The best swimming caps we’ve tested that actually keep your hair dry

These swimming caps are head and shoulders above the competition.

Swimming caps are something of a necessity for most swimmers, as they help to protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine. They can also assist in swimming in a more streamlined way, as they help to reduce drag in the water.

It’s also common to have a number of swimming caps in your collection when you swim regularly. Perhaps you enjoy having a range of colours to choose from, or you like to have options that are better suited for increasing your visibility when open water swimming.

You could have a number of swimming caps in your possession simply because you haven’t found one that you can really rely on yet. If that sounds like you, we’re here to help! We’ve tested seven of the leading swimming cap brands to help you avoid continuing to buy options that don’t quite hit the spot.

Speedo long hair pace cap in purple
Editors Choice

Best swimming cap overall

Speedo Long Hair Pace Swim Cap


RRP: £14
Who’s this for?
Swimmers who prioritise comfort and performance over a choice of designs.
Red swimming cap from Sundried. The brand name is printed across the side of the cap in white capital letters.
Editors Choice

Best value swimming cap

Sundried Swim Cap


RRP: £9
Who’s this for?
Swimmers with larger heads or long, thicker hair.
Image of the pale green Adidas x Soul Cap swimming cap.
Recommended

The ultimate swimming cap

Adidas x Soul Cap Swim cap


RRP: £18
Who’s this for?
Anyone and everyone – it’s specifically designed to accommodate all hair types and head sizes.
Black Speedo Long Hair Swim Cap on a white background
Recommended

Speedo Long Hair Swim Cap


RRP: £10
Who’s this for?
Swimmers with longer hair on a tighter budget.
Pink swimming cap from Zone 3 pictured. The cap has Zone 3 written in black capital letter across one side.
Recommended

Zone 3 Silicone Swim Cap


RRP: £6
Who’s this for?
It’s a great choice for both pool and open water swimmers.
Image of a Vorgee SuperFlex swimming cap in the colour navy. It is pictured against a white background and the cap features the brand name Vorgee in white lettering on its right side.
Recommended

Vorgee SuperFlex Swim Cap


RRP: £6
Who’s this for?
Swimmers who like a choice of colours.
Image of a dark petrol blue swimming cap from Decathlon's Nabaiji budget cap range. Pictured against a white background. The cap has Nabaiji printed in white capital letters on the right side.

Nabaiji Silicone Swim Cap


RRP: £5.99
Who’s this for?
People who swim in a pool or outdoors, though wild swimmers (like one of our testers) might prefer to choose a brighter colour cap from the range.

Review method

How we tested

We had three swimmers testing our caps. Two were females with average-size heads (with a circumference measuring 54-55cm/21in); one has thick, shoulder-length hair and the other has long, fine hair. We also had a male swimmer testing our caps. He has a larger-size head (with a circumference measuring 59cm/23in) and short, fine hair.

Our testers went along to their local pool or open water spot, armed with a different cap to try out each time they went for a swim. Their chosen cap was then put through its paces to assess how it fared, both while they went about their usual swim and when they varied the type of stroke they did. We also asked our testers to submerge their head under the water while wearing each cap to further test its durability.

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What our testers looked for

Being able to comfortably get a swimming cap over your head (whether you have long or short hair) is an important consideration when buying a cap, so this was our priority for testing.

How a swimming hat feels once it’s on your head is another key consideration. What our testers are looking for is a secure but comfortable fit that doesn’t result in any pinching or feeling of pressure around the temple or ears.

While no swimming cap can claim to keep your hair completely dry, some fare better than others (such as silicone ones) when it comes to mostly keeping your hair dry. Our testers are looking for the best of the bunch on this front.

This is where a swimming cap can really stand out from the crowd. Our testers will note colour options, any panelling or stitching that’s evident on the caps, plus any points of difference in how they’ve been made.

Speedo Long Hair Pace Swim Cap Overview

Best swimming cap overall

Speedo Long Hair Pace Swim Cap

Speedo long hair pace cap in purple
Editors Choice
Competitive

A very comfortable cap that can easily accommodate long, thick hair – it’s also the best one we tested for keeping hair dry.

 

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

Swimmers who prioritise comfort and performance over a choice of designs.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Great for long-haired swimmers
  • Keeps hair mostly dry
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Very accommodating for thick hair
  • Only available in two colours
  • Not silicone (wasn’t a problem for us but it may be a deal breaker for you)

Expect to pay

RRP: £14 if buying directly from Speedo. However, we’ve seen the cap as cheap as £11.99 at Amazon.

An outstanding buy – here’s why

Speedo has introduced two long hair cap options to its popular Pace cap range – which come in purple (which we tested) and black. The cap is made of a nylon material and has a polyurethane water-resistant coating that gives it a silky feel.

Though it took our tester a few attempts to get all her thick hair inside the cap, it proved to be very comfortable to wear and didn’t budge at any point during her swim. Most importantly, it did an outstanding job of keeping her hair largely dry. Our tester was overjoyed at having only a couple of damp spots.

Looks-wise, the cap features striking white stitching lines across the top and it also has an unusual silky feel due to the polyurethane coating.

We liked: It kept our female tester’s hair mostly dry (quite a feat for a swimming cap!), and there were only a couple of damp spots when she checked at the end of her swim. The cap was easy to put on and it accommodated her thick shoulder-length hair well.

We didn’t like: There is very little we didn’t like about this cap. Our only small criticism would be that it’s only available in two colours at the moment.

We say: This cap could help to make swims less hassle, as your long hair stays mainly dry.


Sundried Swim Cap Overview

Best value swimming cap

Sundried Swim Cap

Red swimming cap from Sundried. The brand name is printed across the side of the cap in white capital letters.
Editors Choice
Competitive

Another very comfortable and accommodating cap that comes in a cheerful range of pool and open water-friendly colours.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

Swimmers with larger heads or long, thicker hair.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Comes in a wide range of colours
  • Easy to put on and doesn’t snag your hair
  • Offers good coverage
  • High-quality feel
  • Only available in one size
  • Can be a generous fit

Expect to pay

RRP: £9 If buying directly from Sundried, you can get 30% off your first order using the code Sundried30 – making the cap just £6.30. At the time of writing, the caps were also available at Amazon for £6.40.

Our best value pick

It may not be a brand that is all that well-known (our male tester had never heard of Sundried before, for example), but it offers a range of swimming and triathlon kit options. This silicone swim hat comes in a choice of nine colours ranging from black and white to green, red and yellow.

Both our male and female testers said the cap was very easy to put on and didn’t snag or pull at their hair at all. Where their experiences differed was on the comfort front. While our female tester found the cap was a little roomy, our male tester said it felt comfortable and provided a secure fit.

Another contrasting experience was on the effectiveness front. Our male tester found the cap offered excellent coverage and helped to keep his hair mostly dry. Our female tester’s experience wasn’t quite as positive due to the fit.

Both loved the bright red and yellow colours of the caps they were trialling. Our male tester thought the cap had a high-quality feel, too.

We liked: Both our male and female testers loved the rich colour of the caps they were provided with. They also found the cap was very easy to put on and had a quality feel to it.

We didn’t like: Our female tester, who has long, fine hair, found the cap was a little roomy and said it felt baggy at the top of her head. She feels this affected how well the cap performed during her swim.

We say: This one-size cap works well on larger heads and would also suit swimmers with long, thicker hair.

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Adidas x Soul Cap Swim cap Overview

The ultimate swimming cap

Adidas x Soul Cap Swim cap

Image of the pale green Adidas x Soul Cap swimming cap.
Recommended
Luxury

This is a really high-quality cap that is suitable for all hair types and head sizes – a fantastic buy.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

Anyone and everyone – it’s specifically designed to accommodate all hair types and head sizes.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Available in a range of sizes
  • Suitable for younger and older swimmers
  • Offers a comfortable, secure fit
  • Has a high-quality feel
  • Sizing can be tricky
  • Only available in one colour
  • Demand is high so it regularly sells out

Expect to pay

RRP: £18 This cap is only available direct from Adidas or Soul Cap, so you’re unlikely to get it cheaper – but we believe it’s worth the price.

A hat for all-sized hair and heads

Soul Cap has joined forces with Adidas to create a new cap that aims to spread the word that swimming is inclusive and open to all. It’s a premium-grade silicone cap that’s available in a range of sizes, from junior regular up to adult extra extra large. It’s only available in one colour – original linen green.

The cap was really easy to put on for both testers, but finding a size that fits well was more tricky. Once the sizing was right, it proved to be a very comfortable cap that stays put when you swim. But when it’s not, it doesn’t fare quite as well.

On the effectiveness front, the cap provided full coverage and a secure fit that helps to keep your hair mostly dry (when you’ve got the right size cap on).

Our female tester commented on the lovely, pale green pastel colour of the cap as it’s quite different from usual cap colour options. The premium silicone gives it a smooth feel, too.

We liked: It’s a high-quality cap that offers excellent coverage.

We didn’t like: The sizing can be tricky to get right, as the cap is designed to fit all types of hair, including afro and braided styles. Our male tester tried on three different sizes before he found one that worked for him.

We say: This cap looks and feels great and does a stellar job of protecting your hair (once you’ve got the size right).


Speedo Long Hair Swim Cap Overview

Speedo Long Hair Swim Cap

Black Speedo Long Hair Swim Cap on a white background
Recommended
Competitive

A reliable cap that will already feature in many kit bags. A great all-rounder for long-haired swimmers.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

Swimmers with longer hair on a tighter budget.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Ideal for long-haired swimmers
  • Very accommodating for long and thick hair
  • Really easy to put on
  • Has a lovely, smooth feel
  • Only available in limited colours
  • Speedo has a better (but slightly more expensive) long hair cap option

Expect to pay

RRP: £10 when bought via Speedo, but you might be able to get it slightly cheaper elsewhere. For example, at the time of writing, the black cap was just £8 at Wiggle.

Easy to see why it’s so popular with swimmers

This longstanding Speedo cap is a favourite among pool and open water swimmers, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great quality cap that comes in a range of colours. While we tested the black version, this long hair cap is also available in pink, green and printed versions, such as violet/mango and berry/violet.

Our female tester who has thick, shoulder-length hair found this cap was easy to put on and it accommodated her hair well. She also gave it top marks for being very comfortable to wear. Pleasingly, it also stayed in place while freestyle (front crawl) swimming and when she went under the water.

In terms of its effectiveness, this cap does a pretty good job of stopping your hair from getting wet. But our tester found the front and back of her hair was quite damp after her swim.

Design-wise, this Speedo cap is fairly plain but we do like the colour. After all, black goes with every swim outfit.

We liked: There’s lots to like about this cap. It’s easy to put on, it comfortably fits all your long hair in (even thick hair), and it has a lovely, smooth feel.

We didn’t like: There’s not much we didn’t like about this cap. A small gripe is we would love to see more stand-alone colours introduced.

We say: An excellent option for long-haired pool and open water swimmers.


Zone 3 Silicone Swim Cap Overview

Zone 3 Silicone Swim Cap

Pink swimming cap from Zone 3 pictured. The cap has Zone 3 written in black capital letter across one side.
Recommended
Budget

Comes in a range of bright colours and provides a secure, comfortable fit – we can see why it’s popular.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

It’s a great choice for both pool and open water swimmers.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Excellent quality cap
  • Very easy to put on
  • Offers a secure fit
  • Decent range of colours
  • It’s one-size (though it fitted both testers well)
  • Underwater it didn’t fare as well as others
  • You may not like the brand name emblazoned across the cap

Expect to pay

RRP: £6 At the time of writing, the cap was available at a slightly cheaper price of £5.39 in some colours (pink, orange and yellow) at Sportshoes.com.

A great bright cap option (that’s also budget-friendly)

Zone 3 is a brand that’s very popular with wild swimmers and triathletes alike. Its a unisex silicone cap – which our male and female testers have tried out – and it has a number of five-star reviews. The cap is available in six colours, including several brighter options that are ideal for open water swimming.

Both our testers said the cap was very easy to put on and didn’t snag or pull on their hair at any point. They also both commented on how comfortable the cap felt and how it provided a snug, secure fit.

Our female outdoor swimming tester found her hair was a little wet after she went underwater and swam freestyle (front crawl), but the cap stayed on securely. Our male tester had a similar experience during his pool swim.

The high-quality silicone used in this cap was a big plus point for both our testers. They especially liked the brightness of the caps they tested, too.

We liked: The quality of the cap really stood out for our testers, and they appreciated the snug, secure fit it provides. Both really liked the bright colour of their caps (red and yellow).

We didn’t like: Our female tester found her hair got wet when she went underwater while wearing the cap.

We say: It’s a great budget-friendly option if you’re looking for a brightly coloured, high-quality cap.


Vorgee SuperFlex Swim Cap Overview

Vorgee SuperFlex Swim Cap

Image of a Vorgee SuperFlex swimming cap in the colour navy. It is pictured against a white background and the cap features the brand name Vorgee in white lettering on its right side.
Recommended
Budget

It’s a budget-friendly, high-quality cap that comes in a range of colours – but they can be hard to find.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

Swimmers who like a choice of colours.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Made from high-grade silicone
  • Very easy to put on
  • Available in a great choice of bright colours
  • Good amount of stretch
  • May “wriggle around”
  • Can be difficult to find in stock

Expect to pay

RRP: £6 This cap is great value, but it’s typically only available from specialist swim retailers – so you may have to factor in postage and packaging.

A quality choice

Vorgee’s popular SuperFlex Cap is made of high-grade silicone but has plenty of stretch to offer coverage for swimmers with longer or thicker hair. It’s available in a choice of nine vibrant colours, including unusual ones such as navy and fluorescent green.

Both testers found this cap was very easy to put on and tuck long hair into (a big bonus). They also commented that it was comfortable to wear. Where their experiences mainly differ is on the effectiveness front.

Our outdoor swimming female tester found the cap didn’t stay put during her freestyle (front crawl) swim and she subsequently had wet patches. Our pool swimming tester found it fared better, and she commented that her hair was damp in only a couple of areas after a swim.

The smooth, quality feel of the cap and the range of usual and unusual bright colours in the SuperFlex collection is a big plus point.

We liked: This is a cap that divided opinion among our testers. Our tester with shoulder-length, thick hair (who is a regular pool swimmer) owns a couple of these caps. She finds they are reliable for staying put and they also fare quite well in terms of only leaving her hair damp in places but never wet. Our other female tester found the cap was comfortable but limited in terms of its effectiveness.

We didn’t like: Our open water swimmer who tested this cap felt it didn’t stay put during her swim and this meant her hair ended up being wet in places.

We say: A quality, budget-friendly cap that comes in many different colours.


Nabaiji Silicone Swim Cap Overview

Nabaiji Silicone Swim Cap

Image of a dark petrol blue swimming cap from Decathlon's Nabaiji budget cap range. Pictured against a white background. The cap has Nabaiji printed in white capital letters on the right side.
Budget

The cheapest swim cap we’ve tested offers many colour options and stays put, making it a decent budget option.

Ease of use

Comfort

Effectiveness

Design


Who’s this for?

People who swim in a pool or outdoors, though wild swimmers (like one of our testers) might prefer to choose a brighter colour cap from the range.

Our likes and dislikes

  • A range of colours and prints
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Stays in place during your swim
  • One size does not fit all

Expect to pay

RRP: £5.99 At the time of writing, Decathlon was offering the dark green and mint green versions of this cap for just £4.99. You’ll need to factor in delivery fees unless you click and collect.

Best for small or average-sized heads

This cap is from Decathlon’s Nabaiji budget-friendly range of swimming kit options. Made of silicone, it currently comes in a choice of six styles, from dark green (which we tested) to a snazzy pink pattern and even a cartoon dinosaur pattern – perhaps suited to the big kids amongst our readers!

Starting with this cap’s good points, it was easy to put on and didn’t cause any pulling or snagging on our female tester’s hair. She also commented that it was very comfortable to wear and it stayed in place throughout her freestyle (front crawl) swim in open water.

Effectiveness-wise, it kept her hair only slightly dry. The dark green colour of the cap also didn’t really appeal to her as she prefers to opt for brighter coloured options when swimming outdoors. Our tester described the feel of the cap as being “slightly gritty” too.

We liked: Our female tester found this cap did a better job than some of the others in keeping her hair slightly drier. She also found it was easy to put on and, once in place, it provided a secure and comfortable fit during her freestyle (front crawl) swim.

We didn’t like: As an open water swimmer, our female tester wasn’t keen on the dark green colour, as the reservoir she visits requires swimmers to wear a brightly coloured cap. Something to think about if you plan on using a managed open water swimming facility.

We say: It’s a good, budget-friendly unisex cap option if you have a small or average-size head.

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Julie Penfold

Written by Julie Penfold she/her

Published:

Julie Penfold has been a specialist health and wellbeing journalist for more than 15 years and has been a finalist in three prestigious health and medical journalism awards during that time. She has written for a wide variety of health, medical, wellbeing and fitness magazines and websites. These have included Running, TechRadar, Outdoor Fitness, Be Healthy, Top Sante, Doctors.net.uk and The Guardian’s Social Care network.

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