ranges, you may want to purchase one each just to make sure you are always comfortable.
Your Workout or Leisure Affects Material Choice
Now, the temperature part is all great and dandy, but it doesn’t address anything about the temperature you’ll be generating on your own. Just as outside exercise would go, you can still work up quite a sweat when it is cooler.
It comes down to body heat and the type of exercise you are doing. This is the same case in the pool. How you exercise is just as important, if not more important, than where you exercise at.
It’s true to say that no matter what variation of cap you’re wearing that at a temperature of 80 or so, you’re going to start to feel very warm. This is the same as if you were running outside with a toboggan on in 60-degree weather.
You can get away with it initially, but it won’t take very long to make you so warm you get a little angry.
So, once again if you’re an elite swimmer, but you are practicing for long periods of time, latex is probably going to be your best friend.
For the race, you’re going to want to have something that is fast, but at practice, you’re going to want to and will have to have something comfortable in order to make it throughout the long sessions.
If you are not an elite swimmer, and you’re planning on keeping your heart rate relatively low, then you will probably always be safe to wear a silicone cap. But latex could also be fine for you, unless you are just thin-skinned by nature and need the added warmth.
One tip before moving on from the materials is to say that you can really help your latex swimming cap’s life last longer by making sure to dry out all the wetness from it after each use.
After doing this, make sure you don’t leave it laying on top of anything. Preferably, you should hang it somewhere. A good place might be on a clothes hanger that you can easily see so that you don’t forget it on the way to swim!
Neoprene and Lycra Caps
We’ve put neoprene in its own category because it has some unique properties that just go above and beyond the recreational pool or even the swimming meet pool.
Instead, neoprene is the preferred choice of those that swim in the open water. Neoprene is the same exact material that is used to make wetsuits.
This is a critical piece of equipment for any open-water swimmers because it helps keep you much warmer than either latex or silicone could.
The ocean can be much cooler than the pool, so it really is a necessity, especially for someone that is not wearing a wetsuit themselves.
Some people in triathlons or other long swims will even wear a latex or silicone cap underneath their neoprene just to give themselves even more protection over the duration of their swim.
Lycra also gets its own category because it differs drastically from any of the other three types. Lycra is used in synchronized swimming and other types of aerobic exercises that are done gently in the water.
The emphasis is on the word gently because it means that the heart rate never gets up too high. Lycra is great for these purposes because it will keep the hair out of the face while not warming you up as the other three types would.
They don’t retain your heat, nor do they fit too tightly on you. So if you do need any type of help with getting warm, this wouldn’t be the best choice for you to make.
Lycra, to add further, is basically another name for spandex, so it is going to be about that level of support for you!
We’re in a new age of technology where even a sport seemingly as simple as swimming is even subject to its whims. As a result of this new technology, caps can be made to be wrinkle-free.
This isn’t just great because they fit and feel better. Rather, they become hydrodynamic due to this. Being hydrodynamic is everything in the swimming world.
In races where competitors win by mere hundredths of a second, this can mean everything. The less resistance placed on the swimmer, the faster they will go!
Average Price of a Swim Cap
Though the price can vary quite a bit depending on a variety of factors (especially the materials like silicone vs. latex), the average price you’ll probably pay will come in around $11.80 for a decent silicone model this season.
Best Swimming Cap Reviews
This is great for anyone that wants to look like an American Olympian while feeling pretty similar to do them as well! Coming in at a moderate price is a silicone cap that will help reduce drag and is very easy to put on and off.
It is resistant to tearing, so those with long fingernails may find a safe haven here. It also keeps the wrinkles out, so you will gain even more speed. The fit is very durable over time as well.
- Silicone reduces drag
- Easy to put on and take off
- The American flag can make you just like “Phelps and Co”.
- A little tight for those with larger heads
- No others!
#2 on the list is a set of items that come at a relatively high price but is honestly still very reasonable. Swimming equipment is relatively cheap compared to other sports equipment.
Nevertheless, the cap is reversible and has two sides with different colors on each side to help you with your style a bit. It’s also easy to get on and easy to take off without scratching or tearing occurring.
It’s great because it allows you to reduce your drag and go faster.
- Silicone to reduce drag
- Reversible to give you color choices
- Comes with performance swim goggles
- A little bit of high price against other swimming cap only offerings
- More focus paid to goggles than the cap
Much like the offering from Speedo that made #1 on the list is this silicone cap. This cap has a wide variety of colors to choose from, and they will definitely make everyone happy.
They are tear and scratch resistant as well as easily placed on your head due to it being made with silicone. The price is a bit toward the moderate range in terms of swimming caps, but it’s still a great deal.
You can definitely reduce your drag with this cap, as you can with either of the other two so far. This one has superb pliability and durability and it’s great for medium to long hair.
- Scratching and tearing won’t happen
- Hydrodynamic due to silicone
- Good price despite being moderate for swim caps
- Only comes in one size
- Tend to slip off after many uses
Generally, all silicone swim caps are better for long hair than latex one, but Speedo has designed a cap that is specifically made for those with long hair. At a very reasonable price comes this cap that has extra space for you to tuck your hair in.
It does all this without compromising its fit or how it feels, so you won’t feel like it is squeezing you. While doing all of this, it is still very good at reducing drag and helping you go much faster.
- Covers brilliantly for those with longer hair
- Silicone helps reduce drag
- Great price
- Not great for larger heads as it is one size fits all
- Can be very tight if you have a larger than ‘medium’ sized head
This is yet another silicone cap that has been made to help those with longer hair. Unlike the Speedo one above, though, this one is relatively expensive. It is the most expensive cap on the list so far, not counting the goggles/cap combo.
This cap comes in a number of colors, and it really hugs the ears and gives you a much different look than any of the others we’ve seen so far.
These also come with earplugs, so this likely explains why the ears on the cap make you look like you’re a strange-looking creature.
- Great for long hair
- A different look to many on the market
- Comes with earplugs and nose clips
- Price is a little high
- One size fits all could deter some users
This swimming cap also offers a different look and style as it has a bubble look to it. It has one size, adult, and it is made from silicone. The silicone will help it fit better and tighter while also protecting it from scratching.
It will give you better speed as drag will be reduced quite a bit. This cap makes a sensational claim that it will keep your hair completely dry, which is just false. But it does appear to do a better job than most.
- Keeps hair drier than others
- Reasonable price
- Silicone is very versatile
- Not a great fit for those with long hair
- One size fits all can be a detriment
7. Dsane Women’s Silicone Swim Cap for Long Hair (well, sort of “womens’)
We like this 2-pack deal from Dsane for the value it offers since the second cap is half the price of buying only one cap. It comes in 4 color combinations so you’ll have plenty of choice for looks.
The cap is meant for use by those with long hair, so it looks a lot like the fifth choice in our top ten list.
This particular option is Uni-sex which most will appreciate, and best of all, it NOT LATEX!! We’ve owned several latex caps and unfortunately, even with gentle use, the latex tore after just a couple of swim sessions, but the silicone is WAY more resilient.
- Good for long-haired swimmers
- Six solid colors, including a great pink
- Comfortable pockets for your ears to fit into
- Comes with a great 2-pack deal
- Price is pretty high
- One size fits all is sure to doom some users
This is our first non-silicone product on the list. This Spandex choice is very stylish for those that want to look for that, and it is at a low price as well.
This would be a great cap for those that are doing synchronized swimming or an event like water aerobics. Once again, it’s one size fits all, but that should be assumed by this point, we reckon.
If you’re curious about any potential difference between this Spandex cap and the more “traditional” latex or silicone, how’s this?
Spandex is far more comfortable. It also keeps your hair in place as good or better than silicone but with far less pulling on your hair and therefore much more user-friendly and less irritating.
Honestly, because it fits more comfortably, you actually look better and more “normal” or comfortable than with a super-tight piece of compressed rubber on your head!
- Great styles
- Meant for those that don’t spend much time underwater
- WAY more comfortable than latex or silicone
- One size fits all is frustrating
- Tiny bit more expensive than latex
Coming in at a very low price is a LATEX swim cap (finally!). This Speedo is available in a number of colors, many of them are vibrant. It’s also great for people that want to swim for long stretches of time.
One of the things it does well is help protect from UV rays, so that could be a big factor in your decision.
- Much thinner and cooler than silicone
- Cheaper because of the material
- Offers UV protection
- Hard to get on sometimes due to the latex
- It does run small, and it’s once again one size fits all
The final offering on the list is a moderately priced silicone cap that will help you look different than other people, especially if you do not have long hair…
It comes in four different colors and it is loose enough to give you comfort as well as the right, snug fit. Because of its silicone, it is resistant to tearing and gives hydrodynamic properties.
- Decent price
- Great for those with long hair
- Hydrodynamics are improved with it
- Once again, one size fits all
- Does not offer the greatest of durability
Conclusion & Recommendations
Before we leave you, we’d like to just make sure and reiterate something. After reading many reviews, comments, answers, and searches throughout the internet, swimming caps DO NOT KEEP YOU HAIR DRY.
So many products are getting bad reviews simply because of this fact. This is not the purpose of a swimming cap, rather it is an added bonus that comes with purchasing one.
Some do a better job than others, but the purpose is not to completely seal your head off from the rest of the world. If you want a bathing or shower cap, then go find that!
But those will never offer you the same options that a swimming cap does. If your hair is that big of a concern, then you need to think about going somewhere to swim that has not been treated.
As for everyone else, good luck in choosing the right swimming cap for you!