The best swim caps keep hair under control while swimming, and mostly dry, while also protecting your hair from chlorine damage in the water. For these reasons, it’s important for swimmers of all ages and of every skill level to have a swim cap, along with goggles and a good pair of flip flops for the locker room or for lounging by the pool.
And if you’re allergic to latex, which some swim caps are made from, don’t despair: many caps these days are not only free from latex, they’re PVC-free, and made from silicone, a somewhat better material for the environment. In this ranking, we break down the six best swim caps for men, women,and kids, and particularly, for swimmers with long hair.
Whether for recreation or for serious fitness, there’s nothing like swimming. Let the best swim caps in this ranking help make your swimming experience all it can be.
Our Top Picks
Dip your toe in the water. Here’s a quick look at the best caps for swimming.
|Best Swim Caps Overall: Speedo Elastomeric Silicone Swim Cap|
This elastomeric swim cap fits snug and snaps right back into shape each and every time.
|Runner-up: Nike Lycra Swim Cap|
Some prefer lycra over silicone, and for these swimmers we recommend the lycra swim cap from Nike.
|For Long Hair: TYR Long Hair Swim Cap|
With a contoured cut, the long hair swim cap from TYR also reduces drag.
|For Women: Dsane Womens Silicone Swim Cap|
Not only is the Dsane swim cap designed for long hair, an ear plug and nose clip are included with purchase.
|For Men: FINIS Silicone Adult Swim Cap|
The FINIS swim cap has a rippled edge for a secure fit around the base.
|For Kids: Arena Classic Youth Silicone Unisex Swim Cap|
Designed to fit smaller heads, the youth swim cap from Arena is PVC free and available in a broad range of colors.
A Closer Look: Best Swim Caps for All
Take a dive in the deep end with the 6 best swim caps in our ranking.
1. Speedo Elastomeric Silicone Swim Cap
The best swim caps overall
Brand: Speedo | Material: Silicone | Fit: One-size | Age: Adult | Spec: 💰💰💰💰
Made from elastomeric silicone, the Speedo swim cap holds its form, but not just that: silicone is itself a somewhat more sustainable choice than a typical plastic or rubber cap because it lasts longer, and it leaches fewer chemicals into the ground while decomposing.
The cap is also latex free with a contoured shape for better hydrodynamic performance, and it comes in a selection of colors and styles. Swimmers like the feel of the cap when it’s on, and due to the elastomeric fit, it’s a good choice for larger heads.
This Speedo product is textured on the inside which helps prevent the cap from falling off in the pool, and one swimmer commented that, while other caps tend to give him a headache, the Speedo cap did not, nor did it pull his hair.
That being said, the cap is not recommended for extra thick hair, according to some, but overall, users say the practical cap from a trusted brand combines function, comfort, and looks.
- Good choice for swim practice
- Protects scalp from pool chemicals
- Very stretchy, easy to get on and off
- A little thin
- Some competitive swimmers don’t like it
2. Nike Lycra Swim Cap
Brand: Nike | Material: Lycra Spandex | Fit: One-size | Age: Adult/Youth | Price: 💰💰💰
Most swimming suits are made from lycra spandex, a fabric material rather than rubber or plastic. For this reason, some prefer a lycra swim cap, finding them more comfortable. Lycra caps also match swimming ensembles much better than silicone, or a cap made from some other kind of material, and tend to be much easier to put on and take off.
For these reasons, we like this Nike swim cap, made from 89% polyester and 11% spandex. Many who tend to get headaches while wearing a cap report no issues with Nike, and although lycra caps do tend to stretch, this one holds its shape.
It is important to note, however, that although lycra is a great choice for UV protection and to keep hair out of your eyes, caps made from this material won’t protect your hair at all from getting wet.
- Tight fit
- Good choice for kids
- Keeps water out better than other lycra caps
- Rec swim only
- Not a lot of drag reduction
3. TYR Long Hair Swim Cap
The best swim caps for long hair
Brand: TYR | Material: Silicone | Fit: One-size | Age: Adult | Price: 💰💰
Made from silicone, the TYR swim cap is our choice for the best swim cap for long hair. The asymmetric design and contoured cut around the ears help swimmers protect their hair without pulling or producing too much pressure on the scalp.
The silicone construction also reduces drag in the water, maximizing swimming speed. And it’s available in six different color choices. The preponderance of feedback about the cap calls it a great choice for long hair, even long and curly hair tucked up in a bun.
Some do comment it rips too easily, but others add it effectively streamlines your head while keeping hair out of your eyes, even while swimming in the ocean. No cap will keep your hair completely dry in the water, however.
- Nice and durable
- Won’t tug your hair
- Lots of extra room for hair
- Too small, some say
- Bit difficult to pull on
- Does stretch out a bit over time
4. Dsane Women’s Silicone Swim Cap
The best swim caps for women
Brand: Dsane | Material: Silicone | Fit: One-size | Age: Adult/Youth | Price: 💰💰💰
Another great choice for women with long hair is the Dsane women’s silicone swim cap. Sold in eight different color choices, the cap has plenty of room for hair, but what really sets it apart are the nose clip and ear plugs included with purchase.
Otherwise, the cap is lightweight and stretchy, fitting many different head sizes without pulling hair or causing headaches. It also stays put once it’s in place.
No cap will keep your hair completely dry but, according to reports, the Dsane comes close. It also helps to keep your hair from drying out due to all the chlorine in the pool, and it won’t rise up on your forehead, like other caps can sometimes do.
The ease with which the cap goes on and comes off does receive some mixed reviews, however.
- Won’t stick or rip
- For both kids and adults
- Won’t have to fuss with it between laps
- Won’t keep your hair dry
- Some find the cap a little “grabby”
- Nose clip could be better, some say
5. FINIS Silicone Adult Swim Cap
The best swim caps for men
Brand: FINIS | Material: Silicone | Fit: One-size | Age: Adult | Price: 💰💰
Offering a snug fit, we like the FINISH silicone adult swim cap for male swimmers. The rippled edge keeps things nice and secure around the base of the cap, effectively covering the ears, and keeping hair away from the face and eyes.
Not only is it a good choice for recreational swimming, the FINIS cap also performs well in training and competition, and it comes in a few different colors to choose from.
The cap does give some people headaches after extended wear, and some call it a bit too tight. But overall, it’s durable: buy one cap and you’re done, at least for a few swimming seasons.
And although it’s listed as an “adult” cap, many young swimmers like it for swim practice at school. Many choose the cap because they’re allergic to latex, but some say it’s not the best choice for longer hair.
- Thick, fits closely
- Won’t have to fuss with it
- Tough seams throughout frequent use
- Some question the durability
- Silicone thinner than other caps
- A little see through with dark hair
1. Arena Classic Youth Silicone Unisex Swim
The best swim caps for kids
Brand: Arena | Material: Silicone | Fit: One-size | Age: Youth | Price: 💰
Swim caps help keep kids comfortable in the pool, especially when they’re just learning to swim. We like the one-size-fits all Arena classic swim cap for kids because it’s made from PVC-free flat molded silicone with a tight fit, but not so tight that children find it uncomfortable. It’s also very thick and durable, and comes in a long list of fun colors and designs for kids to choose from.
As quoted in the product description, it’s best for ages 3–5, and consumer feedback bears this out: too small for a 6-year-old, but every head size is different. One 3-year-old with staples in their scalp because of surgery wore it while swimming and it effectively kept their head dry, but most kids need a little help putting it on, according to feedback.
It’s an especially good choice for simply keeping hair out of a child’s face when swimming, feedback says, but it won’t keep their hair completely dry.
- Doesn’t pull hair
- Nice fit, versatile
- Nice color choices
- Some caps fit tighter
- Too small for some heads
- Some colors a bit see through
For this guide on the best swim caps, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from a variety of brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 5 user reviews per swim cap (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each option. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 swim caps on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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