Micky Hingorani    About    Archive

Unsolicited Review: Should you fix your expensive headphones with Plasti Dip?

For years I didn't want to use headphones while just walking around the city. I worried about retreating too much into my own head. I fretted over the crazy taxi drivers that would then run me over.

Turns out, I was lying to myself. I just had terrible headphones. The standard one size fits all Apple headphones weren't. The sound was subpar.

I finally bought a nice pair of headphones. Based pretty much only on a Wirecutter review, with a personal emphasis on in-ear comfort and name recognition, I settled on some standard Bose in-ear handphones. To my great regret, the wires started fraying and tearing, badly, about 15 months after I had bought them.

This felt like too short of a time before having to buy new headphones. With my warranty expired I sought a temporary solution. I wanted to find some stop gap measure to allow my headphones to last two full years. After some online searching, here were the options I found:

Heat Shrink Wirewrap — Cool but I didn't think a lot of the wire would be wide enough, before the heating, to go over the earbuds, etc.

Rerack Dishwasher Rack Repair — Seemed very similar to Plasti Dip, just made a judgment call that Plasti Dip might work better.

Sugru — I really wanted to buy this — useful Play Doh for adults? Sign me up! I saw some photos of headphones fixed using Sugru but it seemed difficult to get the very light coating of material over the fraying that I was looking for. Plus I just had too many frays and tears. I needed a better, more thorough coating.

That left Plasti Dip.

I first learned about the product through a Lifehacker post. It seemed, simply, like the exact answer to my problem. I set up a dipping station composed mostly of Amazon's packing materials and, section by section, dipped the headphones in. I'd dip one section in, let it dry an hour, dip another, repeat.

I had issues, on the longer sections, with clumping. I could find no way to get a uniform amount of Plasti Dip along the longest wire of my headphones. As a result, there is clumping and some small, long air bubbles.

Initially, this seemed great. My headphones seemed fortified for about $15. But it's now been about two weeks and I would not recommend using Plasti Dip.

There is some slight discoloration in areas with only a light touch of Plasti Dip, specifically the buttons controlling the volume. Those areas quickly turned grayish white.

Even before this eventual discoloration, the looks of the Plasti Dip'ed headphones leave something to be desired. I thought they looked fine from a bit of a distance plus I had a pleasant DIY feeling about the whole thing. My wife thought otherwise. She does not like them. She is probably right.

An unanticipated consequence of adding a whole other layer of synthetic rubber to your headphones is weight. Headphones are very light and we take that for granted. Plasti Dipped headphones are noticeably heavier. It doesn't really impede anything I try to do but it has been annoying.

Worst of all, despite applying multiple coats and doing what I thought was a thorough job, there is fraying of the wire in multiple spots. That's the entire reason I bought Plasti Dip yet the problem remains.

I continue to want these headphones to last me another few months so I'll likely add another coat and cross my fingers but I suspect I'll be looking for new headphones very soon. Recommendations welcome @heymicky.